This Week in Tech 959 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

00:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Hey everybody, a very special Christmas Eve twit just around the corner. Doc Searles, Jeff Jarvis, steve Gibson, rod Pyle and I will talk about the big stories of the year gone by and make our predictions for 2024. It's our Christmas Eve twit. Next, podcasts you love.

00:21 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
From people you trust. This is twit.

00:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is twit this weekend tech episode 959 for Christmas Eve 2023. The old farts gather. This weekend. Tech is brought to you by Stampscom. Get your business ready for the holiday rush. Sign up with a promo code TWIT for a special offer that includes a four week trial, free postage and a free digital scale. Just go to Stampscom, click the microphone at the top of the page and enter the code TWIT. Well, a merry, merry Christmas Eve to everyone. Leo Laporte here, with not quite the last twit of the year I guess we'll have a best of for New Year's Eve, but the last live twit of the year and I, as we did last year, we've decided to do once again a reprise of the old farts holiday show, because there's nothing more festive than a fart. Hello, everybody, look at these festive people, the Jingle, jingle bells, the old folks who have been on twit for ever and ever. Like Jeff Jarvis over on my right there, he's falling asleep. Did you get a? He was in Vienna yesterday. Did you get a good night's sleep?

01:49 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I actually did. I actually did, but it still doesn't. So I'm I'm tired. You're on the wall, we're all tired.

01:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think in order to be on this show, you had to be over 60,. I think was the the rule.

02:01 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I've seen that in the rear view mirror.

02:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Next, to you, doc Searles, looking very festive in North Carolina. I think.

02:07 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I'm older than all of you guys. Oh well, 760 years old Are you really? Yeah, 76, yeah 76,.

02:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh yeah.

02:16 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
After 60, it just all runs together. We just went to hell.

02:20 - Doc Searls (Guest)
You know, I there was one time Scoble on a different podcast told me that I didn't understand Facebook cause I was too old Now and I told him. I told him dude, I've been young a lot longer than you.

02:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah Well, and I have to point out that it's only the old's who use Facebook. Really, the truth is.

02:38 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I know, I know this is like you know, a few years ago, you say that to young people now.

02:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You're too young to understand Facebook. Yeah, that's probably true. Doc's the host of a Floss Weekly, long time editor and chief of the Linux Journal and an open source Maven, and it's so great to have you on the show for the first time Next time.

02:56 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
Yeah welcome.

02:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Steve Gibson was here last year with his Grinch hands. He's back. Hello, he's a mean one, mr G.

03:05 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Hello everybody, great to be joining you from the green forest, whoa.

03:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
In Southern California. It's hard to get Christmasy in Southern California, Isn't it?

03:17 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Yeah, we're not even bothering. Yeah, we discussed it. It's like it's too much yeah there's no snow, it's.

03:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The sun is shining there are people in bikinis.

03:26 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
You have drag neighbors in to see the tree. It's like yeah.

03:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No, yeah, well. Well, doc has got quite a festive backdrop there because he's in Christmas, thanks to my sister, my sister this is her house. Very nice.

03:40 - Doc Searls (Guest)
And she has fiber. I'm on Wi-Fi, but oh, I like it. Yeah, you got 400 megabits both ways, pretty good.

03:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, nice, that must be Also with us. The Lakata's a pile. I don't. I really I can't quite understand what's going on. Rod Pyle is here, host of this week in space, the editor in chief of Ad Astra, the space magazine from the National Space Society. Is this your Hollywood Halloween costume left over? I'm not sure.

04:14 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
You know, no, I, it's just for you, leo, and this is how special I feel this is. So I'm just a disturbed person.

04:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I thought maybe you suffered some severe burns and we're just embarrassed.

04:24 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
No, all my damage is internal up here. No worries.

04:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, very nice to see you all. Thank you for spending your Christmas Eve with us and the Twitch family far and wide, and thanks to the Twitch family for being here on the night before Christmas. It's great to have you. I think you know, normally what we do on these shows is kind of look back at the year gone by and I thought, well, that's. I guess we could, you know, go through stories one by one. But we've here, we've got a panel of four experts in their own right and finding those stories requires work and I didn't want to.

I really didn't want to have to go through all of them. So you, you've outed me, Jeff, which is, by the way, Jeff's chief role on this week in Google. We've gotten so far afield from this from Google on this week in Google that we've contemplated calling it this week in general. But that's kind of.

05:24 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Or our new and magnificent co-host, paris Martino, noted that that friends said are you on a podcast with your dads? So it's now this week, in this week in geriatrics Wow.

05:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, we are glad to have the host this week in space, this week in open source, this week in security and this week in general on our shows, actually let me start with you, steve, because, boy, you live this life Every week. You go through all of the security news. Figure out what the hell's going on. Tell me about 2023. Was there a trend, a particular thing that happened this year? Last year was the year of ransomware. I guess every year is going to be from now on.

06:15 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Yeah, and so as trends go, I think that's the big one. We've talked about it on the podcast before. The fact that it's possible for bad guys to use extortion against enterprises of all sizes and receive payment through cryptocurrency is, unfortunately, a game changer.

06:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, you know, we thought you and I both you did a. I don't know how many years ago you did your show on Bitcoin and I think we weren't alone. A lot of people thought this was going to be revolutionary and, for people who are unbanked in developing nations, it was going to change our dependency on national currencies, nations currencies and end up just really being a facilitator for bad guys. A money laundering scheme.

07:10 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I guess more than that, I would say it's an illuminator of human nature in general, because lots of good people have like lost lots of money because there's like, oh, I don't know what it is. Well, okay, stop right there. But you know they put their money in it anyway. But for the longest time you and I were talking on the podcast, you know, observing viruses and malware and kind of like well, why is anyone bothering? Why, like viruses were just there, they were kind of propagating, but they just sort of were like proofs of concept. There was nothing, nothing to gain. There was nothing to gain Behind them. Yeah, yes, and it changed when it became clear that it was possible for extortion to receive money, because money drives this all. And so, essentially, we have several decades of computer technology and systems where, you know, we thought it would be good to have passwords, we thought it would be good to have a firewall, but nobody really worried about them that much. And you know, if the firewall was leaking a little bit, oh well, we'll get around to that later. I mean, so security was mostly just sort of a thing. You said, oh yeah, we got that. Okay, you know what next?

The problem now is that we've got hostile foreign governments who are protecting groups of very capable hackers, who, which is to say, you know they're not trying to chase them down and put them in prison. They're like, oh, you're going to go get the US, fine, have a nice day. And we're seeing groups like there's one Ryuk that's made, we know it's. They've generated $250 million in extortion, and we were talking about a different one, related to one that got themselves in trouble when they went pro-Russia after the Ukraine invasion. They've renamed themselves and, in less than two years, have made 107 million. So and we know this because now we're able to track the transactions across various cryptocurrencies as they move through exchanges so those guys made $107 million. Well, you know that'll get your attention. And the point is that we have we've always had, we've been playing lip service to security more than really having security, and now these chickens are coming home to roost because there's there are, there's motivation to breach the security that used to be good enough, even though it wasn't perfect.

09:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh so because there's, because there's real money to maybe but that. But on that point, you know, I've talked to some of our. You know we have some people who are big fans of your shows, like. One of them is a Grayson in our discord who's really got good op sec, but he's just an individual and I and I actually said to him a couple of weeks ago Grayson, don't worry, nobody's attacking you. They're going after the people with deep pockets. Right? I mean, individuals aren't more at risk, are they?

10:23 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
And yes. So if so, that's a trend. And if you said to me what is the event, what is the thing in 2023 that stands out, I would say the the revelation that we are seeing selective decryption of last pass wallets.

10:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So, oh yeah, by the way, this is the one year anniversary of the of last pass really telling us the truth about what happened. They were breached in August of 2022, but it was in December December 22nd, exactly exactly a year ago, 2022 that they said oh yeah, you remember when we told you that in August we had a little problem? Well, it turns out it was maybe a little bit bigger problem. The threat I'm quoting, the threat actor was able to copy a backup of customer vault data. Oh, but don't worry, they're secure, they're encrypted. And that's been a slow burn story all 2023. Correct, combinating a couple of months ago in the realization that, in fact, those vaults were slowly being decrypted and hacked, and it was tens of millions of dollars have been drained from from people who were using last pass at the time of that theft.

So that's been a one year long story. That started this time one year ago. What?

11:48 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
was last passed. Now, who knows? I don't know.

11:54 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I believe they're owned by a hedge fund firm. I think it's an equity capital company.

11:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, and that's probably where the you know I mean, there's no finance expert here, but I think that that is one of the big stories of the last couple of years is is the aqua, especially in media right, jeff, where these equity capital companies would have been buying up media properties like crazy red ventures on ZD net and CNET and a bunch of other blogs. And they are not. They don't come from publishing I mean Rupert Murdoch's more of a publisher than they are. They come from money.

12:30 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
And I worked with a guy named John Peyton who was the president of digital first media, alden, which is the notorious hedge fund that now controls most of the newspaper chains in America. John schooled me and the other advisors and he said all they're looking for is bad debt. They want cheap debt. Yeah, they buy the cheap debt. They know that they're going to get an asset or at best, cash flow with it, and they'll milk Bessie until she heals over in the field and walk away and they'll be fine.

13:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, and the other problem with these guys is they often are heavily leveraged themselves. They usually borrow billions to do these acquisitions, which means they've got to turn, they've got to make some money, cash flow.

13:13 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
They got cash because they've got interest payments.

13:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So often what they do is they they're chop shops or digital chop shops. They buy these brands and and and piecemeal them out. You see it in media like crazy. Look at the but I don't even know who owns Time Warner Discovery these days.

13:29 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I can tell you, I can tell you, I mean time is is bending off. Sports Illustrated is the horrible marketing company that that put up the AI stuff with the fake authors. Fortune is a Thai businessman and the rest went to Meredith and Meredith went to um, not dash Meredith, it's just amazing. They closed a lot of publications, including my old baby, I don't even weekly. They had rest in peace, so you were.

13:52 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
you go ahead. Can I ask a question, jeff? When I was in grad school studying the stuff in the nineties, we were alarmed. I think it was Ben Begdickian's book we were all reading. We were terrified that less than 12 companies owned the the American newspaper landscape. What's left of it? How many owned the media landscape?

14:11 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
now it's a good question. It's few, but, but I think Ben Begdickian and that whole company of oh my God, consolidation was the was the wrong thing to panic about, which is what we usually do, is panic about the wrong things. Right they were. They were dinosaurs huddling against the cold of the future. It didn't really matter that they consolidated, uh, because they were going to shrink and die anyway. Look what's happened in the last few weeks and popular science gone.

14:34 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
That's sad.

14:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
How many, how many you rated. How many of you old farts read popular science when you were kids.

14:39 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Oh my God, got inspired by it. Right Old farts.

14:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Every and every hand in the studio went up.

14:44 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Popular mechanics, and 73 and bite, of course, bite.

14:48 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
Bite. How many of you still have copies of bite?

14:52 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I guess I have copies of bite. Absolutely, I have a side I have uh I.

14:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I broke into the business uh writing for bite in 1984 when they did their 1984 Macintosh cover, one of the first reviews of Macintosh uh software that was.

15:08 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I didn't know that. What did you say? Did you like it? I said it was good.

15:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There were four programs you could run on your Mac. Of course it was good. It was something you could put on your Mac that fit on a floppy. Was it popular mechanics or popular science that published the cover story on the MITS Altair that got Steve Ballmer Bill Gates?

15:31 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Popular electronics.

15:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Electronics. Okay, oh yeah, another long gone uh title, yep, yep, uh. You know, it's interesting to live in an era where print is pretty much gone. I mean, I, you know, 20 years ago I used to talk on the radio show about the death of physical media and people mocked me. You know, people who love video said, oh no, dvds are never go away. Uh, some people still say that. Oh no, it's the best quality vinyl.

Yeah, I mean yeah, there's two record stores in town. People are still buying DVDs and vinyl. But really, come on, let's face it, uh, paper books, newspapers, magazines, vinyl, cd When's the last time we said I wrote a Motley Crude concert about old farts? Lisa and I went to a Motley Crude concert and, as chair, some charity was going around selling Motley Crude's new album on a CD and we bought one. But I realized after we bought it.

I don't know where I'm going to play it. Not nothing has. I have no CD players, Bandwidth and storage.

16:40 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, you've got a USB a device in it that will play it in a drawer somewhere underneath piles of dead batteries and other things next to the zip disc Exploding.

