The Good Future

with Gerd Leonhard

the Good Future

with Gerd Leonhard

TF guest Gerd V1 GTA BW glow style 500x500

Gerd Leonhard, renowned Futurist and Humanist, bestselling author and thought leader joins The Futurists this week to talk a positive future. Like many of our previous guests Gerd is an optimist, but warns us that we need a new mission for humanity writ large. One that is inclusive, sustainable and purpose driven. We dive into his new “Good Future” project as well as talking his books, the future of capitalism and the planet. 

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[Music] this week on the futurists Gert Leonard I I would say I personally believe that direct democracy as we are practicing here in Switzerland has a lot of advantages but it’s not really fit for the future [Music] welcome back to the futurists I’m Rob turczyk with my co-host Brett King and this week we’re going to be talking to an old friend and longtime futurist Garrett leonhardt but before we jump into that let me do the news this week in the future there are some updates and some stories that we covered in previous episodes of the futurists including this one uh so recently we spoke a little bit about the role that Elon musk’s starlink from SpaceX has played a decisive role in the Ukrainian conflict but news broke today that um SpaceX can’t continue to pay for that indefinitely after his call with Putin yes and also after uh after a series of messages on Twitter that weren’t particularly flattering about musk and Tesla and so forth from the Ukrainian side so he’s letting people know that he can’t continue to pay for that now that that service has played a decisive role in Battlefield Communications but also keeping hospitals and other other keeping facilities online in the Ukraine during the conflict so watch this space he’s asking the United States to subsidize it to the tune of about 20 million dollars a month one of the things he pointed out is that the Russians continue to try to hack the starlink network and they’ve been fairly successful in the sense that they’ve forced starlink to continuously rewrite that software but they’ve been resilient so far another story we’ve been talking about in the past is nfts and cryptocurrency always a lively topic now the general assumption there is that that field is dead and done for because of the big crypto crash but long time crypto fans know that it always kind of comes back it’s like a Lazarus you just can’t kill it so this week a watchdog group a consumer Watchdog group called truth in advertising sent notices to 17 celebrities warning them about Shilling nfts in social media without disclosing that they’re getting paid so as it turns out if you’re dropping an nft you’ll tend to give a few to some celebrity who gets out there and Vlogs it for you on Instagram and other social sites unfortunately this is against the law and you do have to disclose that if you’re getting paid so those notices went out to music celebrities like Eminem Drake DJ Khaled and sports figures like Shaquille O’Neal and Tom Brady and other celebrities uh Gwyneth Paltrow Madonna Paris Hilton TV host Jimmy Fallon wow and of course Logan Paul because Logan Paul off there’s some something bad or mischievous going on he’s probably going to be involved in in some way uh that’s an interesting story because that’s the first step uh before they escalate to the Federal Trade Commission uh so this shows that the United States government is starting to pay attention to cryptocurrencies in ways where they’re they’re trying to keep it under control and we’ve seen uh kind of an Ever evolving regulatory regimen from the federal from the SEC which has caused a lot of consternation here and Garrett when we get into it in a moment I want to talk a little bit about crypto and Switzerland because it’s generally perceived that the United States has such a chaotic regulatory landscape here it’s actually thwarting the progress of the development there then one other thing I want to follow up on a story Brett that you mentioned a couple weeks ago which is that NASA asteroid test uh folks will recall that NASA crashed a spacecraft into an astronaut Mission that’s right and uh and the asteroid is called dimorphos well that mission was considered to be successful in the sense that they actually shifted the course of the uh asteroid and so um the head of by 32 minutes yeah which is the yak of that’s right not 32 minutes of time but that’s a Direction but apparently that that impact uh is is three times greater than what they had projected so it was considered a big success and one other thing is dimorphous is now um formed a tail well that just happens yep yep cut that all right David Brett thanks for jumping on me sorry NASA has had uh Bill Nelson took a Victory lap uh and said that NASA has proven we are a serious defender of the planets which seems a little grandiose but it is an awesome achievement to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid except for the trail that you mentioned this is a trail that is 10 000 kilometers of debris scattered through space and of course that’s going to continue to expand forever so three quick stories from the top Q Aerosmith let’s let’s get into our show so let’s talk to our guest futurist this week old friend Garrett lanhart Garrett it’s good to see you again it’s been a long he doesn’t look that old old no but yeah he’s looks in good shape does I remember it’s a good light to do that yeah where are you coming from today good yeah I’m actually on Zurich in my studio and I’m home for once you know so not bad awesome and how are things in Switzerland uh now that the pandemic is sort of under control or at least people claim it is we’ll see what happens um are things returning to normal things are somewhat return to normal I think a lot of people are still worried about big events or traveling too much or you know as first people tend to be much more shielded from the from the rest of the world because of our exclusive status you know we only have 2.5 inflation for example uh and you know the countries run very very democratically with all these direct elections and so Switzerland is a bit of an island in so many ways yeah but Switzerland it doesn’t mean Switzerland is entirely conservative because as I mentioned in the opening bit there uh in terms of cryptocurrency Switzerland is one of the jurisdictions in the world that’s at the very Forefront of innovation uh you know you can now uh start an organization you can start a decentralized uh autonomous organization in Switzerland you can um you can capitalize it with cryptocurrency and so forth that’s far ahead of most other places including most of the United States talk to me a little bit about that because it seems to me the way I look at that is that the Swiss are taking a very pragmatic approach to the Future where the Sanji we’re a banking center this is a financial technology we need to be on top of it we’re not going to stop it so we might as well embrace it