We discuss some of the biggest challenges for our Nation and the planet in today’s accelerating technology world.
Jim: [00:00:02] Ok, welcome, everybody. This is our first podcast with Smart Futures, and my name is Jim Pietrocini and I’d like to thank everybody for joining with me today is Dr. Mark Langston and Ken Tirman, MAFF, which I do. A little intro, sir.
Marv: [00:00:20] All right. So my background is military and Defense Department, mostly in the new technology area, trying to figure out what best what we can do to outfit our forces with the technology that’ll satisfy the needs. And I’ve been doing a blog site for several years where I try to capture some of the issues related to technology, adoption or acquisition. And Jim and I recently decided that, you know, maybe we ought to try to expand this out into a webinar format and try and bring in a lot of the very smart people we know to share a few ideas about some of these issues. And so I thought this would be a good start with Ken. We’ve known Ken for a long time and he’s an excellent engineer, an excellent person that’s been working in the same field with us for these years. And so we wanted to have a general topic today and explore global global ideas. What was going on, global perspectives. How do we feel about where the world sits today, both in terms of national security or even other things like world population, world feeding, feeding the world and working on whether or not this green new economy is the way we need to run the world. So with that, I’ll turn it over to Ken for a minute.
Ken: [00:01:43] Well, thank you very much, Marv and Jim. I appreciate the invitation. It’s an honor to be your first guest. As Mark mentioned, I’ve been in this industry for many years, since 1982, working in the defense industry and new technology, and some of which my my work is involved, Marvin Technologies that he’s been involved in. I’ve spent more time on providing services and solutions to customers in the industry, not not as much as an adviser, a consultant, and much, much better at that. But it’s an honor to be here, guys, and I’m excited for this conversation.
Jim: [00:02:23] And I just want to preference we we I actually did a podcast with Cal State San Marcos in the fall to kind of get up to speed on all this. So we got some good lessons learned from them. So this this is will help set up the smart futures. Marv, kind of what are the main objectives of Smart Future and not just the blog, but the intent here with some of our topics?
Marv: [00:02:50] Yeah, I thought it would be useful to try and set this webinar up so that we could explore all these interesting topics that we tend to like to talk about on our own or do it in a way that we could capture it and share it with others, and including bring some of these other folks forward to have a conversation with us and let that conversation be recorded so that we can then share it out to other people and get other people to comment on it and even had other ideas about things that maybe we should we should talk about. So the whole idea is to come up with interesting ideas, talk about important topics of our time, and then keep it keep it recorded so that we can allow it to be played back for other people.
Jim: [00:03:31] And our intent here is to have both kind of the webinar version that will be up on a YouTube channel that will have various links and various mediums like LinkedIn and Marv’s blog. And then we’ll also have a through anchor DOT FM will have it as a podcast, whether you’re using Apple podcasts or Spotify. So look forward to that. And in building kind of a base of listeners. So first topic for Ken
Marv: [00:03:59] Laugh So when do we get into it, what can I ask Ken? I got into a conversation a couple of weeks ago and I said, well, that’s pretty interesting because we sort of got into a very broad discussion about global perspectives. And so I said, let’s let’s use that for first podcast, because it’ll at least we can start from the very, very broad areas and we can dig down into deeper areas as we choose to. So let me just let you start and talk about it. Why do we need global perspectives in this particular time and age? You know, what is it that’s causing us to think about these things?
Ken: [00:04:32] Well, the first thing that came to mind is I think history teaches us that having a global perspective is always beneficial. Societies, civilizations that were global fare much better than countless examples. The merchants of Venice, the British Empire, Rome. When we think globally, we we we broaden our perspectives. We give it gives us more opportunities to profit and to cooperate with others in the globe. So any time is a good time to think globally. I think to answer the question specifically. Now, this may be a bit of a deep dive right away, but we have a challenge with global balance of power right now. And I’m afraid that we’re not taking a global perspective and we should be taking more of a global perspective on what’s happening in the Western Pacific specifically and in the Eastern Bloc countries. I think back to our isolationist position as the United States prior to World War Two. And and we allowed the axis powers to grow unchecked until it became a World War problem. We should have done something sooner and we didn’t. We may be faced with that same challenge here today. Right. So I turn it over to you for your perspective here. But that’s that’s a perfect example of a conversation we can have specifically about China and what’s happening in the South China Sea and our reaction to it.
