Douglas Mallette giving a lecture in Oslo, Norway, discussing what it means to take a systems approach to managing resources, the necessity of this approach …
Global Sustainability: Science, Engineering
and Technology for Human Concern
Welcome everybody and thank you for coming
to this lecture by Douglas Mallette.
He is the CEO of the
Cybernated Farm Systems,
and also a former
systems engineer on the
NASA Space Shuttle Program.
Let's give him a warm welcome.
All right. Thank you very much.
I appreciate all of you who
took time out of your day
to come here and listen to what
I'm going to talk about today.
As was mentioned, I am the CEO
of Cybernated Farm Systems.
It's a company I just
recently started.
We'll talk a little bit about it later
as it has some relevance to the topic.
I'm not here really to
talk about that so much.
I am a former Space
Shuttle Systems Engineer.
I worked with a Boeing
subcontractor in Houston, Texas,
and I did that for a
little over 3 years
before they decided to start
systematically shutting everything down
(so everybody all got laid
off at periodic times)
at which point I decided I can go
play with missiles, bombs and guns
because that's really what aerospace
is starting to move towards
(in my neck-of-the-woods which
I'm not interested in),
so I decided to do something
a little more humanitarian.
I'm the author of
'Turning Point',
a book that talks about space
exploration and development
in a non-technical,
user-friendly way.
Unfortunately a lot of
people have this mindset,
not due any fault of their own.
The media does not do a very good job
of promoting space exploration and
what it means to your everyday life,
but they don't find a lot of relevance
as to what space exploration means
for mankind and their
day-to-day operations.
Throughout the course of today's lecture
we're going to touch base on that concept,
and what it means on how
we operate on this planet.
We are going to talk about space
exploration and sustainability.
What exactly do the two
have to do with each other?
Sustainability in space increases
sustainability on Earth.
There's nothing that we've ever
invented for the space program
that doesn't, in some
way, find its way
on to everyday
Earth-based operations.
Whether it's the CAT
scan machine or MRI's
or advanced materials
that go into tires,
advanced systems for brakes,
for telecommunications.
There's a gamut of possibilities
of industries that are
affected by space exploration.
What we're going to
do to start off with
is called a Gedanken experiment,
or a thought experiment,
on what would be needed
to build a base on Mars
and how it would facilitate the needs
of the astronauts. How will they live?
How are we going to provide
everything that they need?
On Mars there's
no grocery store,
and so we have to think about how
an astronaut would be able to live.
There's no grocery store down the
street for them to resupply.
You can't just waste and go to
the store and pick up a refresh.
Logistically that's near impossible
to pull off in a sustainable way,
so what we look at is: Okay, what can
we implement onto a Mars-based system?
This is also used on the ISS, so
these concepts actually don't just apply
to Mars, but they would apply to the Moon
or a long duration space craft or the
International Space Station, the ISS.
All these systems exist, today,
but we don't use those derivative
technologies down here very well.
So, what are some of the
things that you would need
to maintain a human being's
biological requirements,
biological necessities of life?
Anybody throw anything out.
[man from audience] – Water and seeds.
– Seeds? You mean food, right?
Yes, ok. Food, water, what else? Yes?
– Oxygen.
Air, yeah. Clean breathable air.
– Controlling too
high/low temperatures.
– Climate control? Right, ok.
Waste reclamation and the
proper handling of that, ok.
Now what about quality
of life needs?
Things that enhance the quality of life
beyond just the biological requirements?
A lot of people don't
think about those
because we're immersed in
them all the time. Yes?
– Safety?
Social needs, people to talk to, to feel like you're a part of something.
– Being connected with other people, ok.
What kind of technical systems
might be a quality of life?
– Media. – Media?
Oh, yes, ok. Entertainment and stuff like that.
Right, and back there?
Energy? Absolutely.
That's a good one. What else?
Transportation? All right! Yes?
– Production.
– Production, manufacturing,
things like that, to get the things
that they need on a local level.
It's kind of hard to do the resupply so
it helps to produce as much as you can.
Now you guys kind of get some
of the concepts, all right?
Basic necessities of life.
What are they?
In a nutshell: air, food, water,
sleep and medical care.
Sleep and medical care seem to miss
people, if you think about it.
You don't think about
"You need to sleep!"
If sleep deprivation is a
serious biological problem
for people, it can cause you to go
crazy or you can get really sick.
In medical care, obviously
if you hurt yourself,
if you don't take care of
that issue, that infection,
your biological-ness will go
'prrrrrt' and you're done.
So, you've got to make sure
those things are covered.
Now you've got your necessities
for a high quality of life.
Here are some of the most
pedestrian things: shelter,
clothing, education, energy,
transportation and communication.
If you think about how you
interact with the world today
you're involved with these
on a regular basis,
in different ways.
Shelter on Mars, is actually
more of a biological requirement
than it is a quality of
life enhancer, because
you can't just go for a crisp
walk in the Martian air.
It doesn't work that way.
On Earth you could technically
live without shelter.
You could exist as a human being;
it wouldn't be very comfortable.
In fact, you can exist without all of these,
but your quality of life isn't very high.
If you think back to the
nomadic, hunter-gatherers,
of 50,000 years ago,
they lived but they
didn't live that great.
They moved around a lot.
Nature could mess with them pretty easily,
but they survived.
When you're looking at a Mars Base,
you will think to yourselves
(or we in the space industry
have given a lot of thought to)
"All right, how can we
provide those necessities
on a level so that
the astronauts
aren't reduced to being just
stewards of their environment?"
See, it's one thing to
provide these things.
It's something else if you have
to use a lot of human labor
to constantly maintain
them all the time,
because after all, that's not why we
would be sending astronauts to Mars
in the first place, right?
The point of them going there is to get out,
go explore, do their science
and do their research.
Their job is not to be
Farmer John or Farmer Jill.
Their job is not supposed to
be the manual labor force
to create their water supply
or to do anything like that.
So what you'll want to do is
to automate, computerize,
and make technical as much of
those processes as possible,
so that the astronauts
have the free time
to go do what they're supposed to
be doing: to go be astronauts.
When you look at this on a level of "Ok,
this is what we have to do on Mars,"
a lot of these problems have been
addressed and are already overcome.
The International Space
Station operates
in a highly automated fashion.
That way, the astronauts
that are on board
don't have to, as much, maintain
their environment directly.
Another key thing,
especially on Mars,
would be having more than
enough to suit their needs,
having an abundance of
their requirements.
You can't afford to have a
shortage in a place like that,
because if you run out, people die.
Same thing on the space shuttle:
you have to make sure that you have
more then enough of what you need
so that you can
complete the mission.
And likewise on the ISS,
on the space station.
If you think about it
in terms of Earth,
it's by far the
most important word
with respect to mankind's
ability to live peacefully.
I draw up the scenario
like this: If I took
this group of people in
this room right now,
and I put you on a deserted island
with nothing but 1 coconut tree,
how long do you think you
reasonable people would last
before 'it [the shit]
really hit the fan',
before people started
going after each other,
started manipulating each other,
started fighting each other
to get to that food?
You don't think of yourselves as
aggressive, mean, nasty people,
but if you're put in an environment
that has that level of scarcity,
you will turn into aggressive,
mean, nasty people to survive.
