Tech Expert Predicts How AI and Spatial Computing Will Change Your Life In The Next 5 Years
Robert: I'm a truck driver and I'm about to lose my job because of autonomous vehicles. What should I do to prepare for the change that's coming? Robert: I sat down with a psychiatrist for 30 minutes, had just a conversation like this, And it listened to that conversation and wrote highly technical notes about the conversation about my mental state. Like, oh, he has p ts d he's been sexually abused as a child. and put them in scientific language for the doctor so that the doctor could watch me over time and see if I'm improving Robert: That's crazy. 30 minutes, right? What happens after 40 hours? Sara: Hello and welcome to Polyweb I'm your host, Sara Landi Tortoli, and my guest today is Robert Scoble, author, former technical evangelist at Microsoft and Chief Strategy Officer at Infiniti Retina. Sara: In this conversation, we explore the new frontiers of spatial computing and AI and the potential threat and opportunities that you can leverage. Robert: Sara: Sara: robert, welcome to Poly Web.
Robert: Thank you for having me on. Sara: Oh my God, I already know that this conversation is gonna be so much fun and you're gonna take me into some very, very deep rabbit holes and we can, I mean, like, this is also like a podcast, so some people, you know, don't, don't see. But uh, yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure it's gonna be a lot of fun. So, but without further I do, I am, I always like to know some of the background of the people that I have on that show.
Sara: You know, and I, and I'm most fascinated about, uh, early years and early decisions, uh, that, that you took, uh, in your career and in your life that are crucial and, and led you to the person and the career that you have today. Robert: Yeah. my mom got a job, uh, with uh, a woman named Hil Lick, who still runs a business in Silicon Valley to build Apple two motherboards in our house. And that was 1978 when I was 13 years old. And I got paid a dollar to load the boards with all the components and then
she would solder 'em. And later she taught me how to solder on these boards, which got me a early job at hp. Robert: that got me to fall in love with the, the motherboard because it was the most beautiful thing I had seen to that point. It was really pretty impressive piece of technology. And, later, you know, in 1989 I met, uh, the guy who designed that motherboard at, at community college. I was going to. And I would never have recognized him or cared about him if I didn't build those motherboards.
Robert: And that got my career started. That was Steve Wozniak and of co-founder of Apple. And so that got me, got my, uh, career started and led to, uh, interviewing thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs over the years. and yeah, that, that kicked it all off. It all springs from that. Yeah. Robert: Being Apple's, Apple's first trial laborer. Sara: Yeah, that, that's, that's actually absolutely incredible. How, so how did being
uh, one of the first, uh, people that worked at Apple, you know, change your life? Cuz you mentioned that started, a, journey that led you to talk with many, many, many entrepreneurs and, and most people cannot even dream of having such a background and history. Sara: You know, like you work with Steve. Robert: you told me, uh, yeah, if you told me I'd be working for Bill Gates at some point and inter, you know, had the first ride in the first Tesla with Elon Musk, or been a early user of Instagram, you know, I was the 79th user of Instagram because of this. Right. So I, if you told me all of that at the beginning of my life, I wouldn't believe it. Robert: It, it would be science fiction. You know, Sara: I'm, I'm very curious because there seems to be people that are always at the right place at the right moment in history.
Sara: How did that happen for you? Robert: my dad grew up in poverty in Brooklyn, in the projects of Brooklyn. And, you know, got the, went to the army, got the well, to get a PhD at Rutgers University, and his first job was, in Silicon Valley, at, at amex, which made the first bcr. I was lucky because my dad got this job, you know, in a place that nobody very few people knew about. Robert: Right. It wasn't, uh, it wasn't Silicon Valley back in 1971, but he bought a house in Cupertino for $65,000 Today. That's the same house as $2 million. Right. Sara: The best investment of a lifetime.
Robert: You know, I'm still here because of that investment. You know, he died a few, few years ago, so, you know, but yeah, that's, some, sometimes people get lucky. Robert: I, I, I got lucky cuz my dad moved us to Cupertino, California in 1971 before Apple started. Right. And Apple started a mile from my house. So, and that was my first startup to visit I when I was 13. I, because I built this motherboard, I really liked Apple computers. We had. At High Junior High in Cupertino, we started, we had the first, apple
two computers. Robert: I was part of the little computer club there, only five people. Right. And, my dad bought an Apple two as well at home. So we, we had, we were surrounded by Apple from the early, from, you know, childhood and now they're in my, Sara: I will say, like, I, I agree with you to a certain extent when you say that, uh, I was lucky I was at the right place at the, at the right time, right? Uh, Machiavelli in the Prince, uh, wrote about luck. The importance of luck. You can have many, many qualities, but you kind of have, you know, destiny sometimes needs, Sara: To put you at the right place at the right time. And so I understand that must, that must have played a role, uh, in the way you started. But all the rest, you know, that
came after, Robert: There's a lot of work there. Robert: If, if I grew up in Kansas, I wouldn't be who I am, you know, I'd be something else, you know? So, but yeah, you're right. You know, thousands of interviews, that's a lot that, that just, that's not luck. That, that there's, there's work there. and then getting
jobs at Fast Company Magazine and Microsoft and, and all that. Robert: and being a strategist and working at the highest level of the company and being able to see. You know, for at Microsoft, my job was to go around with a little video camera and interview people and, and represent the comp company on my blog. Right. That's insane. You know, thinking back on it, I got to interview 600 employees from the janitor to Bill Gates, you know, and understand one of the best companies in the world, you know, from the inside. Sara: So like doing an interview myself, huh? I'm kind of obsessed. About questions. like
I, I have like a, um, a note on my, on my apple, like I use Apple Notes, uh, uh, nothing very complicated or fancy, but I have these notes, uh, and it's titled like, uh, best Questions. And basically everywhere I go, I try to collect questions or whatever podcasts I listen to, you know, and then I'm like, oh, okay, how can I use this question to, um, to ask something out of my guest? Sara: You know? And so I wonder in all those, uh, interviews that you did, all the people that that you talk, did you have like a method for coming up with a question and like ideas really of how to get the best out of them? Because this is really like a very selfish question at this point. Robert: Yeah. at Microsoft, I, I carried a little Sony $250 camera camcorder, right?