Marv: [00:06:19] Well, what I what you made me think of when you were talking, Ken, is. We live in a world today that’s operating in. At least seconds in milliseconds, if not nanoseconds, and picoseconds depending on what you want to talk about. Right, and that world is so different than the world of the past. Like you like the world you mentioned. It reminds me of you. If you look at the Barbary Pirates situation, when Jefferson was the president of the United States, we were in a war with with Tripoli for 30 days before he ever found out about it because they declared war against us. And that was our slow communication was back in those days going to build a letter written, sailed across the Atlantic. So obviously, that’s not the situation today. And if you look at these new satellite constellations that are going up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Jeff Bezos Blue Origin constellations, they’re talking about 20 millisecond delays from earth to space to communicate worldwide wherever you want to go, because those satellites link themselves across the whole world. And rather than have an Internet in the cities where we have today, we’re going to have massive bandwidth for everything that we do in the cities across every place on the planet, the oceans, the deserts, the mountains, everywhere. What do you think about this, Jim?
Jim: [00:07:42] And I know I think Jefferson didn’t have a Twitter account. Right. So definitely I think. One of the issues is, are we are we training our leadership to know international business and international affairs, or are we fighting like the new leadership or even in the military? Is there a lack of understanding of just not foreign countries, but just, you know, history and and we you know, everything we read, we tend to try to get rid of our old history. Right. And I’ve always been a believer that history is very important to understand what you do in the future.
Marv: [00:08:24] Well, that reminds me that this current council culture of trying to erase our own US history is is, I think, a very big mistake and it will come back to roost for us in the future. But another thing you reminded me of is you think about that is where. How do our leaders really understand and think about this future when we’ve lived in all of us, people that have grown up, that are currently live on in our country, have lived with our country being the greatest country on the planet, having the control and power of every other country on the planet to the degree that we chose to exercise it. And there’s relatively few people who believe that that power can ever actually be exercised against us in a way that would be detrimental to our ourselves and our society in our homeland.
Jim: [00:09:17] Yeah, the first the first 30 pages of Kilton and I just started right is we’ve we’ve lost every war game in the last five to 10 years and not many people know that. Right. And that’s kind of an eye opener.
Ken: [00:09:32] Yeah. Yeah. It goes beyond just just this one topic. We’re so tightly integrated globally and not thinking globally, our leaders not thinking globally can have detrimental effects in other areas of our lives. As you know, we we are concerned about the temperature of the planet. Right. I don’t wanna get off too much of a tangent too quickly, but farmers in Brazil need to feed their families. And we sit back on our high and mighty and say, you shouldn’t cut down the Brazilian rainforest because we needed to maintain our planet. But this poor guy needs to feed his family. So our global perspective has to take into consideration many, many factors. And to your point, Jim. I don’t think our leaders can be expert on all these topics. We don’t we don’t have a political system that elevates the most intelligent people, not necessarily we have a political system, then you get elected for other reasons. And we depend on experts to as advisors. That’s why we have lobbyists and all that. They’re often maligned. But the our political leaders need experts in all these different fields to advise them. The challenge is the amount of information, the amount of challenge we have over the globe. It’s overwhelming, right. How do you deal with all of these issues and. To Mark’s point that the pace of technology is outpacing our ability to comprehend it and to deal with it, right. So are we going to depend on supercomputers to make decisions for us in the future? Because that’s kind of what it looks like. We’re in that direction because of the nature of how fast things move in the amount of information that needs to be processed.
Jim: [00:11:39] We have a future topic and I think we’re calling it machines and minds or robots and brains. But we definitely want to have a topic about the future of AI and machine learning and how it’s going to interact with the human mind. And some of the recent work we’re doing with just command and control, like is a human going to actually push the button on a ship in five to 10 years, or is it going to be an algorithm or a play, a playbook that just gets run because of a certain scenario?
Ken: [00:12:10] So you can have another topic all together on ethics of all these things. Yes. Brings up another challenge.
Jim: [00:12:17] Yeah. The ethics of algorithms. Right. So so what about the Roman Empire syndrome? You know, are we stuck in believing that we’re a superpower and there’s no other threat? And how do you get rid of that? Again, the term the Roman Empire. It’s hard to change what we think and how we do things. And any thoughts on that?
