tv Best of Bloomberg Technology Bloomberg July 21, 2019 1:00am-2:00am EDT
emily: i'm emily chang and this is the best of bloomberg technology. we will bring you all of our top interviews from this week. tech on the hill, antitrust and cryptocurrency under scrutiny this week. representatives from amazon, apple, google, and facebook all on the defense. plus, netflix needs to get stranger. stocks plunge after a subscriber miss. investors bet on new seasons of
shows like "stranger things." elon musk claims his new technology can redirect mind, announcing his latest startup has successfully implanting wires into brains and enabling a monkey to control the computer. the next goal, human trials. we begin with the hearings on capitol hill. facebook, amazon, apple, google all appearing in washington to answer lawmaker questions on antitrust, social media, and cryptocurrency. the first to be raked over the coals, facebook, as the senate banking committee fired searing questions at the cocreator of the social network's cryptocurrency project. >> we will take the time to get this right. wouldn't it be easier and safer if people could securely receive money transfers through their smartphones, just like they do for so many other things? that's what libra was about. emily: virginia democratic senator mark warner grilled the libra chief on tuesday.
we caught up with him after the hearing. >> i think blockchain technology, even the possibly of cryptocurrencies, has some positive upside, but i think we have to be careful, particularly when we are talking about the possibility that facebook might dominate this otherwise very disruptive technology. facebook already has 2 billion users. it has all of these advantages. we have seen facebook over the last decade plus do what i call catch and kill, where any new entrant into the marketplace, facebook would either copy or go out and directly acquire, and here you have this blockchain technology that might be able to come in and disrupt, and, again, it appears facebook is using the same strategic effort to say, "let's bring some other players in, create this libra network, and then use their market power to create the wallet, where a lot of the transactions would take place." they call it "calibra," and my fear would be it would give
their wallet solution a great deal of undue advantages and, frankly, mr. marcus today, i know he wanted to clarify, but it seems like some of these questions should have been yes and no, and i came away with still a lot of questions that need to be answered. emily: right. so you were not satisfied with david marcus's answers, it seems. what would your message be now to mark zuckerberg, the ceo of facebook? >> my message would be blockchain offers an awful lot of possibilities, but you have a burden of proof, facebook, to make sure, one, that we get it right in creating this new network, two, that it is safe. i thought mr. marcus's comment that for every crypto dollar there would be a real dollar or another currency on a 1:1 backing it up, that's basically absurd when there is no such requirements within our banking
system. it seemed to me, as well, where you have had facebook not be a good steward of so much personal data already, the idea that they would create this new network and not build in implicit and explicit preferences for their own product, really strange credibility. i was glad to hear mr. marcus say that when a third party while came around and people to use thet facebook product and want to use a third party, they would be willing to transfer the keys, transfer the data, do the technical transfers to that third party, that was a good sign. my hope would be, as somebody who has legislation i am about to drop, bipartisan legislation that would talk about data portability and interoperability within their existing networks, my hope would be that facebook would bring that same kind of supporting approach to the legislation that i would bring forward for their existing tools. emily: so, look. there were a lot of issues that
came up, adjacent issues that facebook has been dealing with, misinformation, election hacking, fake news. would you like to see mark zuckerberg testify before congress on libra, specifically, and again on some of these other issues? >> here are the circumstances with facebook. and my office works with facebook on a regular basis, and we are trying to get them, and we have made some progress. they have made progress, for example, on some of the disclosure requirements around facebook-based political ads the same way we have disclosure around tv and radio ads, but there are technical issues, and my background is in telecommunications, longer than i have been in politics, so i hopefully bring some expertise here, where we can bring more transparency to this marketplace, whether it is about data valuation, whether it is about data portability and interoperability. they have yet to be willing to lean in and acknowledge what they would be willing to support.
