tv Washington Post Hosts Transformers Summit CSPAN May 24, 2016 5:54am-7:54am EDT
>> don't be afraid to take on cases or new jobs or a new issue that really stretches your boundaries. >> you spent your summer abroad on real ships rather than internships and the specter of living in your parents basement after this graduation day is not likely to be your greatest concern. >> throughout this month watch commencement speeches to the class of 2016 in their entirety from colleges and universities around the country by business leaders and politicians and white house officials on c-span. science, business and technology pioneers gathered at the "washington post" transformers summit this month to discuss break throughs in artificial intelligence and innovation and a look at restoring light to the blind and
how pigs could become future organ donors for humans. this is nearly two hours. good morning, everyone. thank you to the "washington post" and we're delighted to welcome you here this morning. thank you for joining us. [ applause ] we're sitting in the center of what we call "washington post" live. it is a new initiative that extends the reach of our journalism through live events streaming and pairs our journalists with leaders and decision-makers to dissect and explore the most important and compelling issues of our time. the idea of today's conference on transformers began with a conversation we had here about the transformation that is underway at the "washington post." we've gone from what was once a locally focused newspaper to a
multi-platform digital first news organization serving a broad national and global audience. and although we've made amazing progress and in many ways leading the industry we will always view ourselves in the process of transforming and never fully transformed. because like so many industries, the media space is changing so rapidly that the process of transforming can never really be complete. with advances in technology, the speed and the scope of change is only increasing -- it is only accelerating. so achieving or maintaining the status quo will never be sufficient. so for all of us in journalism today, whether you just started or early in your career or in my stage, the reality is that our entire profession will be a time of continuous and increasing change and that is the culture that we are embracing here at the "washington post." well for any business, transformation is a delicate balance. what do you utilize and preserve
from the past and what do you set aside to create room for the future. well, for us the pillar of journalistic excellence has always been and will always be fundamental to our mission. but the rest is determined by constant innovation and experimentation. as part of our transformation we've imbedded 80 engineers within the newsroom to quickly bring stories to life in new innovative ways. our technology team now creates our own extensive and flexible site architecture and we're licensing that to others. we're constantly testing and experimenting and never standing still. we have bold ambitions to continue to grow across the country and around the world and to be a model for a rapidly-changing industry. so for purposes of today's conversation, how do we translate the broad disruption that we're witnessing around the world in all sectors into a thought-provoking event. i think we've accomplished that
today with a unique lineup of voices who are pushing the boundaries on really every aspect of our lives. the transformers program is anchored by visionaries and innovators in space exploration and artificial intelligence and impact philanthropy, national security and much more. we'll be discussing breath-taking changes that are forever altering the way we live, connect and learn, from the social platforms we use to communicate, to the cars we drive or more accurately, i should say that drive us. today we'll explore efforts to define mortality and what that means for our future. and we even have the father of the internet here to explain it all to us. and despite what we may have heard a few campaign seasons ago, this is actually the father of the internet. to start us off, i would like to thank our presenting sponsors, lockheed martin and samsung electronics. please join me in conveying our
appreciation. [ applause ] and i would also draw your attention to the program where the rest offous supportering -- of our supporting sponsors are listed. on the way in you may have seen students building robots. they are part of what we call the ro-porter conversation we're having here today. the way we gather news has changed dramatically in many ways in the past few years. virtual reality, 360 video and drone robots are helping journalists to tell stories in new and engaging ways so we've challenged a team of top hgss to build a functioning robot to help collect information from places otherwise unreachable for journalists. that competition is underway right now and we will be announcing the winners to you later today. but now please, to start our program, please join me in welcoming shand raw, the head of samsung catalyst fund to say a
few words. [ applause ] >> good morning. thank you, fred and thank you "washington post." i'm honored to be here today representing samsung electronics. it is a privilege to join you all today to listen to you and engage in it a conversation about technology and how technology is going to impact us as individuals, as society as well as our country. perhaps to just to kick it off here today, you are going to listen to some amazing speakers. these are the speakers that represent innovators who really are bringing in the next technology revolution. and you, as the audience, get the opportunity to engage with them, really help shape the conversation of how technology is going to in turn influence us as people and as society. at samsung, we are very privileged to work in the
technology industry. we do this every day. as we look out there into the future, we see some very significant challenges we face as a society. climate change is one. shifting demographics. chronic illnesses and the rising cost of managing chronic illnesses, security, privacy, these are all very significant issues. we think technology has a role to play there. in just the last few years there has been significant technology break-throughs. for example, deep learning, deep networks has been an amazing development. the human brain has been an inspiration for how these new technologies have come together and deep learning is giving compu computers an ability to see and have a dialogue with us and that is going to be transforming. quite similarly some of the new big data analytics techniques are influencing how quickly we
could analyze dna sequencing and how inexpensive that will become. this biology to technology and back to biology is creating a virtuous cycle and we think we as partners could engage with that and make a transformation in society. we at samsung believe we can't do this alone. we would like to engage with you in a conversation. we would like to figure out how we work in an open collaborate way and make a fundamental difference in harnessing this technology. let me perhaps at this point give you a little bit of sense of what we have outside this room. at some point today if you would like to get a vision of what samsung is doing, we have some demonstrations of our gear vr. you can -- if you have some time, please stop by and take a look. finally, i would like to thank "washington post" for having us
here, for giving us the opportunity and thanks to all of the speakers and the audience. thank you. [ applause ] discover a way to hear what others saw. since before you could buy books on the internet, he was obsessed with it. transformers are dreamers, makers, doers. they are the famous, and the unknown. they are people who can see, build, or leverage an idea that by design could better everyday life. how we age, how we move from here to there. the way we relate to each other. transformers push the boundaries of what we know. >> good morning and welcome to transformers.
my name is nealy tucker and on behalf of the "washington post" i would like to introduce you to our first guest who is a stunner. it is impossible to imagine the modern world without our first guest. one of her college thesis or college thesis became one of the first satellite television companies. she was also the president of the first company to commercially offer gps devices in cars. after that, she created sirius xm and one of the founders of the idea of satellite radio. it is not a bad start to your career. she loves sirius -- left sirius more than 20 years ago to found a company to assist her youngest daughter who was at the time dying of a then incurable lung disease. the resulting company is managed therapeutics, now a 6:00 million dollars biotech and based in silver spring. it has expended, if not saved the lives of tens of thousands
of people, including they are daughter genesis who is now in her 30s. ladies and gentlemen, martin roth blat is also the recipient of this year's billy jean king leadership initiative award devoted to lgbt issues and puts her in an interesting issue because she has a company based in north carolina which as you know right now she might get arrested for going to the bathroom if the governor had anything to do with it. ladies and gentlemen, martin roth blat. [ applause ] >> martin, one of the basic concepts that you are interested in, it is not just improving life but it is immortality. they are all going to live forever. and martin, i might mention, has founded a religion, based on transhumanism. and you have the idea that we're not just going to live a long time but we're all going to live
forever. tell us your concept of immortality and how that would work. >> thanks, nealy. it is a great pleasure to be here. the idea is one that has been percolating up from lots of people in the information technology industry for a while. perhaps ray cursewhile who is a prolific inventor is best known for the idea that as our abilities in the information processing industry computer software and storage of more and more of our thoughts and our ideas outside of our body becomes easier, more automatic, less expensive, that ultimately we're going to have sort of digital dollp gangers of ourselves that are stored in the cloud and are able to present themselves to any manner of devices. and that as thousands and
thousands of software coders and hackers and people in the maker movement work to make the software that runs these digital doppelgangers ever more life-like, and ever more human-like, there will come a tipping point when people begin to claim that the digital doppelgangers have achieved what we call consciousness, an ability to have a sense of themselves, hopes and fears and feelings and at that point i think the activity will move to the legal arena as to whether or not the digital doppelgangers are conscious, really do have an in dependent legal identity and kind of the trend of progressive thinking is once there is a scientific consensus, in this case it would be the science of ikology, that being the -- the psychology, the science of the mind, that these digital bople
gangers are conscious and then they gain the rights and protections that we assign to even our pets, laboratory animals, and to quite a high extent to primates lime chimpanzees and so in this way ourselves will kind of morph into a sort of a digital consciousness that is recognized by the law as being alive. >> and you have a kitty hall type of project naped for your spouse which i have talked to and many others and it is sort of a head on a table at this point. but it talks to you. and you've described this as not the finished product, but 48 is the kitty hawk basis of how this -- you call them doppelgangers, can you say robots? >> yeah. robots are just as good. >> and if you put in -- i have the idea, like the matrix, where they were plugging stuff into the back of people's head and i have the idea that you upload
everybody's personality or consciousness or to what amounts as a thumb drive and upload it to the cloud so you are always there and just plug it into a robot and there you are. >> right. but it is becoming even -- that is 48 on the screen and that is a recent episode of morgan freeman's series on the national geographic channel about the nature of god and religion and what not. so we did this project to really inspire young people. and i would say young girls in particular to become coders. and when they have an opportunity to speak with 48 and see today in our primitive 20 teens we're able to write software that could respond ideosyncraticly. she doesn't give the same answer any two times and there is no pre-scripted questions and you could ask her anything. i would say she is way better than siri. >> cuter.