Marv: [00:12:43] I actually think it’s a good analogy, and I also use the term Britain, too, as another analogy, because if you think about it, Rome eventually fail because they got lazy, overly confident that nothing could change their situation. And they basically lost the morals of their society to a large degree. And then eventually the big machines that they used as their war machines were were decided by the outside folks from the German tribes and other places that didn’t have the technologies ways to cause those big machine technologies to fail. And we have the very same situation facing us today, if you look at it, because just one example, cyber security is a way for poor guys, poor, poor countries, poor organizations to penetrate our organizations and change the game. And and they’re doing it in spades and full time because we are currently in a cyber war. We’ve been in cyber war since the late 90s. And we we can’t do anything about it. Overt, really, because it’s so easy for people that are attacking us to mask themselves. And likewise, we’re not sure that we can be sure who the attackers are because of the complexities of cybersecurity. And just one other example I’ll bring up, which we could kick around. There’s a book called One Second after I forgot the author. I can look it up, but it’s about what happens if three nuclear weapons were lit in the exact proper orbit above our our country to create an electromagnetic pulse large enough to significantly destroy all the electronics below it.
Marv: [00:14:35] And the book is written by people that were participating in the EMT Commission for the country and have been working on this problem for years and years. And to this date, we have chosen not to spend the approximately two and a half billion dollars that we need to secure the grid from an MP. So if you think about it, two and half million dollars in today’s budgets around Off-Air, when you talk about two billion dollars at the national level, and yet we will not secure our electromagnetic grid. I mean, our electric grid such that an MP could destroy everything that drives today. So in this particular book, the scenario, the first thing that happens is all the cars, the whole freeways just stopped and nobody knows where the freeway stop. And of course, all the cars use modern computers and modern computers are the first things that when an MP goes out and then you can’t pump gas, you can’t run the air conditioning, you can’t run the hospitals. I mean, it goes on and on and on. And the end of the book, the net result of the book is within one year before they could get the power back on in the country. We lost two thirds of the population, mostly to do the internal wars with ourselves.
Jim: [00:15:46] Yeah, I was the speaker was at Qualcomm about three years ago, and I guess Newt Gingrich had him write the book to try to educate not only the Congress but the Senate. And it got like very like deaf ears. Nobody really wanted to like believe it or understand it,
Marv: [00:16:05] Because
Ken: [00:16:08] You mentioned the asymmetric context of war, asymmetric warfare. To be honest, we’ve had this challenge for a long time. In fact, we were the ones doing it to the British in our revolution. Right. But the revolution. Yeah, yeah. We we were the ones using any sort of warfare. We forget these things. We don’t learn from our lessons in Vietnam. It was used against us right in the Middle East. Asymmetric warfare is a huge challenge for us. Back to Jim’s point earlier, I don’t see us learning from art, from history, whether it be this topic on MTV or our our potential adversaries on the globe. I don’t see us learning from history, but we seem to repeat errors over and over again.
Marv: [00:17:04] So that introducing another interesting topic that relates a guy named Jeff Hawkins has written a couple of books about the brain, and he’s got a new book out I just started reading. It’s called A Thousand Brains. And he’s a he’s one of the brain theorists thinkers. He’s also a techie. And he’s been trying to help develop neural networks and chips that will support neural network processing to help mimic the brain and therefore help support artificial intelligence kinds of things. But what he says in this new book is he says, we basically are built around hundreds or thousands of brains and these brains are competing with each other. And at the very basic level, we have our reptilian brain that tries to keep our body alive and keep us out of harm’s way when we have our mammalian brain that is causing us to try and think about what we’re doing. So one of the early examples was the reptilian brain wants to go find food or sugar, anything it can find to eat. And the mammalian brain says not only eat sugar, it’s not healthy for you because we know that. All right. So the point of I think to bring that back to the discussion, what I’ve always thought about relative to the way countries react and over time is very similar to the way people react.
