Why The Survival of Humanity Depends on Human Consciousness, Not Technology
Like right now we're, super bad to nature but even if we were only mildly, bad it's just like extending, the runway of a startup you will still die, tonight. It's just like much longer, or wet well. What if our goal was like a net positive 2 meter we're at this really unusual stage, where. The evolution. Of consciousness needs, to happen faster, than the evolution, of technology, otherwise. We're done. So. First. Question want to ask you I. To. Confess I've pulled Xavier, aside, right before this I said, well but what is something I can ask Tom the. The. You. Know that I've never asked you at the very least I, really. Liked his. Response. My, first question for you is can. You tell us all what. What, you think the, essence. Of you is hmm. Okay, that's very straightforward. No. It's, not that's, not that hard so, basically. It's. Like. It's. Like kind of like this continuous, inquiry. Because. And. Like and I'm. Kind, of like, very. Even-handed. On stuff so, it's, like, and. I think it's very helpful for inquiry right, if you like convent inquiry and there's like a position, you to represent, or whatever or these people need to be the good guys and those two bad guys or whatever you, can help, what color it so. I like try to be even on almost everything even when things are horrible I'm, just like okay what's. What's going on then right, and try to dig, into it and then. On. Top of the inquiry it's like how, you take what you learned from the inquiry, so. That like you. Know the most people or, you, know in the long run like all of civilization and nature is benefited. So. Like that's the whole algorithm that's, a. Pretty. Good. So. It, would, but. That it's. All bad so Beth it's not that nautical, via as like so much of it is qualitative, yeah like, mostly how. Do you tell that society, is benefiting well you can't come with like some precision model on what the perfect society is that that, has failed and created fascism, and, bad things throughout history so, like the best way to figure out is like hey, in, your you, know lived, experience. Has. This been of service to you or not yeah it's fully qualitative, and I say well it is it's been of service to you and has it been to service up like the community, and society that you've been a part of and, if both things are true boom that little technique or that experience ranks pretty high and. Then I collect this across a gajillion data, points so if it is mathematical, it's stochastic empirical, it's not it's, not like you. Know from, the first. Principles. Like, analytical. Mathematical sphere. It's, just like every. Single experience so, I was just that this thing called off miss fest and they, have a bunch of speakers, that are like business speakers but they also have a bunch of people that are from the spiritual side like. You know sometimes they talk about like energy. Healing and all this other stuff but as a scientist, it's like not, at the top of my list of like this is probably how it works. No. I mean that like trulia in the flat neutral way that I just said that because here's my here's my attitude. Toward, it which is if you have a system of beliefs and, it actually leads to you like being more engaged and, connected and, serviceable, in life I kind. Of don't care, like. Whether yep because I have this I'd mention on the first night all, of life is physics, and psychology you. Know like, physics, is about truth so. If you're trying to go tell me that's something you, know gravity doesn't exist or like you know in quantum physics works some way that it doesn't work you, know I'll let you know that that's not the case but. Like psychology. Is about beauty and, what I mean by that is psychology, is the discipline, of living a beautiful life so if there's something that you believe and psychologically. It helps you live a beautiful life I'm, all for it that, go for it right, so I like meet these people that I think other. People would quit at arms-length where it's like I'm a healer that does so on send like well tell me like what it's done for people and, then I'll talk to those people and like if it is truly the case that it's helping them live, a more engaged, connected life I'm all, for it now, if they're fooling themselves and, it's really like a disguise for a cult or some other thing I will totally call that out right. But it's like but, if the person really is coming with the true intention, to help people and the people that are talking to you that have experienced, them seem to be having benefit, from it I'm like you know what that's a psychological technique.