And because I only had a camcorder and I was doing everything cheap, I, I, I didn't have a video crew, right? With lights and cameras and, you know, tripods and all that. I got that later, but, I only could focus it on one thing. Robert: I couldn't focus it on myself, which was really important. Cause I'm very selfish and I like, you know, focus on myself, but be being forced to aim at somebody else and listen to somebody else was a big deal, in the corporate setting. no, I, I, you know,
it comes down to passion and, you know, excitement of, you know, some nerd building some mic. Robert: Like I, I remember at Microsoft Research meeting a guy who built an an array microphone, which is, uh, a box with four separate little microphones. Now my headphones have like four microphones built into 'em, but back then it was, he, he, he, he got approval, spent $10,000 building this thing back in, you know, back before it's in everybody's phones and, and headphones. Robert: And, you know, I, when I meet somebody like that, I'm just excited about it. I, I wanna know about it, I wanna learn about it, and I wanna learn what they, what, what drove them to build that, you know? And, it's, it's, it's the passion that, it's the passion that, really brought, brought, got me into so many things, you know? Robert: and I see it. I, my, my kids don't have that passion, right? They have passion
about other things, but they don't have that passion about new companies or new technologies or people who are doing, changing the world or stuff like that, right? They just don't ask questions. They don't, they don't have that kinda interest in, in what's going on. Robert: And so that, that's what drove me. I very rarely did what you did, which is prepared questions. Once in a while I would, but, you know, maybe for Bill Gates, you know, I'd, I'd have a bunch of questions that I wanted, but even with him, The question that, that, that caused him to think a little bit was like, if you were a kid interviewing or a guy interviewing the world's richest person, what would you ask? Robert: You know, he had to think about that. Cause it, it wasn't something that he had a pre-written answer for, you know, cuz he is been interviewed by so many people that he has a pretty good idea of how he's gonna answer every question. You know, it's very rare he gets a question he's stumped by.
Sara: Yeah. And I'm like, when I have guests such as you, I always wonder, oh my God, I have a person that have so much knowledge. And conversation can go in so many direction. How do I make the most out of it? How do I cover an angle that maybe has not been covered before because you have been, uh, interviewed by so many people, you know? Sara: So it's very, it's very difficult. Uh, if you do it without preparation and even
with preparation, I mean, you could fall way below the line anyway, so it's not guarantee, Sara: But I, I'm curious so with this uncanny ability to spot trends, you know, and that like, and be being a strategist, right? how do you spot those trends very early on? Sara: So like, if you were like, imagine you're a computer, right? Which sorts of data point, uh, would you look at, you know, to predict. Technology that will be significant and speed out an algorithm that predict the impact that you're gonna have. So I'm very curious about how your mind operates and if you have a system, a process. Robert: I don't have a system per se, but I, in hindsight, I sort of did. Microsoft
paid me to go around the world interviewing people, right? So I got to go to Microsoft offices all. Like in England and other places, and because of my travels and then getting in, invited to speak at places, like I always spoke at Google's first advertising conference, right. Robert: as a Microsoft employee, that was a pretty crazy deal. And I like, well, why
is Google inviting me to speak at, you know, but I had a public space and I was friendly to Google right. On my blog. And so that got me invited there. because of that, I got to meet a lot of people who are building things that still haven't come true even 12 years later. Robert: It takes a long time for innovation to move from like Microsoft research labs where, where like, Andy Wilson had a whole augmented reality lab 20 years ago. Right. And it's just now starting to become real. And so, you know, a product that consumers
have in it could have in their homes, right? And so, it was just my ability to go to Israel and Germany and go and visit all these startups and founders and hang out with them and be at conferences and be in the flow. Robert: And now Twitter and, and this new threads thing that just came out last night are where that that group of people is meeting every day, right. And sharing what they're doing. And so, like on Twitter, there's a guy who just, shares all the ai, papers coming out of, you know, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon and, and all these different places, meta and Apple and you know, open AI and stuff like that.
Robert: And so you just watch those and you started understanding. Where is the bleeding edge computer scientist working at? Well, when is that gonna come out to a real product that normal, everyday people can buy? And you sort of start watching that, right? And, and yeah. So you know, we all know a humanoid come in someday. Robert: I'm watching, right? Trying to help it along. If I.
Sara: Are there particular communities or places that, that you always, uh, you know, have a look out for that you say, okay, I'm gonna watch those people, you know, and see what they come up. With like early experimenters and Robert: Yeah. It, it's not one person. It's a, today it's a group of people. So yeah, I have Twitter li I have like 70 Twitter lists of investors and founders of companies and AI researchers and, you know, different kinds of people like that, and all the tech news and all the world news. So I can watch the entire world go by, you know, on the screen. Robert: I, it's sort of underneath you. So I can watch the world go by. Robert: If something dramatically important happens, we can talk about it. Right? no,
it's, it is just hanging out with people who are building the future. They, they let me know what's, what's coming and, and you know, I mean, I had dinner with, uh, the guy ran Google's r d you know, and we talked about the autonomous cars and. Robert: What's, what's coming, and that was eight years ago and it's still coming. Right.
