Mary Lou Jepsen (@mljmljmlj) and Rob Reid (@Rob_Reid) discuss giant holograms, affordable life-saving medical imaging for all, telepathy, and a future when devices read images directly from our brains.
What We Learn from Mary Lou Jepsen and Rob Reid:
- Mary Lou Jepsen’s MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) alternative that will save countless lives by being affordable to all.
- Why Mary Lou’s multidisciplinary background makes her uniquely qualified to bring such a revolutionary medical breakthrough to light.
- How this technology will more accurately hone in on early stage cancer, detect clogged arteries in time to prevent strokes, identify pregnancy complications, and much more.
- Ways this technology might be applied in the future to make telepathy possible.
- Why you should subscribe to Rob Reid’s After On podcast if spooky science like this is right up your ally.
- And much more…
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Mary Lou Jepsen of Openwater is a technical executive and inventor in the fields of display, imaging, and computer hardware with over 200 patents under her belt. In this episode, she joins After On’s Rob Reid to discuss life-saving technology she’s working on today and mind-reading technology that will be possible in the not-too-distant world of tomorrow. Make sure to stay tuned for the conversation between Rob and Jordan at the end!
If you like this one, be sure to check out Rob Reid’s After On podcast here (where this was first broadcast) and subscribe for more mind-blowing discussions about the present and future of science.
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, MARY LOU JEPSEN AND ROB REID!
If you enjoyed this session with Mary Lou and Rob, let them know by clicking on the links below and sending them a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Mary Lou Jepsen at Twitter!
Click here to thank Rob Reid at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- After On Episode 21: Mary Lou Jepsen | Neural Imaging and … TELEPATHY!
- Mary Lou Jepsen at Twitter
- Rob Reid at Twitter
- Mary Lou Jepsen: Could Future Devices Read Images from Our Brains? Mary Lou Jepsen at TED 2013
Transcript for Mary Lou Jepsen & Rob Reid | The Future of Telepathy and Affordable Healthcare (Episode 55)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. On this episode, well, I'm not really talking to anybody. I actually decided to air an episode of another show and don't worry, I don't think I'm going to make a huge habit out of this, but I listened to this episode on after on podcast hosted by my friend, Rob Reid and he interviewed Mary Lou Jepsen, who's talking about, well imaging technology, fMRI, that's portable, wearable, a lot of brain imaging, just stuff that's going to blow your mind from dream reading and being able to upload thoughts and dreams, and everything that's going on in your brain to the cloud. It is a crazy set of thoughts and she is the authority in this field and really working on this stuff. Now, this is not just like one day we'll be able to do this. It's like, no, I'm working on this right now.
[00:00:48] I figured you all would love this so much that I remember listening and going, I should interview this person, but I would probably just do the same interview. So Rob and I reached out to each other and were like, hey, why don't we just do kind of a cool swap because he really liked the James Fallon episode and send it out to his audience. So I'm hoping that many of you will discover a new favorite today in after on podcast. It's quite a different show than what I'm running here. And I interview Rob at the end of this episode, so you can figure out what's a fit, what's not, what's going on with Rob show and why I think it's a fit for you, and a little bit more about him. So enjoy this episode with Mary Lou Jepsen and prepare to be pretty freaked out and amazed by what's coming in the future. And don't forget to stick around at the end of the interview because I do have that little mini interview with Rob Reid at the end of Mary Lou Jepsen's interview. Enjoy.
Rob Reid: [00:01:38] What a beautiful morning to be in your gorgeous living room. And for those who can't see us, which is everybody, could you just briefly describe your home in your neighborhood? Because it is so fabulous and unique.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:01:52] I live on the houseboats in Sausalito that were really a hippy colony where people squatted in the ‘60s where they didn't need to pay any rent. And it's really evolved into this really great way to live. It's earthquake proof because when the ground liquefies, big deal we’re already liquid, and there's this big secret about the Bay Area, there's a bay here.
Rob Reid: [00:02:15] Yes, there's a bay, and you see it, you're surrounded by it.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:02:17]And we’re surrounded by it. And we've got a couple of seals on that platform and you'll see pelicans come in, and kayakers.
Rob Reid: [00:02:25] How many houseboats are in here?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:02:27] There's about 450 houseboats. And when I bought my first houseboat, they were considered landfill. It turns out that more professionals moved on the boats. I think Stewart Brand, for example, is the neighbor. He’s been here since 1975.
Rob Reid: [00:02:41] Cool.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:02:42] And as a result, somehow we were able to become legal in 2004, so all of a sudden, houseboat prices went up. And now we've gone from landfill to their thinking of historic preservation of them.
Rob Reid: [00:02:57] So talking about your company and your work, I feel like most new idea in technology could logically occur to anyone of a number of people who have the necessary background to conceive of the idea at the time when it first becomes possible, but occasionally, something comes along that could really only arise in one brain because of the exotic intersection of knowledge that the idea requires of inputs, and I view your current work through this lens, because I see it as arising from four background elements, which you probably uniquely possess.
[0:03:33]They are, first of all, a deep expertise in holography, which very few people have; an equal depth in the 2D graphical world of screens, of all kinds of screens, which more people have, but relatively few holographists have. Thirdly, years of pushing billions of dollars' worth of product through the trillion-dollar manufacturing infrastructure in Asia; and then finally, a very personal and highly relevant history with brain tumors, and in the Venn diagram of backgrounds, you may be the only person who occupies that very spot. And so if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to go through those very, very briefly, perhaps starting chronologically with holography. You, I know, grew up on a farm in my own tiny state of Connecticut. And then went to Brown University in the even tinier state of Rhode Island, and shortly after you got there, you discovered holography.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:04:29] Well, I'd been fascinated by it, but there was a class in it. It was amazing. It combined all this really hard math problem and really beautiful lasers and a lab, a whole room that was like a camera that had to be completely dark and a table that floated on air. You'd set up these mirrors, and there was these magnetic bases that you locked down. Nothing could move more than a hundredth of the width of a human hair when you made this setup to make your hologram come out right.
Rob Reid: [00:04:56]That's cool. You stayed with that for years, right? I mean, that became the focus of your graduate work, didn't it?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:05:04] Yeah. My parents said they'd help me pay for college if I'd made her an electrical engineering and they were quite serious, but to maintain any ounce of creativity I might've had, I started to take art classes. I joined a punk rock band and needed to express in different ways.
Rob Reid: [00:05:22] And so you stayed with holography. Were you still working with holography when you were into your PhD stage?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:05:27] Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:05:27] You were.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:05:28] I was doing liquid crystal filled holograms, did them for windows, for day lighting, and then also for the new burgeoning area of microdisplays, which ended up being my first startup with two other grad students. Oh, I was also working on crazy things, like projecting video on the moon. The side art projects keep me happy.
Rob Reid: [00:05:46] Wait, wait, wait. Let's take a little bit of a side detour here. Projecting video on the moon. Did you do that or was that a concept?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:05:53] We didn't do it, so I designed a system to do it. I had been making these really installation holograms in primarily Australia on the Great Barrier Reef and Germany and they filled a city block or a beach cove.
Rob Reid: [00:06:05] So it's like installation art that you're doing on a grand scale.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:06:07] On a grand scale, but they only worked when the moon was in the correct position or the sun was in the correct position, for maybe 10 minutes a day for 55 days a year, for example. So figuring all of that out, I had to write my little moon package, and then I thought, well, why not just go for it, just project right on the moon? Could you do it? So I figured out how to do it and raised some money and got a lot of support, actually, from musicians and MTV, rock stars and so forth.
Rob Reid: [00:06:35] How do you do it? Or how would you have done it?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:06:37] So the only way to get enough light that I could figure out is when the sun, earth, and moon were all in the right positions using the Helios static mirrors. Those are these big three by three meter mirrors that track the sun. They basically reflect the sun to a tower that has water in it to boil the water, to make steam, to drive a turbine, to make electricity. They went and during the Carter administration similar funding. Yeah, there's one in Daggett, California, near Death Valley. It's a square mile of mirrors. And looking at that and adding a couple million dollars of optics to the top, it's enough light where you can project the light on the moon and see it with the naked human eye.
Rob Reid: [00:07:17] And you would do this when it was a new moon, so there wasn't any light on it?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:07:20] Right, a sliver moon where it's actually dark and so—
Rob Reid: [00:07:24] That's cool. It's still a cool idea.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:07:26] Yeah. You can do it. Actually, Bill Gross has this big solar array, so every time I see him, I'm like, "We should do that at some time." But here's the thing, I got these death threats and people were really offended by the idea and the question is, just because you can do it, should you do it? You know? And so also I was getting sick at the time, but really, I think it was the death threats, and you had to do it at a sliver moon, which had religious significance--
Rob Reid: [00:07:49] Oh, right, in Islam.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:07:49] In Islam.
Rob Reid: [00:07:51] Yeah, and people might've been afraid you were going to put the Coke logo up there or something like that, which, by the way, Coke would've been delighted with, I'm sure.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:07:57] I had meetings with both Coke and Pepsi, and they were both vying for who was going to sponsor this thing.
Rob Reid: [00:08:01]There you go. Okay. And then you did get sick, it was almost a year, right? And it was mysterious, wasn't it?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:08:07] I'd been on and off sick since about age 12 with long bouts in the hospital, two, three months at a time for unknown diseases, and I had been getting progressively worse for a few years. It's insidious, though. It's so slow you don't even notice. You just ... You know, I was late 20s, I thought I was getting old, so yeah. So then I was sleeping 20 hours a day, living in a wheelchair, body covered with all kinds of different color sores, and I couldn't move half my face, so I drooled. The worst part was, I could no longer subtract in my head, and so I didn't think I deserved a PhD in device physics.
So I dropped out of my PhD program to go home to die, because nobody could figure out what I had. I mean, I was at an Ivy League school that had a med school. I got access to a lot of the professors. They tried to debug what I had, but they could not figure it out.
