The future can be hard to predict. But on this episode of the “Future of Humanity Podcast,” Carl invites his good friend Peter Moriarty to do just that. Peter runs ITGenius.com, a website that helps small businesses use new technology to keep their business up to date. Carl and Peter discuss the rise and possible fall of Email, Space exploration, and how your identity is becoming more and more tied with technology.
Hey and welcome to another episode of Future of Humanity Podcast. I'm your host Carl Taylor. In today's episode, we're doing something a little bit different. Rather than me interviewing an expert or a scientist, I've decided to bring on a friend of mine who is actually an expert in his right. We will talk about that, but I've decided to bring him on to just have a discussion. Rather than me interview him, we're having a genuine discussion that we had this type of talks and conversations before. Who are we talking to? I'm talking to a great friend of mine. His name is Peter [Moriarty 00:01:36]. Peter is an expert in small business cloud computing. He's been ranked as one of Australia's top 10 entrepreneurs under 30 by SmartCompany and the Australian AntHill Publications. He started his first IT consulting business at the age 15 just like I did back when I was 15 as well. We've had a very similar journey in our business careers, and he's a techy. He loves talking about ideas just like I do.
Carl Taylor: In this episode, we talk a broad range of stuff. We talk about the future of email when it pertains to individuals but also to business, so if you're a business owner, you'll find this fascinating. We go all the way to identity, space, and who will own planets. We talk a lot of different stuff. You're gonna love this episode ... can't wait to dig in. Let's get started.
Carl Taylor: We were having a conversation recently, right? We went for a walk, we're having this conversation, and it kind of led to ... I asked the topic, "What would be of interest if you were to come on the podcast?" We kind of ended up having a conversation. At the end of it, we're like, "We should've recorded that. That was podcast episode right there." That's the reason I've brought Peter on to have that discussion again. We'll see where it goes, but we might not have the exact same discussion. I thought it would be valuable to bring on a friend who I have these kinds of conversations with, and he's a technical guy. We've got a similar business journey, haven't we Peter?
Peter Moriarty: Yeah, absolutely ... so many interesting parallels starting tech support businesses around 15 and then kind of growing it. You exited it in your early 20s. I was slow learner, and I just kept going ... very quite interesting parallels there. I remember how our conversation got started, and you said, "Hey, I'm launching this podcast on the future," and I said, "Well you know, I spend quite a lot of time thinking about the future but primarily as a business strategy, and I'm not worried but a little bit curious about the future in terms of the area that I'm in because we provide business productivity tools. What that looks like in a practical sense is email, file storage, hangouts via calling communication in the Google ecosystem, and we help implement that to small businesses, but what's interesting to me is how communication is changing and how in five or 10 years time, I always have to ask myself the question, 'Are we still going to be emailing?'"
Peter Moriarty: I think that's how our discussion got started, and I think that's a great one to talk about because email itself, sure, it's absolutely critical right but if we look 10 years into the future ... 10 years, not just five years, but 10 years into the future, and we start to see email potentially like faxes or like sending letters. That is a very curious topic to me.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, and my first thought when you said that was, "For years as an online marketer, primarily has for my clients and for myself, made a lot of money using email. People have been predicting the deal of email for a long time, and every time someone's predicted the death of email, it's never happened. Email's come back stronger, but I do agree with you. I think right now, we are seeing a huge trend especially toward messenger app. I hate email. I absolutely hate it. Recently, I'm really thankful that I check my email regularly but generally, I try to check my email once or twice a week. If you're not a business person, you might be listening to that going, "Oh. Well, that's normal," but no. If you're a business person, you're living in your inbox.
Peter Moriarty: Yeah, it's like dopamine addiction. You get the little pellets, the little awards for checking your email.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, but it's so bad for productivity because your inbox is everyone else's to-do list for you, right? It's never your priorities. Sometimes it is if you've reached out to someone but generally, it's someone else asking you to do something and adding more to your to-do list, which is why I try to avoid my email inbox as much as possible and leave people waiting. They don't need to talk to me. They can talk to my team. My team can handle email, but I'm thankful I do check it because I recently had attempt on my situation. Had I not checked my email and seen some alerts, it could've been a very messy situation. That kind of brings me to my point is my thoughts around email is how email is so tied to our identity. Even to sign up to Facebook to Twitter to whatever, you need an email address. They're kind of connected. What are your thoughts on that? Do you see that going away? What's going to be the next identity if not an email address?
Peter Moriarty: I love this idea because I think eventually we'll probably get the spot where we've got chips in our arms, and that will be our identity, but we're not there yet. We're close. There was that guy in Sydney who took the transit card, which is called the Opal Card in Sydney, and actually had it inserted in under his skin. He was just beeping on and off the trains and buses ... the RFID chip under his skin. They eventually canceled card. Australia says it's all about innovation. That was just a little bit too much innovation. To get there, I'm not sure what we're gonna need to get there.