So it still hasn't really happened yet. I mean, it has in San Francisco, but my neighborhood doesn't have an autonomous car on it. Okay. There's a Tesla in the garage, but it doesn't have a Waymo, a Google car. Yeah. Sara: since we're talking about this, Sara: I'm very curious, out of all the technological innovation that are coming out, uh, you know, or there's, or there are already like out, what do you think? Huh? Will be the most transformational and, and why in, in different fields as well.
Robert: it's clearly AI right now. Right. But, I, I still am focused on augmented reality because I, I see in a few years, I've started seeing a lot of prototypes of glasses that look sort of like this, a little bit chunkier, a little bit bigger, but that have screens, cameras, microphones, right? Robert: And you start thinking about and talking to the innovators who are thinking about this and dreaming about it and working on it for years, right? I mean, I, I met Thomas Burnes at Dogman and World Expo this year. he's been working on VR since 1965, since I was born, right? So there's people who have been working on tech techniques and technologies for a long time that still haven't really caught on with the consumer because they haven't gotten cheap enough, good enough, light enough, small enough. Robert: You know, enough processing, but, but in the next five years, we're hitting that, right? The computers are, I mean, you, you see these little AirPod pros have, this has more computer in them than an iPhone forehead, right? So the computers are shrinking, shrinking, shrinking, getting more and more powerful, and that's leading us into a new place. Robert: So I would still say spatial computing, augmented reality is, is the one that I think most people will under when they get glasses, they'll understand it. Now, the truth is,
a lot of what you're gonna see and hear in those glasses is gonna be produced by ai. And so AI really is the driver, is the engine that is gonna create the experiences that people are gonna, you know, want to experience in these glasses. Robert: And by the way, that's why, that's why I went crazy in the last year. I followed on Twitter, I followed 70,000 people in ai. You know, if, if you're building an ai, I was following you. And I did that because I see, oh, these two things are gonna join
in the next five years. Right? And I wanna watch that from the people who are building it and, you know, help it along, participate in it, and understand it, and then have something to say about it. Robert: You know, write a book about it or whatever.
Robert: I wrote two on spatial computing on this, a augmented reality. And Qualcomm's head of, uh, ar vr said it's a must read. So Robert: how do you think spatial computing, uh, Can, can change, you know, the way that we interact with technology today. What makes it so, so significant? Robert: And with each other cause So, so here's an example of where I, I get lucky Uni, uh, researcher at Unity took me in and showed me some of the prototypes of what they're working on, and they cut my kitchen in half. And so I'm wearing a device, right? And you're wearing a device and I see your kitchen on the other half, and then you can walk out of your kitchen into my kitchen and that's crazy shit, right? Robert: You know, but that's coming, it's coming next year. And
Robert: so, Robert: you know, but the problem is nobody, you know, the first device, the Apple device is $3,500 and they can't make enough, even if everybody could afford it, which they can't, they can't make enough. So we have to wait a few more years until that gets down in cost to, let's say a hundred thousand dollars. Robert: Then the mar mass market starts getting attracted and the device has to go from a big ugly thing on your face to a pair of glasses, and that'll happen over the next five years.
Right? Five years from now, we're wearing a pair of glasses. I've seen them. They're really cool and people don't understand what, why you would need that. Robert: But once they see it in a store, like, and that's Apple's whole goal with this new device, is to get you to the Apple store to try it. Just to try it. They don't wanna sell it to you. They, they don't have enough. They can only make 400,000 of these things. They just want you to see that there's a new way to compute.
Robert: That's way better than looking at a 2D glass green like I am right now. Right. This would be way better if we were in a 3D space and we could, you know, sit around a table like we do in the real world. And that's coming. Sara: I, I'm very, very curious. This will change things like, not just for the way that
we interact with technology and with each other, which I'm very, very excited about, Robert: we could play ping pong with each other. We could play blackjack with each other, right? We could go bowling or mini golf that you're gonna see a whole range of things the next year come out for the, for the Apple vi, uh, visual Vision Pro. And Zuckerberg has a cheaper competitor Right. Uh, coming as well. Robert: So we'll see, we'll see a lot of innovation next year, I believe. And by the way, the AI stuff is just insane, right? The speed of improvement and you know, right Sara: I'm, I'm always late in this stuff. I'm always late. I. Robert: I'm late. I'm not always late, early. I, I'm early to some things, but some things
I'm late to. But yeah, you know, with with, with this kind of technology, because I was a strategist at Microsoft, I, I've always tracked it and understood it and, uh, cared about it. I also have a special needs son and he's gonna have a hard time in life. Robert: The glasses are gonna make his life much better. Sara: Yeah. That, that's the power of technology. Right. I wonder, however, how would, uh, spacial computing change, uh, also businesses Robert: For example, I'm not just talking about virtual meeting, you know that everyone can work remote. And I'm talking about, for example, even the app that we have on our phone right now.