Rob Reid: [00:08:59] And then what ended up happening?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:09:00] One of those professors actually sprung for the cost of an MRI, and then it turned out I had a brain tumor, which everyone else was depressed about, but I was thrilled, because I had a diagnosis and like, great, there's a solution for that, cut it out. And so that worked. I had brain surgery and it took about 30 days to get the appointment, have the surgery, recover from the surgery, and then I got back into grad school.
Rob Reid: [00:09:22] Now, I want to echo something you just said. You were in an Ivy League school, you were in the wealthiest country in the world. It was a while ago, but at that point, MRI technology was already pretty widespread, and I think a lot of Americans, particularly more privileged ones, incorrectly think of MRI as being a pretty broadly accessible service, but it certainly is not, as evidenced by your own experience. It saved your life. Had you not had this generous professor, you probably would have died. Could we talk briefly about the cost and the inaccessibility of MRI, even in wealthy countries in 2018?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:09:58] Sure. We have about 50 MRI machines per million people in the U.S. today, but you get to Mexico, you've got two MRI machines per a million people. I was talking to a reporter in the U.K. who was just in the hospital for five days, and she said she only needed to be in there for two days, but it took three days to get a slot on the MRI machine in the National Health Service in the U.K. These things are expensive. They're a few million dollars. They're the most expensive room in hospitals. It's a two-ton magnet with liquid helium cooling it at all times and shielding, and it's about half a million to a million dollars a year of maintenance for these machines.
Rob Reid: [00:10:35] And these are like 26, 2700 a scan.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:10:38] There are a profit center for hospitals, so they want to do more of them now today, 2018, and it generated $50 billion of revenue in the U.S. alone last year.
Rob Reid: [00:10:49] Even in this very wealthy country. And even for people who have fabulous insurance, and MRI is a better way to diagnose breast cancer than mammography. But it is rarely used because it is so expensive.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:11:01] Yes. Mammography is not as good as diagnostic, as MRI. MRI’s too expensive. It’s not used for first-line screening in this country or in any country in the world because of its expense.
Rob Reid: [00:11:11] And if it were presumably a certain number of lives would be saved, but it's simply too expensive even here to use it?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:11:19] Yeah, it's about 10 times better in terms of diagnostics than mamography.
Rob Reid: [00:11:25] Wow. So now I'd like to fast forward through your post-tumor, pre-Openwater career, because that's when your expertise in 2D screens, which I think is very important, and also your experience with this massive manufacturing infrastructure in Asia, came into play. So after recovering, you started a couple of companies, right?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:11:44] Yes. I started MicroDisplay, and we worked on virtual reality systems and projection displays and wristwatch video and early smartphones, and basically we were putting liquid crystals on silicon chips for very high resolution screens.
Rob Reid: [00:11:59] And also in the midst of that, you co-founded One Laptop per Child, correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:12:03] Yes, I did two screens startups, although I moved to Intel and was the CTO of their display division, convinced them to close it and decided to give up any kind of commercial stuff forever and went to MIT and became a professor.
Rob Reid: [00:12:15] At the Media Lab, right?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:12:16] At the Media Lab. So I became a professor at the media lab, that's what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and it took like three weeks to start One Laptop per Child with Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the MIT Media Lab.
Rob Reid: [00:12:28] Could you give us a brief sketch of what One Laptop per Child was?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:12:33] So the idea was to get one laptop to each child everywhere.
Rob Reid: [00:12:37] Throughout the world, but particularly the development.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:12:39] Particularly the developing world. Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:12:40] What year was it that you guys?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:12:42] It started in 2005.
Rob Reid: [00:12:43] Yeah, when laptops were not at all widespread in the developing world, nor even necessarily in the industrialized world.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:12:49] People thought it was a joke. Craig Barrett, the then-CEO of Intel, my former boss's boss's boss, and Michael Dowling and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs just thought it was joke, it would never work, publicly and privately derided us. It seems so crazy, because laptops at that time were about $2000, plus all the software you put on them. Think of a loaded laptop and what that cost. Nicholas was really going out and selling it. I was the chief technology officer, and nobody actually asked me, but I'd never shipped a laptop before, but I shipped a lot of the most expensive components in a laptop before, the screens and the way you drive the screens, which is really 70% of the cost, and so I had an idea of how to do it and did it, but really, the issue was, more than cost, was power, because half of the children in the world live without steady, ready access to electricity. So we figured out how to make a one-watt laptop and shipped it. A lot of that was the screen architecture that I invented that was sunlight readable and retina display before Apple coined the term.
Rob Reid: [00:13:54] Long before Apple, yeah.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:13:55] In the lowest cost laptop ever made, and super low power.
Rob Reid: [00:13:58] Now, the organization did not ultimately itself hand a laptop to each child in the world, but there are a lot of things that came out of it that were radically important. You also did ship a lot. How do you encapsulate the legacy of One Laptop per Child?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:14:14] Right, so that's true. We delivered to ministries of education and only did a billion dollars of revenue. We catalyzed the $30 billion of revenue and catalyzed the fastest growing consumer electronic category ever recorded, the netbook, which was a low-cost small laptop. But the legacy is really changing the equation of what a minister of education can do for the children of their country in the developing world specifically.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:41] This episode is sponsored in part by The Great Courses Plus, you know, I'm always trying to tap into the wisdom from the experts we have on the show. That's the whole point. I want to improve my knowledge on a topic. I want to discover something new. And that's why The Great Courses Plus is what I'm about. I'm a big fan. This is unlimited access to learn from award winning professors and experts. Dive deep into any topic that interests you. They got history, science, business skills, travel the arts, watch or listen to over 10,000 lectures. Always something new to explore in there. I recommend checking out, this is a new course, Why You Are Who You Are, investigations into human personality. This stuff is, as you can see, obviously it's right up my alley. Fascinating insights, psychology, neuroscience, genetics that not only helps us better understand our own thought process use behaviors and beliefs, but those of those around us as well. I want you to start enjoying The Great Courses Plus as well, so they're giving our listeners a fantastic limited time offer. Get your first month for free, plus receive the second month for only 99 cents. That's unlimited access to enjoy their huge library of engaging lectures for two full months for under a dollar. But to get this exclusive offer, you got to go to thegreatcoursesplus.com/jordan. That's thegreatcoursesplus.com/jordan. It does expire. It's the first month free, the second month for 99 cents limited time. Thegreatcoursesplus.com/jordan.
[00:16:01] This episode is also sponsored by SimpliSafe. This is one of those that came to me and I was just thinking, okay, cool. Whenever something, Jason, you've heard me say this before, but like whenever I get something coming to me and it goes, I'm like, how does that not exist already? That has to exist, right? And then I find out that the thing that I'm looking at is the only one around. That's how I feel about SimpliSafe. It's a smart home security system. Don't confuse it with other smart home crap.
[00:16:26] I bought that smart home stuff a long time ago. Impossible to set up. And then the configuration craps out after an hour and it's like, “Oh, the door sensor is not connected to the hub anymore. Oh, we got an update.” Not with SimpliSafe. 10 years ago, SimpliSafe’s founder Chad Laurans was building the company's first security system in his kitchen and he wanted to do something that nobody thought was possible. He wanted to get rid of contracts, and of course, security companies are like, LOL bro. That's how we make all our money. And they didn't think anyone would stick with the company if they weren't forced to. But that's the old model. And Jason, you've seen security stuff from the ‘90s that's still the gear, that's still the gear that the big guys are using it. It's like, “Hey, you know, phones are cordless now, right?” Like come on.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:17:08] Look man, my dad sold security systems for 20 years, and I know all about it. He used to work at a company called West Tech. You'll see him around, but it's been gone forever. It was Westinghouse Security Systems and that was what they got you on. It was like, you know, you give them the razor and then you've got to buy the blades for 20 bucks. It's the same kind of format and that's what they used to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:27] Yeah. Well simply say fast forward a decade, SimpliSafe now protects over 2 million people. And I'll tell you when we went to set this thing up, it looks like your standard smart home smart speaker, which is the siren and the hub and then you take a picture of the QR code with your phone on all of the other little doodads that come with it and it's like, cool, I'm paired now. Cool! This door sensor is paired. Cool! This a alarm key fob, whatever, all the stuff is paired, and you just hang the stuff up and you stick it on. You don't have to drill 17 holes in your wall. You don't have to rewire the house and it doesn't need a landline. I know people are like, “Oh, well I don't have a landline because I live in 2018. This stuff has cellular. They have the monitoring. It's like all of the things where you go, wait, that didn't exist already? How the F is that possible? SimpliSafe is the home security system that I thought must exist already. So we're stoked with this thing.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:18:24] So you're telling me that there is a cellular modem inside of the actual device itself?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:29] Yeah, that's what I'm telling.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:18:30] How cool is that? How cool is that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:32] And the monitoring is reasonable. It's a fraction of the price of the other guys. Go to SimpliSafe.com/jordan. That's S-I-M-P-L-I-safe. So SimpliSafe.com/jordan to learn more.
Rob Reid: [00:18:45] Now after OLPC, you went through a couple of the very storied companies of the digital world. You worked first at Google and then at Facebook, correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:18:53] Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:18:53] At Google, you were working on Moonshot projects with Sergey, correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:18:57] Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:18:58] And in context of what was then Google X, what constituted a moonshot and is there anything that you worked on that you can actually mention? Or is that still deep, dark secret?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:19:09] I can talk about the patents, because if you just Google my name and Google in patents, you can find out what I was working on. A moonshot basically was what Larry and Sergey thought was cool. I think that was the best definition of a moonshot.
Rob Reid: [00:19:25] That's a good definition.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:19:25] Something that they thought was cool enough to put some resource on and explore. And so The Wall Street Journal reported that there was this sort of LEGO TV system that Google was working on and reported that I was involved in it, and if you look at my patents, you can see a way to make screen-like walls, where there's no line between it or bezel or anything.