>> i would say amazon's alexa is just about catching up to her and i'm sure because there are thousands of people working on alexa, she'll soar right past 48. but this type of software inspired young people to become koe coders and why i'm so confident that cyber consciousness will emerge because it is not just our foundation or big kcompanie, there are tens of thousands of people around the world that could make cyber consciousness and they don't need a factory or investment, all they need is a digital device to talk to the cloud. >> i want to ask how close we are on this. because the question is sort of if i go outside and i get hit by a bus and my arm and leg is amputated, i'm still me. and if i need a lung transplant from the united therapies, i'm still me. how much of my brain can i change? what would be your answer? how much can you change and still be you?
>> nealy, it is a great question and somewhat in the realm of philosophy and psychology and with most things in life ultimately it will be decided by lawyers. [ laughter ] >> the scientists have long known that people forget vast majority of what they experience and it is called ebbing house curve. that over a period of a week we forget over 90% of what we experience. but things that are really important to us, that have emotional content, they stick with us forever. and that is what most of us refer to as our soul. that part of us that doesn't change. so in terms of you, whether your soul can be transferred into a cyber-conscious form, it is going to be something that happens gradually. and even today there is a lot of debate on whether or not dogs and cats, for example, have a
soul or are conscious. i think -- i feel they do. and i think that most people in society are moving in that direction. the day when you could grat tew tuesd -- gratuitously, it is a crime to do that in most states. so i think we'll get to a point where there are friends of cyber conscious people and especially if it is a cyber conscious nealy, that person will have a lot of friends and fans probably, too. and i think very quickly we'll get to a point where we say that cyber conscious individual has a soul, it is nealy's soul and even if, god forbid, nealy's body ends in a car accident or some other death and disability, nealy did not end, nealy's identity continues in this cyber
conscious form. >> let me ask you one more about the frightening aspects of this because there would be some people that none of us want to live forever. hitler, for example. nobody wants this guy to be able to upload. so where do you get into where -- eugenics was a thing in this country 80 years ago, we're going to clone people to make the whole tribe better. what -- you're a nice person to run this project. but how do we avoid digital eugenics and cyber robot and cyber people. where does that come in and who gets to participate in the program? >> yeah, nealy, i'm kind of -- i have a point of view that this is not something a realistic thing to really fear because all of this cyber consciousness and all of these robots that are being developed are being v developed in an environment, which, even though it is a hu
human-made environment, it is still an environment like the natural environment and the humans are the selection factors. and the law of darwinism still apply and the so-called bad robot problem or the hitler robot problem, there is going to be nobody that wants to buy a hitler robot. if a hitler robot emerges and begins to do bad things, the same thing will happen to the hitler robot that happened to the real hitler, which is the rest of society will rise up and quash it down. so there is no market really for an evil robot, evil software. does that mean that evil robots and software will never exist? no, i don't think it means that because there is always mutations and environment and there will be bad people and bad robots that emerge. but the vast majority of billions of people that comprise the decision-making in society, through the economic powers and their political powers will quash down the bad people and
the bad robots and so i think it is a self-correcting problem because humans overwhelmingly good humans comprise the darwin environment in which all of this cyber consciousness will emerge. >> let me ask you while we're still on future questions, this is my favorite project that you do, you have a herd of pigs in west virginia that i like to call genetic mutant pigs. >> they are. >> they are genetically altered but the purpose relates to the united therapeutics and you are raising them for possible future lung transplants which would vastly reshape lung transplants in the united states if not across the country. tell us how that works. >> sure, nealy, thanks. so ever since my grandmother received a pig heart valve because her heart valve had gone bad, i have been aware of the fact that pigs hearts and for that matter lungs and other organs are very close to the same size, shape and function of
human major organs. so i -- as our youngest daughter developed this fatal heart-lung disease called pulmonary art eerial hypertension and i learned the only cure for it was a transplant. but the problem with transplants are that there are way too few organs to go around for everybody that needs them and secondly organ transplants a trading one disease for another disease. you are trading the end stage organ disease that you are dying from for a chronic organ rejection kind of disease that ultimately takes the life of many, if not most people, who received transplants. so i set about to solve this problem, inspired by making sure that our daughter would be able to live a normal life. and i went and -- back to school and got a ph.d in genome
transplantation so organs can be not only be the same size to use for humans, not only because they are the same size and shape but because by genetically modifying the pig genome they won't give rise to the chronic rejection which has flawed animal to human organ transplants in the past and ultimately if the genome could be modified really, really nicely, the individual can receive those organs and not have to take a life-long immunosuppressant. so within my company united therapeutics we purchased the early leaders in this area, a company called rivo core offer the campus of uva in -- i'm sorry in virginia tech in blacksburg, virginia. and we now are definitely the leaders in genetically modifying
pigs genomes so that not only the lungs but also hearts and kidneys can be used in human transplants. all of the recent records that have been announced by the nih program in zeno heart transplant come from the united therapeutics of pigs and our records in lungs and kidneys. and our goal, which i feel really confident we'll achieve and i'm much more confident we'll achieve this goal than some of the earlier satellite communications projects that you mentioned, is that we'll be able to create an unlimited supply of transplantable organs through the modification of the pig genome so there is an unlimited supply of hearts and livers and kidneys an lungs that could be tolerated by humans without the need for life-long immunosuppression. >> timetable? >> so we have on schedule to have our first clinical
procedures, which means using these organs in people, by the end of this decade. and by the -- we hope for regulatory approval less than ten years from now. and i'm pretty confident that by the end of the 2020s there will be literally tens of thousands of people ayear receiving organ transplant as a result of the transplantation. >> and to give us some idea of how quickly you've made progress on the disease that effected genesis and others, how many people were alive at any one time when you started united therapeutics and how many are alive now. >> it is one of the things that is -- the way you say it, it comes out kind of odd and then you think about it and it is really good. when genesis was diagnosed, there were only 3000 people with pulmonary art eerial hypertension. she was diagnosed across the city here at children's national medical center. and so we were told that she
would die because everybody with this condition died. i knew i did not have time to get this whole organ transplantation thing going, so i left my satellite communications activities and focused on finding pharmaceuticals that would be a bridge to a bridge. the pharmaceuticals could bridge people to the organ transplants. and fortunately our pharmaceuticals have proven to be successful, approved by the fda. they are now in the united states, 40,000 people living with pulmonary hypertension and so it comes on a little bit strange to say, when i started there were 3000 people with it and now there are 40,000 people. it is like i've been doing something bad but it is actually really, really good because that is a whole football of stadium of people that are alive that would not have otherwise been alive. >> they would have died already. >> the mortality is one to three years. >> and how is genesis now. >> genesis is doing great. she's working in our company at the united therapeutics and she
is in charge of keeping everybody in the company working together through using digital media to make sure that all of our clinical trials and development activities and information is available to everybody in the company. >> and briefly, the project that you started a couple of weeks ago is almost tedious by your standards but you are going to reshape how all transplants take place across the country. you've placed an order for up to a thousand, i think it is, piloted drones that will replace the helicopters on top of the hospital when people go running and all of that. it is going to be a drone? >> so it is -- it's actually a big proj erect. i would say that is a more challenging project than the genetically modified organs themselves but i had to think about that aspect of the project because when we make a pharmaceutical to get it approved by the fda we have to prove to the fda that our drugs have a shelf life of a year. and that is why every drug
