Video Of The Week: Three Freedoms For The Future

This is an interview that Andrew Keen did with my partner Albert about three freedoms we need for the future:

Here is a link to the Gitbook version of Albert’s book that is mentioned in the video.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Vendita Auto

    Good on Andrew Keen, Unfortunately our species is still tribal. Time & Tide, my Borge associates think the same.

  2. JimHirshfield

    I’ve seen a lot of losers in my time. But Albert’s a real Wenger in my eyes!

  3. karen_e

    It’s refreshing to hear a tech person talk about society in general as opposed to kingpin individuals, which is what the media focuses on. I will work some of these ideas into a talk I’m giving on Connectivity and Marketing.

  4. Twain Twain

    Re Albert’s points on neuroscience and emotions and what it means for tech, especially AI …I made a systems bet several years ago that Descartes’ rationality and Bayesian probability are incomplete and incoherent models for data, economics and AI (particularly Nat Language understanding). And now … there’s emerging research from FB’s Director of AI and UC Berkeley neuroscience that supports my systems bet.At times, I’ve felt like the loneliest “mad inventor” ever (waiting for this emerging research) —which is partly why I hang out on AVC to stay sane, :*).

  5. LE

    About self regulation Albert says (if I understand the point he is making) that there is already software that can do the following:You are about to write a really douchy comment, do you want to post this?The problem with that is the same with technology and learning. As much as it allows us to learn more things, it also prevents us from learning how to learn. And learning through our own mistakes and through hard work and overcoming adversity “the process”. In the case of the above observation the negative feedback loop (which can be a powerful motivator at some point in the future) is stunted. But it’s more than that as well. It’s like having your parents tell you what you should and shouldn’t do instead of learning on your own through trial and error. Which in my opinion is quite valuable. My point is simply that you have to consider the downside of technology and things being to easy as well as the benefits.

  6. LE

    It’s more than being in touch with ordinary people. (Regarding politicians I am referring to Albert’s comment about Trump and Sanders). It’s that people see them as real and not phony that’s a very big part of the appeal. There are dozens of reasons why these two politicians are doing better than anyone (with experience in politics) could ever have expected. Certainly one of those reasons is that politicians and large corporations are seen as “tools”. Entities that have to protect and limit everything they say and run it through a finish mill prior to speaking or writing for fear of the reaction of typically small parts of the population, the media (amplifier) or a lawsuit. No freedom of speech whatsoever. Bernie and Donald don’t play this game they say what they feel (douchy or not) without regard to the outcome. Not that they don’t do it at all but it’s a gross departure from what we see now typically.Discouraging to have someone like Trump that is basically ‘buying’ attentionThat’s part of the reason he is doing well. He is entertaining and people listen to him and he gets media play. But it’s more than that. In the end people have to feel that what he is saying resonates with them and what he is saying does resonate with many people.Yesterday I bought an AT&T desk phone for roughly $50 which of course was made in China. I marveled at how someone could make a profit distributing and importing this to our country. That phone isn’t even distributed by AT&T they simply license their IP to a company that imports the phone. That phone could be made in the US but it’s not because there is no way a US manufacture can compete with the Chinese. Ditto for low cost labor in our country the guys who work for the man who cuts our lawns here don’t speak english at all. How can the local labor compete with that? As a kid I moved lawns to make money. That doesn’t even happen now. And how can the local labor compete with hispanics working in restaurant kitchens? They can’t. The excess of undocumented labor in this country has created not only cheaper products (most of which we actually don’t need) but also forced out manufacturing. That is the message that Trump is playing to. I can fully see why so many people support him (the angry white man). (I won’t even get into taxes and social services under democrats).

    1. PhilipSugar

      You know what amazed me. We wrapped up our office buildout. Doubled the size. So we did lunch and a happy hour for the construction crew.Everybody represented.Skilled trades: plumbers, electricians, foreman. Regular trades: guys that lay floor, build cubes, paint. drywallMuscle: those that clean,take out trash, landscape.Black, white, hispanic, who knows who cares.All loved Trump. All.Stunned me.All hated Bernie. Why???They all know somebody that doesn’t bust their ass everyday and is on the dole. They take pride in their work.It’s really easy to have utopian thoughts when you are rich.