16:51 - Rod Pyle (Guest)

16:54 - Doc Searls (Guest)
So you mentioned go ahead. I was going to say I do this thing where I visit dying radio stations, and there's one in Palm Springs I visited a couple of weeks ago Are there?

17:06 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
any that are. That's so dark, that is so perfect dog.

17:09 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Doing something else? Yeah, but there's a whole story there, including the engineer locked us out and where, like the dog run out, there was a stack of container boxes that were of the kind you buy at home depot, with the doors on top, and they were Fall. I mean, they were rotted. I mean the actual plastic was rotted. They were full of CDs and Inside there were walls and walls of of open real tapes, the big reels. The big reels because they Programs. They were a beautiful music station for a while doing that.

17:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Sure, they would get those in the mail you get a real to reel of this week's music.

17:49 - Doc Searls (Guest)
That's exactly get a big reel of this week's music, the whole thing. You know it was all programmed to somewhere else and I mean it's really sad. I mean it's still on the air, but I Mean radio. I mean I love radio and but it's, it's dying, it's on. Radio had its century.

18:07 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
If you think about it's entry, it had a century. 1923 to 2023 was the century of radio gone.

18:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah it breaks my heart really, because I love that's how I got in this medium and I love this medium and now actually even podcasting is kind of. It's kind of fading off into the distance.

18:25 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I'm curious, you know. So Spotify is just sort of like admitted that they've spent a billion dollars on they blew it. So how does that affect everybody else? I mean, oh, we're dying. We're dying out here, doc. Yeah, I know, I just said I don't know how. How dying? I hope not it's not good heart. A heart is still beating, but it's, but it's. So is it that the advertisers just suddenly say well, spotify screwed off, so to hell with. Everything is a lot of things.

18:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I mean, spotify began a trend towards programmatic advertising where, instead of me reading it out, we, you know early. We started doing this in 2005 and I came from a radio background from Arthur Godfrey for crying out loud and, and so I was doing those you know, host endorsement reads that you know People had done for years on radio and I started doing it on podcasts and I think it. Honestly the sad thing to me is I think it really worked For our advertisers. That's all we ever heard. But that's been replaced because Spotify doesn't do that. Spotify injects ads and I'll tell you what's really going on. Steve, you can comment on this. What's really going on is mass surveillance and Advertisers, whether it's good for them or not, whether they can prove its value or not, are reluctant to buy ads that don't.

They don't have lots of demographic information About the, the person hearing it, about when they heard it, where they heard it, how long they listen, all that stuff. It's it's. It's as wrong as it gets, and RSS can't do that. A traditional podcast we got you know nothing, I know your IP address, that's it. But Spotify, if you listen in the app, they know everything. They got your credit card dude.

So advertisers got used to this idea that we will buy, just as they do on Facebook, a select slice of the audience and in order to make that work, spotify has to inject it into the podcast, as you're listening to it, as you're downloading it, and you know, the truth is, I don't think those ads work as well. They also, because they don't work as well, they can't charge as much. So it's put pressure on the cost, on the price that we can charge people, people. We actually are doing programmatic on some of our ads because our some, some agencies demand it. So there's this kind of this is a look, what is it? I know a rising tide raises all boats. What's it? What's it when it's going down?

20:51 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, Does life life?

20:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
yeah, Rogan's doing it live and Rogan, by the way, gets a million dollars a unit. I mean get. So it's not all gone. I think what happened is that advertisers wanted demographic information we couldn't provide and, secondly, that they kind of Jeff, you can talk about this. There are there are trends in an ad buying, and the trend right now is buy an influencer. But and that's why YouTube's doing so well, billy, hundreds of billions of dollars and ads moved off TV to YouTube this year. That was a what about your son.

21:29 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
He's doing great and he's an influencer.

21:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, just between you and me. On Friday a couple of weeks ago he did a stream on Amazon for Cheetos one hour for eighty nine thousand dollars.

21:42 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
You could buy a year of advertising on Twitter.

21:45 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
For that you could buy the advance for every book I ever wrote. Yeah, so it's great for Henry as long as it lasts.

21:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's great for Marques Brownlee, it's great for Linus tech tips, but even companies like LTT I just found out they have 200 employees. They have a very successful channel on YouTube, but most of their money doesn't come from ads. They have 200 employees. Half of them are dedicated to merchandising. They make and sell products. So I think we're in a time of flux and while I'm so glad radio got a century, we're gonna get about a dime. Podcasting. That's okay.

22:26 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
It's been a lot of it's like the New York Times, made fun of blogs, thought blogs were just awful, and then they started blogging. And then they got bored with blogging and they'd ruin it. This is what it was him that happened again. Big old media comes in and they, they Take over the medium. This is what Dave Weiner complained at the time. I remember that, oh no, don't let him into blogs, it's gonna be miserable. And he was right.

22:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's, by the way, another old fart we should have on this show, because he's a classic whiner. I don't want to make the show be a downer, by the way. I don't want. I mean, everybody thought a lot old people. All they're gonna say is you know, on my day, thinks were better. There was radio Magazine. Yes, we had Paul Harvey. We good day Thank. So you were talking about Bitcoin, steve. I was just looking this time last year, bitcoin was at forty three thousand dollars. Oh, so, of course, the peak was over $60,000 two years ago and now it's kind of coming back up. It's at forty three thousand at the time of recording. So, but Do you think cryptocurrency? It was a flash in the pan or is? Is there some staying power?

23:39 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
That I've always believed that the technology is real, that is, the fundamental technology of engineered scarcity and this concept of an immutable log. Those are the things that Satoshi invented and on that Was built the idea of you know, let's make this worth something. Let's just decide that this, that you know, these numbers, are dollars, and see what happens, and so. So there's no problem with that. The problem, as I said, is about human nature and about everything that then happened. When you know, this new type of tulip was invented, you know, and everyone went insane and it.

24:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Is that true at all? Technology though it's, it rises and falls by the people who use it. You know and yeah, we're gonna talk about AI later and you know, that's exactly the case with AI. It's not that, it's not the AI, it's not the Bitcoin, it's the people.

24:42 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I will. I am on the topic of AI insecurity. I'll just say that Because technology and the internet and communications is the medium of AI, I worry that, before this podcast is over, leo we're we're gonna be looking and it's been extended past 999.

So you know we have time and you have a lease for two and a half years. So I'll bet you that we're gonna see AI being used for Penetration, that is, you know, yes, and AI Liciously trained on network vulnerabilities and this thing gets unleashed on the internet and told to go find and Penetrate networks and unfortunately, it will be very effective.

25:32 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
What will make it effective, steve? What? Just because it's raw power of trying to get it again? Yeah, it.

25:37 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Yes, exactly, you're able to. You're able to brute force it. My, my wife, laurie, is playing a game that she she found out about when we were in Colorado a couple months ago With with my sister. It's a New York Times game where there's a there's a grid of 16 Words and you have to group them into four sets.

25:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, I love that. Connections yes.

26:02 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Nuts over it. Yeah, and I looked at that and I just thought this will die on the throne of AI, because AI would have the ability to. I mean, jeff, in the same way that humans can no longer play chess. We had chess for a long time. We lost checkers a long time ago, but you know, now computers.

26:24 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I'm still doing tic-tac-toe, steve, actually.

26:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But I have to say I think yes, of course AI could solve connections probably today, because it's exactly what an, a large language model, does is make those connections. Probably today. But just because a computer plays chess better than any human alive In fact, your phone can be play better chess than any human alive, including Magnus Carlson, who's the highest rated player of all time doesn't mean people have stopped playing. People just correct.

26:53 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Like playing each other, right? Yeah, and it doesn't mean that AI will replace traditional hackers, but unfortunately it's probably gonna be able to just zip right past them. I mean, eventually hackers won't bother because they'll just have an AI and they can say you know, go find me a vulnerability, I want to extort somebody well, it's funny what happens when AI meets quantum computing.

27:19 - Rod Pyle (Guest)

27:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Think it did it's like. So no things exact so this was the year the doc is not worried about AI, but I am well we'll talk, we're gonna get to see if it's your job to worry, you worry about everything, right.

27:43 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Well, you made his fortune on it, of course, of course you are You're worried calm?

27:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It was about a year ago that a Grandmaster of chess, hans Neiman, was accused of cheating. He beat the Magnus Carlson. The at the time the world champion is no longer the world champion because he didn't defend his title. But they beat him and Carlson got up from the table and said if implied that he'd cheated. There was some question how he cheated. They now believes he had a lot. I'll just leave it to your imagination. He had a device inserted and Was was getting vibrations, vibrations.

28:22 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
But I I bring that's right uh well, that's sure or not? That's been.

28:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The problem is that, yeah, ai could be to human.

28:30 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Human to human chess is still very viable and fun, right uh, I found a 238% increase to 102 million users who signed up since January 2020.

28:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, that's the problem. Yeah, that's the problem.

28:43 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
It's not a problem.

28:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's humans, and people are doing a cheat, and and if you could figure out a way to get the message From a computer, you can even beat the best player in the world. And, by the way, you don't have to get every move, it's just if you got five, a little nudge, a little little. Well, nudge is one more.

29:05 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
It ain't a nudge, it's a new definition of Riz.

29:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The word of the year according to the Oxford English dictionary, which apparently is much hipper than I am because I had never heard of it. All right, we are doing your Christmas Eve and I am glad you decided to spend a little Christmas Eve time with us. We've done in the past with the great shots of Jaeger Meister, I think, given our advanced age, and some tattoos oh, that was new.

Oh, what are you drinking, john? I mean, jeff, I got a little red wine left over from there. That's good. How about you, doc? You got anything?

29:41 - Doc Searls (Guest)
My sister's brought me this ice water. I swat her before there was actually tea. That'll warm your veins.

29:48 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
To your tool for caffeine.

29:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, grab a beverage, the old farts. A holiday special for Christmas.

29:55 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)

29:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Continues in just a little bit. Hey, this week in tech is brought to you this week by rocket money. If I asked you oh and this is a painful question how many subscriptions You're paying for right now, would you be able to list them all and how much they cost and when they renew? If you had rocket money, you would know. If you'd asked me before I started using rocket money, I had no idea. Let me tell you. I say it's a lot of money with rocket money. By canceling those subscriptions I didn't want anymore. Rocket money is amazing. I know how much I've got, I know what my net worth is. But the most valuable tool with rocket money is Is canceling those subscriptions. You'd forgotten about that. We're just dribbling money out of your account every single month.

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We are talking the end of the year and, as always I like to do at the end of the year, I get together with some of my favorite people and we Chat about what we've observed. Here we have four of our best show hosts. Hosts Rod pile of this week in space Security. Now Steve Gibson. Doc Searles from Floss Weekly. Jeff Jarvis From this week in Google Doc. Was this the year of desktop Linux?

32:20 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Every year is now because you know your your phone well, your you palm top Linux With with Android is Linux. Yeah but on top of that, I mean bet on if you but you're using BSD. If you got a Mac, I'm pretty sure I'm emina and I it's a you next, yeah, I think it's a unit, it's. He looks underneath all that, yeah, but I mean it actually. Chromebooks are doing pretty hot. Yeah, chromebooks are doing.

32:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's a. That's Jeff Staley driver.

32:47 - Doc Searls (Guest)
He's a Chromebook guy. Oh, really, your Chromebook. Look at this, you got an aces Chromebook. Very nice, that's. Yeah, I don't, I'm talking to you Mac, but there's BSD under all of that. But I actually put it out to my, my core of of co-hosts and got that. The big thing this year is red hat killing sent OS. Which is there. That was a shocker. Yeah, that was a shocker Sent OS was an enterprise Linux.

33:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That was widely prized because it was very stable right and you could kind of put your servers on it and count on it. But but red hats and was bought by IBM. That was what precipitated all of this. What is red had supposed offering now? I mean, did they replace it?

33:36 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Well, they well. I Don't fully understand it. I think what you should do is go to hack a day and see what John it's been it wrote about it. He's a co-host to share there. With love John, I was trying to bone up on it. He's great on this stuff and the big question with it is is what then? Whatever it is they're doing, does it violate the GPL in some way? And and and Actually another co-host, simon Phipps, had a really good one liner, which is that Licenses don't compile, meaning licenses are fuzzier than that. You know they're not. You don't run them like code. It's just basically governance that you try to obey and you know, and they kind of hold the society together and it's it's an open thing. I mean there's Alma, linux and some others that have come along to sort of. Then there's issues going on with those as well. So so that's one thing. Another is Steam Deck. So that would for gaming. That's kind of hot. Well, that's a good point, that was a that yeah.

34:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Val held gaming device runs Linux, although there yeah, you know aces then put out one that ran on Windows. I don't think it's become quite as popular as the Steam Deck.

34:53 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I don't know. The big thing for me personally is that and just looking back across all the guests that we've had on which are, you know, so far, 50 of them I suppose this year there's this sort of generalized concern that, as as as open source becomes more and more normalized inside companies, that and everything's in containers and it's all many levels above the silicon and above the kernel and whatever else you're running that the open source ethos is getting pretty diluted. It's the, the hardcore, the people who still are with Foss weekly, every week, and before that with Linux journal. There's about 10,000 of them and they're, they're hardcore, they care about it and and I'm sure there's a lot more than that, but there's. But there is a kind of a hardcore there, but it's not, they're wizards and and they're.

I think that if I were to summarize what I think I see going on, is that there's a Mugly aspect to a lot of the development that's going on. An open source oh, what a muggy. Like Muggles, as in there they're muggles, they're. They don't belong to Slytherin or Griffin or or any of those.

36:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They're not wizards, they're just normal.

36:14 - Doc Searls (Guest)
They could do wizardy things. They could. They could wield the thing and make magic happen. It's not that they can't do magic, but the but, the, the ethos are sharing of. Of. You know, this is great XKCD Cartoon that shows a heap of of stones that are here. Here's the edifice of the internet, and there's one stone holding up all of the others over here. This is, yeah, that's the one.

I had it pulled up already, doc, as soon as you started talking this. I know every it's one of the classics. It's just and that's it.

36:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is. It looks like, yeah, it's blocks or stones all standing one another and it's all modern digital infrastructure, and then it all depends on this little slim block. That's a project some random person in Nebraska has been Thanklessly maintaining since 2003, on a two-year. We've talked about this, steve, on on your show on security now, yeah, this is a problem. I think that these, these maintainers are doing a thankless job. You've talked a little bit about how some of these repositories, like Pi Pi and others, have been a place where hackers a constant attack.

37:25 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Now, yeah, bad guys trying to put malicious packages in there, in in what we now have, the so-called supply chain attack, where you attack the software upstream that other programmers are downloading and binding into their projects, and Out it goes. And of course, a big scare was the log for J vulnerability that we had and and that and that was it was a heavily used Java library that it turns out in very specific situation and conditions you were able to take advantage remotely of a slight design flaw and the problem was that this thing had been, it would have been embedded in so many other projects that the good news was it wasn't easily Exploitable and so we didn't see the end of the internet happen. But you know, here it was, it was free and the guy who wrote it, you know he didn't make a mistake on purpose, but neither is he paying, you know, bug bounties to have his code checked, because you know the ecosystem doesn't support that model.

38:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, this and to take it back to what you were saying, doc, I think it really does come back to the fact that these major corporations, these big money-making companies like IBM, are kind of taking advantage of open source. They're not putting the money back in, they're not supporting this guy in Nebraska, they're not making sure stuff secure, they're just using open source. Does that seem?

38:50 - Doc Searls (Guest)
well, I don't think it's entirely fair. I think IBM is. So here's a little, a little bit of history. I was very mused by like and back when Linux world existed, back in like that, 99, 9899, the first time IBM showed up there. It was actually just with guys in suits with black shoes and and and and there was a post one red shoes.

39:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
White shirt skinny black ties, I know.

39:23 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Protectors, and and they had a. They had a. They had a single booth devoted to something called web sphere, which is their web server, not that anybody cared. And and the next year they had beanbags and ethernet tables all over the place and geeks laying around it and they were like they were. They were spending money, saying we love Linux, and what happened was explained to me by the geeks there, by geeks there that, oh Well, they found that they had several million instances of sampler running on old Doing file and print on old Windows machines that weren't working anymore. And so what? And then they did a survey and they told me this they did the the guys are no longer wearing suits and we're, you know, pro Linux that they surveyed one of their, their divisions, which is why survey the world. They have a big division, is kind of like they look, as I just say how you doing in there, you know so. They said they tested for five levels of Linux awareness and Bottom level was conspelled in X and top level is hacks kernel code and found that all 600 could spell Linux and like a Fifth of them or something where hacking not only hacking kernel code were Maintainers wow, kernel, I mean. And so basically what happened is IBM got Went into compliance with his own engineers and later Microsoft did exactly the same thing.

You know that Bing ran on on Linux. You know what else is he are running on. You know they're working on their own stuff, so so what? But I was told a number of times that people at IBM that they they really really really had kind of a species change Over this thing. But this is in the aughts roughly, and I think that there's we were talking about being farts. You know they would. Corey doctor, who talks about something called Injification.

41:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh my god, that was the term of the year, by the way Oxford.

41:11 - Doc Searls (Guest)
English and should have used that instead of Riz, yeah and and I don't think, I don't think every company inch buys, I think, wordpress, for example. I think that met Mullenweg is doing a fabulous job. He was on with us this year and he celebrates.

41:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, he was on my show too. It's all about a source.

41:29 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, he's all about open source and you know um I. They support RSS. They support a lot of good things. Dave Winder's been working closely with them. They saved my blog, which had been at Harvard, and Harvard decided to close its service.

41:48 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
Yeah, that's a great story.

41:50 - Doc Searls (Guest)
And worked really closely with the Harvard people to make sure nothing got 404'd at all. Everything redirects to something maintained at Pressable, which is a WordPress site hosting service. I mean good guys, really good people, and I think there are some of those at an IBM. But I just think when you get big enough and you get far enough away from whatever it is that made you cool, I don't know, I mean it's there's a different story, but this is when the Craig Burton told me back when he was alive, that was a time to do it, a long time ago. It was after he'd left Novell, and he said at that time he said well, you know, there's this myth of the in some religion, of the giant snake that circles the world, and the trick is to know for the tail, to know when the head is dead, because it takes a while. And and he maintained at that time that IBM's head was dead.

I don't think it was, but I think, the more you're dealing only with the big enterprises, and that's your entire, you know, customer base you're too detached, you know, and and I think that obviously, I think the colonel is working fine, but the colonel works in everything. I mean your clock, your watch, your, you know, door ringer, all that kind of stuff is running on Linux and so it has to run everywhere and that's kind of an ethos is built into Linux. But I don't know, I mean there's a, there's a species change that I think I mean. When I first started out in Silicon Valley with my little company, we realized that there were three stages that companies grew there was new, there was hot and there was big, and there were completely different stages and you had different people really running it at different times.

A few could stay through the whole thing, but there's something that comes after big, you know, and it's and ever, ever seen Jeffrey West and why companies die, why, why cities live in companies die, no, the company, it's really good. Look up Jeffrey GEO FFREY West. He's a Santa Fe Institute and he wrote a big book called scale. That's about this that that companies are inherently closed systems and we're closed systems. That's how we got old, you know, and how we're all going to die, because we're closed systems. And companies tend to be closed systems and I think a few like WordPress, do their best. They stay as open as they possibly can. And you know one like IBM, even though they bought red hat. It's just not, you know, sooner or later they're they're going to die. They're they're going to die like everyone was going to die.

44:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, for a while I think we thought these companies that the business cycle was over, that companies like Google and Apple and Microsoft have gotten so big that they'd actually defeated the business cycle and that no one could succeed them.

44:46 - Doc Searls (Guest)
But I think we know now that's not true, right, I think I think it's not true. I mean we have to. I mean, in a long. It's pretty hard to look at Apple right now and say how can they fail? You know, well, they can, right, I'm sure they they sure they can.

44:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, we thought Facebook would never fail, and I think you can make an argument that Facebook is no longer dominant. I think. That's too great, I think, as AI, and what's doing?

45:06 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
great Jeff.

45:07 - Doc Searls (Guest)
It's a Facebook stock, Meta stock. I know I know this Interesting.

45:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't know what it is. Yeah, I you know. I think AI could unseat Google.

45:17 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Google's still dominant in search effect more than ever, but I think AI could they think Google stock was up 5% today and I'm guessing it's because of Genesis.

45:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Genesis. We played a demo on twig a couple of weeks ago. Donishing, that was mind boggling. Now it's good. Yeah, jeff had to talk me down he said you know, this is an edited demo and it's they're showing, they're showing the best results. But it was kind of uncanny. I mean, I, if it's anything close to the way Gemini actually works, I think we're awfully close to AGI.

Oh boy, there's a you know what let's take a break, and then AGI would be a good topic to get into. And, by the way, rod, I'm going to talk about space, because this was the year of Elon Musk, that's for sure, and his success and space have only been matched by his failures in social. So we'll talk about both in just a little bit. You're watching a very, I think a very special Christmas Eve show. Doc reminds me you were on last year, steve. You were on last year, I think we're in fact.

46:26 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I can't forget Steve with the green.

46:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I know, mr Cranche. Chromakey button every time the only newbie is is the, the metal clad blueberry Over here.

46:36 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
He had to fly in from the planet far away and he said you know, the radio symbols went out last year. And he said, okay, I'll be there at the end.

46:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Anyway, great to have all four of you and we will continue in just a bit with the holiday special, the Christmas Eve edition of old farts at play right after this. Hey, this week we are brought to you by brand new sponsor Love having him gusto. You know running a small business, I can tell you from personal experience just plain hard. Gusto lets you focus on the joy of running your business. You can run it with gusto. It's easy to use payroll software accessible online from anywhere. Gusto helps more than 300,000 businesses and when you ask, 90% of the customers say switching to gusto was easy. You get unlimited payroll for one monthly price. There's no hidden fees. You can have multiple schedules and rates. You can have direct deposit or you know what some people still want checks. You can have checks and you can print them yourself. Gusto integrates with your favorite tools to make life easier, tools like QuickBooks and zero and Google and more. You could file and pay. All. Get this all federal, state and local payroll taxes in all 50 states. Three out of four customers say running payroll with gusto takes them less than 10 minutes. Wow, when you like to live with gusto. Gusto cares about the small business owners they work with and, since money can be tight right now, you'll get three months free when you run your first payroll. Go to gusto, Gustocom slash tech. Start setting up your business today To our listeners. Again, three months free once you run your first payroll at gustocom slash tech. Thank you, gusto.

Now back to the show show. We continue with our Christmas Eve twits special so glad you're here. Next week New Year's Eve will be the best of that's when we really will look back at the events of the year and some fun and important momentous occasions in 2023. This show really is about you guys. It's about getting together with buddies and talking about things we noticed this year. Jeff, you seem to take some umbridge at my notion that maybe we're getting kind of close to AGI. First of all, the definition of AGI is pretty squiggly, so I don't know if we even know what that means. But you look at that Gemini video and I'm sure we'll get maybe our own hands on it sometime soon and be able to see how good it is. But it was very, very impressive, Do you not agree?

49:25 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Jeff. So Mark Twain said that a machine that was set type would have to think, and he wasted his fortune and went bankrupt and lost his sense of humor.

49:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I forgot about that.

49:41 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Yes, Investing in the page machine to compete with the line of type and it didn't need to think. But that's what we think when we see a machine that does something that we did, that we do, and if it can do that it must be as smart as we are. It must be able to think Um and no, I don't think we're anywhere near a machine with general intelligence that can tackle any task. That does not mean that the Gemini demo isn't effing amazing. It's phenomenal. Machine can do what this is. It's great and we can do all kinds of wonderful things with it. But this anthropomorphization, did I say that if for one Um that that you can say, like you can say anthropomorphization I think I think is fooling ourselves and is the wrong debate.

And this is where this is where I think I'm becoming a big fan of Yon Likun, who's in charge of AI at Metta. He's a voice of reason here saying calm down everybody. It's a it's a fascinating machine. He could do lots of things. Yes, yes, yes, but it's not it's. He said it may be get to cat brain or dog brain eventually.

50:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Uh, it's not doing stuff that no dog could do, no, two year old could do in many cases. This is pretty sophisticated recognition, uh response. I mean it's kind of I know again it's. It could be a little bit hoked, we don't know how, how realistic this is, but if it is this good, uh, that's a little bit uh interesting.

I think there's a mistake people make worse than anthropomorphizing it, which is saying, well, how did it get there? And worrying about the process instead of the outcome, and I think yes, and I think outcome matters.

