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tv   Bush Center Leadership Forum - Jeff Bezos Conversation  CSPAN  May 29, 2018 1:37pm-2:06pm EDT

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>> we take you back now to the discussion with jeff bezos. jeff: the top of mount everest is a garden paradise compared to mars. planet is a joke. this planet is unbelievable. around, the travel
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more incredible is. i'm not talking about nature. all of these amazing things. we need to protect it. i'm not even talking about protecting it from asteroids or a nuclear holocaust. those things are important and valid, but we don't need to worry about that. we have something more certain and that's a problem. if you take current baseline onerous, global energy usage, and compound that at 3% a year, then in just a few hundred years, you are going to have to cover the entire surface of the earth in solar cells. that is how powerful compounding is.
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and by the way, we have been growing energy usage at a few percent a year for a long time. and our civilization has a lot of advantages because we increase our energy usage. the human body, and a state of nature, if you are just an animal in the state of nature, your body, your metabolic rate uses about 100 watts of power. but a modern person in a developed country, your civilization per capita metabolic rate is 11,000 watts. we use a lot of energy. that is about as much energy as a blue whale uses. there are billions of us, and most of us aren't even really living in the lifestyle of a developed country yet, but they will be very soon, and we help they will be. we want them to. and you are going to face a choice, and you won't face this choice, and i won't face the choice, but your grandchildren's
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grandchildren will face this choice. do you want to live in a world of stasis? or do you want to have one trillion humans living in the solar system? the solar system is big. earth is small. the earth's surface is so small, it captures a tiny, tiny fraction of the solar output. once you go out into space, you have, for practical purposes, once again unlimited resources. if you had one trillion humans you would have 1000 mozart and 1000 einstein's, and so on and so on. that would be an incredible civilization that you would want your grandchildren's grandchildren to live in. i think ultimately, earth becomes zoned, residential and light industrial. and we will have universities here and beautiful parks and houses, but we won't have big factories.
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all of that will be much better done in i were we have access to much higher-quality resources. that is a multi-hundred year vision. my piece of this vision is, i am taking my amazon lottery winnings and i am converting them into reusable rocket vehicles, so that we can lower the cost of access to space. because right now, the price of admission to do the interesting things in space is just too high. if i look at what amazon was able to do 20 years ago, we didn't have to build a transportation network. it already existed. that heavy lifting was in place. we didn't have to build a payment system. that heavy lifting had already been done, it was the credit card system. we did have to put a computer at every desk, that had hourly been done as well, mostly for playing games, by the way.
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so all the pieces of heavy lifting were already in place 20 years ago. that is why, with $1 million i could start this company. and there are even better examples on the internet over the last 20 years. facebook started in a dorm room. i guarantee you, to kids cannot i guarantee you, two kids cannot build a giant space company in their dorm room. it is impossible. but i want to create the heavy-lifting infrastructure, do the hard part, so that a future generation, to kids in a dorm -- two kids in a dorm room will be able to create a giant space company. so that is the goal. [applause] thank you. you are not going to achieve the vision i just laid out, with one trillion humans living in space and having this dynamic world without a big industry, makeup -- made up of thousands of companies. but it has to start out with making the vehicles much more productive. right now, you use a rocket once and then you throw it away, and that is just a very expensive way to do business.
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host: can i get you to discuss your vision, this may not be germane to the work you are doing, but you are one of the great thinkers. artificial intelligence, pros and cons. we have heard people talk about great benefits, we have heard about disrupting and changing and leaving us a jobless society, we have heard a time as weapons are a disaster. economists --rd autonomous weapons are a disaster. where do you fall on your vision of where artificial intelligence is going to go, and some of the more cautionary items and the benefits. jeff: you mentioned a few things there. each of those is worth visiting is there different. autonomous weapons are extremely scary. right now, we don't need general ai. the things that we have now, think of those things as narrow
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ai, machine vision and so on. to build incredibly scary, autonomous weapons, we don't need general ai. the techniques that we already know and understand are perfectly adequate. some of the ideas that people have for these weapons are very scary. i don't know the solution. smart people need to be thinking about that, do a lot of r and d. there would have to be big treaty like the geneva convention or something to help regulate his weapons, because they have a lot of issues. so that one i think is genuinely scary. the idea that there is going to be a general ai overlord that subjugates us or kills us all, i think is not something to worry about. that is overhyped. first of all, we are nowhere
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close to knowing how to build a general ai, something that could set its own objectives. we have no idea. it is not even a valid research area, we are so far back on that one. so i think that is a very long-term prospect, if it even happens. but second of all, it is unlikely that such a thing's first instincts would be to exterminate us. that would seem surprising to me. much more likely, it will help us because we are preferably -- we are perfectly capable of hurting ourselves. we could use some help. i'm optimistic about that when it don't think we need to worry about it today. and, is ai going to put everybody out of work? i'm not worried about this. i find the people, all of us, i include myself, we are so unimaginative about what future
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jobs are going to look like, and what they are going to be. if i took you back 100 years, when almost everyone was a farmer, and we are at some big farming convention or something and i say, in the year 2018, there is going to be a job occupation called massage therapist. [laughter] they would not have believed you. i was telling this story to a friend and they said, jeff, forget massage therapist, there are dog psychiatrists. [laughter] and i went and looked that up on the internet. you could easily higher a dog psychiatrist for your dog. humans like to do things that we like to be productive, and we will figure out things to do.