      1. LE

        Doesn’t surprise me that they love Trump actually. But as you know so do people that are out of jobs that is a large part of his appeal they think he can fix that for them. I wonder with your crew how they view the guys “on the dole”. In other words they must feel they have the ability to work but don’t. (As opposed to people who want to work but can’t find jobs.)One thing I have found is that working class people admire wealth and displays of wealth. The are very aspirational in that way as are many immigrants.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Every one of them has a story about hiring somebody that didn’t work out.Everyone of them know of an opening for somebody that is willing to work hard, show up on time, learn, and realize they are paying their dues.They run the gamut:A black guy from the city who drywalls and plays bass for Don’t Call Me FrancisA guy from Mexico that paints and also paints on the sideA white guy that is the electrician that mows 30 yards after work and teaches at the community college.A country supervisor that goes back to his farm and works.The plumber who has rental propertiesThe electrician started it by saying he had fired his nephew and decided to not try and hire any more people because he was tired of being disappointed.I am friends with more working class people than anybody on this board. They know I make a lot more than they do. They don’t begrudge me that.What bothers them is when they see somebody that is not willing to work blame their woes on somebody else. Bernie is a great example of that.Don’t get me wrong I think we need to have government control banks, etc, but don’t tell me I am bad because I’ve succeeded. I think many of my peers have guilt about that and therefore are willing to back candidates that will pit people against each other.

  7. Emmanuel Bellity

    Hands in the air… is Albert doing gangsta rap ? 🙂

  8. Joel Natividad

    For psychological freedom, I think we also should have to freedom from Wants (Quants for Ads) hacking our lizard brains towards negative outcomes. As Thaler and Ariely have shown, it’s ridiculously easy to manipulate people.

  9. William Mougayar

    These 3 freedoms are good anchors to think about. I’d like to be able to follow progress towards them with metrics.

  10. cavepainting

    Psychological freedom is a really big deal. It is about being aware of what we think and what we do, and applying a filter and sanity check to the thoughts that originate even before they translate to action. The wisdom traditions of the world have always maintained that observing ourselves is the only way to reduce the dominance of the lizard brain and let the higher self start to establish itself.As to informational freedom, there is also the issue of our personal data locked up in supplier silos. It is high time that the government makes it mandatory for any supplier that collects customer data to share it with the customer on request and through an API. The UK and Australian governments have already made significant progress in this area.When the customer becomes the point of aggregation of his own data, it opens up several new opportunities for value exchange where the benefit flows primarily to the customer. At the moment, value exchange of personal data is brokered by intermediaries such as Facebook, Google and the ad-tech technology stack. They corral a disproportionate amount of economic value by trading data that really belongs to the consumer.

  11. jason wright

    nice freeze frame – Albert the maniac investor.and what is that antique behind Andrew?

    1. Lawrence Brass

      seems like an apple II..

  12. Salt Shaker

    Albert could be Bernie’s running mate.

