This Week in Tech 581
Jason Calacanis: Coming up next, it's This Week in Tech with Ben Parr, Robert Scoble, Brian Alvey, and myself, Jason Calacanis. We'll talk about Facebook, Tesla, Self-driving Cars, Twitter being sold to Google or somebody else, and Snapchat's snap glasses. Also, we'll see pictures of Robert Scoble in the shower. Stay with us!
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(Voice of ) Leo Laporte: Bandwidth for This Week in Tech is provided by CacheFly at cachefly.com.
Jason: This is "This Week in Tech," episode 581, recorded September 25, 2016.
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Jason: Hey everybody! Welcome to another episode of This Week in Tech. I'm not Leo Laporte, I'm Jason Calacanis. Sitting in for Leo, who is taking a well-deserved vacation. With me this week, legends of tech including Robert Scoble, back on This Week in Tech. Welcome to the program.
Robert Scoble: It's an honor to be here.
Jason: You have been traveling around the world. Stops in?
Robert: In the last three weeks, I've been in China, Brazil, Denmark... by the way, I go home in between these places. Canada and Germany.
Jason: And you've seen a lot of VR stuff and you have a lot of information on what's going down in Google and Apple. We'll be getting to that in a bit. Ben Parr is with us. You've been on the program many times. Everyone knows you.
Ben Parr: Hi, everyone! I'm glad to be back.
Jason: And my partner with Weblogs Inc, the cofounder of Engadget, and now doing Clipisode, you're doing a secret project, and I'm an angel investor in it. Clipisodes, how do you get to that?
Brian Alvey: Clipisode.co.
Jason: Nobody knows what it is yet. Or is there information on the website?
Brian: There's actually a video.
Jason: Great! You guys can check that out. Brian was the co-founder of Engadget. It's been a huge week in the news. We're going to get right to it. Apple, of course is leading things off. The iPhone seven, I got one, Robert, you've got yours.
Robert: It's still in the box.
Jason: It's the life of Robert Scoble! People send you everything.
Robert: I paid for that phone! I didn't pay for the other three.
Jason: Do you think Walt Mossberg got a free product? Does anybody get free products from Apple?
Robert: There's a few who get review units...
Brian: But they have to send it back.
Robert: You know there's the ones who do send it back, like Walt does, and there's Recode who have rules. There's people who keep theirs. There's only a few.
Jason: You basically get everything. Everybody sends you everything because if you review it...
Robert: I stand in line and buy it...
Jason: For Apple. Everything else...
Robert: I don't get it for free. No.
Ben: When is the last time you bought an Android phone?
Robert: Why? Wawe brought me to China to meet with their executive team to play with their phones. And they're behind Apple.
Jason: Let's get right to it. Let's talk first about the car project. People who were reading about Project Titan for the past couple of years actually, they hit somewhere around a thousand employees reported. This week, Apple and a luxury car maker, McClaren, if you don't know McClaren, it's a couple thousand people who make five hundred million pounds a year, and they make three hundred thousand dollar and 1.5 million dollar sports cars. But they also do Carbon Fiber and a bunch of other materials. Apple has obviously said nothing, McClaren has denied it, which is obviously proof that it is well underway. They want a higher price. What does this mean in terms of the Apple car?
Robert: My best friend is one of 12 guys who built the iPhone and his brother still works at Apple. When you get Apple people together this is what we argue about. Are they building a car? Are they doing something else? But think about what a car... let's go ten years, fifteen years in the future... First of all, we're not going to buy a car. 15 years out.
Jason: No car ownership, you'll just be time sharing.
Robert: Unless you want an antique or a race car or something like that. If you're a rich person, sure. Normal people are going to get their car delivered off of Uber. If you have a self-driving car, it's going to be way cheaper and better than owning your own car. I like to think about Elon Musk. I'd give him a thousand dollars of my money to by the Tesla three. So did a bunch of other people.
Jason: The largest kickstarter in history, if you think about it. If the cars end up being 45,000 each, that's close to 20 billion dollars in Kickstarter.
Robert: Now, what do we really want in a car? I've seen 35 fighter jet costs a billion dollars, and I've talked to the pilots about it. They said we'll never lose to an F 16, because I can see you and you can't see me. They are wearing augmented reality glasses as a pilot. I want the same thing in my car. I don't want to see the sides of my car. BMW already demonstrated this. Put cameras on the ridge of the car and let me see through the car.
Jason: I've seen this video. Ten years ago, somebody had done it in China, they put cameras in the front of the car underneath the engine to see the road, then they put screens where the floorboards were, so when you looked down you had vertigo, like " Oh my god, my feet are about to hit the ground and rip off..." But you're saying the ability to see with Goggles everything around you.
Robert: What Elon is doing. He's putting sensors in the car that enable self-driving. Front facing radar for instance, duel cameras that do depth maps. Why can't I see that data visualized in my glasses so I can see through fog and see threats to me and the car coming?
Jason: And this all becomes moot when you have self-driving.
Brian: What he's describing is Daredevil for Race cars. When you see the sensors they put on these things, what is it, Pittsburgh? Half of the stuff isn't really visual. It's radar to sense all of these... it doesn't matter what the weather is. It matters if it's nighttime. Pretty amazing.
Ben: I want to bring that back to the part where we're talking about Apple and why they're even thinking about this. It feels like Apple has been rebooting the car project in multiple different ways. This is part of the Apple process, but never so publicly. The idea that acquisitions would leak would not have happened five years ago. Mass Firings. Now it happens, and the style of acquisitions has changed. When I was editor at Mashable, I read about two acquisitions; none of them were over 30 million, now you're talking about multiple multi-billion dollar acquisitions.
Jason: The biggest is Beats, but this shows if they do buy this, they might be willing to be a house of brands as opposed to the branded house in that Apple would never let somebody else make something. With Steve gone, maybe Tim Cook says we can do what Facebook did, which is have Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook or Google has YouTube.
Jason: Who loses big when these glasses come out, and who is going to win augmented/mixed reality? If you had to pick one or two companies?
Robert: This is the big question. Tim Cook knows what is coming. He's bought 13 or 15 companies to make these. If he messes up, he has the recipe on the table...
Jason: If he messes up AR, it could be Apple that goes away.
Robert: Not Apple, they have so much money, they're not going away. It would take a couple misses. Tim Cook is gone. Here's how I think Tim is going to announce the iPhone 8 next year. September 2017, we're going to be sitting there, the lights are going to go down, the music is going to go down, and there's going to be three quotes in white on the projection screens. Something like Walt Moss saying Apple's innovation is dead, and New York Times says Apple is boring again. Fred Davis says that he is tired of Apple. Plenty of people are saying this. Imagine those three quotes go up, and Tim Cook walks out and says there are many in this community who think I haven't been doing my job for the last five years. There's many in this community who think I lost Steve Jobs's playbook even though he handed it to me. Then he's going to say in the next 60 minutes, you are going to see more innovation from Apple than it has ever delivered, which is coming. I'm not sure if it's next year or the year after that. There is so much new stuff coming... the iPhone 8 already has edge to edge screen. He'll say, "Why do you need that?" Virtual reality. Then he'll turn the phone over. He'll say, You know this company, Microsoft? They have this product called Hololens. That came from the X Box team. The Connect sensor. Where did the Connect sensor come from? Prime Sense. I bought the company and then invented this new thing. It's in the phone. Tango is shipping this in October. Over and over, he's going to bring out new things. AI, AR, blah blah. There's going to be these glasses. So what is Elon Musk going to do with glasses, that's what I'm wondering.
Jason: What do you think Ben? Is Apple so far behind now that they won't be able to catch up in AR, VR? Right now, just so people can recap, you have Oculus, Magic Leap, Sony, HTC, Google, Microsoft, all with major products in market.
Ben: Apple is not behind for how Apple does it. Apple's process is never to be first. They will wait a couple of years. Let the market develop. Honestly, the VR market isn't that big yet. It's not super accessible. Too expensive, especially the high end stuff. Apple wants to be like...
Robert: There's four problems with mobile based VR. Six degrees is one. When you get a Vive like I have... do you have one yet? We can play Frisbee with each other over the Internet. We can throw Basketballs together, do archery together, infinite things we can do. Ski jumping is coming in December. Blah. That's what you want, the ability to play with people over the Internet, using your hands, your face, your body. You can't do that with Mobile, and it's coming. When it does come, it's going to be cheap, because you already have a super computer in your hand.
Ben: Apple realizes this and they understand that and they're building for that. They don't need to be first to market, they just need to be best at market. It didn't matter that people put out fifteen tablets before...
Jason: The counterargument would be the Apple watch is completely underwhelming. Is anybody here wearing one? Has anyone here bought one? You bought one? Two out of four bought one, we don't wear it. The new one marginally better, but still not as good as Fitbit. That's a lackluster product launch, and the iPhone seven, I've been playing with it a couple days, the camera seems noticeably better, but not incredible. The screen is maybe noticeably better, but not incredible. I Have to say, taking the phone jack out, I didn't think this would be a big deal, I've had two or three instances in a weekend that make it infuriating. One, I was driving, I was going to make a phone call, I like to use my headset because it's better fidelity. I was charging, I had low battery charge, so I had to choose between power and this. Then somebody had a stereo system at the house I was at, and they wanted me to plug into the jack, and I had to go find the dongle. Wha ta horrible idea. And the really horrible idea about removing the phone jack is they could have made the dongle have a pass through power. Why does the dongle not have pass through power, just like when you get a MacBook they have this USBC, you use the MacConnector, it's like how many different concurrent plugs does Apple support?
Robert: Steve Jobs has done this to us several times in his history. He took away the floppy drive, and people had the same arguments. What am I going to do without a floppy drive? There's a revolution in audio coming. Doppler labs is one of the companies that is bringing this. They handed me headphones at Coachella. They're 200 dollar headphones. They have a microphone processing and a speaker, and they block the real audio from coming to your... keep in mind, we're at Coachella.
Jason: And you're going to put ear pieces in and listen with those.
Robert: It sounds better.
Ben: I know what you're talking about. I tried those at Coachella.
Robert: It listens to the audio and you can process it and turn it down.
Ben: It's not just that you turn it down, but you can pick which kind of audio you turn up or down. You can turn up voice, or treble, I still think it's not the right decision the way they did it.
Jason: Can those earpieces make Dillon... can you understand the lyrics or no?
Robert: They're coming with all sorts of magical things. Once you cut that chord, and I think this is where Apple is going. You can have a translator if you're speaking Chinese, you can do this audio processing. The noise cancelling on Doppler labs is way better on a boat. There's a revolution coming in audio and nobody has seen it because you have to have one of these in your ears to understand...
Jason: Lets' go back... should we cut to a break? Commercial here. Hold that thought. When we get back, Apple is looking at a company called Lit Motors. They make essentially a motorcycle in a metal cage that has a gyrostrobe in it. It does not fall over. You can't make it fall over, and if you skid or flip it, you're going to be wearing a 3 point harness. will Apple buy this company? And Snapchat has come out with their own glasses, finally. And Google has their big announcement, and the person running Oculus is a secret troll on Reddit, and Robert wants him fired when we get back with This Week in Tech.