what’s your take on that did I get it right or am I just being idealistic well you know I’m I’m a Swiss citizen I live here for I don’t know 15 years but I I you know I’m also a German citizen so I became a Swiss citizen and I think Switzerland in many ways is a place where technological achievement and anything to do with money is on the Forefront of things Behavior change and stuff no like here people have gadgets that do things but they don’t change Behavior very easily for example now everybody is being asked to go back to the office okay that’s because in Switzerland you go to the office you can bond with the boss and you move up in the world right uh and it’s it’s that is very not conservative in the sense but uh not very fast and changing Behavior the cryptocurrency thing has been mostly too uh out of the fear of losing out on a new Global Market that has to do with cryptocurrencies but of course everybody knows what’s happening uh in that regard is that you know we’re looking probably at uh Central Bank digital currencies rather than independent currencies and and peer-to-peer like Bitcoin and the Swiss government is is of course very cautious on that kind of thing um so I I think we’re going to see plans for Central Bank digital currency from Switzerland possibly a new kind of stock markets and those kind of things but anything that’s pragmatic I think and money oriented works here anything that’s really risk taking um yeah that that takes longer you know we don’t change Behavior very easily here and tell me about the distinction between Germany and Switzerland I used to live in Germany and you know I’m fond of the place I’m still interested to hear about that but but you uh you chose to move to Switzerland I’ve got a good joke about I got to get a joke about the Swiss versus the German this the Swiss are like the Germans but without the sense of humor

that’s a good one you know well in Switzerland you know we speak German here but it’s not a regular journalist with German complications it’s high German right that’s yeah that’s what I speak and the Swiss people have five or six different types of Swiss German which is actually only a spoken language it’s not even written right so you can’t write Swiss German you can but nobody does so the Swiss German speak Swiss German but the right regular German right and they the biggest difference is that in Germany people are primarily perfectionists and engineers and uh you know they want to make things better uh what they already have uh in Switzerland it’s much more about not taking risks so being independent uh having your own way of doing things being federalistic that is very very big thing here in many ways Switzerland is a paradise as a result but also kind of a an island right so for example we have all the international organizations you the U.N the Wipeout of FIFA here but we’re not going to do anything International that would upset anybody else like like the Americans right um like starting something that would be for example our own data center which we could easily do uh that we leave that to Luxembourg and Austria to get their fingers burned on the data center but you know we do a lot of things that are primarily kind of Shoring up against risk and and that is the primary thing that is sometimes makes it hard in Switzerland to innovate because risk taking is left to others and it’s really that’s the sort of watch Perfection of watches right but but Switzerland you know the Swiss watch companies would never invent the Apple watch of course uh they would only react once Apple does it and the result is that Apple sells 10x as many watches as as all of the Swiss watch companies together it’s interesting you bring that up because I remember really clearly when Apple introduced the watch around 2014 uh I had a very Lively discussion with people who are in the fashion and apparel industry and they said it’s never going to work it’s going to be dead on arrival you know Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs he’s never going to pull this off he won’t be successful and he went on and on and even had like you know the head of Ellen VH saying uh that the Apple watch was poorly designed and it was ugly and it didn’t have any appeal it so the the resistance from the traditional accessory and and jewelry and um you know luxury Market was incredibly negative and pessimistic and uh you know they’ve all co-opted it you know well it only took a couple years before before Apple managed to first outsell most major sport you know Swiss watchmakers and then all of Switzerland right and it’s become this kind of global home run how is that perceived like what was the reaction in Switzerland did people were people angry were they disappointed were they you know self-critical what was the reaction there well you know the royalty is that Swiss people are still doing really well with their watches you know we we just don’t have the Chinese coming anymore and buying five Rolexes you know because they couldn’t come for a long time and now they’re buying fancy Apple watches but they’re still buying Swiss watches too and and so the the perception in Switzerland is very much like Switzerland is on on the way of becoming more connected more International probably less isolated that’s happening it’s a huge political thing here and you have to remember that Switzerland otherwise it’s a true Paradise you can walk out and and put your wallet on a park bench and come back the next day and somebody will have reported it and brought you the money you know and there’s no crime here almost no crime there is uh very high level of income the supersafe protection direct democracy you know so so a lot of these things are very well worth keeping right um cake and eat it yeah I find that interesting in that um you know if we look at economies like the U.S and the UK you know that are particularly divided politically you know you you are now the more division politically you have especially when it comes to policy and things like that the more dysfunctional you know you you seem to get in terms of bureaucracy and things like that but when it comes to um some of the big issues we’re facing artificial intelligence climate change you know we’re going to be required to get to a consensus point you know it should be successful at tackling these things so what is it that drives that that consensus mechanism in Switzerland that’s so successful because obviously there’s still political conflict there but they’re pretty good at resolving and it would appear I I would say I personally believe that direct democracy as we are practicing it here in Switzerland has a lot of advantages but it’s not really fit for the future right because here’s the thing you know we have three million people in Switzerland who live in the mountains who vote against anything that is Progressive whatever it is right uh and now we have to tackle climate change we have to look at AI we have to look at automation we have to look at genetic engineering I’ll be