Can a government evolve the same way Silicon Valley did? The correlation of the two is evident for
to Patri Friedman, which is why he is on a path to answer this question. He is building floating cities in the ocean to integrate business perspectives on developing governments. In these floating cities are startup communities that will become startup city states and will run on a new system of governance. Patri shares more about cruise ship technologies and language culture barriers in this seasteading community. Hugh Ching, one of the big thinkers in the world today acquired his knowledge from the collaboration of the old and the new generation of knowledge. As the founder of Knowledge-Oriented Society he encourages people to get back into science. Hugh shares how he invented the Law of Touch and the Jumpulse Lifestyle.
We have both Patri Friedman and Hugh Ching. You would know Patri from his work with seasteading and also as Milton Friedman‘s grandson and physicist David D. Friedman’s son. He’s very heavy into libertarian activist and political economy discussions and has the Seasteading Institute which is really fascinating. Hugh Ching is the Founder of Knowledge-Oriented Society. He’s a graduate of MIT and has a long list of associates. He is a renowned thinker and we’re going to see what he has to talk about in terms of some of the things he’s created in politics, culture, economic change, you name it.
Listen to the podcast here:
Big Thinkers of Floating Cities And The Jumpulse Lifestyle with Patri Friedman
I am with Patri Friedman who’s an American libertarian activist and theorist of political economy. He has worked for Google and as Executive Director of a non-profit called Seasteading Institute where they explore the creation of sovereign ocean colonies. He’s also Head of Venture Funds, Zarco Investment Group. Friedman is the grandson of Nobel Peace Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, and son of economist and physicist, David D. Friedman. It’s so nice to have you here, Patri.
It’s great to join you.
I watched some of your videos and was fascinated by what you do. It’s interesting to me to know just a little bit about your background. I’m sure it’s got to be very challenging to have such well-known father and grandfather. Did that sway you? Was there any pressure to go into economics or did you always want to embrace this?
There wasn’t pressure from them, but there was definitely pressure just from growing up in that situation that I felt. People would always joke about me going into economics. My dad has been an economics professor for his whole career but he avoided it in school. He did his undergrad all the way to a PhD in Physics, even some post-graduate research. He became an economics professor; he couldn’t help it. People joke that even though I was going getting a math degree and studying computer science at Stanford, they’re like, “Just you wait.” In some sense they are right in that while I still worked in software and investing, my passion and interest the thing that I think about and try to puzzle out for the world is basically the economics of governance, how we can get governments that work better to serve us and why our government seem to serve us so much worse than most of the other things in our lives. In some sense, I found it as a trap, but in another I resisted it.
It’s so fascinating to look at what you’ve done differently. I couldn’t stop watching one of your talks that was about how you were going to use the technology of cruise ships to do what you want to do to look at different types of governments and things. Did I hear you say that government’s the biggest industry in the world because it makes up 30% of GDP?Is that still accurate from what you said before?
Part of my perspective is that we try looking at government with the same techniques and model they used to analyze businesses and industries. It’s just an interesting angle. If you just look at how much money does government spend versus the energy industry or education or healthcare, it’s actually the largest. It’s must be really important for it to work well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that well.
You say we need to evolve which would help if we could do trial and error like they do in Silicon Valley. How do we do that with government?
With a startup, it’s cheap to experiment. You can just start making a website on your computer. It doesn’t cost very much. Somebody can go use the website. It’s not very much effort for them. It’s a lot easier to experiment with software. It’s easier to experiment with new medications where you test them first on animals, then on a small group of people, then on a larger group of people. It’s hard to do this for government but it’s not impossible. Our idea is building floating cities on the ocean. There are also other people like World Bank economist, Paul Romer who has championed the idea of doing this on land. What matters is that you get a place where nobody lives there, that’s very important, can’t be taking anything away from anyone. Most likely you get the permission of the country that owns it because every bit of land on Earth and most of the water is owned by some country.
You build a new community there using a new system of governance that you have permission of the host country to build. You make these startup communities where successful ones grow into startup city states. The idea is to make a startup sector for governance. We want to have hundreds and thousands of these communities appearing in waters all around the world, each with a different system of government, just like there are thousands of startups created around the world. We’ll see which ones work and they’ll grow and the ones that don’t work will fail. The best ones will get copied by each other, and eventually copied by countries on land. We can actually get that evolution in progress in governance that we get in our other industries.
Who do you have that you would live in these floating cities or wherever you would put them? How does the type of person you put on these boats or wherever they are influence the type of results you’re going to get?
It’s for each seastead to figure out what kind of people it wants to appeal to. I’ll give you two examples of the two groups that we find that it most appealed. First, we have on our website the floating city survey, where people sign up and say what kind of place they’d want to live in and who they are and what they’re interested in. We have thousands of people from around the world who were signed up and some of them are going to move to our first community that we finished building next to Tahiti. This group has a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of progressive-thinking people, people who likes to try out new things, who may have online businesses, or be independently wealthy. That’s not the group that we want to appeal to in the long term, but in the beginning when you don’t have a big economy, we need people who can work remotely or who are retired. That’s the one big group, the tech nomads and pioneers.