Sara: Right now, they're all designed for like a 2D experience. looks to me, and maybe I'm wrong, please correct me, but looks to me that even everything that is currently existing needs to be reinvented or if not reinvented, redesigned. So there are, I think there are huge untapped opportunities. Sara: So I wonder if you can help me spot some. Robert: well, we already mentioned a couple people keep telling me, I don't really wanna go on a metaverse where there's strangers. Right. There are some people like I, I'm attracted to that. I like, I like going to places where it's strangers, but Norm, I, I do a lot of
consumer research, right? And people keep telling me, no, that's not attractive to me. Robert: I wanna go and play simple games with my friends and family, ping pong. Blackjack, monopoly, you know, bowling, mini golf, right? Things you can play in your, in your house with your friend, friends or family. So you don't have to, like, my best friend lives two hours away, right? So if I want to go and drive there, it, it's four hours just to go see him. Robert: Well, hey, can we put on a device and then, play blackjack together on Friday night? That's a lot better than me driving to his house. Right. And that's, that's coming. You asked about enterprise. Enterprise is, changing already because of this. For instance,
there's, we could spend an hour just going through all the different things I've seen. Robert: One of them was, Meadowview, which is a little company out of Cleveland Clinic, and they built a, a surgery app for a HoloLens, HoloLens. and the surgeon puts on the HoloLens and it shows them how to cut the tumor out of your chest, right? It helps them do their surgery in 3D on top of the patient, so it overlays the scans on top of your body and the, the tool, the thing actually shows you like a video game, how to get the tool into the right place. Robert: When it's in the right place, it turns green. You can start cutting right. Those are the kinds of early things, uh, that augmented reality is being used for. It's just those
are very expensive use cases. The, the surgeons are getting paid $300,000. The device costs $3,500. The custom software costs millions of dollars to create, right? Robert: But it has a, a big impact on a very expensive process, right? If a surgeon has to touch, has touches something, he has to wash his hands. It costs $1,500 just to wash your hands, right? Somebody's actually figure it out. All the costs, everything in the surgery room, you know, so having a better outcome because you're using new technology there makes a lot of sense.
Robert: That kind of technology is coming to a whole lot of things, you know, helping us fix a washing machine that's broken, or us do something new, um, is gonna be, uh, using the same kind of technology. But I'm, I'm seeing factories use this, right? Volkswagen built a digital twin of their entire factory floor so that they could do training at home, right? Robert: So that worker gets hired by v VW gets uh, v VR headset does training before he even gets allowed to be on the factory floor. For his job or her job and, um, uh, goes through all the safety pro things that they have to worry about cuz they're working next to robots that can crush 'em. Right. So you gotta be careful where you, you know,
what you're doing and yeah, this is already starting to change companies. Robert: It's just, it hasn't gotten mainstream. It's little tiny, you know, experiments here and there and here and there. That cuts a lot of money. But, um, we're, we're starting to get into a place where the technology's getting a lot better and now that over the next five years you're gonna see a lot of movement in that. Sara: Yeah, we're gonna see a lot of movement and, uh, but, but still, I wonder, you know, this is just scratching the surface. There is, I think there is so much more potential,
right? Robert: it just keeps going, right? Because eventually we get computers hooking up to our brain. I have one done here, uh, from Snapchat, bought a company called Next Mind that puts a, a bunch of sensors on the back of your head, which is where all your visual processing is being done, right? So I'm seeing you with my eyes, but my brain is processing that all in the back of my head. Robert: And so if you put some sensors back there with some AI that understands what the, what your brain, what your electrical signals are doing, you can start building new kinds of, uh, brain computer interfaces. And that's real exciting. But that's a little bit further, uh, you know, 10 years, five years, uh, from really being.
Robert: Something that a consumer would consider. We have to get glasses first. Cause it, glasses are, uh, how the computer will figure out your brain, right? Because the, the app eyes has, uh, eye sensors that look inside, uh, your eye and know where you're looking and know a lot about you. And that process of getting that data, of understanding how you think, how you look at things, how you interact with things, is real important When you start hooking up other computer interfaces and Mark Zuckerberg has a, a band that you're gonna wear on your arm that lets you shoot a gun without, without shooting it. Robert: Right? All you have to do is think about it and it shoots it. It's like, what?
How does that work? Oh, yeah. Just a little tiny twitch down here. The electrical signal going down your arm, the computer can pick, pick up, right? And do something. So there, there's, it's never ending, right? It's just some things are really. Robert: Unattainable. Even for a government, you know, quantum computing right now, governments
ha have some of it, but it's not very good yet. You know, you spend another trillion dollars and another trillion dollars, all of a sudden government ha has it, right? And then the cost starts coming down so that businesses have it, then the cost comes down so everybody has it, right? Sara: Yeah. You, you touched upon a point, huh? And, and I believe we, we talk, we started to talk about this when, when we first met in our, in our first call together. And, and it's something that gives me, Gives me pose. Uh, and that's the, the use of data. You said it before, right? So these devices basically look at the way you look at the word, literally, right? Sara: They, they with your eyes, you know, they see what you pay attention to, and, you know, they can kind of infer how you operate, what, what you're thinking to Robert: just infer it's, Sara: Uh, I saw like, Robert: we gotta talk about my psychiatrist that, Sara: I, I saw the video. I saw the video. While, while I was preparing for this interview,
I saw your YouTube video. Sara: We're gonna leave it also in the, in the description below. of your therapy session, you know, with a therapist and chat g p t. So if you combine what you write
Robert: And that didn't have eye sensors or brain computer interfaces. Right. It was just listening to the microphone, you know? Sara: So already, I think already most people have very, very, a very hard time understanding themself and who they are. This is like, we spend a lifetime, I think, uh, wondering who am I a lifetime? And those devices are gonna know better than anyone else, including us, especially as we're most often blind about ourself, Sara: who Robert: Or if we do know, we can't control it unless you really, you know, uh, do some meditation, like serious meditation. Like a friend of mine did, uh, seven days of meditating, right at a vis FASA Resort. That, that kind of meditation where you're forced to sit on
a mat for 24 hours and just do meditation exercises that lets you figure out how your brain works. Robert: I'm not there. I'm not there. I, I, I know sort of my traumas and how to, uh, why I do certain things, but fixing that is real. Here, here, here's an example. I went to Stanford's VR lab, uh, with Jeremy Bail Bailon, and if you ever get a chance to do the tour and get his demo, he, he gave this, uh, demo to Mark Zuckerberg and a month later he bought Oculus, which began his vr experi experiments. Robert: I knew that the plank was coming there. There's a demo there where he walks you across a plank, right? in vr I knew it was coming. I watched YouTube videos of people doing it.
