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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 2, 2016 2:05am-2:23am EST

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at the same time we have had some tremendous successes. i think he would demand hero realism, more balance and self-assessment. >> maybe a related question to you. this idea of collaboration and using computer systems to help human beings work with other human beings. is that an inspiration for you, or something you would like to talk with google on? >> absolutely. doug is credited with the idea of computer supported collaborative work. as a student, i thought it would never work. today we do e-mail, google docs, and shared separate sheets. some of my employees are in singapore or in lebanon, to work together beyond belief. i always felt this world is about people.
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the answer is they are very smart. i felt the technology was a way to get people together. even today, traps takes is perhaps the biggest invention, the car in trick, of the 20th century. maybe television. i don't know. but cars changed the infrastructure, or reaction patterns. making them saver i thought was a good idea. google glass was something about being in a space and having interaction at the same time. what i generally find in this day and age of heavy texting, facebooking and things, the
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ability to interact with many people digitally has been so much enhanced. so many people and opinions i can see. i can go to and find feedback. it took 40 or 45 years to get to this point, but it is now really unfolding. >> do you want to continue with that? >> i was thinking about how virtual reality could be seen in terms of helping people collaborate. >> the first display was not made by me. it was made by southerland, who might be the one rival to doug's demo. it is called sketchpad if you are not aware of it. it was actually a little
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earlier. the term virtual reality originally meant having a social version of virtual worlds where people would see each other as avatars. but the term became popularly used for the generally field. to me it is jarring to keep up with the way people use terms. but that was the original meaning of it. it was very much in the spirit of doug's work. in fact, i remember having to go over when we got the first versions working. it was very exciting. it was an amazing team, electrifying. it is fun for me now when i can put my 8-year-old daughter in a virtual world at home now that it is becoming available. it is charming. i think during the period when i was working in the 80's, and before and since there is a tendency sometimes to maybe expect too much from these
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innovations. i used to talk about it as a thing that would totally transform human culture, and there would be less violence. i remember giving talks about the notion that if you could have more instant awareness of what is going on around the world, you would realize how horrible war really is and it would become more peaceful. the opposite is heating. media has been used to recruit people for ever more horrific cultures of violence. that is reversing a trend and not what we anticipated. it is very hard to predict how these tools will have an effect on the world, and it is very easy to see only the benefits.
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it is something i struggle with still. if you are inventing things, and you are not struggling with assessing their impact, then you are not doing your job. you should feel a little tortured trying to understand it because the effects are complex. for me, there is this moment of anticipation now where the world is about to be flooded with virtual reality stuff. some of it is really good and some of it is not. i don't know what impact it will have on the world. it is a grand experiment. i am thrilled, charmed and worried i am going to be embarrassed. i don't know what will happen in the next year or two. it will be amazing to watch. >> it often happens with somebody who has invented something, as the story unfolds, they are sometimes not very happy with the way their work is interpreted. do you see the virtual reality
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we are seeing accelerated in its development as being the virtual reality that you started? >> yeah, kind of. if you look at the current oculus development kit and the worlds people are building on it. aside from that, the stuff looks and feels so much like what we were doing in the 80's. i can compare some of the old videos for the downloads for oculus, it is very similar, and it is very strange actually. >> $2 billion. >> $2, too. >> a lot of money. >> yeah. it was less than $19 billion. [laughter] >> well on that note let me
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change the subject. third period is a different ship. this is going to be a bit more personal. you have -- you may post both know. it was a life's work the way he saw what he was doing. there were specific moments in his life, kinds of epiphanies. he ran a book that inspired him. then there was a later one, less well known, as i was driving down 101 from working in mount view and living up north somewhere. i am going to quote from the oral history and ask you about similar things in your own lives. he told me in the oral history i soon realized that if i wanted to contribute in some maximum way, i would need to provide some real driving force. so i had better first pick a
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field that is really something. and if i find a set of goals so there is some way i could use the engineering training, then that would be very valuable. but somehow had the feeling that more engineering was not what the world's dominant need was then. it is a complex world. somewhere along the way i had this flash that the complexity of the problems and the means for solving them is getting to be too much. the time available for solving a lot of the problems is getting shorter and shorter. so the urgency goes up. the product of these two factors, complexity and urgency are the measure for organizations and institutions. the complexity and urgency factor transcended what we were able to cope with. if you transcend human capability to deal with that, then you would have something. that resonated. i think in an hour i had the image of sitting at a big c.r.t. screen.