The other group is the people who moved to America in the 1800s. It’s people from around the world who are stuck in countries that don’t work very well and just want opportunity for themselves and their families. Gallup actually did a poll where they add people in every country in the world and found out what percentage of people would move to a different country for a better life. It was over 600 million people around the world who said, “I would absolutely move to a different country.” That was before the refugee crisis in the Middle East. The world is full of people who are suffering because the government doesn’t work very well and would love to move anywhere that can provide, first of all, government. That was part of Paul Romer’s idea with Charter Cities. Our hope is we want to find a government that works even better than the best ones today. Paul Romer said, “There’s also a win. If we can just bring first world quality governance and expand it to new cities around the world for people who don’t even have the best governance of today, that’s also a win.” Those are two different angles but they both involve improving governance for people.
What do they do on a daily basis? Do they just run their lives the way they normally would? You said they’re work-from-home people. What would be on this ship? Do they leave or do they stay completely on there for how long? How does this work?
A lot of these questions are for every seastead to answer. Life on a cruise ship is a lot like life on land, except you’re on vacation but you have power, water, food, and things to do. Our first community looks like it’s going to be off Tahiti and French Polynesia. We signed an agreement with them in January. They’re really excited in seasteading for a climate change resilience and experimenting with new and biotechnologies. When we started talking to them, they already had a Minister of the Blue Economy who is really excited about our project. We just submitted to them an environmental impact study and an economic impact study, and we’re working on writing the law which they would pass. They would give us a zone on land on the beach that’s currently uninhabited, on the water, out and front of that beach but inside their reef, an area to build our floating platform. We’d get people to develop it and start moving to land right away where we built the platform. It’s in protected waters which is really important. I spent more than five years researching how to do this before we started looking for a partner. We had to start in sheltered waters with cooperation of a host country, even though the long term goal is to be able to build in the deep ocean and it will actually be our own country. It needs to be millions of people before that really makes sense. We decided that this is the way to start.
I would like to be farther out. The Tahiti reef is actually quite close to the beach. It’s a couple thousand feet out. It’s going to be something like 500 to 1,000 feet off the beach, so very close. With that based overtime as we grow that floating village. The downside of the reef is they are closer, we can’t be very far out from land. The upside is, to experiment with the next generation of building platforms that can handle the big wave, we have the ocean right there on the other side of the reef to test that technology.
Are you having Amazon show up at the door since you’re so close to the land? Are people staying on this boat for indefinitely? How long does this experiment last?
The idea is for it to last for years and to grow and grow and maybe to split off pieces that go into the deep ocean, depending and whether people prefer. I expect that the community that’s close to Tahiti, if there’s going to be some pros and cons for that, it’s going to be easier to fly in. It would be people’s choice every time. As far as Amazon, we’ll basically have access to the infrastructure of Tahiti, so power and water and shipping. You can’t get Amazon to fly into French Polynesia, but you can get mail. We’ll have the same level of services that they have plus whatever else we built. One of the things about seasteading is that it’s really different at different scales. In the long term, if we have a floating city for other million people out in the middle of the ocean, it’s going to have its own airport. It’s going to have its own way for container ships to dock and unload containers, and it’s on cargo flow. We’ve worked out ways of doing this. It just it doesn’t make any sense until you can build something as big as a city.
You’re going to have all these people from around the world. How are you dealing with the language and culture barriers?
As an American, I have to say, America’s done pretty well at integrating diverse cultures because everybody who came here, they all came here because they said, “This is where I want to live.” It’s a strong, stable government and economy. I don’t know that that’s true anymore, but it was for a hundred years. Everybody who comes there will be there because they are excited about seasteading because they want to live in this new community. Wherever they come from, they all share the same values. There’s a lot to be said for forming a community of people based on shared goals and values rather than people who happen to have been born near each other.
I’m curious about the language differences though. Do you have some way that a certain language is to be expected everybody needs to be able to speak? Do you have translators? How does that work?
I hear that certain technology companies are working on translators, but it works the same way as any other cooperative venture. The dominant language is English because it was started by people who spoke English. Since we are working in French Polynesia, we also have a growing number of French speakers as well. Right now, those are our two most common languages just because of where we happen to be getting started.
Peter Thiel gave you a lot of the funding for this initially. Is he your main source of funding?
He’s not anymore. He basically funded us. It was because of him that I was able to start the Seasteading Institute. He gave us our initial funding and then continued funding us for years.
How did he get involved? What’s your relationship there, the background?
I was doing a lot of blogging at the time on finance and politics. Some people who work for Peter were trying to recruit me to come work at a hedge fund. I went and talked to them, and I also talked to them about seasteading. They were way more interested in seasteading than another math guy. They thought Peter would be interested and so they setup a dinner, and he loved it. He’s a big fan of backing bold controversial ideas to change the world. It got his attention, that lifestyle.
You were at Google when you came up with all this, right?
What did you do at Google and what made you leave to do this?
I was a software engineer at Google, just normal software engineering, but I’d worked on this idea before I started at Google. I’d just done tons of research. I’ve written a book that I put up for free online, had given some talks, gotten some interest. It was my passion project but I didn’t have any funding to do anymore than that until I got connected to Peter. I had to make the difficult decisions to stop doing what paid the best and do what I love, which was awesome what they made me experience. I was only able to do that for about four years. Now I am back at Google while being Chairman of the Board of Seasteading and still involved in guiding it.