That's how it works.
So conversely, what if we put 500
coconut trees on this island?
[It's] way more than enough to
cover everybody's needs for food.
Do you think you're going to
exhibit those negative behaviors?
[It's] much less likely.
You might quibble over other things,
but you're definitely not
going to fight over food,
or at least over the coconuts.
It's an important aspect
when people talk about this
human nature versus human
nurture argument, I mean.
It's kind of a
quasi-combination of both,
but our behaviors
are highly modified
by the environment that we're
stuck in at the moment.
You put us in a high stress,
high scarcity environment,
then we're not going
to behave very well.
You put us in a more
relaxed, low stress,
more abundant environment for
the things that we need,
and we're less likely to exhibit
these aberrant behaviors,
these negative behaviors.
Now we move, as far as Mars is
concerned, to technical abundance,
being able to create an
abundance without the heavy use
of human labor as
the primary driver.
Throughout the course of
most of human history,
the largest labor force on the
planet has been human muscle.
Then we started using animals
a little more efficiently,
but then we got to the point where
we started developing technologies
and machines to do a lot of
the heavy lifting for us.
Now we're in the 21st century
where we can do a whole lot more
with a whole lot less,
and we're seeing some of
the ramifications of that
in our socio-economic
'hiccup' if you will;
but on a Mars base it's
an absolute necessity,
because as we go back to it,
there's only so many astronauts
that can go there at any given time.
They don't have a labor force of 100 people.
You're looking at a
Martian mission of 5 – 7,
and so if they want to live,
work and cooperate together,
there's a different mental
structure to those astronauts
as to how to work together.
There's also a different environmental structure
that allows them to live and
work together in such a place.
What kind of technology
do we have today
that can cover biological
needs in abundance?
Air, looking at the Earth.
That's readily abundant, as long
as we don't pollute it all.
We're not doing a very good
job at keeping clean air, but
we are trying to get better at setting
up regulations to cover that.
Water: desalinisation plants,
rain collecting systems,
an example of which would
be NASA's spin-off
from 2008, a portable nano mesh.
Basically, it's a water bottle
with a filter built into it,
and you can go to the
nastiest mud hole in Africa,
push through and you'll get clean
drinking water on the other end;
and you can drink it right out of
the same bottle you just dumped
because the technology involved
(and when people think technology
they're only thinking computers and
bells and whistles and Star Trek),
it doesn't always have
to be that high tech.
It can be as simple as
a nano mesh material
that allows you to get clean
drinking water relatively easily.
NASA creates these spin-off
magazines every single year.
They're online, they're
free, and they show
technological progress that
either NASA directly invented
to help people out for
the consumer market,
or they've helped companies
develop technologies to a higher
level, using NASA know-how.
This goes slightly towards what I'm
focusing on right now in my life:
high tech farming, aquaponic
and hydroponic systems.
Who here is familiar with
aquaponics or hydroponics?
Ok, for those who don't know,
basically it's the
ability to grow plants
vegetables, fruits,
things like that,
without dirt, without soil.
It's using a liquid-based platform,
and the plants work just fine.
It's already a proven
existing technology.
Imagine having such
a robust system
in a 3rd world nation where
the land is arid and dead.
That's effectively
what I'm doing,
but I'm adding some bells and whistles
to it a bit, to make it easier
for the population
that we're serving.
What CFS is doing, my company,
is building self-sustaining, fully
automated, aquaponic farm buildings,
that are about 464m2 in size,
solar and wind powered with a
battery-bank, backup system.
I can feed 1600 people 10 different
fruits and vegetables each,
in that 1 building;
and it's completely self sustaining,
collects its own water,
maintains its own
energy balance.
It does not need an infusion of extra
nutrients because it's aquaponic,
which means it has a small
little fish farm built in.
What that means
is that the fish make the water
dirty, through all their waste.
Well, guess what?
The plants actually like that.
So, you take the dirty water.
You send it over to the plants.
They suck out all the nutrients.
That cleans the water.
Then you run that water
back to the fish tank,
closed loop, symbiotic system.
And the fish,
the food that they eat is another
plant that grows in the water,
so that is its own
closed-loop system.
You don't have to add fish food.
You don't really need to mess with it.
In fact, when the building is all put
together, you just turn it on and walk away,
and it starts cranking out food: leafy
greens, baby tomatoes, baby cucumbers.
I affectionately call
it a salad factory.
It's really what it
is, but it's a start.
I mean, it will put food
in the bellies of people
who are literally starving to death
by the thousands, every single day.
I'm going to work with governments
and humanitarian organizations
to get these systems in place.
Not just drop them on a village
and feed and walk away,
but teach these people
how the system works:
get them educated, increase
their level of knowledge;
work with them on how to be
stewards of their own system
to the highest degree possible,
including 3D printing systems,
that will manufacture their own
parts from local materials,
but we'll get to that
in a little bit.
Sleep: Well, that comes a lot easier
when you're a lot less stressed.
If you have a quality life
environment where your food,
your shelter, your water, your
clothing, all of your needs are met,
sleep is a lot easier to come by,
but it needs to be addressed.
You don't want to be
stressed and sleepless.
Medical Care: This is
an amazing machine!
It's called the 'Da Vinci'
surgical assistant.
You can look it up on Youtube and see
all kinds of videos on it. In fact,
I have a source sheet for all of the
technologies that I'm showing you,
links to various aspects of these
technologies that you can look up.
If anybody is interested in
getting that source sheet,
I don't talk about anything
without having sources
(that's the engineer scientist in
me; I prove everything I say).
If anybody is interested I have a sheet.
You can give me your email address
and I'll send an email to everybody,
because I did not print them.
I didn't know how many
people would be here, so…
It's much more ecologically
sound if I just
write it down and send it
to you with electrons.
This system allows a surgeon to
manipulate a couple of handles
and do surgery in a way that
increases recovery time by
50 to 75% for the patients.
The incisions for various medical
terms that I don't even understand…
They can do cardiac work, lung work,
all kinds of work on the human body
using this machine,
and it basically is
the ultimate assistant for
the surgeons themselves.
It can be done remotely
where this system could be
put in a village or a place
where it's hard to get
doctors to, or unrealistic,
but we have telecommunication
systems that are pretty amazing.
I skype with my wife pretty much
every single day on this trip,
so if we can do that,
we can do this.
What about technologies
for quality of life?
What kind of things can
we develop on this world
to create an abundance of
our quality of life needs?
Shelter. I really got involved
with contour crafting
and got to know the man who
developed the technology.
He's a professor at the University
of Southern California,
and it really all started after the
Haitian earthquake a couple of years ago.
Now many of you, I assume, are
familiar with what happened in Haiti,
with the earthquake that basically
demolished the vast majority of the country.
A lot of those people are
still living in tents,
2 years later! How dumb is that?
We live in the 21st
century and we can't
swipe and rebuild
faster than that?
What's wrong with us? This,
is a robotic, self-erecting,
fully automated system,
which can build a 2000
square-foot house,
which would be, what?
200 square meters, maybe?
I'm terrible at the
conversion, in my head.