51:27 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I was just going to say to Jeff, if you have a computer that can beat anybody at chess, then you have a computer that can beat anybody at chess, you know the fact that it isn't self aware or that it can't wash the dishes, that seems to me aside from you know, like like a whole different issue. So I guess the question is what? What is it that we're asking?

51:50 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
That's a specific intelligence. It's a general intelligence. Can it take any?

51:54 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
task. I can't do any task. I'm good at some and I'm crappy at most, so so so at some point we're going to get to a place and I think this is what we're we're foreseeing where, you know, a computer is less annoying than a person and it could do everything that the person that you asked the person that you would ask the person to do the computer can do, in which case it's a, it's a functional replacement for a person no, not all people, but you know the annoying guy in the corner. And it doesn't seem to me that we're that far away.

52:34 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I still think we are, but the other. The other problem here and this is Leo's least favorite word of the year Riz is the dictionary's favorite word of the year. Leo's least favorite word of the year is test real.

52:46 - Doc Searls (Guest)

52:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
God, we had bets that you would get that in before halfway through, so I well done.

52:51 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I beat it by five. So test real is an acronym for the various loony faux philosophies that drive these AI boys who think that this long term ism its effective altruism, its transhumanism, rationalism. And I forget what the E stood for uh, extra opism or effective?

53:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
altruism We've got that too, right, right.

53:19 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
And, and so it's their belief that they are the smartest and most powerful people and that they're going to create machines that are going to be smarter than any of us, including them, and that we owe a debt to the future unborn 10 to the 58th human beings, including those augmented by computers, and really the people today don't much matter. Our only job is to keep everything going for all those future beings.

53:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is apparently Larry Page's point of view, the founder of Google. There was a great article on the piece in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, kind of a history of how we got here in AI, talking about a famous fight, you know, around a campfire in 2015 between Larry Page and Elon Musk. Elon said we've got to protect ourselves against the AI's and Larry. Larry said oh, you're a speciesist, you know. You're trying to protect humans against the next thing, and they're both nuts. They're both nuts. I think?

54:17 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I do think it's just a tool, and, and and the problem is the philosophy heads toward utilitarianism and eugenics where they think they're going to exactly Exactly, Doc.

54:28 - Leo Laporte (Host)
What do you think? What do you think?

54:30 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Oh, okay, but but having crazy people doesn't discount the fact that we have some impressive new technology, right?

54:38 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Don't focus on all of the shows.

54:41 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Human like Okay, but the fact that we now have a problem of universities trying to figure out whether their students wrote the paper or a machine wrote the paper, that I mean, that tells you something happened. I mean something really significant happened.

54:58 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Or it tells you that teaching students to write dumb essays all these centuries was a really idiotic thing to do. We should teach them to think instead.

55:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Doc, where do you come down on this? I'm very curious.

55:09 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I've come down and all over the place I come down like an exploded rocket, a musk rocket.

55:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
What do they call that rod Rapid, unexpected.

55:19 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Rapid, unscheduled Rapid unscheduled disassembly, yeah, yeah.

55:25 - Doc Searls (Guest)
So, um, on the university topic, we had Clay Scherke, who has AI in his title, as a vice provost at NYU Wow, at Indiana University two days ago and it'll be up online soon. I can't wait to watch that. That was a great get.

55:42 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
He's so good Clay's been. Clay disappeared ever since he became an administrator. It used to be we had to quote Clay every two days. I know that was nowhere, so he had a lot of quotable stuff.

55:54 - Doc Searls (Guest)
One of them is mostly will put engineering at the end of their title so they'll get a raise or engineer, you know, prompt engineer, you know. Anyway, um, and he had some really delicious things to say about not only how hard that is but also and I think it's an important thing how almost fun it is to try and navigate all this stuff because we have this fabulous tool. You know, it's like the PC and the PC showed up and all of a sudden everybody could do far more than a mainframe could and did it far better than a mainframe could, and and and it was fun. I mean, I, I love playing with AI and I think it's. It's just I like having a playoff between perplexity and chat, gbt and Bard and and um, I actually think the, the being uh image creator is actually better than than dolly, even though it uses dolly, and I've had a lot of fun with that Um. But I agree with Jeff that there's there's a eugenic aspect to this. I mean, what eugenics sought to do was improve the, improve humanity by um, by testing everybody.

They invented IQ test, the whole doors of a Jesus, you know, a church EPT is an IQ of 40 million. Well, people don't have IQs either. I and my mother was a teacher. My IQ scores had an 80 point range. I hated school. Sometimes they did really well, other times they did really bad.

There's no such thing as an IQ. You can't, you can't. It's not a dipstick or a thermometer that'll measure your intelligence. Intelligence is. Intelligence is a human quality, like empathy or hate or love or other things, and machines cannot replicate that. Okay, we can use machines to do all kinds of wonderful things, but it doesn't mean that they are us. And it isn't just that we're anthropomorphizing the machines, we're machinizing ourselves by imagining that we could be replicated entirely by by a machine. That that has general intelligence.

I don't think it's artificial, it's real. Um, I don't know how general it is. It can't be general enough to be like like one of us. You know we're it's. Think about this. It's a human quality that we, we forget things in seven seconds. You know, we, we don't remember how we started the sentences or ending, or how we're going to end the sentences we start, yet somehow we get meaning across, and that's a remarkably human thing. Um, humor is another one, uh, uh. Brad Templeton I think it is on Facebook has been trying to get a um uh an AI to do a New Yorker cartoon. Even when he feeds it with the right one line is it doesn't quite work because it doesn't get irony. It's. That's a human thing, you know. It's. It's so, you know I. I think in in relief, we will appear to be more human when this thing's done than we did when it started.

58:39 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
So this is where our friend David Weinberger, I think, is so smart. His last book, um uh, which was, uh, everyday chaos, I think, was called some wonderful, wonderful book and and what? What David says is going to drive us nuts is that we get better predictions out of the machine than we can make because it has so much data and it can. It can analyze it in a way that never could be analyzed before. However, it brings no explanation, and we expected that we had explanations in the world. We thought we explained things. That's what journalists do, that's what novelists do, that's what historians do, but we're actually full of crap. We think we can explain things, and those things that we call accidents or miracles are just things we can't explain.

59:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, but if I ask a machine what the weather is going to be, I don't care how it got to. It's going to rain tomorrow, as long as it rains tomorrow. Well, why do I need to know how it got there?

59:36 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Cause you're the one who brought up artificial general intelligence is, if there's such a thing as intelligence, where I think doc is exactly right, steve, steve we talked about this a few months ago and you?

59:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
your conclusion was we are nothing more than thinking machines. So why is it impossible to think a machine couldn't do it?

59:53 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I do believe that, and I think everybody is impatient, and that in five years we're going to have an entirely different terrain than we do today.

I mean, we're all wondering what this is that has just begun to emerge and I would argue we have no idea but it. But exactly as you say, leo, my, my belief is that we're going to create something which which is very much capable, and it won't be biological and it won't work with. You know, neurons and synapses and, and you know biochemistry, the way our brain does, but I don't see any big bridge. I guess I'm, I'm not seeing that there has to be a soul, if you want to use that term, in order to have intelligence. I think you'd need an astounding amount of complexity, and we're currently shooting up a complexity curve at a very high speed and I think in in a few years, you know, if we had a similar conversation, you know there would be a lot more expectation and and I'm not worried, I just don't want to put these machines in control of our future and our you know our physical destiny.

01:01:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Don't give them the nukes for sure.

01:01:24 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Well, and don't give them the authority to write humor, because it's astonishing. I never realized how complicated and subjective humor was until I tried to get a chat GPT to write me space jokes for this week in space. They were miserable.

01:01:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Really worse than your own Because that's a pretty low bar, Worse than mine and Bennett's Okay okay, I get it.

01:01:44 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
No, it was just astonishing. But. But as you kind of said a few minutes ago, and I'm having a little trouble taking the Grinch hands seriously, but it's great they're growing on me, but it's really hard, I guess, to understand the subtleties of humor at least for those models.

01:01:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, you know honestly, do we need a machine, a comedian? I don't think so. Do we need do any machines that could perhaps improve crop production or do gene folding or create new vaccines? That might be pretty useful. And if it can't tell a joke, I can live with that right. And yet.

01:02:18 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
yet over the years, the new technologies seem to have profited most by doing very mundane things for consumers. I mean, if you look at the history of science fiction, you go back to the thirties and forties and what do you see on the covers of all those pulp magazines, huge government supported projects and cities in the sky and airplanes that can hold 2000 people going hither and yon and so forth. And what happened is it didn't go get bigger, it got smaller and it went private instead of state owned and it became people doing kind of mindless and significant things.

01:02:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Actually, I'm not surprised, though, because if you think about what we think of as ancient history, the stuff that survives is those giant monumental projects. Those are the things that live on, not the subtle, you know, intricacies of humor and human interaction. A thousand years later, those are lost in the sands.

01:03:07 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Well, so tomorrow I have lunch with a guy admire greatly, named Andrew Pedigree, who's the Dean of book historians Now he started the Universal Short Title catalog that catalogs every known thing printed from 1454 to 1750. Anyway, so what they catalog is the things. The things that exist are the things that we didn't care about and put on a shelf and preserved, the things that got used every day Right, Got lived to death right.

01:03:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Love to death? Yeah Right, those don't survive. I'd like to actually, we started talking a little bit about Corey's doctrine of insurification, which that's, by the way I say it that way because I like to bowdlerize our conversation but I thought that was really one of the most important essays of 2023. Corey observed that companies and he uses Amazon as his example, it's a perfect example Start out acting in the interest of the customer because they need to build a customer base and they focus very much on that. That's stage one. Stage two they start focusing on the businesses in the case of Amazon, the third party sellers to build up that. And then, stage three, they cash in on the structures that they've built and it results in disappointing both the customers and the third party sellers or the businesses they do business with. But they do it in favor of profit, and this seems to be a trend universal in technology. And while I said earlier that the business cycle has disappeared, it seems to me the insurification cycle has only been amplified. We're living in that right now. Doc, you agree?

01:04:55 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, it's astonishing to me, but not surprising Interesting slight difference there that Jeff Bezos, who I thought did a really good job early on of insisting that the customer was the most important I think somebody told me that you would have a cutout of a person that would be in the boardroom or the different rooms that they had conversations in that would represent the customer. The customer would always be there and now all the meaningful stuff that's in anything you search for is way, way, way down below and you have to read between the lines.

01:05:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's a perfect example.

01:05:36 - Doc Searls (Guest)
And there's screwing people on both ends. They're screwing the poor people that have to advertise in order to become a sponsor. You get the sponsor result. We saw it with Google too. They started with a few ads on the right side and now the ads come on top and they push all the meaningful stuff down, even off the page.

01:05:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Corey writes this is how platforms die and you could use Amazon, you can use Google. He used TikTok in his essay. First, they're good to their users. Then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers. Finally, they abuse those business customers and, by the way, regular customers to claw back all the value for themselves. And I left out the fourth step. Then they die and it starts all over. Corey's argument is this is normal. This is the new business cycle and what we should call for is the ability to jump from platform to platform, that as soon as they stop caring about us, we should be able to take our data and move somewhere else. This is his argument for interoperability, which I completely agree with.

01:06:46 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
It also goes back to what Doc said earlier. I've looked at this book and put it in my wish list. It's about the problems of scale. It's the problems of mass I talk about this all the time mass media. But once scale became the expectation, once bigger became the issue, you needed everybody in your audience to sell up the advertisers. Then you were never big enough, and that's what leads to that. And so how do we return to a human scale? We talked about this on Twiglio. Where are we going to have a next Twitter? No, I hope we have a next 100 Twitter and 1000 Facebooks and we return to a human scale and all of this. And that's where open source, I think, can serve us well.

01:07:26 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Yeah, it does feel like maybe this is just old fart talk, but it feels like we're being leveraged Exactly Every direction you turn. Youtube they got me. Now they're increasing the price, and now Hulu wants to do the same. And you can't buy this. You have to subscribe to it in order to get it. And it's like this feeling of everything I want to do is taking as much from me as they can, which takes away this sense of joy and like, oh, I'm getting a deal. It's like no, the deals are gone.

01:08:07 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Well, what's puzzling to me, though, is, with Bezos and Musk in particular, you've got these two very wealthy business leaders who have in some ways I'm saying subjectively brutalized their business to the point that my experience, when I go on Amazon to buy something, if it's not from a manufacturer I know, is basically terror trolling, because I don't know what I'm getting at.