What was the initial thing that made you think you wanted to go with cruise ships out in the ocean? This is not your normal daily thought, is it? I’m trying to figure out how you came out with this.
It’s the intersection of a bunch of different things. At that point, I was young and I was unattached and I was like, “I don’t know that I like how America is changing and how it’s being run. Should I live somewhere else?” I started looking at other countries and I was like, “There’s no country I’m really excited about living in.” There’s no country that has an effective minimum government. I was like, “What’s going on here? Is it possible to start a new country?” I started researching and there’s this whole nation founding movement that’s been around for decades, places like sea land, and it’s mostly a history of dismal and hilarious failure, with people’s ships -sinking and in-fighting and getting kicked out, and all this terrible things. I thought there’s something there, and then at the same time there was this ecologically-driven floating cities Utopian movement. This was one of ideas, not things that have been tried, but everyone from Buckminster Fuller designed pyramidal trident city, to the book The Atlantis Project which imagined this huge OTEC energy generators in the ocean with cities forming around them. Mostly impractical idealistic people have been thinking about starting new countries and about floating cities. Maybe there is something there. I see this huge problem in the world which is that governments are not growing and changing and evolving. If there was some way to make new countries then that could fix the problem. The ocean is the next frontier. It’s land, then the ocean, and then space. It’s very clear with the frontiers are in our world and we’ve settled all the land so the ocean make sense to me.
At first, I was looking just for myself and my one ideal of what kind of country I wanted to live in, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that what we really need is a diverse set of governments because different people wants different things. Even if I think I know what kind of government I want, I don’t necessarily know how to design it. It might not turn out well in practice. Maybe a minimum government would have downsides that I’m just not thinking about it. Instead of being it a quest to make a new country, I realized that the quest was to open a startup sector and let a thousand nations bloom and know that some of them are going to be better than what we have today.
Do you fear any negative “more governments, more wars” issues? Is there a downside to this?
Every bold enterprise has risks. I don’t think that more governments means more wars. Wars in the US, for example, are often advocated by the government against the will of the people. In a country where the people join because they thought it was a good government system and they can just leave whenever they want, my dad actually wrote this in a book of politics of his as a metaphor. He said, “What if everybody lived in RVs and a general said, ’Let’s have a war.’ He would wake up the next morning and everybody would have driven away. There’d be like three generals and a journalist and an empty field where the city of RVs was.” Our idea with Seastead is that these cities are modular. You have your housing units that are latched together and that you could detach and go float away. If my city is declaring war, I’m gone. That’s true for most people. That ability for citizens to exit and to vote with their house, we’ll prevent a lot of bad things from happening. That doesn’t mean that bad things are impossible. You have to worry in these small societies, like what happened if they get insular? What happened if you have a startup country that’s small and where very few people can visit? How do you know whether the people are being held there against their will? How do you know it’s becoming like a cult or like a North Korea situation? I don’t think that’s likely, but it’s possible.
It’s really important that these communities not be closed and that visitors be able to go there and see what it’s like, and that the people who live there has to be free to leave. To me, that’s the one human right that matters the most. If I know that you can leave then I don’t have to get in and judge the details of the country or whether it’s working for you or whether I think the rules sound good. I know that you chose it and I know that you can leave if you want to. The flipside of that is you have to watch these communities and actually make sure that people can leave. If they can’t then maybe it’s not a good place, maybe it’s starting to go in that dark direction. I would want to have all of the cities monitoring each other and maybe coming up with a shared set of rules about the structure by which people are free to leave.
I am sure your father would approve of this if he wrote something like that. What do you think your grandfather would have thought?
I got to talk to him about it a little bit and he did not like it. There is always a history of libertarians wanting to flee and build a different system. A lot of people who advocated that during my grandfather’s time had no specific idea for how to make better institution or a better rule. They are like, “If you make a country with a bunch of libertarians, it’s going to be libertarian, right?” We now have decades of economic study of how this design good government and good institutions that can actually be used to do this. My grandfather was always a fan of changing things here and advocating for more sound policies and convincing people. That’s admirable, but what we’ve seen over the last 100 years is that that just doesn’t work. We now have Nobel Prize winning economics about how countries and democracies and institution get old and hardened and actually just work worse and worse as they get older.
We know that there is more going on than just spreading the best ideas or convincing people of the best laws. That’s why my dad’s work in this field was trying to design a totally new political system, which he did and which tens of thousands of people around the world who are interested in and other people who’ve done their variance. There are some economic reasons to think that it might produce laws that do the greatest good for the greatest number better than a democracy. Nobody’s ever tried it, and these tens of thousands of people who are interested in it have no place to try it. I came along the next generation. My grandfather said, “Let’s just convince people of good rule.” My dad said, “Our government does not produce good laws. Let’s design a new system.” I come along and say, “That sounds great. Let’s design lots of new systems. Let’s try lots of new systems.” “We can’t. We got to find a way to be able to test new ideas about forms of government.”
I’m going to definitely keep track of how this is progressing. It’s so nice of you to be on the show. Can you share with people how they could find out more if they want to become involve?