It'd probably be about a
200m2 house in 24 hours,
an entire house, including
plumbing and electrical,
because it has additional side arms that can
plumb and do the electrical as it goes.
And, it can…
It's mobile so it basically
plops a house, moves along,
plops a house, moves along,
does rebar, sets the
roof, does it all;
and he already has. You can see on
the other picture here, on the side
where you can see how he can do
complex diometries, if necessary.
I mean, for a place like Haiti
that just got destroyed,
it would be really easy to just plop
a bunch of square blocks at first
and build a quick little village, in what?
A couple of days? Maybe a week,
especially if you have 3 or 4 of these
machines set up to just create that?
You can recycle a lot of the
materials that are there. Yes?
How has this technology been
tested out to build full houses?
He doesn't have the funding
yet to do that. Funding,
we'll get to the
money-bit later.
That's the road block
he's running into:
getting the funding to build
the full scale prototype,
but he's already worked out
so many of the minute details
that it's all about
scaling after that,
which in and of itself is an
engineering challenge, yes,
but not something that's insurmountable.
If we can build spaceships in space
then we can do this.
Clothing and other products, textiles,
anything that you would need,
3D printing, automated
sowing systems.
Imagine being your own
clothing designer.
Instead of going with the
latest fashion trend
of what somebody else says is popular
or just going with the flow,
imagine taking 3 or 4 designs
on your home computer,
merging them together, resizing
it to be exactly your size
(not everybody is exactly a
small, medium or large).
Make it your dimensions,
your requirements,
and have that locally produced down
the street so you can go pick it up.
Clothing on demand, if you will.
We have so many other on-demand things, don't we?
Movies on demand, we do phone,
we've got all these little
things on demand we can do.
We can watch a little movie
on our iPhone, yay!!
"I watched Transformers
2 when I wanted to!"
Why can't you print your own clothes?
Be your own designer?
I mean, yes, you could get stuff from
other people if you really like that
level of fashion; but if you wanted
to be your own designer, you could,
or the own creator of your products.
Make your own bowls,
be a potter, in a way, or
you can use a 3D CAD system
and design your own textiles.
You see this cute
little sculpture here
was drawn up on a CAD program and
completely printed from one block,
and it ran through the
system and created that.
The geometry that 3D printing can
create can be quite complex:
moving gear systems, a
crescent wrench that works
and is strong enough to
actually tighten bolts
and handle sheer stress loads
and torque loads just fine.
Education. It's hard for us to
disagree with the fact that
education today in the 21st century
is pretty much more accessible now
than it has ever been throughout
the history of mankind.
That ties directly in
with communication.
The ability to learn is
only limited by your access
to those technologies
that allow you to learn.
One that I am highly in favor
of more than anything else
is an on-line free platform
How many people here are
familiar with Khan Academy?
All right! That's the biggest
group of hands I have seen yet!
It's an amazing software package that
allows you to learn on your own.
You get to watch a 10-minute video
on a subject of your choice
and then you do a couple of
questions and if you pass it,
congratulations, you graduate
to the next level on the tree.
I'm going to give you an example of
how this works in a really fun way.
I have an 8-year-old daughter.
When she was 6 we put
her on Khan Academy,
so it really wasn't too long
[ago]; she just turned 8.
This really wasn't too long now;
she was about 6.5 at the time.
We got her on there to do some
math, starting with the 1 1 is 2,
and going through single digit
math, double digit math,
all on her own, self-directed.
Daddy's orders were "30 minutes, go to
Khan Academy, start there and just…
go for 30 minutes and I'll come
and get you when you're done."
"Ok!" Do dido dido and
goes and does it.
About 20 minutes into it, she comes up to
me and says: "Daddy, I don't know a word."
And I go "What's the word?
" And she goes "obtusé"
"Obtusé? Obtuse!?
As in acute, obtuse, right angle,
trigonometric identities, really?"
"Yeah." That's exactly
what she was doing.
She had brought herself all
the way down to the intro
to trigonometric identities,
angles, right angles;
she had already passed the lessons on
degrees and gradients, and she had moved…
Did I have anything
to do with that? No.
It's amazing what kids will teach
themselves if given the freedom to do so,
and now the Khan
Academy is being used
in California with the school
system (they partner together),
so that the students are kind of
quasi-teachers of themselves.
The teacher is more like a referee.
They just kind of walk around the room
and all these computers and these
kids are talking to each other,
and they're helping each other and
collaborating, and they're cooperating.
The kids that get it are helping
the kids that don't get it
and things like that, in a very
open source, 'Linux' kind of way
(we'll get to that
analogy in a second)
and it has shown
amazing results!
There are 8th graders doing
differential calculus.
They're in 8th grade!! They don't know
they're not supposed to be doing it
because the teachers are
not giving them limits.
They're not telling them "No, you're not
suppose to learn that until high school."
They're like "Go, whatever!
Learn whatever you want. As long as you pass it,
and you can explain it, and you
can help your fellow class mates,
do it!" And they are.
There's a lot of social studies
out there indicating that
the current methods of
education, this industrial
factory- line kind of
model that we have,
is actually counter-productive
to how the human brain works
and how we process
information and truly learn.
There's a difference
between rote memorization
and actually learning the
foundations of a subject
so that you can then repeat
it over and over again.
Now we get to Clean
Energy Systems.
An absolute necessity on Mars, they can
be achieved in a lot of different ways,
but here on Earth, we actually have
a little bit easier time of it
because we have more dimensions
to our clean energy access.
You have solar, which
most people are aware of.
Then you have wind.
Now when most people think wind power
they think big giant turbine fans that
take up hundreds of acres of land,
spinning around this way.
Vertical farms, vertical
wind farms (Verfs)
would be much more efficient.
They take much less footprint,
and if you put magnetic
bearings in the bottom,
that wind vein actually floats,
with much less friction
than using straight-up gears,
which means you could blow
on it and it will spin.
The cut-in wind speed
is drastically lower
with magnetically-levitating,
vertical wind systems.
So, you can then install
all over the place
things like you see
on the right picture
these vertical wind farms
built into the lights,
so when a car drives by,
what does it create?
A nice, good gust of wind.
So, that makes the fan turn,
which then charges the battery,
which then runs the lights.
Every car that goes by basically
keeps the system going.
If we have a high volume traffic area
or just a breeze during the day,
it'll charge up the battery so
it will last all night long.
The only thing you've got to change
is a battery once every decade,
if you have a good battery.
So there you go, great independence,
or at least one option of it.
Bloom energy, with
fuel cell systems:
It's an amazing technology that
he just came out with recently.
You can look this up (I
have links to it anyway).
Basically it's a fuel cell
system derived out of sand.
I think we have got enough
sand on this planet,
so there shouldn't be too much of a shortage
of being able to build these things.
That's what makes it so brilliant,
is what it's made out of,
and it's highly efficient.
Now we get to transportation systems,
clean transportation systems
that are powered by the clean
energy that we just reviewed.
There's more energy systems then just
what I've showed. There's geothermal,
wind, wave and tidal.
There are different
clean energy sources.
It's not about one
holy grail energy,
cold fusion or
something like that
to power the entire
planet with one thing.
Realistically you would want a
more dynamic energy grid anyway
that's not so centralized and
dependent on just one source.
