The Kevin Rose Show: Tim Urban

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Tim is the creator of the Wait But Why blog
Where did Tim’s interest in going so deep on a variety of topics come from?
  • In going deep, that’s where the interesting stuff is
  • In having this mind set, everything around us, at the deep level, is really really fascinating
What will happen with all the pictures people are taking of certain areas?
  • Maybe Google Glass will make a come back, and there will be a slider feature, where you are able to view certain areas over a time lapse
virtual reality
  • Tim is planning a post on VR
  • There’s a spectrum you have to think about – living 100% immersed in VR to what we have currently (nothing)
    • In between, exists augmented reality (AR)
  • Kevin’s thoughts – when smart phones came out, they didn’t really catch on until the iPhone came out. Look also at the Segway, VR could be just like this, where it just doesn’t become popular, no matter what.
  • VR is just a medium, it has so many applications – VR for Google Earth, exploring space, etc.
  • Both options right now, are lacking – Google Cardboard and then things like Samsung Gear
  • The thing that may break the barrier to mass adoption: a headset with a computer within it, that will have cameras able to see the walls around you
  • Eye tracking technology within the headsets need to improve. As of now, the headset can’t tell where you are looking, so everything has to be clear visually. Once eye tracking evolves, only where you’re looking will need to be clear, saving a ton of energy.
cryptocurrency
  • Tim wants to write about it, but he’s just not excited enough
  • He doesn’t want to really dig in because it’s still so far from mass adoption. If he writes about it now, he would be explaining something that’s still so new and not that understood.
  • Kevin – the blockchain technology could lead to a new type of internet
  • Many people are being manipulated by their governments (i.e. Venezuala), and allowing people to exchange value just via their smart phones may lead to some countries utilizing bitcoin as their national currency
AI
  • Narrow Intelligence vs. General Intelligence
    • Humans have good general intelligence, we can be good at a variety of things, and are fairly smart across the board
    • AI is superior at narrow intelligence, it’s very smart at one thing
  • In 2025, Tim believes narrow intelligence AI will infiltrate on a totally different level (kind of how like electricity started being used everywhere)
    • General Intelligence AI will still be in development
  • It won’t be long before it’s medical malpractice to not have AI making a diagnosis 
  • “Things we think are a human job, are just a narrow intelligence job for AI”
  • The human brain can only be so large, once a certain size is reached, the left side would be able to communicate with the right. For AI, there is no limit to its “brain” size.
  • Once an AI learns something, it will sync with everything else on its platform. The collective intelligence of AI will skyrocket. This is why self-driving cars will be so effective at avoiding accidents.
  • The fear is that AI won’t care about humans, just like we don’t really care about ants
    • Think about how we just build a house on top of ants. It’s not because we hate the ants, its because they’re just in the way. Will AI treat us this way?
  • Why bother to even try to predict what AI will do?
    • The stakes are so high. It has the capability to either wipe us out, or solve mortality.
Elon Musk
  • His company Neuralink – putting artificial intelligence within humans
  • What has Tim learned from Elon Musk?
    • When Tim wrote this series, he had two questions – Why is Elon doing what he’s doing? and How is Elon able to do these things?
    • He discovered Elon goes by the motto “Reason not from first principles, but reason by analogy”
    • Instead of going with conventional wisdom, Elon uses more of a scientific reasoning approach
    • Back in the tribal days, conventional wisdom was wise because each generation was relatively the same. Now, the world changes so quickly that conventional wisdom is outdated by the time it becomes conventional wisdom.
    • Don’t trust conventional wisdom over your self
    • Do things with fresh eyes – Elon sees everything for what it is, instead of what others say it is/what’s conventional
    • “Everything you see around you that you call life was built and designed by people no smarter than you” – Steve Jobs
  • Elon lived on $1 a day for some period of time during college
    • The worst thing that you think may happen, is actually not that bad
    • Check out the documentary – Living on One Dollar
  • When Steve Jobs went to build a phone, he didn’t look to conventional wisdom to see what a phone should look like. He went out and built something totally different
  • “Failure is just admitting you’ve learned something”
cyronics
  • Tim if freezing himself when he dies – check out his post on cyronics
  • It’s basically like you’re on biological pause
  • There’s hope that one day, in the future, you will be able to revive someone who’s dead
  • Human life is just the arrangement of atoms in your brain, maybe future technology will be able to restore a “dead” human brain
  • Why not take the chance and do this?

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