able to get those people to vote to vote no you know and Switzerland is in desperate need for action or climate change our Glaciers are melting exactly majority of people doesn’t want to do much about it right so I I think this is really a big problem here is that uh sometimes we even have laws where then there’s groups you know starting a referendum and then they go back on the law that has already been enacted right uh and you know it’s all kind of nice to have that as a principle of really strong democracy but we have urgent pressing issues that are not being looked at uh and I I think that is a really really hard thing to do when you have people voting on everything every three months we get a stack of voting material you know and what’s happening in Switzerland is that we are we are very stable very very uh calm and quiet Society but we don’t have a future focus at all so I mean do you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to educate people I mean is this part of what drives you as a futurist good yes I do I mean I try to work with the government I you know I’m a foreigner here uh still regardless of the passport I’m more of a foreigner here than I ever was in America and where I didn’t have a passport that’s because I just say one word in German and I know I’m not Swiss right um and and so I I work a lot I try to work with the government to be more forward-looking but if you remember in the book you know Kim Stanley Robertson’s amazing book the ministry Ministry of the future yep right that that is actually here in Zurich exactly yeah the whole Stars which is a hundred feet from here where I stand now but Switzerland would never ever dare to do such a thing right because a Ministry like this will be highly contentious and highly mingling with all kinds of things right and I also and yet Switzerland would make the perfect place for it because of its neutrality right right right but I I live we live in a country with our courage like this if we don’t have the courage right and that is if you don’t have courage you don’t look at the future because the future may be scary right uh and that that desperately has the change so so then would you characterize that the the things like like the initiatives in cryptocurrency that I described earlier are those just defensive Innovation are they just a way to protect what Switzerland’s got and not lose it uh you know not not slip in the world standing is that what you’re saying basically you have a city right here over the hill called z-u-g which is the center of cryptocurrency in Europe really and basically what the the city has said anybody moving here with a startup in crypto we have we make a great deal right this is the defensive move move against losing the financial uh Center of of the world being in Switzerland right interesting but you know it’s mostly sort of just kind of uh you know it’s it’s a little bit like yeah it’s showing stuff but not actually not doing much about it right um and not really making a decisive step like you know starting a Ministry for the future an international organization that would be courageous and needed and ballsy right uh it would be quite different than starting a bunch of crypto companies in zook true but what people are thinking right now when they hear you say this they’re going to probably think wait a minute these guys are talking to a futurist who’s based in Switzerland and that’s a choice that he made he moved from from Germany to Switzerland but yet what Garrett’s saying right now is it’s not an Innovative Place why on Earth would you pick that no no it no it’s actually a Switzerland is very Innovative on practical things like you know better chocolate water better cheese and and a great eth the universities are great on this but Reinventing and actually doing what is most urgently needed right now which is a reboot right rebooting Financial systems rebuilding food rebooting uh education right that is very difficult here because rebooting is just hard right okay so tell us about that don’t tell us how you do that you you obviously have a well-developed philosophy here how did you arrive at that what is your what is your futurist methodology how do you arrive at the initiatives that you get excited about want to support yeah you know I spent 20 years on this now and the beginning was mostly about technology and digital transformation because it was also new you know explaining the tech to people but after I did that for 10 years and I’ve done you know almost 2 000 speaking gigs and I’ve worked with the top Fortune 500 companies I realized that you know the the real story here is not just the financial and the business part and the tech part that is actually very obvious now but the real part is like what kind of world do we actually want with all the tech that we have right uh and now I say basically we have all the tech and science we can possibly ask for and we’re getting new stuff every week but what we’re missing is the the purpose so either tell us the intelligence the the collaboration to solve the true problems it’s not a question of tech right so five years ago I started shifting towards this topic of technology Humanity the future in a larger way right which is primarily about policy and about making the right decisions and being future fit right and and so I call it people plan that purpose and prosperity that the Paradigm right um and so we developed this framework you developed a framework uh Planet purpose and prosperity and that was part of your your Tech versus Humanity framing but now you’re starting something I know you’re the founder of a new project right it’s called the the good future project can you tell us a little bit about that I like that yeah well you know two years ago I made a film called the good future and it’s shot in Lance about Canary Islands and you can see it at the and it’s quite popular and it’s basically saying like look the future is not as bad as it looks right now most people have a bad view in the future right pandemics pay high automation Putin erdogan you know story goes on uh it’s not looking good if I ask my kids about the future you know what they say said the good future is all Bs right there’s no such thing as the good future and they’re Millennials right so I made this film to say to people look the future is good all we have to do is to get some wisdom about what we’re doing here right because we can use AI for example to bring down pollution and those kind of things by 50 60 70 like an Agriculture and some food right but we could also use it to be to build super soldiers you know so we we need to have the right wisdom and that is what’s missing so I can’t I I basically uh started the good future project as a way of getting together with hundreds of people who are telling stories about what the good future could look like uh and where the goal is to make films about this this is one of the key goals because firms are a great medium and to create events both online as well as events think of something like burning man plus Ted plus divorce nice you know then you would have the good the good future or Festival