Leo: We're going to have more TWiT and the gang. I'm going to give the big brains a time to cool and rest. Smoke em if you got 'em, kids. While I talk a bit about Automatic, our great sponsor. A really good sponsor of all of our shows, but also a really great product. It's for the OBD 2 port, that's the onboard diagnostics port on every vehicle made since 1996, you've got one. You do. It's under your steering wheel right where your knees are. If you didn't see it, you probably assumed it's a port for the technician at the dealership to check the car. That's true, that's its intent, but it's an open port. It's an open standard, and Automatic makes a cool dongle, plugs into the port and gets its power from the port without draining your battery, has Bluetooth, so it pairs with your phone, Android or IOS, and then you get all this information from your car. Makes your car smart! Like what that light on the dashboard means. It's a great thing, if you've got teens to put it in, because of all sorts of features like Geo-fencing and on Android phones you can turn off texting automatically. There's a lot of really nice stuff. Once you get that Automatic on your OBD port and your automatic software. The nice thing is there is no subscription, there's no monthly fee, and the new automatic has added 3G. This is the automatic Pro. It has 3G, that's amazing. In the automatic, and still the no subscription fee! Free. 3G. For instance, you don't have to have your phone with you. This is why it's great for teenagers. You can see where the car is, you can see where it's parked, even if you're not in the car. They integrate with everything. It works with your thermostat, so if you're coming home and your house heater comes on, you can ask your Amazon Echo where you parked your car. Where did I park my car, or how much gas is in the tank? And, this is great. Automatic Pro detects severe accidents and will call for help even if you can't. Trained responders will call for help. That is peace of mind if you're a parent. Automatic works on any car made after '96. It takes minutes, seconds to connect. The hardest thing is figuring out where is my port, and then you pair it with your phone and boom. By the way, it also works with the Apple Watch and the Pebble, so this thing is so slick. It basically makes it a smart car, no matter what kind of car it is. Normally it's 129.95, there's no monthly fee, the 3G is free, but we have an offer code that will save you 20 bucks. Use the offer code TWiT, go to automatic.com/twit. Don't forget when you decide to buy, use the offer code TWiT for 20 bucks off the regular purchase price. Automatic.com/twit, we thank them for their support, now back to the show.
Jason: thank you, Leo, and Automatic, for supporting independent media like This Week in Tech. Leo's voice is pretty great, he's a great media guy. Thanks for letting me host and trash the studio. Taking a quick detour. A person named Palmer Freeman Lucky is the co-founder of Oculus, Oculus makes VR. WE don't want to drift too much into politics, but he is the co-founder of Oculus, as I said, which is a Facebook company, and he has apologized for giving money to a company called Nimble America, he gave ten dimes to it, ten thousand dollars. He's claiming it wasn't him on Reddit trolling about Trump and doing a bunch of other stuff. He said I'm a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, I'm committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment, I did not write the nimble post, reports that I am a former employee of Nimble America are false, I have no plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America. Still, my actions are my own, I do not resign, I am sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community. This has created some massive brew ha ha. Brian, what is going on here?
Brian: It's a great question. The funny thing, I own a vive. Like buying an Oculus somehow makes you a Trump supporter. He's in trouble for having an opinion in one sense, but he's also in trouble for helping people go nuts on people. That's the bullying. His apology isn't an... it's a mexplanation. He's apologizing for the company having problems with the community. I'm very sorry this is happening. He's not sorry he did anything. What he said is it wasn't me, but the journalist who uncovered it all said well, what he's doing is he's parsing this in a crazy way. Somebody else set up the account, I stepped in and wrote the stuff, sent the money, so it's not really my account, but I'm the only person who ever posted under that name? I didn't do it, it's not my account. Somebody set it up for me to go in and type all this stuff.
Jason: Now I know how to deflect all the stuff in the future if I want to create trolling accounts. It's pretty amazing, because what this group did was basically post a lot of the abhorrent Hillary Clinton, misogynistic, crazy memes. It's a Reddit trolling thing, not that Reddit is only one thing. I think Reddit gets an unfair reputation that it's all trolls. It is probably 99% not trolls, but the 1% trolls are so vocal, but trolling seems to be the high art form that it's being lampooned. I don't know if anybody is watching 'South Park Season 20, but it's essentially... if you haven't watched Season 19 or 20, it's literally about Twitter and trolling. Robert, you wrote that Zoc should fire him. Zoc follows you, Zoc likes your posts, not this one, you have known him personally. It's inevitable that he will read your post. Why do you feel he should be fired?
Robert: I got to split up my ego into two places. One is the politics which I find abhorrent. Let's put those aside. I've gone around the world many times this year. I've met with many VR developers. Most of the coolest VR developers are developing only for the Vive because it has room scale, and it's held with controllers today. I don't have Oculus controllers and I'm in the middle of the VR industry. This guy hasn't done his job, he's losing to a competitor he should not be losing to, and he's not positioned well for AR, he's not positioned well for this coming fight, which is a multi-billion dollar fight. N video and Qualcomm alone are spending millions of dollars of GPU at the base level. That gives you a sense of how much importance this Industry is putting on this stuff. This other thing was the fire that lit the fuel for me. This guy is not doing his job and Facebook is not positioned well in VR, and they're not taking their job...
Jason: It's one thing if you're winning and trolling in your spare time. It's another thing if you're losing...
Robert: We would still have a problem even if he was winning, but I would have a harder time calling for his firing.
Brian: Would you compare that to Nest? Where the problems with the team around you lead them to looking at it more closely?
Ben: One, Palmer has not been the person running Oculus.
Robert: No, but he's the visual face and he's made promises over and over to the community...
Ben: I agree with you for doing... you're taking a side, the performance needs to leadership, I can't disagree with that either. So much more press, so much more interest in the Vive. It's just a stronger product at the moment. Regardless of which side, spending your money to troll and to harass people isn't OK in general.
Jason: It's one thing to have political beliefs. We all have friends who want to vote for one side or the other. I don't think anybody should be fired for their political beliefs. It's a very divisive time right now. We've never seen it in our life times.
Robert: It's the deepest choice we've ever had to make as Americans.
Jason: It's very divisive. WE can get into that on This Week in Politics another time. But, there is something qualitatively different about a political opinion and active trolling. I think we all realize active trolling is funny for 12 year old boys, but it's actually hurtful and childish, and not something the senior executive at a company should be doing unless they're putting their name on it, like, I'm going to troll you by telling you your product sucks like the guy from T Mobile does. There's something about this... it came up with Peter Thiel as well. If you do anonymous bad behavior, it becomes ten times worse. The anonymity makes it...
Brian: People brought that up. Why was he hiding it?
Jason: It's just weird. We're seeing a lot of weird things happen because of this election. Facebook has gone out of their way, maybe not problematic about this, Facebook had their thumb on the scale when it came to liberal stuff. The people who were doing trending topics were very clearly trending liberal, and Zuck went out of his way to have Glenn Beck and a bunch of conservatives... maybe this was done intentionally.
Ben: There is the other thing. What is the actually long-term damages? Probably this not that much. The longer term is can Oculus regain the position of number one?
Robert: He was the public face of this team. He was onstage at conferences, interviewed many times. We were probably going to interview him for our new show we were going to do on vr. He can't be any more. He's so divisive. Half of the people are going to go against him. He's losing and somebody needs to say that. It's not just politics. The reason the community is against him, and flipped so violently, including Noni Penya, who was in the room with him when he was inventing it. She came out very strongly that he went over the line with her with this. Again, there was a pre-condition that was happening already. He made promises to the VR community that Oculus was going to be an open system. He had to take those words back.
Jason: So now his character is being dismantled. It's hard when you're the evangelist to have these things. That's why you don't see Zuck or other people... or Jack at Twitter to segway. This week we saw that Twitter was for sale, because they can't fix it so they think it can be part of something else. Jack is known for being on the other side. Being very liberal...
Robert: A7 said you have to be a Democrat to sell VR. that's not true. That's not what we're saying. You do have to have credibility with the community you serve if you're going to be a leader in that company. If you lose that credibility for any reason, a scandal or something, you're going to be removed. CEOs get fired all the time for these things.
Jason: Amongst the CEO crowd, there are a ton of people who have spoken to and said what's your position, and they say my position is X, don't tell people my position. I hope you vote this year. Intelligent people are taking the position to vote. 75% of people who are not voters if they vote vote for Hillary Clinton. So that's why you see the Democrats pushing for more people to vote, Republicans pushing for less people to vote and making it harder to vote, because it happens to be in this election, the people who are not registered will lean that way. Brian, when we look at all of this, you have Twitter now is too far left. What do you think happens with Twitter? Is it Google who will buy it?
Brian: I've thought about this all along.
Jason: Could anybody conceivably fix it. That's the other situation. Jack spent half time, Jack is a pretty bright guy, obviously. but he's half time, the product has not gotten demonstrably better. He's making some weird decisions, like banning Milo and getting involved in policing seems like a weird decision. You don't see Zuck coming down to that level ever. Picking what's in trending topics. Jack is getting too emotionally involved in the words.
Brian: It doesn't help. He shows up with a hashtag t shirt on at a riot, that's wonderful, but it doesn't help te product or the company at all. I don't know who buys it. Media companies and other tech companies and where does it fit in? It's a necessity to have this place for free speech, and the availability to reach out to a celebrity, but what does it add? What does it add to Apple to buy Twitter?
Ben: One thing, it's not just the service, it's the data source. The data source is extraordinarily valuable to companies like Microsoft, to Sales force, to Google, to Facebook.
Jason: We understand why it's interesting to Microsoft and Google because they both have search engines, that data isn't indexed. Why is sales force so important?
Ben: I think they're thinking about expanding their business. This opens up... the social feeds feed a lot into the Einstein project and into AI, so I get it. The purchase doesn't make sense in that they don't have the money to buy it. Lack of money isn't going to stop Benihoff. It makes sense that they partnered with the right company.
Jason: Who is the top company? It seems like Google. To make the most sense.
Ben: If Google hasn't done at this point, with multiple rumors and times they've had that discussion... why now?
Jason: I think... capitulation. I think they got Jack back in there, he gave it half of his all... he gave it half, and it hasn't gotten marginally better. the product is not even marginally better.
Brian: Every time they come out with a new feature, people respond and go that's great. No longer counting the first @ mention, can you fix trolling, can I edit my tweet? They list all the major stuff. Twitter doesn't fix the major stuff.
Jason: It doesn't feel like there's any clear vision. What is the Twitter vision?
Brian: If Twitter was a European company, somebody would have bought it with their off shore cash.
Jason: Now they're talking 30 billion dollar price, which makes no sense. I don't think failing companies get a premium. Robert, who is the most likely buyer, if you had to place a bet, if I had to say all your gadgets on the table, we each have to bet all of our gadgets on us, and we bought in the last two years, what company do you bet?
Robert: Twitter? Somebody like Verizon or Comcast. A company that is trying to switch out of its businesses model as rapidly as possible. An exec at Google R and D told me that we're not going to use the phone company in a few years. We're going to use Wireless coming from Google, coming from a hot air balloon, and from a Satellite network. Do you notice what blew up on that Space X?
Jason: It was a Facebook satellite.
Robert: What was the satellite for?
Jason: It was for low earth orbit internet in Africa, built by an Israeli company.
Robert: First of all, I don't believe when some executive like Mark Zuckerberg says I'm building this for poor people in Africa. It's for everybody.
Jason: Fair point.