You would have every building in
the city with a little bit of wind
a little bit of solar,
geothermal if you can tap it,
a kind of marriage of
these different systems
so that you are more robust in your
capabilities for power generation.
This is what we do on the
ISS or the space shuttle.
The space station
doesn't just do solar.
It has fuel cells built
into it as well.
Solar is the primary force
because it's up in space
and solar access
is a lot easier,
but it's not just one thing.
You don't single source.
When it comes to transportation
there are things like 'ULTRA'
which is a little automated vehicle
that doesn't have a driver.
You just hop in and punch
where you want to go
and it pulls out. It has GPS and
it has the whole path programmed
into it, and it goes.
This exists right now
at Heathrow Airport.
They're already running
tests on it right now
and it's doing quite well.
Electric cars: I've picked
the fancier version to show.
Of course, they don't have to
be sports cars like Tesla.
You've got the Nissan Leaf,
which has recently come out,
and I'm sure more
of the car industry
is going to jump on the
electric vehicle bandwagon,
and as the push for that
starts to become more serious,
one of the biggest detriments
that we have right now
is the infrastructure to
recharge the electric cars.
But in the same way that we
ended up putting gas stations
all over the planet, you can put
recharge centers all over the planet.
You can convert gas stations
to recharge centers,
or instead of that, why
not battery swap centers,
which is also another technological
option that's out there.
You don't recharge your battery
while you're sitting there
because that takes several hours.
You just pull up,
a machine goes underneath, pulls
your battery out the bottom,
takes it off to go to a recharge
station built into the center
and it puts a brand new
freshly charged one in.
(They're all inter-compatible)
and you just take off.
That takes five minutes.
By the time you go in, get a soda,
go to the bathroom, grab a
candy bar, you come back out
and your car has been switched out,
just like at the gas station.
Other transportation options
will be fully automated cars
that drive themselves.
Stanford University
is working on a vehicle
that drives itself.
[It] learns and studies traffic patterns
and knows what a red light means,
how 4-way traffic would
work at a stop sign,
things that you can program
in, test, and fine tune.
Google car is also another
one that they're working on.
There are many projects involved
with automated vehicles
that can take themselves around.
Imagine you have to go somewhere
and you just hop on your
iPhone or smartphone,
and you start punching in
the request for a vehicle
and it pulls up on its own.
You hop in,
and it takes you where you want
to go, and then you hop out.
Transport on demand,
Maglev train systems:
They're well-known.
They're just not out there enough.
Asia is really big on them,
and they work rather well.
You can clean-energy
power these.
Imagine putting mini-vertical wind
turbine systems on the train itself,
so as it sped by at 200 mph, you have these
wind veins on the top going ballistic
that will basically power all the
internal systems of the train as it went,
so then the only thing you really have
to power is the Maglev system itself,
which also could be solar,
wind and clean-energy powered
in stations along the track.
Communication: It'd be hard
pressed for anybody to disagree
with how robust our communication
systems are these days.
I don't really have to
hammer that point too much.
I'm actually surprised nobody
is texting now. [Laughter]
This guy is annoying. [Laughter]
Let's go hypothetical
a little bit, but
the technologies are real.
We just covered all the biological
and the quality of life needs that
could be met with technical abundance
so that everybody has
access to the things
that would make
their lives great.
After such abundant solution
sets are implemented,
can the current system that
we live in handle that?
Does our current socio-economic
model take into account
our ability to advance to
an abundance paradigm?
– Technology contracted towards
the system economy, I would say.
– I would venture to say no.
Our current socio-economic
model can't handle this,
and the reason why is because the
current socio-economic model
could not have predicted the
world that we're in now.
People don't seem
to realize that
what we use as our
modern form of economics
is basically 200 – 300 years old
and has been twisted and manipulated
here and there over time,
but it was designed, the root
foundations of it were designed
during a time and age where
scarcity and deprivation
and haves and have nots were pretty
much the dominant force on the planet.
The only way you can create anything
was by people serving people;
other people had to do it.
We can go back thousands of years
for the basic root systems
of what markets were, what
economics had been turned into.
Even though, by definition, economics
is supposed to be household management:
the most efficient,
sustainable way to handle
the resources that
you have at hand.
It's pretty obvious we are
not doing a very good job
of managing our economics when you
see the planet start to stress;
you see people start to stress.
There are a lot of issues
built into what we have now
versus what we are capable
of accomplishing.
We can do a 'now in
need' comparison
and just think about these
topics in that way.
Right now we have a system based on
scarcity, haves versus have nots.
Whether that scarcity is natural or
artificial pretty much doesn't matter.
Some people can
manufacture scarcity
by limiting the amount of
a product in the market
thereby driving its
value up artificially;
or a natural disaster could
mess with the orange crop,
so the orange value goes
up, something like that.
What we need is a system
based on technical abundance
that can mitigate a lot
of those negatives,
prevent natural disasters
from affecting crops
by doing more climate
controlled systems.
Things like I'm doing with my
buildings where it doesn't matter
if its -10 degrees
outside or a 105.
The building will still
produce quality food
at a nice temperature
of about 72.
What we have is a system based
on inefficient human labor
as the main driver of
how we get things done:
how people are paid, labor for
income, things like that.
What we need is a system based
on efficient technical labor
as the main driver,
because it's pretty obvious that
the machines we've invented
are way better than us
at a lot of things.
People don't put cars
together by hand anymore.
Why would you do that?
It's not as efficient
and you can be a lot more safe, a lot
more accurate with technical systems.
Now, we're talking about dummy
systems, we're not talking about
AI, robot, computer, you
know cyborg stuff here.
That's a completely
different topic.
We're talking about systems
that don't think; they just do
a particular assigned task.
What we have now is a system
based on cyclical consumption
for constant growth.
What we need is a system based
on sustainability and balance.
How many planet
Earths do we have?
How can you cyclically consume
and expect constant
growth on a finite world?
Either better find
another planet
and better find a way to get there
really soon, that you can live on,
or you have to change
what you're doing
on the one-and-only world you've
got at the moment, anyway;
and if we don't, the
planet's going to be fine.
It will continue on for another couple
of billion years till the sun expands,
sucks in the inner solar
system and then goes nova and
blows us all out in a big
beautiful explosion of particles.
It's going to happen anyway.
The planet doesn't care, but
as George Carlin would say
"We're screwed
if we don't fix it."
We have a system based on
ownership and control.
What we need is a system based
on usership (I made that one up;
and it's difficult to say, too.
I going to change the word. I'll figure it out later.)
and open access. OK?
Where did ownership come from?
It makes sense if you go
back several hundred years
to the notion of agriculture.
If you go back even further in
time, we didn't have that hiccup.
We didn't have ownership
as a primary requirement.
Nomadic hunter-gatherers didn't
care about owning anything.
They moved too much.
They were in smaller groups that just
went down the river.
They didn't stay anywhere. They kind of
did what they had to in that zone
when the plants and the foliage…
couldn't eat anything any more.
The hunting was gone.
They would move down into
a different location,
so they didn't really own the land.
They used the land.
They were usership.
They just got what they needed.
That was natural abundance: not a whole
lot of people, big old giant planet.