That Seems to do something useful and, I do like it I'll put it on that same empirical, scale with every other possible, belief system, and be like okay, that's up there that's good, so. When. I say what I really mean is flat yeah like it's it's good every single, psychological. Belief that you can have I just put it on the scale does it truly serve you or not yeah yeah so. In. Your background you meant measurements are you 75, pallets you work with some. Of the largest, corporations. And technology companies in the world working on all these breakthrough, innovations, and. If your end game is to kind of maximize. Benefit. Either for the planet, and/or. Society, and sounds like both actually, like, how. Do you, gauge. That that you're actually doing that today yeah. So. You need to have some sort of visible change in in. You, know time. Space matter otherwise. Nothing's, changed. And, then. I'm always looking, at like well what is the highest, highest, leverage thing that I could do as this particular person, on earth relative to that goal yeah and, also I need to keep revising the goal like I showed that slide of the children's book I was like you, will begin chasing what is the most important, problems for you to solve and, it mate like I don't. Know it may completely, consume and destroy your life but whatever so that's the thing. That's. Like I mean I've had a lot a lot of really good jobs yeah and it's like there's a lot of jobs that I could use just theta and made like you, know millions per year and it would have been freaking, fine on so many fronts, yeah. But. It's like no I just kept, chasing and still I'm chasing this thing in order to go push, the thing forward and like, the most recent. Incarnation. Of this like thesis, of hi finding, power leverage, is well. What are we actually trying to set out the do I think the thing that we need to set out to do is humanity. Needs to become a net positive to nature, there's. Like no other state. That you can be in or, you know we do not run out of gas at some point in time yeah, like, right now we're, super bad to nature but even if we were only mildly, bad it's just like extending, the runway of a startup you will still die. It's. Just like much longer, away. Right. And like even, sustainability. Like I actually think that that is a great way. Point but, the thing about sustainability. Is like typically, when we talk about sustainable, things it is the it is the intersection of, something. That is a you, know useful for the environment, or neutral to the environment, and the. Technology, at the time and, what the market wants at the time so, when you think of this three-way intersection well. The environment you know has this particular set of rules but the other two things change really quickly yeah, right echod market change pretty quickly so you might like totally, hit the pocket on something sustainable in the year 2016, but, you add ten years to it and market and tech will have change but, what that actually means is you were sustainable, then and then it disjoints. A little bit because the other to move so, the the net integration, of the disjoint, included, is actually slightly non-sustainable, yeah because it basically says, oh hey, well we put. All these factories together we, got these material, flows and supply chain going and then we, got it to a sustaining point and, then it just joins it a little bit yeah now, I'm not saying that that is not I'm sanely, better than, like companies, were disjoint, from the start right that, is way better but when you think about like the, end game of humanity. It's like you can't even have a little disjoint yeah, right, so I started, saying well what, could we do instead well what if our goal was like a net positive to nature and this, is really a person. You say when, you go down that line of inquiry well what is positive nature in like what how would you define it like whatever right so, so. I spent, a lot of time studying ecology and, talking with people in the space and whatever it's written if you really need to boil down just a couple of things you. Know. With humans on the earth you we add more topsoil, every year right.
There's That healthier topsoil, is, the air and water getting cleaner every, right. And. In. The places where nature is is biodiversity, stable. Or improve, it that's. Like if those things are true your net positive to nature it's it's that simple, yeah and every one of those things is measurable, and actually. Much, of it measurable in a very straightforward way right. Some of them like require some human inputs or whatever but like I'm good at replacing you, know things with machine learning robotics, or whatever it's like even some of those hard ones it's like we can we can dig into and make simpler so. Anyway that's like the gist of the thesis but, then like this most like recent. Insight. Like, basically. Like. Shocked me into a different, path of action against. This frame which. Is like. So. I live, in Hawaii part the time I live right next to a coral reef and it's. Like we, bought the house because it's like one of the wasn't, well was one, of the best you know most beautiful reefs in the entire island, chain yeah you know like my my routine was like wake up in the morning go, snorkeling is the first thing in the morning see. The reef come back eat a breakfast, you know like, it's. Just amazing, yeah right and it's. Like. Over. The course of like just 18 months I saw the reef like dough from every, single color in the rainbow like. A hundred, fish per square meter -. Like just brown. And, white and like, one or two fish. That. Have been 18 months and. It's like then, I was like what happened it's like we have some weird pollution, and our thing but it doesn't make sense as we like live in the countryside there's like not, even enough houses to generate enough pollution to kill the whole reef there's, like the whole thing in. 18. Months and I started doing more research I was like oh this, is happening everywhere. Like. 15%, of all reefs in the world right now are experiencing, that right now yeah which means two years from now we will lose 15%, of all reefs, in the world and. Then like the latest projections on, the whole thing is, that like we'll lose 90% in 20 years and all of them within, 40 years so.