I, I knew my rational side of my brain knew I was on the conference room floor wearing vr, right? I knew there was three people around me to catch me if I fell or did anything like that. Robert: So I knew I was safe. The rational part of my brain, But when you're actually in VR and you're walking across the plank and then the floor falls away and you're on the plank over a canyon or over a, you know, a void, your mind starts flipping out and there's nothing you can do rationally to control your subconscious mind. Robert: Your subconscious mind wants off the plank in the worst way. And it, it, it showed
me that humans don't really have control of themselves. Most of us e even when we're prepared, even when we're, you know, our rational mind knows what's going on, our subconscious is in control. And so, you're absolutely right. Robert: Most people don't understand what their subconscious is doing Right. And how to control it. I don't understand how to control my subconscious, right. I'm trying to learn,
but Sara: What are you doing to try to learn? I'm curious. Robert: Psych. Well, that's why I was talking to a psychiatrist. I was like, I was like, here's a Sara: But you do, don't YouTube in front of everyone.
Robert: well, you know, that's, that's me. Robert: I'm an open book, you know, everybody knows my mental illnesses. And so I, I'm like, okay, everybody knows what, you know what I've done bad in life. It was in the New York Times. So, let's go and, and do this. And, and what we're talking about is, uh, I sat down with a psychiatrist for 30 minutes, had just a conversation like this, not much different than what we're talking about here.
Robert: Right? And it listened to that conversation and wrote highly technical notes about the conversation about my mental state. Like, oh, he has p ts d he has, you know, he's been sexually abused as a child. Oh, he, right. He just took notes on our conversation and put them in scientific language for the doctor so that the doctor could watch me over time and see if I'm improving or, if, if some of the things, that it noticed, you know, are, are getting better. Robert: And so, yeah. That's crazy. 30 minutes, right? What happens after 40 hours?
Sara: and if you combine it already, what they know of you outside of the therapy session, like your browsing history and you know what, what you're asking, you know, Robert: these things. What if it could listen to every single conversation I've ever had? Like, I've done thousands of hours of Twitter spaces, right? And I get triggered there. I get angry or, you know, get confused or whatever. And so it would pick up on that.
It could pick up on, it could go through thousands of hours of conversation and figure out even more detail about me. Robert: Like, and it already has, right? it read 20 years of my blogs. And so if you ask Chad g PT about me, it knows me pretty well. It can write a blog, like I would write it because it knows my language pattern, right? It's insane what's coming and most people have no clue. That's why I did the psychiatrist cuz I wanted to show people this new technology, large language models, ai, like open, open AI chat, G P T, right? Robert: They're very powerful new machines that can do new things that we do are unexpected almost. Right? Listen to it. This is a fun thing, right? You get the, in fact, here's something fun. Take this interview. After it's over, stick it, just stick the recording
into chat g p t, right? You can stick an hour of audio in there. Robert: It'll make a text transcript, transcript. Then just post it to chat g p t and see what it says. It'll come back and start talking to you about our conversation Sara: Okay. You know, I'm gonna try that and then I'm gonna post it. Uh, I'm gonna tag you on Twitter. Robert: and and then, and then you can start talking to the engine and say, okay, you have my, this hour conversation with Robert Scoble. Uh, can you write a tweet based on this conversation?
And it can, it's insane. Or write a blog post based on what we're talking about, right? It can, it's like what? Sara: I would admit, when I create content, it's of great help. Like I, I have like my prompts, you know, that I spent some time, you know, uh, crafting for both help me coming up with questions. I also ask question to, Robert: yeah, Sara: or like, for the title of the video, the, the thumbnail suggestions and all that stuff.
Sara: It's absolutely incredible. I still need to get better at it. But, Robert: We all do. Sara: uh, Robert: This is why I'm trying to, yeah, I'm trying to use AI first for everything. It, it's hard to do that cause it's a lot of friction, but the more important things you used AI first. Right. Uh, even non-important things like what should I have for dinner at this restaurant? You know, I ask it a lot about that, and it's pretty good at that, right? Robert: it, it's not perfect, but it's pretty good. And it starts showing you how to use it and what it's good for and, and where it makes mistakes and Right. And, and how it
can be used. And that's how I discovered some of these things. Right. Just playing around with it and trying things Sara: Yeah. But like I want to go back, uh, to, to. To the getting to know ourself versus the technology getting to know us better than we do, which we know doesn't take much, right? You can trick the brain in so many different ways, and the ba the brain won't know the difference. so how do we protect if we can ourself, how do we protect our own data and perhaps more controversial, even shall we and or shall we simply accept the doom of, uh, hey, technologies are here to stay. Sara: This thing is gonna know us better than we do. We
Robert: it doesn't really care. It doesn't really care. It's just a machine with a trillion knobs on it and it doesn't care. it really doesn't need your data to do much new. It knows a lot of things already, right? And, and so, the chance that you're gonna have something that you need to protect from that are, are, are really not that big a, uh, a chance anymore. Robert: Where, where I'm seeing people still be concerned is around intellectual property, right? If you copy a spreadsheet and put it into chat, g p t, it's really useful because now you can talk to chat gpt about the spreadsheet. Hey, Can you find an anomaly here? Can you change the row and the column? Can you, right, can you make a graph outta this? Robert: Stuff like that, right? You start talking to it, but you just give all of the intellectual property and the spreadsheet to chat. G p t. At least that's the fear.