mr. zuckerberg has said he realizes there need to be some rules of the road for facebook in its current applications. what we have not seen yet is that level of specificity of which rules of the road they actually accept. so before we open up this whole new area that could have transformative efforts on the way we transact business in terms of blockchain and cryptocurrency, facebook has got some proving that they are willing to accept certain rules of the road or regulation around their existing products before we go into this whole new realm. emily: meantime, you had facebook appearing at a house antitrust committee hearing today, along with google, apple, amazon. do you think facebook should be broken up? senator warner: listen, i am not at that point in time in terms of breaking up some of these companies, but i have not taken that off the table, because i think there may be ways to add more competition if we have more of this transparency and data
portability, interoperability. i think we could step back from some of the breakup calls if we put in place appropriate privacy protections, the way europe has done already. i think we could have a little more forward leaning if facebook was willing to acknowledge, or twitter, for that matter, when you're being communicated with by a bot versus a human being. there are things in a legislative area that, if we move forward on, i think would take off the pressure, at least vis-a-vis facebook or google in terms of the breakup calls. but if we do not see these platform companies roll up their sleeves and give us some framework so americans or, for that matter, folks around the world have a little more transparency, a little more protection of their data, know what data is, in a sense, being sucked out of them already, and what that data is worth, then i think we have to look at more radical solutions. emily: meantime, investor peter
thiel has called out google for what he calls "seemingly treasonous" work with china. we do not have specific evidence for his allegations, but the president is now saying that the administration is going to look into google's work with china. does this concern you? sen. warner: well, it concerned me when a group of folks at google did not want to work with our defense department, but were willing to partner with some of the chinese tech companies who are, quite frankly, creating an almost orwellian social credit system, where they monitor the behavior of the chinese population, 1.3 billion people, in ways that are, frankly, the antithesis of everything that we in the west would support. i think that is one of the reasons why you have seen 2 million people a few weeks ago in hong kong go to the streets rather than have the chinese communist party system and that kind of orwellian network take over hong kong, as well. so i do think there is some
explaining that google needs to make. i have met with the google ceo. he said they are backing out of some of those partnerships and they are willing to continue to work with the u.s. government, so i think mr. thiel's and mr. trump's statements are a little over-the-top, but i think it is incumbent on these companies to frankly go the extra mile to earn people's trust. the truth is these companies got so large, so quickly, i am not even sure they fully understood the full ramifications of what they were dealing with, and, quite honestly, the regulators and those of us in government have been slow to catch up, and instead we saw a foreign nation like russia, in and willy-nilly use youtube, facebook, twitter to massively intervene in our elections, and they continue to massively intervene in trying to pit one american against another. candidly, these companies have been slow to acknowledge that and be a more active participant in bringing about these kinds of appropriate regulations and appropriate rules of the road.
emily: virginia senator mark warner. coming up, netflix and no chill. the company reports underwhelming second-quarter earnings, losing subscribers in the u.s. for the first time since 2011. what this means as the competition turns up the volume. and if you like bloomberg news, check us out on the radio, on the bloomberg app, and on sirius xm. this is bloomberg. ♪
emily: netflix reported a surprise loss of u.s. customers for the second quarter. the earnings renewed concerns about growth prospects at a time of looming competition. netflix lost 130,000 customers in the u.s. as a result of higher prices and a weak slate of shows. it signed up 2.7 million subscribers globally, also missing projections. we break down the results wednesday.
>> i hate to bore lucas, because he actually tweeted he is tired of talking about this. i think price increases probably drove subscriber loss domestically. i think they are probably bumping up against the ceiling on what they can charge and continue to grow. i personally believe they will keep 80% of the domestic subscribers, but the last 10 million subscribers are probably middle-income households, and they know what prices go up a couple bucks. and i think you are going to continue to see continued defections as content migrates away from the site and as competition starts to materialize. fall, warner and comcast next year. i think middle income households will probably have to think about whether they subscribe to one, two, or three plans.