01:08:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, it's very risky.

01:08:30 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, and yet both these guys are very public in their desire to save the human race and I believe them. I really do. I mean, I've talked to both of them in person and the person you know. Bezos's big vision is move all polluting, dirty industries off the earth into space, save the earth, make it a park, and he's now preparing to give away the bulk of his fortune, looking for places to do that. So I'll do whatever it takes in a possibly let's say, musk in this case, in a possibly morally ambiguous way to make these fortunes, if he can even do it with Twitter and yet then turn around and do some amazing stuff that does benefit the larger world.

01:09:08 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think it's the head scratcher to be. It's the Andrew Carnegie cycle. Yes, yes, a guy who made his yeah, he was a robber.

01:09:16 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I don't give us that much credit. No Well, I don't give Andrew Carnegie much credit. I think he didn't want to go to hell, and he's so true.

01:09:24 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
He built a lot of libraries.

01:09:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Crazy, I think they're losing it Actually.

01:09:29 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I agree. I think they're losing it. I think there's the catch been going on. Maybe one word or the other.

01:09:33 - Doc Searls (Guest)
They're talking to a mirror at this point.

01:09:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And this is a guy by yes man. Yeah, Bezos is a guy who did in, you know, completely enabled that institution Vacation cycle at Amazon and then took off with his helicopter flying girlfriend and his rocket, penis-shaped rocket ship.

01:09:54 - Doc Searls (Guest)
He's, he's. No irony there.

01:09:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He's late-stage Billionaire. At this point I Do want to take a little break because I think we you know, we got to talk Elon, we got to talk Elon and I'll let you kick that one off Rod, because Elon is such a weird Contradiction of things of everything in every respect.

01:10:19 - Doc Searls (Guest)
He wasn't up until he bought X.

01:10:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, I'm this and that was the story of 2023. Bought X late in 2022 and this entire year has been the year is interesting and almost lovable, and they're always.

01:10:33 - Doc Searls (Guest)
And he turned into this.

01:10:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh my god, waco is that because we suddenly see?

01:10:38 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
what he is.

01:10:39 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I don't know.

01:10:40 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Let's see.

01:10:40 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I mean that's probably what it was. I mean, you know, it opened. It opened a valve of bile directly at everybody and I was like, whoa, that's what's in there, boy let's close that biofile for a moment.

01:10:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We want to take a break. We will come back. We don't want to spray people too hard. You are watching the 19. I'm sorry night. I almost said now. There it is I'm an old fart out the 1923 edition of the old farts Christmas special. We will be back with more in just a bit. You know every holiday show we have a great sponsor. Perfect time for the holiday stamps Com, I think.

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The old farth farts have gathered and we are sitting around the fire, which is a potentially explosive situation. Jeff Jarvis is here from this week in Google, the wonderful man I've admired for years. Doc Searls I mean, I admire you all, I love you all, but doc I read the Clutrain manifesto and tried to foist it on tech TV executives to try to explain to them why they had it all wrong. I bought every one of them a copy and we're so pleased that doc has been with us as the host of floss weekly. How, why did you start doing that? How long have you been doing that now?

01:14:35 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I think it's not going in four years.

01:14:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Maybe it's more, chris de Bona and I started that show. He was the open source maven at Google Way back in the day, I think, 2006, 2007.

01:14:48 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Chris is great. What's he doing now? I know he left Google. It's a good question.

01:14:52 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I got to look him up and find a guy I'll course Steve Gibson, who is the continues to be the host of the number three show on the network. We did, we did, and he's aged a little bit. His hair is turned green but he is still it's the second show on the network, was it Lisa's telling me you were? The second show was twit security. Now, yeah, I guess that's right.

01:15:17 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
And as you. You asked me during one of our breaks in Vancouver, when we were shooting call for help. You, you were. You were leaning on the set and you said so how would you like to do a weekly podcast on Security? And I said a what cast Podcast? And I said no one's heard of a podcast.

01:15:38 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Here we are. We've all heard a podcast now. Yeah, it's amazing, 15 years and out. You know, radio got a hundred years. I don't get it. No, we're gonna. You know what I love podcasting. I think one of the things that's great about podcasting is we can bring these voices Into you, your space, into into your ears, into where you are and have these great conversations.

01:16:00 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
They still have to mow the lawn and listen to something. Yeah, while they're, while they're pushing the lawn mower, or, or, or, or, driving to their job. Or yeah exactly I mean, and so you know we're really good filler.

01:16:12 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah Well, I'm glad you have such high as people go to sleep at night.

01:16:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And then, of course, our newest old fart. You know you're only here cuz I thought for years you were like much younger than me, but it turns out we're the same age. No, I'm a month older than you. Yeah, I don't know how he looks so young. I guess those treatments are working.

01:16:32 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
But I just don't get me closer to the camera.

01:16:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Rod pile from this week in space. So, rod, you have in your role as a as a space journalist. I've been covering Elon since he took over. He didn't start SpaceX right?

01:16:49 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
No, he did. It was Tesla that he kind of took.

01:16:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, so he bought Tesla took some of the profits and Invested it in space. What was his goal in the beginning at space space X?

01:17:00 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
So he wanted initially. His whole idea was he wanted to launch a small, basically bell jar experiment to Mars to try and grow a plant. He just wanted to send a little greenhouse to Mars You're kidding. Prove that it could be done.

01:17:13 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
No, was the whole. Thing.

01:17:15 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
That was where he started. It's like I want to send a rocket to Mars and grow plants. People said huh. So he got together a guy named Jim Cantrell and a couple of others. They flew over to Russia to talk. The Russian military and this is, you know, late Said we want to buy a rocket. Let you know, solacea used, I see, be or not a use, sorry, decommissioned ICBM without the war bed.

01:17:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They're nice.

01:17:41 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
No, they have to use this to go to Mars and you know, in theory it could work if it took the long, slow route and the Russians didn't take them seriously and the general they were talking to actually and I've heard heard this now from two sources spat on issues and said get out of my office literally.

That yep, like that. Wow, oh, thank you for vodka. So they on the plane back, cantrell and the other guy were kind of licking their wounds and Elon's in the seat behind them, I suppose still probably flying coach at this point, and he's working on on some plans on a napkin and he says, hey guys, we don't need the Russians, we could do this ourselves. And they're kind of rolling their eyes Going, oh, here goes Elon again. And then they looked at the figures and went, huh. So at that point he got some very smart people, a guy named Tom Mueller, gwynne Shotwell, who's currently his president. That's what he's so good at right is having this big idea, bringing in these really incredibly smart people and then Driving them to the end of their wits to get things done.

Yeah, so that's how it started. And he actually started his rocket company two years later than Bezos did start his rocket company. And what we've seen so far is SpaceX basically dominate I mean literally revolutionized rocketry, dominate the global launch market. If it wasn't for SpaceX, the Chinese will be launching three times as many rockets as we do and make it relatively affordable. And you know, I like what Bezos is doing. But we keep seeing these factories being built there's. They just finished one at Kennedy a couple years ago Kennedy Space Center and all these trucks of supplies going in the front door and then we're waiting and nothing's coming out the back. That's like where are the rockets guys?

That's those is is selling his rocket engines to United Launch Alliance for their rocket which is gonna launch the brand-new ones gonna launch on Christmas Eve.

01:19:28 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So he is engaging in co-op atation there, sorry we used to have a wonderful guy the late, a great science fiction author, jerry Cornell, on our shows pretty regularly. Yeah, he was always a strong proponent of Commercial space exploration. He, you know as a wikipedia, describes him as a paleo conservative. I think that's fair, but as a paleo conservative, interest the government to do it. He thought that the if you really want to Explore space it's got to be commercial interests doing it, perhaps in in partnership with the federal government. And Elon's, I think, proven him right.

01:20:10 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Well, he's proven him right by I mean initially, when he wanted to get Air Force cargo, the Air Force said nice, try, kid, come back when you grow up. This is in the mid-2000s. And so to get his customer, he sued his customer. Wow, customer said oh, I guess we notice you now. So they gave him the work.

01:20:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But wow, that's an unusual way of getting a job.

01:20:33 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
It's a very unusual path to that's so Elon isn't it? Well, it is. And and then, when NASA was Giving out contracts, they want to give out a couple of contracts to build a lunar lander for the Artemis program, which isn't trouble and Bezos sued because he didn't get the first bid, because Musk got it and, as a lot of people pointed out and observed in popular writing, myself included, hey, you, you know, you were trying to charge twice as much as SpaceX was going to do this, and he said, yeah, but it's not fair.

01:21:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So now the US working, but there's a lot of stumbling now the US government's kind of over a barrel because they, oh they owe so much To Elon, because they've kind of for stopped doing so much Themselves. That Elon kind of he's SpaceX, runs a Starlink and they pretty much own this, you know, space-based internet, yeah it's. It's really an interesting conundrum. The government has seated its role to Elon Musk and now they're a little afraid.

01:21:34 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I Was nervous making my connection back from Vienna to be here for this show. Imagine being an astronaut up in the space station, dependent upon either Elon Musk or the Russians to get back home. Yeah, sir.

01:21:45 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, but you know, but you were not depending on Elon, were depending on SpaceX. It's a big company. There's a lot of smart people there and they're the only people who pulled it off. Boeing was supposed to be the other bunch that were going to build capsules to get astronauts back and forth the space station by 2016 and they still haven't done it once Not completely successfully so, and I don't want to type too much time, leo, but I did want to mention one of the stories of Recent months. It's kind of a big deal. Which hinges back on the SpaceX thing is we just got word from the government accountability office we're pretty good folks that surprise, surprise, contain your eye rolls. Nasa is not going to make their moon landing date of 2025. That we've all been pretending we believe for the last few years. What's weird about it? It's it's. That's not a shock, because if you grew up during the Apollo years, that was all running late to you know I it's a hard thing to do but but we're doing it a second time, right?

Well, that's true. So let's bear in mind. But what's slowing it down? Mostly, you know, the Orion capsule works. The SLS big rocket costs a fortune but it works.

But the lander to get down to the moon, which is supposed to be of different versions of Starship, is A pacing item which is way behind schedule, somewhat because of the government itself, the FAA and Department of Fish and Wildlife not giving permits for him to launch, because we Wouldn't want to bonk any crocodiles on the head with rocket parts. But the other thing is they're having trouble getting new moon suits built because we haven't built a space suit in this country Other than those pressure suits that are just protect you if you get a leak that SpaceX makes. We haven't actually built an EVA suit since 1988, so the ones are using on the shuttle in the space station today are from the 80s. You're kidding. So that's become this major slowdown and it's like but wait, didn't you do this before? I saw it in the museum. But we've had so much brain drain and retirement that they're having to start over and it's a real problem.

01:23:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's amazing that the guy who's doing this Also seems to be well insane, at least in his social media.

01:23:57 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Walter Isaacson didn't say he was crazy, he just said he was kind of a an age. Yeah.

01:24:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And Isaacson was on his side and can arguably be said that he was kind of writing a hagiography. So if, if Isaacson thought he was an a-hole, you can only imagine what he really was he?

01:24:16 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
is he brilliant, or is he just Incredibly brash?

01:24:21 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
He's brilliant, brash and, I think, at times brutal. We've got to get that third B in there and loads of a brutal load for. I mean, you know, yeah, money buys a lot it doesn't it?

01:24:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
if you have vision, or even if it's kind of crazy and you have billions, things happen. You know, maybe not the best things sometimes, but things happen. But what would drive?

01:24:45 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
a person like that to go from I want to have a backup drive for humanity on another planet To buying Twitter. I still just don't get that.

01:24:54 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
This is Tess Braille.

01:24:56 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
This is the ego gone mad it's or or did he talk himself into it completely by accident, just by working off one day?

01:25:04 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
He's smarter than all the politicians. He's smarter than all mankind. This is part of of long-termism is that's humorous? I think they are the whoa in the extreme. They think they are the ones to use these resources best in the future of all humankind.

01:25:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I also think that Elon Doesn't have much impulse control right. We're safe, we?

I think it's safe saying that apparently not, and and it's really very very impulsively Made an offer for Twitter, not expecting really that he would get it. And and then what? I think the fascinating story is that Brett what's his name, brett, last name, taylor, taylor, brett Taylor, who was at the time on the board of Twitter Really interesting guy. He's been at Google, he he started was it friends? Friends no, not friends to Another social network. He's a really interesting guy. Basically held Elon's feet to the fire and and forced him to Live up to his I think, very ill-planned promise. Then Elon had enough money and had enough context to be able to get forty four billion dollars together to buy it.