It worked out well,
in that paradigm,
but as we got more advanced
and population began to grow,
and it really grew a lot when we
had the agricultural revolution;
now you had land that
you had to cultivate.
So, I must put a fence
around that land
so I can protect it from somebody
else coming in and taking control,
or trying to mess with all the
hard work that I put into it.
So, now I've got this land
that I've got to protect.
I can't always do it myself, so maybe
I should hire a couple of guys
to do it for me, and I'll pay them with
food, but I'll get them some clubs.
So, now we have the police and
military coming into effect.
If you start looking at how all
these systems propagate themselves,
that's where you get the
kind of world we have today.
Mine, I own it, I'm
going to protect it,
and if you try to take it I'm going to
whack you over the head with a club,
or shoot a missile at you,
or whatever. Right?
21st century version of club.
Think about this in
terms of usership:
Do you want to own a car,
do you need to own a car,
or do you just need on-demand
access to transportation
to go where you want,
when you want?
Anybody who lives in a city that has
a good public transportation system,
like Oslo or Stockholm
(where I just recently was
a couple of days ago)
there are a lot of people
(or Manhattan in New York)
who don't own cars at all, and
they haven't owned cars for years.
I've got a friend who lives in New York.
He hasn't had a car for over 5 years.
Why? Don't need one!
Go anywhere you want, whenever you want,
the mass transit
system is pretty good.
It's not as clean or
efficient as it could be
if you'd put in Maglev
systems, automated vehicles
shared cars, things like that,
but it's not bad.
So, people don't need cars.
What you would need a car for is
if you're going to a remote area,
but could you not
maybe check out a car
like you would check out
a book at a library?
Check out a vehicle, use it for
when you need it, bring it back.
Have the respect and understanding,
the proper educational foundation
to understand that
that vehicle is
everybody's to use; just like
the library book would be.
Do you grab the library book, go
home, and use it in the fireplace?
No! Because you've been
taught to respect the book
and other people can
read it and enjoy it.
Same idea with the vehicles
or other commodities
that we think we need to own.
Statistical fact: A car sits and
does nothing for 80% of its life.
It's parked.
If you look at how many hours
a day you actually drive
versus how many hours
a day it sits,
it's about 20 to 25% of the
time that you actually use it.
Yet you spend how
much money on a car?
Like in America you are averaging $20,000
– $30,000
for a big complex
piece of machinery
that you drive 25% of the time.
Don't you think that's kind
of a waste of resources,
a waste of potential
for that vehicle?
It's something to think about.
What we have now is a
system based on outdated
multi, century-old
ideologies and institutions.
What we need is a system
based on forward-thinking
adaptation and emergence.
We're always getting more
data, more knowledge.
Let's see:
First, the Earth is flat.
Yes, it is.
I can see that it's flat. It's flat!
You're going to fall off.
You do a little scientific
analysis, OK, maybe not so flat.
New data, new way of thinking
about how we work in the world,
different behavioral,
adjustment shift.
No way we're ever going to go into space.
Are you kidding me?
First of all, that
looks flat too.
I mean, you just see stuff move
around a little bit; but no,
that's never going to happen.
Forget it!
And… touchdown,
Tranquillity Base.
Now we are on the Moon.
Now we're in space
on a regular basis.
OK. Forget that old data point,
absorb the new data point,
change our way of thinking,
and move forward.
You could probably go through 100
different scenarios like that
of we thought was one thing
and we behaved a certain way,
and then we got new data, we
adjusted and we moved on.
But you notice how there's one
thing that never seems to change
and that's how we socio-economically
operate on this planet,
at least for the past
5000 years or so.
It's almost as if money,
market, economics
and that methodology
of governing resources
has and always will be.
In the beginning God created Heaven,
the Earth, banks and the markets.
Not exactly.
So, if all these other
things can adjust and shift,
why can't we develop a
better operating system
to adjust and shift to the new
capabilities that we have?
A system based on hostile competition,
secrecy and differential advantage,
versus a system of cooperation
and collaboration of ideas
and information for
mutual benefit.
One of the leading
examples of what we need
kind of exists today with Linux,
and how that is an open
source, interactive platform
that everyone can contribute to as an
operating system for your computer,
up to and including inventing
software packages that mimic Windows.
So if you really think
about it in a way,
the Earth is currently
still running Windows 1.0
and we need to upgrade to Linux.
Hostile competition.
I'm OK with competition.
I like sports.
I'm still keeping track of the
NFL play-offs, (Go Patriots!)
things like that,
but that doesn't kill anybody.
Economic competition
can kill people,
and if that isn't
very obvious in how
people are starving that
shouldn't be starving,
how people are impoverished
that shouldn't be impoverished,
how people don't have access
to education or energy
or anything to live in a
decent quality of life,
I don't know what other
indicator you need.
Economic competition
can kill people.
Friendly competition, two
scientists going after each other:
"I'm going to solve this problem before you.
"No you're not! "All right, fine!"
Go against each other,
somebody wins.
All right. One: problem solved.
That's a bonus for mankind whatever
that technical problem might have been,
and at the end of the day, they'll
probably go have a beer together anyway,
So, that's fine,
but when you live in a world
where differential advantage:
having control over somebody
else by hoarding resources
or monopolizing their extraction
or monopolizing their use
or creating a whole
bunch of products,
that is a gigantic waste of resources
as a way to manipulate the system.
That's not good for
us in the long run.
We live now in a system
where political opinion
influenced by financial
dictate the ebb and flow of global
operations to benefit a select few,
which has kind of been the case
throughout the dawn of mankind.
Well, not the dawn of mankind,
not the hunter-gatherers, but
if you look at monarchies or
any kind of top-down system,
it's a scarcity
driven environment.
What we need is a
scientific method
used in conjunction with human
experience and technical foundations
to enhance the lives
of all people.
There should be no reason
why everybody on the planet
can't start off having a
pretty good way of life
which enables them to acquire the educations
on what they're passionate about,
whatever that may be, whatever influences
them over the course of their life,
to be able to do
whatever they want,
positively, to share
with other people,
make the world a better place for
themselves and those around them,
and never have to worry about
the roof over their head
or the food in their stomach.
Mankind needs to move to a new and
upgraded global operating system
typically refered to as the
Resource-Based Economy,
which is where we use our
technical foundations in a way
to better the life
of all people.
This includes an educational
shift, a value shift,
going from materialistic: "I am
special if I own the most stuff",
or "I have the fanciest
car" or "the most jewelry",
to a more sustainable platform
of value system that says:
"I know that the technical systems that
we've invented can benefit everyone.
I can contribute to that
or I can benefit from it,
and in the meantime I can create something
that somebody else might enjoy,
even if I'm an artist."
If I'm a painter or a musician,
and I'm not so good with technology
(I understand how it works,
but I can't really contribute
that way), that's OK
because what is going to
happen is that scientist
who has a really stressful day trying
to solve a problem and doesn't get it
is going to end up going to an art show
with his wife, in a couple of days,
and he's going to see a piece of abstract,
funky art that the artist created,
and they're going to accidentally
see something weird in it
that's going to make
them think about work,
and they'll go "Oh crap, why
didn't I think about that?"
and the next day they're going to go back
to work and end up solving the problem.