uh okay well not at all this is at we we uh we should definitely talk to you about the futurists conference series we’re trying to put together as well that’s right but uh now it’s time the oh the good okay great so uh we will definitely come back to this topic after the break but before we do that it’s time for our quick series of questions this is the lightning round Brett take it away all right good um here’s here’s a few uh quick questions for you what was the first science fiction you remember being exposed to TV books that was the definitely Blade Runner 1982 when I thought oh my God you know this is really something that changes my life my perspective cool um is there a specific technology you think that is most benefited or changed Humanity

well I I would say that’s definitely a cognitive Computing intelligent machines uh that well I think it has the potential to be mostly positive yeah so that’s definitely number one it can solve many problems for us and and the next one would be really sustainable energy and you know solar and all that kind of innovation that we see there great we might get into a bit more of that later name a futurist or um entrepreneur um that has influenced you and why

oh God they are a lot I think the biggest influence really would be Buckminster Fuller you know the the designer and you know who basically said that you know we’re inventing all the right technology but we’re using it for the wrong reasons and uh you know that was 60 years ago and of course along with that Marshall mcgloone and Alvin Toffler and people like that entrepreneurs I really admire what Bill Gates has done I know he’s sometimes not so popular with people because of his uh enormous uh uh how can I say output right um but he is amazing and uh so and he’s very much a futurist as well yeah I agree um can you can you identify a specific prediction that an entrepreneur a futurist or a science fiction uh practitioner has made that has has been particularly appreciate

um I would say well I I guess I could quote my own you know 1970 in 1999 I said music will move to the cloud and become like water like you know and I got influenced by David Bowie who said something off that yeah you know a few years before right and on the opposite side I would say that people have said that we’re going to see self-driving cars in 2020 and we’re still not seeing them so uh the opposite is also true yeah and finally what science fiction story is most representative of the future you hope for yeah I would say Kim Stanley Robinson again yeah a Ministry for the future because it’s basically 2030 but it feels like it’s now yeah uh and he has actually a positive ending uh which is extremely hopeful and and so it’s just brilliant also all the stuff he puts forth there is actually very much oriented towards Solutions yeah in fact he’s written a whole series of Science Fiction climate focused books and of course uh he does the ma he did the Mars Trilogy which I think you know my position is is the greatest um series on the colonization of Mars that’s ever been written but we’d love to have him on the show we’re going to try and get him on so all right well listen let’s take a quick break you’re listening to the futurists uh um with Brett King and my co-host Rob tersek we’re talking to Gert leonhard this week we’ll be right back after these quick words from our sponsors

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welcome back to the futurists I’m Brett King your host with Rob turc and in the hot seat today we’re interviewing gerd lean hard but before we jump back into that I just thought I’d do a quick Deep dive on some of the updates that are happening in gene therapy um you know we have some gene therapy treatments that are actually you know getting some pretty big traction right now there’s a possible cure for sickle cell anemia we have Gene editing boosting the effectiveness of cancer therapies um gene therapy being used to improve night vision these are Gene therapies that are already in um in trial around the world um so of course the you know sort of a simple um overview of What gene therapy is is the ability to use Technologies like crispr tas9 other other Gene editing techniques to actually change protein switches in your genome in your DNA so think of it like editing out a bad software bug in terms of specific diseases or conditions but we’ve made rapid progress in this not only using crispr to splice uh um genes or spice DNA but we’re now learning more about how we can switch proteins on and off for certain conditions a interesting research paper came out in April earlier this year from w e h i researchers which was that when you when we’re looking at adjusting specific genes in the genome there’s an accordion effect there’s various genes that work together and so we’re learning how when it comes to gene silencing which is if you’ve got say a gene that is dominantly involved in Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or or these other genetic conditions silencing those genes or turning those proteins off um are going to be obviously this is the the the the the part of the research that we’re really um going after but to enable this um these researchers came up with this system called Xmas based on red and green tags and are normally switched off during development and we were they were able to learn different gene activity from different chromosomes um using the sort of great red and green fluorescence on the proteins to reveal how gene silencing process was occurring in um in relation to different proteins working together so if we’re going to tackle specific conditions it’s not just a single Gene that we’re looking at we’re going to be having to look at how we can stimulate various genes at the same time and it looks like we’re making significant progress on this front but gene therapy um you know we have some traction on some of those specific diseases or conditions that are already becoming operational gene therapy for high cholesterol has been put in place we see many cancers being tackled using gene therapy we’ve seen various types of Leukemia and other things like this tackled now with this but we’re making some really interesting progress so it’s very positive who knows in 15 to 20 years maybe you’ll just be able to go in for your regular Gene checkup and have your genes adjusted uh yeah and of course this does parallel with the whole longevity thing as well so yeah with cell senescence and you know telomeres and all of that working concert could be very interesting times this will be a topic we’ll certainly be returning to a lot of folks things this is going to be the century of synthetic biology or programmable biology where you program a cell just the way you would program a computer so super fun thanks for that update uh it is kind of amazing as we get deeper and deeper into these systems what we discover is the immense