yes, they can cut the cord and maybe afford all of them, but the fact is netflix saw a decline in domestic subs. that is what fuels international expansion. they are about to lower prices in india. so i do not see how they are worth the price target my competitors have a must stop, stockthink -- have on the , and i think today's correction makes a lot of sense. emily: to avoid being boring at all, you did tweet you would be talking about the big whiff and that you would be duking it out, so bring it. what is your take? >> is this a blip or a long-term problem? the second quarter has been a problem for netflix in the past. in 2016, they missed their second quarter forecast by quite a bit, though not as much as they did today. and they had not warned everybody that this would be a light one. so is this a one-time phenomenon, or something where
we cannot trust their forecast for q3? netflix's response to this is that we have forecast 7 million and are still on pace for the biggest year yet, but as we've seen, their forecasts cannot always be trusted. they miss on these a lot. so if they miss again next quarter, which is going to come around the time disney is introducing disney+, that becomes a real problem for investors, especially if growth slows overseas. emily: let's talk about the current quarter where they say they will add 7 million subscribers, a huge jump. of course, we know this quarter, stranger things is back. as for last quarter, they have highlighted "dead to me" and "murder mystery," but does this mean it is dependent on an original hit like "stranger things," and does that make it more challenging? subscriber additions really depend on a huge hit. >> go ahead.
emily: michael, you first. >> i honestly think what lucas said is right. i think this is a blip. i think that subscriber growth will be like movie box office. when there is lots of great stuff, they will see an increase in subs. the numbers on "stranger things" are pretty impressive. it is a really good show. that a handful of really great content. i think they will probably hit the 7 million sub number. the problem is next year when there is competition, and we saw a preview of the quarter. next year, you have a couple quarters where they lose subs. emily: can the hits keep coming? >> the other issue i see is, look at the volume of shows they released in the second quarter. i know they did not have a "stranger things," but i was ahead of the earnings report and they would have
something new every day. sometimes, they would have five new projects. if none of those are moving the needle and it really is only a handful of shows, that is a little bit concerning, just because of the volume and how much they are spending. that being said, they do have a pretty good track record of coming up with a new big hit every few quarters. if they can keep that going, they will be fine. but they do seem to have a volume issue. emily: and that is a good point. we have talked about the hit shows. we have not talked about the shows that are not great. i have seen some of those. how good of model is it to be throwing everything at the ball and produce a lot of stuff that really isn't that great? or is the hbo model of very few, more high-quality content, is that better? >> by my count, netflix produces about 10 times as many shows as hbo and get about the same number of emmy nominations.
throwing stuff at the wall, they are going to have their hits. i actually think that subscriber is going to be based on one of either water cooler chatter shows like "breaking things," oranger good enough content, which is high quantity of ok content. that is the real acid test. do they have enough stuff that is good enough to keep us coming back? i think these metrics they are giving us on the crap shows tells us that people are willing to watch whatever is thrown at them. so you get 40 million people watching adam sandler, which shocks me. emily: i thought it was good. lucas, let's talk about international. that is where they say the majority of new subscribers will come from. they are saying in q3, 7 million new subscribers. they talked a lot about india,
introducing a cheaper, mobile only plan. reed hastings has said they could get another 100 million subscribers in india. where is the growth going to come from? >> in the short-term, you are still looking mostly at europe and latin america. brazil, the united kingdom, france, germany, these are the biggest markets. netflix does not break any of this out, which would be useful for analysts like michael and reporters like me. but long-term, they are definitely looking to asia. they have invested a lot of money in long-term programming in the region, particularly asia. and this mobile-only plan is a big deal because they have been testing lower-priced plans the past few months. this is the first time they are committing to rolling one out, which suggests that either they think it will work or that they need to do something to boost growth. it is the first price reduction
we have seen netflix take, because they are raising prices almost everywhere else. emily: let's talk about the other parts of the story. you have disney, apple, warner media trying to take netflix on. disney is offering cheaper and has a huge library of original disney classics that people keep coming back to over 50 years. how big of a threat is this competition? >> i think barry diller said it . well a couple weeks ago. -- said it very well a couple weeks ago. netflix has won. they are not going to go out of business or lose a material number of subscribers. the question is, can they grow into the valuation? and i don't think so. international, sure. if they had hundreds of thousands of subscribers in the countries they do business, that is 20 million a year. they could do that for another 10 years. can they continue to grow domestically? no. can they turn cash positive?