Accidental successes:
seeing things in the arts that you
might not have otherwise seen;
hearing a piece of music
that relaxes you.
All those things add up as
a community, as a society,
that work together, where
everybody ends up benefiting
out of everybody else's
but it is not a direct
contribution like…
What's that good
old Marxian term?
Forget it.
What? Each to their labor, to their
need, or whatever the case may be.
Going back to good old fashion
socialism and communism,
failed experiments that
couldn't work anyway,
because they were enforced.
They weren't evolved.
You see, we're living in a
world now where we can,
if we came together in the right kind
of way, we could make this stuff happen
because we have technical capabilities to do so.
Before, we didn't.
Now we can let the technology do the
vast majority of the labor for us,
so that we can actually
hang out with each other,
so we can get to know each
other better as a species,
and so that we can advance ourselves
even beyond just living on this planet.
But remember,
there are no Utopias.
This isn't about making everything perfect.
There's no such thing
as perfect anyway.
There are always going to be new
challenges and new problems
to tackle and to overcome.
There are going to be new tools and
capabilities that are required
for new ways of thinking.
For example, try to explain
to a hunter-gatherer from 50,000
years ago, indoor plumbing.
Come on!
You take it for granted today,
but try to explain to them
how the plumbing works.
They're going to look
at you like "OK, wait.
I can use this thing
called a tap,
and I can turn it any time I
want and get hot or cold water?
I don't have to get a bucket and go down..
.It's in one place.
What's a building? What's a home?
" OK, well now I have to explain what a home is.
"OK, so you've got this home that you
live in and it is climate controlled."
"What's climate control? It's cold outside.
I have to deal with it."
"No, actually you can
regulate the temperature."
You start adding these
things up and that
hunter-gatherer is going
to call you a Utopianist.
"Are you crazy? That's nuts!
There is no way we can live in a world like that!
I'm a hunter-gatherer. That's what I do.
It's what I've always done.
It's what my granddad did and their granddad
did, and all the way down the line.
We just nomadically go everywhere,
and that's what we do."
But we didn't stay that way.
It just so happens that in the 21st century
our jumps are coming a lot faster.
We don't have to wait 50,000
years to go to the next level.
The next level is
right in front of us,
but we have to make it happen.
So, how do we get
there from here?
That is a very
complicated question,
but it's actually not so bad.
Do what you love to do
with the notion in your head that
whatever you are passionate about
is going to help better
the lives of all mankind.
Sounds like a big task,
but if you're really passionate
about what you're doing,
you will find ways to use your energy
and use your knowledge to that end;
and there are a lot of
ways you can do it.
You can join groups and organizations
like Open Source Ecology,
which is doing amazing work on
how to build a civilization
from the ground up,
using very crude,
rudimentary technologies;
but it is still an
amazing thought concept.
The Zeitgeist Movement, which were the
people that allowed me to be here today.
I'm also a member of The
Zeitgeist Movement,
but I also advocate any
organization that is thinking
towards the betterment of
mankind, The Venus Project.
The Venus Project is a
technical-oriented group
that talks about a lot of
the specific design systems
that might go into hub-cities,
that would be your production
hubs around the planet,
robust transport systems,
things like that.
The Atlas Initiative Group,
which is actually trying to
build a resource-based
economic city,
small scale,
that you could visit almost like a
theme park or a vacation resort.
They're in early development,
so they're trying to figure out where.
They're trying to figure out resources
and funding and where all that is
going to come from. They need help,
so if anybody has knowledge they
could assist, they could do that;
or you could start or
work for CSR companies,
which are corporate social
responsibility companies,
social entrepreneurs,
people who understand
that we're stuck in the existing
model that we're in, yes,
and I'll use what I've
got with the intent
of making things better
sustainably for mankind.
Not the old 'profit at
all cost' mentality;
OK profit, but help people and do
good ecologically-sound things
with the company that you
create or become a part of. is an institution
in the United Kingdom
that does micro-financing for CSR
companies, for social-entrepreneurs.
So, if you don't know what
companies out there exist
that's a good place to
start to find a whole list
of companies that they've supported,
that are in work or in development,
and there are many more options
that you can choose from.
It all boils down to doing
what you are passionate about
in a way that can
affect positive change.
Whining and complaining about this
system from the comfort of your couch
or from your computer is not going to
help the world become a better place.
We need to get offline and
get in the real world,
because that's how you're going
to affect people's lives.
Even people who are so
married to the system
that they can't possibly
see a future without it,
the moment you start improving
their living conditions
through technical systems that makes
their life a little bit easier,
that erodes their dependency
on money to survive,
that's when people are going to start
seeing the world in a different way,
and it is going to take time,
but I'm not doing this for me.
I have an 8-year girl
that I'm doing this for.
Global Sustainability is about us
getting out there and doing something.
Science, engineering and technology
can be used for human concern.
It can be done in a way where
the technology doesn't rule us,
it enhances us;
and that's the future
that I'm pushing towards.
Thank you! [Applause]
– Thank you!
– Thank you! I'll do some questions.
All right! Who wants to party tonight?
I've partied in every city…
I've tried to experience the night life
in every city I've had the
pleasure of visiting, so…
Maybe we could make
something of this bottle.
All right. Questions?
I'm sure probably a few of
you have got some. Yes Sir?
– Is the Sulou Foundation,
is that a part of this CRS?
– Is what?
– Sulou? Soulos? Foundation.
– I don't know what that is.
-The Solus Foundation?
– I have no…
– The Saurus Foundation! – Oh Saurus!
Is that what you mean, Saurus?
– Yeah, Saulos.
I don't know.
That's kind of a slippery slope.
You've got people who think "New
World Order, crazy rich people
trying to take over everyone"
and then you've got, you know,
"actually is doing some pretty good
stuff in the world" people, so…
– What it is talking about is those who rule the world.
– Yeah, well…
– Manipulate it.
– Manipulate the world, yes.
I think those are the people that
have played the game the best,
by the rules that are
put in front of them.
I don't necessarily consider the
wealthy elite to be some nefarious,
evil organization; I don't believe in
conspiracy theories and all that stuff.
I believe any and all organizations
can be put to good use,
if the right people get involved to
make things happen in the right way.
What it basically…
It's kind of a negative
word but 'infiltration',
getting in there and changing
the way people think
and using those resources
and that influence
for the betterment of all mankind,
is a direction we should be heading,
and not ostracizing.
– But he is considered
as a philanthropist…
– Yes. – but he is still
doing the opposite.
– Yes, I know. So that's OK.
Use the philanthropic aspect
to our greatest advance
to do whatever can be done to use
that for the betterment of mankind.
Eventually we are going
to run to a crossroad:
We either fix what we're doing
and become more sustainable
on this planet, or we snuff it.
[It's] one or the other.
It's not going to be pretty if we
continue doing what we're doing.
– This is just an example.
– Right! I agree.
You!? After class! [Laughter]
Yes? – By way of
transformation of society,
what type of work
would still remain?
– What would people do with themselves?
Yes, OK.
Try to get out of the box of thinking
of the limits of current employment
and think about what future
employments might exist
that aren't even there yet.
I mean,
go back 50 years and try
to explain what IT is.
Information Technology, right?