complexity in other words we keep uncovering more and more layers of complexity how these different genes interact with each other it’s a little bit like the study of the brain and and trying to understand Consciousness and memory because as we start to peer into the brain structure we start to see again uh layers and layers of complexity it’s the Imaging it’s the advancements in Imaging Technologies and the advancements in Computing that have obviously enabled us to make these progress I wonder if we uh if we underestimate just how complex these systems are you know what we’re mucking about turning on and off um different genes um my sense is there’s going to probably be some unexpecting steps yeah unexpected side effects maybe unintentional consequences and so forth is this a topic that’s widely debated in Switzerland and you’re part of the world tell me Garrett is uh the gene therapy something that people have embraced or are they people skeptical well here in Switzerland of course we have all the big Pharma companies who are here looking at this issue and I’ve done some work on the on those topics with some of them I think and generally the the idea of uh doing that without really knowing what comes out on the other end is uh frowned upon here um there’s a lot of precaution that people want to apply I mean I think there’s a difference between uh effect in the germline which is you know changing the genome that can be inherited on that’s completely different than actually changing my only my genome and the sense of fighting a symptom you know so I may die as a result but it’s just me and I probably would have died anyway if it’s going to be so serious right okay um so that that is really quite different but the change in The Germ line which is a change in the right very programming that could kill everybody in 10 Generations yeah that’s right so uh there are vast differences here on those but I think it’s extremely uh promising you know the the work on this no doubt and it goes beyond Healthcare of course because if you think about you know the whole economy almost half of what we consume um you know with fossil fuels all the food that we have of course all the Pharmaceuticals and so on um but also a lot of our clothes it all comes from products that are derived from natural plants you know from from natural environment and so uh this notion of of programmable biology extends way way past Healthcare but even Healthcare alone is now you know 20 20 some percent of the economy uh and I understand that um outside the United States Switzerland has the second highest spending uh per capita on health care so clearly it’s something that two countries share uh area that could be you know that money could be better spent I think it’s not necessarily the most efficient spend um you mentioned some other Technologies before the break and I want to make sure we cover those off because we had to go to our lightning round one of the topics you brought up was cognitive computing uh so there’s been tremendous advances recently in particular uh in machine learning tell us a little bit about your perspective on that technology how is it going to influence the world I mean I I think really what we’re seeing now is tremendous progress in uh what I call IA intelligent assistance uh that means that computers are no longer that stupid they’re still pretty stupid to a large degree but they’re not stupid like they were 10 years ago so they can actually do things like learn patterns understand things right they do not have human level understanding because human level understanding involves the real world right and we have emotional intelligence kinesthetic intelligence social intelligence you know that’s that’s a human only thing in my view but machines have this kind of binary intelligence which is getting very useful right so my view is that most routine commodity tasks will eventually be done by machines if they don’t involve human intelligence you know for example a financial portfolio management Radiology uh things like that but it will not make the humans uh it will not get rid of the humans because we still need the other stuff that only we can do the fuzzy logic right um and so the machine learning the Deep learning is often confused with human learning which is completely different it is basically binary but endless and we are multinary but pending you know we don’t have it’s the opposite of us so I always say the future really is awesome to awesome awesome humans on top of amazing technology so that we can use these tools for example to finally work less

yeah it’s extremely hopeful that we can imagine that if we can make Healthcare really cheap and people don’t go the hospital or doctor for every little thing that they have and and they can monitor themselves and get smart about what they do yeah that should shave off like 50 of the cost right yeah at least yeah yeah well you know as long as we do don’t cut out people well also just getting better at Diagnostics uh you know obviously if you look at um maladies like cancer and things like that the ability to diagnose those you know early is very important um you know AI is obviously having huge improvements there um in in in terms of the way Healthcare might evolve um it appears to me and I’ll just get your thoughts on this that you know we’re probably going to end up with something like a you know because it’s going to be a data um driven service would best be sort of in a maintenance mode sort of a subscription-based service where you’ve got your you know genome analytics you know blood work gut biome your behavior your diet all of that sort of mixed into some sort of model um where we we look at individualizing um treatment and and so forth how do you think um the industrial element of healthcare is going to evolve in the future well I mean first of course there’s complete conversions coming up of of info technology information technology and biotechnology right and we’re going from the the idea of what we have right now which is what I call sick care you know we’re taking care of sick people giving them pills right right which is very costly it doesn’t do anything uh to the idea of health care which is to prevent stuff and to cure and to heal and to use technology and not some Voodoo pill you know that that is going to end up in a four that million people take statins you know for for cholesterol right and and they don’t do anything and so uh so there’s all these things that are changing here and I think the biggest challenge will be the question of you know if we don’t share the data in the cloud so we can compute right then it’s going to be hard to get the intelligence right and so what we’re going to see the healthcare companies do is probably establish a sort of independent depository of information that’s in the cloud that can’t be run by one company it has to be sort of a public utility of A Sort you know that safeguards and dishes out my data without that I don’t see progress because you know we have once we