Rob Reid: [00:19:47] There's no seam. You could put up one screen and another screen then another screen, and slowly subtly as your budget allows or is your design sense allows cover more and more of your wall with screens? I'm just guessing. Is that right?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:19:57] Yeah. So you'd really change TV, but you also changed your digital life. Because LCD is right now costs $15 a square foot.
Rob Reid: [00:20:05] Wow.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:20:06] It's amazing. It's cheaper than walls. So everybody can have a million dollar view or a shared wall, if your family lives in a different time zone or a different geographic location, it can just be this ambient thing. You can change decoration. We have all these photos, millions or at least hundreds of thousands at this point, for lots of us, but basically changing screens to enable ambient screens and wall-like screens. It must be noted that Google does make a lot of money advertising and there's profound implications for large screens and walls. So I figured out how to do that using really low cost, high volume manufacturing processes to make that quickly.
Rob Reid: [00:20:49] Very cool. And then Facebook, what was it that took you over to Facebook from Google?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:20:53] Something happened that I really didn't like that is somebody else's story. Somebody I was working closely with was treated very badly by the organization. Mark Zuckerberg had wanted to have dinner, and so I'm like, "Okay, let's go." I felt very well cared for and Sergey was very supportive of my work and I liked working with him and he's so bright and creative. And then Mark handed me this folder at dinner. It basically added a zero to my compensation package, 10x kind of thing. So then I just realized I was worth a lot more to Facebook at that time, because Mark had bought this company called Oculus for $2 billion, and really, really great computer gamer people like John Carmack, they were working on VR and I'd built VR systems in the '90s in VR 1.0, but here's the thing, is they didn't have any experience shipping any kind of consumer electronics before, and particularly distinguished by the screen and the optics, and that's really the thing that I was really specialized in, so they thought that I would be really valuable.
Rob Reid: [00:21:51] And you were there for how long?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0o:21:53] A year and a half. Oh, can I say something more about Oculus?
Rob Reid: [00:21:56] Absolutely.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:21:57] So the cool patents there are sunglasses VR, AR with a toggle. Everybody says, "Is it VR or AR?" and the answer is, "Yes," and RR, real reality, and so you need glasses that can do it all. And so if you look at my patents, you'll see, sunglasses, no excuse, that form factor that does VR or AR. And also the AR, if you've got aliens and you're playing a game or you want a person to appear on the couch over there in my living room, don't you want the person to be opaque?
Rob Reid: [00:22:30] Yeah.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:22:30] So we have what they call in computer graphics alpha channel. So that is what I was doing at Facebook and Oculus primarily.
Rob Reid: [00:22:38] How many patents is your name on?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:22:41] I don't know. I haven't checked recently. I had to check about a year ago and I had more than 200.
Rob Reid: [00:22:45] Wow. So let's talk about near-infrared light, what it is and why it matters so much to the work that you're now doing?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:22:52] Near-infrared light, silicon is sensitive to it and your body's translucent to it, but it scatters it.
Rob Reid: [00:22:57] So as we all did in summer camp, you put a flashlight up to your palm and you look on the other side and there's this creepy red glow. It's not transparent like our bodies are transparent to x-rays, but some gets through.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:23:09] Some gets through, and you see red light, and infrared light is more red than red light. It's actually a little bit longer wavelength. We can't see it with our eyes, but if you put on night vision goggles, you can see it.
Rob Reid: [00:23:21] Yeah, it's the nearest neighbor to the light that we can see, but it's lower energy than the light which we can see, which means it's absolutely noncarcinogenic. It doesn't cause cancer at all, et cetera. It's not something we're afraid of.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:23:33] Right. It's benign. And we're talking about light levels lower than you experience outside on a sunny day.
Rob Reid: [00:23:39] As I understand it, if you pulse a light source and infrared light source on let's say one side of your hand, because we use that example and have a detector on the other side. Some tiny fraction of the light rays will go right through lot less than 1 percent, but some tiny fraction. A lucky rays will get right through. And I love the term it's called the ballistic rays. Did I get that right?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:24:01] That's right.
Rob Reid: [00:24:01] But the overwhelming majority will be scattered in some way on their journey through the handle. Bump into a bone or they'll be bumped off chorus diffracted in some way.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:24:11] Despite your flash, right?
Rob Reid: [00:24:12] So your flash.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:24:13] Because it's microscopic, right? It sees it as it's bouncing around like billiard balls on a table if you will.
Rob Reid: [00:24:17] It's kind of tunneling its way through, but some goes right, right through. And this is the thing that is self-evident to you because you've been working in the field for so long, but it simply blows my mind. We humans can make detectors that are so sensitive that a detector on the far side can tell the difference between the light that came all the way through and the light that got diverted by a couple of millimeters, because those couple of millimeters, even at the speed of light, causes a tiny delay before it hits the detector in the picosecond scale, that's a trillionth of a second, and light travels a third of a millimeter in a picosecond, and the fact that we humans can create something that is that sensitive is just kind of awesome.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:25:01] It is. And it's how LIDAR works too for the autonomous vehicles, they call it time of flight, because it's literally measuring the third of a millimeter per picoseconds is how fast the detectors are. The camera tips if you will. That's another word for detector.
Rob Reid: [00:25:15] And then if you have that kind of sensitivity and you say, okay, the light pulse and I'm going to just throw away all these laggards and just take the ballistic light, then you have something that's very much like an x-ray, right? Because that light has gone right through and we just ignored all the stuff that got diffused.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:25:31]Right, because it didn't get scattered.
Rob Reid: [00:25:33] And because you can tell this stuff got here first, this stuff got here second, you can toss all the stuff that didn't go straight through. And you had seen some work that was done. Was it at Washington university in St. Louis?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:25:44] Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:25:44] Around 2014, and they'd kind of done this, right?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:25:47] Yeah. They'd created a system using near-infrared light that matched the resolution of functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Rob Reid: [00:25:54] They'd basically done an optical MRI, and MRI itself, of course, is magnetic fields. So they had done it optically. That blew your mind.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:26:02] Amazing work. Yeah, they got rid of the two ton magnet in the liquid helium, and they made this sort of 50-pound fiber optic wig that looked like, I'm trying to think of some—
Rob Reid: [00:26:10] Steampunk.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:26:12] Yeah.
Rob Reid: [00:26:13] Something or other. Very expensive setup, then. They have a 50-pound fiber optic wig, which can't be cheap, but they did it. Let's talk about what you're doing with the light that's special. If I'm not mistaken, the key to what you're doing is the scattering of the light that isn't the ballistic light is not random, but it's predictable and also reversible, correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:26:33] Right, and it goes back to the people that made one of the first display holograms. They made it of a train set, and it made a lot of waves in the optics community in the late '60s. So the next experiment they did was they put a big scatterer in front of a whole sheet of glass that scattered the light in the holographic setup, and it turns out that they could actually reconstruct a 3D image of the train through that scatterer. And so as I was thinking, I realized, "Oh, my gosh. We could do this with holography." We could do this with holography because the pixel size is approaching the wavelength of light, so you can sample all of the light in terms of not just recording its intensity, but you can capture the phase of the light, the wave nature of light, which gives you all this extra information. You can then basically neutralize the scattering of your body mathematically with pretty simple transforms.
[00:27:29] So with that, you've reduced the cost of literally big iron, like a two ton magnet filled with liquid helium, the most expensive room in the hospital, to liquid crystal displays and camera chips that are made in factories that supply the world's smartphone and consumer electronics industry.
Rob Reid: [00:27:46] Made in massive, massive quantities.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:27:47] Massive quantities.
Rob Reid: [00:27:48] And so if I can just replay that and tell me if I'm understanding this properly, you've taken a hologrammatic technique that dates back a number of decades and applied that to the scattered light so that you can use all the light. And so the scattered light, which is an overwhelming majority of the light that would be thrown away in the first example that I gave, that actually becomes useful data. You can use that scattered light to create an image of the three dimensional landscape that that light went through.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:28:17] So you get much higher resolution because if you think of light going through your body, this rib cage, the other rib, they're all on top of each other. You get kind of a 2D picture of a 3D thing. If you think of that sort of shadow casting.
Rob Reid: [00:28:30] Sure, like x-rays, very much a 2D experience, like you get an x-ray.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:28:34] Right. And you can do so called tomographic and take different pictures from different sides to add that up. But when you actually capture all of the light in terms of amplitude and phase, you get much, much higher resolution, much better signal to noise ratio, a lot more light, and you don't have to deal with the shot noise that you got on a picosecond detector.
Rob Reid: [00:28:56] The interesting thing that people may not be realizing is we're not talking about massive improvements. Strictly vis-à-vis a very expensive academic array that sits in a lab in St. Louis. We're talking vis-à-vis MRIs, right? So if one were to build an MRI-like machine with this technology, how much cheaper would it be? How much smaller would it be and how much higher the resolution would be versus an MRI?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:29:21] The first ones will be more expensive, but at scale we leverage the consumer electronics in the fashion industries. So there'll be the cost of a smartphone and a scan for the cost of a phone call. So a thousand times cheaper, a million fold smaller fitting into a wearable like a ski hat or a bandage.
Rob Reid: [00:29:38] And the resolution would be substantially higher.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:29:40]The resolution is higher. We've been able to get about a billion times higher resolution. Now we don't know if we're going to do that for our first product, but that gets us to neurons, which is pretty exciting. So we can do this noninvasively, look at neuron activity. I think per chip, we could probably do up to probably a million neurons a second, which is everyone says it's utterly impossible. It's like actually if you rethink it, it is in reach.
Rob Reid: [00:30:06] Just because we've started on it. Let's stay briefly on the medical thing and then should go to the neuroscience. Let's go back to mammography and this tragedy that breast cancer cannot be monitored by MRIs because it's so expensive. How might that be cured?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:30:20] Sure. So you can imagine a bra, for example, that you could, instead of a monthly tech, you can just put on the bra once a month and wear it for an hour and wear it for a day, and you get a lot more data on what's happening in a lot more precision.