Robert: He is signaling to his employees I have a new mission which is to bring it to everybody. Great mission, but it's not just for the poor people in Africa.
Jason: So you think he wants to do a low earth orbit satellite?
Robert: Google is building it too. They have a fiber network that is unparalleled. They have more fiber from here to India. There are startups that we know that are building satellites...
Jason: Space X is talking about it.
Robert: The satellites can share packets with each other and packets around the earth, then distribute those packets down to something on the ground or something close to the ground.
Jason: It's a pizza sized box. The difference, as I understand it, low earth orbit satellites have a narrower field of coverage, and they burn up, because they're lower, they don't cover as much land.
Brian: It's opportunity. If you're a geosynchronous one, you don't have time to get a good picture, but if you're low enough to get a good picture, you have 12 minutes of going across your house, and those are the only 12 minutes...
Jason: This low earth orbit will require 857 satellites to cover humanity, major populations, and they will burn out of the atmosphere every number of years, so you're constantly going to be putting up small satellites.
Robert: Which you're going to do anyways because the technology is getting better.
Jason: The latency has changed. It's so far up and they have such a wide aperture, they want to...
Robert: The plains fly at 80,000 feet above air traffic control.
Jason: You're talking about the Internet planes?
Robert: Facebook has a plane that is going to fly over your house.
Jason: Jet blue and Verizon, southwest will be in the 30's, 40's, and at 80,000, we're going to have fleets, armadas.
Robert: This plane that Facebook has built is a drone and it stays up over your house for 3, 4 months for solar power. It has a big width span.
Jason: When that happens, what happens to the phone companies? Gone?
Robert: That's why Rez needs to buy Twitter.
Jason: When we get back from this next, important break, we're going to talk about Snapchat releasing spectacles and if Scoble will make a spectacle of himself with his Snapchat spectacles in his shower. Literally the curse of Scoble returns. As everybody knows, robert Scoble killed Google glass by wearing them naked in the shower. We'll talk about it all when we get back.
Leo: I have a new Wifi router. I've tried them all. I have to say, no matter what I used, there was never any wifi throughout the house, or it would drop out. My wife would complain, it was a constant battle. I think you know what I'm talking about. Wifi was easy when you were the only person who had it. But now it's congested. It seems like it works worse than it ever did, until a got an Eero. Something that is very different. First of all, it's a whole home system. It blankets your entire house. You should start with one Eero, but if you have Wifi issues, get the kit of three. You put the one... you connect it to your cable modem, if you want, all of them can be connected. You can have one base station and satellite units. It's mesh. It's very flexible. There's an app, that helps you place them, apparently. Once they're paired, by the way, that is the easiest thing in the world. I can get Wifi now in places I never got it before, including a walk up drive and down the street. WPA 2 encryption, the wifi app connects you to the Eero folks. They are constantly updating. The first time you install it, it will add software, depending on what kind of device you have. If you have a Roku or an Apple TV, it'll go, OK. We're going to do QOS. It's so smart. You also can do the thing if you want to do Port forward, it even has reservations. It's a sophisticated system, it'll do bandwidth checks, it looks great. No antennas everywhere. By the way, 30 day money back guarantee. You're not getting my Eero back. My wife, Lisa, would kill me. It really works. I really want you to try it. We've got free overnight sipping. Go to eero.com and select overnight shipping at checkout. The code for that is TWiT. I was skeptical at first, and I've tried complicated solutions, this has the power of those more complicated systems, but the ease of use, it's the easiest wifi system I ever set up. Anybody can do it, and it solves a massive problem. Eero.com, don't forget free overnight shipping when you use the offer code TWiT, and now back to TwiT.
Jason: Thank you, Eero for providing great Wifi. You use it too? Two out of four. You need to get on this.
Robert: Three out of four.
Jason: This is the big news of the week. Brace yourselves, if there's kids in the room. Here is Robert Scoble, wearing the new Snapchat spectacles.
Robert: There's multiples of this photos, by the way.
Jason: I love that the producers are so quick to get something on the screen that is absolutely abhorrent. OK. Here we go. I think e just have to put the explicit on the iTunes for this show. Let's watch the video here, and we can talk about it. As people know, four or five years ago, Snapchat bought a company that was making video sunglasses, and they ... it was an Indigogo and a Kickstarter. They did deliver a product... they never shipped it? Anyway.
Robert: These are the pictures of the prototypes. Is there a camera here?
Jason: That is of the founder wearing them. The way this product works, if you press a button on the corner, it lights up an LED circle for ten seconds, records what you see, and deposit automatically to your Snapchat. You never have to take your phone out of your pocket, you never have to authenticate whatever it is. Critically, this is the big difference. Google glass resulted in people getting punched in the face, beat up, arguments... 3 or 4 that were well documented. The sense I got was that she was trying to provoke people with them. She was liberally walking up to people in a bar...
Ben: She was trying to pick fights. She was picking fights with me, she was picking fights with you.
Jason: She would walk up to you and be like, "I'm recording you right now." You felt like you were being assaulted by a paparazzi. I don't think you want to go up to a bar in San Francisco and start recording people.
Ben: Spectacles are totally different, in my opinion. The price is completely different.
Jason: 130 versus 1300.
Robert: Times have changed. We have Snapchat now. It's split up into little segments, we might call them in TV land shots. Somebody is choosing who to focus the cameras on. We're on air for five or ten seconds. In Snapchat, that's what you're doing. You're capturing videos and it builds a narrative about your day. You can grab the day and store it to your phone or share it out to other places.
Jason: They solved the problem of wanting to punch the person in the face because you're recording them covertly, however it is inevitable that this will result in people putting up no snap glasses in this bar, in this club at this concert.
Brian: There was a woman who posted something on snapchat from her gym, the person was older and heavier, she meant to send it to a friend, and she sent it to her followers.
Robert: Snapping a picture in a locker room is completely illegal.
Jason: I didn't realize that was a law.
Brian: That is why the cameras on California make a noise. They don't have to make a noise. But they make a noise to alert people. So I think they're doing this the right way. These are crazy, you can't miss them. Not at Google glass, it's also used to open web browsers and all this other stuff. Single function, I'm here to do this crazy thing.
Robert: Most people don't understand why Google glass caused these fights. It really doesn't have anything to do about the camera. I was at the tent at Coachella, but there were two guys in front of me, , one talked to the other and said I need to get away from the Google glass people. I grabbed these two guys and said what makes you nervous about this, you're in a place where everybody is recording. They said it makes me feel bad. There's a screen between them that they can't see and they can't re-negotiate the social contract that we have with each other. If you start playing with Facebook right now in the middle of the show, I'd slap your hand. Why are you doing that? The second thing is they felt that the person who had them on, had information about them that they didn't have about the people who had them on.
Jason: I'll tell you why I don't like it. I saw a google executive get on the dance floor, and all the girls left the dance floor. We just sit here dancing with ten girls... everybody runs.
Ben: They were not that fashionable.
Jason: This is Evan Speigel who is dating a super model... I think they're married actually. He's from LA, he's a hip dude. Look at the side. It looks good.
Ben: This style is in right now for teenagers. I want to do one prediction.
Jason: Prediction or long bet?
Ben: Let's do a bet. Sales.
Jason: Sales? 2017 sales.
Ben: Start with from when they come out to the end of 2017.
Jason: Lets' give a Mulligan on the first X. 2018 total sales: everybody write it down or type it on your computer. Wait no. Somebody set the line. That's the way to do it. If you pick ten million, I pick over or under. Set the line.
Robert: Every teenager is going to have them. Let's say 20% of teenagers are going to have them in the first year. You have no clue. I'm leading with groups of teenagers to study this, and every single teenager says they want one.
Jason: Of course.
Robert: When I go to Coachella, the millennials came up and danced for us. They want their picture taken. What is the snapchat era? Its' a selfie era. It's a look at me era. this is going to be very popular.
Jason: So the number, give us a number. We'll bet for glasses.
Robert: In the first 18 months?
Jason: Total sales in 2018 only, not counting the first year. The first year could be who knows?
Robert: Will it be Go Pro?
Jason: I guarantee it sells more than GoPro in 2018. AS a matter of fact, I will bet double GoPro sales in 2018. Of traditional cameras. What do you think, Brian? Where would you set the line?
Brian: I give up. He told me I was wrong. I totally get the kids using them. I like this where if I was thinking about getting a GoPro, I could get this instead, it's only 28 seconds, it's not full hours of my mountain climb...
Robert: GoPro sold 1.6 billion in 2015.
Robert: 1.6 billion dollars of revenue.
Jason: So we're talking about 40 million of them.
Robert: That's in 2015.
Jason: 4 million times 400? I would say 2018 sales, I'll set the line, at 6 million units.
Ben: Slightly under.
Robert: I think it's way over that.
Brian: I'll take it over.
Jason: I'm going to take the under. Two unders, two overs. We'll bet whatever the most expensive hamburger in San francisco is.
Robert: Hardaway says kids will be over in 2018.
Jason: Here is the feature that is missing. The piece that is missing is it's not a DVR. It should always be recording. Where this is going, this will happen by 2020, I would fund a start up to do this, because this is inevitable any way. So I'm not going to make a judgment call, but if it's a DVR, and at any point in time I can press it and go back on the last hour, find that clip, say that was a funny moment, now I'm pressing it.
Robert: My wife says that all the time. If we could go back five seconds, that thing you say, this is divorce product. Not happening.
Jason: I didn't say that!
Ben: I'm not going to wear it while I'm on a date, but you're going to see a big load in 2017, it's going to be less in 2018 because it's an every other year kind of product.
Robert: The thing we're missing is that there's some real tech in this product. There's two lenses, there's a reason for that. With two lenses, you can do a computer on the diff, and a point cloud, so I can capture you in 3D for VR and AR. The algorithms that they are developing for AR are getting advanced for 2D, wait until they do it in 3D.
Jason: It's fairly clear that this is a step, a very pragmatic step towards augmented reality, correct? I think you all agree on that. If people get addicted to this, the second feature that is missing is over people's head putting their last snap, if your friends, who your friends in common are, in other words, when you walk through the world, when you go to a party, you don't know who you know. You know who you've met before, and you may not remember their wife or husband... you're going to have that information floating on top of people's heads.
Robert: People in the chatroom say what does this mean that you can do? If you have depth information, you can turn this entire world into Minecraft, for instance. All of a sudden, ben is a Minecraft character over there and the whole world is bricks. That helps me make better content. Most people suck at content. most people just know how to do a selfie or a picture. They don't know how to tell a story. I look at a lot of snapchats. Most people suck at content. This augmented reality stuff that they're doing on the face, helps you tell a better story about yourself. It makes you more interesting. It's funny to look at the feed and see Ben Parr wearing drag. You know?
Jason: After this break, we have horrifying, bizarre. news. A verge employee was covertly and concurrently working for Apple computer. Without the Verge and no word on Apple if they knew. Nobody can seem to understand exactly what this is, but we have some theories, and we'll tell you about this when get back.