Marv: [00:18:20] Right. So if you take a family or a person who is poor and these striving to get rich and he becomes a big industry magnet of some kind and becomes rich, his family right behind him comes up. They may do pretty well and they may carry the company forward and do well for a while. But the the families that come up underneath those families start to tend to lose the interest or they go off on and become artists or they become musicians or they do something that’s not part of what that that business industry was all about. And they start to lose it all. And so they become trust fund babies and they live on the trust fund until the trust fund eventually runs out on that and that business base goes away or is surpassed by another business base. So I think we see that in families. I think we see it in in countries. And I think maybe we see it in the world. I don’t know.
Jim: [00:19:15] So let me let me let me kind of tangent that comment. Kind of like future leaders. You know, we go in cycles. We you know, we’ve had a few presidents or former military just I spent three months reading the US Ulysses S. Grant book, which was like thirteen hundred pages. But, you know, the guy was brilliant. Right. But, you know, we had Eisenhower in the 50s. Where where do our future leaders come from? Just say in the next 20 to 30 years, are they. Pure politicians where they have no military background or even no international or. Do we get another actor like Ronald Reagan or Schwarzenegger, do we get more Silicon Valley people that have so much money, they have an influence? Do we have a Jeff Bezos who owns The Washington Post? Just just some thoughts on what you guys see from the future leaders and then maybe how the military academies. What their role plays in the next 20 to 30 years.
Ken: [00:20:22] I think it would be a mistake for us to concentrate on any one type of background for for our leaders. I think we’ve had mixed results, whether it be a military person or a pure diplomat. I think what’s critically important, it goes back to what we talked about earlier. What’s critically important is whether or not our leaders are intelligent enough. To do the right thing, make the right decisions and and wise enough to listen to the experts, right. You can’t know everything. And you know, Ronald Reagan, while he was a politician and an actor, first turned out to be pretty good leader. What are the qualities of an individual like that? Nixon incredibly flawed and flawed individual. But he did some really, really great things in these forgotten people. People think of him and remember Watergate. But if you recall, a time was is doing right and probably all of China.
Marv: [00:21:27] What’s at the opened up China now?
Ken: [00:21:30] Yes. So I don’t know that there’s an exact formula, but I certainly believe it has a lot to do with whether or not you’re open minded enough and wise enough to listen and learn. Right. And to be honest. I question whether or not the direction we’re going with the divisiveness in this country, whether or not we’re going to have a future leader that’s going to have those qualities, I think the divisiveness is going to show up at the executive office. So I feel a little bit of that, so that’s a hard question to answer. Jim?
Jim: [00:22:11] Yeah, so. The impact of social media, I have a twenty four year old who is the Grahams at least five times a day, right. And has to check her Instagram account. How how’s how social media and just the the future leadership, which just the young culture today of of the generations that are growing up again, how does that have an impact on me? Is it more important that you’re have three thousand followers to become a congresswoman or congressman versus knowledge? Just some thoughts on that.
Marv: [00:22:47] Well, let’s just talk about the education system for a while. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the education system as I was going through my work career life because I just assumed that it was going to be sort of like the education I received. But turns out it isn’t like the education I received because we’ve now almost universally eliminated the social studies, arts knowledge in our in our schools, our high schools and even in our universities. So we have people that are doing all of these these credit. Score these these creditable classes that are built around a seminar of some subjects, like whether or not we should be more open minded about transvestites or transgenders or whatever. So these kids today think much, much more about what’s going on in these social context than they do about what the history lessons have taught us, about the way civilization evolves and and the way people always treat each other with respect to wars that are not going to go away and stop their criminal enterprise comment. But I think that that’s one of the alarming signs that’s on the horizon right now,
Ken: [00:24:05] That I don’t disagree with. Our education system may be failing us. I think while we believe we tell ourselves that we’re diverse in reality, I think there’s becoming a singular mind in the education system and we don’t have a broad enough perspective in the education system. And that’s what I’m seeing to Jim’s point about technology. We had the expectation, we had the hopes that technology was going to it was going to help us to become more enlightened, more higher educated. Unfortunately, this focus on social media and the topics you mentioned more we’re creating a a future class of leaders that are more concerned with social status and and how we’re perceived in the world as opposed to the things that matter. So that’s why we we see our tweeting and our our Facebook pages being consuming people, because we think that’s what’s important. I think it’s a huge challenge.