    1. fredwilson

      Albert has better ideas

    2. iggyfanlo

      Bernie should be Albert’s running mate

  13. sigmaalgebra

    Albert ended on the current POTUS campaigns, especially Trump and Sanders, and Albert started with information, access, dissemination, etc.Okay, I’d like to address those two.So, sure, I’m outraged about the information part.An Example — My Current Sore ToothHere’s the current pebble in my shoe, burr under my saddle, or my sore tooth:Apparently renewable energy wind farms have been killing a lot of birds including bald eagles.So, I’ve recently heard this from two sources. The first source is at…and is Newt Gingrich taking questions from the audience at Amherst College. There, considering US energy, two coeds are against fracking and are for wind farms, and Gingrich answers that fracking happens 8000+ feet down with no effects on the surface while wind farms are violating a lot of laws killing lot of birds but are being permitted to by the current Administration.For the second source, in Trump’s press conference on May 26, 2016 in North Dakota, with full transcript at…[Note: To get the full transcript, have to scan through the Web page that is given and click many times on “Show Full Text”.]is in part and on killing eagles: Wind is very expensive. wind — without subsidy, wind doesn’t work. And there are places maybe for wind. but if you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles. If you shoot an eagle they want to put you in jail for five years. And yet the winds are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles, one of the most beautiful, treasured birds and they’re killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens. Wind is a problem. it’s very, very expensive and it doesn’t work with our subsidy. [Note: May have to interpret this oral statement, e.g., change “it doesn’t work with our subsidy” to it doesn’t work without subsidy”.]Here’s where my tooth hurts:So, all of a sudden, just by chance, catch as catch can, I discover that the current Administration is “so excited, … so on fire, … so guts-and-glory passionate” [extra credit for knowing the source] about wind energy that it’s willing to set aside protection of the main symbol of US strength, the Bald Eagle.I’m outraged: I spend a lot of time and effort attempting to become an informed citizen, but for information on something like killing eagles I have to go by chance. Bummer. Outrage.Candidate CausesSo, what the heck are the causes of this outrageous lack of information? That is, why did all my efforts to be informed flop on the eagles? What else am I missing?Here in guesses are six candidate causes:Guess 1:The mainstream media and its determination just to chase only trivia?Guess 2:Media-Administration collusion for cover-up and restraint of information?Guess 3:Nearly all of media paid off by the wind power industry that needs subsidies and to suppress their violation of greenie, environmentalist ethics?Guess 4:Media and newsies that in college were usually humanities majors at the bottom of their class majoring in beer and bed and now still not sobered up and dumber than paint?Guess 5:The media a self-reproducing collection still with the effects of old leftist, liberal, socialist, Communist influences — e.g., the Newt Gingrich claim that the NYT used to believe that Stalin and Castro were great heroes or some such — out to support liberals no matter what?Guess 6:Enemies of the US out to sabotage the US, the US economy, US strength, and US national security paying off the media to suppress information about sabotage of the US?Good NewsSo, we’ve got wind farms killing birds including bald eagles. Okay, now, although only by chance, we know that. Better late than never. But now we have a lead we can follow to get some some of the rest of the situation:Well, someone must be writing about the dead eagles somewhere; it’s likely on the Internet in text; since Google is nicely close to comprehensive and since we do have some likely good keywords/phrases, we can do Google search”wind farms” killing eaglesand get”About 42,400 results”.Yup, quickly we can learn that the current Administration started passing out to wind farms get out of jail free cards in 2009 and has had an excuse not to report the number of eagle deaths but that last August finally some people who like eagles won a law suit that might slow the get out of jail free cards and save some eagles.Back to AlbertSo, Albert was talking about information, access, dissemination, etc. Good.Well more good news: At least in the case of eagles, from the Google”About 42,400 results”,and from some of the specific results I did find, apparently a lot of information on the eagle deaths and the role of the Administration in those deaths is on the Internet. Or, whatever truth there may be in guesses 1-6, the information on the eagles does exist.So, since the eagle information does exist, the remaining issue is just Albert’s access, dissemination, etc. And in terms of, say, Ben Evans, we could add discovery. Also possibly relevant might be recommendation, notification, and subscription.SolutionAt least to a significant level, the information we could want does exist, but people need better means to discover it, etc.Of course, from 100,000 feet up, we are talking niche information, and there stand to be many thousands of niches.So, there can be many thousands of, say, Web magazines focusing on the niches.So, right, not everyone will be so interested in bald eagles.Then we need a way so that each of us can get recommendations for the niche topics we might be interested in, discover the Web content, e.g., magazines, for those niche topics, and subscribe, get notifications, etc.Then we should be closer to a solution to Albert’s concerns and hopefully also do much better for bald eagles and also 1001 other niche concerns.

  14. Mark Essel

    Napkin math for UBI:3e12/300mil = 10k universal income or adults only? 20-30k?I suspect that would result in a low quality of life, with the cost of goods and services rising. Maybe automation and bots could reduce costs?Corporate taxes would bear the brunt of the GDP along with whatever new type of work people chose to do.Enjoyed the vid.