Like Imagine, zero core reefs on earth in, 35, to 40 years that's the current trajectory that, we're on so. Like the there like a light bulb went off our dark bulb why don't you leave the collar because this is not a happy moment but. It's like well. I know for, a fact as you, know some of you guys like are you know this because some of you are these companies but I was like I have invested, in renewable energy, companies, and like folks rise like yeah I wanted to go replace, the, the, existing, you know carbon, you. Know. Carbon. Generating. Like the. Energy. System that we have with one that's gonna be carbon neutral or carbon negative that would be great but. Like I started, to realize like really as soon as I had that that, you know had that experience with the coral and looked, at these stats I was, like. Wait. A second, like, even if we add completely. You, know renewable. Energy infrastructure, tomorrow, we have like a 100-year, hangover up there right. There's there's carbon and methane that's up there and that's actually getting worse the permafrost is melting or, getting more, methane up there there's metallization. That comes from how we do factory farming whatever, it's. Accelerating, in it's worse nests but, like even if we were totally, renewable, on the energy economy tomorrow we got hundred-year hanging over we, got 40 years left with coral this, doesn't match very well, Brandon, started like opening, my eyes to like an entire, class, of problem which, are like environmental. Total, disasters, that will happen before the hundred year hangover gets burned up. So. Anyway. That, leads to like now which is like I'm spending a bunch of time visiting. All these labs around the world talking. With scientists and engineers who, have, potentially. The most promising, stuff, relative, to directly. Improving. The condition of the environment or like, at least extending. The life of some of these things so that they can get past the hangover, I mean, even surviving, the hangover would mean like we we, retained 5% of the coral on earth yeah and, then we try to rebuild from there which would be like a thousand-year, stripe but, I think a thousand, years is way better than. Like, infinity. Because, like when we if we wipe it out that's called extinction it's, not coming back within the lifetime, that human beings are on earth yeah, that's, like not happening, again while we're still here so. Like I don't think about people like totally, feeling exactly. The intensity, of this yet but as I like look through those things and my. The other thing like you talked about the hour in my mind my mind doesn't my, mind works on rates in that states right. So like most people look at the state of the world it's like this is great or this is terrible whether it's like you know and they have emotional reaction to the state. Of it my, mind works on rates so. Like what like when I try to solve you guys will see this if you if we have one on one it's, like when I try to solve your problems I just load everything into working memory and, I'm imagining all the rates of them running simultaneously and. It's like okay this is how fast you're losing this over here this is how your supply chain is working this is happening here what I just digit you to do and, I'm like I'm running all the rates like 10, 15 20 of them at a time simultaneously, my head and, then it's like then I feel a, then. I feel, like the, you. Know how I feel based on how the rates are going so. The rates on the environment, are horrible. Yeah the, state is actually the best it's going to be probably. For the next hundred years this is like the best environment, that we're gonna have for a good long time but. Like our rates on it is to keep hurting it harder and harder and harder and like. Before we're gonna hit like a rock-bottom point because I hope there's a rock-bottom point, before I mean, we're, extinct tting species at 1,000, times the base rate yeah right. So if species do naturally go extinct but about one one thousandth, the speed of what we're doing you. Know we're like ten years away from there being no elephants, you, know no African elephants like, we've wiped out like rhinos. Like to the number, of species of Rhino to the point where there's, just isn't, enough genetic diversity for them to come back and. Like we're not understanding. How far we are but. We are so far, and, like that's still the state my mind is running the rate I'm. Like, oh yeah yeah and we have and we have equatorial. Viruses. Like West Nile up at the Canadian border now that's not normal yeah we have Zika which is another equatorial, virus just shooting up through North America, like a lightning, bolt you, know it's gonna take like five years for. It to hit them the majority of North America, so.