company, if you look at your medicines it says refill it within a year. the problem is, so we could make the medicines and ship them to the cvs and walgreens and they could sit on the shelf and that is dandy. but when you make a genetically modified organ, as far as the fda is concerned it is a drug called a bio logic. but unlike medicines for other diseases, this drug has like a 24-hour half life. we all know that you can't just put an organ on a shelf and keep it waiting there for a year. we can't ship it to walgreens. so when we manufacture the organs, which mean we ex plant them from the genetically modified pig, we have to deliver them within hours to the patient at a hospital to be transplanted. there is no shelf life. so i had to think of a whole new model for how are we going to transport all of these organs in
realtime from the point of manufacture to the hospitals and the patients. and i think very much inspired by the post owner jeff bezos who i think provided an important foundation of credibility to the whole concept of commercial use of drones. i began to think about, well maybe it would be plausible to have a special type of drone, obviously this is not one that you will drop the organ on the front yard or something like that. >> it zooms up. >> so it has to be -- it has to be a special type of drone. but i know from technology, if you have a drone that could drop a pile of books on your front yard today, you will be able to have within ten years a drone able to land softly on the hospital heliport and have a person roll the oregon out of the drone and -- the organ out of the drone to the surgeons
table and they take it and plant it. so we place the order for a thousand what we call manufactured organ transport helicopters or moths and these will be delivered within the next ten to 15 years. >> and bringing back to close on the very, very prosayic, you are this year's recipient of the billy jean king leadership award devoted to lgbt issues and you have a multi-million dollar facility employed a couple of hundred people in virginia and you were just down there -- >> yesterday. >> and you have no plans to move your facility from down there. tell us your thoughts on this issue and why -- do you stay and fight? do you pull out? what are your thoughts on how to lead on that issue? >> so, right. i think that unfortunately i got automatically enlisted to lead on this fight because i'm the most visible transgender ceo in
north carolina, which maybe i'm the only one. um, but, i was actually -- it was brought to my attention by lots of people in my company who don't identify as being lgbt at all. and they just said, martin, this is going to hurt our recruitment. we're always hiring people at the united therapeutics especially scientists and technology gists we hire people from all over the country and overseas. they said to me, martin, can our company put out a public statement that says we oppose this so when we are recruiting people we could say to them, well this law was passed but our company is on record as being opposed to this. so i said, absolutely. and to be frank, i was a little bit nervous about -- i didn't want it to seem like it was my agenda because i'm transgendered and it wasn't -- it bubbled up
from the -- especially the r&d staff at united therapeutics. so we adopted this statement. and then the next thing that happened is the newspaper for that area, they asked me to do an editorial interview when i did and i was really gratified that just this weekend on monday the editorial board of the major newspaper in north carolina all came out in support of our position, which is that this law called hb-2 is not well thought out and counter-productive for north carolina and should be repealed. and the thinking there is that there was no problem -- there had been no documented problem caused by any transgendered person using the bathroom that matched their gender identity. so why adopt a whole law that specifically requires a -- say a
transgendered man who could have a full beard and everything and often with at least have a nice kind of nealy tucker beard there, why force that individual to go into the women's bathroom. it is insane. so i -- i mentioned this in my interview and the editorial board agreed and i think the people of north carolina realized this law was not well thought-out. big companies like paypal and a couple of others have decided not to go to north carolina. but i was clear from the beginning that north carolina is not perfect. but we love it any way. and i never really agreed with the sentiment of love it or leave it. i was -- or like, cut and run. i'm just a stand and fight type of gal. so just because north carolina has one thing bad, it has a lot
of good things that are good. and i would rather stand there and change north carolina than run away from it. so we've got hundreds of employees there. they have families. their kids are in schools and churches and everything. and they have all lives there. it would be crazy to think about pulling up and leaving. so we never thought about leaving. we said we would stand there and fight. and later this week, i'll be speaking at the move festival, which is a big electronic music festival in north carolina. and that all move-fest festival has been turned into a giant protest against hb-2. >> and i think you were quoted i saw as saying you don't think the law will last that long any way, and the u.s. justice department has a view. >> crim crowe laws, they tend to wear out over time. >> well, they do. and been married interracially,
you know this when you have been married for 30-plus years and nobody blinks on that issue these days. >> yeah. but when i was born, it was illegal in more than half of the states in the country, so i -- i just love the fact that i'm alive at a point in time when progress is not only continuing to advance but the rate of progress is increasing exponentially and it makes me feel that we're all alive at the best of all times. >> martin, thank you very much. [ applause ] >> i'm going to turn it over to lois. [ applause ]
♪ ♪ good morning, everyone. i'm lois romano, i'm the editor of "washington post" live. thank you for being here. we have speakered on stage that are deeply involved in how we might augment our reality and even create new senses. i'm going to leave a little time at the end for questions so think about if you have any. first here we have neal harbisson, the first person in the world to have a permanent antenna implanted in his skull. and for being officially recognized as a cyborg.
and yes, he sleeps and eats with the antenna. and this woman explored how the brain codes visual information and awarded a grant for her work. she has cracked the neurocode for blindness and is currently working on an artificial retina that could restore vision. at end we have john warner, well-known in tech circles and currently a vp for partnerships at meta which is a rising star in the augmented reality area. he had been previously at m.i.t. media labs. so welcome our guests and we'll get going. neal, i'm going to start with you. you are a certified cyborg. >> it allows me to extend my it picks up light and gives me vibrations depending on the color. the advantages is that it allows me to send infrared and ultra violent so it goes beyond visual
spectrum so there is internet spectrum so people can send colors to my head and share colors with me directly to my head and i could connect to satellite so that i could send colors from space. in fact i'm using the internet as a new sense and not as a tool and i'm using technology not as a tool either but as a body part, as a sensory extension so i don't feel i'm using or wearing technology, i feel i am technology. that is why i identify myself as a cyborg. >> so you are an artist also. >> i see it as an art. it is the art of designing your own perception of reality and designing our own senses or nining your designing your sensory organs. >> so you were born color blind and become an artist through hearing colors? >> i think i was an artist before that, yes. to me, creating your own senses is an art or creating your own body part is an art. it is designing your own
perception of reality. >> okay. got it. all right. sheila, let me go to you. what do we know about the neurocode and how -- how does the brain take in this simulus and use it? how does it work? >> well, just in a normal person, for a normal person, images come in and they land in your photo receptors and -- >> we're going to show you the slides. >> they have the basic idea. all right. i don't know what happens to the slides. but i can explain. i worked out the neurocode of the retina. like images come in to your eye and it lands on your retino and on your photo receptors and then actually if you go to the next one it highlights just the photo receptors. okay. i'll skip that. okay. and then it is passed through the retinal circuitry and what the circuits do is perform operations on it, so it extracts information and converts it into a code and it is in the form of
patterns of electrical pulses that get sent to the brain. and so the key thing is that an image gets converted into a code and it is a code that the brain understands. so like this pattern of pulses that you are looking at here represents this baby's face. so when a person's brain gets this pattern of pulses it knows that what is out there is this baby's face. and of course it is a million cells that are doing this simultaneously, about 10,000 in your central retina. so if it got a different pattern, it would know it is a car or a dog. so, that is how the communication goes from image into your brain. and so what i've been working on is trying -- when a person gets a retinal disease like macure all degeneration the photo sense -- receptors die -- i'll just explain it and no information could get in. but the output cells, the cells at the end, they still work.