Our website is SeaSteading.org. We just released a book with Simon & Schuster a couple of months ago. You can get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or everywhere that books are sold. You’ll find a link to it on our webpage. We’ve got a newsletter, a blog, podcast, all kinds of information online. It’s a really exciting time for Seasteading. I started the institute back in 2008.This year we just signed our first agreement with a country to actually build one of these, so really exciting things are happening. You can watch the talks or the conference we just had in Tahiti with the ministers of the government there and local entrepreneurs and community leaders and Seasteaders from around the world. This is really happening, so check it out.
Thank you so much, Patri. I really enjoyed our conversation. I wish you luck.
Thank you very much.
Big Thinkers of Floating Cities And The Jumpulse Lifestyle with Hugh Ching
I am with Hugh Ching who’s the Founder of Knowledge-Oriented Society. He’s a graduate of MIT whose associates include Milton Friedman, Kenneth Arrow, and a long list of renowned thinkers. He was recently nominated by one of his students for the Berggruen Prize in Philosophy where winners receive a $1 million prize for being big thinkers. He’s been described as one of the most accomplished thinkers in the history of mankind. It’s so nice to have you here, Hugh.
That’s quite an introduction.
I’ve heard some amazing things. You’re one of those beautiful mind mathematicians. I’m amazed by who you know and what you’ve done. I was wondering if you could just give a little background of how you made it to MIT and beyond.
My family is really old in China. After 3,000 years, my parents just have no interest in becoming businessmen. They never encouraged us to go into business. My father wanted one of his sons to go to MIT, and so I did. I got all my degrees from MIT, and the day after, I continued to do knowledge. I spent some time to help my brother financially so I went to business for a very short, during which I made some money, and because of that, I became financially independent. After I solved the financial problem with my brother, I went back to knowledge. Basically the reason I have the chance to associate with so many thinkers is I had the opportunity. I made money, but it’s quite accidental.
I’m the Founder of Post-Science and the Knowledge-Oriented Society, which is based on my Solution of Value, Complete Automation, and Robot Touch. I’ve devoted my whole life to knowledge. My knowledge is the result of collaboration as you say it, with the old generation, people of knowledge. Even my personal lifestyle is based on knowledge. An important example is my invention of the Jumpulse Dance based on the solution of touch. It’s an invention based on knowledge. Dancing has become my weekly routine exercise and I’m the best nightclub dancer in San Francisco.
You’ve created Jumpulse. What exactly is that?
That is a sudden change of force. The Newtonian impulse is the sudden change in momentum. Force is the time derivative of momentum. Isaac Newton and all the scientists missed this point. A human being moves different from a machine. Machine moves with force, humans move with the Jumpulse. Your muscle has a triceps and the biceps. Before you move, if you want to move fast, you tighten both muscles. The weight can spread, the move is to release one of them. Tighten the two first, then suddenly release one of the muscles, then it tends to move real fast.
I also discovered the solution of touch based on a law I invented, the Law of Touch, which says that the acceleration can occur instantaneously. If you have a car, you cannot go from A to B instantaneously. You cannot accelerate from 0 to 60 instantaneously, but acceleration can change instantaneously. If you hold a pen in mid-air and will suddenly let it go, the initial acceleration will be the gravitational acceleration. Acceleration and any derivatives higher than acceleration can change instantaneously. That is a new discovery in physics. Jumpulse is the sudden change of force. Force can change suddenly, so humans can move real fast and then robot cannot.
This helps you with robots, right?
There’s a use for robot touch. Today, robot cannot touch. Contrary to common belief, they think that touch is trivial but touch is not trivial. The Japanese sixth generation computer science of robotics failed because they realized robots cannot touch. With all the cars, they can only do well. They cannot touch the surface. They can use a sucker to suck the hood up and raise it but they cannot touch. Touch means you have something collide. Just like a ball touch a racket, if a ball touched a racket, it bounce off right away. It does not stick. When your hand touched something, it sticks. There’s something going on there, and this is what I discovered. I’m not famous but my co-collaborator is the Father of Chinese Physics. He got two Nobel Prize students. He is my co-collaborator in this discovery.
Is that the person you have on your LinkedIn?
He’s the teacher of the first two Chinese Nobel Prize winners in Physics. This is a historical remark. Ta-You Wu will give his students the idea which won the Nobel Prize.
He is the Father of Chinese Physics and this guy is the most intellectual person in Chinese history. He is more analytical than almost all the past people. He’s intelligent. He’s smarter than his students and he gives them the idea. Using the idea, the student got a Nobel Prize. This guy is amazing. We can use hundreds of this guy to help us think.
You’ve got this beautiful mind, mathematical thinking, and different ways of thinking of things. I don’t know if you watch The Genius show they just made on Einstein. Do you think like that? Do you see things visually to help you come up with the ideas that you come up with? What made you think of the touch?
We can study some of your work. We can talk some of your work because your work is more advanced than science. People do not really realize where your work fits so you’re working on emotional intelligence. It is on personality assessment. I looked at your information and also your discussions with some of the people. I really see that your work should be part of our discussion because that way we could relate. We talk about knowledge gap and the generation gap. You and I can try to bridge the knowledge gap and generation gap.
We can share the knowledge in the discussion. My opinion is this, the middle class started and ended with Milton Friedman. It took three generations for business to retrace science as the new establishment. Do we realize this? The three generations of baby boomers, X generation, and the millennial generation transformed politics-oriented society to money-oriented society dominated by the middle class. Do you see this?