Peter Moriarty: What I know that we are seeing is that communication is certainly changing. Identity is really something that I love because when I go and sign in to a website, if I've the opportunity to use my Google account to do that ... and other websites in the consumer space, you will be able to use your Facebook account to sign into account; it's like a secure bridge. You only really have to secure one account then. Either secure your Google business account, your Gmail account, or secure your Facebook account and theoretically, you're safe across all of those websites because you're not having to use [inaudible 00:06:54] password.
Carl Taylor: One account's hacked, all of your accounts are hacked.
Peter Moriarty: That's the downside. Yes. We can trust companies like Apple, like Google, like Amazon, like Facebook to do a pretty good job of protecting our data and protecting those accounts from getting hacked as a service. We obviously have to have a pretty high level of responsibility with how we lockdown those accounts, and that's obviously something that you've explored recently very personally. What I like about that is that becomes your identity. Now ironically, it's still tied to an email address. Your Facebook account is still tied to an email address. Your Google account is still literally an email address. I think Facebook is probably further along the line of not having email.
Peter Moriarty: Interestingly, I listened to the Congress hearing on Facebook, privacy, and advertising data, and there were a couple of Facebook products that I wasn't aware of that were mentioned. One of those is a like a Facebook kids product. That Facebook kids product is like messenger product for kids that I think are under 14 years old, but it's completely controlled by the parent's accounts. What I found interesting about that was I assume ... I might not be 100% correct, but I assume that the parents just punch in their kids names, and it's not necessarily tied to an email address because I don't think a 12 year old would have an email address.
Peter Moriarty: That got me thinking, "Oh wow. Well, they're now on Facebook. They have a Facebook identity. They have history and data and everything else, and they may not necessarily have an email address tied to that." We may already be seeing, Carl, one of the first services that is giving us an identity, which is actually not liked to an email address. I therefore assume once those kids are 14 or 15 or however old they need to be to access the main Facebook, someone can click a button and graduate them to a full Facebook account and wow. What if that just stays their identity?
Carl Taylor: Interestingly enough, in that conversation though, he said the current way it works ... it can always change. Zuckerberg said that when they turn 13 and they graduate to an actual Facebook, all of that data from when they were a kid gets deleted ...
Peter Moriarty: Oh wow.
Carl Taylor: ... or if it doesn't happen that way, that's what he believes should happen. He believes that all of that messages ... because it is Facebook messenger. I don't know whether it's like as you get older, you always think the younger generation are doing things that you never did but to me it seems like kids are being sexualized way too early. With the Facebook Messenger, who knows what's in those message history, and so I think it is a good idea. I'm with Zuckerberg. I think when they turn 13, that message history should probably all be cleared, and they start fresh with a brand new Facebook. That's essentially what he said either does happen, or he wants to see happen moving forward.
Peter Moriarty: The ironic thing is that I'm using Voice to type an email, which is like a super formal mode of communication. It's got, "Dear Carl, how are you today?" Here's the body of my email, "Blah blah blah, Kind regards, Peter." What I'm interested in is, "Okay. Well, how is the format of communication going to change?" We deploy and use productivity tools for businesses and in the Google Suite of applications, that includes Hangouts chat, which is a little bit like Slack or very like Slack, which has texted-based chat rooms, instant messages, works on your mobile, works on your desktop, and it's a way of keeping in close communication with your team using text.
Peter Moriarty: Obviously, I'm using voice activation into my phone to type into that. I'm not actually typing out messages. Then, Google Hangouts Meet, which is their videoconferencing product. I have found ... we've never used internal email in our company. Maybe in the early, early, early days, but it's really weird when I receive an email from one of my team members. I will get them to leave requests. We haven't put that into a form yet. We just don't use it generally. That kind of gets me thinking, "Well, what if stopped using email with our customers?"
Peter Moriarty: Some of the initiatives that we've had there ... We run a tech support business. We get nearly 500 requests per week for support, consulting, project delivery. We have a cloud concierge service where we work with digital apps of customers, so they're always asking us questions and always needing help from us. Yes, some will pick up the phone and call our help desk, which we absolutely love. That's part of the service but sending out emails to me, always seems kind of slow, so we've put in initiatives like live chat on our website. I've been surprised that more customers don't use it.
Carl Taylor: Oh really?
Peter Moriarty: Yeah. When given the option of live chat, many customers will still actually type out an email. I'm not sure if that's because ...
Carl Taylor: What's the age demographic of your typical clientele?
Peter Moriarty: That's a great question, so typically 35 to 55 years old, so business owner 35 to 55. I think they would see it as less time, which it probably is less time to bash out an email and send it off because then, it's on someone else's to-do list. Like you said, email is the world's to-do list for you. I think it's easier for them to bash out an email and send it off because it's like the loop is closed. It's off their list where sitting there on live chat with our team might seem like longer whereas for me being Gen Y, I say, "Well, live chat is instant, and I can get it done instant," and so my priority is to get things done instantly.