Rob Reid: [00:30:33] Now another one of the cool things about the color red, and I guess we could say the color infrared is blood is red. And so there's a lot of things that you could eliminate, like clogged arteries, right? With this kind of technology.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:30:46] So yeah, clogged arteries, we can find out where the blood is and where the blood isn't. And that's pretty important for cardiovascular disease. And so if we can find out where you're clogged up, there's some solutions. Could we prevent stroke and heart attack by understanding somebody who's at risk earlier? Because there's very often not many symptoms. In fact, for women that have heart attacks, they usually have no symptoms and then they're done. So can we find that out? And then on the flip side, cancer, any tumor bigger than a millimeter or two, grows vasculature. And it's sort of strange vasculature, it's leaky and it supplies the cancer with a blood, it needs to grow fast.
Rob Reid: [00:31:26] So to put that in civilian speak vasculature, it grows its own blood supply. It taps in to nearby veins and arteries that comes into.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:31:35] Right. It steals the blood to grow the cancer, because it wants to grow.
Rob Reid: [00:31:37] And so you can see this little highway of blood going into this rogue entity and it's a distinctive highway from what you just said. It looks weird.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:31:44] Your body is about 3 percent blood, but your tumors are something like 15 percent blood. So we can look at that and we can look at the shape of arteries or the veins that are growing around it as well.
Rob Reid: [00:31:54] As I know from our good mutual friend Jeff Huber, who has done a lot of work in liquid biopsy, even with the blunt instruments of treatment that we have today, if you detect a cancer at stage one, your survival rate can be typically North of 80 percent ,whereas if it's asymptomatic as tragically most cancers are and you don't detect it until stage three or four, your odds plummet to 15 to 20 percent survival rate. So that early detection, that can save a factor of four times as many lives. So detection is a really big deal.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:32:28] Yeah. So I think that's why Jeff found in and was the CEO of Grail where they're trying to sequence your genes so you can create a blood test for having early cancer. Even still, where is it? It's hard to find it.
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Rob Reid: [00:35:23] One other quick thing going back to blood and its redness. Internal bleeding is also something that I imagined would be highly detectable with a system like yours, because again it is blood and it is red and it is discernible. If at a billion times more granular than an MRI, you could find that kind of.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:35:41] Internal bleeding, bone marrow issues, all kinds of issues. With pregnancy, the placenta really is an organ. It grows when you're pregnant, so there's a lot of blood and there's a lot of diagnosis you can have on pregnancy from that. But we can do more than blood. We can get neurons. As I said, we can look at other safes in the body, but just blood gets you really far.
Rob Reid: [00:36:01] So let's now pivot over to neurons and telepathy, which might be entirely enabled by this. So the key thing is, as you said, you can get down to a level of granularity where you can see a solitary neuron. You can see whether it's firing or not firing and perhaps even cause it to fire. I know from talking to Adam Gazzaley, and some other folks in neuroscience, both for this podcast and another contexts, that using the best technology we have right now, the most invasive technology, technology that very few people would want to mess with in their own brains. At best, we can monitor a tiny, tiny handful of neuron. You're talking about monitoring very precisely and noninvasively millions of them. Let's talk about what this could enable and how it works.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:36:48] It turns out we didn't know what the limits of the physics were for this process that we've developed, or this technology we're developing at Openwater, my new startup. And so with my funders, I said, "Look, don't give us a ton of money in the start. We want the first year just to explore the physics," and for anybody doing a hardware startup, I would advocate insisting on that and skipping the minimally viable product. To say, "Look, we need a year of playing around in the lab with a small team to figure out the limits of the physics," because nobody knows. How deep can we go? What kind of resolution? And the answer to that is six inches and one micron.
Rob Reid: [00:37:24] Six inches deep.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:37:25] Yeah.
Rob Reid: [00:37:26] Pretty much the skull.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:37:27] Well, double that because—
Rob Reid: [00:37:28] Coming from both sides, yeah.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:37:29] From both sides. It’s 12 inches deep. So like where's the saying can we get the obese people and we don't need one micron for the gut.
Rob Reid: [00:37:35] And certainly not for the head, for the brains, like such as is quite enough coming in from both sides.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:37:41] Right. So we can get to a micron, which was startling and nobody believed it. But we've repeated it and repeated it and repeated it. As we neutralize the scattering of your body, we can see the differential scattering that precedes an electrical pulse going down and neuron is basically a roughening of the membrane. And when a membrane roughens it scatters light.
Rob Reid: [00:38:01] So let me repeat this back to make sure I'm understanding, when a neuron fires and neurons can do this even hundreds of times a second. It's sheaf roughens in a way that your technology can discern.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:38:13] Yes.
Rob Reid: [00:38:13] And so you could say very distinctly, "That neuron just fired. That neuron did not just fire," and you can get down to that level of granularity. So now you are hypothetically monitoring many orders of magnitudes, more neurons than can be done with any known technology. As a prequel to talking about how much you might be able to discern with this technology, it'd be interesting to take a brief side journey to Jack Gallant's work at UC Berkeley, which I've seen you speak about on the TED stage and I've seen you speak about online. Could you describe that briefly, this amazing stuff that he did? It was in 2012 with far less sensitive technology than yours. Then we can extrapolate what might be doable with your technology.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:38:55] Yes, he's a professor at Berkeley and doing really cool work in neuroscience, and what he did after working with macaques and all these other animals for a while is he took his subjects to be graduate students, and he threw them in MRI machines for hundreds of hours, and made them watch YouTube videos and then more lately, Moth Radio Hour stories, and he made recordings, fMRI recordings of their brains reacting to the YouTube videos or the audio.
Rob Reid: [00:39:22] So they're looking at a boat and their brain lights up in this manner. They're looking at a blank screen and it lights up in that manner. They're looking at a green screen that lights up in this manner and over hundreds of hours. I'm sure there was a machine learning algorithm on the background started inferring when the brain lights up in this way, this particular grad student is looking at a Christmas tree or something like that?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:39:45] Right, so this is best way to get more data on how we react to things. Using that data store, when a new image sequence was shown, the computer could guess what it thought the grad student was looking at. And the result was a grainy version of what the graduate student was actually looking at.
Rob Reid: [00:40:01] Yeah, I'll put the video on my website in the show notes of this because it is astonishing to see the grad student might be looking at elephants walking across a plane or somebody being interviewed on CNN and the video that you shared at Ted showed on one side exactly what the grad student was seeing. And on the other side, what the system inferred the grad student was seeing based on the brain patterns and it is a grainy image of it. That was mind blowing.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:40:28] I thought the brain mapping people were kind of like modern day phrenologists about 20 years ago, and I saw this in 2012 and I'm like, "Whoa. They did it. We need to up the resolution and really go for this," and so I pitched that to Sergey when they were starting Google X as like, "Okay, let's do it," and that's, I think, where my TED Talk came from. It was effectively my job talk. I didn't know it was a job talk at the time. Then Sergey acqui-hired my company at Google, and I thought I was going to be working on this, and he's like, "No, no, no, no, no—
Rob Reid: [00:40:56] You're doing moonshots.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:40:56] I just wanted to see that you were creative and kind of crazy, and I need you to do this other stuff," so I didn't get to do that at Google. But I started reading pretty widely about this, and saw that there were dozens of research groups working in this area using fMRI scanners all over the world this has been replicated, and that work that we just discussed, that was in 2012 or 2011, and so things have progressed much further, it's now we're sitting here in 2018 today, and still they're stuck with these very expensive, very big, kind of uncomfortable, if you think of laying in them for hundreds of hours, machines. How do we get higher resolution and lower cost and put it in a wearable to enable us to communicate with thought?
Rob Reid: [00:41:38] And more than that, too, right, some of the replicating work or subsequent work can figure out what song somebody's thinking about, can detect whether or not they're in love, can detect whether or not they're paying attention. It's a diversity of things, not simply what they're seeing, but all this is with very, very low resolution apparatus compared to what you believe you can build using your new technology.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:42:01] Right.
Rob Reid: [00:42:02] Is there any reason why you could not, with the technology that you're developing, if everything goes right, do a far far deeper and more precise, higher fidelity vision of what I'm looking at and then pump that over to the Internet so that somebody can see what's coming out of my eyes right now?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:42:17] There's no reason you couldn't do that, but why not? What's coming out of your head? That might be more interesting.
Rob Reid: [00:42:22] So next step, let's say I go to sleep and I have a bunch of dreams. Is there any reason why you couldn't record by dreams in very high fidelity and play them back from me in the morning?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:42:35] A Japanese group just did that with fMRI.
Rob Reid: [00:42:37] Really? Oh, interesting.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:42:39] It’s on the news center a month ago.
Rob Reid: [00:42:40] But again, the consequence of doing that at a thousand or a million or a billion times the resolution is overwhelming because you could really see HD video of precisely what you dream of the night before. That is not.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:42:53] that's why I left my job at Facebook to go for this.
Rob Reid: [00:42:58]And what are some of the other applications you've talked about, telepathy?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:43:02] Well, I think we'll start to work just with our whole brains. I mean, right now, we talk to get ideas out of our head or we type, but what if we could get the complexity of how we're thinking of things out and share our minds with each other. The speed of thought. There's all kinds of ethical and privacy and legal issues involved, but what could we be capable of if we could share our brains with each other?