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and we will use these tools to make ourselves more powerful. and what i predict is the jobs will get more engaging. you have to remember, a lot of jobs today are quite routine, they are not necessarily anybody's as i said before, career or calling. and i predict that, because of artificial intelligence and its ability to automate certain tasks that in the past work impossible to automate, not only will we have a much wealthier civilization, but that the quality of work will go up very significantly, and a higher fraction of people will have callings and careers relative to today. jeff: i'll bring you back to the -- host: i'll bring you back to the present, and i would be remiss
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if we didn't talk about your purchase of "the washington jeff jeff: i bought the post in 2013. the post was still a fantastic institution at that time, but it was in great financial difficulty. it is a fixed-cost business, as almost all publishing is, and the revenues over about six years from 2007, 2008, to 2013 had been cut in half from $1 billion a year to half $1 billion a year. and that, in a fixed-cost business, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the business. they needed to reduce the size of the newsroom, layoff or orders, and it was very reporters, and it was very difficult. and don graham, whose family owned the paper for a long time,
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he contacted me through an intermediary. we had known each other from most 20 years, actually. and i was very surprised when he said he was interested in selling the paper, and he wanted, i said look, i am not the right buyer because i don't know anything about the newspaper business. and he said, we don't need that, we have lots of people who know the newspaper business. we need somebody who understands the internet better. and this was a great act of love by don because the paper was in their family for a long time, and he cared more about the paper than he cared about his ownership of it. if any of you know him, he is an incredible gentleman, just a wonderful guy. so, over several conversations he convinced me i could help read and then i had to convince myself of a couple of things. one of them was, did i really believe it was an important institution? and that was a really quick case for me to get through. i felt very powerfully that it was an important institution. i do believe democracy dies in
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darkness. i think the paper resides in washington, dc, the capital city of the united states of america, the most powerful country in the world, it needs a paper like the "washington post." so it was easy to decide it was an important institution. i would not have helped to turn around a salty, snack food company. i have better things to do. that is why to meet was so it was so why, to me, important. i might buy a really well-run, healthy snack food company, but that would just be an investment. [laughter] and then the second gate i had to go through after that was, i wanted to convince myself that it wasn't hopeless. because if it had been hopeless, also i would not want to get involved, but i didn't think it was. and it has turned up to work
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very, very well. we did one simple thing. i don't mean to make it sound simple, the team has done an amazing amount of work and we have a great editor and a great publisher, and a great technical leader. we have a killer team at the post, but the big strategic change at the post was flipping it from being a fantastic, local and regional newspaper, to being a fantastic, global and national newspaper. and the reason we did that was very simple. the internet to waste so many -- the internet took away so many gifts for newspapers, mostly like ad monopolies and that sort of thing. but the internet dissolved most of the gifts the newspapers had, but the one gift that it brought to newspapers was almost free global distribution, because you can do it digitally.
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so we refocused on that. we had to switch from making a relatively large amount of money per reader, on a relatively small amount of readers, to a small amount per reader on a very larger number of readers. and that is what we have done. host: a couple of quick ones. who do you emulate? jeff: a role model? a bunch of people. i have been a war and buffett fan since my early 20's -- a warren buffett fan since my early 20's. i read the things he writes. i think, the ceos today that i like, jamie dimon, i think. there are couple of ceos that i think, if i were a big shareholder and j.p. morgan chase, i would show up every morning with pastries and coffee for jamie, and i would be like, happy?