not with the current model. emily: coming up, microsoft has beaten earnings-per-share last eights for the quarters. did it deliver this time around? and elon musk seeks to merge human brains with artificial intelligence. more with how his neural implants are already working in rats and monkeys. this is bloomberg. ♪
emily: microsoft earnings out thursday. investors have driven market value up to $1 trillion largely due to the success of cloud computing. that is at the center of analysis of second-quarter results. >> we did not find any mistake or anything negative. but the big deal is going to be guidance and seeing how they can come up with first-quarter numbers and some color about the next fiscal year.
emily: the big question is, can microsoft keep it up? now that expectations are so high, can the company continue to deliver in a new tech economy? >> we have expanded it to amazon in the last few quarters because there is such enormous demand from customers for the services they are providing. i think this is only the beginning of an incredible boom azure andcontinue in other cloud relating technologies microsoft is providing. emily: are youse adjusting the cloud will continue to grow and it is not a zero-sum game? >> absolutely. every study tells us we are in the early weeks of a long game. microsoft is on the verge of becoming the corporate cloud. fresh off the last few days of summit in vegas, the big theme is trust. not just trust with partners, but in the enterprise relationships they have to
expand those, which frankly is a differentiator from google and amazon. emily: that said, when you are the most valuable company in the world, and microsoft does have more than a trillion dollar market cap, you have a target on your back. what are the challenges, the potential obstacles lying in microsoft's way? >> the macro concerns are the only thing that could provide near-term headwinds, but other than that i agree with aaron. the market with cloud services is so large, and we are seeing the tip of the iceberg. the market potential just in the enterprise space is enormous. betterft, we think, is position than any company out there. emily: pc sales are still a big part of the business. what is happening between the united states and china is a huge issue given the u.s.-china supply chain.
aaron, given you worked in china for many years, the trade war, how will it impact commercial sales for microsoft in china? >> microsoft is very focused on this 7 billion. they keep talking about the reach. at the amazon conference, you feel like amazon is leading the world in cloud. at google, you feel like they know they want to. likecrosoft, they feel they know they can and they focus a lot on the incredible reach of every single person in the world and how they can tap them with some sort of cloud service. it is hard to ignore china in that context. emily: if you cannot ignore china, what would the impact of the trade war be? this seems not to be subsiding, so if tensions remain, what does that mean? >> microsoft's strength in china has been around the cloud services. it was early in the market. amazon caught them fast. the market in china is for companies that want to go global or access the cloud services for the offerings they are providing
outside china. so that has the potential to go strong, regardless of any iron curtain that might fall. emily: microsoft felt the antitrust pain in the 1990's with big antitrust hearings, but they have been largely out of the spotlight with the recent raft of hearings with amazon, google, facebook, apple all in the spotlight. how can microsoft use that to its advantage? >> it is one of the biggest thing for them because they have embraced open-source. more than 50% of the instances in azure are on open-source, which is remarkable for a company that did not believe in these kinds of products. the policy of being friendly with their rivals and being able to embrace any other project from the competitors will play in their hand as regulators look at large tech companies. emily: coming up, the chair of the house financial services committee, maxine waters, says mark zuckerberg should testify
he did not answer the question. tried to skirt it by talking about how they were going to take time. how they would get consideration to all of the questions, etc., and ensure they would not harm consumers. it was not good enough. not only did he skirt the questions about the moratorium, we specifically asked about regulations, and what regulators do he think should oversee them? i specifically asked about f sock. he did not answer that. he skirted that. >> earlier this week i was at the white house attending that press briefing with steven mnuchin, they're actually seems to be some agreement in the skepticism at the white house has, that you have with these digital currencies. which regulator will take the lead on digital currencies? rep. waters: at this time we don't know.
as i understand it, the feds have an advisory committee, i do not know. one of the things that we have to know and understand is, what is it? >> what is it? rep. waters: what is it? is it a payment system? what do they do and how do they do it? you cannot even decide what regulator would oversee them without understanding what it really is. >> so what is the next step? and that is truly the number one question i get one reporting on this. people do not know what these digital currencies are, or how they will use them. you as the chairwoman of this committee, what is the next step in this process? rep. waters: we have a lot of investigation to do. we will have more hearings. we will talk with all of the experts out there that know a lot about cryptocurrency and can tell us about the history of bitcoin and blockchain and how it all works.