Rob Reid: [00:43:29] Yeah, to put it in computer speak, there is a major IO issue that we have, input/output issue, because we can take in the equivalence of gigabytes of information with our senses very, very rapidly, but we can really only output a couple hundred words per minute if we speak very quickly, and a few dozen if we type very quickly. And you had an example that you used in one of your talks that I thought was very evocative. You said, "In a way, we're all Stephen Hawking." I mean, first of all, let's think about what it could do for him, because all the amazing things going on in his brain and his output rate is even slower than ours, but in a sense, we're all Stephen Hawking, because our ability to output what's going on inside of our brains is so slow compared to our ability to take it in.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:44:12] Yeah, and there's other things. I just read a paper yesterday about turning off anxiety. We know how to do that invasively, so a lot of people suffer from anxiety, right? So what if you could just performance enhance your brain? I probably do that, because I had a brain tumor, so I take a dozen pills every day for the last 23 years, and I do, I think performance enhance myself because I have to decide how I want to be today. I don't make any hormones. Cortisol is a hormone, adrenaline's a hormone.
Rob Reid: [00:44:42] So you have to onboard your hormones. And cortisol is what causes stress. Adrenaline is what causes us to surge.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:44:48] Go into adrenal failure if you don't take it like you die.
Rob Reid: [00:44:50] Right. Which you have to avoid.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:44:53] So what if you could amplify human excellence? We talk about the 2 billion people who have brain disease, but there's seven something billion people on the planet. What if we could make ourselves better and define what that means?
Rob Reid: [00:45:06] Okay, so this is getting to one of the crazier and more intriguing things about your technology, which is you believe using in for red light, you could not merely monitor the activity of neurons, but you could cause neurons to fire. Correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:45:21] Right.
Rob Reid: [00:45:21] How would you do that first of all? How would the physics of that work?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:45:24] Right, so once we map, we know where the neurons are.
Rob Reid: [0:45:27] You know where they are. Yep.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:45:27] I just got someone who just finished her PhD on this. It's quite controversial, but her results are very clear and we're working on it in the lab.
Rob Reid: [00:45:37] In theory, if you went down that path, you could maybe even implant memories or implant desires into people. I mean, it could obviously become a black mirror episode very quickly.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:45:46] Make them into a suicide bomber, whatever. Right.
Rob Reid: [00:45:48] Whatever it is. So let's talk about these ethical issues. Most startups, when they're at your stage, are very, very quiet about what they're doing. You've been extremely open about what you're doing, almost from the beginning, because you do want to trigger this important dialogue about ethics, correct?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:46:04] Right, and I think one of the problems is a lot of people don't believe until they see it that it's going to happen. They're like, "Yeah, sure," but actually, in every program I've ever done, I talk about it early, almost to get the people really interested in giving their eyes and teeth to work on this project to beat a path to the door to join the project, to make the vision happen responsibly. In some ways, talking about it early is having that effect in a small way, while we probably show a system this year that allows you to dump your thoughts out in some way.
Rob Reid: [00:46:35] This year.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:46:36] Yeah.
Rob Reid: [0:46:36] Wow.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:46:37] We haven't decided exactly where and how, but we'll probably do that. And then I think people will get it, but right now, we're trying to define what that means. Our system will only work if you want your thoughts to be read. We're going to add in sex and violent filters, so if you don't want to communicate any thoughts of sex or violence, but even as a personal creativity tool, to be able to dump the things in your mind out to your computer with really good crypto, so only you can see it, or share it with your spouse. I mean, it might be more intimate than sex, to be able to share the intricacies of what you're thinking, the raw emotions, everything.
[00:47:14] And so how do we use this? Do we let children use it? Will children figure out a way to use it? What are the implications of that? How do we design a system from the beginning that can't be hacked, the consensual part can't be hacked? It has to be consensual. If the police or the military put this ski hat on your head and want to know what you're thinking, or your parents, when you come in at three in the morning, how do you make it only work if you want it to work?
Rob Reid: [00:47:38] So you're clearly committed to having a deep conversation about the ethics before you even ship and creating a product that you know will have safeguards on it. So it hopefully cannot be used on ethically. But if it does in fact work as intended, the negative consequences are essentially inevitable. People are going to do whatever can be done with these things over time.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:48:01? Is it an international bill of rights around the next generation of technologies that include CRISPR and other technologies as well? The eyes, what is the responsible thing? Do we just keep the resolution low right now? Do we make sure these aren't permissible in court? Right now, even using fMRI try people have gone to jail and been convicted for things that were indicators that they were lying or.
Rob Reid: [00:48:29] Really?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:48:29] Yeah, there's a great book called I Know What You're Thinking, which talks about the legal status of just the simple relative to what we're talking about, mind reading machines and how they've been used in courts to incarcerate people.
Rob Reid: [00:48:42] Because I know that traditional lie detectors are almost useless. They're so easy to fool that it's 1920s technology. But I guess MRI as opposed to a traditional galvanic skin response lie detector, that's interesting, has been use in court.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:48:57] Yeah.
Rob Reid: [0:48:57] Wow. So you can get a warrant already I guess, to go after somebody's thoughts.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:49:03] In some countries.
Rob Reid: [00:49:04] In some countries, yeah.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:49:05] And then they've been in some cases exonerated later.
Rob Reid: [00:49:11] Animals. Could we find out what our beloved dogs are thinking?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:49:15] Does your dog love you or is it just hungry? Maybe both. You think of babies like should you do this to babies? You have a baby and you don't want to break the baby when you bring it home. And like she's crying all the time, and just won't sleep. And could you do this? Is that ethical?
Rob Reid: [00:49:30] Right.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:49:31] Don't know, but we need to answer that.
Rob Reid: [00:49:32] Big question. Well, with you demonstrating some version of this. I think a lot of people are going to be talking about this. Is there anything we have not covered?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:49:41] Yes. Peter Gabriel named my company.
Rob Reid: [00:49:44] He came up with a name Openwater.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:49:46] And he called me like every week for six months trying to convince me to quit Facebook to do this independently, so that we could have these kinds of discussions.
Rob Reid: [0:49:53] Oh, interesting. So you were thinking about doing this within Facebook. Peter knew this and he said, no, do it on your own so you can have your hand on the wheel a little bit more.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:50:02] Well, most of it open up the conversations because large companies really control the nascent technology that they're working on. They don't want to announce usually because it is nascent. They don't know if they'll ship it. All kinds of reasons. Plus, the best reason I heard is at Google, somebody told me, you know, we have so many products as it is, we'd like to focus on the ones that we're shipping [indiscernible] [00:50:24] but in order to talk about it as we were developing it, like we did at One Laptop per Child, seemed important and the responsible thing to do in this case, because it feels like the implications are a modern day kind of nuclear bomb. So Peter called me a couple weeks ago and he said, "You know, I know a lot about the music industry," and like yeah, Peter, yes, famous rock star, musician, he knows a lot about the music industry.
Rob Reid: [00:50:46] He knows a lot about the music industry.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:50:48] As do you.
Rob Reid: [0:50:49] As do I.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:50:50] Editor of Listen.com, and he said, "You know, our industry really transformed with something you are responsible for," which is digitally streamed music. Totally changed it fundamentally so everybody had access to any kind of music.
Rob Reid: [00:50:59] Yep.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [0:50:59] Totally changed it fundamentally. So everybody had access to any kind of music.
Rob Reid: [00:51:05] So a little background, I've mentioned this in prior episodes, but I'm sure some people, this might be their first episode. My background is I founded a company called Listen.com. The name of the company is forgotten, but the name of the product is not. It was called Rhapsody, and we were the first company to get full catalog licenses from all the major record labels and hundreds, even thousands of independent labels. We also were the first to create the unlimited, ondemand streaming model that is now best personified by Spotify, but has also been emulated by lots and lots of other companies. We were the first to do that. So that is very flattering that Mr. Gabriel says that this was transformative to music. I certainly believe that, because the access did change radically.
[00:51:47] When I was a small child and a medium-sized child and a big child and a young adult, almost every discretionary dollar that I had went into music, because that is vital to my daily happiness, and having saved up every dollar I could throughout my adolescence, I had a few thousand songs on tap. It was almost like I had my own little water tower of music and all of my friends had their own little water towers of music and we all had this little tiny sliver of the catalog of music, and what excited me most about the streaming model, as we started thinking about it, was that all the friction that stands in the way of any particular music lover exploring any particular song vanishes. There's no marginal cost to it. You don't have to go out and mow another lawn or shovel another driveway, which was how I earned music back in the day. There's the instantaneous access. There's all the hyperlinking between it. And yeah, the friction vanishes.
[00:52:42] So I'm delighted that he said that accessibility change. I think it changed by many orders of magnitude in a way that the experience that we have with music today, we couldn't even fathom it that.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:52:52] Right. So the next question is how do we do that with healthcare? How do we digitally stream health care? I think this segue is to something you were talking to Paul Allen about.
Rob Reid: [00:53:00] Well, the Paul Allen thing, I've only met Paul once and it was many years ago and it was very much in the context of the music, but I think that this hopefully will touch on what we do with healthcare, and I think it touches on what you're doing. And so the anecdote with Paul was, I was presenting at a conference that George Gilder put on shortly after or right before we released Rhapsody, I forget which one it was, but I described this in detail at this conference and when I was done speaking, two people came up to me, and one of them had a name tag I could read, which was Bob Metcalfe, and I was like, "Wow, Bob Metcalfe--
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:53:32] Who’s Bob Metcalfe's?
Rob Reid: [00:53:33] He created Metcalfe's Law, he's one of the biggest thinkers in networking, he started the company 3Com, and he's a very witty and urbane writer. I'd read a lot of his articles. He's a very insightful writer, but there would always be these funny little jabs and quips, and I just delighted in his writing, so I'm like, "I am meeting Bob Metcalfe." Not only that, Bob Metcalfe is coming up to talk to me after my talk, and there's this other guy, whose name tag I can't read. So the other guy obviously knew Bob, and he started asking me some really, really smart and probing questions about Rhapsody and then other guy, whose name I don't know yet, says, "Why don't the three of us get lunch?" The buffet was open, right, so we sit down and I realize at some point this is Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft.