Carl Taylor: It interesting because I don't know where I read it or heard it, I hate picking up the phone. That's partly probably because I'm an introverted personality but also, I don't know what's gonna happen on the other end. You've got to sit on hold sometimes. Even on live chat, you do have to wait, but the difference to me, it feels far easier like numerous times when I've been airport ... Telstra has now changed the process but pretty well when you were going to go overseas and when you wanted to enable a travel pass so you could get your phone working overseas, you had to either call up, or they had live chat. I would always prefer to use live chat because I could sit in the lounge at the airport, open up a live chat ... I mean once, I was even sitting on the plane still waiting on live chat for them to turn it on just before I had to turn my phone off and put it on the airplane mode.
Carl Taylor: Live chat was just so much better, and I read or heard somewhere that more and more customers are wanting live chat. It's interesting that you're not experiencing that same trend, but this article seemed to indicate that bigger companies are finding. I agree. Our generation, Gen Y and below ... and it is interesting. There is this definite trend back towards chat; I mean things like Slack. You know that I use Slack. It revolutionized my business, right? Then, Slack having Box as well, but none of that's new. Maybe I was like 10, 11, 12; I don't know how old I was, but I remember using IRC. Did you ever use MIRC?
Peter Moriarty: I don't know if I was on IRC because you're like two years older than me ... think I was using messenger probably. I was on Yahoo chat rooms, probably some Java services, which is very close, but they're not [crosstalk 00:13:14] IRC.
Carl Taylor: Well, Slack is IRC. It's built on the same [crosstalk 00:13:18] of IRC. They just built it a new interface. That's all they did, and it's become new again. The technology behind Slack and chat tools like that is absolutely not new. It's been around since almost the beginning of the internet, very early days. It's revolutionized my business. Like you, not a single person will send emails internally like we definitely don't have that leave thing because we have a Slack bot that handles leave. The team can just message the bot, and that puts it all in the calendar. It asks approval from their managers.
Carl Taylor: That's the trend we're seeing like Facebook Messenger, for my friends at least, or text is my preferred method of contact. If someone calls me and it goes to my voicemail, my voicemail says, "Do not leave me a voice message." It says, "Either email me or send me a text." I should probably update it, so it just says, "Send me a text." That's a great way to weed out spammers though because spammers, they leave you a voicemail message. You're like, "Well. Clearly, they're a spammer because they didn't listen. It says I don't check my voicemail messages."
Peter Moriarty: I think that's interesting, but I think you've brought up another technology that really needs to die, and that's SMS. SMS is as old as ICQ IRC. I've been an Apple fanboy for years and years and years but working in the Google ecosystem, I was convinced to go over to Android when Google started bringing out their own hardware with the Pixel phones. You know I switched from using iMessage, which all of my friends and all of my family on. We had group chats and everything happening, and we had to find another app. We settled on Messenger because everyone has it. I tried to convince my family to go to Google service Allo but no, that wasn't gonna happen, so we ended up using Messenger. Actually, we've got a fantastic family ... I've got two family threads, and we have a whole lot of fun in Messenger with gifs and photos being shared. My brother had a baby at 5:00 AM this morning and that was shared on Messenger; photos to both families, which is wonderful.
Peter Moriarty: Now, I got a text message from you about this show, and I was like, "What the hell is Carl doing? Why is he sending me a text message? Messenger works on your computer. It works across all of your devices. It's cross-platform. You get read receipts, and text is like the equivalent of sending a fax in 2018," so I don't know if you were drunk or something. Maybe, it was late at night. I'm just curious that we have these services that are lingering on. I'm curious like what does it take to get rid of fax? Will we then get rid of SMS and is email in that same category? Could that happen?
Peter Moriarty: We were talking about ways that customers communicate with us in a business sense and as well as the live chat initiative. We also have an integration from Zendesk, which is our ticketing system, which handles all of our chats, all of the email communication, and when we have a phone call, we make notes in there as well. Now, we've enabled a bridge from there into the messages feature of our Facebook page, so customers can actually go to itGenius, they can message itGenius, and that's gonna come into Zendesk. We actually have a live chat using [inaudible 00:16:07] we have live chat functionality with [inaudible 00:16:09] so even more rapid responses.
Peter Moriarty: now, my question is if businesses potentially started using Messenger ... and look, it doesn't have to be live chat. They don't have to sit there but if they're sending messages on Messenger and therefore not needing to email, what's left for email? Is just for legals like letters were and faxes were for a long time? Is it just for formalized stuff, so then is everything else gonna be in apps and bots?
Carl Taylor: Yeah. I mean I suppose the question is gonna be why are people turning to Messenger over email? For me if I think about why do I prefer friends messaging me say through Facebook Messenger, it's because my inbox is not as cluttered with noise. Now, that's changing. It's probably been four or five months since I kind of started telling people and using Messenger more. You asked why did I send you a text. I knew for a fact that you had seen it, delivered it, and it was like ...
Peter Moriarty: You wouldn't have gotten a read receipt for text though.