and so the idea then is if we could make a device that could interact with these output cells and send the code in, then we could restore sight to the blind. it sounds dramatic. and so i worked out to a large extent the code so i could make a device that could mimic that and then send signals to the output cells and then send them to your brain. so if we send it like a pattern of pulses that -- that represented stripes, the patient would see stripes. if we send a pattern of pulses that show a talking face because it is movies, the person would see this. we've done it in animals but not in humans yet but i went to the fda three weeks ago and once i send the fda application in, hopefully they will approve it and we could start a clinical trial in 2017. >> and you had good results of the animals. >> have a picture of that to give you a feel for why the code
is so important. if you could show the picture of the baby's face, if anybody is -- >> i don't know if they could bring that back. but we'll work on that. let me go to john. john, this idea of tailoring our individual realities as related to what you and your colleagues are doing at meta, how does augmented reality work and how do you trick the brain to see this extra information. >> sure. augmented reality is taking the digital information connected to the physical world. we've created a headset that you put on and you could look through a visor and see the world and see digital information connected with the world. you could have infinite number of screens where you interact, very similar to the movie minority report and have 3-d images from cad and manipulate it. here is an architect working on a 3-d building and pulling out pieces and you could have somebody else collaborate with it and have remote assistance if you need to fix your washing machine or a jet engine or do surgery, you could have someone
looking at what you are doing and help you walk you through that. it is hands free. when i think of the typewriter pd and the keys that the "washington post" folks use a lot and it is based on movable type and the mechanical typewriters didn't get stuck it is like punch cards connecting with technology. i think the future of using eye sight and using gestures is a big leap forward. there is some reports that say there is $120 billion market opportunity to change the way we interface with computers. so we created a headset where you could look at the world and interact with it and you've seen it rendered in movies like iron man and minority report and mission impossible. we are bringing it to the workplace and creating a tool -- not a toy. it is not based on gaming or entertainment, it is based on productivity. >> you said headset. so a lot of things -- we hear people saying this isn't practical, who will run out and
get a headset and wear it around. walk us there when we can -- >> so at m.i.t. i taught the first class on making apps for google glass for the professor and it is a heads-up display and it doesn't track your hands, there is not a microsoft connect device that could see your hands and the heads up display with 2010 technology in 2013. i think it was great that google glass gave the hardware away but it was a public relations nightmare in terms of a.r. and oculus rift was bought by facebook and everybody is excited by virtual reality in which you are submersed in digital information. i think augment reality is three times bigger and society hasn't gotten the memo on it. and the device we created it has a 90 degree field of view. it is a equivalent of a four-case screen. instead of 90 feet away, a movie theater, nine feet away, a television three feet away, a smartphone, we want to eliminate screens and create an office
place where you don't have monitors and you are not hunched overlooking at these metaphors on a smartphone. as a society, we are more disconnected even though were are hyper connected and having glasses like ray bans to look out and see digital information on the world is a game-changer. does that answer your question. >> yes, it does. >> because i'm very excited about this and could you preorder the device and it is shipping in quarter three. >> and it is reasonably priced. >> and it is a third less than the microsoft thing. and the other thing about this is companies are sitting on tons of digital information. and this is a tool to interact with it. and i think it could change health, design, manufacturing. >> thank you. >> and journalism. >> you are training your brain to be connected to the internet 24/7. what sort of information are you getting in there and is it -- is it sensory overload, what is that doing to your brain or our
brains? what will happen? >> so the fact of having internet in my head allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world. there is five people that have permission to send colors so they could send colors any time of the day or night. in the beginning it was confusing. >> who are these people. >> five friends. one in each continent. so it is an eye in each continent. so if there is a beautiful sunset in australia and he could send it to my head and i will be experiencing the sunset while i'm here. if they send colors at night it asks my dreams. so if someone sends violet while i'm asleep and i wake up and i realize i dreamt of a violet house but i know it was violet because of my friends. so my friends could intervene in my dreams an we could share dreams and senses and colors in this case. but my aim is to use the internet exclusively to receive colors from space. so we could use the innoceterne send it to space so instead of going to space, we could feel we
are there without the struggle of physically going there. and when there are 3-d pictures that could print our dna we could see ourselves in other planets and have a second body there and connect via the internet. so the use of the internet as a sensory extension to explore space is my main goal and in 2019 i'll have the permanent connection to satellite. so we'll be sensory and explore space by sending our mind to space instead of physically going there and that is the beginning for myself. i'm just connecting to nasa international space station like two hours a day because i'm training my brain to get used to this disconnection between body and senses. >> you are connecting to the space station two hours a day and the space station is working with you on that? >> it is live stream. anyone can do that. >> i see. >> there is live stream from nasa international space station and i connect there and i try to connect longer and longer each day. but it will take at least two or three years to have 24 hours connection because i need
training because it is overwhelming -- the colors from space are much wider in the spectrum than here. so it is overwhelming when i connect. >> and you are hearing that? let me ask you a follow up to that. what are the implications of the human brain interacting with so much information in an immersive constant way? >> well, um, one has to control it in some way because it could be information over load. but he does it in a good way. not that you need my approval. but that you have the vibrations as you were mentioning so it is an extra sense without interfering with your normal hearing and so a big part of what your nervous system does, evolution made your nervous system do is actually compress the information so that you could use it efficiently. so there is a lot of discussion about the power of big data. but i actually think there is downsides on big data. it is overwhelming. it is like going to your college
classes simultaneously and having four professors talking to you, at some point you can't fence. sow want -- so your retina for example, you have 100 million photo receptors so you are taking in essentially every pixel on your computer monitor and then the circuitry gets -- compresses it and gets rid of the stuff you don't need and holds on to what you do need so you could maneuver. so i could get up on this stage before and never been here before and seen you before and get up and walk through and not crash into people and that is because of the simple way in a sense. >> so our braiif simplifying in a sense. >> it has to learn how to simplify it, which is what neil was saying he has to do in stages. >> that's right. >> each person will have its own time of adapting to a new sense or a new organ. your body needs to either accept or reject the body part, like the material, and your brain might reject the new sense.
there's two cases of possible rejections. >> that's what attention mechanisms do for you also. it allows you to pay attention to one thing rather than another thing, so evolution built a way for you to control what you're taking in. >> john, let me swing back to augmented r augment augmented reality. there are still people who think of it as entertainment. you can just walk us through a little bit about how this can help us in our every day lives, function better, produce better, health care. any examples that you have that it is not just about a game. >> sure. so it's great to be on the panel with these pioneers. neil, you're a visionary artist finding ways to use new senses. cutting-edge research. we have created a tool.
the founder and ceo is listed as a real thought leader for wanting to create an operating system that's much more connected with how the brain works. we have been in some ways held hostage to operating systems that are based on rectangles and the technology that we've used. and we want to create a device that we can manipulate 3-d hologra holograms. if someone is going to do a c e coccoc cochlear implant for your child -- imaging to create a tool that can be an extension of the body. neil is an artist.
we want to tap artists and other thought leaders to help us use this device. what would have thought solitaire helped get windows going. i'm excited to help facilitate partnerships with the design community, the manufacturing community, the journalism community to figure out how to use this technology that's coming. i love the media lab. i've worked there for a number of years, but i have decided i'm going to help create this tool that can really impact society. and i think the internet was big in 2000. mobile phones was big in 2010. apple just had their first negative growth year of their smartphone. there's indications that we've reached a saturation point. i think the 2020s is going to be augmented reality. a lot of fortune 100s are going to have to figure out strategies, like in the 1990s
what's our chinese strategy. >> i'm going to ask neil one more question. then i'd like to come to the audience. neil, why was it important for you to be recognized as a cyborg? >> it wasn't. i had an issue with the u.k. passport office. they didn't allow me to renew my passport. they said electronic equipment is not allowed on passport photos. they thought i was something electronic. i said this is a body part and i feel like i'm a cyborg. i explained to them that i felt cyborg. in the end, they said yes. they allowed me to appear in the passport with the antenna. this allows me to travel because airports don't really like technology. if you are technology -- >> is it on your passport? does it say you can have the antenna? does it say you're a cyborg? >> the picture on the passport has the antenna. they have to accept it is an
image that is part of me. >> it is you. >> i wasn't seeking for this. i was just renewing my passport. >> there you go. that tells us how to deal with passport offices. >> i'm now applying for swedish citizenship because the material in my head is swedish. if you have a sensory organ that's from that country and you've had it for several years why can't you be from that country? because part of my body is swedish. i'm in conversations with the swedi swedi swedish government no >> i love it. >> are there other cyborg people? are there others that are out there? is there a community? we had a discussion or presentation from the lgbt community. this is not a community that we've heard much about. i'm sure there must be some discrimination. can you talk a little bit about that side of it? >> yes, so we are a minority
group. people who voluntarily have decided to add technology into their body to extend their senses. there's two types of cyborgs. there are cyborgs for medical reasons, regenerating preexisting body parts. my case is creating a new body part and a new sense. this is a minority now, but there's a woman who has a seismic sense. whenever there is an earthquake in the world, she feels it in her body. she's used to feeling the earthquakes in the world on the richter scale. there's one sense. there's the north sense. you can be implanted. you feel the magnetic north. it's senses that other species have, but humans don't have. we have a stage in history where you can design what species we want to be. i consider myself to be a trans species. you can add many more senses that other species have and
organs that other species have. we'll start seeing these in the 20s. it is growing. it is happening underground. there are many surgeons willing to do the surgery anonymously in the same way in the 50s and 60s transgender surgeries were being done underground. cyborg surgeries should be allowed for everyone who wants to extend their perception of reality. >> it is great to be at "the washington post." i don't know if people realize, but journalism is trying to find a business model that works. these are interesting times. i think we need editorial of the times more than ever. i think figuring out how new technology can help us interact with information is really important and what the future of the knowledge worker is. i think this community has heard a lot about internet of things, but i think it is internet of thinking things or internet of
the brain. if we fast-forward 100 years, maybe people will be able to connect through esp. what are the tools that are going to help us be a collective community? i think often when people have technology added to their biology, it doesn't fit. i know a lot of people who have lost limbs have prosthetics that they don't wear because they're not comfortable. i think figuring out how to create technology that can work with us -- i think that's why neuroscience is so important. these are really exciting times to figure out what to do with some of the technology that's coming. >> thank you. do we have another question? yes, right here in the front row. >> i'd like to know [ inaudible ] on the pigs and how you tested what they saw once you implanted what you did, if i understood it correctly. >> what we've done is recreating -- causing the
neurons to fire just like they normally do. you can have a completely blind retina. we jump over and driver the output cells to fire, just like i was showing you in that picture. the problem is it is hard to check this in an animal. we've done this in mice. we can have them be blind mice like the song and they can track images. it is hard to do this in primates because there aren't blind monkeys and i cannot bear to blind a monkey just to test it. so we're just going to go -- if we get permission, we'll just go into humans. the beauty of working with patients is they are very motivated. if you meet a smart blind patient, you can work together. you can send the signals in, as long as it is safe, then we can get the feedback from them as to how well it is working. if we're sending very close to
the same signals they would normally get, they should be able to see this. mice can track images. and we showed what it was like to reconstruct an image from the firing patterns of a totally blind retina and compared that to what happens with the use of standard prosthetic right now, what's available. it is much better. i have a ted talk on this if you want to see the actual pictures. i think bloomberg news just did a story. it shows what it really looks like. >> we have time for one more. is there -- there we go. >> hello. two questions, please. one would be why do you assume sensory is a bad thing? because normally people use very little of their brain capacity. i understand that's because -- what if for some reason somebody was born to filter massive amounts of data, not
understanding everything, but being able to connect the dots and put that information to useful ends? again, why do you assume that's not possible? the other question would be do we really want to take evolution into our own hands? it's been working pretty well so far as it is. thanks. >> who would like to take that? the reason i say that is because if somebody could filter it, that would be amazing. right now being able to function quickly -- as you're asking me a question, i'm listening to you. everybody in this room is going into my retina, but i've ignored it so i can focus on what you're saying because it is very, very hard. when you're multitasking, think about when you're driving and you text. it is just dangerous. we have to figure out ways, like he does, to be able to make use of the information and filtering
is essentially what i mean. filter the information, so you take what you need and you can solve the problems that are in front of you. it would be the same with the augmented realities. finding a way to utilize it, not getting into a slaclash with yo own brain. we're not totally built for it yet. >> i can take in 10/8th bandwidths per second. we need to do it in a way that we can be productive and cl collaborati collaborative. at the end of the day, human beings are a collaborative species. >> unfortunately, that's all we have time for for, so thank you all very much. this was enlightening. [ applause ] if you google any one of these
three people, there is a wealth of information on them. now i will welcome my colleague jeremy gilbreath up. >> good morning. i'm jeremy gilbert, "the washington post" director of strategic initiatives. i'm very pleased to welcome to the stage the director of the defense advanced research projects agency, better known as darpa.