we will be learning an awful lot. we will have more hearings, and it was requested today by one of our members that we get mr. zuckerberg here. he should be here. >> you are calling on mark zuckerberg to come and talk about libra? rep. waters: that is one of the things we have to do. this is a big idea born out of facebook. if he is big enough to create an idea that is global in nature, then he should talk to us about it. >> when david marcus talk to us testified in the senate, i said, would you use libra? he said he does not even use facebook. so same question to you madam chairwoman, would you use facebook libra? rep. waters: all i know is the faith that i have in the american dollar. i love the american dollar, i am concerned about libra competing with our dollar. i am not concerned at all about whether or not i will use libra as of today.
no. i don't know it is, i don't know how it works. i am satisfied with the american dollar, and i am very concerned about any currency that will compete with it in the way that they talk about cryptocurrency doing. emily: u.s. representative maxine waters of california. in europe, france and the u.k. are looking at the relationship with big tech. despite pushback from united states, we are brought this report from london. >> on july 11 french lawmakers passed a digital sales tax that will see a levy of 3% on companies with revenue over 750 million euros. the huge change here, it will be affecting revenue and nonprofit. -- not profit. the interaction with the customer is something that has
been a huge debate, whether the tax should be imposed, or have the interaction with users. there is a debate on how the u.k. has already put in place similar process to impose this sales tax. it has caused discontent in the u.s. and germany where they sell capital goods in the country but might sell additional services on top of it which would be subject to such a tax if imposed globally. the companies are concerned there is a lack of clarity in the french tax on what they need to be paying taxes on. either way, there will be a big tax bill going france's way in the near future. alex webb in london. emily: sticking with european tech regulation, amazon is facing a european union antitrust probe. the eu says it will investigate
the marketplace platform. >> amazon is hosting a number of businesses are competing against them. we are looking into their use of data to see if it is in a fair way. emily: joining us, brad stone. how big of a blow would this be? >> google is facing $9 billion in eu fines. that continues. this is the beginning of an investigation. the expansion of an investigation for amazon in the eu. i think vestager is going to demand a kind of level of information that amazon has been unwilling in the past to provide.
to the extent which the company takes data from its marketplace how certain products are selling. seasonally, overall. and then moves those products into its first party marketplace. it decides to sell what other sellers are offering, itself on the first party marketplace. amazon says it does not look at individual seller's data. if vestager could demand information from the company about that, we might find out if that is true or not. emily: also this week, you've got democrats calling for an investigation into amazon warehouses. amazon was one of the four companies on capitol hill today being asked questions on antitrust. talk to us about this potential warehouse investigation that democrats are calling for. brad: it is a great political environment for any big tech companies. amazon about to hit the $1 trillion market cap again. bezos, the richest guy in the world. they are obviously a target. i went in and out of the hearings today so i did not hear the specifics of the purported
investigation into the fulfillment centers. i think, look, i think amazon, it has a massive supply chain. hundreds of thousands of workers around the world in its fulfillment centers, driving its vans and trucks and flying its airplanes. i don't know how you would conduct oversight. i'm sure there could be pockets of workers being poorly performed but overall i think they do a fairly good job. it would be hard to conduct that kind of oversight in any practical way. emily: we are in the middle of the second day of prime day. amazon tweeted it was the biggest 24-hour sales day in amazon history, at least day one. we are still waiting on final numbers. there were some shoppers complaining that they were seeing technical glitches. there was a spike in service for canceling amazon prime.
so, presumably some of those people bought some things and wanted to cancel. what is the verdict so far, 36 or so hours? brad: sitting back and watching prime day, you have to marvel at what a marketing event they have concocted out of thin air. they created a holiday season in the middle of the summer. a holiday season brings with it a lot of problems. you've got porch pirates. you've got disappointed customers. all sorts of things, the frenzy. overall, you have to sit back and admire the company for bringing itself to a peak season in the middle of the slowest time of year, right? they have created a frenzy where otherwise it would not exist. they not only have done it themselves, but brought the rest of the online retail industry with them. you see everyone else offering sales as well. canceling prime is funny because there will always be a number of customers that will take advantage of the system.