Carl Taylor: I knew that I wouldn't have to login to Facebook to see it. I'm sure Facebook ... it's just some software updates. They could fix this, but Facebook Messenger is not ... It's fine when you've got two or three conversations going on. As soon as you have more than that, it becomes a nightmare to manage. I'm aware that there are unread messages in there ... probably weeks ago. Out of sight, out of mind; that's how I work and I think most people work that way, and so it's not at the top of the inbox then you forget about it. It's not that I don't want to get to them. Also, the challenges on Facebook [inaudible 00:17:43] distracted.
Peter Moriarty: Yeah, it could mom, which is high importance. It could be friend from five years ago who says, "Hey," because they've got a new multilevel marketing thing they've just joined. It could be someone who ... I was driving my four-wheel drive up and down some hills, and I gave a paraglider a lift. He said, "Oh. Hey, can you send me some photos that you took?" and so you'll add someone random to Messenger like they may even sit in your message requests box. You might not even see it in your inbox and missed connections ... that there's no importance is what my point is. There's no priority in there.
Carl Taylor: My Facebook Messenger inbox is mixed with friends, clients, and prospects, and it's fast becoming an inbox just like my email. That's challenging like it's really hard.
Peter Moriarty: ... with no tools to manage it at all.
Carl Taylor: Exactly. There's no way to forward. If I get a message from my client for example, there's not forward to forward it to my team to followup. It's like I'm now the bottleneck. It's come back. Again, it's only really tools, but my question is, "Well, why have we seen the trend?" Is it just because the inbox is cluttered, and so then who's to say that the message environment's not gonna become just as cluttered? Why did people switch from fax to email? Because fax was slow whereas email was fast. Messenger technically is no faster than email. The only difference is because it was less cluttered, our response was probably faster. If we chunk up from the technology and whatever side, we think about on a society level, technology has always been sold to us; it'll make our life better, we'll have so much more free time, add this automation in, the computers will do it all. The truth is we've been more connected, so we've had less time. Our brains have been on switch off.
Carl Taylor: Some people ask me, "Why don't we offer Slack integration?" We are building something, but "Why don't let our clients come into a Slack channel and pull for my team?" One of the people I know who did do that confirmed my concern. My concern with that is there's an expectation if they send a message whether it be Facebook messenger or Slack, there'll be a response in action within minutes not days. Email, because of the trend, if something takes a few days to actioned, I mean, it's become more of the norm. In the beginning, emails were probably instant but now, it's the norm whereas Messenger is that fast, fast, fast. As that gets busier and nosier, I see the same problem happening. While I do agree that there's this trend happening, I'm not sure whether it's truly sustainable and better than email. What is Messenger doing better than email except making the messages shorter because it is changing the style of communication to be shorter and sharper?
Peter Moriarty: One of the things that makes Messenger fun to use is the multimedia. It's kind of like a bridge getting closer to the Vox of Vibe. You can do voice messages. You can check in photos really easily. The mobile interface is brilliant whereas email, it's really just text. We should make the point that part of the shift from fax to email was because fax was physical. It was using paper, and email was completely digital, but that furthers your point that there's not that much of a jump from email to Messenger if primarily it's still text. Sure, we've got some extra multimedia in there, but it wasn't a monumental shift from using paper to no longer using paper.
Peter Moriarty: I want to speak to that point about everything being instant. I think for Gen Y, it's cool for everything to be instant because that's what we expect, and that's what we've grown up with. That's really in a way what we want, so it's really easy for us to be in a Slack or a Hangouts groups and be typing away. How I describe this to my team is that when you send someone an instant message inside a business, it's the equivalent of walking up to them in an office and tapping them on the shoulder. You shouldn't be doing that for every single request. You can't spend all day long interrupting people from what they're doing.
Peter Moriarty: Our team; we're just completely ADD, dopamine addicted because we're all young people in the business, so like we're gone. It's too fast for us, but we have to inform our clients. We're a productivity business, so we have to try and help our customers be productive, and I don't believe that's the way to go. I 100% agree with you. If everyone was using Messenger, Slack, or Hangouts for everything, it's too fast, and it doesn't allow us to actually get good work done. The productivity tools that I love is called Pomodoro, which is doing 25 minutes of discipline work and then having a break or breather but removing all of your distractions.
Peter Moriarty: I've always had all of my alerts switched off. I never have email alerts dinging. I don't even have Hangouts chat alerts from my team dinging. My phone sits on "do not disturb" 24 hours a day. If someone calls me twice a day in a couple of minutes, it will ding. I mean, even my family don't bother calling me anymore. They'll probably send me a message on Messenger because it's ... I really much value my time. Gary Vaynerchuk says that time is now the currency. It's the most valuable resource for everyone.
Carl Taylor: Now? I think it's always been the most valuable. All of us have a finite amount of time. You can always make more money, but you can't get more time. When your time's up, time's up.
Peter Moriarty: I do think it's important to realize. I mean, email started off being really exciting. The late 90s, I got my first email, and it was really exciting because when someone sent me an email, it was like, "Oh, wow. I've got this message." Then over time, now we're receiving literally hundreds of emails per day, and it's become a big problem. 80% of those are probably marketing, automated, or alerts of some sort. Sure, there are few that are actually typed out by humans.