they are credited with the invention of the internet, driverless cars, and much, much more. he founded the technology office and spent more than a decade as a leading silicon valley venture capitalist. i'm also grateful to have gary king, who is a harvard university professor. gary is an elected fellow in eight honorary societies, has more than 150 journal articles, and 8 books. and what we're here to talk about this morning is numbers tell the truth. new tools that help make meaning from big data. i want to start by asking our guests what it is they really think that means. >> i think both of us think big data is not actually about the data. the revolution is not that there's more data available. the revolution is we know what to do with it now. that's really the amazing thing. if you take social media, today there were 650 million social
media posts that were written by somebody and available to researchers to see what people think. some people say it is the largest increase in the expressive capacity of the human race in the world. one person can write a post and potentially billions of other people read it, but how is any one person going to understand what billions of what other people say? the only way to understand for one day is to have automated methods that can understand this text, so the revolution is not about the data. it's about the analytics that we can come up with and that we now have to be able to understand what these data say. >> gary is talking about, i think, one of the most interesting dimensions of the data explosion, which is the data that humans are generating as we express ourselves. the human race is my favorite species, so i like that kind of data for future, but i think data has become plentiful in many, many other areas as well. if i think about the work we're
doing in cybersecurity where the data is the ones and zeros and the code and the work we're doing to understand the radio spectrum where the signal at each frequency and the wave form, that's the data, and i think about the work that we're doing even to understand the signaling of the brain, that's a different kind of data. we are in an era in which we're data rich. the opportunity space to start building the techniques that give us insights from that data is vast. we see it commercially and in the research horizons. i think it is important to say as well as powerful as this data revolution is it also has some important limitations, at least today. i just want to make sure that we don't get into a world of buzz and hype and sort of overlook what those limitations are, so we should probably talk about
both of those. >> why don't we start there, then? where are the limitations? what are the challenges associated with that? where is that space? >> there are lots of them. dive in. >> i think that's actually the space. that's actually data science, which is what we would probably rather call it, although i love the media invented the term big data because my folks think they understand what i do. it is a valuable thing. it resonated with people. people get a sense that it is important. the data is important, but the analytics is where the revolution is. the point of it is to try to make sense of information that is complicated and error prone and doesn't speak to the questions you have. so what is it that we do? we do inference. inference is taking facts you have to learn about facts you don't have.
that's the whole thing. it might be that the facts you don't have have everything to do with the facts you do have. it's never a sure thing, but we test and we test and we make ourselves vulnerable to being proven wrong. the idea this is a separate topic that may be data is sometimes error prone isn't really right because every datum has problems with it. >> maybe an interesting example of some of the limitations today -- really, i think there's so much that is going to be possible here, but let's talk about where it runs out of steam. one of the areas where there is enormous progress with data is in machine learning. a really simple place that we all experience that is -- i don't know if you go on facebook or social media and an image pops up that you didn't know someone had taken of you and an algorithm has identified that's you in the picture, that's based
on image understanding technology that's based on machine learning. these are essentially systems that learn by looking at hundreds of thousands of millions of images that are labeled, and from that, they learn this is what a person looks like. this is what this particular person looks like. over time, these machines have become very, very, very good at identifying the what's happening in a picture, who the people are, what the action is that's going on. they're now at the point where they're starting to get on a statistical level as good and sometimes even better than humans looking at pictures, so that is pretty impressive. they are statistically better. they're not better. humans aren't perfect at that either. the machines aren't perfect either. i think the really important thing to recognize is that in this case, in machine learning for image understanding, when the machine is wrong, it's wrong in ways that no human would ever
be wrong. it's just going to be a different kind of mistake. everything that we do is structured around the way humans make mistakes. so think about a self-driving car or in my world we just launched -- we just christened a self-driving ship. you can sense what's going on around you and learn and adapt and be able to operate without collisions, whether it is collisions on the road or collisions on the open ocean in our case. in both of those cases, i think you have to recognize that as powerful as these machine learning systems are there will be mistakes that happen. they won't be the kind of mistakes that we currently indemnify for. when you start to try to ask why did the machine make a mistake that is different from a mistake i would make, today it is pretty much a black art how these machine learning systems work. they don't have a way of explaining how they've adapted themselves to be able to
recognize pictures. and until we have deeper understanding of those systems, i think we just need to recognize that there will be places that we do want to use that technology and other places where we're not going to yet be ready to use it. >> are you implying that we have almost too much faith and too much trust in artificial intelligence and in the machine generated learning algorithms that we have now? do you think the public presumes they are more trustable than they actually should be? >> i think sometimes. i think sometimes our narrative about these technologies is just extrapolating from the enormous gains we've made in the last few years to a place that's not realistic, but in fact i think there are, you know, in my world to go from a new technology capable to a system that the defense department and our military will use and rely on, we have a very rigorous process to make sure that these systems work and that we can trust them before we turn decisions over to
them. i'll give you an example. i think there are places where we're not going to be ready to have the machine just decide and go do what it needs to do. examples might be a self-driving ship in a very congested environment. we're still going to want to have a human in that decision loop. there are other places where i think we are ready to have machines make decisions for us. an example might be in cybersecurity. if you're trying to defend your network and attacks are coming in, we are at a point now where we think the power of machines looking at the patterns and the ones and zeros and the net flow data, that those machines are going to be able to see the patterns of attack and discern what's happening and alert you so that you can do something about it in a way that humans can't. statistically if they guess wrong, the world doesn't end. it's going to be very, very valuable in starting to get a handle on cybersecurity.