Marv: [00:25:23] And it goes back to just to mention another thing that happened in our school systems that I’m completely against. And I think I think it’s coming to roost with this right now is if you ever listen to that guy, Mike Rowe, who’s worried about the fact that we stop all of the trades lessons and learning in our schools. So we have school kids now that are all thought they need to go out and have a college degree. And so then we then we we compounded that problem by saying everybody could have loans to get their college degree. So we get these kids that really should be in the trades business one way or the other, going into college, getting a college degree, running up a big one hundred two hundred thousand dollar debt to go to college. And they come out with a communications degree or business degree or something that’s that’s not specific enough to really guarantee that they’re likely to get a job. Like if you took a computer programming or engineering or something like that or in medicine. So what we have now is we have no trades people in this country. If they’re not immigrants, you can see that in spades in San Diego, like I’ve done two remodels there and I couldn’t find a tradesperson to work on my house. There wasn’t an immigrant and some of them are illegal immigrants. You don’t know whether they’re legal or not based on the way these systems, these little companies pop up on big jobs that come in and do different jobs. But we sure as heck don’t have any of our kids in there from
Ken: [00:26:48] A
Marv: [00:26:50] Traditional American school system that new trades and went into the trades business.
Jim: [00:26:54] Yeah, yeah. There’s a great editorial in The Wall Street Journal this morning about talking about if we really want to build infrastructure, let’s build some shipyards. Because know, we just over the last 50 years, we’ve just decimated our shipyards to the point I think we’ve got, what, three major ones. But if the Navy really wants to build three hundred ship Navy or 400 ship Navy, we’ll never get there. So and I think a pipe fitters and yeah, it’s actually twenty five dollars an hour and they get pressured to lower to twenty dollars an hour and things like that.
Marv: [00:27:31] We’re having that problem in spades with the new submarine, Columbia, Denville. They can’t find tradespeople up in Groton to build those submarines. Why are you talking about submarines? Let me just bring up one point. So the national shipyard right there in San Diego, I was in that shipyard with the Navy Research Advisory Council team several years ago. And so far it’s been six years ago now. And they had brought in Hyundai’s shipyard people to teach them how to be more productive in the shipyard. And they they radically changed the way the ships were built. And that shipyard and there are proud because they were getting some of the metrics for how fast they could do the ship jobs to improve a lot. But in the process of learning that, I learned that at the time, and I assume it’s still. Hyundai Shipyard produced. Over two hundred and fifty large tanker ships or cargo ships in one year. So if you think about that, they’re producing a cargo ship in a day and a half or a day in a third race and pumping them out there and push them out under the oceans to provide the oil and the cargo that we all enjoy every day coming through the seaways, which gets us back to the Pacific and why we care about whether or not we can continue to keep the sea lanes open in the Pacific, which is one of the roles America has been the key player in over over the decades.
Ken: [00:29:01] That brings up another topic that you had asked me to think about our global role. What is where do we see the United States in this we the world’s police officers? Or do we want to become accidents just like we have in the past, which I think is a huge mistake, that the challenge we have being the world’s police officers, the mistakes we make with not understanding the world. So we’ve been in quagmires before 10 plus year wars because we don’t understand what we’re doing. Right. So what do you guys think about that challenge that we have? And this involves all the topics we discussed of our leadership not being aware of the world and and bad policy. But what are your thoughts on that?
Marv: [00:29:59] That’s a good point. One of my favorite authors is Victor Davis Hanson. He’s a he’s a Stanford professor, history professor, but he specializes in is an ancient war and war in general. And he talks often about the fact that wars are started for often small reasons, that they lead to big devastating effects on the country and the countries involved. And we’re we’re potentially facing that situation again as we face China or China faces us. And typically, wars are caused by younger civilizations rising and thinking that they have garnered enough power to overtake an existing civilization. And it may or may not be true, which is what gets us into these situations. But but that kind of history is the kind of history that’s revolutionary to the. To the possibilities that we don’t think enough about in the way we currently, as we just said, don’t think very much about our history or about the history of the planet, right?
Jim: [00:31:08] Yeah, I think Admiral James Trev’s his new book, which came out like two weeks ago. Twenty, thirty four. That’s kind of a major discussion about young people in our military. Just sometimes it’s just young people do stupid things or they’re in a situation in the South China Sea where just things happen. So that whole book is about how the war starts, much like how World War One started, you know, with nothing major. Let’s shift a little bit to just a again, one of the one of the things is this Smart Futures podcast. We definitely want to create topics of interest that, you know, that the audience wants to hear about. So what just maybe what are the four or five technology topics that you think down the road we should talk about or what technology that we’re going to have a major impact on the world, the country, our military. Throw that out to Ken.