Peter Moriarty: What I love in the realm of what Google's doing about this is their Inbox tool. If you have a Gmail or a Google business account, you can use Inbox. There's a Google Inbox app, and there's a web interface: inbox.google.com. It's kind of like a skin to Gmail. It's like different way of using Gmail; same set of emails, same set of folders, all these same stuff, but it's got the power of machine learning and AI to help you work through your emails. For example, I mean I don't receive hits of emails because like you, they're primarily [inaudible 00:23:28] to my teams. Well then now, it's the level when I do receive emails because it means it's something that a customer can help something that I can do. What I love which Inbox does is it's got some smarts like rolling up all of my travel, accommodation, kind of higher things like that into bundles. If I'm traveling to a particular location, it's gonna automatically bundles all of those things in one spot, so I open my inbox, and I've got it all there when I'm traveling.
Peter Moriarty: Secondly, it takes low priority emails that it's detected using its artificial intelligence, and it bundles them together in my inbox. I might have three or four emails of a morning in my inbox when I jump in and have a look there, but I might have 15 that have made it through my very intelligent filters to try to filter out all the marketing emails that have made it through to my inbox. Some of them, I want to have there. There may be reports that I get daily that I check in on every couple of days. It may be that once a year renewal that you get from a particular software app that you're using, but you don't need to look at the invoice to know that it's actually gone though. Google gives you one button to clear out those 15 low priority emails, and I like that because Google's AI is now helping me to be smarter.
Peter Moriarty: You're absolutely right that Messenger hasn't got there yet so in a way, email is easier for me to triage than 15 Messenger messages from different people that I don't know. I'm very interested in where will it go and can we actually kill email. Let's say if Messenger had a better way of us triaging. Let's say if everyone was using it because it has to be a platform that everyone's using. I think everyone is using Facebook. I've got one or two friends that don't use it, but I would say it's got about 80 or 90% penetration in let's say from 18 year olds to 50 year olds. Every single person has a smartphone. Everyone. Right? We've got that there, so in terms of tech adoption, we've got everyone on something that could be the next things. How do we kill email? What are the actual uses left? Is this just about email or is there a broader discussion around how we will use technology to communicate differently in the future?
Carl Taylor: I think one of the things that adds to email, dominate over say a Messenger platform is that email is essentially a protocol. It's agnostic as to what service provider you use whereas currently Messenger, you've got iMessage on your phone. You've got Facebook Messenger. You've got WhatsApp. You've got all the different tools. Now, Android ...
Peter Moriarty: Two out of three of which are owned by one company by the way.
Carl Taylor: Yeah. Well, exactly. Right? Then if we go broader, we're talking WeChat. We're talking, if we go around the world then ... like all these people connected, that's very much in the Western world but if we go far more globally, we've got a very different story as to who's got smartphones and how connected they are.
Peter Moriarty: I wonder what Russia's version of WeChat is.
Carl Taylor: I don't know. Yeah. It's very interesting is chat is a bit more walled garden than email, which is really kind of agnostic and accessible for all. That's kind of in the original vision for the internet ... was this kind of platform open to all. It's interesting. I see two trends. I see a trend of us moving to be more connected, more open-sourced things, more community driven, and less walled gardened but at the same time, we see more gardens being created online as well.
Peter Moriarty: That is so interesting, so if IRC was open from the start ... and it was literally around from the days of newsgroups from the founding of the internet. My question is why hasn't that taken off? Why are we all using an open IRC like in 2018, we are really all moving towards Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook. Is that just the way the world going? I mean, I start to thinking about [crosstalk 00:27:02]-
Carl Taylor: It's part of the capitalist system of ... I remember a very earlier lesson I learned in business. I'm sure you learned it to ... is it's not the best product that wins, it's the best marketed product.
Peter Moriarty: Absolutely. I agree.
Carl Taylor: You could have the better product in business but if someone could out market you and their product is absolutely junk, they'll still win because that's just how things work. I mean, betamax and VHS; the perfect example. Betamax was the better technology, better product, but [inaudible 00:27:25] porn went on VHS and so therefore, it was better marketed. That could be very much the case here. IRC, no one was smart enough. It was a techy's playground. No one was smart enough until say Slack to realize, "Hey, this can be marketed. He's how it should be marketed."
Peter Moriarty: I just think about the movies like you've got Terminator ... Wall-E was probably the other one to note where there is usually a monopolistic corporation of some sort, which is involved in effectively humanity becoming enslaved in some way, and technology is a part of that. So many stories that are revolving around this idea, and we've got five of those companies that we're all [inaudible 00:28:04] to and worshiping like we're there. It's funny like we can kind of make jokes about it, but then there are very serious, very smart people like Elon Musk who was saying, "No, this AI thing is like really dangerous guys like we've got to be careful here." We should probably set some boundaries and be really careful about how we approach this.
Carl Taylor: Well, did you watch that documentary that was recently released; that Do You Trust This Computer? Did you see that?