Leo: Don't have another phone conference call. Never! Stop it. You need to do GoToMeeting, folks. I still set up phone conference calls, you know, the ostensibly audio only conference calls but I do it with GoToMeeting. And then that way, first of all they've got a great conference bridge system so it really, really works well. And you don't have to you use a phone system if you don't want. You can do it on an iPad with built in data, with Wi-Fi. You can do it—I mean it's very flexible. But here's the other thing. You're in a GoToMeeting and you say, "Well I really need to show you this." You can pop up your screen. "See?" Or, "Hey, I want to see you." You can see each other through high-def video. Many participants. Actually I'm always hesitant to use something with a new client, right? I imagine you are too because you're pitching them and you don't want to make them jump through hoops. With GoToMeeting, it's really easy. They get a link in their email that says, "All right. Leo's going to have this meeting at 2:00 on Friday. Click the link when it's time." And if they don't have the software it downloads it. 30 seconds later it's up and running. No problem. It's very easy. And you're having a conference call, you're seeing each other and they're seeing your presentation. They didn't have to jump through hoops. Usually it's very, they get very impressed. They say, "What is this? I want to try it." Well, you can try it right now, free for 30 days. GoToMeeting.com for a sales demo, a presentation, for collaboration, for an ad hoc meeting. Every meeting counts. 9 out of—I love this. I didn't know this. 9 out of 10 GoToMeeting customers say they close deals more than 20% faster. It is a very powerful tool. You'll love it. Your clients and colleagues will love it too. GoToMeeting.com, click the Try it Free button. And we thank GoToMeeting. They've been with us forever, since like before the podcasts. Seriously. And we thank them so much for their support of This Week in Tech. Now, back to our fabulous panel because there's lots more to talk about.
Jason: Ok, thank you, GoToMeeting. I've had an account for a decade and I love, love GoToMeeting. So thank you for supporting TWiT. When we left, we were talking a bit about the bizarre case of a Verge employee. For people that don't know, Verge is like the 3rd iteration of Gizmodo and Engadget. Actually the team from Engadget left Engadget and AOL to go start the Verge. And a reporter there, Chris Ziegler—have you ever met Chris?
Jason: You met him.
Robert: Yea, I had press conferences and stuff.
Jason: You met him?
Jason: You've got your eyes rolling, Ben. Scoble is—
Robert: I don't know him very well. He seemed like a nice guy.
Jason: He seemed like a nice person. A former founding editor of the Verge was employed at Apple this summer while, while he worked for the tech and culture website, Verge. Editor-in-Chief Patel announced that on Friday, my good pal Lockhart Steele who has the greatest name in all of publishing, says that there was no editorial decision that he did that had any impact and they hadn't heard from him in a month. You have met him. Robert, you've met him before. Ben, you seem to know a little bit better. Ben, who is this person? What the hell's going on? Is this performance art? Is this like a Mother Jones investigative piece where he's going to come out and say, "I went to work there and I did an investigative piece. And I tried to find out about the car?" What's going on? It makes no sense. Why would somebody do something like this?
Ben: Well it's doubly because it's out of character for him absolutely. Because—
Jason: What's he like? Is he a normal person, nerd journalist or--?
Ben: Generally, yes. Every time I've met him he's a- he is a really good editor and reporter. At least he was. And had really thoughtful pieces and you know he's been in this industry for a decent, long time but what like—the whole—I'm still trying to piece it together. Especially the part where he hasn't been tweeting or saying a thing for like 40 something days which is just extremely weird. And like you know, John Gruber during Fireball was looking and he could not find his name in the Apple directory and you know he has access to everything at Apple. So like there's just like 18 ways to--
Jason: What is Gruber have, know everything about Apple? Is he—
Robert: He has the inside focus.
Ben: He is the inside baseball player.
Robert: He is the PR machine for Apple.
Ben: But do the people at Apple like actively support him and give him inside information?
Ben: Yes. Absolutely.
Jason: Cause he's just like—is he like the greatest fanboy ever, Gruber?
Robert: They know where he comes from and they trust that he'll do—
Jason: He's going to be pro Apple so they give him access.
Ben: Not completely pro Apple, but generally.
Jason: Because I've read him. He's not always pro Apple.
Ben: But he's consistent in like—in Apple land, you know, you have to earn your right as a journalist to be at the events. It took me a few years to earn their trust to even get to the events. Like they're going to always go to their defaults. Walt Mossberg or you know, Gruber or something like that.
Robert: New York Times, USA Today.
Ben: The Ziegler thing makes no sense at all because the moment like—Apple's not going to like let somebody who they knowingly know, Apple's not going to let somebody work for both a tech publication and Apple. They had to fire him if they figured that out.
Jason: So on a logical basis, Apple did not know.
Ben: On a logical basis, they absolutely did not know.
Robert: No, they couldn't have.
Jason: And the Verge didn't know.
Brian: Well so they didn't even know he was gone.
Jason: They didn't know if he was alive.
Brian: Right, right.
Jason: Oh, they didn't know he was gone?
Brian: No, they didn't know that he was gone. So he was part of that second wave of Engadget, right, when the founded the Verge. So he and Josh Topolsky, they founded, they created the Verge. So it was not just like he was a hired blogger for the, right?
Brian: And so he was there and then this thing happens in June, July. July he starts working for Apple, right? But then he disappears. So he wrote a couple of things in July maybe. Then in August, they're just writing him. "Hey, dude, are you alive? What's going on?" We've had this happen with bloggers. We have a hundred friends in common with this guy. So I've seen a lot of these people, Josh Topolsky has come out and say like, "I love the guy. I don't know what happened here. A break from reality?" The people on Twitter are savage. There's a lot of funny things about this, you know, working two jobs. Wish I could work at the Verge. Seems like they have a great policy. But there's something going on.
Robert: On Facebook, on his Facebook, his last post was June 4th and he's still lists Deputy Editor at the Verge.
Ben: He was very active.
Jason: This is actually—
Brian: He's Zpower on Twitter. He's hilarious.
Robert: So something's going on.
Brian: I thought he was amazing.
Jason: All right, well I just want to let people know now. I guess I've got to come clean. I have been working for Project Titan since the beginning and we're coming out with an electric submersible car, sort of like the James Bond car.
Robert: And what does your friend Elon say about that (laughing)?
Jason: I haven't brought it to Elon. Sorry. I'm the head of Project Titan.
Robert: For people that don't know, Jason and I were out to dinner about 10 years ago, and Jason says, "Hey, you want to see the new Tesla?" And I said, "Of course I want to see the new Tesla." It was only—Elon had only had it for two weeks, right?
Jason: Right. It wasn't even number 1, it was P1 which was the first prototype. He had P1.
Robert: Yea. 2 weeks after he got it right?
Jason: Right. Nobody knew.
Robert: You had a corvette and then he says to you, "Let's race (laughing)." And that's the legend, right?
Jason: And then this idiot—
Robert: And he blew you away. And then you turned around and goes and buys a Tesla. You were like one of the first customers because of that.
Jason: Well, we were driving well within the speed limit.
Robert: No, we weren't (laughing).
Jason: On the 405.
Robert: Thank God the video's gone though.
Jason: This idiot takes out his Nokia 451. What was that, the Nokia?
Jason: N95 which at the time had Qik, which was the first streaming video. Basically it like all the streaming video stuff 10 years ago. It barely worked. But there we were.
Robert: We had 1,000 people watching us live broadcasting with Tesla.
Jason: Yea. It was hilarious. And people didn't know who Tesla was at the time but it's true.
Robert: Elon was not Elon (laughing). He was just small letters. But anyways.
Jason: With this kid, with this guy, and I don't know. I must have met him. They tell me he was at Engadget when I was there. But I hope he's ok number one. And I hope if it is mental illness or some break from reality, I hope he gets home. Otherwise—
Ben: I hope some of this friends have been able—
Jason: Well it goes to this whole trolling thing. Like we're all sitting here laughing about it because it's bizarre and it's unique but maybe the person is suffering and maybe there's something going on like that. And you know, in that case, you know, it's great fodder for a round table discussion but I hope he's sincerely—I sincerely hope he's ok which basically means I'm a 45-year-old kid right now that I'm not just making fun of him relentlessly. It is bizarre and sad but I just hope he's ok.
Robert: I don't think it really matters too much what it does show that some journalism outlets really take their ethics seriously and that's a hard thing to do when you're getting free phones, right?
Jason: Oh, sure, I mean listen. Some—the idea that tech journalism is honest and upfront, we all are in the business. We know that train left the station a long time ago. The number of people that are doing it right is greatly outnumbered by the number of people who are doing it wrong. Do we all agree on that? I mean people who do actual fact checking. Well no, I'm talking about fact checking and like Tech Crunch releasing a story that you know, Google bought a company for $600 million because they took it off the press wire? They didn't even call. I mean journalists don't have the time to make phone calls to check or call sources anymore. They just write posts without talking to anybody. It's madness.
Ben: More sources, fastest times, less work on little things like grammar and big things like fact checking, yea.
Jason: Less work on grammar and spelling, less work on fact checking and also—
Robert: Speed matters. Speed matters a lot in this business. You know I was the first person to tell Twitter that Steve Jobs had died. Why? Because Apple called writers and ABC Radio. ABC first and I was listening to ABC radio and they came on and—
Jason: Confirmed it.
Robert: And they said, "We just got a note from Apple that Steve Jobs has died." I pulled over. It took me 2 minutes—
Jason: Somebody had tweeted that Steve Jobs died. Who was that? The woman from Los Angeles—
Robert: It took me 2 minutes to pull over. I called Steve Gilmore and told him. And then I posted to Twitter, "ABC Radio just reported that Steve Jobs had died." And the number of retweets I got on that was extraordinary, right? And we know that speed matters in some things like this and builds brands. It builds audiences, right? And so there's a lot of pressure to be first versus be right.
Jason: Let me ask a serious question because we talk about Steve and obviously he was a big figure and casts a big shadow. How much different would Apple's fate be right now in terms of what we saw in the last launch or just its prominence in the industry, how different would it be? 10% different? 100% different? What do you think?
Robert: I think you've got to live 3 more years to answer that question properly because if Tim Cook does what I'm thinking he's going to do—
Jason: You think he's going to drop the microphone, like just boom. He's going to drop so much knowledge and so much product is going to be blown away.
Robert: So much product, right. Because it's the 10th anniversary of the iPhone next year. It's really an important year for Apple. And Huawei is chasing them really fast. This company is—
Jason: Would you say the iPhone 7 was the worst launch of the iPhone ever? If you had to rank them?
Ben: We don't know that.
Robert: Let's put it this way.
Jason: Well, I'm talking based on history of the other 6. I'm not talking about sales. I'm talking about profit.
Robert: There's nothing in here calling my name saying, "Why aren't you using this?"
Jason: Therefore, it is the worst.
Robert: Something in photography that does a little bit worse than yours is because I don't have it set up yet. It's not calling my name like previously.
Brian: iOS 10. Same thing.
Robert: Same thing, right? It's a super—
Jason: Is that Apple's fault or is it peak smartphone? Like is there nothing left to get out of it? Is it just that we've reached like the PC did, like eventually we think it's as big as it's going to get?
Robert: I can see a huge number of innovations coming in the next 18 months to both Android and iPhone.
Robert: Getting 3D sensors that map the world in 3D and you're going to get augmented reality because that—the GPU in this phone is 10 times faster than the GPU in the Huawei phone which also has a dual camera. And that's the number 3 manufacturer in the world. That GPU is going to matter to virtual reality. They're coming out with eye sensors that are going to watch where your eyes look and it's going to enable a new kind of rendering, a new kind of compression called foveated rendering where it only needs to compress all the polygons and all the bitmaps where you're looking. Everything else can remain a little bit blurry.