>> if you think of the kinds of methods that are developed to analyze data this in field, they range from fully human, which doesn't really work -- it works fine at the microlevel, but no human can process the amounts of d that that are coming in today. then you can go to a fully automated system that are extremely efficient and incredibly dumb. imagine a driverless car where you don't tell the human where to go. the best technology in most areas is human empowered and computer assisted. the computer doesn't tell us what an interesting idea is. although more and more it can help us get a sense of the potential interesting ideas, but it's only the human that is going to choose those. i give an example of social media a minute ago. one of the things we did is download all the social media posts in china, and we learned that we were able to download all the posts before the chinese
government could censor them. we had all chinese language social media posts that were censors and that were uncensored. they're censoring it for a purpose. what's the purpose? you censor it anytime you're critical of the government. we used that lens to analyze this data and it didn't make any much sense because there was just as many censored posts that were critical of the government that were supportive of the government. the ideas are the human part. we tried a lot of ideas. data, big data, and data a analytics don't make the process of coming up with ideas automated. nothing clarified until at one
point my graduate students and i said, wait a second. we thought they were censoring criticism. maybe they're actually censoring protest and not censoring criticism. we all thought they were the same thing. once we separated the two and looked through those lenses, it became incredibly clear. they don't censor criticism. they censor protest. you can say to the leaders of china -- you can see in social media posts the leaders of this town are all stealing money, this is the bank accounts they're in, and they all have mistresses and that is not censored. but if you see, by the way, and we're going to have a protest, censored. they don't care what you think of them. they're a bunch of dictators. they only care what you can do.
if you have the power to move crowds, they're worried about you. they're not worried about foreign governments invading. they have nuclear weapons. they're worried about their own people. now those ideas didn't emerge from our terrific data analyt s analytics. i love our analytics. that's our contribution, but it only assists us in coming up with the ideas. then we can try out things and make ourselves vulnerable to being proven wrong. we can test the hypothesis. >> i think that's a great example of the human and the machine together because you would have never done it without the data either, right? >> that's right. you need the data, but the data by itself isn't very good. the great thing it is empowering us. we were like astronomers they were like standing on our toes and stretching out our neck and squinting. now we have the photons and the
equivalent of great telescopes. but that isn't enough if you don't have an idea of what you're seeing and the analytics. >> you were using tools to interpret a huge amount of information that would not have be been processable. >> absolutely. how did people study censorship before in china? well, there was one person that would write one post and notice that that one post was censored. humans are incredibly good at seeing at patterns. look at the clouds when you walk outside today. you'll see animals and elephants and things like that. we're lame at seeing non-patterns. the way we studied censorship is one person would see one post. it was censored. they would generalize that the entire chinese bureaucracy.
we had the first aerial view of this whole thing. it is the same example. we had the first aerial view where we could see millions and millions of posts. around 1300 were censored every day in different topic areas. once you see this, it reveals all kinds of different things. it reveals the intentions not only of individuals. it reveals the intentions of organizations. so think of this giant organization designed to suppress information in china. it's so large that it conveys a lot about itself if you look at it at scale. it's like a big elephant tiptoeing around. it leaves big footprints. and when we look at scale, we can see the footprints. >> it is so interesting because if many ways we believe or know that the government is using similar artificial intelligence and analytic systems to try to understand what the public is saying. i think to bring out some of
these sentiments. i guess it suggests that the tools can be used for very healthy and less healthy outcomes. how do you balance as you build these systems -- how do you ensure that they're used in ways that we feel ethically comfortable with? >> i think it is true of every powerful technology. human history says the technologies -- i'm a techno-optimist. i believe technology has advanced humanity over many centuries, but how humans have used technology is for both good and ill. i think this is a question that has to be integral to all the work we do like at darpa. we have tried to address that question by first and foremost just getting those ethical issues on the table. it's been an interesting thing that i've observed. in the defense department, i
have the privilege of working with a lot of senior military people in leadership positions. it is so woven into the training of what it means to be a war fighter, the ethics of that business, a very serious business, is something that is taught and learned and trained and discussed very, very openly and very, very seriously. it is sort of surprising as an engineer by training. i don't think we really talk about that in science and engineering. very little today and not to the degree we need to. we scientists and engineers certainly don't own the answer, but i think we own the responsibility of getting these issues out on the table. the one you touched on is the first obvious one that happens when it is human being's data and that is about privacy. one of the things we're trying to do at darpa is come up with some of the technology tools that might allow us to
essentially give people and organizations greater agency of their data. we believe, for example, as an individual i can share my health care data for medical research knowing who would see it and who wouldn't, knowing it would be available for only a certain amount of time, knowing it wouldn't be published to the world. i would be much more inclined to be open with my data if i had that kind of assurance and agency over it. i think that kind of answer is going to include technology components that can help. if we can somehow break a very painful trade between privacy and security today, i think that would be a huge advance. i think it's also important to be clear there's never going to be a technology that's a magic wand and let's just sort of wave these problems away. they're deeply human societal issues that we'll all be grappling with for a long time. >> inside a university, we're under very strict rules. you don't have to worry about
us. before we do anything, we have to get approval. but in the public, there is a debate that you're raising about there's more data, there's much better analytics, we can understand what people are doing, aren't they going to be privacy violations? absolutely. that's something to worry about. but don't forget the good. would you all be willing to give up some of your privacy to live ten years longer than your life expectancy? ask yourself that question because it is not an unrealistic question. it is not just live longer than expected. it is live happier lives, safer lives. i'm saying there's two sides. and both sides effect every one of us. and we just shouldn't give away the good. we're on the research end of things, and so we see the good coming down the pike very vividly. and we don't want any of us to miss that. at the same time, we have to
protect everybody's privacy because we're not going to be able to get access to the data to find out these wonderful things about the future of humanity. >> i want to pose one more question to our panelists and then i'll open it up to the room. given darpa's history and some of the things you have talked about, the use of robotic systems, artificial intelligence, was social science this kind of quantifiable -- is that a natural fit? does that telegraph darpa's intentions? >> it is one of many things that we're looking into. i see a huge opportunity with people like gary and other leaders in this field. social science is being reinvented because of the availability of massive of data coupled with these very thoughtful techniques and the me methodologies that are developing. i think that is going to allow us to ask questions that have
been dead ends in social science for a very long time. we have a new program called next generation social science that is specifically about building the tools and the methods that would allow for a new generation of social science research, research that could be done on a different scale than, you know, graduate students that are getting paid 20 bucks to do an experiment, research that could be reproduced and scaled, research that could be investigated and seen from the outside in a very different way. we've chosen that example. it's a very basic research program, but we wanted to have a particular sample problem to work on. in that case, we chose the question -- the question we're posing are, what the key factors in collective identity formation. as you can imagine, this is something that is essential in our world if you think about the stability operations that happened in iraq and afghanistan that we're still in many ways engaged with. these are some of the more core
questions about any social group is when do a group of individuals believe that they are a collective whole and what causes that to break apart. i don't think we have very good answers to that. certainly we don't have practical answers to help anyone who is trying to do something on the ground today. our hope is through developing these techniques we get new insights in that area, but also develop methodologies that scale across many more areas. for our mission at darpa, which is breakthrough technologies for national security, i think it's actually very hard to imagine an area that's more important to national security than understanding societal behavior. the fact that we have vast new opportunities told that i think is something we definitely want to tap into. >> fabulous. are there questions? all right. i think we probably have time for at least one, maybe two. >> with the incredible job that darpa is doing, do we need diux?
>> it is an initiative in the defense department to try to connect the dod better to the commercial tech community, the first part of that activity is in the silicon valley area. i actually think this is a really important opportunity for the department. darpa is designed to be deeply engaged with the technical community. my 100 technical program managers are out in the world. they can't get their jobs done without talking to people in universities and defense companies, small companies and large. much of the rest of the operations of the department are jobs that keep them in their offices and talking to each other. secretary carter has underscored how important it is. i actually think it is a very
important initiative and one we hope to see making great progress. [ inaudible ]. well, darpa has had a 60-year history. i think it is really important for many other parts of the department, more of the operational parts of the department in particular, to start tapping where commercial technology can make a big difference. >> these are special cases of a general phenomenon that's happening. it used to be pretty much all the day in the world was inside universities because we created it. now most of the day in the world is out there. it's in companies. it's in governments. the only way we can do our job, the only way you can do your job, the only way companies can do their job is to talk to each other, is to have way more connections than they had before.
to have a treaty where companies can share their data without feeling privacy is violated is a really important topic for the politicians or for someone here to solve. >> well, i'm really sorry about this, but we are out of time. i would like you to join me in thanks our guests for coming. >> thank you. [ applause ] please welcome to the stage katie couric for the next segment.