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t know the math but remember that UBI would not be taxed so $30k after tax is like $50k before tax

      1. Mark Essel

        Right on. What about inflation due to UBI?

  15. LE

    In addition to what you have highlighted (which of course is important) the other thing about foreign manufacturing is that there are a great deal of people that don’t have the types of protections our workers have here and they are generally it seems willing to accept much less pay and live in conditions that we don’t live in. I am not really seeing (subsidies or not) a way that a manufacturer or wholesaler can compete with this.As far as “profit” being the primary motivator, not to beat a dead horse for the 100th time, but “you can only be as honest as your competition”. So in the case of my cousin, an importer, who just was in Vietnam on business for a month, he goes there because he has to go there given where his competitors are manufacturing. How do you think we solve that problem? In other words your competitors.Back when my Dad was in that business their primary product was giftware imported from Israel. After my Dad got out of the business in the 80’s my Uncle ended up having to import some Israeli religious items from China (like plastic menorahs). Had to do it, the competition was doing it (brass things were still made in Israel at that time). I don’t know that they are using Vietnam for this now (they now sell other items that are not religious) but I can assure you that if it could be made here (they run a very lean operation) they would. Also these industries are not subsidized although others are obviously.You are lucky that you are selling a perishable product.

  16. LE

    Well from what I see Bernie never had a serious job outside politics or organizing.http://www.sanders.senate.g…As such he has no understanding of what it’s like to have employees and the shenanigans that they pull and what it’s like to make payroll. He doesn’t know of the pressure you are under to not lose the WF account for example. He did what looks like some odd creative pursuits in the 60’s prior to entering politics when business was vastly different (as you are aware) than it is today.By the way I take issue with the “busting ass” part of your statement. It seems tilted in the same way that a woman taking care of kids while her husband is off doing brain surgery seems to thing that her job “is also very difficult”. [1] Many lower paid jobs are difficult in a physical way of course but I think that’s a bit different than being a mentally stressful or difficult job.[1] Noting it’s less dangerous to make a statement like this when everybody has left the venue.

  17. PhilipSugar

    I disagree with your first post, Bernie thinks I’m evil. This post I agree with. We have to define basics and my view of those might be less than yours .Government needs to step in when you have a tragedy of the commons situation. They need to do it as simple as possible. Examples:Minimum WageOSHAEnvironmentalBanksStock MarketBut they don’t need to say you make money you are bad.

  18. LE

    continue to ask them to give 8 hours or so of their lives to youNotice the way you frame that “give 8 hours or so of their lives to you”.They have to work to make money. They are not giving you “8 hours of their lives” as if they have given their lives to military service or their country or donated a kidney. One has to work and earn a living so one can buy things. They aren’t giving you anything (in that respect) anymore than you are giving them something.and by adequate I mean they shouldn’t have to work a second job to pay the basicsDoesn’t work like that. Business pays what they can given their competition and what they can sell their product for. I don’t have to start a business (with all of the risks as you know) unless it meets my criteria for making money. Should I need labor I will offer a job to people at what that labor is worth to me. If they don’t want the job they don’t have to take the job.What’s wrong with working a second job by the way? 8 hours 40 hours a week is arbitrary. Some people work less some people work more. I work way more than 40 hours per week. So does Fred. And he has many more issues than some guy who clocks in at the factory and then goes to make sandwiches at Wawa later in the day. Or does work on the weekend.What do people earn starting out at hour factory? What benefits do they get? What will they get paid 3 or 5 years from now? Are you going to give them raises every year of, say, 5% w/o an increase in productivity? I would imagine many of the jobs you have don’t get more productive year over year by the nature of the work (stab in the dark no basis for my statement).

  19. PhilipSugar

    Yes I left out trade. What people don’t understand the simple fact that if you have trade with no protections you eventually become the country you are trading with. It is not that hard of a concept. If the place you are trading with allows you to dump chemicals into the river, have unsafe conditions for working.Now I have proposed a carrot in addition to the stick. Give companies a credit for the working wages they pay in the U.S.

  20. Donna215255845

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