Robert: And so—
Jason: So it sharpens where your eyes are focused.
Robert: The problem with VR right now is if you play Samsung's Gear VR, mine only can play for 40 minutes and—
Jason: It overheats.
Robert: It overheats and the phone goes off and the battery dies because it's sucking as much battery as possible because the GPU is underpowered, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So this phone, I can see Apple coming out with a bunch of innovations for the phone. And so is Google. Google on October 4th this year is going to come out with some of these innovations, right?
Jason: Now Google came out with—it's a good segue here to jump off on. Google came out with their own WhatsApp I guess or their own Telegram I guess.
Ben: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Allo's different. It's a smart assistant.
Jason: Ok, so they have a smart messaging app that has a smart assistant. Explain what Allo is, A-L-L-O. And is it important or not?
Ben: It's less like—like Google already has its messaging platform that's like Hangouts. They already have messaging. Allo's more like the M of—like Facebook's M or Siri or like—
Jason: Explain what that is for somebody who doesn't know Facebook M.
Ben: I mean it's a kind of chat bot in the sense that what Allo is doing is like helping you with different tasks. It's understanding you. It's less about WhatsApp communication from one person to another. At least from what I know and I've only played with it just in brief bits and pieces because I don't have an Android. Are we going to play the video?
Jason: I was going to play the video.
Ben: Let's play the video.
Brian: So there's definitely messaging in it. Like fun messaging, the iMessage. But the problem that I think is biting them is they kind of came out and said, "We're going to encrypt it all. You're going to be fine. It's going to be like Snapchat. Right. Nobody can see your stuff." And then they said, "Wait a minute. For us to help you with all this stuff we're saying we have to listen to everything and then store it."
Jason: Yea, of course.
Brian: So they backpedaled on that.
Jason: Well also of course because they have a secret deal with the White House in order to not have the antitrust come down too hard on them that they're going to get backdoors to everything in the White House, according, allegedly, from people I know who are smart. There's some sort of relationship between Google and this White House where it's a very cozy relationship. Google went to visit the White House a lot in the Obama administration and they believe that the reason a lot of the FCC investigations got canned on Google for antitrust were because of the backdoors and a lot of the helping. This is a conspiracy theory but it's pretty—there's a lot of smoke around this conspiracy theory.
Ben: And like so, the other thing with Allo is the combination. You're seeing this more in a lot of messaging products. Yes, there's the messaging and there's the fun stuff. But it has smart assistant. It has the Google Assistant in there to like add context and to—
Ben: Shopping, yes. Or locations or suggestions. And I don't like—in the end, the only thing you really care about in messaging is scale. Like why do you use Facebook Messenger? All your friends are on it. Why do you use WeChat? Your friends in China are on it. But the smart assistant thing is happening more. The chatbot, whatever you want to call it. LinkedIn on Friday. What? Like a couple days ago had the launch of their bot, Inbot, in the--
Jason: Really? So the Inbot will go and delete all the incoming spam I have in my email?
Brian: It just says yes to everything.
Jason: That means literally the signal to noise ratio on LinkedIn is literally zero percent signal. Like I can almost guarantee if you're emailing me through LinkedIn, or messaging me through LinkedIn, it is not in my best interest to respond.
Brian: But every influence or post that you write there, I like it and I share it.
Jason: Which is amazing. Like there's that part of LinkedIn—there are parts of LinkedIn that are amazing but the email system, the fact that—
Ben: They're overhauling it. They know it's not great.
Jason: It's so horrible. It's not that's it's bad, it's that it's horrible.
Jason: It's literally like—I guess because they let people pay to email people who are not connected to them. So 100% of people who email me are literally trying to waste my time with something and it's just like really? Did you not—are you not able to guess first name @ whatever company I work with?
Brian: Or any of the 10.
Jason: Or any of the 10 emails I publish, number one.
Ben: This is the perfect time for you to plug Lead IQ by the way (laughing).
Jason: Well, anyway. Putting it aside, LinkedIn obviously is the directory of everything but I just think it's just wacky. Like that InMail even exists and that people think that it's working or something to get to me or to other people. I don't know, maybe it's because a super router. Do you have this problem or do you even check your InMail?
Brian: I set aside like an hour and I just do it. You know what I mean? I don't respond to everything.
Jason: Have you ever had something come through InMail that is of high quality?
Robert: I have.
Jason: You have.
Robert: But it's a very small percentage.
Ben: Yea, compared to say—
Robert: I had to read a hundred weird, stupid things for the one—
Jason: I have a really good idea for this which is they should let you, they should let you have your first—and I think they were going to let you do this with Rapportive which I was an investor in at some point, they should let you have your name at LinkedIn Mail.com or something like that. Have them be a proper mail client. But have it just sort in tabs, these are people you don't know, these are people you're friends with. And just make it super clear. It's two different groups of people. I know this business model is predicated on people being able to get to you, but it's gotten so overwrought—
Brian: They do that on Facebook already.
Brian: And so there's this hidden inbox and you go there and there's something 4 years old. You're like, "Oh my God, I wish I had seen it." And you're never going to see it.
Ben: Even like—Facebook has the 3 inboxes and it works really—it works as a system.
Jason: Yes, and Gmail does it and it works well too. Here's forums and here's whatever, social.
Ben: I think that you will see that happen with LinkedIn over the next 12 months and they see that.
Jason: As Microsoft takes it over.
Ben: Yes. As Microsoft imbeds more of their tech into it. Messaging is important to Microsoft.
Jason: Ok. Samsung has 25% of their explosive phones being exchanged. And they're giving people a super notice on this. When you go—I have to say I think Samsung's doing the right thing here. They really have gone over the top. When you plug in your Samsung phone, if it's one of the ones that were—And Samsung's 7S was the best phone reviewed ever in the history of all smartphones. So it's actually kind of a bummer for them.
Robert: It really hurts them.
Jason: It really is like—
Robert: And it hurts VR too because it keeps—
Jason: You're going to put your phone on your face.
Brian: Yea, right, in front of your eyes.
Jason: I didn't think about that. Wow.
Brian: You want goggles between you and your phone.
Jason: God. Just when we were starting to get comfortable with our phones. But—
Brian: But that message and then only charging it 80% or what other things are they doing?
Jason: Oh, they're only charging to 80%? Smart.
Brian: It won't let you. It won't let you make it so bad.
Robert: That's one temporary fix. My friend who, Andy Grignon who worked on the first iPhone team says he guarantees me Apple is spending thousands of hours rechecking all of their batteries, suppliers and data and making sure their phone doesn't do the same thing.
Jason: Now what happened. Was it the—does anybody know the liquor of it? There was some foil between the batteries and—
Robert: No, no. Lithium ion batteries can explode if you—
Jason: Well we all know that. But there was some defect, right?
Robert: There's a defect in the software. There's a defect in the manufacturing. Somewhere.
Ben: There's a specific in the hardware and the software. So there's the anode diode of lithium ion batteries and then there's the middle. I can't remember what you call the middle. The permanent barrier that prevents it too. Once you have a puncture or an issue with it, then when you have a short circuit and that's what can cause like the thermal whatever. The thermal cascade. That's what it's called.
Jason: I think they're going to rebound. I mean I know it's terrible to have to replace them. It's going to cost them a lot of money but they have a ton of money. I'm sorry, I think they'll rebound. Somebody who I think will never rebound at this point is Yahoo. Hundreds of millions of people had their, not the—I think it's 500 million user accounts.
Ben: 517 or something like that.
Brian: The largest hack.
Jason: The largest hack by a magnitude. And it had people's security questions, date of birth, passwords. I mean it had everything. And they knew about it supposedly in 2014 and did not inform their users? Is that even possible that Marissa would do something so incredibly irresponsible and dumb? I mean I'm not saying Marissa's dumb, I'm saying this is a dumb decision. I have to be careful. I don't want to ruin all my relationships. I think kind of that ship has sailed at this point. I mean this is—I mean it's one thing for Marissa to not have done a great job as CEO there and like not been focused and gotten—but to hide a hack, if that's in fact what happened, it seems like that's what the evidence is suggesting, that they actively hid a hack, what is the liability on actively hiding a hack where people could have changed their passwords? I mean it's beyond materially significant, Omega Project in the charroom.
Robert: It sounds like a whole chapter in a MBA book in about 10 years (laughing). How does that happen?
Jason: And now the Verizon deal could be, you know, could be at stake. So does this mean that—because I wonder if this ever got to the board level.
Brian: So they've said recently in the last couple of days that it was something they only knew about recently. It was brought to them. Some team knew about it, but not like the people selling it to Verizon.
Jason: That sounds like a huge lie, number one.
Jason: That's sounds like your analysis of the accounting. Even if it's not a lie, you're supposed to know. You're supposed to have a security policy so if you didn't have a security policy that major hacks went to the board level. The board is supposed to know. So if the board knew and didn't do this, that would be fraud which would mean massive shareholder lawsuits. And I mean it would be active fraud. It could be criminal fraud if they subverted this. I don't want to say. I don't want to screw up my relationships with anybody, but.
Ben: We need more details.
Robert: We do need more details.
Ben: We need more details because we don't know the extent or how long they actually knew and which parts and which divisions. All we know is there was a clear security—like an enormous security breach that effects hundreds of millions of people, their email accounts, their Flickr accounts, very personal accounts. And it just like we're hearing about this happen more and more. For one, the standard for internet security is just horrendous in general. And just two, it won't affect—Verizon will still acquire that. They'll still acquire Yahoo.
Jason: Oh, it's got to cut half the price off. What's the liability? A couple of dollars per user? I don't know. A billion dollars?
Ben: Lawsuits everywhere.
Robert: It's huge and God knows why they did it. I had another friend that has a service, has a DNS service and I asked him, "Why do you keep showing ISIS to the world?" And he says, "The government asked me not to shut it down." Is there something like this going on? I don't know.
Jason: Oh, wow. So mega-conspiracy theory.
Robert: How they really—
Jason: Well they did lie too- let's be honest. What we learned from the Snowden releases—listen, I'm no fan of—
Brian: They didn't say what state sponsored it. Right? They said it's a state sponsored hacking.
Jason: Is it state sponsored? Yea.
Brian: That's that they said. They haven't said which state though.
Robert: And if the Chinese are using something, we are too (laughing).
Jason: Well it's getting very interesting because you think about the leaks coming out of WikiLeaks are anti-democratic party, anti-Hillary. And they seem to be Russian based and Trump had got a relationship with the Russians. And the Russians—
Robert: I had dinner with the Russians. I had dinner with the Boris Yeltsin team the other day (laughing).
Jason: Did you really?
Robert: Yea. They were nice guys. They were running his foundation.
Jason: I have a relationship with pierogis.
Ben: The Smirnoff.
Jason: That's my relationship with the Russians. A little bit of vodka. But it does seem like our election, forget about all our personal effects and what we have in our Flickr accounts, this feels like the election is being impacted deeply by this hacking. I mean Bernie Sanders, the democrats actively subverted his candidacy and I mean they cost him the candidacy. I don't know if that's actually correct or not. Anyway, but it's pretty darn-the extent of hacking impacting the world is getting very severe. Is it changing behavior? I mean I now am setting massively long passwords, different passwords on everything.