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are you good? i think he is a terrific executive in a very complicated company. same thing with bob eiger at disney, i think he is a superb executive. i would probably bring him pastries. [laughter] host: healthy pastries. jeff: i hadn't thought about that. that's right. and outside of that, i have had lots of role models throughout my life. some of my teachers at river oaks elementary school that you mentioned. i had my parents, who i talked about earlier. i didn't talk about my grandfather but he was a gigantic influence. i had the great fortune, because my mom was so young, my grandparents would take me every summer, starting at age four, every summer, to give her a
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break, really, for the whole summer. so i would be with my grandparents on their ranch in texas, halfway between san antonio and laredo. we lived in houston and would make the 5 hour drive, they would drop me off and spend a couple of days and then drive back to houston and i would stay the summer. and every day on the ranch, i went with my grandfather to help. a four-year-old boy on a ranch in south texas is not a lot of help, but i didn't know that. i thought i was helping. and by the time i was 16 i actually was helping. so i can suture a cow, i can fix windmills. my grandfather was so resourceful that he made his own veterinary needles. he would take a piece of wire
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and pound it flat with an oxyacetylene torch and then drill a little hole through it. we did all of our own veterinary work. some of the cattle even survived. [laughter] but we had great fun out there. we built barns and welded things. he bought a d6 caterpillar bulldozer used, it was like a 1955 model year, for $5,000. it was completely broken, the gears were stripped and we spent all summer repairing that. the first thing we had to do to repair it was to build a crane to take the gears out of the transmission. what i learned from watching him was just how resourceful he was. he didn't ever call a repairman, he figured it out. and i do think that is one of the things that was super lucky for me, to grow up in that environment where you got the seed resourcefulness in action. so my grandfather, a giant role
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model. host: you are an american icon, and these stories reflect how grounded you are. and starting a company from the time when you were doing it yourself, to today, and maintaining that touches that you have and at the same time, that vision, that is what leadership is all about. at the bush center we focus on recognizing leadership, and that is what we are doing this week. i want to thank you. i want to remind people that in honor of the fifth anniversary of the bush center, our friends at northern trust have made it free of charge to go through the bush library and museum, starting today and extending through next friday. thank you for that. thank you to our wonderful friends at smu. thank you all, for being here. please join me in thanking one of the great americans, jeff bezos. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> here's a look at program highlights for this memorial day weekend. -- we will have more on career with the possible u.s.-north korea summit and the implications for future relations. we will have that on where you can listen using our radio at your later, a conversation with heather wilson on strengthening u.s. alliances and how to repair the air force for future battles and victories. live coverage starts at 3:00 p.m. eastern. 6:3, a forum on the future of race relations in the u.s.. advocacy groups will take part, hosted by a arena stage in washington, d.c. we will have that on our website
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and on the radio out -- radio app. watch our live coverage of the utah senate republican primary debate with myth romney and mike kennedy -- mitt romney and mike kennedy tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span and or listen on the free c-span radio app. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. commencement speeches all this week in prime time here tonight -- prime time. tonight, the me too founder. clarence thomas and nikki haley. wednesday, hillary clinton, rex tillerson, james mattis, and justin trudeau. cook, john kasich, kate brown, luis gutierrez.
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and on friday, jimmy carter, betsy devos, mark meadows, and keisha lance on a. >> sunday on q&a, patricia theoole discusses her book " moralist, woodrow wilson in the world he make." >> there is a huge psychological literature on wilson. i read it. i have the sense it just reduced him to oedipal tangles and things like that that i did not feel i could deal with on the .trength of my own knowledge some said his stubbornness in
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later life was in reaction to his father's sickness and they can point to one story where his father made him revise a little thing that he wrote a whole bunch of times. the suppositions are that wilson resented this, but that he was a good boy and put up with it. but when you read every mention in wilson's letters of his father, they are worked -- they are worshipful. he never >> sunday night at 8 p.m. ."stern on c-span's "q&a now from the stimson center in washington, d.c., what might come after a u.s. north korea summit, which has been off and on again after president trump announced he was canceling the meeting in singapore. sunday, a u.s. delegation met with north korean officials along the demilitarized zone as president trump tweeted this morning that they had put a
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great team together for the talks with north korea and that meetings were currently taking place concerning the summit. kim yong chol, the vice chairman of north korea, heading out to new york. president trump is set to meet with mike pompeo, secretary of state, later this week. the discussion at the stimson center is expected to start any moment.
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to get itgoing started, this is going to be just an hour. welcome, everyone. welcome to the stimson center. i'm the codirector of the program here and we are our four veryave interesting speakers here to chat with us a bit about what is beyond the trump kim summit. when i give that title, beyond trump kim


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