It's Like. Without. Getting it into all the stuff and seeing, the rates and I'm, very kind, of like well, what is the best thing that you can do given all those rates yeah, so. I'm, a scientists, slash. Engineer, I spend, a bunch of time in the entrepreneurial, space so, my best thing is like let, me go find the things that have a modicum, of hope of changing something about those rates and, then put them in operational. And and financial. Context, where they can begin to start modifying the rate so. That's it. So. You. Know, with. That perspective, I, think. A lot of people feel that how. Do you I maybe. This is the right word but how do you keep a sense. Of hope. Or drive or like, what's inspiring you, through this and not just having you you know set up shop in a cabin in the woods and enjoy the. Remnants, of this. Well. I. Mean. One. Thing that actually motivates, me though I think it would depress a lot of other people is, that. You. Know it took us a couple thousand, years at least to, kind of mess this up depending on whether you when you, turn, you know you take the start as the start of agriculture, or you take the start is like industrialization, or whatever it's a couple hundred years maybe a couple thousand years depending on how you want to count it but. It's like we, messed it up over a pretty long time period and, I'm like I think it's realistic that it might take us a thousand years to dig us out of it so. Like I kind of think well in my lifetime, let, me help to do the first three to five percent yeah and, I won't even be the only person doing that it'll probably be a million people to try to get the first three to five percent yeah, but to me and it's like that's. What we gotta do so we got to do it right. Like to, me it's motivating, to be like well let's start doing that because. Like the more time we don't do that actually, number, one there would be a lot more to do yeah or. So little to do that you just want to give up, you. Know like, and. Like, you know to do, some of that first three to five percent. It's exciting like let's let's let's. Make, because. It's not only just. Make. This thing successful, right make this concession, you know not, that like it's, not useful to have more resources but like personally, you, know Lucille and I spent almost nothing, hmm, right our monthly expenses they're like yeah yeah, right so it's like. The. Extra money doesn't change our lives very much right. I don't care which vehicle, does it or you, know who gets the credit for or what have you it's, like let's, just catalyze, it and move right and. It actually makes things so much simpler, yeah because it's like I can create a thing if the vehicle is not going to if the rates aren't going to hit it you know just like put a team in place and jump and, not because I don't like you guys but it's like you guys are going to do, this art which will have this much service to the world and that's totally great but, it's gonna be at an order of magnitude which is one, one thousandth, of what we need so.
It's Like yes do that let's get the one one thousand and I, will also keep going yeah yeah. So, how. Do you I think a lot of entrepreneurs in, this room can. Relate to you. Know almost like an obsession, it's a lot more than except meant around kind of sparking, this revolution, hmm. How. Do you maintain your. Energy now. When, you have so much motivation and passion behind what you're trying to do, hmm. I think like the balance point is that I also find it endlessly fascinating. And. This. Is kind of a related point but really, you. Know outside of the stuff I've been talking about so far which is like the mechanical, techniques by which you could go restore, the environment so, like what is the science was the engineering, where would be the distribution, points how do you actually deploy this what's the financial, scale all the stuff that you guys think about all day anyways, so like like. There's like a none, underpinning. Which is a. Really, simple idea I, have. A complex, title for it which is the psychological, antecedents, to global prosperity but. The really simple idea is, like we have the world we have because we think the way that we do so. There's another part of me which is like endlessly. Needed in in, consciousness. In the way that people relate to each other and how, they see their worlds and I, was just having a conversation like, a couple days ago and, a really simple insight came up, so. You, need to know this anecdote before, I share the insight which is I have this phrase that I've been using for a while which is. Technology. Is always wielded, at the level of consciousness of the society that wields it so. We split the atom at the beginning of the 20th century and. We could have used that to make like infinite, power and generate no carbon, from that power you know you have nuclear waste but actually I, don't, know plants actually do better with nuclear waste than they do with all this that we've done and. You. Know I mean seriously there's like a lot of like decommissioned. Nuclear sites, and humans leaving you go back in the biodiversity is actually pretty good in this places yeah and not because of mutants it's like it's just healthier. Without people, there anyway. We're. More dangerous, than like high levels of radiation that's. Another way to think about that anyway. So. At the beginning of 20th century we had the opportunity we split the atom we we Tecton, technologically. Had the basis to provide infinite, clean power clean ish power to. The world we. Had a wartime, nationalistic, consciousness, it was a couple years before the start of World War one and what did we do with that we made a nuclear, arsenal large, enough to blow up every major city three times over and wipe off every, single human from the face of the earth and we're still dealing with that a hundred years later right. That was our consciousness, expressed, through the current level of technology, right. So, we have a current a different type of consciousness. At the beginning of the 21st century which I could talk about but like the main insight, that I had was like okay. We're at this really unusual stage, where. Consciousness. Like. The the evolution, of consciousness needs, to happen faster, than the evolution, of technology, otherwise. We're done. Right. Because like if technology were to get 10 times more powerful and we were still this conscious, we're, done right. It's that it's that simple like, a lot of people have seen it's like yeah like the flesh job in Google X and that was the it's like yeah you make more than million dollars a year and you work on the coolest, that sounds like a pretty good job but it's like there's a point where it's like I am accelerating, the, tech side of this curve you know when actually consciousness, needs to win at least in this part of this leg of the game yeah now, we got to the point where everybody you. Know cuz here's a thought I had when making the self-driving car I don't know if you totally want this on camera but it's fine but, like. But. Like at some point in making the self-driving car I just had a thought where it's like wait, a second.