Peter Moriarty: Not yet.
Carl Taylor: You should watch it. It's very that. For me, I used to think that ... I'm a little bit with Elon Musk. Before watching the documentary, I was a little bit with him but at the same time, I was a little bit in Zuckerberg's camp going, "Oh, you know you're over ... We're not there yet," like I agree there are concerns, but we're not there yet. Elon Musk said a great story, which really highlighted to me that he's right. I was thinking you need a general artificial intelligence. We need to get to that level, which we're far away. We've got plenty of specialist AIs but to get to a general AI, that's what I thought humanity was at risk. He made the story; he said, "As humanity, when we're laying down a road, if there is an anthill in the way, do we stop and think about the ants or do we just completely demolish that anthill and lay the road down?" That's the danger is that you have a specialized AI that is ... now, he didn't say this exactly, but this is how I interpreted it.
Carl Taylor: You have a specialized AI whose job is to lay a road over humanity in some way, and it doesn't have any intelligence or any knowledge about why it should go around that anthill of humanity. It should damage humanity while doing it. It's just gonna carry out its mission, and its mission is to lay that road. It wasn't evil. It wasn't going, "I must destroy humans." It was just humans are in the way of its objective, so it just completed its objective. That's where I was like, "That is scary," and we're not far away from that. We have specialized AIs, and he's right. That is something that I think we do need to stop and think.
Carl Taylor: That's the whole point of this podcast like these conversations. The whole reason I started this podcast was I think about these things. I have conversations. You and I have conversations. In my circle, I have some of these conversations. I want to get this out to the broader community. I think more people need to be aware of what's coming; the good and the bad like I'm excited about the future, but I'm also scared in other ways. I think if the more we know ... at least then we have decision like as you said, there's these five companies that potential could be that big, monopolistic if not all of them.
Carl Taylor: I mean, there's a scifi TV show ... can't remember what it's called now, but I watched it on Netflix. It's basically galactic wars between corporation. There's no countries anymore. It's [Faris 00:30:30] Corp versus whatever the other corp is, and they've got warfare going on. It's corporations instead of country. That to me is not that unrealistic. If you've read the book Sapiens where he talks about a company doesn't really exist just like a country doesn't really exist. Countries at least maybe had a physical border; country like Australia but if you're in a country in Europe, it's really just an imaginary line that's been drawn to decide you're in a country. Then, you've got companies. Are companies any different? Then all of sudden, we might align ourselves with a company and then moving forward, it could be Facebook versus Google versus Apple versus Amazon; galactic warfare between them ... like who knows?
Peter Moriarty: I think if you were to look a couple 100 hundred years into the future ... I wanted to mention this first, I mean, on AI and paving the way for the road and going over the anthill. A couple weeks ago we had a person run over and killed by an automated vehicle ... can't remember if it was an Uber or something else, but it was a self-driving vehicle, pretty sure it wasn't Uber, struck someone, ran them over, and killed them. Obviously, that's terrible, and that's very sad. Contrasted with however, Tesla, Uber, and everyone else who's developing self-driving car technology, the number of accidents and the rate of accidents per kilometers driven is a fraction of humans behind the wheel. There's like this trade-off question. Well, one person was run over and killed because the sensors didn't pick them up versus how many other people were potentially saved from being injured because overall the crash rate is less. That's one to fry your noodle and ponder over.
Carl Taylor: It also brings up the ethical or moral question; when you have to program or you have to let the AI decide where it kills the person in the car or it kills the old lady or the kid that it might hit, and it's an either or. There's no choice like there's no avoiding it. Someone has to die, and it becomes a decision that's not made by human. That becomes a huge ... I mean there are teams of scientists, philosophers, and people trying to stew over that problem right now like one of the biggest problems with driverless technology is not the technology. The technology exists. There's two main things that are stopping the adoption. One is are there humans on the road? If we could take all the human drivers off the road and just put driverless cars, we could do it.
Peter Moriarty: We'd be fine.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, it's teaching the driverless cars how to handle humans on the road. That's the problem. Then, second thing is that moral question of, "Well, how do we decide where liability lies, the legalities of when someone dies?" like all of that. That's the messy stuff. Those are the two main things. There might be a few more, but they're the two main things that have to be solved before driverless cars can truly take over.
Peter Moriarty: There's some great videos on Youtube. I can't remember what the name of the challenge or the conundrum is, but I will perhaps link in the show notes. When the AI has given a choice between ... Okay. Well, you've got an obstacle in the road. Either run over a pedestrian or you could run into a crowd of pedestrians potentially on the sidewalk; what does the car do? Does it swerve to try and get off the road or does it knowingly continue on to take out one person instead of taking out a group of people? Anyway, I think it's getting a bit morbid. Let's talk more about the aspirational.