Ken: [00:32:02] Yeah, yeah. We talked about I mean, most definitely a significant technology is going to go dramatic difference in our future. Machine learning. Right. Deep learning. I think coupled with that quantum computing, I think that goes hand in hand. They’re going to have a huge influence in our future. Global future, by the way. Uh. I think this is a little different topic. I think a lot change is going to have a significant impact on how business is conducted. It may change banking as we know it in banking, as we know it may go away. All right. We’re going to need to think about how we’re going to how we’re going to deal with monetization and exchange in the future. Right. That’s a that’s a huge challenge. Why do you have any others you want to add to that list?
Marv: [00:33:03] I was glad you brought up the block chain because I was going to bring it up. I think actually the horse is out of the barn too far to put it back in, because here’s an interesting discussion for the people who don’t quite understand. Block chain, block chain is about keeping all the transactional records of something like in the case of Bitcoins, buying a Bitcoin and putting your money on the line to buy it. And that transaction is captured in an encrypted series of blocks and each block has a encryption key to go with it for all the previous blocks. So the only way you can break open a block is if you can break open all the previous blocks to figure out how to get that encryption code. And because of that Bitcoin as a group of very smart people or a smart person, if that’s what it is, has created a situation now that is running away in our financial system in such a way that it could replace fiat currencies or government controlled currencies. So in other words, if you think about a future world that does not have its primary financial activities governed by any government, that’s a radical difference. Right. And you know that governments are not going to absorb that idea easily and without a strong fight by banning Bitcoin or doing whatever they’re going to do.
Marv: [00:34:26] But but that transition is well, well underway and it’s a big deal. And to your point about the transactions worth shipping has been working with IBM for a couple of years to put in place a block chain ledger system for all the transactions associated with shipping. And the nice thing about a block chain ledger system is they’re all transparent. Anybody can see what happened in the ledger, but nobody can change it unless the changes are authorized by the system the way the block chain works. So what that would mean is you could have ledger systems that support all the transportation of goods and services around the planet without having any of the audit trail or the audit companies of the audit processes going on because it’s built into the system and the system can’t be broken. So that’s a radical radical change in the way we run the world. And it will be a big deal as it continues on over the next, I think five to 10 years is going to tell us a lot about what’s going to happen.
Ken: [00:35:30] Your point? I think China has banned Bitcoin, but if I’m not mistaken, they created their own
Marv: [00:35:37] Great China, that China has created the digital one, which is their own block chain and all of their smartphones, a smartphone or smartphone to device transactions, which is now more than just read. It’s a greater amount than their current GDP and transactions. That’s all done in a block chain. But the reason they wanted to do it, the block chain, is it’s totally transparent to them and they can see every transaction. So they’re trying to force everybody into the same system because it completely makes everybody’s activity transparent to them as the government, because they own the blocking.
Ken: [00:36:19] The the implications of that is now China can actually a control it. But also you think about governments, the governments run on taxation. I need money. So if I know every transaction, I can now tax your transactions and I get my piece of the pie right so that then you
Marv: [00:36:37] Have to do that. They just they tax the transaction. So it’s automatically pulled out as soon as the transaction is taxed. So like sales tax.
Ken: [00:36:45] And for those that are listening, that may not be familiar with block chain, this is an analogy, but it gives you the idea how the the transactions are linked together and follow each other. If you have a Google account and you send out mail and somebody responds and then you respond, the Google keeps a track, a transaction tracking of everything that goes on somewhat similar to that. So it doesn’t mean there’s no one in charge. No one has to be the the bookkeeper for the system. It’s it’s inherent to what how it works and it’s ideal for the Internet right now.