Yes. Do you think it’ll continue in the same direction with the next generation?
Right now we’re in the money-oriented society. The President of the United States is a businessman. Milton Friedman has done all of this. There is something about all this generation talk. You talk about the silent generation, which is my generation. The last of Great Depression, the economist Kenneth Arrow passed away on February 21st, 2017. The silent generation prior to the baby boomer generation is really the deceived science generation. In other words, these scientists got deceived by this baby boomer generation. Baby boomers decided to replace science with money. The silent generation prior to the baby boomer is really the deceived science generation, deceived by baby boomers as money surpasses science as the main preoccupation of society.
When I was studying, everything goes really deep. We go in something, we study something really deep. Today, you got all these personal knowledge which to us sounds like gossip. It doesn’t sound like knowledge because the baby boomer found it difficult to compete against old science, generating science. Actually, science serves politics and National Defense. The baby boomers switched it to pursue money instead of science.
How do we get people back interested in science? There’s a group of people still thinking science is this thing. I’m a scientist. I would tell you science does not provide things that it promises. What we are talking about now, what I just talked about is really the direction the society should go. The baby boomer, the money-oriented society, is really advancement from the politics-dominant society. Another one, Milton Friedman has this vision of taking over the society by middle class, another taking over politics by middle class. He succeeded with these three generations, wave after wave.
Why do you think he had such an impact? What was so special about Milton?
He started the whole thing. He’s the most powerful thinker of the 20th Century by my measurement. I cannot think anybody thinks more deeply, more solid than he did. He’s a practical thinker so he’s not into very faraway visions. The money-oriented society takes center stage in today’s world. The Great Depression economist Milton Friedman also had the chance finally to try out his solution for Great Depression. All this Great Depression economists is a group of people who are extraordinarily intelligent. They went to economics because of the Great Depression. Their goal was to solve the problem of Great Depression. Finally, Milton Friedman had a chance to try his solution on the subprime woe. He passed away on November 16th, 2006.I predicted it in June 2006, before he passed away.
At that time, after I predicted to Ben Bernanke and he sent the letter back. He said, “I do not wish to continue our dialogue.” “What dialogue?” “The dialogue with Alan Greenspan. I went after Greenspan for the crisis. I had dialogue with Alan Greenspan, not a dialogue because it was actually one-sided. Alan Greenspan mentioned my name during their secret meeting and Ben Bernanke learned about me. He wrote back and he said, “We do not wish to continue this dialogue.” That was in June 2006. In 2007, 2008, the subprime woe lit up. Then in early 2008, he wrote back. He said, “Anything you say will not be ignored.”
They completely turned around. Neel Kashkari came out public and say, “We want people to comment.” They are soliciting comments for the toxic acids, basically for the subprime woe. I submitted three comments.. They trained altogether 100 comments. They trained out public info, six comments.
If they had listened to your first comments, what do you think could have been averted?
It will be averted. I gave them the first comment in 2006. Bernanke went ahead and increased another quarter percent in the interest. The interest is really close. Subprime interest is very close to the rate of return. He was about to borrow money at low interest to invest in items with high return. Rate of return should be higher than interest rate. It was very close, it was really unstable. He did not listen. Not only he didn’t listen, he also showed me his action by increasing interest by another quarter point. At that time, if he had lowered interest very quickly, just like I suggested, he might not have such a severe subprime woe.
You seem to be able to predict things I see you had a breakthrough in stock prediction. Can you give us some tips so that you can make my listeners and me a little richer? How did you do that?
People like Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu who posed the problem of value. Technically it all started with John von Neumann. John von Neumann was succeeded by Gerard Debreu. Kenneth Arrow is the person who criticized the solution of Gerard Debreu and said, “He’s not quite right. He did not solve the future part. There is dependent investment, intrinsic value cooperation, and the supply and demand. There are two problems in there. He did not solve the investment part, the intrinsic value part.” Kenneth Arrow is the most advanced but Gerard Debreu actually opposed the problem. I solved that problem. A person like Kenneth arrow, if you know him, you see that he does not wish to talk to anybody except his own students.
Were you a colleague of his? Did you ever work with him?
I went to see him. I gave him a demonstration. He said, “Good.” Thereafter, this is in early 2000, he said, “Keep me posted but do not write more than two pages.” He also took a picture with me. He refuses to take a picture with everybody. At that time, I was very embarrassed. I took the picture with him. I put it on LinkedIn.
It was embarrassing because he refused to take picture with all the other people. There are types of people that do not associate with society. They want to be left alone. They just think very deeply, and I solved the problem they posed. Actually, I solved part of it before I totally hooked on to their problem. Then finally I solved the complete problem and that I patented it. I’m not a believer in peer review. If I want to argue the case, I argue with the pattern. I published it as a patent and it gave the solution of value. This whole thing is quite deep to explain and to have deep understanding. The person who understands it passed away, just Kenneth Arrow. Basically, this type of thing is discussed among the people who are really top experts in the field.
You’d have to find a very high level person to follow. Some of this stuff is really intense. Can you explain what fuzzy logic is?