Peter Moriarty: If we were to look 100 years or a couple hundred years in the future, we will have landed to Mars and [inaudible 00:33:51] to Elon Musk will be there; the first planet that we will potentially inhabit outside of Earth. Now, if we were to look 500 years in the future, we'd probably be able to reach other planets. Who knows how it's gonna happen, but I think in 500 years, we'd probably be able to get there. Now, the thing I'm curious about; you really got me interested when you talked about the two corporations that were at war. Once we have the technology, who says that a corporation can't go to another planet, set up on that planet, and run it as their own. I mean, Earth's jurisdiction literally ends ... and even the United Nations and the global alliances that we have, they literally end once you're outside the atmosphere, which is why legals of putting up satellites and stuff get a little bit murky. What's so interesting is would we have a corporation go to a new planet say, "Hey, we're flying our flag here. This is our planet."
Carl Taylor: "This is Amazon planet."
Peter Moriarty: Yeah, yeah ... because that's pretty much what SpaceX have said they're gonna do. They're gonna go to Mars. They can kind of write the jurisdiction from Mars. It's pretty interesting, right?
Carl Taylor: Yeah, it really is interesting. I mean, for years you've been able to buy plots of land on the moon but as to how legally ...
Peter Moriarty: That guy got rich.
Carl Taylor: Yeah. As to whether or not you actually have any legal title whatsoever over the plots of land on the moon that you've bought, it does create this interesting situation of not just corporations but can individual [inaudible 00:35:16]? If you're wealthy individual like Warren Buffet, not that I could imagine he would, but someone of that wealth decides to go on buying this whole planet. Instead of private islands, you'll have private planets and with the corporations ... yeah ... owning all of that stuff. Will we see a breakdown of countries and a move to corporations, the Apple fanboys versus the Google fanboys?
Peter Moriarty: It's kind of become a joke. I mean, I think that there's already enough of when someone sends me a text message and I'm on Android, they say, "Oh, you're a green person," on my phone because there isn't the blue iMessage bubble. The big question is in the intergalactic war, will they still be sending email or will they be hammering each other on messenger?
Carl Taylor: ... or will they have completely skipped it? I mean, one of the things I thought of when we were talking is if there's not enough difference in technology between messenger, chat, and email, maybe the thing that will kill email in the future will be a completely different thing like the rise of voice. You've got Google Home devices. I've got Google Home. I shouted at my Google Home before we even started this podcast. You thought that was hilarious that I was telling it to turn off the music. Voice is really becoming a hot topic today, and we're only starting to scratch the surface.
Carl Taylor: You, yes, at the moment, like to talk into your device, type it out, and I agree with you. I get messages from people who send me voice messages. It's great to send a voice message. It's a pain to receive it. It's far slower than it would be for me to just read the message. I can read faster than I ... For people who are on this podcast, they probably prefer listening than reading. I mean, that's part of the reason that people enjoy podcasts. It could all be said in speak and how you receive it really is up to your preference.
Carl Taylor: If we go to the augmented reality or even Elon Musk wants to talk about the idea of melding our minds with the internet and with the machine, well then, is it just a thought? We receive the images, the thoughts, and everything into our head, and it can be text. It can be heard if you want to listen to it, or it could end up being chat but not chat as we know it. It's chat in whatever medium you want with voice detect ... Someone might prefer to type, but you can receive it as a voice. Someone might prefer to speak, but you can receive it as a text.
Peter Moriarty: The priorities always gonna be connecting people, and that's not a throwback to Facebook's mission. I think it's like I love my Google Home. I use it to control my music. I use it to play Netflix onto my TV. I use it to play Youtube videos, all kinds of really cool, really great things. In the US, you can use Google Home to make phone calls, so you can talk at your Google Home, and that's why they called it the Home. It's becoming this really brilliant home device. I think in the days of right now, Skype, Zoom, Messenger, and Apple's own FaceTime, this technology's primarily gonna be used to bring us closer as a humanity.
Peter Moriarty: I'm also very curious about what's the next step from video, for video and audio, or looking at cameras talk to each other? I would say one step we have virtual reality, and we have augmented reality. The first little hint into that is the animoji that have come out on different smartphone platforms now. If you don't know what they are, it's like a little animated ... I think they're stupid, but maybe I'm getting old. It's a little emote, and it uses face recognition to look at the subtle movements in your face. It mimics those into an animated character version of yourself. I don't know if these are gonna kick off or not. Who knows? It's certainly interesting because it's starting to ... this is in the realm of augmented reality. It's starting to go beyond just picture and audio, which you had for a long time, and we're, I think, starting to get ready to graduate from.
Carl Taylor: Well Peter, with the animoji, a perfect marketing idea that you could have is get your own custom animoji created that's like the symbol of the itGenius logo. When someone signs up, you can send them a welcome animoji where it's like, "Hello, welcome." Someone's gonna do it. If you're listening and you have the ability to make that happen, please do it, and please send it to me. I would love to see someone has used it for a marketing. I agree. I think it's stupid. The younger generation probably love it. It's fun. It's entertaining and if you're selling to a younger generation, what we think stupid now, in 10 years time, could be normal and [inaudible 00:39:26].