Marv: [00:37:24] We’re going to need more detail on it. And there’s a bunch of arguments about it cost too much for all the computer usage to. Mine the coins and make the coins transactions work and on and on. So it’s a deep, deep technical subject, but it’s it’s one of those areas that’s going to revolutionize the world. The of a couple than Jim. Confecting, robotics is going to revolutionize the world. If we if we actually have robotic taxes, as the people are anticipating within the next five to 10 years, you could have most of the trucks on the and the cities and on the roads, most of the cars in the cities and on the roads being driven by themselves, not by a driver, and haven’t been certified to support safety, which is actually much greater than human safety in cars, because these things are going to be less fallible than we we generally think of all the jobs that have moved off those systems if those robots take over all of those jobs.
Jim: [00:38:18] So the UI path went public this week like crazy IPO. And I think the robotic automation software right in automating and turning everything into robotic systems, there’s another company, Blue PRISM is kind of the leading. But that was that’s all kind of new stuff. You know, we’re all we’re all five GS, a hot topic, but just comments on just space and the number of low Earth orbit satellites that are being watched between Space X and and today there was announcement that Bezos and Amazon have worked out a deal with SpaceX. Just just your thoughts on you know, we talked about Jefferson taking 30 days to learn about things. It’s going to even go crazier, faster. And I joke for all US Navy folks, we always hide behind the fact that the Navy has a deal environment and we’re different because we we don’t have the networks will if if you got Starling’s satellites above you, that that that excuse goes away. So just just some thoughts on the world of SpaceX, which.
Marv: [00:39:32] Yeah, first of all, Jim, we ought to talk about I had been marvelling about this for the last year or more my entire career, we grew up with the cost of putting a pound of anything in space being ten to fifteen thousand dollars a pound. We’ve had multiple billion dollar programs through the Air Force and and the DOD systems to try and reduce the cost to launch because the cost of launch is so expensive. That is driven, is driven. A lot of the decisions for all the systems we have up in space to support our national security or the communications systems, et cetera. So Elon Musk comes along and says, well, you know what? I think we should do a different job, build on these rockets and make them reusable and make them cheaper so that we can get more weight into space. So after they’ve only been in business for, what, 10, 15 years at the most, after 10 to 15 years, he already just won the newest NASA two and a half two point six dollars billion contract to use his large new Mars launcher to take men to the moon again. And he’s already launching on his the satellite, the rocket launchers that he’s taken the astronauts to the space station. He’s also launching all of his Starlene satellites on the order of what’s he putting up? Thirty to one hundred at a time on those rockets.
Marv: [00:41:00] And then they come back down on land as if anybody’s been watching them. They know he’s putting up satellites right now in the thousands of dollars a pound. And the projection is with the new Mars launch, they’re going to be twenty five dollars a pound. So when you think about going from fifteen thousand dollars a pound to twenty five dollars a pound, and in the time period when the money’s worth a lot less than it was, there’s a three or four X Factor right there just because of the time frames. And twenty five dollars a pound is like what it cost to drive your car to the grocery store, which is crazy that we’re going to put stuff into space for that. So so there to your point, Jim, we’re going to have four thousand musk satellites up there and low earth orbit and another what, thirty five hundred or so. And I just read that the Chinese are building a constellation of thirteen thousand satellites that they’re trying to pull up. So we’d have all these things up in space. Hopefully they’re not going to create the space debris and run into each other and cause that devastating problem, but not for communications. Any place on the planet. It’s not going to be across space.
Jim: [00:42:02] Traffic management is going to be a hot topic.
Ken: [00:42:04] It already is a major problem to that point. Right. So I think the public would be shocked if they knew how many items are up in space now that we track our military track. So to what Mark said, we don’t want to brush over this issue about what would happen if there was a collision in space and the potential for catastrophic effects that could cause. What happens is it’s like playing pool when you hit a couple of balls, they all go off directions. What happens then? Right.
Jim: [00:42:37] Or better yet, proving it. There’s one thought the Chinese are just going to you know, it’s like I just accidentally bumped you. I didn’t mean to that. It causes turbulence and issues down the road.
Ken: [00:42:52] Perhaps for another one of your sessions, we can have a conversation about unintended consequences for all of these conversations we’ve been having. For all the technologies. There are unintended consequences. And I don’t think go back to that conversation about our leaders and and knowledge. I don’t think we do a very good job of projecting or predicting the unintended consequences. It’s inherent somewhat in our medical industry. But beyond that, I don’t think we do a very good job. And profitability often drives all these decisions. Right. And we start a company. And by the way, Elon Musk is a phenomena, right? He seems to be a genius. Everything he touches turns to gold, but there’s unintended consequences. As you saw recently, somebody misused one of his cars and there was an accident and they died. The public probably is not aware that they were not following the instructions from from Tesla, but nonetheless, unintended consequence. Right. So to Mark’s point earlier, what happens when all of these truck drivers don’t have a job anymore? Right. We could potentially be ruining whole industries that employ people. What is the human race do at that point when when robots are doing everything for us and thinking for us because we have A.I.?