[00:54:15]He described to me the music infrastructure that he had built in his own home or compound or whatever it is, and it had involved thousands of CDs, having lots of people encode those CDs very carefully, acquiring extravagantly expensive hard drives because this was some years ago to store all these gigabytes of data, hiring people to type in the names of the songs and all this other stuff. I think he might even have done something crazy like put a cellular tower in the middle of his home to broadcast it wirelessly, and he basically said, in a playful way, "I put X million dollars," I forget what X was, "into this system, and you're about to make that available to anybody in the world for 10 bucks. That's why I love this industry."
[00:55:00] And that's what technology does, is it moves down the curve of Moore's law and as that trillion-dollar infrastructure that you and I have discussed in Asia, that creates things cheaper and cheaper and better and better, that's what happens. A billionaire's music experience can become available for 10 bucks a month.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:55:19] It's the hospital. So he made a hospital and how do we digitally stream the healthcare like you did at Listen?
Rob Reid: [00:55:24] Yeah. Now I don't know if we can digitally stream everything. I mean certainly hands on care would be notoriously difficult to stream.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:55:31] But we can do surgery without the knife with our system, right?
Rob Reid: [00:55:34] Right.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:55:34] And the diagnosis on the medical imaging side.
Rob Reid: [00:55:37] That's what's so exciting about what you're doing is suddenly it does digitize a lot of things or currently these big radically expensive rooms, and the other side of it is, things that are on affordably expensive at first. Once that trillion dollar infrastructure in Asia starts working on it and great minds, start working on it, and Moore's law starts operating, the billionaire's music collection does become a 10 dollar a month product and then eventually free probably. But we have to worry about how musicians get compensated. I mean you're talking about radically changing access to medical imaging.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:56:15] All of healthcare. We know that AIs are better radiologists than a lot of radiologists, and that even a radiologist on a different day will misdiagnose versus diagnose. There's all kinds of studies shown on that. But there's three continents that don't have enough doctors. It's sort of like the One Laptop per Child problem again.
Rob Reid: [00:56:33] Certainly in oncology, I think it's getting rapidly to the point where radiology simply cannot be done by humans as well as it can be done by an AI. But oncology, I think that's still, the human role is very important.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:56:45] Absolutely. But in continents where they don't have enough doctors and they do now have Internet devices. And as we make our devices and we augment with, you know, whatever Jeff Huber is doing, and lots of different people, we can imagine a day where we can have 10 dollar a month digitally streamed healthcare. And we can catch things much earlier and treat them much earlier and massively reduce the cost of it, which is now 18 percent of the GDP of the US, which is incredible. And so how do we get to the vision that you created in distribution of music and access to music so we can get access to healthcare?
Rob Reid: [0:57:24] I think that the solution to that would involve digitizing everything that we can. Blood draws would, I'm sure, be notoriously difficult to digitize. You perhaps can't do quite everything, but again, if Openwater's technology delivers on its maximum promise, you've shown this thing that I never would even have imagined before you came along, which is medical imaging, which is something that would seem you have to go to a destination and if you're in an impoverished country, you might have to go to the capital to get the one machine in the country, suddenly that can become extremely widespread and more than widespread, particularly for neurological conditions, I'd imagine that the constant monitoring that you could enable would be very, very important. I did a little bit of research into epileptic disorders in writing my novel, because that was a problem that one of the characters had, and if you're going in for your annual MRI, what are the odds you're going to have a seizure right then and there? Whereas if you're wearing a cap because you have this issue, you can do this dynamic monitoring.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:58:25] And with anything with mental disease or brain disease affects 2 billion people between depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and stroke and on and on. But yeah, I mean if it's just the blood draw that probably could be handled locally pretty easily in that whatever passes for the pharmacy. That can be added with something that does the diagnosis spinning down the blood and like [indiscernible] [00:58:50].
Rob Reid: [00:58:51] All those things, yeah. And I particularly think of the developing world context because so many of therapies that we have here, obviously we'd like to push them much further so that people in countries like ours can live longer and healthier lives, but it's so tragic when you travel to places that are so much less privileged and you realize for want of a 30-cent vaccine, these terrible things are happening, and it can be blindness and it can be a lot of child mortality.
[00:59:14 ]But you mentioned the centrifuges. I saw a YouTube video that some brilliant people were thinking about the problems of centrifuges and hospitals were spinning the blood down and important stuff for tests and sampling and so forth, they need electricity. They're expensive, they're not very portable, and somebody figured out a way, I think looking at a child's toy, like sort of this spinning toy, to make a perfectly satisfactory centrifuge essentially with some string and some cardboard, and it's something that could be mass produced for a lot less than 10 bucks. It might've been even closer to a dollar.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:59:50] So like a top kind of?
Rob Reid: [00:59:51] Yeah, kind of like a spinning top.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [00:59:53] Tallest string and get the top.
Rob Reid: [00:59:54] And it's amazing because there's no reason this couldn't have been developed 50 years ago, but for whatever reason, the insight finally struck a brilliant mind quite recently. And so things like centrifuges, things like MRI machines, to our astonishment and delight, could become extremely widespread, and maybe Peter's notion of the streamed healthcare would be a battery of diagnostics and early warning devices and so forth, that can be distributed to people through a digital device with community healthcare workers taking the next step when it's necessary.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:00:29] Right. Even when our system, we can deliver light to a point removing the cancer or colonoscopy without the—
Rob Reid: [01:00:38] Discomfort.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:00:39] Roto-Rooter, but then also remove the polyps in the extreme. I think we're going to start with reading, but the potential there is for writing. Photodynamic therapy is amazing. If you deliver light to someplace where you're getting chemo, you can use 10 percent of the chemo even otherwise need.
Rob Reid: [01:00:55] That's interesting.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:00:56] There's this combination now of using the drugs and the light that can we move to just lay, we can get this to molecular level, so can you get rid of drugs in the extreme as the question?
Rob Reid: [01:01:08] Well, particularly neuroactive ones because the medicines, the molecules that we use right now to treat any neurological condition are pretty blunt instruments. They really are about causing synapses to fire or refrain from firing in certain circumstances, and if you could do that with optics and it sounds like there's a potential with your work to do that, you could certainly replace a lot of medication.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:01:31] Yeah. There's other work going on as well. Big universities in the world working on that problem. But how do we accelerate a lot of this work in a way that can actually get out of the research lab is I think the bigger question because people are dying.
Rob Reid: [01:01:46] Yeah, they are, in vast numbers. Another interesting dimension, the winner of the TED Prize last year, I'm blanking on his name, unfortunately, but he had been born in Liberia. I think he was of Indian descent, but he had spent part of his childhood in Liberia, came to the United States, became a very, very successful doctor, and then was drawn back to Liberia after the civil war ended and realized that there was this category of worker that's very, very important but generally untrained and uncompensated, which he calls a community health worker. And it was almost like a folk practice that people would learn a few things, they'd get a thermometer, they'd get some very simple gear, and they would get out there and for very, very low wages, would enter into an economic relationship with the community where they would provide some very simple but effective healthcare services.
[01:02:36] And so his TED wish, and the TED Prize that he was granted, was all about formalizing that and helping these self-starting community health workers, getting them a curriculum that made them quite sophisticated quite quickly in a handful of front-line treatments that are most important to their community and getting them a packet, not just of training, but of gear that they would be able to take out into the villages and deliver. So the TED Prize was to enable him to expand his efforts substantially and if that's successful, one could certainly imagine it expanding beyond West Africa into more and more places. And so that kind of thing coupled with these advanced, inexpensive diagnostics and interventions that we're talking about really could radically change the equation.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:03:22] It would be easier to monitor the blood without taking the blood out. I knew Andy Conrad, who sat next to me at Google, the founder of Verily, and the head of Verily now, started as Google Life Sciences, and the former CTO of LabCorp, one of the largest blood testing operations.
Rob Reid: [01:03:37] Yeah. One of the two largest, yeah.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:03:39] And as he explained it, LabCorp is the fourth-largest private airline in the country.
Rob Reid: [01:03:44] Because of all the samples that they shuffle around?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:03:45] Because the logistics of shuffling around the blood samples, and it's like—
Rob Reid: [01:03:49] That's amazing.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:03:49] He's like, "Can we just measure the blood while it's in the body, please? Can we figure out how to do that?" Because that makes it digital.
Rob Reid: [01:03:56] Well, one of my big disappointments in Silicon Valley over the last couple of years is that Theranos does not seem to be what we hoped it would be, Theranos being the company, for those who don't know, that seemed to promise or did promise that with just a drop of blood, you would be able to run a huge, huge battery of tests, but it's been unfortunately racked by scandal and certainly a number of observers, including their significant partners and government regulators and so forth, seem to be strongly indicating that the technology was not what it was cracked up to be.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:04:27] Right, but can we just skip the blood completely and monitor it in situ, in your body?
Rob Reid: [01:04:32] Is it in vivo or in situ?
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:04:34] I'm sorry, in vivo, sorry.
Rob Reid: [01:04:34] In vivo, what's in situ? My Latin is not very good.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:04:37] Inside your body.
Rob Reid: [01:04:38] In situ, yes.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:04:39] No needles at all. Let's just skip the needles, yeah.
Rob Reid: [01:04:42] Fantastic. Well, I know you have a flight to make, unfortunately. I could sit here all day and look at this beautiful bay on this gorgeous day, but you have to travel great distances and I'm probably pushing it with your airport appointment as it is.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:04:55] Yeah, I've got to go to Detroit.
Rob Reid: [01:04:56] Detroit, Rock City, as KISS once said. So have a wonderful trip. Thank you for being so generous with your time.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:05:03] Thank you for having me.
Rob Reid: [01:05:04] Know we will cross paths, probably quite soon, because we seem to do that a lot.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:05:08] Yeah, it's been really fun, and love the podcast and love the book. Read the book, it's amazing, After On. I was really inspired by the ePetStore.com CEO. When I was walking into a tough meeting, I realized I needed to swagger more. So there's all these things that you can't say when you leave companies about what actually happens, because we all have signed so many NDAs we can't comment, but since you've abstracted it to fiction, you tell more of the truth of what actually happens in Silicon Valley, which is the amazing thing that nobody can say or they'd get sued, and that's why it has to be fiction, but it's awesome. Read the book.