Peter Moriarty: I think if you were marketing to somebody who's in that demographic like someone 25 or under, email marketing is just not gonna get through. For starters in someone's Gmail, Inbox is already filtering marketing information messages to their own tab, and young people either ... I mean, they probably have an email address because the identity thing. We've already established that, but they're probably not gonna be checking their email, personal email that is, more than once a week, maybe twice a week. I mean, I know I've got a personal email address, and I don't even check it. I just don't see a need to go in it, and my dad will call me or text me and say, "Hey, did you read my email?" I'd say, "No, I didn't," because there's just no reason for me to go in there.
Peter Moriarty: When I'm booking hotels, I'm using the booking.com app. When I'm communicating with my friends, I'm using Messenger. I'm using WhatsApp or I'm using something else. The app experience of working on my phone is so much better than going into emails for all of my personal stuff. It just doesn't make sense. I mean, we're even paying with our mobile phones now. We don't even have to reach for a credit card. I've managed to live the last couple of months without even carrying a wallet around. I've got $200 in cash behind the back of my phone, so if you see me in the street, punch me and grab it. Apart from that, everything is just tap and pay; apart from every now and then, I'll leave my formal identification, which has caught me out a few times. The smartphones are really becoming part of us, and I don't know how long it's gonna be until we all just get chips in our arms because that's gonna make paying and everything else a whole bunch simpler.
Carl Taylor: Well, it probably won't be long before things like driver's license can be stored on your phone. I think I remember a while back reading about the Australian government, [inaudible 00:40:57] the phone, go straight to DNA, pin prick and get your blood. Then, the police officer will do a little swab and say, "Sorry sir, you've been speeding too much, but I'm gonna put that on your permanent record." Do you really want to be getting pin pricked all the time? I mean, Grace hates needles. I can imagine she would not be keen on that but in all seriousness, I remember I read something a little while ago about Australian government at least investigating ... I don't know whether they're gonna do it, but they were investigating ...
Peter Moriarty: I think it was digital passport, and I'm pretty sure they're doing it. [inaudible 00:41:25]. Interestingly, I got a copy of one of my personal documents in my Google Keep. Obviously, my Google account is locked down with two-factor authentication, but if you want to go for all my stuff, it's all there; my birth certificate, absolutely everything. It's all saved it Google Keep.
Peter Moriarty: I was pulled over by the police. This was years and years ago, and I was using Evernote at the time, but I'm using Keep for the same purpose now. I didn't have my wallet with me. I'd left my wallet at the office. Police officer ran a breath test, and he said, "Well, you don't have your license, so you're in trouble. I'm gonna slap you with a fine for driving without your license on you," and because I had the image of my license in my phone, I was able to show that. He said, "Look, this is acceptable. I've been able to look you up and find your identity, and I can see your picture. I've verified that you are who you say you are but report to the police station in the next 24 hours and show them the actual ID just [inaudible 00:42:12]." I was able to get out of a fine, which is excellent, so I think it should be done.
Peter Moriarty: I think it's crazy that it's not done. When I travel, that's the reason I wanted to have all of those documents scanned and available on my device. It's become when I travel if something happens, you've got to be able to walk up to a consulate and say, "Hey, this is who I am."
Carl Taylor: [crosstalk 00:42:29] ... prove that you are who you are.
Peter Moriarty: Yes.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, totally. Agree. Yeah, it's very interesting. Wow, we've covered a lot in our conversation. We've gone from future of email and whether email's gonna die. We got to space exploration, and corporations owning planets.
Peter Moriarty: Police officers pin pricking you with needles.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, identity in your phones and DNA tests, chips under the arm. It's been fascinating. It's been great. Thanks so much for coming on. If anyone wants to kind of connect with you and find out more about you ... and guys, if you enjoyed this style of episode, and you'd like to see more episodes like this, please let us know. Reach out to us at the website ... love to hear your feedback. Yeah. Peter, how can people get more connected with you if they'd like to?
Peter Moriarty: Well, we help small to medium businesses with technology and productivity. We're based primarily in Australia, but we work with customers all over the world. To learn more about us and what we do, you can head to itGenius.com. Yeah, we've got heaps of stuff there but primarily, we're helping small to medium sized businesses with their business operations with communication tools, with collaboration tools, and helping everyone to be productive. Carl, thanks so much for having me on the show, absolutely have loved, enjoyed the discussion, and look forward to the next one.
Carl Taylor: Yeah, look forward to it. Thanks, man.
Carl Taylor: Thanks for listening to the Future of Humanity Podcast. To download the latest episode and find the transcript and various resources mentioned in today's episode, visit our website @foh.show. That's F-O-H as in Future of Humanity and show as in S-H-O-W. You can also via our website, contact me with any feedback or suggestions for future episodes, so please do reach out. Now, if you haven't already subscribed, you can find the links to subscribe on all of your favorite platforms @foh.show/subscribe. That's foh.show/subscribe and more importantly, if you'd like to continue the conversation from today's episode and connect with other listeners, then you can join our free community @foh.show/community. I look forward to seeing you there.