01:26:16 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I don't think he ever wanted it and now I love that we're no talking about a bond villain, and Steve is here with his green fingers. It's like oh little projection going on there.

01:26:29 - Doc Searls (Guest)
It's a Zeus villain.

01:26:30 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Oh, well played, sir.

01:26:34 - Doc Searls (Guest)
So so there's a who villain. This may be a Useful or maybe may not something I learned on a podcast. It was one of the ringer podcast, where Ben Affleck was being interviewed, and I'm not going to get this exactly right, but it's close enough to be applicable. He said the problem with celebrity isn't Just that you lose your anonymity but you can't trust what you. You can't, you can't totally trust yourself Because you're not operating in the same reality as everybody else. Yeah, you're, you're detached. You're you're not walking the streets with, with the ordinaries and and Interacting with the real world. And I think that's what's happened to this guy. I think he's he's he's detached. He really, and Part of the evidence to me for that is that it isn't just that he does trolley things on Twitter, it's that he's repeating stuff that are that. He's doing no fact checking whatsoever, just none. He just he's just yet another right wing troll Seeing right wing trolls and repeating stuff that other people have. You know, he retweets or re-exes, apparently, you know icky stuff without really checking, you know, and that seems to me like it's, it's, it's weird and it's stupid and and. But I think it's it's because he's detached.

I think Bezos said a similar thing happened. I mean, jeff, I don't know, we used to go to conferences probably you too, I Leo, where you hang out with Jeff Bezos. He was, or gives it nice, is a nice guy. He laughed like Peewee Herman, but you know, but he was like a regular guy. You know I enjoy talking to him, not not much, but he was very approachable, you know, sensible, and now he's like all these guys you notice through. They all build up their muscles. Zuckerberg's done, do it, done it too. You know they have time, they have time, they money in the vanity.

You know, and I know people who work for Metta who just think that that Zuckerberg is is also out there somewhere. What he did with the, with the virtual reality, is they spend like 40 billion dollars or whatever it was. Yeah, they came up with a goose egg you know, let us know.

01:28:52 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
These are all men. We on this panel of men must speak yeah truth about our gender. We're f'ing up the world. We've done it for centuries. I know it's time to hand it over.

01:29:07 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I agree, and at all, but it also it's got to be difficult that I'm not defending either of them. But who are they gonna turn to for the truth? I mean, at least Bezos Might be able to get some some straight pillow talk from from his. Are they married now? They're married right? Oh?

01:29:23 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
I don't think so.

01:29:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There's a big ring. There's a big rock.

01:29:26 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, okay.

01:29:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't know if he's winning a game from his fiance.

01:29:30 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I'd say who the heck would Musk be able to ever talk to and who can talk to Musk? I mean, I'm not sure he's the best listener, but where do you go to get straight talk when people are either terrified of you or after your favor?

01:29:42 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)

01:29:45 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
And it's not at all clear that Elon wants straight talk. I mean he.

01:29:49 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Yeah, he wants to believe what he wants to believe he really does think that he has all the answers.

01:29:54 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
And you know, one of the things that we were just talking about, jeff, you were mentioning that it's you know, men who are running everything and screwing everything up. Force of personality goes a long way. There are a lot of people who you know they just don't want Something bad enough, they're not pushing, they're not screaming and jumping up and down and having a tantrum and demanding, and so when someone like Elon does the rest of us go like, okay, you know you want to go, do that, that's fine, you know so. So you know that the it very much seems that there's that there's a personality, raw personality, in addition to, yes, intellect and upbringing and everything. But there is a, a force that these people have that that is part of their long-term success look at Steve Jobs.

01:30:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I I mean no one says he was a wonderful, perfect, exacting, perfect right. You know, I think the other thing is that and social media has made this possible, youtube's over exposure of broadcast media and so forth we're all a little bit of good, a little bit of bad, and Maybe we, maybe we just seem curious. You know, Henry Ford was no hero. Oh my god. Thomas Edison was kind of a jerk, but we didn't maybe know that as much as we would now. Gutenberg was a good guy.

Everybody looks good five hundred years later. Are you kidding?

01:31:33 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Can I just mention one more thing about musk? I found it shocking, so I watched that whole hour and 15 minutes. I think of that New York Times Stage thing he did where he told his advertisers to go after themselves, oh my god when asked about his hard turn from being set or left to full right politically, he attributed that this is so childish.

I couldn't believe it. He attributed the whole thing to To losing face, although he didn't put it that way because he wasn't invited to the EV Fest by the Biden administration. Now I understand that that was because of union factors and it was not a good thing to do. It was not a smart thing to do for Biden. But really you're gonna completely change your political and social philosophy based on one snub.

01:32:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Never underestimate the power of vindictiveness. Look at the Oppenheimer movie, which is really all about just about vindictiveness. Strauss Oppenheimer shows up this guy Strauss, at a Senate hearing by saying oh, you know, you can make nuclear bombs out of donuts, you don't need to worry about isotopes. Strauss is so humiliated that he basically Completely destroys Robert Oppenheimer's reputation In a, in a kind of a kangaroo court, it's. It's really. The premise of the movie is how petty Vendictiveness can change the world. So never underestimate the power of pettiness.

01:33:04 - Doc Searls (Guest)
That's my motto.

01:33:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
All right, maybe we'll take another break before we go on with our Christmas Eve, and I hope you all are with family and friends at this holiday season, are enjoying it, and we're so glad you could spend some time with us. We like to think of you as our family, that. One thing I've learned doing twit for 15 years Is really that podcasts are about community. They're about the people who not just talk, but the people who listen, and one of the things we've always tried to do On twit is to listen to you and to really let our community be a part of what we do. We're so glad we have you.

As you probably have heard, we've been going through kind of a rough time, as as many others have. Spotify's had three stages of layoffs, as you were talking about doc this year, and some of the biggest podcast networks, like gimlet and the WN my see, have retreated. We want to keep doing we do, we love what we do, we love you, we love our community and we think we provide a service that's valuable, and we hope you think so too. So I'd like to invite you if if you are listening to this and you do value what we do at twit to help us continue to do it. We Really, to be honest, I don't want to beg, but we need your help to continue in 2024. There's a very easy way to do it and I think it's pretty inexpensive it's $7 a month to join club twit. It makes a big difference in our bottom line and, frankly, for us to survive in 2024, we need a lot more of you who listen to join.

Right now, it's just over 1% of our audience. If we could get to 5 or 10 percent of our audience, we wouldn't have to worry about finances, we could hire more people, we could do more shows, and I'd like to do that. I really would. So, in a way, this is your way of voting. If you want to hear more from us, if you like what we do and you want to continue, go to twittv slash club twit. Join club twits $7 a month, $84 a year. Their family plans, there's corporate plans, but your membership makes a huge difference these days to us Continuing and and we'd like to do that. So if you would and thanks in advance twittv, slash club twit We'll be back with more of the old farts.

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Several centuries. You know what, though? We live in a youth culture, right? Who's the person of the year this year in Time Magazine? Taylor Swift. Right, oh, taylor.

01:37:43 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Who said Britney.

01:37:45 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Who said Britney?

01:37:47 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
All these young ones.

01:37:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, they all see. He's really keeping up with the times, isn't he?

01:37:53 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
That's Joni Mitchell. She sure is.

01:37:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We live in a youth culture, but I think it's really important, especially in an area that's so fast moving is technology to have the context that people like us, who've really seen the whole thing from the ground up Doc, you've been at the beginning. I was at the beginning, steve. You wrote a light pen interface for the Apple II computer. You were programming PDP-8s in high school. I mean, we've been through this. I don't know what you did when you were a kid, rod, but I hope it wasn't makeup.

01:38:30 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yes, fortunately not Nothing good.

01:38:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So, but I think the and I see this all the time that younger people really have no context for the world they're living in today. They forget that. You know, even 10 years ago and this was, by the way, this, I was reading this in this history of how AI got to where it is today, 10 years ago, we thought an online service that could tell whether that was a cat on YouTube was pretty good. If it got 16% right, we thought, wow, ai is really coming along. We've seen a lot, and I think there's some real value to getting together I hope you think so too with the people who've seen it all to give you some context of what's been happening.

01:39:17 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
When Douglas Rushkoff and I taught a course a year ago and reinvented the internet, we realized at some point that the students were younger than the web.

01:39:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, is that amazing?

01:39:27 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Douglas had, and they were master students, by the way, douglas had to do a lecture on. You know what was what was chat? What was the early internet? What was a dial-up motive? What was bit-naped screens? Is there a?

01:39:42 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
value guys, is it?

01:39:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
just nostalgia, jeff, or is there a value?

01:39:47 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
to understand where we came from. No, this is in my next book out next year. The web we weave. What I argue is that's what we want to recapture. We lost it. We lost it to the in certification or corporatization or scaling of our net. We gave up. There are some of us didn't? Doc Searles is still an open source and Dave Weiner is an open source, but Schmuck's like me. It's okay. Twitter, I'll move my conversation over there. What?

01:40:14 - Leo Laporte (Host)
a mistake that turned out to be public discourse.

01:40:16 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
Yeah, right to be vulnerable.

01:40:19 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
We've got to recapture that early web and that early internet and its optimism, not the stupidity. We've learned a lot of lessons since then. You know it doesn't bring democracy to the world, no, it doesn't bring world peace. Yes, jerks will use it in all kinds of ways that we hadn't anticipated and didn't build. For all that's true. Nonetheless, there's a lot I still believe. I'm curious what the, my fellow old farts think from the early internet that we want to hold on to and remember and recapture and rebuild.

01:40:49 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I would comment on the optimism. So I was studying all the stuff at Stanford in 1993 and we were talking about the internet and this thing and of course the demos were all being done on America online. But no, counting for that. But I remember talking the professor at that time talking about how this was going to be the greatest expansion of thinking in the public sphere in history and I kind of stared at him with a soured look. I was a little older than the other students. He said what? And I said capitalism hates a vacuum. It kind of looked at me like I was nuts but by golly, you know, it worked out that way and I I missed that sense of optimism we had.

01:41:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That was kind of Tim Moose point of view in the kill switch is that you know it's. You know money's going to end up ruining it. You know it's, it always comes along.

01:41:38 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Well, we're taking up the room we leave. Right, we left that vacuum there for them to do.

01:41:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, one of the lessons, steve, have we learned being in this for decades.

01:41:55 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I think some things change quickly and some things change very slowly. I'm astonished by the explosion we've seen in storage capacity. You know, obviously I'm focused on storage, but still, you know everybody's using storage and it used to be that you were backing up your computer on floppy disks I mean, we all did at one point and and you had a disk drive that held 10 megabytes was $5,000 when they were first available for the PC and and it's just it's it was. There was a conversation online that I participated in the other day so where some guy said well, you know, I'm, I'm want to run a NAS with four 16 terabyte drives and I don't know if I want to run away raid six, because then I'll lose half that. It's like what?

01:42:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
what do you need? 16 64 trillion bytes.

01:42:59 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I said you know that's 64,000 gigabytes. What are you doing?

01:43:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
well, I want the Library of Congress for every nation on my hard drive. I remember reading the wonderful William Gibson's Neuromancer and there was a computer in that that had all of the everything ever published, the, basically the Library of Congress, all the world's information on that computer, and I thought at the time, and that was around, it was in the 90s, I think. I thought at the time, wow, you know, that might happen someday. If there's a less, there is one lesson things get bigger, faster and better, quicker than you might expect.

The, the NSA was building remember about 20 years ago started building a giant data facility in the Midwest to store all of the telecommunications, all the digital communications, and at the time it's like, well, fine, have fun in that giant treasure trove. But what we did not anticipate is the rise of mass storage, high speed computing and AI, and now they look like they might have been prescient to save all that because they can use that now and derive information from that in a way that we maybe didn't anticipate 20 years ago. It it's probably good for us to remember that when we brush away concerns about, you know, surveillance and privacy see, what are they gonna do security, because it does all get faster and better at a surprising right yeah yeah there were stories that we did not talk about, that were, for their time, big stories.

Who remembers the Chinese spy balloon you mean?

01:44:48 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
you mean tiktok, that too what you've been the alien, the alien surveillance over the Midwest.

01:44:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Remember how much attention there was to this spot and we had, we shot them down, and, and millions, yeah, the White House, you know, said well, the Chinese, what? Whatever came of that? Anything, rod, was that just yours?