while that was the headline today, how many people signed up for prime because of prime day and i am sure that is a large number too. emily: coming up, transmitting data between people's brains and computers, part of elon musk's venture. he claims that far off. 50 years since nasa put a man on the moon, we will talk to entrepreneur and scientist about moon shots and silicon valley. this is bloomberg. ♪
emily: tesla's elon musk revealed his nuero link project this week and gave them the first look at a venture that will merge the human brain with ai. they recorded a rats brain activity with thousands of tiny electrodes surgically implanted in the animal's brain. the goal is to implant them in human so they can trade thoughts digitally. musk says the company is not far off. >> we hope to have this aspirationly before the end of next year. this is not far. emily: bloomberg's ashlee vance.
>> it is always an adventure with elon. i got to go to the neuralink offices and several of their laboratories before the event. i actually saw a mouse that had gone through the procedure that elon is talking about. they drill this small hole in the skull of the mouse that i saw, then they have a computer chip at the top, then they call these wires threads packed with electrodes that go into the brain. for humans, it would be the same thing with the first human patients they want to drill four holes into your skull, then you would have a device that connects to the device behind your ear. that device behind your year is like your iphone app and basically read your thoughts. emily: the wire is the quarter of the width of a human hair. how do they know what the rat is
thinking or that they are recording what the rat is thinking is indeed what the rat is thinking? ashlee: that is well-known neuro science. people have been monitoring animal brains and human brains for many decades. what they are really tracking is these electrical impulses that happen in your brain. it is a little bit like a computer chip, it is binary and your neuron reaches this action potential where it gets enough juice and it fires. that's when something interesting happens in your brain. that is what they are tracking. the electrodes sitting in your skull reading the electrical activity and translating what we see there be a software and that there is something interesting on the other end. emily: the bombshell was that musk said they would be able to get a monkey, via this
procedure, controlling a computer. tell us about it. ashlee: there have been rumors that neuralink was doing primate research, which is very controversial for all kinds of reasons. i was at the event last night and they have been trying to keep that a secret leading up to it. elon just let the monkey out of the bag, i guess. the whole theater was shocked. i'm sure they were planning to announce this down the road. there are these huge questions. you can do this on a rodent, but what happens when you get to a primate, when you get to a human? we know now that they are farther along than we thought. and to be doing this after two and a half years is pretty impressive. emily: so, how realistic is it to think that they could get approval from the fda for human trials early next year? ashlee: i think elon called that
aspirational. even in elon terms its even more dramatic for other people. it is a huge bar. not only do you have to prove that this thing can sit in your head for a long period of time, which has been a huge question and what has slowed down the science, that your brain rejects these probes. then you have to prove that this can actually do something therapeutic. like you were saying, yes, we can read these signals and we know something about what's going on, but can you actually translate that into someone who is paralyzed, or that has parkinson's, for that has lost their sight. this is a huge open question where you would have to do trials and find out. if they get the fda trials next year, that would be a miracle, i think. emily: talk to us about the bigger vision that musk has that is fascinating but frightening that humans have some sort of symbiosis coming from a guy who
said we should all be afraid of the ai apocalypse. >> that is a hard one to square. onstage at the event last night, his argument was that this procedure would become sort of like something you could equate to a lasik procedure. you could go in for an hour and get this in, so regular consumers would do this. if you had this computer enhancement in your head, maybe you could keep up with artificial intelligence. you would be supplementing your own brain and may be doing things that ai cannot do. elon saw this as an equalizer for the people who want to elect to have this kind of surgery. either the ai's and the robots go on without us, or maybe we can join them and keep up.