You. Could just tell the car to go to a specific place and fill, it with explosives, and basically, be a suicide bomber with not without ever killing yourself. Duh. Right, but. Then it's like holy, crap well do we stop fate and building the car and of course not but still like. That's, the level of consciousness, that we have in the world today so, when that car exists is that a real potential, outcome, absolutely. Right. Now look if, everybody, was like the Dalai Lama I wouldn't, worry about that use case ever maybe, make why would you put that in their. Cars. To help people right. But it's like you know we don't have that consciousness, yeah so we're like ah it's not like I'm, you know still working on the project, but like oh you know it's like like. Twisting, me a little bit inside where, it's like you know in the world that we have right now that. Is not only a thing that might happen it's, a thing that has a great likelihood of happening. Now. A lot of lives will be saved probably way more lives, will be saved then. Will be damaged in that way and, they'll start putting safeguards, like bomb sniffers, inside of cars which sounds insane but. It's like still cheaper to do then. Like having like a huge, building come down yeah but. It's like that is the level of consciousness we're at right now and it's. Yeah. That that's why consciousness, needs to advance faster than technology, at least for the next couple decades so. I have to ask as. It's, election, night okay. Hey and, you're. Talking about consciousness and I hope this doesn't go too dark cuz we have like three minutes left no but what. I what. Do you think and feel looking at the kernel I, think. The current election is like a perfect. Mirror of what's happening, in consciousness right now yeah like, we have had so much progress on. Civil. Rights and. Simultaneously. You know there there. Have been folks that have been economically. Disenfranchised. And, they feel like they're losing out. And. The whole kind of push back around. Political. Correctness and all that sort of thing like the. People are angry and. I think, most people like misinterpret. Anger as a motion, so remember flat about everything, right so, it's like most people like inter-gang it's like that's so wrong with you like why would you do that like yes violence, is not the way to go it's like typically. People do not express, anger or, rage unless. They feel incredibly. Disempowered. And hopeless, and cornered. That's. Actually, what's happening, know now, you get scared cuz the anger and rage is dangerous, and maybe they they shave their heads and, like you know throw fire bombs or burn crosses or, do the many things that that anger can lead to and that's, what we get scared of but, like got the fundamentals. Of this this, is a person that really deserves, a lot of compassion there's.
Something About their life that has left them so empty so disenfranchised. They don't have anything but rage, and. It's like we, don't treat them like that right. Like it's like those crazy people on the right like what are they doing and like you know the Republican, Party's been been, hijacked by these insane people it's like or, like. There's something that is really, fundamentally. Happening for them that is hurting them incredibly, deeply yeah, and we haven't had a single lick of conversation, about it yeah and, like maybe the only way they can express it is through racism, right now maybe. The only way they can express it is through xenophobia, and, I'm not a fan of any of the ways that are expressing it that, stuff's clearly. All, right like that doesn't make any sense that, won't solve your age either in all honesty, right. But it's like when do we open the discussion yeah, whoever wins tonight this discussion, is still the discussion, to have yeah we're still here right like these people are still here everybody, is still here, and like, there's a way that we've construct, our society, which is not only. Allowed. This rage to continue, it's, like made it so that even the basic, humanity, around the discussion, is leaking out yeah I think like through the election cycle people have become less empathetic, yeah, you know on either side toward each other and that's the absolute, opposite, of what needs to happen first. To have any progress forward you, know whoever is elected tonight, yeah, so, that's, all yeah, ah. Tava I could be here with you all night but, you, got to move over to dinner and then watch the election results come in and, thank you so, much for being with us all day today.