01:45:13 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
from what I read afterwards from the best sources I could find, it was decided that it was not really a surveillance instrument.

They, they found it off pieces and said nah just a weather blur actually kind of telling the truth this time, we think, although you know, then of course the right jumps on that and says, oh, you're not being honest. And then George Nury tells us that it's you know, they're putting psychedelics in our crops. So it got very weird. But you know and there wasn't just one of those, there was a couple of those things and it was interesting that I was talking to an Air Force guy about this and I said why is this suddenly lighting on fire? Is it because you guys are, you know, being told by the White House to be on alert? And he said no, we just didn't look for that stuff before, you know there's so many mile.

01:45:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's been going on all along voting around.

01:46:02 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
We never paid any attention that they had to recalibrate their radar.

01:46:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And then suddenly, now they're seeing every little Tom Dick and Harry out there and discovered the thing that's important and maybe this is where our context is helpful is you know that could have been World War three. You know, it's little things like that that create or first contact escalated tensions. And if somebody else had been in charge?

01:46:23 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
yeah, yeah uh, jeff.

01:46:26 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Oh, I don't know. He doesn't need a first alert to hit the button, he would just do it for laughs you're talking about the AI, yeah, yeah that's it, or destruction of mankind.

01:46:39 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Which button is this?

01:46:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
in March. Remember the Silicon Valley bank run. Remember that these are huge stories at the time that have kind of faded off in the distance. At the time we thought it might be the beginning of a massive bank failure and the onset of another great depression and yet people are still telling us that's coming. I just don't see where the evidence is was there any long-term repercussions in Silicon Valley? I don't think so. I think the FDIC moved in, then they they backed up all the deposits and that was that it's.

01:47:21 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
It was nice to see that machine work as well as it did.

01:47:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, yeah uh, this was also the year that the Hollywood writers went on strike and then the actors went on strike.

01:47:32 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I think that was just a symptom of something that's been going on for some time and is really coming to a head now, which is, uh, the move to streaming uh, well, and so interesting that a huge issue for all of them was AI, right, I mean, that was a big part of their their contract renegotiation was we need protection from AI. Now apparently we don't have to worry about them. Uh, writing for the nighttime talk shows because AI can't do funny, but you know well, they could do some Saturday night actually a lot of that's not that funny the

01:48:08 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
funny stuff exactly watching the studios try and position themselves to own everything, including your DNA, whether you're a writer or producer, an actor, yeah, the voice of a person, I mean. Those contracts are so brutalizing and always have been. I think it's just getting worse. But yeah, the AI question is really interesting because you know where are the limits if could you put a head on this guy, this different, or could you just change the way he looks or she looks? And certainly you know one of the huge expenses on any film is doing a dialogue replacement afterwards. Well, now you can do that without even bringing the actor in, which costs you a fortune, and I and I think that makes a lot of sense. But is it okay?

01:48:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
um, I think also though and it's it's a kind of seems like a less interesting issue the the real issue was that the way uh content is distributed changed so dramatically that the pay for the actors had changed. Because they used to get paid for reruns, they used to get residuals, and once it was streaming.

They didn't get paid for that and really I think that was the precipitating event of the strike and it really is a small part of of an entire landscape change that has been brought by technology and the internet over the last 10 years. Not, it's partly in media. Of course, jeff, that's, that's your area and we were talking about that earlier, but in so many ways, we live in interesting times.

01:49:35 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Well, and look at youtube with user generated content. I mean, I know people who no longer watch television. They spend their life watching youtube, and that's true, yeah, random people who are, you know, putting. You know, we all have cameras now in our pockets. We could all make movies. Bandwidth is no problem, storage is no problem. And so now you know, there's just all this stuff and you know I don't let myself fall into it. But you know, google knows me and when I look down the right hand column, at the, at the things I could click on, they're really interesting. It's like, wow, that's that looks cool, I could spend 15 minutes there and the contra.

01:50:17 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
The content is free to the host and yet the rates to pay them for us, the public, keep going up. Isn't that interesting? Yeah, I mean I'm. I'm stunned at how much it cost me now just to crawl back to where cable left off and and and streaming is not a very good business, as it turns out.

01:50:34 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, how was that possible?

01:50:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
because we're subscribed out. It must be a decent business, because we learned this year right, actually just a few weeks ago that Netflix plans to spend 17 billion dollars in 2024 on new content. Some of these depressing things new one must have.

01:50:53 - Doc Searls (Guest)
It's certainly gonna have only one. You're gonna have that one, yeah, yeah there's a new. Abc, cbs and NBC kind of roll together well that's the other thing.

01:51:01 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Is these giants? I mean, you and I grew up in an era where there were three channels, there were three networks, and they dominated. And now I don't even know who owns these companies anymore. Right, it's mostly cable companies, I think, viya and then there's a CBS.

01:51:16 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Comcast owns NBC there's a terrible moment where you realize, at least on Amazon, amazon Prime and a couple of the others, would you buy a show or a movie? You're not buying anything, you're leasing it until their license expires, and then you go back a year later and that your stuff's gone. Happens on Kindle too. They didn't tell me that. Maybe it was in the fine prints they told you, but you just didn't read the entire.

01:51:46 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I watched the fourth Republican debate last night and it was on news nation.

01:51:50 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
That was like okay that didn't even exist a year ago the best we could do, yeah, yeah you know, doc, you just make me think that one, that one good use for LLMs would be to read you was for you oh yeah summarize that's probably a good one very

01:52:04 - Doc Searls (Guest)
query, except it really is. Except they just say you're F'd pretty much, but I suppose that you know that's. That's a good one. Um, here's a something I've been thinking about. It's not any news this last year, but it's. It's interesting. I'm thinking about it in terms of Jeff's book too. That, um, we thought in the 90s that the internet was a library and basically we thought it was a pile of a bunch of Unix paths that went to permanent things. It had a static structure. We spoke about it in static ways. We have domains with locations that we would visit and browse as if they were real, and it turns out it's a whiteboard and and we we can have. I mean, it really is, it's a big whiteboard and yeah, there's no.

Um, you could go out of, out of your way to try and save some of them. I was so grateful that that wordpress and and the harbour folks worked together to reserve my blog, but there's no guarantee these things are forever. There's just not. We, we don't own our domain names. You rent them, right, and I have owned, I've rented surlscom since my last namecom, since 1995, but I have no faith that my errors will keep that up. Right, they may not. You know, I've got a pile of stuff there, um, but where's that there? And my, my wife thinks in 500 years or a thousand years they'll look back at this period is like we don't know what happened then, you know, because we digitized everything and it went into big data centers and so forth, but then they failed and, um, uh, and then, and now we don't know. We don't know it's actually an interesting paradox.

01:53:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
On the one hand, we have more information about what happens every minute of every day, more video, more audio, more infre it's just flowing like crazy.

01:53:54 - Doc Searls (Guest)
But on the other hand, it's completely ephemeral and uh, yeah, yeah, it's ephemeral and it looks static, but it's not.

01:54:02 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Yeah so, doc, when I talked to Elizabeth Eisenstein, who's credited with creed, he's great he's filled a book book history. Um, it was actually for a prior book, but she made fun of my floppy disks and my electronic stuff and she said Gutenberg's bible is far. I will has already far outlasted anything that you could store your stuff on.

01:54:22 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, put it on your piracy if you really want it to last, for instances withstanding, if there's actually yeah no but my wrist falls apart.

01:54:29 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Oh really, yeah, papers not that much better.

01:54:34 - Doc Searls (Guest)
A friend of mine is at the clay shirky thing at Indiana University of this, where we did this was also there to visit a Gutenberg Bible. That's there.

01:54:41 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Yes, you know. So they're like 40 of them. Did Clay come in? Did he enter for this? Did he fly?

01:54:45 - Doc Searls (Guest)
in, did he? Yeah, he flew in.

01:54:48 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Oh, wow, god, I wish I could. I can't wait to watch that.

01:54:51 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, yeah.

01:54:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So he's so good. Who is your person of the year if it's not Taylor Swift? This year, it doesn't have to be a person. I actually really was sure that Time Magazine would say AI. This was definitely. 2023 was the year AI exploded onto the scene.

01:55:09 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Well, and when it's in control of Time Magazine, it can appeal itself.

01:55:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's going to really be pissed off. I can tell you Any other. What other candidates do we have for the most important trends or people or ideas of the year? I mean, I think AI is a clearer, clearer winner In a Christmas Carol tradition.

01:55:31 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I vote for the ghost of Elon Musk past.

01:55:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think you know, elon could easily have been the person of the year because, remember, it doesn't have to be a hero, it's just somebody who is significant. I would say that, except that I'm afraid that the general public, twitter, is irrelevant to 99% of the world. They don't SpaceX, I mean, they sell a lot of Teslas.

01:55:58 - Doc Searls (Guest)
SpaceX is. I have a friend in Alaska whose life is saved by Starlink. Starlink is miraculous, yes and yeah. Great disappointment.

01:56:12 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I thought I mean well that's why Elon got kind of the FCC approval to do this crazy thing, because and I really believe this was the case this was a mission to bring internet access to every corner of the planet.

01:56:24 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
But it turns out no you got to have a lot of money and access to people that have a thousand dollars for the rig. And then what? $150? It's very pricey, although third world rates are much lower.

01:56:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Do you think that we're subsidizing the use of Starlink elsewhere? I hope so. Well, supposedly. That's why I think that was the rationale for giving him all those satellites in the sky.

01:56:51 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Remember Metas, well then Facebook's drone solar powered drone thing, scary drone.

01:57:01 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, and Google's, google's Lune Project, lune.

01:57:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, yep, yeah. I thought Starlink had really kind of licked it like oh, this is going to work, it's going to be great. It is surprisingly fast. For satellite internet Latency is not bad.

01:57:16 - Doc Searls (Guest)
So I think, must qualify as for both good and bad reasons. Yeah, yeah.

01:57:22 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
I will say that Boston Dynamics continues to astonish us with what its robots are able to do. Oh those are amazing. They're now dancing around and doing gymnastics, and it's just again amazing how that technology has been moved.

01:57:38 - Doc Searls (Guest)
The headless dog was pretty scary, though, yeah.

01:57:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, to me that is exactly. I mean, I am not a doomer when it comes to AI, but AI is really only dangerous to humans if you give it agency, if physical agency in the real world. Right, Combine AI with a robotic dog and now you got something Carrying weapons yeah, Carrying weapons.

01:58:04 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I'm having trouble and I have to confess this is on YouTube, but it's getting the point where trying to discern between the real Boston Dynamics footage and the parodies that have the robots turning around and shooting their masters or kicking them or knocking them hitting them with a two by four or something. They're very entertaining. A year ago, but now they look really good.

01:58:28 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is the latest version robot from Boston Dynamics, the 2023 edition of Atlas and they really it is really getting kind of amazing. Can you imagine?

01:58:40 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
seeing that guy kicking in your door.

01:58:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, exactly, I have to think that police agencies, you know, with the reasonable point of view that, well, this will save police lives, are looking at this kind of thing. I mean this is terrifying. It's climbing up, it's jumping around, it's amazing, you know, it has almost infinite strength. Look at that, yeah.

01:59:05 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, next to a human.

01:59:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, yeah, so and again, you combine that with AI and perhaps you know ideas of its own, and I think that's a little bit scary, that's a little terrifying. So, yeah, thanks for bringing that up, steve. I'm going to have nightmares, merry Christmas. Yeah, I thought maybe this would be the year that China became more important. In fact, in a way, I think it's become less important, despite the balloons. Of course, this was the year that all the tech companies did their best to move their manufacturer out of China, but it's going to take a long time and maybe it won't happen at all once we lose interest and move on.

01:59:54 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I think I saw a story that Alibaba is diminishing.

01:59:58 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)

02:00:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
In terms of revenue or footprint or what. Probably that's Timu taking over, because there's a new Chinese site like Alibaba called Timu. That is very true.

02:00:09 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Once unstoppable, Alibaba is now faltering Interesting. Lost its lead, even in online shopping.

02:00:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, china is struggling economically a little bit, which is surprising. Oh yeah, yeah.

02:00:20 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I mean none of these. Microsoft was going to take over the world Friend feed, was it? I mean, none of these companies is forever.

02:00:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I would include Google and certainly Meta, and not Now, I was never a VR fan, but I think there's probably a few people who thought last year this would be the year of VR. Maybe people think next year with Apple's Vision Pro.