have five billion genomes in the cloud you know I imagine the kind of intelligence we can get from this but on the other hand it has to be safeguarded right and this is a very big Topic in Europe nobody will do that until we find out how exactly we would actually be safe you brought up two topics there that I really want to drive deeper into European regulation and and basically the Europeans preventing themselves from innovating but let’s bookmark that I want to come back to that because I want to talk about something you mentioned you said that the healthcare companies are the ones that are going to lead this infotech revolution I want to push back on that a little bit a couple years ago I spent time in Brazil with one of the big Pharma companies there and I pointed out to them that their basic business model is selling Better Life Through Chemistry right Better Living Through Chemistry they are chemical companies they just dispense it in a form uh where we you know we pop these pills uh dental pills don’t do nothing but they do they do not necessarily solve the problem right because the business model of Pharma is to put you on a lifestyle drug that you’re going to take for the rest of your life and right literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are on that program uh you know here in the US pills are prescribed for all sorts of things but they’re never you’re never told to unsubscribe from those pills so this idea of subscription Pharma has been a very big business model it’s one of the reasons why the Pharma companies don’t get into things that actually cure you like antibiotics there’s less investment there because it’s not as good as a business model if you cure the patient they stop buying your pills so right yeah you could argue that’s why we don’t have cures for cancer right so farmer companies are hooked on this business model of subscription uh lifestyle medicines the companies that are focused on information as a substitute are not Pharma companies those are the big tech companies and it’s no surprise then to see that Google Microsoft Amazon and apple have enormous Healthcare initiatives and the point of those initiatives is prevention basically they want to use information as a substitute for chemicals or information as a substitute for healthcare services the idea being if you can get people information sooner about what they might do to prevent a problem then you you kind of keep them to the left you know before they even go into that health care or what you call the health the sick care system right before people get sick if you can keep them healthy longer by giving them intelligent reminders you know the reason I love this Apple watch for instance not just because uh Apple dominated Switzerland and in terms of the watch business but because it actually gives me constant updates on how I’m doing and constant reminders to do things like breathe or move or step stand up and so forth then you can manage those notifications but the point is that Apple’s helping me do something proactive about my health there’s no Healthcare company involved there’s no insurance company involved and there’s certainly no Pharma company involved and candidly I’d rather not deal with those companies so this represents then an existential threat for the Pharma companies because if the tech companies are successful in using health and so all about the data using data as a way to prevent people from using more Health Care Services then that means they’re going to sell less medical they’re going to sell less chemicals they’re going to sell less pills in the future how does that look from a from a European perspective what do you what is your take on that because there is a huge data problem there as you described not only that but we’re going you know we’re going to have to design medicine to be much more personalized as well right so the sort of mass pay even before we get to that though Brett that’s 10 years down the road what I’m talking about is happening right now right you get information as a substitute for pills uh that’s a real problem this whole process will kind of be like the other Innovation processes uh the really big shifts are almost never done by the ones who are currently in the business yeah yeah so Spotify versus record labels right Netflix versus the studios or Uber versus the car business same story right so what we’re going to see here uh with one big difference being is that Healthcare is primarily paid in in Europe by the state right so so the state has a big role there so that that’s a one equalizing Factor there but we’re going to see huge Innovation coming from companies that have no current business and Healthcare or very little or different and that’s going to frighten those guys like Genentech for example has an investment from push right and human longevity Inc is owned by Genentech and so on and so on right so that’s already happening so the big Pharma companies are looking at this and saying okay what’s Happening Here totally clear they’re going to eat all lunch if we don’t make deals if we don’t and and and the government’s also saying you guys need to be better and cheaper um so we’re going to see a slightly different thing here uh than we’ve seen in the past we’re going to have probably more productivity from the big Pharma companies um that I’m seeing here in Europe also because it’s the government that needs to tell people it’s okay to give your data that’s true and and in America it’s all voluntary and you know we give our data to Facebook and they can screw with us a little bit of which way they want and there’s no law and there’s no one who’s going to protect you right but you know here in Europe is I mean basically this is already happening in Brussels there’s already entities that are preparing your data depository with a secure ID and all that stuff that’s run by the government run like like a bank basically um so we have a central bank digital currency and we have a central Pharma you know DNA Bank in the same way yeah and that is government business right so I think we’re going to see a lot of a big revolution there and I I generally think that regulation is going to have to become a lot more data driven um you know if you look at money laundering and and you know there’s got to be a data exercise you know the the suspicious transaction reporting all the stuff we do for um you know um you know money laundering tackling now it’s woefully ineffective and it now you if you look at things like artificial intelligence and regulation around that and the data sharing for healthcare because obviously as you said you talked about the five billion genomes you know as an illustration this requires data sharing do you think that part of this um is an epiphany that we need to have that privacy is not as important as the shareability of data as long as it’s done right uh well most Europeans wouldn’t agree on on that trial and I think yeah what what we need to have is a safe and supervised way of doing this that does