New jobs will manifest,
but think about this:
When you don't have restrictions of a
lot of money or political influence
restricting advancements
of certain sectors,
you could have underwater cities where you
can do all kinds of oceanographic research.
You could have floating cities
that go around in the oceans
and do all kinds
of research there.
You could have a much more robust
space platform: space stations,
moon bases, so you could go up
and literally live on the moon.
When you start removing a
lot of those restrictions
the potentials out
there are vast,
but it's also about not having
to work 40 hours a week.
Maybe you work 20 hours a week.
Maybe you work 10.
However, if you think
about it this way:
What would you do with
yourself all day?
How many people do you know go to a job
that they probably don't like so much,
but they go anyway because
they have bills to pay;
and then they start
doing their hobby,
which takes 15-20 hours of their day.
They're just at it all the time.
They just love their hobby, and
they're doing their thing.
It might not have anything
to do with their normal job.
That hobby is what
they would do all day.
You would do your personal passion,
whatever that happens to be.
If that means you work
with a group of people
because you are a hydroponics
expert and that's what you love,
and you are interested in that,
you'll find groups in your local area
that are basically the same thing, and
you'll work on all the hydroponics systems
that are in your town
or in your local area;
or you'll work with research and
development groups that are trying to
come up with better ways to do things
and invent new ways to do things,
or if you're an artist or something
that's actually really easy.
I could imagine the arts
just going berserk-oid
in a world where you don't
have to worry about
the roof over your head or
the food in your belly.
No more starving artist, that
term will kind of go away.
But, not so bad, I mean, I'm sure an
artist can voluntarily try to starve
to get the experience.
" I'm gonna go live in the woods for 2 weeks
so I can get dragged down to the depth
and find my soul and all of that."
That's what very accepted artists do!
My wife's an artist
so its a running
joke that we have.
What about all the restaurants, the
waiters, the service industry?
Like waiters? Well yes, I mean
there are people who enjoy
the social interaction of
being a waiter or waitress,
so those jobs, they would
be there for them.
There would be kind of a hybrid system.
Some of it could be automated
like a couple of droids running
around for lack of a better term
in a Star Wars way.
I was highly influenced by Star Wars
as a kid. That's what got
me into space exploration,
this path in the first place, was
that film when I was 8 years old.
So, you could have a hybrid
system of some technical help
and some real people.
Chefs could, instead of Emeril
or whoever, for example
they would still do their culinary art
thing and invent these great practices,
then you can go into a
high tech stage system,
record how Emeril's
cooking everything,
a computer can record
all those movements
and translate that to a robot, so then
a robot halfway around the planet
could literally make a dish exactly
like Emeril does, using the same moves,
literally carbon copying
the entire system.
So, you can have Emerils all over
the place, have that food style.
You go to the Emeril restaurants.
Well, that's not Emeril cooking the food
in all those restaurants, but
in the RBE system, in a way,
you kind of do have Emerils
all over the planet,
or at least likenesses thereof.
So, that allows things to
be a little more robust
but people can still pursue their
passions, whatever they happen to be.
– So, what is the biggest
obstacle you think
for making these sketches that
you have shown into reality?
– Getting past the self-imposed
roadblocks of what we can and can't do.
A lot of people just don't
think certain advancements
like this are possible.
It's also a value set change.
There's no way you could drop
the entire world population
into a world like this,
into the RBE system,
the Resource-Based Economic system
and expect them to function.
They wouldn't know what
to do with themselves.
That level of automation,
that level of freedom
that thinking of "No, I have to go to work.
I have to pay the bills.
That's what I got to do,"
although they say they are free.
There are these rote things
that we do all the time;
you must break through
those barriers.
You don't tell people
how to change.
You make it easier for them
to change on their own.
That's why I'm doing the food system,
what I'm doing with my company.
I'm going to improve the lives of people
throughout the world as best I can
by providing an abundant access
to food at a one time cost.
Because see, I'm not selling food.
I'm selling food factories,
and that's a one-time cost.
You buy into it once,
and now you have access to that
building for the rest of your life.
So, it's a constant food supply, and now
you've eroded the need for money for that.
Then you do that for energy.
You do that for transportation.
You start going down the line.
People will be like "All right, I've got all
this free money to go on a cruise or go on this,
because now my house is off the grid so
I don't have an electric bill anymore.
Some organization
helped me do that."
You start doing this all over the place,
and then people are going to have
really fat wallets with a whole lot of
money, and not a whole lot of bills;
and eventually a light bulb is
going to go off and be like
"What do I need all
this paper for?"
I mean "I've got all these technical
systems that improved my life,
so that now I have all this money,
and I can do what I like,
but I don't have all these bills.
Then, after that it's just 'whoosh',
do the rest and it will follow.
– What about the
economic system?
Because a lot of these things
that you're talking about
today, they are not profitable.
Nobody wants to
invest in it, because
you don't get profit.
– You play the game by the rules
that exist, for the sake of profit,
but you do it in a way so that
your product is sustainable.
It might have short
term rewards, sure,
but in the long run, you
know what the end goal is.
That's where the
erosion of the system,
the changing of the thinking
of people comes into play.
Yes, your investors are going
to get their 7-year ROI,
their 'Return on Investment', and
they're going to be happy and done,
and you're still going
to have your company,
and doing good and
improving the world.
You're still going to be
creating sustainable systems.
You start getting organizations
and entities and companies
like that all over the place,
and that's going to start manifesting a
serious change within the existing system.
You have got to use
what you're stuck in.
– But then the
economic system today?
– What about it?
– Well, it doesn't allow investing
in things like sustainable.
– Yes, it does! There are institutions
out there; there are philanthropists
like you talked about, not necessarily
Sauros, but there are others out there.
There are avenues that
you can go through.
I mean, I wouldn't have been
able to start my company
if there weren't people out there
to invest in what I'm doing.
They exist. You just have to find them.
Now the footwork's a little bit harder,
but nobody ever said this
was going to be easy.
– Back to the economic system,
the interest system.
That's the key.
– It's a broken idea too.
An interest manufactured out of nothing
from a finite money supply is
kind of an interesting concept.
You don't print the interest money.
You only print the base of the principal.
– Making money out of nothing…
– Yes, that's one of the
inherent problems of the system
but there's nothing you can do about that.
It's not about…
You can't erode the
economic model as it sits
by trying to attack
the economic model.
You make the current
system obsolete
by bringing about a better,
more improved system,
and so you just bypass. Yes, those are
issues we're going to have to deal with,
but if you're creating sustainable
systems that help people,
you end up mitigating
that anyway,
because their dependency on money
in the first place goes down.
Yes? – Don't you… oh, sorry.
Don't you think that
this part that you're describing
sounds a little bit like
c… commu… – Communism?
– Yes, communism, because
everybody is provided for.
Nobody should be able to
live in a wasteful way;
if I want to have like a really wasteful
car, I shouldn't be able to do that.
– Well, the first question is:
Why do you think you need
a big wasteful car in the first place?
– No, I don't think I need one.
– I know you don't, but
why do people think that?
There's this marketing
and propaganda machine
that says to have the biggest,
the baddest and the best,
and that's quite wasteful.
That's the system that we're in.
It's not communism though,
in a lot of respects.