Truth is, if you're coming in through the api, they say they don't record it. But this is a new company. We don't know how to trust this company, right? Robert: I, I don't trust companies anymore. I, mark Zuckerberg lied to me personally, uh, about, you know, data. And so I don't trust any company. I just, I think it's over. I think it doesn't matter you, Robert: Robert: but, but here, here's what the companies are doing. The company is putting up a firewall,
right? Intellectual properties over here, open ais over here. Robert: They're building their own large language models that are inside the firewall that the employee will talk to with their spreadsheets or their data lakes or, you know, the, the patents or whatever. Cause it's really useful, right? For writing patents. I met a rocket engineer who used open AI to write patents, and it took one 10th the time that it used to take him to write a patent, right? Robert: So already people, even rocket scientists are starting to use open AI and just give it all the data. It doesn't matter to them. But if it does, you have to have this, internal L l m. You have to build your own llm or get your own LM that runs inside your firewall
that doesn't transfer, uh, information over to open ai, or has a system internally to figure out what is appropriate to go to open. Robert: Right For other answers cuz open AI will have other answers that your own internal LL M doesn't have. So people, companies are building these hybrid LLM models. One LLM internally that talks to the other LLMs externally and decides. Based on the company rules, what,
what can be passed to open ai And that's the bleeding edge right now, that when you go to the hackathons, there's a lot of people thinking about systems for, for businesses, and are building very complex. Robert: The psychiatrist is a good example of that, right? The psychiatrist had a system, very complex system built for the psychiatrist to listen and to strip off all the personal information. Right? The first step is, his technology. It strips off all the personal identifiable information before it goes to open AI because it has to survive HIPAA review, right? Robert: HIPAA's a regulation in the United In the United States for protecting people's medical privacy, Sara: Sara: Yeah, but, and this is just also much bigger than medical data because when you, when you combine open AI and ChatGPT with spatial computing, this is something that ChatGPT now cannot do, right? Can track you what you're searching for and why you ask it to do, but cannot really interact with the way you see the world, with the way you move. Sara: So when you combine all those data together, Then you get a pretty good understanding of who you are as an individual. And, and this is where, where I get scared a little bit.
It's uh, Sara: well Sara: they can sell me anything but they can also sway the way I think they can condition the way I Sara: think my, what I purchase it, but also what I vote for example, or what I believe in. Robert: yep. Or they could radicalize. I mean, if you're, if you're, uh, a right-wing Republican or a left-wing democrat, we can radicalize you. We can take you further, further, further using com. The computer could move you a little bit every day. You know, and radicalize you and change your votes or change you, you know, change your belief system. Robert: It could, this is a fear there, there's a number of different PE fears, problems coming at us. And that's one when we get to Neuralink, when we're putting wires inside our brain,
oh, then free will goes away. Cause if there's a wire on your brain, you can't control it. You know, if the wire tells you to raise your hand, you're gonna raise your hand. Robert: There's nothing you can do about it, right? And so free will goes away. That's
fear. and the ability to have an internal dialogue with yourself. Right. Should I say this thing? You know, should I believe this? Should I get out of this situation? Should, right? All these thoughts that people have internally, that has to be protected. Robert: And I think we, we need regulation there. The, the, there is some real problems coming, you know, over the next 20 years for, for human beings. Because, because of this
new technology par particularly once you start putting wires inside people's brains, you start doing that, then it changes what, what it means to be human, right? Robert: You're integrated with a computer and that, that's very powerful. and if you have Parkinson's, you understand that it can really improve your life, but it brings major new problems that humans are gonna have to regulate, figure out, right? Engineer around, and, And, uh, build systems to worry about it, you know, but yeah, it's a, it's a, a major new problem. Robert: It, it can change our democracy and it's, uh, something to, to pay attention to if you're a human. Sara: Yeah. How do you think, uh, society and, and governments will need to change, you know, to Also per protect the way, the way we live our own humanity. And, and maybe this is inevitable, right? Sara: it's, it's the next, uh, inevitable or, or the me machine, right? Robert: I've heard in my ear, you know, the movie or.
Sara: I mean, it's not my, like, if you think about it, I had my first phone when I was, uh, 10 Robert: Yeah, Sara: and since then, a phone has been plastered to my hand everywhere I go. From that age onward, it's, it's, you know, it's basically all my life. So for me it's not much, uh, different. Sara: My kids, by the time they're my age, they're gonna be very integrated with technology, right? I mean, look, look at the psychiatrist thing. Listen, the ability to listen to me
for 30 minutes, figure out who I am and how to fix my mental state, right? That's insane. And we, we haven't even gotten eye tracking and, uh, cameras that can see everything in your life. Robert: The computer vision that's coming is, is insane. I, it, it, the AI out of Berkeley,
uh, recognizes more than 200,000 items in your, in your world, right? With a camera. So you just aim your camera. You're seeing this, there's, there's apps to recognize plants, right? So you aim the camera at a plant and it tells you the name of the plant, right? Robert: You know, and soon it's gonna do that for everything in your life. Everything like li like this cup was made by a company, right? And who made this? How, how much is 10 these on Amazon? Right? it can know that, and it can know that it's on my table at this location. So if I move, it can know where I left it, right? Robert: So I can ask Siri in the future, Hey Siri, where's my coffee? Right? And it'll know left Sara: that will be handy. That for sure will be handy.