Robert: One of the reasons, when I get a new phone, I start out clean. I don't bring a backup over. I reset up all the apps and I change my passwords. And I really think through my passwords, my security profile.
Jason: Two Factor Authentication on everything.
Robert: A separate password for everything.
Jason: A separate password for everything. If you're listening to this and you don't have Two Factor, you don't use a password manager that suggests long hashes—
Robert: Even a password manager is a weakness thought, right? It's a single point of failure.
Jason: It's a single point of failure but it's very hard to get into especially if you have Two Factor on.
Robert: My friend Steve Ball runs the identity team at Microsoft and he says within 5 years he's going to get rid of passwords and he has a variety of techniques they're going to do to get rid of passwords. First of all, they're going to have eye sensors and they're going to take a picture of your eyes. And then it's going to know it's Jason Calacanis because your eyes have a fingerprint.
Jason: It will know just like Minority Report or Mission Impossible.
Robert: And then they're going to use the different devices you wear on you to validate that it's you. Because your phone never knows it's you (laughing).
Ben: You know what though? There is a different security issue with that and it's the security issue you saw with the government wanting to unlock that iPhone with you know, with fingerprints. Then if you want to keep your iPhone away from the government, don't put your fingerprint on it because they can force you to do the fingerprint but they can't force you to type in the password.
Robert: And get the $16,000-dollar phone which has its own kernel inside that is shut off from the rest of the world and you can do conversations. This is how—
Ben: For only $16,000-dollars.
Robert: But you, if you're a CEO of Apple and you don't want China to get into your secrets when you're sending information back home, which they're doing, right? They steal everything that's why you want top rate encryption and you want a fingerprint—I'm sorry, you want a surface area that really shuts down. It shuts off the sensors on the phone, right? Did you see Mark Zuckerberg puts a piece of tape over his camera?
Jason: They're recommending that now. I did it.
Robert: What's going on? Or hey—
Ben: I'm actually going to put the tape on it very soon.
Robert: But that's what—what you're doing is reducing the surface area of attack on you. You're moving sensors from possible being attacked. And this is a problem. It's going to be a deep problem for society for a long time because we're about to get cars that are going to be self-driving. All sorts of digital information that runs our supply chains and our world.
Jason: All right. When we get back from this final break, we're going to keep moving through the most important issues of our day including Tesla is releasing their 8.0 software which has a couple of really clever features. I'm downloading it tonight. Actually I have it set up to do that because they were only going to update slowly now, not all at once. And Uber's self-driving vehicles have been spotted on the streets of San Francisco, not just in a test on the East coast. And we're going to ask our panelists to tell us when will they majority of rides in San Francisco be driven with level 4 autonomy. In other words, no steering wheel, when we get back on This Week in Tech.
Leo: Our show today brought to you buy Gazelle. This is the season, isn't it? All the phones are going to have—there's the new Pixels from Google probably coming out next week. We've got a new iPhone. Maybe you're ready for a new phone. Problem is, you know I find, I bet a lot of people do, the old phone works fine (laughing). You want the new stuff. You want the new features but the old phone works fine. And it's hard to justify the expense. That's why I love Gazelle. Gazelle is a place you can go and sell your old stuff to finance the new stuff. And that makes it so easy. You don't have time to put a listing up and sell it and deal with the buyers and the phone calls. I mean maybe you do, but with Gazelle it's very straight forward. Go right now. Gazelle.com. Say you've got an iPhone 6. Find out what it's worth. That by the way is guaranteed for 30 days, that price. So now's the time to do it even if you don't have your iPhone yet. Or you don't know if you're going to get a new Pixel phone because you have 30-days. So this will take you to the end of the month. And you can decide. By then you'll have the phone if you want it. If not, no harm, no foul, no commitment. The only commitment's on their part to pay you that amount of money. And you've got 30-days. Once you do get your new phone, you can transfer the data over. You like it. It's all working. Then you pull the trigger. Gazelle sends you a box. They do all the shipping for free. You pile that gadget in. In fact, pile all your gadgets in. Get rid of them all. Clean out your drawers. There's money in those drawers. Send it to Gazelle. They'll wipe the data if you forget to. They even buy broken iPads and iPhones. They buy tablets. They buy computers. They buy screens. A large variety of stuff at G-A-Z-E-L-L-E. By the way they also sell so if you lose a phone or you've got, want to get a less expensive phone for your kids, Gazelle's a great place to get a gently used certified pre-owned. When I say certified I mean it. They run it through a very rigorous check, 30-point check even things like scratches to make sure that phone is fully functional. Works with all the major carriers. There are no carrier contracts though, so see it's a good deal. And you can get financing on check-out from Affirm. You can get a warranty from Asurant. Covers even things like cracked screens and water damage. Gazelle is really now a full service for buying and for selling. Everything you need. Check it out. The new gadgets are here which means you can get a great deal on a pre-owned gadget. That means a lot of people are selling their iPhone 6s's for instance. You can go in there and get a new one. Who needs a new—it's got a headphone jack still. Gazelle, G-A-Z-E-L-L-E. Gazelle.com. To buy or sell. Now back we go to TWiT, already in progress.
Narrator: Previously on TWiT.
Megan Morrone: I drag it and then I pinch and zoom it.
Georgia Dow: Zoom it yea. Use two fingers, yea.
Megan: Ah. There we go. Oh, wait. Ok. I am so glad I went to college.
Narrator: This Week in Google.
Jason: Allo is Google's kind of smart chat app and it is now a thing that you can download on Android and iOS.
Jeff Jarvis: I was downtown. I put in lunch question mark. It responded, "Let's find you something to eat. By the way, what kinds of food do you like?" Let's try fish. Red Lobster, Bubba Gump Fish Company. Jesus, Google, surely if you know me this well you'll know I'm a classier guy than that.
Narrator: Windows Weekly.
Mary Jo Foley: You actually still can get Windows 10 as a free upgrade. You just have to use your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 product key and you can still unlock the free upgrade which is something that Microsoft's not actively advertising.
Father Robert Ballecer: This is actually a huge opportunity for us because I know Alex has been trying to update the Tri-Caster to Windows 10.
Alex Gumpel: Actually, Padre, let me correct you. I really hope that nothing goes—oh, crap.
Narrator: TWiT. Leo says "Hi."
Paul Thurrott: How do I know that this graphic has been used more gleefully on MacBreak Weekly and—
Alex: Hold on. Let me just kick the Tri-Caster.
Fr. Robert: There, see? That's all you need.
Jason: Hey, thanks Jason. Here's a look at a few things that we'll be keeping an eye on in the week ahead. On Monday, September 26th, a number of sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter will be streaming the first of 3 Presidential Debates. There will even be a virtual reality feed, courtesy of NBC starting at 8:30 PM Eastern Time. On Tuesday, September 27th, Elon Musk will explain to everyone how he hopes to use Space X to colonize Mars someday during the Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species Keynote at the Annual International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. On Wednesday, September 28th, Samsung will resume sales of its Galaxy Note 7 after a tumultuous month of recalls thanks to its fiery battery debacle. Sales will begin in South Korea and will resume in other markets as conditions allow. And on Friday, September 30th, Readability, a pretty popular read it later bookmarking service will be shutting down after 5 years in the business. You'll want to save out your bookmarks before that happens and they give you the tools to do so on their site. Megan Morrone and I cover all of this and more all week, every week on Tech News Today so don't miss it. That's a look at the week ahead. Back to you, Jason.
Jason: All right, listen. I'm obviously conflicted. I'm a shareholder in Uber and their self-driving vehicles have been spotted around the streets of San Francisco, not just Pittsburgh. Everyone knows they built a huge team of people, or may or may not know, from Carnegie-Melon's University Robotics Center and they deployed a fleet of 14 Ford Fusions with LIDAR cameras and all that kind of stuff. Obviously they have a driver in the car. This is part of their beta. But these cars have now been seen in San Francisco. So, Robert, obviously self-driving cars, we're seeing massive progress. Google seems to have taken I would think the wrong route in waiting to deploy this and going with extremely expensive LIDAR systems. Seems like Uber and Tesla now are getting out there and getting much more real-world experience. Why is Google so far behind? Why are Uber and—
Robert: Don't assume they're far behind.
Robert: First of all, don't assume they're far behind. I had dinner. Let me tell you a story—
Jason: But don't their cars cost $50-thousand-dollars?
Robert: Doesn't matter. You know technology gets really cheap really fast when the numbers come up. Google—I had dinner with Peter Norbeck runs Google's R&D about 2 weeks ago. And he told me, he asked me, "Why do you think Google made the little self-driving cars, those little bubble cars that can only go 25 miles an hour?"
Robert: I said, "I have no idea. Why?" And he said, "Because when we started handing the full-size Lexus' out with all the LIDAR's to the employees we had them sign a form that said that you will be fired if you take your attention away from the road and from this machine driving."
Jason: And what did they do?
Robert: Keep in mind, they had to sign a form you will be fired if you do this. Right then there's a camera right here watching you and sensors on the steering wheel that know—
Jason: So they lose their job and they know they're under surveillance and these are highly intelligent Google employees. What do they do?
Robert: Every single employee broke the rule within 3 days. Why? Because it's so f-ing amazing. I'm sorry. It's so damn amazing.
Jason: It's freaking amazing. We'll have to take a time-stamp at 1:31 and 48 seconds. Robert Scoble drops a F bomb (laughing) beep.
Robert: So it gets so—you change your behavior because of technology. And this is a mistake that people in this industry make over and over and over again.
Jason: I can't believe these Google employees. These people are idiots. Honestly—no.
Robert: No, they're not idiots because they—
Jason: I have self-driving level 2 in my Tesla. I've never taken my eyes off the road, period.
Robert: You don't have a Google one. A Google one is 3 years ahead of Elon. It's 3 years ahead of Mercedes. It's 3 years ahead of everybody. And it is already so amazing that when you are threatened by being fired, you get bored watching the machine work. It is so good. And you, your phone rings or something goes bing and all of a sudden you're looking at the phone and that's much more interesting than watching the car drive around. And today those little cars drive around. They don't have steering wheels. The ones I saw in Mountain View just a couple of days ago, they don't have—you just ride in them and they take you places. But they go 25 miles per hour. Why 25 miles an hour? Because the lawyers were willing to take risk that the machine would do a mistake and hit somebody and hurt somebody.
Jason: But not kill them.
Robert: And not kill them. 25 miles an hour isn't fast enough to kill a human being, particularly if you have airbags and there are things to slow you down. And, by the way, it's not going to ever—it's going to kill people at very low rates. Humans kill each other at 900,000 miles approximately, once every 900,000 miles a human dies. Tesla killed somebody at 1.3 million miles on the first one. It's going to be 4 million on the 2nd one. And 8 million on the 3rd one.
Jason: Yea, obviously. And by the way, the person who died—
Robert: The machine is learning.
Jason: The person who died was apparently—listen, it's tragic but this person was a super fan and was known to watch movies while using it. It was probably—and witnesses were saying he was watching Harry Potter. Which, by the way, I don't mean to make light of it but if you're going to die for a movie, that's the worst one I could ever think of. I mean I know that's kind of dark, but. Is that too dark? I just lost the entire audience.
Jason: I mean, really. That was a terrible series. No Oscars.
Ben: Keep going.