>> hi, everyone. good morning. nice to see you all. i'm katie couric. thanks for being hire. i'm looking forward to our conversation about philanthropy. joining me david rubenstein, who is the cofounder of carlisle group and a self-described patriotic philanthropist. he has taken an interest in preserving and owning some of the nation's most prized historical landmarks, wendy schmidt, a founder of its 11 hour foundation focused on wise use of natural resources among
other endeavors. she is also the founder and vice president of the schmidt ocean institute. and peter cobbler, the immediate past chair of pancan, the pancreatic cancer action network and the chairman of the board of the cobbler foundation. welcome to all of you. great to see you. i apologize in advance. i have a terrible cold. let's start by asking a little bit about -- talking a little bit about the way you were raised. i know, david, you grew up as an old child in a jewish neighborhood in baltimore. your dad was a postal worker. your mom a stay at home mom. how were your ideas of philanthropy formed when you were a young man? >> while i wouldn't say my
parents were against fill l philanthro philanthropy, they gave what they could to charitable things. i didn't get into this until later in life. don't make the mistake that i have. even if you don't have a lot of money -- philanthropy is an ancient greek word that means loving humanity. when i got money later in life, i decided to race through the latter part of my life in giving away the money. i'm now committed to giving it all away, but i wish i had been more involved in philanthropy as a young person. >> i knew you grew up in shore hills, new jersey. born in orange. your parents owned an interior design shop. you are the second of five children and athe only girl. was philanthropy something your family emphasized? what kind of values did your
parents instill in you that might have helped kind of promote the notion of philanthropy later in life? >> i was raised to work hard. my grandparents were philanthropists of some note in their day. but our family was not really focused that way. i maybe different from other people in my family. i've had a different kind of life and certainly different opportunities. philanthropy came to me kind of a necessity after google went public. we had a responsibility to think about what do you do with this. how do you not just make contributions to things, but how do you help to help transform the world? that's the motivation. >> peter, i know that your grandfather and parents started the cobbler foundation in 1967. tell us the genesis of that foundation. >> my grandfather and father did very well in business. the jim beam bourbon was the
name of the company. >> can i just say thank you to them? >> you and i together. they did pretty well. and they were very fortunate. the money from that was the origin of the cobbler foundation. fill l it was mainly in jewish interests. to me, two very strange things happened. what a strange thing to be born into a family where there was these assets and these foundations and where -- but the second strange thing that happened to me, which was very improbable, was death from pancreatic cancer in my family when i was a teenager. suddenly my father dmother diedn my grandfather died.
then i was in the middle of two very unusual circumstances being linked to a foundation and being linked to a very terrible disease, which later in life i've tried to take on. >> you obviously got involved for extremely personal reasons in this cause. >> like in your family -- i know it's well known the suffering in your family and how you have tried to turn that suffering into something -- into productive channels. i personally and our foundation has also tried to make a difference in that way. >> david, i know that you have been incredibly generous. universities, hospitals, cultural organizations, but the majority has gone to something called patriotic giving. tell us what the definition of patriotic giving is. >> it gets more attention than the other things i do because not as many people are doing it. most of my money goes to medical research and education, but it gets a lot of attention because a lot of people aren't doing it. i'm trying to get more people to
learn more about our history and our heritage so they can be better citizens. if they know more about our history, they can be more informed citizens. we can have a better democracy. that's a theory. i've bought history documents like the magna carter, the emancipation proclamation, where people can see them. by seeing them in real life, i think they may be inspired to read more about history and to learn more about it. it is designed to make these places more attractive and make sure people more go to them and learn more about the history. >> what inspired you to do that, to get into that area? >> like most things in life, it's by serendipity. i happened to be at a place where the magna carter was being auctioned off. i decided to buy it and give it to the country. then it led to buying other documents.
when the washington monument had earthquake damage, i said i didn't want to wait for congress to fix it up. that led to other things. more and more people thought it was a good thing. and i tried to encourage other people to do it. the national parks service has $11 billion of unfunded needs, and i don't have that kind of money to do that. i'm trying to get other people to be involved in the parks service which controls the washington monument and the lincoln memorial. it is just something that i think is a good way to give back to our society. i came from very modest means. with my last name, i'm not sure in other countries i would have risen up to what i am today. >> and you have something called the mother standard. >> yes. when i was building my company, i'm sure my mother was happy, but she didn't call me every day and say you're great. you're going to make more money. this is great. when i started giving away the money, she started saying that's a good thing.
you're finally doing something useful with your money. if you can make your mother happy, particularly if it is a jewish mother, it is a very good thing. >> meanwhile, wendy, much of your work has focused on awareness and research and programs, which i know are important to you, around preserving natural resources, environmental causes, overall sustainability. what was it about that arena that made you think this is where i want to invest? this is where i think i can make a big difference. >> we had to make a decision when we were making our family foundation what we were going to focus on. eric is very focused on technology and about how the world is changing. we met in the 1970s. since that time, everything we do is different because of the microprocessor revelation and
becau the way we communicate and network. that model is so important. i looked outside and thought we need to use those tools. we need to look at a system that we inherited after world war ii that has transformed the world in very good ways, but has left environmental degradation behind. particularly when we look at the oceans. the oceans are so big, so vast. when my mother was born in 1931, there were 2 billion people on the planet. now we're almost 8. the pressure of humanity, the human footprint on the resources of the planet, is something we need to address today and understand how to live within the living systems that we can see. i don't know if you saw the tree of life article a couple weeks ago about where the human branch fits in. this is something darwin introduced. scientists have been looking at this other time. some berkley scientists came out
with the newest tree of life based on the coding of dna. plants, animals, people are over here. the bacterial branch is quite large. the single-celled organism brarg branch is very, very large. when you look at the systems we live in, we're very, very small. what do we need? what do we need to preserve? what can we use? what do we need to regenerate in a more circular economy rather than a wasteful one? >> take me to a micrmicro level how deciding where the money is going to go and the criteria about making decisions about who is going to get what. >> i've had the opportunity to chair two organizations. one is the pancreatic action
network. it has just surpassed breast cancer as the third leading cause of cancer death in america. sadly, there's not very much funding either from government or from the private sector. but it's juried. they don't make decisions arbitrarily. they respect one another's dedication and excellence. it's not specific to a particular university because, s as we know, universities have a preference for their own people. it's a way to work out that preference problem. the other organization, which i'm proud to chair, has been the bloom cobbler family foundation. that has also dedicated
excellence. a little more risk taking because you can be more of a risk taker in a private foundation than you can be in a public corporation or than you can be in a public charity. we'll do cultural things, sort of like patriotic. we'll do health things. you get to take a little more risk in a private foundation, but excellence is still -- it's the mother factor, but it's also known as excellence. >> i know you helped fund stand up to cancer, an organization i started. the emperor of all maladies, which was ken burn's series on pbs. >> what stand up to cancer did for emperor of all maladies was to put cancer on people's -- to get it front and center. ken burns, brilliant filmmaker.
couldn't be more proud than to have the cobbler foundation to help underwrite stand up to cancer and that brilliant documentary. >> wendy, what about you and david? when you're thinking about what you're going to place your donations and your work and your effort and your oversight, what are the things you're looking for in terms of the organizations that you want to support? >> well, you ask are they moving the dial. if we look at energy and climate centers and agriculture and human rights, we look for organizations that are going to be transformative. and we take the risks. risk is a huge thing. i think philanthropy can afford to take risks that government certainly won't take, particularly in the sciences. we've seen a drop of 40% or more in government funding for
scientists since 2010. there's a huge role for us to play to step into doing that. you mentioned films. these are projects where we're very interested in involving the general public in some of these more abstract understanding about what's going on in the planet and to bring what is far away, or was when i grew up, something happening in the democratic republic of congo, into your consciousness. >> how do you measure success? >> first, i don't have a foundation. i do it all myself. i don't have a staff. >> can i interrupt you for two seconds? >> sure. >> it is interesting these two individuals do and you don't. i'm curious why not. >> i know what i want to do with the money. i write a check and that's it. >> saves you some on overhead. >> i'm afraid if i had a staff they would convince me to do what they want to do, so i just do it myself.