the same thing but doesn’t open us up to the Facebook type syndromes you know uh because Facebook knows more about us than the NSA and in fact they probably work with the NSA on getting that information to them yeah as has been documented uh so if I go to put my genome in the cloud because it may prevent me getting diabetes and stuff that’s a good motivation I’m going to want to make damn sure that there’s public supervision and rights and risks you know and all that stuff can’t be done by say IBM you know it that that wouldn’t be enough so that’s a very very something there yeah okay I hear you Garrett that’s a very European perspective for my view so sitting here in the United States I would say most Americans don’t care about privacy we say we do we talk about it it’s in the Press people politicians talk about all the time but we don’t do anything to protect our privacy and on this show previously we’ve we’ve broken it down like this you’ve got sort of three different uh approaches that seem to be playing out simultaneously in China you have this kind of autocratic approach where the government issues very Stern decrees and and business must conform um and in fact if business doesn’t conform the penalties are Swift and severe and personal to the executives so China has a exerting is exerting total control over the tech sector and China’s also the Chinese government is exerting control over all the data they collect all the data then you have the European approach which is to focus on individual privacy uh initiatives like gdpr the general data protection regulations and then the United States you have kind of a laissez-faire approach which is very typical of the U.S where we’re saying you know we’re gonna let this unfold we’re not going to really the government’s not going to get in the way let’s see how business but it does get in the way all the time for sure no no and I’m not trying to say that’s a perfect breakdown what I’ve given you of course there’s a there’s a blending and there is more regulatory initiatives happening under the current Administration in the U.S that’s certainly the case but I think that General generalization holds to some extent Europeans are very focused on privacy for good reason good historical reason they’re very skeptical of governments managing this um and centralizing in the government but they’re also leery of businesses like the United particularly the U.S tech companies which effectively been pillaging European data for 20 years now and collecting huge amounts of it but both of them are kind of like the opposite of the Chinese approach which is to centralize everything and manage it from the central government my observation is that um there are very few examples of successful European tech companies and I wonder if that’s a result of the regulatory environment it’s hard to name a really successful European tech company uh with the exception maybe sap them’s fighting words dude well I mean regulation does have an impact right you’re going to allocate Resources with a private Market or through government regulation and in Europe it’s clear they’re focused on government regulation doing that allocation and it’s and it seems different I think the primary reason is is really that you know we are a conglomeration of different countries and languages and customs and we don’t have big markets uh so like you know for example as a futurist in in Europe I have to cover each country in a different language uh and and what I do there is different in each country in America if you’re futurist and you go on the CBS good morning show everybody watches that everybody knows you we don’t have this kind of thing here you know you can reach an audience and you can say like you know if you sell books in Europe you sell 10 000 books it’s amazing right and in America you wouldn’t even talk it wasn’t 500 000 right yeah so and this is the same reason why those companies are lagging right however all of the great researchers from epfl eth which is right down the street the the biggest university here in Zurich they all end up going to Silicon Valley and driving things there or to China so there’s an indirect influence there and I would I would say that generally the European perspective on uh you know making a deal between security and freedom you could say in a way with the data is is probably quite well balanced but the execution is awful and it smells of bureaucracy and and all of that kind of stuff right but the opposite is in in the US you know it smells out of it smells of selling out right um and and and that is also not good I mean if you if you see what’s happening in social media if we have a disaster like this in healthcare right yeah it’s it’s right no we don’t want that you know we don’t want our DNA to go out like Facebook has shared our user data uh you you good you you talk about this approach you know different countries in Europe with the different languages and so forth um as a futurist coaching these types of organizations you know in the US versus Europe um you know do you adopt a different style as a futurist in terms of helping you know organizations being Future Ready depending on where it is geographically yes I mean I think that you have to probably be more sensible in many ways and Europe Americans uh in general like a great story you know the culture in America is forward-looking its future focus is Visionaries entrepreneurial at all costs right and and sometimes you can laugh about that but I lived there 17 years and I’m like you have to admire it right then you come to Germany with the opposite right if you have this kind of culture in Germany people will say you know it’s one of those nutcases there’s going to be either very successful or die right um and so my approach to when I speak in Germany is completely different than when I speak uh in the US and I don’t speak in Germany very much for that reason people think of me in many ways as an American oh interesting that’s interesting because your future Focus yeah yeah because my work is in English and I lived there a long time and you know even Germans think of me as an American in many ways uh also because of my the way that I presented and yet the Swiss think of you is German yeah you can’t win right so is that an advantage or a disadvantage for you like to be perceived that way is that it does that help do people take you more seriously or do they resist it I think I get more of a wild card because of this uh when I speak in America or in Brazil or Colombia people think of me as sort of half American half European which is a great Advantage yeah yeah I agree you know so I’m not as as over the moon as Michio Kaku um you know brilliant guy but definitely out there right he is in terms of what he says and you know he’s I love I love him but I think for many audiences it’s quite a stretch right um and I could bring the European sensibility that and when I speak in Germany I can speak a little bit like I came half out of Silicon Valley and that is also a great