Robert: We also assume that Google invested in self-driving cars to build self-driving cars. The technology of actually building a self-driving car pays many benefits to Google.
Jason: Yes, they want people to do searches.
Robert: No, like patents. I mean they have a patent library now that they can license to all the other people right? And 2nd of all, it's training on us. They're parking next to a school yard for instance to teach what a child looks like and what the behavior of a child looks like so that when it sees a child, it will stop, right, in the future.
Jason: It will be like this toddler is going to chase the ball.
Robert: And it's learning a lot about us, a scary amount about us. It's going to—and keep in mind, maybe it's for the glasses. Because the glasses have the same eyes that the self-driving car has on it. It has those two sensors, right?
Ben: So look. Google clearly I think does have the best tech out of everybody, but everyone else is beating them to the commercial punch for whatever reason. There is a real problem with that.
Robert: The Uber car still has a human in the car. It's not yet delivered.
Ben: The full—but you need to have that out there. They need to have that in their car.
Robert: Yes, because they're training it too. They're training it.
Ben: It's not just them. It's like General Motors, it's all the others.
Jason: Brian, I want you to set—see if you can do it here. When will the majority—it's very important when you're gambling, everybody know this, to have a very clear line set so we don't have after the fact people crying about losing a lot of money, when will the majority of rides, not cars but rides, rides in San Francisco and the Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, when will the majority of the rides, 51%, what year will 51% of the rides be level 4 autonomous? Do, do, do, do, do, do, do.
Brian: So the year—oh, that's good. 2025. Because 2025—
Jason: How did you get that right? Mine is 2026.
Brian: Really? No, 2025 because 2025 is the future, you know?
Jason: Technically speaking.
Brian: 2020 is no longer the future.
Jason: I was going to say that about 2020, but.
Brian: 2020 is not the future anymore.
Jason: But 2025? Ok.
Brian: 2025. And I think it's going to actually happen through weird sort of like land grabs where like all the busses convert and all of something else convert.
Jason: Because all the busses will really push a lot of people to stop driving, right?
Robert: It was 50%, more than 50%?
Jason: 51% of the rides will be autonomous.
Brian: So you can do total bodies and move around in the city in a vehicle.
Robert: If you said 50% of the Uber rides, I would say—
Jason: No, 51% of rides. So that means all rides.
Robert: Of rides. First of all, let's say every car, every new car instantly just right now became self-driving.
Robert: Still it would take 12 years for all the, most of the cars to turn over.
Jason: To turn over but we know that.
Brian: Not if they wall off a city and outlaw non self-driving cars.
Robert: Yea, but that ain't gonna happen until a percentage gets built.
Jason: Do you agree that the government will at some point say, "You are not allowed to drive your car on these roads. If you want to drive your car, go to a private road. You have to be autonomous on the 405, the 10."
Ben: Yes, eventually.
Robert: Eventually. Way, down the line.
Jason: Well, what's the line on that?
Brian: Like Bloomberg in New York City. If you're going to drive in, you get taxed.
Robert: 30 years.
Jason: 30 years from now—
Robert: You're going to need a couple of these conversion—
Robert: All right, 20 years.
Jason: I think that's going to be really—what's that?
Brian: Red Barchetta, the Rush song where they don't drive cars anymore and the kid steals his uncle's car out of the garage and goes on a joy ride.
Jason: Oh, really? Is that what that is?
Brian: Yea, Rush predicted this.
Jason: The general tab is talking about it.
Brian: Oh, really? That's funny. I didn't see that.
Jason: I think that's really interesting because what I think what will happen is they'll just pick one parallel highway. So in San Francisco that would be like 280 is autonomous, 101 is not. And then everybody's going to go "Oh my God, on the 280 no idiots are fender-bendering. Nobody is—everybody can go 15 miles faster. Things are in trains."
Robert: Which is true because the cars are programmed to follow the rules. So—
Jason: Well, and I think they might change the rules on that highway then because we're like, "Listen, there's no chance of us hitting." Then the while idea of being a car length for every 10 miles per hour makes no sense.
Ben: There's a great video from CGP Grey, one of my YouTubers who does a detailed video of how, with cars and self-driving, how they would change the interactions and how much faster it would be. Because part of what happens with a lot of traffic is the chain reaction. You can avoid the entire chain reaction.
Jason: Of course.
Ben: And then it's explained—humans will never be able to avoid the chain reaction. Our reaction times are just not as good as machines can be.
Jason: Yea, but people changing lanes constantly.
Robert: Ford's head of safety told me they instrumented the fleets that they sell cars too and they found that 80% of humans do not fully brake into an accident. Into an accident. In other words, you're about to hit something and you still haven't applied the full—
Jason: Because you are scared of the impact of the fully breaking, right.
Robert: That and you just don't have the reaction times to start—
Brian: You're still texting.
Robert: You're still texting or whatever. And in fact this is where it's going to cause some accidents, the self-driving car technology because it can stop. And it will stop. In fact, modern cars, even cars that don't have self-driving technologies are already helping you brake. If you're on a freeway and you have your foot on the gas pedal all the way to 80 miles an hour, at 80 miles an hour and you take it off and you push hard on the brake, it knows you're in a panic stop. Because the only reason you do that is in a panic stop. And it pre-fires the brakes and helps you brake. Because you have anti-lock on modern brakes. You can steer and control a car even though it's fully breaking, right? And if you didn't want full braking, take your foot off the brake, right? If you're in a panic stop you would appreciate the car saving your life and helping you scrub energy even if you're going to hit something.
Jason: Interestingly, the 8.0 software is coming out for Tesla and my understanding is that you are now going to be able to not just go on one highway fully autonomous but you might be able to switch, or very soon, I don't know if it's going to happen in 8, you're going to be able to switch from one highway to another and it will take you on the overpass across the highway. It doesn't do that currently. In other words, if you put it on and even if your GPS says you're going to take the 280 to the 380 to the 101, like Robert and I do all the time, it's not going to actually do that. You have to—it will be self-driving on each of those roads but you have to take the exit ramps. It's going to do the exit ramps supposedly or that's coming. But Elon says his favorite new feature is the always on max temperature control for keeping kids and pets safe from overheating. Tesla keeps temperature below 105 degrees, automatically venting the cabin and turning on the AC when needed. It can do this for up to a year on a full charge. It's really a brilliant feature when you think about it because in some places like we live here in California, you know, my car today was at 110 inside. There's no reason not to vent the windows. I mean, who cares? Nobody's going to rob the car. It's easier to break the window. That would reduce it by 5 or 10 degrees. And turning on the AC just out on a very low amount doesn't, every once in a while. The idea that somebody would die, a dog or a kid tragically, the kid more tragically obviously, would be horrible. It could be totally avoided by the software.
Robert: Yea. Mercedes let me drive, gave me a first ride in their self-driving car in the desert and we ran over a tumbleweed.
Jason: That's kind of cheating by the way. If you're self-driving on the fly and there's nothing you can possibly hit. I'm not super impressed but ok (laughing).
Robert: We did hit something. We hit a tumbleweed that was about a 6-foot-high tumbleweed. It was a sizable tumbleweed. I said, "Why didn't the car stop?" And they said, "First of all, the machine learning is trained to recognize a Coke can versus a camera. You train it. You put 70,000 images of Coke cans, 70,000 images of cameras." And all of a sudden the system learns that it can be taught how to recognize those two. And so the optical sensors he said didn't recognize anything that that was going to hurt the car until the LIDAR sensor knows that it doesn't have any mass to it. So it knew it wasn't a child or a dog or a cow.
Brian: So it was like a carry on plastic bag.
Robert: It was just a stupid thing that you could go through. And it had no mass to it. And this was German engineers in the back seat telling me this, right? So I'm pretty convinced we're going to figure out how to train these systems to recognize a whole lot of things and not get into accidents. People in the chatroom are having fun about oh what if a car decided to go off road and kill 20 kids instead of killing one in the crosswalk or something?
Jason: All those kinds of like ethical, moral things are kind of silly, right, Brian?
Brian: Two bicycle riders, one has a helmet so I'll only injure that one and the other one I would kill therefore I hit the person that's doing the right thing by wearing a helmet. Right? That's the ultimate.
Jason: Or what I like is, we have 2 people who are 70-years-old and then over here we have two 70-year-olds and one child, who do you kill or you have two people here who are half the age or whatever. It's like—
Robert: The Mercedes engineers say if we even get close to that kind of decision, our systems have failed. In other words, the fact that you're even considering such a question, means our systems have failed. Our system didn't see the bicycle rider, it didn't see the people, it didn't see the stop sign, didn't see all the rules and—
Jason: It's a false choice for sure.
Ben: And these systems are so much better than, to ever get to that choice. They're better than us.
Robert: The Tesla is an interesting—the guy who died is an interesting example of artificial intelligence because you had to train it on what a white truck over the freeway might look like and how that's different from a bridge. Now consider if your car went into stop every time it saw a bridge.
Jason: Or an overpass.
Robert: An overpass.
Jason: It would cause 100 accidents.
Robert: It would cause many more deaths than if it just continued. And it just wasn't trained to see that and see that. And you know Elon and his team has been retraining it and retraining their systems. And in fact he said that the new auto-pilot has RADAR and optical that they turned on to change the algorithms to see that thing in the future.
Jason: Right they said it could see through fog now so if theoretically if a UFO landed on the highway was the analogy in the fog, it would still stop. Which is great but this person has explicitly disregarded all the alarms. And I've got to tell you, now with the latest updates, the software is sending off so many God damned alarms I feel like turning off self-driving, or just not using it rather.
Robert: You swore (laughing).
Jason: What did I say?
Robert God damn (laughing).
Jason: I didn't add an F bomb with it did I?
Robert: This whole section is going to get cut out of the recording.
Jason: I do now because I have my hands on the steering wheel and it's so sensitized now that a lot of times it's like, "Put your hands on the steering wheel." I kind of have my hands on the steering wheel but ok, I will make sure I'm moving it a little bit. It's almost like I think what they should have done with this thing is you should have to sign like 3 times on the dashboard like a Docusign where like just the only people allowed to turn it on or part of a beta group or something because the people who are using it without actually keeping their eyes on the road, I mean please, people, if you happen to be lucky enough to afford a Tesla and you have self-driving, use it properly. The manual is, it tells you a thousand times a ride, keep your hands and your wits about you. It's not level 4. It's level 2. These people are insane. It's infuriating to me because we all need to see this technology advance. And I actually think that in China or some other countries you're going to have this backlash of another person—
Ben: Most European countries.
Jason: Probably Socialist countries like Europe. That's a joke.
Robert: In China I disagree with you. The people who are building self-driving technologies will be adopted way faster over there. And because of the chaos on the street, it has to learn way faster than our technology does.
Jason: I know but if somebody does what this person did where they just abdicated control—
Robert: Yea, that's human beings.
Jason: We have to—no, I know but we—human beings will overreact and then say, "We have to get rid of it." And the problem is, if it's already 50% or 100% better, we need to keep investing, we need to keep letting people use this technology.
Ben: Ok, so I don't think that that's the biggest barrier to the adoption of self-driving cars. The biggest adoption is the loss of jobs. You heard like German Economic Minister be like, "We're not going to let them on the road." That's like taking away taxi jobs and Uber jobs and other jobs. And that's—
Jason: Ok, what continent is this on?