i'm not critical of people who have different situations. probably at some point i should do something more professional. my standards are will my money make something happen that wouldn't otherwise happen, would my money complete something that otherwise wouldn't get completed, and do i have enough money and time to get something don't that wouldn't get done? i'm looking for things that i can actually see get done. i would like to see some progress while i'm alive. i'm 66 years old. i would rather see it while i'm alive. my goal is to kind of get things done while i'm alive, do things that have an impact, and that are measurable. do i see people getting some better use of the resource aye given? is life somewhat better for people? i don't have a profit and loss
kind of metric. no one really does. all of us here could give away all of our money today if we took all the requests that we had because there's an infinite amount of good causes in the world. we could fill up our checkbooks. i get $50 million of requests a week. like most people in life, i like my ideas better than somebody else's ideas. 95% of the money i give away is something that i came up with. they might not be perfect, but i like my ideas better than somebody else's. generally, i like what i'm working on. i focus on it. i call people up and ask them if they will take the money as opposed to waiting for them to come to me. >> there's been a little bit of blowback about private individuals and philanthropy. in a 2014 piece in the new york times, for better or worse, the
practice of science in the 21st century is becoming shapeless by national priorities or by peere review groups and more by the particular preferences of individuals with huge amounts of money. so i guess i think critics have a problem with this for a number of reasons. they say the money goes to elite universities at the expense of poor ones, that -- and that is not spreading the wealth literally, geographically, economically, racially among the nation's scientists. they say the social contract is at stake and it ignores basic science for, quote, a jumble of popular feel good fields like environmental studies and space exploration. i'm just curious what you think about some of these critics and scientists who are saying this isn't really great because it disincentivizes government and it makes for an unfair playing
field. >> i'm jump in on that. like david, i once served in the executive branch of the united states government. i think the author has made some very good points. the numbers are much smaller than what the u.s. government can do. the u.s. treasury overwhelming in significance what an individual can do. also there's an element of fairness frankly. so i think the author is right. something that's juried or reflects the point of view of the american citizenry has enormous advantages. and philanthropy is wonderful, but it doesn't have that level of integrity. >> the atlantic wrote an article entitled, is philanthropy bad for democracy?
thoughts on that, david? >> it sounds like that is written by somebody who doesn't have the money to give away. look, if you do anything in life, anything, you will be criticized. there's always a critic. there are 7.5 billion people on the face of the earth. trying to please all of them is impossible. if you're going to be frozen because you're afraid somebody will criticize you, you'll never get anything done. in the end, you have to make your own judgment. we have a small amount compared to what the government has. the government can do whatever it wants. getting decisions from the government is not that easy. fiphilanthropists can get something started and the government can catch up later. elite universities are elite because they're very good. they make enormous changes to our country. i think one of the greatest assets our country has is or highest education system, particularly the good public and private schools. they are the envy of the world.
if we say to them don't give them money because they already have money, we'll be starving them a bit and they won't be the envy of the world. in the end, i'm not as concerned about these kind of criticisms. i'm more concerned about my mother than i am these people. >> i can also say i think the opportunity we have as philanthropists is to create new models. that's not going to come from government. we have a research organization that we have opened up to scientists around the world to share. we have research labs. we have a super computer. we have ship to shore communication and sicientists express their interest to be on these cruises. this is transforming the practice of marine science and maybe government will follow. the point is we need good reference points to develop good policies. >> are you pretty optimistic
that the good data and the results of philanthropy will in fact change public policy, because all the fill l-- philanthropy can be destroyed by bad policy? >> wealthy people who have made money are not all that smart and they'll have a worse policy for the government by people who are not financially successful. if wealthy people have given away money, it's they do have s intelligence, they do have some ideas that might make the country a slightly better place. on the subsidy issue let's suppose we eliminated the subsidy for charitable deduction which is motivating a lot of people to give away money, we give away more money in this country than any other country per capita, but i think actually most of the philanthropists in this country would give away largely the same amount of money they're giving away now because what can you do with the money? you can't be buried with it like the pharaohs were buried with
it. >> you said you don't want to be the richest guy in the cemetery. >> i don't. so if the charitable deduction were eliminated i don't think it would appreciably change the wealthiest people's giving away money. they have to give it away. what are they going to do with it? it may change other people's -- and i suspect that deduction won't be eliminated. but clearly i think it does motivate some people to give away money but i think for the largest philanthropists in the united states they're not motivated by the tax deduction. >> without disagreeing with wendy and david let me say something on behalf of government funding particularly for science. it was franklin roosevelt who stashted the national cancer institute. richard nixon and subsequent presidents over the last two generations that have accelerated funding for cancer, i believe vice president joe biden is now the leader of a major project called moonshot project which we hope will make it through congress. if the united states government gets behind something in the sciences, and today you're having somebody from nasa, it is spectacular what the results can
be. so we can admire philanthropy, and i'm so honored to be part of that world and to be here with wendy and david, but the federal gets there, boy, it's historic. >> well, to that end, peter, are you worried that somehow the government will be let off the hook or disincentivized to do more if in fact we see an increase in private philanthropy going to various issues and causes? >> it depends. that's not the favored answer. but it depends on the engagement of citizenry. if citizens get involved and ask their elected legislators or the next president to do this, they will do it. our group as one example in 2012 pancreatic cancer action network there were 10,000 bills introduced. only 200 passed. one of them was ours to instruct the national cancer institute to start a program, a framework to take on pancreatic cancer. it can be done, but people can't sit back and watch tv and tweet.
they've got to really get involved. >> how important is your philanthropic efforts and the things that you've done in terms of your legacy? obviously we know how your mom felt. but for you personally, what does it mean? >> well, obviously, when you think you're doing something to make the world a slightly better place, you feel good about yourself. we're only on this earth for a very short period of time and all of us want to feel we're doing something to make the world a better place and it's not clear that just by making more money you're making the world a better place so i think i feel better what i've done the last couple years thaun i did in the previous 20, 30 years just making the money but everyone has to make their own judgment of what makes them happen and i what makes them feel self-satisfied. but i think i'm very happy with it. my biggest regret is i'm 66 years old and i'm not going to have another 66 years to do what i now enjoy doing. >> what has given you the most satisfaction of all your efforts? >> well, i guess it's probably the feeling that i get very often wherever i am i get people
in this country coming up to me saying thank you for what you're doing to help our country in many ways and while what i'm doing is very modest people feel giving back to the country is a good thing to do. i guess it's a pleasure out of hearing from people i don't really know so well about their pleasure at what they see i'm doing and hopefully they're going to be motivated to do the same. >> what about you, wendy? what's the difference between recognition and legacy and -- >> i would answer that by saying i believe we are living through a revolution right now. we may not recognize it but we are. and we are going to end up making things differently. we're going to use resources differently. we're going to see enormous opportunity in front of us if we can seize this moment. i'm very focused on the transformation of the systems we live in that can create a much healthier world. products that are healthy for people. practices that are healthier for people. or tand f environment around us. we need to move away from the systems of the last century and invent new ones.
i'm very focused on innovation, and i'm sure that will continue into the future. >> and do you think that will be your legacy, helping this transition? >> i would love that to be my legacy. yes. >> and peter, obviously, you come from a family from really instilled these values. i'm curious how you're doing that for your children and how all of us, regardless of our means, can sort of instill those values of philanthropy to our children. >> i hope i've instilled them. there's no one more proud of their sons than i am. i have a lawyer son who's a public defender and does philanthropy as classically defined, not as a foundation director. and i have another son who's a surgical resident and i'm hoping that he will one day be using his -- at johns hopkins and i'm hoping thael one day be using his skills to do medical philanthropy. one other point not covered today, much less glamorous, much more about nuts and bolts, patriotic environment, cancer, all important but one aspect of
philanthropy we really need in the country now is more nuts and bolts, direct services. a lot of people in the country are really suffering. inner city, rural, opioid addiction, lots of things. the more money that can be given to direct services so clinics can take care of people medically, food for people really hungry in the country. that's a subject for another day. >> now, we were talking about that, my colleague and i on the way down from new york, and we were saying some of these less glamorous causes. glamorous in quotations. sometimes don't get the intention and the funding. so maybe we can -- maybe you all can make them glamorous. david. >> i don't know about that, but the question you addressed earlier. what do you do with your children? if you're fortunate enough to have a fair amount of money and you don't give it all away or you die before you give it all away, your children have a fair amount of money, what are they supposed to do with it? and trying to instill in children a philanthropy and a
philanthropic gene is important. at the give and pledge meetings much of the conversation we have amongst people who sign the giving pledge is whether or not you should give your children their own foundation. how do you get them involved in philanthropy? how do you make sure you don't spoil them but also teach them about the importance of philanthropy. it's a very complicated subject and very few people have figured it out. i don't say that i figured it out perfectly either. and i still struggle with how much money do you give your children, when do you give it to them and how much freedom do you give them to give it away and do you guide them? these are complicated subjects. fortunately we're in the position to be able to deal with it but it's a subject that hasn't been satisfactorily resolved by anybody. >> what about you, wendy? you have two girls. tell me about their role in philanthropy. we're almost out of time. in fact, we've been out of time. sorry, you guys. we're almost done. but what kind of lessons have you tried to show them or do you kind of want them to follow your example and what you do? >> i think that's up to them. this is relatively new in their lives. i've only been working at this
for a decade. so they are growing into adulthood and they are watching what we do. and they're involved as observers. and hopefully practitioners at some point. but david raises all the same issues that we'll all face with the legacy. >> that may be for our next panel another day. thank you all for being here so much. david and wendy ledder, thank you so much. we're going to take a break and be back in 15 minutes.