02:00:40 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
No, it's the year of the NFT. How quickly do you forget? Oh, the NFT.

02:00:44 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Actually the year of the RV is the RV.

02:00:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Is it that's better than VR? Is the?

02:00:49 - Doc Searls (Guest)
RV. This is a little people like us getting an RV and going off.

02:00:53 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
So how did, how did Facebook get their their year of VR so wrong? Or there are a few years of VR.

02:01:02 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
I mean you were talking earlier about that investment.

02:01:04 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Did they just listen to their own? Zuck was smoking his own exhaust. That's what happened.

02:01:09 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Yeah Well, you have that much success. You can go wrong so many ways.

02:01:13 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
But yeah again, once again his stock is doing just fine, did you?

02:01:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
all at any point, think VR was the next big thing.

02:01:20 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
No, no no, we were all skeptical. It's so intoxicating for about 10 minutes, for 10 minutes, that's the problem. And then, even without a headache, I mean, other than than using it for workouts with with Supernatural, which I really liked, the other stuff and I'm not a gamer, I confess, but the other stuff no, I am. And I mean the idea that people are going to sit in a virtual movie theater and eat virtual popcorn and you know, see the virtual guy in front of you looking on his virtual cell phone while you're trying to watch a virtual movie. Never made sense, but I'm an old guy, so what do I know?

02:01:52 - Doc Searls (Guest)
So anybody played with the Apple ones that have the weird eyeballs?

02:01:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So that's really, in a way, the segue. Apple had a became a $3 trillion company this year and spent a good amount of cash, and probably the last 10 years will never know, because Apple is very secretive Working on Vision Pro, which is not exactly VR. It's really augmented reality. They believe clearly that that's the next big thing. Have they did? They drink Mark Zuckerberg's Kool-Aid.

02:02:24 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
There's an astonishing amount of technology in that thing.

02:02:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I mean, it's just it's an amazing technology demonstration, yeah, and yet I don't see people buying it.

02:02:34 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Certainly not at the price.

02:02:37 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
So, steve, what was the most astonishing thing about it to you?

02:02:41 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Just, for example, the idea that they're going to they're going to put screens in front of you, then they're going to put outward facing cameras, they're going to take the, they're going to do all the work of feeding that video image through so then they can overlay anything they want to on the outside. Then they went to the extra trouble of putting screens on the outside so that they showed you fake eyeballs. So after they took pictures of the person using it so that it looked like the person looking through the glasses, I mean it's just like so far over the top.

02:03:17 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
It's over the top, the guy with the green fingers.

02:03:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's an amazing tour de force in technology from a market that does not exist and I suspect will never exist. You really have to be a Triglyker. You don't think they can build their own market. No, nobody wants this. I don't. Maybe it's just me, but I think of putting something like that on my head and trying to compute and it makes me vaguely nauseated. It's not pleasant. It's not.

02:03:45 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
It is the case that that a lot of companies invest a whole lot of money in R and D that never sees the light of day. And you know this could be that, although I now live on my tablets and they didn't exist yet. You know, once upon a time you know there was no iPad and now I'm. You know I have them in every room because I don't want to carry them around.

02:04:08 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
So, as they get this down to the size of a pair of Ray-Bans with that kind of you know, some vaguely similar AR display, would that do it for you? Oh yeah.

02:04:18 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
But what about? What about the new glasses, the Ray-Ban?

02:04:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
meta collaboration. Mike Elgin was on twig, I think, right With us, or maybe he was on twig and was singing yeah, I think it was on Twitter singing their praises. He loved them. He got me this close to buying them, but I know better.

02:04:39 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
When do you get your stupid?

02:04:40 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
thing that you wear that has the laser on your hand. Oh, the recall, or whatever it's called. No, the other one.

02:04:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, rewind the thing you had. Oh, I'm not going to get the silly, the silly broach. Oh, I thought you were going to buy it.

02:04:54 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
He said he was. Yeah, he said he was.

02:04:57 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I heard him during my walk, while I was walking my dog.

02:04:59 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
At not following through. That's good. He's really good. You know, he's the my secret of agent.

02:05:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I know what's going to happen in a couple of months. I'll be on it'd be three in the morning I'll be scrolling through Instagram and I'll say, oh, that'd be cool to have and I'll push a button, but until then, they're going to have to get me with my guard for you.

What is the big story going to be in 2024? I want to hear from all of you, rod, what is the? What is, what is coming that we should pay attention to? I have to say another story from this year that we didn't really talk about the amazing images we got from the James Webb telescope and and from the that's a person of the year.

02:05:38 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I vote for the James Webb Absolutely. That's actually a good one.

02:05:42 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I was going to say Apple, but I think you're right the James Webb. I think the big story for 24, if they make it, November is going to be a sort of quasi repeat of the flight of Apollo 8.

02:05:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That would be amazing.

02:05:55 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Artemis 2 is intended to fly past the moon in 20, at the end of 24. It's not going into orbit. So, on the one hand, if you're a space historian, you're going. This isn't even Apollo 8, and they threw that together in about six months because we were desperate. We thought the Russians are going to beat us in a flyby and we didn't want them to steal our thunder. But you know what we're going back? It's going to be four people, multinational, multi-ethnic crew, both genders. So that'll be great and I think for a whole new generation that'll be really inspiring in the way it was for us.

02:06:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Actually it's interesting you mentioned that because this is the 65th anniversary of the Apollo 8 Christmas Eve message. That 55th so moved me. I'll play that at the end of the show we can listen to a little bit of that incredible Christmas Eve message from the first manned mission to the moon, Frank. And then they got trouble because they read from Genesis. They read from the Bible, yeah, yeah. But I think that if you're ever going to read from the Bible, being the first humans to orbit the moon gives you some license license to do that. So I like that. So we'll look ahead to the fall of next year for the return to the moon.

02:07:09 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
I just want one quick reminder of that 1968 mission. As I said, it was thrown together pretty quickly because the Russians were making noises about hey, we're going to loop the moon, we don't need a land there. But there was a single number of single points of failure, one of which being, as you recall, the lunar module wasn't ready. So they went out there with the Apollo capsule with that one rocket engine that put it into lunar orbit. It had to break it out of lunar orbit to get it home, and had that thing not fired with that one igniter done, they would have still been there.

02:07:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Amazing. Yeah, what a courage it's. Uh, that's, that's the thing. When we talk about the failures and you know, Artemis problems and so forth, it's really hard to do that, and the fact that we did it in 1969 with the most primitive of computer technology is, uh, it's really a testament to uh, it's amazing. It's hard to believe it worked as well as it did.

02:08:01 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, the further from it I get, the harder it is to believe it actually worked out.

02:08:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You wrote a great book, uh, on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, highly recommended coffee table book. Uh, what's it called? First on the moon, first, First on the moon, First on the moon. Yeah, apollo 11 experience, beautiful book and I have a lot of fun. On my wall at home, um, a picture of that, uh, lunar module landing computer. Which was it looked like? It was hand soldered. Uh, it probably was kind of an amazing thing, Steve what about just off of vacuum tubes at that point. Yeah right, that's all right.

02:08:39 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)

02:08:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And that's the famous. What is the famous error? That uh um 1202 and 1201.

02:08:46 - Rod Pyle (Guest)
Yeah, the reboot loop. Yeah, wow, what a story. Yes.

02:08:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Steve, what do you think 2024 has in store for us?

02:08:54 - Steve Gibson (Guest)
Well, my question is sort of a meta answer. I don't mean meta the company. It feels to me as though the level of chaos that exists is increasing rather quickly. And you know, chaos is a weird thing. You could have your faucet dripping slowly and almost all of the drips go down and you know land and that's it. But somehow about a yard off to the one side is is a drip that you know, like the dripping faucet did that because of chaos.

And of course, needless to say, we have an election year 2024. So you know who's is going to be the next president of the United States? That's talking about. Chaos is a big question we have, but I would argue that we probably have no idea today, as a consequence of just the level of there's no better word than chaos. I don't think we have any idea what it's going to be next year. It will be something completely unexpected. Something will happen in the same way that AI did this year. Nobody saw it coming and wham, you know now. You know suddenly Jeff Jarvis, of all people, an expert on AI, who could have seen that it's probably true in 1880.

02:10:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
If somebody said well, what's 1881 going to be like? You had a pretty good idea, right? Yeah, there wasn't a lot of surprises around the corner, and the chaos is accelerating and the unpredictability Elon going to do yeah, who knows? We just don't know. So I like that. That's very interesting. Doc, what's your prognosis for next year? Oh boy, I think.

02:10:45 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I mean, if you think, look at what a 21 tells us about 22, what a 22 tells us about 23. Yeah, I actually think. I know we try to avoid politics, but I think, inevitably, the election next year in the US is going to be very meaningful. Yeah, and it's not, and I have no predictions about it. I don't want to have predictions about it, but I think it's going to be. It'll be. It'll be a big deal. It'll be a big deal, and I don't know how much is going to drive things, but an awful lot of policy got made in this last couple of years, in the last several years that are, and there've been some successes, there've been some failures, but I think it's it's going to be wild. I'm always it's so weird I'm an optimist by nature. I just think things are going to get better, even though we're all old and we're going to die.

02:11:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Sometimes I hope I die before it gets too bad. But yeah, that's only. That's only in my darkest hours.

02:11:49 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, I'm, I, I, I actually I'm, I'm expecting good things. I, I have a lot of optimism about um, um, yeah, I, I sort of all that stuff that Corey wants. I think we're going to get some of it. You know, more general purpose computing. I think open source is going to be fine. It's going to get better in certain ways.

02:12:12 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I mean more amazing because you might think he'd be a pessimist and in fact he's absolutely an optimist, and yeah yeah, well, we've got these demands that we take charge of things We've got.

02:12:25 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
we've got to be open.

02:12:26 - Doc Searls (Guest)
I think that I mean I, I have a lot of hope and faith in the younger generations, and Jeff brought it up earlier I mean it is time to hand things over to women more and more and more and more. I mean we're, we're. It's not just the men are scoring things, it's just so lopsided, it's wrong. I mean, and this is industrial hangover that we're still in, that's why we're here and there aren't women here.

02:12:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's like using 5% of your brain.

02:12:53 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Yeah, why would we waste this resource Defending your life movie? Yeah, yeah.

02:12:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, I agree, jeff. Wrap this up for us, you old philosopher. What's 2024?

02:13:07 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
I don't make predictions, because there's BS, there's, there's, there's no way I mean we can. We can guess that Twitter could die. Llms could be seen as the be all and end all of humanity, or it could be seen as a parlor trick that gets gets forgotten. I don't think AI will get forgotten. I think AI is down the public consciousness, but I think LLMs are not going to be the the thing that everybody concentrates on. Who knows?

02:13:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think, I think one thing we can absolutely say and I think I like what you said, steve, about chaos is that we will be in interesting times and a lot is changing very rapidly, and one thing I can promise you is we will be here to cover it, to talk about it, with these brilliant minds and all the others who make such a difference day in, day out, on our Twitter programming. I really want to thank you Rod Pyle and this week in space, and Steve Gibson from security now, doc Searls from floss weekly and twigs Jeff Jarvis it's I feel like I'm in good company with some of the best and the brightest.

02:14:22 - Jeff Jarvis (Guest)
Thank you and us with you.

02:14:23 - Doc Searls (Guest)
Thank you for having us. Yeah, it's your good company that we're all in. Thank you All right.

02:14:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Merry Christmas, everybody. Have a wonderful holiday season. We'll be back next Sunday. Jingle your bells next Sunday with a best of on New Year's Eve. I leave you now, on this Christmas Eve with, 55 years ago, the crew of Apollo eight, the first manned mission to the moon, with that spectacular view in the distance of the earth and rising above the moon, frank Borman, jim Lovell and William Anders and their Christmas Eve message. Good night, everybody, happy holidays, we'll see you next time. Another twit is in the can.

02:15:09 - Leo's Laptop Audio (Other)
We're now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo eight has a message that we would like to send you. In the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God said let there be light. And there was light. And God saw the light. They was good and divided the light from the darkness. And God called the late day and the darkness he called light.

And the evening and the morning was a fruit day and God said let there be a promise in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so and God called the firmament. And the evening and the morning was the second day and God said let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear. And it was so, and God called the dry land to earth and the gathering together of the waters called the seas, and God saw that it was good and from the crew of Apollo 8, we closed with good night. Good luck, a merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good night.

02:17:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Merry Christmas everybody.


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