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sebastian, can you relate to this intense personal motivational moment? >> yes. several times in my life i had these moments where i recognized something of importance. i would tell my students don't worry about what job you are going to get. your job finds you. recently i had a job that was important to take. in history, the first time was about four years ago roughly, or five years ago when i realized i was really good on paper writing. i wrote a lot of books and academic papers. i ran into this guy who had dropped out of grad school and started a start-up company in a space ant didn't care about paper writing, but influenced about a billion people. so i had dinner with larry paige, and we started comparing
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notes. it dawned on me that all this competition on paper writing, they had to draw the arc to what i really cared about, which was changing people's lives. it required people to read my papers and like them and implement them. but the papers weren't very good, so not enough people read them. so i went to google to learn how to influence the world. i started as a middle manager and worked my way up. more recently i was building up google x, and we did all kinds of things like balloons in the stratosphere, to contact lenses to detect plug sugar, learning smart things.
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and then we put this palace out on artificial intelligence at stanford a few years ago. i happened to teach on the side still. we put this e-mail out saying you could take this class for free. we had a 160,000 students sign up. with all these machines that eventually replace people, who really cares about the people as opposed to the machines? i felt education is the thing. you can make machines smarter and they are going to take over the jobs of people, but no one is going to be making people smarter. to the present day i have been influenced by a moment. it may not be as obvious to
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anybody in the audience, but it was a moment where i was an artificial intelligence guy, making machines smart. but i care about people and not machines. why not go back and do something for the many people who need jobs? >> excellent. >> have you had a moment like that? >> gosh, i have had a lot of moments like that. the most satisfying moment has been building a surgical simulator. there became a critical point where there was too much simulation in teaching surgery. back in the 80's it was exciting and there were several people involved.
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that was the moment when i felt that virtual reality was actually good for something. it was beautiful, electrifying and it was clear. being of use was not as clear. we are here actually making a difference. but earlier than that, wow -- i mean -- you know, i will tell you the moment that really got to me was when i was a little kid. grew up in new mexico, and one of our neighbors is the one who discovered pluto. he was the head of optics at white sands missile range. he showed me how to make telescopes and fwrained mirrors.
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this was the prototypical experience that led me into virtual reality. i remember that so clearly. and just the sense of magic you can get there standing your contact with the universe with technology. it is the best thing. >> thank you. i am going to do two more questions so you can start thinking about the questions you are going to have. when we were talking before, they both agreed we wanted to have as much interaction with you as possible. just two more questions here, and then we will do the interactive side of it. as i am sure both of you know, doug's project, the historical one, was in many ways a failure. it succeeded in brings us things burks as far as funding, it ended up as a failure. >> wrong metric. >> i could hear that.
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>> what a loser. [laughter] >> what role does failure, however you want to define it, play in what you do? is it an important aspect of it or not? >> oh, my god. we are never going to come home. kidding. failure is essential. we all climb mountains we have never done before. there is no playbook. if you believe that you can figure it all out in your brain and just do it, and it works. they have never looked from the
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outside. they fail a lot on the way and get up again and do something else. for every great entrepreneurs, there are five not to great entrepreneurs who massively fail along the way. so the system itself is based on failure. when we fail at google x, we throw a party. we are happy. we have something in our company that if you break the company, you get a bottle of fine wine. you hurt somebody has a worst possible failure, cancel a project, fire people. at some other level, it is actually the most gratifying thing that makes it so amazing, which is you learn something.
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you went out with your best hypothesis, and believe this is the way to climb the mountain, and then you have to backtrack. but the reality is you have learned something you couldn't know before. so in the space of what you know, you didn't fail. you fail if you are unable to learn. but if you are able to learn and keep an open mind and survive on the surprise, then you have enriched your work and your team. if you do this enough, you will eventually make it up to the top of the mountain, no question. you see people wavering along the way. that is the reason they don't reach the team. it is not that the mountain can't be climbed. when you hear about people failing in silicon con, it is not a massive 0/1 and my life is over. there are moments where you recognize something essential, and what you just learned will be with you forever.


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