Robert: Except we know these technologies already save lives. Mercedes told me they sell 38% of—
Ben: That doesn't happen in politics. Logic does not apply to politics.
Robert: It does because if—
Ben: No it doesn't.
Robert: If my kid gets killed in a car wreck and the government kept a self-driving car from my community, I'm going to sue as well.
Ben: Have you looked at the election? Logic is gone.
Robert: I know but—
Jason: I've been trying—I just want to let the people all know I am trying to keep this away from the election but you know what? Technology does mitigate a lot of our lives and you know we are making—it's interesting when you just think about this one discussion. It's going to come down to, do we want to save lives or jobs? And I think that's really profound. You know it's something we have to think about as a society. If we keep a million jobs and we kill a million people, that's a bad decision.
Robert: Humans always vote against jobs. We got cars. We knew they were going to kill millions of jobs and horseshoes and other things.
Jason: And think about all the horses that they put down after the cars came out. Did they just kill all those horses?
Robert: We're going to the future. You can—
Jason: Actually what did they do with all the horses after they got rid of them because of cars?
Ben: The breeding programs though they died. There was a video I watched on this actually.
Jason: There must have been like—they must have been—
Brian: A horse breeding video?
Robert: They do not have these discussions in India because they need self-driving technologies for a whole lot of reasons. They don't have these conversations in China.
Jason: By the way, do I have another commercial break or are we done? Ok, we're all done with the commercial breaks. Let me keep the show moving here. This is my favorite of all the robotic things, after Café X which I am investor in, this is my favorite. This Starship Robot which you can see on my screen is a little R2D2. It's about knee high. And you can put a couple of boxes, many two or three bags of groceries in it, it looks like to me. It looks like a little Tonka truck if anybody knows that reference. And it will drive at a couple miles per hour to your house and deliver something to you. And I think that this, these little robots are going to be huge. I think that this is so much better than drones because this can't fall out of the sky. This is going to be use much less batteries. It's not going to cause noise pollution. And if somebody wants to steal this, I guess that's the one thing, like somebody could take it up or flip it over, it's going to have a camera on it and you can potentially get arrested for some felonious activity like, I don't know if people know this but like most mailboxes are not bolted to the ground. You can lift them up and put them into the back of a truck but you can also go to jail for it. I love this idea of little R2S2s running around delivering your sunglasses as opposed to your spectacles from Snapchat, this will be the delivery mechanism obviously, rather than huge UPS trucks. Rather than all that gas. These things can be out there just zipping along streets in the burbs. This could work in cities. This could run, could walk ten miles in the burbs to drop something off. It doesn't matter. It's such low energy consumption and if there's sidewalks, it just works. Brian Alvey, what do you think?
Brian: Ah, wow. So that would be a nice thing to have. They're cute. I think they're going to be beat up by people, right?
Jason: Super cute.
Brian: So yes and no. If I was in New York right now, that actually looks like a pressure cooker on wheels. I would run away from that. Seriously. Imagine somebody—
Jason: It does look like there could be a bomb in there.
Brian: Like police driving something in to go—
Jason: It's a fair point.
Brian: It's really screwy looking.
Jason: This is not a bomb.
Brian: I would make it a lot less—
Jason: Well, listen. We kid here sometimes about the technology and some of the stuff, the darker uses of it, but there is an actual legitimate issue right now around drones where they believe ISIS is training, they're training ISIS members to use drones, I read this, to deliver bombs and payload. You can conceivably do a lot of damage by just dropping a drone into the middle of any sports game.
Ben: With a vehicle or with that—
Jason: Yea, but it wouldn't be as terrorizing. When you put new technology on a bomb it just makes it all the more terrorizing.
Ben: I agree.
Jason: People are like, "Oh, my God."
Ben: It's an issue. But I mean hopefully—
Jason: Also accessibility. Think about this. If the mayor, I don't mean to put anything in people's heads but, if the mayor of some city is giving a talk and he's got a bunch of security around him, a drone could just drop out of the sky at a very quick pace with a bomb on it and assassinate anybody it wants.
Robert: When I'm at the White House, they do not let me do live video broadcasting. All of the video you see of the president in the White House has been tape delayed by like 5 or 10 minutes for exactly that reason.
Jason: They don't want exact time a location.
Robert: They don't want somebody watching a live broadcast somewhere else and being able to target the president by flying a drone. And this was the Bush presidency when I was there. And they have all sorts of jamming equipment around the president. That's what—when you see a motorcade you see a car with dozens of antennas, that's to jam all of the electronics that would possibly throw of a bomb or a signal to a bomb near the president. And I visited the bomb unit at Nellis Air Force Base and they said, "We already can block cell phones. We know how to do that really well." And that forces the terrorists to go to lower technology. They have now click plates that when you roll over them, the count how many wheels have gone over the plate and then blow up something inside the train in the convoy. Because you don't want to hit the first truck because that was a bomb truck that was designed to take a blast. It actually has a curved bottom shell so that bomb blast doesn't kill them. And it's amazing. It's interesting to talk to these people about terrorism and bombs and I don't want to tell everything on air but—
Jason: RF 20 22 says, "You haven't seen bureaucracy, yes."
Robert: We've got a lot of ways to block your drone. You're not going to fly a DGI drone over the president.
Jason: Actually Gustav makes a good point. He says, "If Bruce Dern is flying a blimp nearby, look out." Which is, what was it, Black Sunday the name of that film, the famous Frankenheimer film? I shouldn't say it's famous, it's obscure actually. It's famous to me. All right, listen. This has been an amazing program. Thank you to Leo for allowing us to host here and to take over the network. We'll be in your office for the next 2 or 3 hours with all the studio audience drinking and just trashing the place. It's a party. If anybody can hear my voice right now—
Robert: (Laughing) don't temp them.
Jason: We're having a huge party right now. It's going to be awesome.
Robert: Gary Vaynerchuk and I did this in Sonoma at a winery and within a few hours we had a lot of people.
Jason: All right, we're all out of here. Let me say thank you first to Ben Parr, benparr.com, benparr on Twitter I believe, @benparr, two Rs in Parr because he's so rad. Ben Parr, do you have a plug? Any plugs? Get some plugs in here. It's very important to get plugs in.
Ben: Two plugs. Plug a paperback of my book Captivology comes out—
Jason: Amazing book if you want to grow your startup, get it.
Ben: October 18th. You can order now on Amazon or anything else or get the audio book.
Ben: And more announcements coming in about a month or so.
Jason: Ok. I'm assuming you're going to announce your Apple gig running.
Ben: I don't know. I already did that two months ago. I'm already working for Apple.
Jason: I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure. All right, Brian Alvey, you're up next for the plugs. Brianalvey.com and of course @brianalvey on the Twitter. Brian Alvey, working on Clipisode.
Brian: Yea, I'll plug Clipisode, so C-L-I-P-I-S-O-D-E, clipisode. Clipisode.co check it out and sign up for the beta.
Jason: And the thing that would transform your startup at this point aside from a series of investment, if you could get some high profile bloggers or videographers or vloggers, you know, people with 10,000 or more followers to use the product in beta that would help.
Brian: Exactly. If there is anybody at this table who wanted to—no. So, it's about that. It's for influencers or if you want to be influencers.
Jason: Explain what the product is, since we get a little plug.
Brian: Ok, super quick it's an app, an iPhone app, an Android app now actually that lets you become the host of your own daily five-minute video talk show. So a social mobile video app. You would love this thing. You ask a question to all your fans. They all come back with responses. You can ask contacts as well so if you're talking about like politics and you know Jason loves to talk politics all through a tech show, you invite him and he comes on. You can get video replies. You put them all together and it makes a little square video that you share out.
Jason: Got it.
Brian: Pretty cool. In your spare time, so it's not live. That's the deal.
Jason: Got it. Robert Scoble is here. Thank you for coming, Robert. Scobleizer on the Twitter, Scobleizer on—I have to say, you have mastered Facebook. It's amazing. It's inspired me to start playing with Facebook a little bit more. You know anything on Facebook because of you I went through the social graph and I started—because I just, I made a huge tactical error at the beginning of Facebook. Remember in the early days you just accepted everybody.
Robert: Yea, I've done it, right?
Jason: Yea, we've all made this huge mistake and now what I'm doing is I'm actually going in and saying acquaintance, close friend, acquaintance, close friend and also muting some people in the main feed and my feed is getting better and better. You've mastered it. The amount of comments—how many comments do you get on the average post? Hundreds?
Robert: Sometimes. I don't know what the average is, but dozens, yea.
Jason: It's amazing.
Robert: And I don't even care about the numbers. I care about who's commenting. It's the who's who of the tech industry, right? You've got Gary Shapiro commenting who runs CES. You've got all sorts of innovators and people who tell me that I'm full of it.
Jason: It has a major impact on your speaking gigs, your business, is like this Facebook thing.
Robert: And now I'm in the center of the VR and AR world and I'll plug VR which is a co-working space in San Francisco plus a media company that covers the space.
Robert: And we're doing a podcast together.
Jason: We are doing a podcast on VR and AR.
Robert: I'm seeing the VR and AR world which is going to be really important in a couple of years.
Jason: It really is interesting how quickly we're starting to see a large number of companies invest in this space. I always think that that's the tell. If you have one or two people investing in it, it's kind of like, hmm, ok, some people are playing. But when you see every major tech company investing heavily, we're going to see something big out of Google next week, I think.
Robert: Well, they're going to bring out Mobile Base VR which I think is the only way to—
Jason: They're going to launch another Google Glass or another hardware item? What are they going to launch?
Robert: Not yet. Not yet because it's not quite ready. Although Snapchat probably is being watched very carefully by these companies.
Jason: That's scary for people.
Robert: It's scary for competitors, totally.
Jason: That's what I'm saying.
Ben: Well now they're snapped. That's part of the big thing too.
Jason: What do you mean?
Ben: Have you seen what their Twitter? It's now Snap. Renamed.
Robert: They renamed.
Jason: Did they get Snap.com?
Brian: Yes, snap.com.
Ben: And it says Snap is a camera company.
Brian: They actually have two things. They have an app and spectacles.
Jason: Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.
Brian: Remember for like a week this was called Snapisode not Clipisode? And my lawyer said, "I know you're not doing the same thing they're doing, but they have already sued people who use Snap in their names." And six months later, they're named Snap. They're no longer Snapchat.
Jason: And they got Snap.com. That does show some impression that—
Robert: There's a revolution coming to all sorts of things, driving, photography, audio, and the next--
Robert: Showers, sure. Come on in and join me.
Jason: Virtual showers. That's actually the big announcement. I hate to steal Larry and Sergey's thunder but next week at the Google event, Robert was going to be releasing Shower With Robert exclusively with Google VR.
Ben: No, it's a Steam game.
Jason: Shower with Scoble. It's a Steam game.
Brian: It's a Steam game.
Jason: It's incredible. You too can shower with Robert Scoble. But it's pixelated so it's fine. If you look down it automatically pixelates. You're fine. If you look down it pixelates.
Brian: There's a limit.
Robert: If you pay you can see it all (laughing).
Jason: Really? Wow. Wow. All right. I think we have a title. We have a title for the episode. If you pay, you can see it all, episode 581.
Jason: Thanks to Leo for letting me host! It's obviously an honor and a privilege and although this is the last time, I am still very grateful. We'll see you all next time. Bye-bye.