Robert: we're going is we're gonna have a virtual assistant that we can talk to all the time about everything, right? Music, food, work. Hey, I, I need to build a new factory floor. Or you know, I'll talk to my assistant, you know, Hey, I need to build a new. You know, I, I need to build a new product. Here's what I'm thinking of. Robert: How, how would you do it? You can already ask Fat Gt these kinds of questions and it's, it answers you along there. But yeah,
Sara: I'm spending a considerable amount of time thinking about, and also thinking about how, how can I personally leverage, but, um, how the relationship with work, uh, is gonna change, you know? and, uh, how can we, can we leverage, uh, special computing and AI to become more independent if you want. Cuz this is what I see. Sara: I see massive layoffs. Uh, they're already happening and it's gonna be even more dramatic, uh, you know, moving forward, right? But at the same time, it's Sara: never been Sara: easier to create a business and do something on your own. The problem is gonna be that since it's so easy and the barrier is so low, it's very easy to replicate and very, very difficult to defend. So I wonder how do you see, you know, this, uh, the, the, the concept
of work, uh, evolving, uh, and what should people, uh, pay attention to? Attention to also, in terms of untapped opportunities, Robert: people, people who really understand AI and how to use it in their lives generally are not the ones getting fired. Right. Sara: so that's the first thing you have to get. Understand how powerful this AI is, how fast it's improving, and when will it have an impact on you. And if you're the one making the impact, you're gonna be the one that's kept, right, because they're still gonna be humans at businesses, right? Robert: You're not gonna see a completely AI run. Not soon. Not, not this year. I know
somebody building an AI board of directors, so Sara: I had a guest who, who, who asked ChatGPT to be the CEO of this company. he has built like the company, you know, and he has like investors now. Robert: yeah, yeah, yeah. I had to, I had to rethink that through. Yeah. It's not quite that good for most businesses, but it's getting there. Think about a truck driver though. the number one job in America is truck drive is driving trucks, right? 1.3 million people work there. We all know autonomous trucks are coming and they're coming someday in two
years, five years, 10 years. Robert: Sometime in the next decade you're gonna see a lot of autonomous trucks. Cause it's way safer to have a computer driving than to have a human driving. And my Tesla's already driving everywhere, right? So, Uber driver, taxi driver, truck driver, your job is under threat. You're, you're not gonna have that job in 20 years.
Robert: Not gonna happen. And, and except for in the poorest of the communities that can't afford, you know, a couple thousand dollars on a compu on a car or a truck to drive the truck. But those jobs are going away and we have to have an answer to that. And I, we, we don't have an answer to that, Robert: right? You know, people are talking about guaranteed minimum income.
Robert: Ah, you know, giving somebody $2,000 is not gonna keep them afloat. You know, you know, family of four in a rich city, it takes $14,000 a month. Nobody is suggesting that you're gonna pay somebody $14,000 a month just to sit at home. Yet, you know, that's not gonna happen. So we, we, we need policies and retraining and, and, uh, social networks.
Robert: I'm sorry, social systems, you know, uh, safety nets to catch people as this change comes, cuz it's gonna come and it's gonna come to a lot of people, lawyers, truck drivers, right? White collar people, they're getting laid on because AI is starting to do their job and you take it another 10 years, it's gonna do a lot of people's job. Robert: So it's a worry. It's, and it's a real problem. And in America, we're not having a good conversation politically about what to do about this. There is an answer, augmented reality, cuz augmented reality can retrain a truck driver to do almost anything quickly, much faster than any education system you've ever seen.
Robert: I've, I've talked to tractor companies that are using augmented reality glasses to teach people how to take apart the oil pump in real time on top of the tractor, right? Reflect, built, a system from Mercedes-Benz Benz's for firefighters to come up to a wreck car and understand how to cut apart the car without hitting electrical lines or gas lines in the car, right? Robert: In real time. No classroom needed, right? So there is powerful new education technology that will take humans into new jobs and there are lots of new jobs. Right. Just cuz the old jobs gone away. Look at open AI's hiring. They're hiring a lot of people.
They're just very technical jobs. They're very skilled jobs. Robert: They're jobs that people had to go to school for 6, 7, 8 years before. Right? We need to get people there. And, that's a big, it's a big problem certainly for my kids' generation and it's a real problem. So I don't have the, an complete answer there, but I see as this new technology comes, it also provides answers for, for humans, getting humans back into, productive work.
Robert: And there's not gonna be a robot for every house for a long time, right? So, plumbing, glass, cement, you know, all the, all the workers that need that are needed to do things in the world. You know, you're not gonna have a robot that does all that quickly. Eventually, yeah. You know, for my kids' life, you know, by the end of their life they're gonna have dozens of robots around them, right? Robert: Helping them out, cooking dinner, folding laundry, working on the factory floors, right? Doing their, doing jobs. And so that's a new world. And it's a scary world cuz it's,
you see the fear and the change and the pain and, uh, you know, the, the, the loss, but you also don't see the opportunity and what, what is coming. Robert: And I'm st starting to pay attention to that a lot. You know how business people are using ai, Sara: What, what have you seen, you know, of how business people are using AI Robert: oil workers using it in Texas video game, people are using it to build video games, right. I talked to politicians using it. I, I talked to a group of pastors who are using
it to write their sermons on Sunday, right? So, We see evidence that, that, that people are changing how they're working because of this new technology. Robert: They're getting used to it pretty quickly. And you know, you take that process another few years, a lot of things are about to change, right? And that's scary to a lot of people cuz most people don't like change. Even I don't like change, right? It means I have to learn something new. I have to put some effort into it, right?