Jim: [00:44:16] So so we’re coming up on the end of our first podcast. And so can maybe in 30 seconds to a minute thoughts on the past, your thoughts on, you know, the next few months. But totally appreciate you joining us today. And we’ll get you our gift prize. We’re still trying to figure it out, but it’ll be something to hang up on behind you there.
Ken: [00:44:41] All right. So the blank wall, no gold watch, though, huh? Now. Yeah. So obviously, the the topic that would most come to mind and we talk about the past year was the pandemic. I don’t know if this is where you want this conversation to go, but. Our lack of what the pandemic was all about and our priorities and and how we’re treating it in our in the fear mongering that’s going on concerns me, right. Statistically, whether we like it or not, statistically. And a lot of people are maybe find it shameful. It’s always a shame when someone dies from a disease or an infection. But statistically, the pandemic was was not significant in the world population. The day we hear about all this fear mongering going on and there’s certain individuals in the public domain who keep saying that we need to be worried about the pandemic wiping out the the earth’s population. There’s no evidence to suggest that that’s ever going to happen. Pandemics are awful. They are. But we still have seven point eight billion people on this planet. And I think the number of deaths globally came to zero point zero zero zero two percent of the global population
Jim: [00:46:09] In just a related shift. Do you agree that it’s you know, in a weird way, it’s kind of been good for the Defense Department because it’s kind of accelerated them digitizing. And and so I used to say that the DOD was kind of behind the commercial world and processes and technology. And, you know, if anything, the you know, I joke the Navy’s going to office 365 faster. They’ve learned what Zoome and teams are. So it’s seems like it’s been a you know, that’s the good out of this craziness.
Ken: [00:46:45] So we recently my company recently got ISO twenty seven thousand one certification. And one of the main takeaways and I was the management rep that put in place the main takeaways is risk based think right. So you have to plan ahead projecting what the risk is going to be. I think we learned a lot about how to adapt if another pandemic were to come along. We’re still doing it now. So we’re working. Right. And teleworking is enabled by all those technologies you just mentioned, Jim. Right. So Office 365 not being tethered to a A on premises data center, right? Yeah, we I think that’s the take away from a military perspective and business for that matter. Be prepared. How does your workforce behave? How do I enable my workforce through technology for the next one?
Jim: [00:47:41] And one of our one of our future podcasts is actually this idea of distributed work. And we’re not going back to the old way, even though there’ll be some cultural, you know, people that want everybody to go back to work. But all the surveys show that, you know, 50 to 70 percent of the employees like what they’re doing and want to have this option to either go into the office and or not. So things can totally appreciate it. We’ll definitely have you back.
Marv: [00:48:12] And let me just add before you jump off, Jim, because I want to talk about the pandemic in a slightly different regard. I agree with what you were saying on both sides. It’s been overhyped in many regards and it has caused a lot of changes that are positive in the sense of information technology, productivity allowances that cause us to don’t have to travel or not travel as much and have to be in the office as much. But the other thing that’s interesting that we haven’t touched on is these covid vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, which is a new form of gene editing. So if it weren’t for this covid disease, these vaccines would have never seen the light of day. Certainly as fast as they’re seeing them, we still are yet to not know everything about them and what the potential impacts on the people longer term could be. But no matter what, they’re ushering in a new gene, editing technologies that are going to help affect our health in a positive way going down the road. And that’s that’s just one of the silver linings that pops out of some of these crazy kinds of things like this that we’ll have to talk more about that in the future. And yeah, and I do thank you again for joining us today. It’s been very interesting, as it always is with you.
Ken: [00:49:34] I appreciate that. Thank you. Appreciate the challenge.
Jim: [00:49:37] Ok, everybody, thank you so much.
Ken: [00:49:39] And good night
Marv: [00:49:41] Later.