Rob Reid: [01:05:43] Well, then also the other amusing thing I have to point out is the ePetStore.com CEO, has a last name very much like yours. It's Jepson, only S-O-N.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:05:51] Right, the Swedes are S-O-N. The Danes are S-E-N, but yeah. But we don't have much in common at all.
Rob Reid: [01:05:56] The Swedes and the Danes.
Mary Lou Jepsen: [01:05:58] No, the ePetStore.com CEO.
Rob Reid: [01:06:00] Oh God, no, no. You and Tony Jepson are completely opposite people. Well, thank you again. Have a wonderful trip.
Mary Lou Jepsen: Thank you. Nice to be here.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:10] Hey everybody. Jordan here. I'm back. I know you miss me. I'm here with Rob Reid whose voice you just heard on the Mary Lou Jepsen episode.
Rob Reid: [01:06:18] And whose voice you just heard again.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:20] That's right. Now, this episode was phenomenal. That's why it's in the feed. I listened to this on the plane home from Denver where I was working on some advanced team dynamic stuff, which is why I took the opportunity to throw this show in the feed in the first place. And this is, I never do this, but I didn't want the episode to be over, which I mean, like I said, it never happens. Usually I can't wait for the last 20 minutes of anything. I'm over it. I'm already checked out, right?
Rob Reid: [01:06:47] Even Breaking Bad gave me that feeling. It's like, come on.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:50] Really?
Rob Reid: [01:06:50] No, I’m kidding.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:51] I think probably there are a few exceptions.
Rob Reid: [01:06:53] There are some, there are.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:54] But this Mary Lou Jepsen episode was one of them.
Rob Reid: [01:06:56] Rick and Morty.
Jordan Harbinger: [1:06:57] Rick, you and everybody else tell me about this.
Rob Reid: [01:07:00] Major exception to that role. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:02] But I want to know what gets you, look, you've done a lot of amazing things in your life. I'm not going to go and embarrass you too much, but you essentially did. Is it safe to say you invented the music streaming or is that kind of?
Rob Reid: [01:07:14] I would say the team that I was able to draw to the company that I started dead, I don't give myself credit for it, but my company was called listen.com. The product we created was called Rhapsody, and it was absolutely by any way of thinking of it, the first Spotify. We did create as a team, the unlimited on demand streaming model that everybody uses now. And we were actually also the first company to get full catalog licenses from all the major record labels. So that was back in my troubled youth as a tech entrepreneur.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:44] Right. The reason I'm putting this out there is not only to flatter you here and show everybody how smart you are, which I think they already have the idea from the episode, but to show the amount of work, obviously, the amount of work that goes into an episode like this is 30 hours or so. And we just discussed this pre show, but I prepare probably eight to 10 hours and people who listened to the Jordan Harbinger Show are like, “Whoa, my God, that's so long.” You're tripling up on that.
Rob Reid: [0 1:08:11] You are very prepared as an interviewer without any question, I am kind of, you know, pathologically prepared.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:19] Right, exactly.
Rob Reid: [0 1:08:19] And part of the reason is, I do interview folks in a radically diverse set of disciplines. And so one week it might be quantum computing, another week it might be synthetic biology, you know, another week it might be something pertaining to neuroscience or consciousness. And it's such a diverse array of things that, you know, the need to bring myself up to speed pushes toward that. But then I'm somebody who really enjoys a rabbit hole. And I also try to get really, really deep into the work of the person that I'm interviewing because I hope to ask them questions they've always wish journalists would ask them. Because journalists also they've got a very short, very short, you know, format that they're working for, or working with. And so a journalist probably journalists ask, you know, some of my guests the same seven questions a hundred times from different people. So yeah, I prepare it to a kind of pathological degree, no doubt.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:15] But it shows, and that's what I love about the after on podcast. I would never consider running a 99 shows out of a 100 or more. I would never even for one second run in this feed. But when I listened to that I thought, “Oh gosh, I want to do this interview but I kind of just want to do the exact same thing that you did.” And then I was thinking, well good thing I don't have to where they're literally going to put this in the feed. And being pathologically prepared can often result in disaster because everything is so scripted and so structured that it just seems kind of like a really yucky non conversation. After on doesn't have that problem. I'm interested in how you're able to keep it conversational while also going, I have 30 hours of stuff I want to cram into 40 minutes and also let the guests talk.
Rob Reid: [01:10:02] I don't know. I think maybe that comes from all the years that I spent as an entrepreneur because you would be in so many conversations as a CEO, whether it was with the press or you know, cherished employees or angry investors or whoever it was, where you really had to navigate a conversation better than you need to I think in most professional contexts. And so I think I wasn't very good at that when I first started my company, but I got good at it over four or five years. And that might be, I haven't really ever thought of this, but that might actually be a transferable skill between entrepreneurship and podcasting, of which there are not very many. But I think that's probably what I'd attributed to.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:43] When I was listening to the episode. One of the things that I thought was probably the most exciting was the wearing a ski hat as she put it, fMRI, or just wearing a bandana and having that be fMRI. I mentioned to you pre show, I think in an email that I've been talking about this for years because I'm a huge geek. And one of the things that really strikes me is how little we know about the brain. The more we talk to our mutual friend David Eagleman, or these other neuroscientists that we've had on both of our shows, you find that we know all this amazing stuff and then they go, well, you know, we kind of don't know how this works so well on emotions. They do this thing and you'd set it in the episode. That MRI and even fMR I right now is just this blunt instrument where it's like, “Oh, the left frontal lobe, part of the brain is lighting up.” That's where this emotional side, and now with the wearable fMRI using, is it lasers or just regular lights?
Rob Reid: [01:11:40]It’s lasers, yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:41] We're going to be able to go these little tiny clusters, the size of the head of a pin. That's what's causing the seizures in all these people because now we have millions of hours of data that we've collected in the past six months, of these epileptic people, or all of these violent criminals or all of this, whatever. This is the area that's causing a problem.
Rob Reid: [01:12:03] Yeah, and I think also just as relevant as the time series, and so right now if you get an MRI done, it's effectively a very, very rare snapshot that's going to be taken of your brain state. Now imagine you wanted an understand what Time Square was all about, and somebody gave you a snapshot. You can learn a lot from that, but now imagine somebody gave you a 24 hour feed of Times Square. You're simply going to detect patterns, nuances, and things that are absent at the instant of that snapshot, but are actually common on Times Square. You're going to understand it on a radically different level, and so I think one of the ramifications of Mary Lou’s work is that we will end up getting these intensely broad time series on a lot of brains that is just completely unaffordable and impractical for reasons of portability and a thousand other things. It's just going to completely roll back the frontiers of, I understand it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:57] Think about what we're going to learn about love even. I know that sounds cheesy, but I'm curious because that's one of those, everybody's writing poems about it. There's songs about it, there's movies about it. When people feel it, even smart people do stupid things. We're going to go, oh, this is what that is in the brain. Or, geez, you know, we know so much about epilepsy, but here's the medication that we have for it. Well, okay, good luck catching somebody having a seizure while they're in the MRI machine. That would be terrible for the person having it, but research gold. Now you can, or not now, in the future. Hopefully very soon, we'll be able to literally give every person who suffers from seizures in this test, this wearable device. And we'll say, just send us a message after you've had any sort of seizure episode, and we'll take the data from the device.
Rob Reid: [01:13:47] Yeah. And it's, it's interesting because there is so much benefit from that, you know, the amount of lifesaving that's going to go on. And Mary Lou's own story, the fact that she almost died of a brain tumor because she couldn't afford an MRI is going to be cheap as photograph, right? Yeah. And now one of the downsides is demystifying the mystical, you know, when we talk about things like love, we're going to understand it a lot better and that be kind of sad or even repelling on a certain level. I think it was Keats wrote this poem about unweaving the rainbow and he was very denunciatory I think toward Isaac Newton who predated him by a couple of hundred years. But Newton was the person who figured out that you could scatter the light with a prism. And so there was this rare moving thing that one of these, these brilliant dead poets I think as Keats is that unweaving the rainbow. And I think that that's something we got to be a little bit cautious about.
[01:14:44] I think if love itself were completely reduced to zeroes and ones, we'd lose something. But at the same time when you're talking about saving thousands of lives, 10,000, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of lives, and you're talking about really rolling back the realm of experiences that we could potentially have as we understand the brain better. I think the balance, I'm glad that Newton came along and unweave the rainbow.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:09] 0f course.
Rob Reid: [01:15:10] Yeah. Very, very glad. I would not want to go back to the 16th century or whatever the hell it was.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:15] Right. Where they believed to you in order to figure out, Oh, how to cure the disease? Just cut open some veins and if you're still alive after that, you're cured.
Rob Reid: [01:15:22] And even worse, I think Newton's most productive period was when he went home from university for a span of almost a year because there was bubonic plague going on at Cambridge or fox break—
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:34] Worst spring break ever.
Rob Reid: [01:15:35] Worst spring break ever, right? Bubonic plague, you know, and we thought, you know, Ebola was bad, of all this.
Jordan Harbinger: [0 1:15:43] Yeah. It's worse when everyone in your entire city has it and most of your friends and professors are dead. I think looking at the dream reading stuff that just kept me up at night. Not in a bad way. I just thought—
Rob Reid: [01:15:57] Well that prevented you from dreaming. So that made me, that was counterproductive.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:00] It was my self defense, actually. I don't want anybody reading my dreams. I just didn't have any. But what I think is going to be amazing with this is think about the economics of this. Okay, so we're able to read dreams. Okay, well then is there going to be dream roulette where I can watch other people's dreams if I can't sleep or maybe I just have a dream channel on whatever devices, the TV equivalent at that point? Am I streaming other people's dreams or what if I want to see what my loved ones are dreaming about? Are we going to allow that? Is that going to be too invasive? Is it going to be like the prenup of 2050, I want to see what your dreams have been for the past six months. Oh, I don't know or?