Robert: And, and I might have, you know, my life go away. I, I need to figure that out. So, right. And everybody has to deal with that. Sara: Yeah, I wish we had the playbook, you know, that explained, oh, you need to do this and you need to do Robert: We do, it's called chat. G p t. Ask gt, I'm about to lose my job as a truck driver. What should I do? Probably you'll have some answer. Sara: That's Robert: Let, let's ask it. Let's ask it. Let's see. This is the impulse. This is what people
have to do. It's like open up chat, gt pay your 20 bucks a month, right? And, uh, start using it for things, right? Sara: I'm a truck driver and I'm about to lose my job because of autonomous vehicles. What should I do to prepare for the change that's coming? Sara: what does it say? Robert: Well, first of all, it recognized what I said really quickly, right? That's, uh, a new, uh, text to voice system called Whisper. Robert: It's insane. I, I use this, uh, noisy, noisy parties to listen to a group of people,
and it heard everything, even in a really noisy nightclub, right? So, here you go. Stay informed. Develop some skills, diversify your expertise. Network. Consider entrepreneurship, right? It has a whole bunch of answers, right? And so you started working on some of those and digging in into help, keeps helping you, keeps teaching you. Robert: It knows a lot of things. It's really interesting to have this kind of conversation with, with an AI and, and understand, you know, how to change my career, how to get ready for this change, right? What should I do? Sara: Yeah, I'm in equal part, excited and in equal part scared. Because like I think about, you know, what we talked about earlier, you know, about free will and so I'm, I'm like, uh, torn between the, between the, I don't know.
Robert: You can be Amish, you know, go, go live it. There's 30,000 people who are like, ah, we don't use technology. You gotta ride a, you know, you gotta have a horse. You can have a car. Sara: You know, I, I lived in a very close to an Amish community when I was in Pennsylvania and, uh, I, I greatly respect, you know, their, their choices. But I don't think that's for me. Robert: Not for me either. You know, I, I like, I like, I mean, how would I do this
without technology? Right. You know, I mean, we're, we're using an, a technology that was developed for the military to talk to each other. Right. Sara: Yeah.
Robert: Yeah. and a lot of the listeners of this show, uh, are passionate about technologies and they're trying to figure out, uh, how they can leverage those technologies and create a personal brand, to be financially independent. That's, you know, what, what most of those my listeners have in common.
Sara: So I wonder, you know, since you are the perfect marriage between that. Expertise in technology and knowing how to leverage social media, how can, what, what would you tell, you know, those Robert: If I was starting out Sara: included? Yeah. Like what would you, what would be your strategy, you know, Robert: have a point of view, if I was starting out today, I would pick a niche that's not well covered, that will be more and more and more important over time, right? Uh, augmented reality today is not important. So if you build a whole brand around augmented reality
over time as new products and new things come out, all of a sudden you're in the middle of an industry. Robert: I did that with ai, right? I saw AI happening early, cause uh, Siri was launched on my show, and that was the first AI consumer app. And so I've been watching AI since it turned consumer. Now it, you know, I just interviewed the three founders of Siri on stage and they were doing AI for 15 years before that at a government lab, right? Robert: Adam Chi ran the biggest AI group in the world at one point. Before it turned consumer. So, you know, there's people who are working on things right now that won't
matter for 20 years, right? And that's crazy. So pick one of them, become an expert on it, you know, write a book on it and do interviews on it and serve it. Robert: And today it might not be important, but as, as the world changes, all of a sudden you're, you're the middle of, you know, brain computer interfaces, for instance. There'll be a, somebody will come along and build a thread just about brain computer interfaces.
And today that's not that important. But 10 years from now, it's gonna be very important, right? Robert: So all of a sudden you have a media company because you've been working on it, on a single topic for so long, uh, and covering it and becoming an expert at it. Build things, right? People who build things, that you can build companies. And that's, that's the real trick. If you can build a company that, that means you had to get along with other people. Robert: You had to convince investors to put capital into the company. You had to fix,
convince customers that you had a product. That's interesting, right? That's new and interesting. And get 'em to buy it. Right? That's, that's pretty hard to do. I, we know it can be done cuz we see, you know, we see it done every day, but it's pretty hard to convince a customer to buy a new thing. Sara: it is, it is. Robert, this is, I really wanna thank you. Really, uh, it, it, it's
an amazing, uh, Sara: Interview Sara: conversation. Really. Robert: You're good. You do your homework. See, most people don't do their homework. So that's the first all. Sara: Coming, coming from you like, okay. You just made my day. Thank you. All right. Robert: I need to do more of that myself. Uh, cause you know, if you do things without
some preparation, they, they tend to go in a different direction than if you actually have some, you know, prepara, some thinking and some homework. Sara: All right. And for listeners, we'll see you on the next episode. Sara: that's all from today's episode. Thank you so much for watching or listening. Sara: If you find this episode valuable, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel or to the Polyweb Podcast on Spotify, Apple, or your favorite podcast app Sara: It will be fantastic if you could leave us a rating, a review, or a comment as this really helps other listeners find the show.
Sara: All the resources mentioned in this episode will be linked in the description and in the show notes. Sara: See you on the next episode, and if you cannot wait until next week, you can watch this episode right here there relates to some of the things that we talk about in this Sara: episode. Bye.