Advantage so I’m I’m quite happy with the position and you know that’s basically what I do well can you give us an example of a company where you’ve given them advice that they’ve implemented um I know you probably can’t talk about confidential things but maybe you can make a a general uh statement like what kind of industry is your advice really going to resonate in you know I think I think of this symptoms like therapy you know when you go to a therapist and sometimes I jokingly call the work future therapy when you go to a therapist you know the therapist does not give you an instant solution he tries to figure out a way for you to discover yourself what the solution is by bringing up the painful points with you and your wife or whatever reason you’re going you’re not the only one to bring that up we had a call with uh Rohit tawar who said something very similar he talked about the psychology of being a futurist and and how you have to have a lot of social skill and a lot of like you know kind of armchair psychology Insight in order to persuade and kind of cajole the group to kind of come along with you but it’s an invitation you’re not you’re not preaching at them you’re inviting them to join you um okay let’s see yeah I think I think the future just just as an example you know I I kind of coached parenthesis a big Swiss insurance company into responsibility for him for supporting environmentally that activity right right right so so I said look if you guys are really into sustainability and you want to change the world there then don’t ensure the coal plant yes right yeah and and so they did oh you know they stopped doing it awesome I think they had other they had other reasons but uh I think but it finally landed at some crucial Point uh passive uh you know to where they made that decision and that has happened a bunch of times like with the major TV studios I kind of egged them on a little bit towards opening up the licensing procedure and things like that so sometimes a good therapist can you know move the needle get them to take action that’s great uh and that fits with your Tech versus Humanity thesis right it’s uh it’s consistent with what you’ve been writing about so it’s nice to see you’re able to put that into action we like people who put things into action on this show that’s that’s great okay let’s let’s now let’s take a look at the far future so this is the part of the show Big Picture stuff yeah go way out there tell us 10 years like 30 50 years out you know what what do you what do you perceive the world is going to be like um you know what do you think will have changed uh the human space sees as a humanist you know tell us about your vision for the future in terms of you know what what you like about it what what it What Makes You optimistic well you know the reason that I have this good future topic is because I believe the next five to ten years in many ways the the [ __ ] is going to hit the fan so to speak uh which means climate that serious action there uh automation jobs AI right that’s going to be have no health so to speak right uh social justice inequality north south the climate coin that uh that uh Kim Stanley Robertson yeah I like that idea I believe I believe that basically we have 10 years to get our stuff together and we will because it I think it has been proven that humans are basically capable of emergency action you know in the covert yes for example right we just have to get enough pain so we’re going to get a lot of pain uh and we’re gonna you know I would say all this bad weather patterns and you know the food problem and all that stuff there’s going to be so much pain that catalyzes people into action and then the best thing of course is the Millennials are coming the kids between 25 and 40 and they’re saying I’ve had enough of this stuff you know I’m going to get elected right and women are coming uh and so they’re going to take over in decision making from us basically and in the political sense right and this paradigm shift is going to play out the next 10 years and if it if it goes according to that I think we’re going to harvest technology to actually solve most of our practical practical problems water food disease all of those things right and it could be a kind of Golden Era like a a a pog you know in in starting in five years if all that comes together but the pain to get there will be huge because you know we’re talking about 150 trillion dollar value shift from the fossil fuel to the green economy right so lots of pain lots of our hero upheaval lots of Chaos in the next 10 years but potentially an Outlook of a protopia society as Kevin Kelly says uh a slowly improving March towards the good future um that’s my positive view I think that it’s quite likely that we can make that happen #optimal Humanity that’s awesome well good this has been fascinating where can people find out more about about you and and the good future project and and everything else that you’re working on yeah so my website is futurist gerd gerd like gastrointestinal reflux disease same thing right uh don’t look for good you’ll find other other stuff first and my book is at Tech versus it’s my last book and my YouTube channel good tube here it is I’m gonna put it in here right what’s the tool here all right and uh that’s where the stuff is a good future has a bunch of websites so it’s a free to watch on YouTube if you just look for that and the project officially launching in two weeks is already up and running and it already has 50 members and supporters including Corey doctor off and and a bunch of other really interesting people awesome wow great fun great fun to catch up with you Garrett I’m very happy to see you thriving in this post-pandemic time thank you same here well that’s it for the futurists this week thanks for joining us if you liked what you heard make sure to leave us a review on social media or um you know tweet it out put it on LinkedIn wherever it is you consume or watch social media and uh you know let others let others know about the show it helps people find it and and also um you know tell us what you’d like to hear who who you you would like us to interview on the show and we’ll uh we’ll try and get onto that I still think we need to get Kim Stanley Robinson on even more so after our conversation today I talk about it almost every week but we will get there we will get there but I think the great way well in Moby Dick you’re going to absolutely yeah um but uh yeah thanks our thanks go out to the production team to Elizabeth severins Uh Kevin hersham uh Sylvie Johnson Carlo Navara who help us on the social media side as well and the team at provoke that helps us put this together but uh join us next week we’re going to have a more interesting uh discussions I think Ram is nam is coming up next week so um it’ll be uh be another great show thanks for joining us on the futurists and we’ll see you next week in fact we’ll see you in the future in the future

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