Rob Reid: [01:16:39] Well it would be invasive certainly if you could watch your loved ones or anybody's dreams without their permission. So I think you start with permission, and then beyond that, I think that things like anonymity could make certain things more interesting to folks. There's going to be whole realm of etiquettes and laws and practices and traditions that emerge around these things. But we are going to be around as they're emerging much as we've seen those things emerge on the Internet in our own lifetimes.
[01:17:09] The dream thing though is really, really fascinating. I mean for me, probably the most pedestrian application we could even think of for this is just hitting play in the morning when you wake up. And for me that is just so cool in and of itself. But dream roulette. Yeah!
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:27] Dream roulette.
Rob Reid: [01:17:28] Tapping into the dreams of whatever random person it is. And unlike chat roulette, it can't necessarily be hijacked by perverts because they don't have any control about what they're dreaming when you drop in on them.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:42] That's true. That's a good point. Although, there will be ways to curate dreams. There will be ways to tag them. You'll be able to archive your dreams, you'll be able to archive your kid's dreams. But man, you thought it was weird when James Fallon found out he was a psychopath through a brain scan during the study. Imagine the weird stuff you're going to find out about yourself.
Rob Reid: [01:18:02] Are my dreams copywritten hmm. There might be a whole level of intellectual property law like, sorry, Disney, that was a great movie you came up with. But this kid dream, that plot line about four years ago and you're getting your asses suit.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:17] Oh gosh, what on Earth? There's so many things like that that are going to be, ah, so these are what the episodes make me think about. Well, this episode in particular, but a lot of episodes have after on make me go, wait a minute, hold on. Let me think about this. And I find myself sometimes pausing and going, I just need to let this one marinade. I just need to let this sink in. And I wish I had a concrete example. I know there was stuff during David Eagleman. I know that, and now I'm even looking for, I'm looking forward to the Paris etymology, which is a word you had to teach me. The study of parasites, not the study of Paris and France, although it's sort of sounds like it might be.
Rob Reid: [01:18:52] Or Paris Hilton, not the study of her.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:54] Not that either.
Rob Reid: [1:18:55] Nope.
Jordan Harbinger: [0 1:18:56] I'm looking forward to all of these things because of the way that you prep and the way that you're able to go down the rabbit holes and just, I know people go, “Ooh, parasites.” They're thinking tapeworms. Imagine the parasites that get into your brain and make you think things these exist.
Rob Reid: [01:19:10] Oh yeah. And that'll be a fascinating episode when it comes around for sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:14] What are your favorite episodes of your own show? I know it's like choosing a favorite kid, but since you don't have any kids.
Rob Reid: [01:19:20] I don't, yeah, not yet. Not yet. Well I've been doing it only since August, so it's a limited family. There's about 30 right now. And boy, it is hard to distinguish them. What I'd like to do actually maybe is start by talking about episodes. I think your listeners would really grab it into it. I think that the Mary Lou Jepsen episode fit great with your show. A few others that, if you're listening and you enjoyed the Mary Lou Jepsen episode, I can pretty much guarantee you would get a big kick out of an episode with a guy named Adam Gozali. It's actually my second episode and what Adam does kind of in your neighbor to Mary Lou.
[01:19:59] He's creating video games that can actually reverse things like dementia, like ADHD and in fact, a game of his is in the very end of a phase three process with the FDA. They got incredible data out of it and it is very likely to be approved as a prescription product, a prescription video game in the next several months. And so that's a pretty wild and interesting and very accessible episode. Now I do try very hard, I mean, this is the whole point of my show. I try to make the most exotic and complex things accessible to the listener. No knowledge is presumed and hopefully in the course of my episodes tend to be 80 or 90 minutes. By listening to it, you can become, you know, kind of top percentile fluent, conversant. In a top percentile, not amongst experts, but amongst folks at a cocktail party in this particular domain.
[01:20:52] So, you know, beyond that, I'd say look at the set of episodes and the things that you might find you'd like to be expert in. I did a great interview in December that I think would inter interests a lot of your listeners with a guy named Fred Ehrsam, who is the founder of a company called Coinbase, which is probably the largest and most successful company in the cryptocurrency domain right now. And we really went at it. It's all about a two hour conversation, soup to nuts, like from the very beginning, what is cryptocurrency really for those who barely know a thing about it. And then by the end of the two hours, we're deep, deep into some of the crazy complicated things that could one day be done with blockchain technology that most folks haven't even thought of probably yet. So that's one that I think has pretty wide interests.
[01:21:37] Now that I've tried to talk your listeners into listening to my podcast, I'll, I'll try to talk some of them out of it because their shows are very different. Your shows are very different in some of the episodes on your show fit grain on mine and vice versa. Where I'd say, you know, steer clear is I'm unlike you. I don't have a focus on the practical. I think when you listen to one of my shows you hopefully we'll have a lot of really interesting mental curiosity itches scratched, right? But you're not going to come away with a set of actionable things. You won't really learn anything that will help you get through life better, manage your relationships better, pursue your career better. And so if the way that you like to allocate your time is geared toward that, my shows not as much for you.
[01:22:26] The ones that I just mentioned probably will be. But you know, maybe the show is less for you and maybe a good episode is actually a test case episode to decide if my show is something you'd enjoy listening to. It's a guy named George Church who was on in early April. He is arguably the leading bioengineer in the world right now. He is one of the fathers of the field of synthetic biology. He's also one of the most influential people in the world of genomics. And George and I sat down for two hours and kind of created a challenge for ourselves to again like try to take somebody who knows nothing, you know, barely knows what DNA is, which I think is most us before we dive into a subject.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:07] Double helix is all I really know.
Rob Reid: [01:23:08] Yeah, take it from double helix is all I know to really understanding the foundations of synthetic biology and from that getting into the really cool, fun, fascinating, Oh my God, how will this change our world? Kind of like Mary Lou Jepsen things, that might happen as a result of synthetic biology in radically improve our lives and extend our lives and so forth. And I think if somebody who listens to that and is like, that is too sciencey, it's too nerdy, it ain't for me, will ultimately not really embraced my show. But somebody who listens to that and says, damn, that was a riot, probably would. And I think any of your listeners would probably get a kick out of cryptocurrency, and cut some of these other things.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:47] Absolutely. I will caveat your caveat. I think a lot of people who think they might not be into it because it's not as practical or you made it sound a little bit like, “Oh, it's going to be using all these words you don't understand.” There might be one or two, but fine.
Rob Reid: [01:24:00] But there are always defined.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:02] That’s right there are always defined.
Rob Reid: [01:24:02] They're always the very carefully defined. We don't assume any knowledge.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:06] But the thing is, look, I think there's a reason that you sometimes got to read a book that might be based on a true story instead of a business book or nonfiction. And not that your stuff is fictional, of course. But what I mean is even me, I read a hundred plus books a year. 99 percent of them are probably business or some sort of hardcore, but occasionally I just go, you know what? Screw it. I want to read a novel and I want to enjoy it ,and I don't want to have a homework at the end.
[01:24:33] And that's one of the reasons why I love After On because I can listen to something on a plane, learn a bunch of stuff, and not go, “Oh, if I don't apply this, I'm failing.”
Rob Reid: [0 1:24:41] I don't remember it. I'm somehow shortchanging myself.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:44]Exactly. And I know a lot of people for the Jordan Harbinger Show go, there's just so much stuff. There's guilt attached to it. It's just one of the reasons why we did the work.
Rob Reid: [01:24:51] I always feel bad about not, I don't do the worksheets worksheet.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:53] There you go [indiscernible] [01:24:55] worksheets. Shame on you.
Rob Reid: [01:24:56] I've never done a worksheet, but I love your show.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:59] Thank you. Well good. Well thanks for coming on. We're going to link to this of course in the show notes as well, because I want you to go and check it out and tell me your favorite episodes of After On. And Rob, it was fun hanging out with you at your apartment. But I'm hungry. Let's go eat.
Rob Reid: [01:25:10] Let's go eat. It's dinner time.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:25:12] So I hope you all enjoyed that. Rob's a great guy. I'm really glad to be able to introduce him to you. The After On podcast is legit. I think you're really going to have some mind blowing info dropped on you if you decided to go ahead and check that out, which I recommend that you do. This episode produced and edited as always by Jason DeFillippo. Show notes are by Robert Fogarty. Booking back office and last minute miracles by Jen Harbinger. Of course, that interview before hosted by Rob, read and edited by Jason Sanderson. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. Don't forget to pay that fee and share the show with those you love and even those you don't. We've got lots of more in the pipeline and we're excited to bring it to you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:25:54] Hey, so you know I don't normally ask for stuff like this, but we are starting the show over in case you didn't know and if you're new to the show, well, we started over in case you didn't know. What we need now is yes, of course, iTunes reviews, all that stuff really helps, but we've got to help the podcast stay free to download with minimal ads. I know people are like, “Oh, there's four ads.” Trust me. That is what's considered minimal. If you live in other shows, you're like, WTF. I want to get the right advertisers for you. Responses to this survey will help align the appropriate advertisers to our audience here. This survey is super short. It's completely anonymous. It takes less than four minutes unless you don't know how to use a freaking computer mouse. What you need to do to take the survey, jordanharbinger.com/survey. Jordan harbinger.com/survey. If you filled out a survey in the past, well thank you, but that was the, that was the old show. We need you to do it again. This is totally different. Totally new. This is the first time we're doing it. So these demographics, make sure that you don't get ads for like Monster Truck shows, but get ads for stuff you guys are actually using. You can do all of us at the Jordan Harbinger Show and PodcastOne a huge favor by filling it out. Jordanharbinger.com/survey.
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