Let me start by giving you something to bounce off what you are doing in relation to fuzzy logic. Basically, let me give you some foreground. Each established social order has its own knowledge and education. This is if education is of interest to you. Historically, the establishments transformed from religion 2000 years ago to philosophy, to science, and now to business. In the future, business might translate into knowledge to cover science, social science, live science, and fuzzy logic. Here’s fuzzy logic. It’s really advanced. There are some sciences that lead the money-oriented society. The billionaires ask for knowledge-oriented society because knowledge are what’s being offered for brainstorming ideas. The new knowledge intends to be disruptive and disobedient in contrast to the old scientific knowledge and award for the advancement of science. Here’s the main point for you. Creativity and the perception occupy important positions in business as analytic ability in science. When I was a student, all we can use is analytical ability. We’re not allowed to be creative like you guys. We’re not allowed to use perception because perception can turn into illusion.
Money-oriented society puts all human mental factors into use, another with your generation. Put all human mental faculties into use, breaking the dominance of analytical ability in science. It’s about a bigger achievement. Money-oriented society sounds not too good, but actually it’s advancement per se. Furthermore, soft skills in the form of emotional intelligence, leadership skill, and personality assessment started to be considered as equally important as IQ. Basically, you break the domination of analytical ability. IQ is a measure of analytical ability basically. In the sense of Bernanke, ability and assessment resurfaces in money-oriented society. How do assess anything such as intelligence, personality, creativity, etc.? Money-oriented society has a clear-cut solution, measuring ability by the amount of money people make. Very clear cut. How much do you have? That is your ability. Knowledge-oriented society emphasizes a problem-solving ability or thinking ability. That’s my generation.
Actually, I’m in science and also in Great Depression generation. Basically, I’m into both gaps, the gap of this creativity perception and analysis. For example, businessmen are the most intelligent money-oriented society. Great Depression economists are the most intelligent in their generation. Soft skills belong to the sphere of fuzzy logic or soft science. The bad news is that soft science is much harder than hard science.
Harder to teach, harder to learn, harder to what?
This is the bad news for you, but you actually break off of the thing. It’s another society progress. I’m not against the society. I’m pretty much for everything, good and bad. The Father of Fuzzy Logic, Lotfi Zadeh, should be considered the best thinker in history because his fuzzy logic extends the vision of knowledge beyond post-science to the next 4000 years. He is the most popular intellectual today in the world.
Another thing is in particular, emotional intelligence is directly related to the range of tolerance, the source of fuzzy logic. What is emotional intelligence? It means with a person I’m dealing with I extend a range of tolerance. I would tolerate all your mistakes. When I extend my range of tolerance, I become very fuzzy. This is part of fuzzy logic. Fuzzy logic wants to extend the range of tolerance so the creation, like us, can survive in an uncertain future. This is how deep fuzzy logic is.
That should be your next book. We could write one together.
I can give you all the information and you can write anything. I’m in a knowledge-oriented society. I believe in cooperation knowledge. I do not believe in copyrights or that. I just want people to take my knowledge. They can everything. In the future, when people are dealing with knowledge, we will just give each other everything for free. Open source is started by this guy, my friend, Richard Stallman. Your group might not like him. You belong to the force group. You are the conservative team. Conservatives, they are for making money, profit, and self-interest. This guy is for knowledge for free. Open source is a continuation of his free software foundation. I would like to see you and Richard Stallman get together, two people on the opposite side of the spectrum.
I’m very open-minded. You might be surprised.
You are broad. You have led us into the discussion of what you have. That field you are in is very advanced. It’s harder than science.
It’s very challenging because companies are hiring their people because of their knowledge, but then they’re firing them because their behaviors, their soft skills, are so challenging. I have a lot of people ask me to speak about soft skills and some of the stuff you’re talking about, emotional intelligence. A lot of people don’t realize that they lack these skills until somebody points it out to them.
Actually, what you are saying is really quite great. It is quite good. It’s because now you are tied into fuzzy logic. Lotfi Zadeh, the Father of Fuzzy Logic, said, “You are the only person who can understand fuzzy logic.” The first thing he said to me was, “Nobody understands fuzzy logic.”I’m staying with him for the last ten years. Every lecture, every talk he gives, I attend. I couldn’t tell how far it is but just recently, they gave him an award in some city in China, a permanent award. I have to summarize fuzzy logic. I summarized it, tried to work very hard to figure out what fuzzy logic really meant. Your emotional intelligence really is this range of tolerance. In other words, you have knowledge backing for your emotional intelligence, which is fuzzy logic. Which part of fuzzy logic? It’s the part dealing with the range of tolerance.
If you think about it, you will see that this range of tolerance is not only the source of fuzzy logic. For example, you have a robot and you program the robot. The robot has no range of tolerance because it does everything you program it to do. What you need to do to the robot to make it more human-like is to extend its range of tolerance. You are doing the same thing. You have emotional intelligence. Some people cannot tolerate other people. They have low emotional intelligence. You and I, we think this is natural, but the most other people want to criticize. They want to narrow their range of tolerance. That is not based on what nature wants. Nature wants us to extend the range of tolerance so we can survive under any circumstances, under all possibility of the uncertain future. Lotfi Zadeh is also working on common sense. I’m studying common sense versus uncommon sense.