emily: tesla on the defense following more frustrations the company is cutting prices on the model three. you think customers would be happy about a price cut, but you profile the guy who bought his model three days before, or a day before the price was cut thousands of dollars. >> he bought a model three fully loaded. at the end of last month, he knew the tax credit was going down in july. then comes this month, elon cut the price of that car by more than $6,000. if you would've bought it this month, even if you factor in the tax credit change, he still would have saved $4500. he is fuming mad. emily: talk to us about how this is renewing concerns about
demand for the model 3. it is potentially tied to the tax credit, but what about demand in general? >> elon musk has very high expectations for sales of this model. he has had a series of price cuts throughout the year, which has confused and frustrated consumers. the gentleman that i profiled talked about how one of the reasons -- this is the third tesla he bought -- he buys it because of price certainty. unlike other dealers bargaining, he sells confidence that the guy confident that the guy buying the car behind him when i get a better deal than he did. he said this shakes his faith in tesla. emily: coming up, the 50th anniversary of nasa's moon landing. we will hear from the man whose job it is to find the next moonshot. this is bloomberg. ♪
emily: finally, saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the nasa apollo moon landing. in the decades that have followed, space travel has shifted to private companies, like spacex and blue origin competing. earlier this week, i sat down with astro teller, head of alphabet's x lab, where he is looking for google's next moonshot. here is more on this conversation. astro: the biggest impact that nasa has had on this country is not that a few people stood on the surface of the moon. it's the multiple generations of young people who were meaningfully inspired to change their lives and to spend time on technology with aspiration to make the world better because of nasa. that's the real legacy of the moon landing, not competing with the soviets or exactly how much thrust came from a saturn v
rocket. literally in the history books, and it turns out not to matter much. but, the inspiration they created -- and a lot of these sort of side effects that were learned along the way, everything from velcro to wearable ekg's, an incredible number of things came out of the effort to put somebody on the moon. it showed that optimism can get things to happen that you would not think could be done. it inspired a lot of people. i would like to think for us at x and other places, we can do our part to do some of that inspiration for the next couple of generations. emily: nasa's budget is a fraction of what it was in 1966. do you think the u.s. can have another moon moment without that money?
without that, perhaps, government support? astro: it certainly does not break the law of physics. government is -- in principle, having less money causes a kind of scrappiness and creativity which is actually very healthy. we practiced a lot of that here at x. the government is not always the best at having necessity being the mother of invention. i would like to think it is possible, but that is probably not government's long suit to do more with less. emily: so, do you think that we should still be trying to get to the moon? the president has argued it is a waste of time, waste of money. we should be focusing on mars. is this still a worthy endeavor? astro: this one drives me crazy. and, maybe it is because we are wired around a very different, a very specific kind of purpose here at x.
but, if you think you know how to terraform mars, could you please terraform the sahara desert first? emily: you have to define terraform for me and my audience. astro: if you think you know how to make mars livable, which is, to put it very mildly, an inhospitable place, and we would have to live there in a circular economy, sustainable way because we pretty much have to take most of our stuff with us and then not use it up. we live on this space station that is holding the 7.5, almost 8 billion of us now. it was literally designed for us, or we were designed for it more accurately. if we cannot make this space station work for us, there is no way we can get mars to work for us. if you know how to make it so we can live on mars, why not for 1/10 of the cost help one
million times as many people by going to some desert like the sahara or mojave or gobi, let's make those places hospitable again. there are a lot of people who would appreciate that. a tiny number of people will enjoy being on mars. i don't see how that is helping humanity. emily: is what elon musk is doing a waste of time, trying to get to mars? astro: it is aspirational and it could have some of the positive tech benefits and optimism benefits that nasa created. if you actually want to look at how much it is helping people, we would be better off focusing on the space station that the rest of us are already on here. emily: part of my interview with the captain of moon shots, head of alphabet x labs, astro teller. that does it for this edition of "best of bloomberg technology." we will bring you the latest in tech throughout the week. tune in every day.
alix: iran and the u.s., the next steps. bloomberg sits down with the iranian foreign minister. it is getting hot in here. no, seriously. two thirds of the u.s. is engulfed in a heat wave. turn the lights back on. con ed suffers a blackout in new york city. bloomberg estimates it could need $8.2 trillion in investments over the next 30 years. ♪ alix: i am alix steel. welcome to "bloomberg