C: Nature wants us to extend the range of tolerance so we can survive under any circumstances, under all possibility of the uncertain future.
How do you differentiate common sense from having logic?
Most people don’t see too much about common sense. They don’t hold it too highly because it’s common, but common sense is the most relevant ability for survival given to us by our creator. It’s the most relevant and most needed. Uncommon senses are very simple. They are mathematics, science, logic, which are relatively useless in daily lives. They are needed when humans start to celebrate humans. We need to solve the financial crisis and the financial crisis must have a complete mathematical reason. You have to go to school. You have to deal with mathematicians and learn how they think in order to solve the problem of value. This is uncommon sense. In other words, common sense is what the creator created for us. When we try to sub-create ourselves like in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, we need uncommon sense.
Basically, both of them are important. There’s something really funny I wrote in one of my papers. Lotfi studied fuzzy logic and common sense and the Turing test. Turing test is a test of machine’s common sense. The Turing Award was not given to Zadeh. Zadeh is greater than Turing but Zadeh couldn’t get the Turing award. They don’t understand what the Turing Award for. Turing Award tries to test if on the other side of the screen is a machine or a human. What it really tries to test is the common sense of the machine. If you have this, you can talk to all your friends. They would gradually grasp this. People look down on common sense but that is definitely not the way. Common sense involves creativity and perception. This is soft skills, soft science. Basically a person with really good common sense is a person who gets along in the world very well.
Can you have good common sense and not be logical?
If you get too logical then you lost your common sense.
You know so many different areas. What do you have to do to win this Berggruen Prize? What is it exactly?
Berggruen Prize and the Templeton Prize are two prizes which are not moving in the direction of science. I’m the Founder of Post-Science, so I’m against science. I shouldn’t be nominated for scientific awards, but these two are not for science. They say they want to nominate me, I said, “Okay, go ahead.” Actually, I try to nominate other people for it. They say I’m nominated. It’s not a young generation; actually, they know what they’re doing. They know the society in the past dominated science; it’s not good. If scientists dominate society, that’s fine. The scientists are not the leaders of society. The politicians are the leaders. They use scientists to make weapons for them so they have power in the world internationally. Basically, scientists are puppets for the politicians. When science dominates, it’s really a politically oriented society.
You’ve done some work in automating software. Can you tell me what you did with that?
I should really just talk about the application part. What I’m really asking is this question, what is the most important point in technology? The most important thing for today’s society is to make every person over the age of six to be able to program a computer in their native language. Do you see why? Computer software is for automating knowledge. Knowledge is the most important. Software is for automating knowledge. If we can get every person to start the program, the world will really change.
You’re trying to make it more simplistic. Are you saying to make it simpler for people to program at different kind of language?
I’m saying there should be totally no technical barrier to computer usage. They’re already doing that but they didn’t have the foundation. There are two parts for this foundation. One part is freedom on non-technical part, and the other is technical part freedom. We want to achieve total freedom for software. The non-technical part is done by, initiated, spearheaded by Richard Stallman. If you want legal freedom, political freedom, economic freedom for software, those are common sense, non-technical freedom. We write so much software. The people who are expert in the software field realized we have a software crisis. The crisis can be seen in your daily life. Every two years, you have to pay Microsoft for a new version of Windows.
Microsoft Windows got the billions of dollars, they can update it. Most other software, nobody can update it. You have to update it continuously, permanently to infinity. There’s too much software that cannot be updated. Eventually, every code they write will put additional burden on this huge pile of software which needs to be manually updated. It’s a crisis. It’s a crisis people just want to forget about. They don’t want to even look at it. My collaborator in software, the founder of software engineering, knows there’s a crisis in software. The software eventually we have complexity crisis, software nobody can maintain. Also, the larger amount of code today are COBOL codes. It needs to be updated. All the COBOL codes can only understood by very old people. Many of them already died. You can’t find them, so people just run this code without understanding what’s in it.
I used to sell System 36 and the 38s in the early ‘80s. It’s changed.
This software business is really in a crisis, but people do not realize that. We have all the other complexity crises. The main indication now is the software part. What I’m trying to do about this is if you write the code, this code should be automatically updated to future versions. It should not need manual update. Another one is set up a foundation for completely automated software.
Doesn’t that put a lot of people out of business to some extent?
It puts a lot of people into business because of the proprietary nature of software. It made them the richest person in the world.
Bill Gates can have an early retirement because of Richard Stallman and me, but we did not ruin Bill Gates. He’s a nice person. He’s a poker player, he can beat everybody in business. Where does he get all his money? From everybody who needs to buy his proprietary software. People made lots of money from software. If I have this completely automated software and they use that, then nobody will make money.
Nobody wants that. They want to make money.
I stayed a whole day at a past actual lawsuit against Microsoft. I was one of the last persons to give my testimony. I went up and I talked to the judge. I told him I’ll completely automate software, that finally, I started to make something. In the future, with completely automated software available, anybody who develops software should pay for the cost of update. The Microsoft lawyer, they crawled under the table and they pounced and pounced. The guys who were pushing the lawsuit were so proud of me. After this law case, I still hoped they would listen to me, so I called up Microsoft. I talked to the lawyer, the attorney for Microsoft. He told me, “I would give it one last try.”
I take it you never got to meet him?
Yeah, I never got to meet him but I’m sure he knows Richard Stallman.
I’m sure he remembers you.
He knows me. I applied for his foundation. He got so much money. I said, “Give some to me.” I applied to him. Immediately, they gave me a reply. “I set up a website for you.” After a week, they took it down. They realized who I am.
You went outside the box. You tell the truth or what you see is the truth, and you don’t hold back. I like that.
I definitely would not compromise myself.
What did you think of Einstein? He was that way. He had his ways of thinking. What do you think of how portray Einstein? Did you think he was one of the greater minds? What do you think of him?
Albert Einstein is a scientist. All these people, they are actually quite good. One way to look at it is the good point. The bad point obviously, after many years, everybody becomes quite wrong. Albert Einstein gave people a good look at the power of science. The power of science is its power of destruction. To initiate, to demonstrate your greatest destructive power. Unless science does not have this destructive power, the world will not submit to science. The Chinese will never change. People would not listen to science. Actually, science wraps their knowledge. Bill Gates, stopped IBM. IBM standards were much worse than Bill Gates standards, Microsoft standards. All of them contribute. Einstein is really the person who signified science, who represents science.
Who do you think is the modern day genius in science? Is it Neil deGrasse Tyson? Who do you think is making changes to make people more interested in science right now?
Who do you like who’s still alive? Is there anyone alive that’s pretty good in science that you think is going to be the next one to watch?
People who are anything criticize a lot. I have no opinion but I would take some people’s criticism into consideration. This is Stephen Hawking, he’s just an entertainer or something.
You wouldn’t consider him this generation’s Einstein?
I will not endorse him. If there’s somebody worse at approaching, I will approach him. I really got all the people I want, so if you ask me a question outside of my group, for example, I like Tyler Cowen.
Tyler Cowen is a very honest person, very straightforward. He says something like “no more low-hanging fruits.” In other words, knowledge would become very difficult, which is contrary to everything you are doing. You’re taking low-hanging fruit with common sense, which is okay, which helps you make money. You measure by money so you achieve what you want to do. Tyler Cowen said a statement which applied to us. Our knowledge are high-hanging fruits that nobody can pick. On the other hand, if we use our knowledge to start some company or a business, we would become the most profitable. Actually, I’m measuring in terms of trillions of dollars market cap. Not billions of dollars. Actually I rescued a company called Homefinders Bulletin. Homefinders Bulletin is now taken over by Craigslist. Craigslist is the most powerful company in the world, in my opinion, because they occupy the classified section of the newspaper.
The classified section of the newspaper has 60% of the total revenue in the traditional newspaper. Google only has 10% because they only deal with indexing and also dealing with these display ads, not classified ads. Google only has 10%. Craigslist should be six times more powerful than Google, but the guy who’s running Craigslist is a communist. He doesn’t want to make money. By using that tactic, they put Homefinders Bulletin out of business. I started the Homefinders Bulletin. I wrote the business plan for Homefinders Bulletin and wrote the title of the computer newspaper. Right now, the entire internet industry is carrying out the business trending system I wrote for Homefinders Bulletin. It’s scary that even the numbers check. Our projection of a trillion billion dollars checks with what’s going on in the entire internet industry.
I’m sure that people are wanting to know more about you. How can somebody reach you if they wanted to learn more and find out what you’re up to? Do you have a website?
I’m easily the hardest person to get access to. You can type my name Hugh Ching in the school board and they come out everywhere on all the things. My reputation has been ruined by all my dancing fans. They took hundreds of videos and pictures of me. Also, if they want to see me in person, they can catch me every weekend. I go dancing in public. Check my website. The easy website is Els4.net.
Thank you, Hugh. That is so great and it was really interesting to talk to you. Thank you so much for being on my show.
It was nice talking to you.
Thank you so much to Patri and Hugh. It was very heavy thinking. I learned so much. Thank you for being on the show and I hope all of you come for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Patri Friedman
Patri Friedman is an American libertarian activist and theorist of political economy. He has worked for Google and as the executive director of the nonprofit Seasteading Institute, where they explore the creation of sovereign ocean colonies. He also has a venture fund, Zarco Investment Group. Friedman is the grandson of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, and son of economist and physicist David D. Friedman.
About Hugh Ching
Hugh Ching is the founder of Knowledge-Oriented Society. He is a graduate of MIT whose associates include Milton Friedman, Kenneth Arrow, and a long list of other renown thinkers. He was recently nominated for the Berggruen Prize in philosophy where winners receive a $1 million prize for being thinkers whose ideas have helped us find direction, wisdom, and improved self-understanding in a world being rapidly transformed by profound social, technological, political, cultural, and economic change. He has been described as one of the most accomplished thinkers in the history of mankind.
- Patri Friedman
- Hugh Ching
- Seasteading Institute
- Knowledge-Oriented Society
- Zarco Investment Group
- Paul Romer
- floating city survey
- Peter Thiel
- Buckminster Fuller
- Solution of Value, Complete Automation
- Jumpulse Dance
- Ta-You Wu
- The Genius
- Ben Bernanke
- Neel Kashkari
- Richard Stallman
- Berggruen Prize
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Richard Feynman
- Stephen Hawking
- Tyler Cowen
- Homefinders Bulletin