First of all, communism
was enforced on people.
This is an organic, bottom-up
evolution of people's thinking.
This is… We have all these
technical capabilities.
That's also something we
didn't have back then.
Communism was very much
a military dictatorship
forced upon the people to say
"Everybody's going to have
a great life."
You don't tell everyone they're
going to have a great life and then
force everyone to work for
each other in that way.
Obviously it didn't work.
What you do is you organically,
from the bottom-up, say:
"Here are all of our
technical capabilities,
so many things that never existed
to relieve the human labor burden."
Communism and all those 'isms' still
require humans serving humans
in the most basic of ways.
We're bypassing all that together
with the technical systems
that we have today
in the 21st century.
You have to remember that a of of these
progresses have really only been
sustainable like that or robust, in
the past 30 to 40 years; about 30,
when you've got dexterous robots
that can do fine tune picking
for harvesting
plants or what not.
When you've got much better work…
We've gone from Atari
to XBoxConnect in how
long of a period of time?
So, it's that quantum leap in technical
capability that has given us
a new paradigm that
transcends the old 'isms',
because there's no way they
could have envisioned a world
like what we live in today.
Who knows what we're going
to have 50 years from now?
What we do have now are
sustainable systems in place
that we could implement
if we really wanted to.
That's why it's different
than communism and socialism.
It's a ground swell up
of implementing these systems
to better the lives of people
and naturally society
will, on its own,
move towards a better thought process,
a more sustainable way of living.
It's already seen in a lot
of the younger generations,
of the green movements and
the ecological thinking, and
there's something wrong
with the way we do things
and The Occupy Movement and
all these different…
People know something's wrong; a lot
of people know something's wrong.
Not a lot of them have the courage
to stand up and yell about it
because they've got a family to protect
or some kind of vested interest,
but a lot of the younger
generations are saying
"Time out, this is screwed up"
and so this is the moment in
human history where we can
take all of our bells and whistles and
start using them for mutual advantage
without subjugating somebody
else to work for us,
which is where the old
'isms' fell apart.
You still had to subjugate
somebody else to work for you.
The only thing you're subjugating
in this system is a machine,
a dumb machine; and
for example, my hydroponic
and my aquaponic system
doesn't care what
you do all day.
It doesn't care if you
play XBox all day long,
or if you're a rocket scientist.
It's still going to make food, all
the time, every day, no matter what.
That's different than a person
laboring for a product or food,
and now you've got the person with an
emotional attachment to that labor
saying "I don't want all my
work to go to some lazy guy!
I want it to go to someone
who is deserving."
The paradigm shifts when it's
a tech doing the work that doesn't
have that emotional baggage,
and that actually
frees people to be
a little more interactive with
each other in the process.
Yes? – Do you have any
recommendations in terms of
how you should bring up children
to understand these
predicaments and problems?
I am a strong advocate
of home schooling
because that's what
I do with my child.
Because I think the
industrial model of
children being a cog in the wheel that
are just supposed to obey the teacher,
obey authority and
don't question me,
and when you're done,
graduate and go get a job,
that's really the process
that we have today.
Home schooling and there are
other schooling institutions
that are more organic than
that industrial method
and those can be
researched and found out.
That would be a way
to bring up children:
to think about the world
in a more critical way,
to question authority,
to question things,
does E = mc2 still hold true?
We do that in the
sciences all the time.
Nothing always just
stays exactly the same;
we revisit these all the time
and try to see if
we can break them,
and if it still holds true, OK,
cool, and then we move forward.
Does Newtonian Mechanics still work?
No, not on the quantum level.
OK, now we have to come up
with Quantum Mechanics.
So, we have to challenge ourselves
to invent a new paradigm.
It's that critical thinking process
that I think a lot of people have lost,
because they're regimented into this little
kind of like 'robot of the system' way.
The people have become the
robots, in some respects.
So, if you can educate
children to be more dynamic,
to have better critical
thinking skills,
to question things, to
learn how to research
and don't just take for
granted what somebody says.
I'll tell my daughter something
that I know is wrong,
and then she'll be like
"OK" and I go "Wait!
You just think because I
said it, that it's true?"
And she's like "Yeah, you're my dad!
" I go "That doesn't matter.
Just because I'm the authority
figure doesn't necessarily mean
that I'm giving you the right information.
Go look it up.
Go to Google, go to a library.
" Well,
kind of hard for an 8-year-old
to go to the library, but …
"Go research it. Am I right?
Tell me if I'm right, and if
I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong!
And show me!" "No dad, this…"
She's getting a lot better at
that now, by the way [laughing],
which is good! It gets her in
a different state of mind.
And then, of course, there's
the obvious ones of recycle,
reuse, reduce waste; how you live your
life at home is how your children
are going to end up living their
lives in the future, anyway.
You get a lot of those
base practices built in
right off the get-go, and
that's how it will happen.
Yes? – So you have this term,
this 'getting off the grid' term,
is that something that you've thought about?
It wasn't on the list of 'to do's' but…
Right, yes,
I'm going to get off
the grid, absolutely.
I'm going to do everything I
can to build my own home,
get it solar, wind,
water collector,
artificial aquifer
10-feet under the ground
to maintain a stable
temperature for the water and
yatayatayata, I'm going
to do everything I can.
The problem in today's world is that
it costs a lot of money to do it
and I know that,
so I'm going to use my company and what
I'm doing to get myself off the grid,
and then I'm going to
start an institution
that's going to be designed to help
other people get off the grid, and
I'm going to use the profits from my
company to help others get off the grid;
and hopefully, I can work with
other groups to do the same thing:
to get them solar and winded and get
their electric bill squared away,
whatever I can legally do
because, unfortunately,
a lot of governments are starting
to put heavy restrictions
on how 'off the grid'
somebody can get.
[sarcastically] Thank you power companies
with big budgets and lobbying firms
that get into the back pockets of the politicians.
The system is broken,
but we can get around that.
– Why is it broken?
– For what I just said. The influences of
power of money can affect the politicians
that are supposed to be making
the rules for our betterment.
– Money, and what's
money, today?
– It's an amorphous
blob of nonsense.
– No, it's influence, interests.
That's a key thing here.
It's a key thing, the interests.
– True.
– That's making money out of nothing.
That's a very old tradition
and it's outdated.
– Agree. The whole system does.
But if you abandon the
interest in the money system,
it would be much easier
to implement these ideas,
today! To start today,
because this might
take 50 years.
– As soon as you write up a paper on
exactly how we can do that, I'll read it.
– Yes you can do it, if you abandon
the interest from the money system.
– Right.
Any other questions? Yes?
– …but this is important!
– … start this model for
aquaponics, hydroponics
– Say again, I'm sorry,
I missed the beginning.
– How long did it take you to
arrive at this final model?
– And energy efficiency and…
– Oh…
I'm still in phase 1
operations right now.
I literally just put everything together
and got all the parts 3 days before
I left on this trip. The company's brand new.
I've just started it.
I've already done a
year's worth of research
and writing up, doing schematics
and drawings and things like that,
as far as blue printing is concerned,
the engineering side of it.
Now it's the proof and development phase,
the research and development phase.
Right now I'm developing a low
power, grow light system,
because you can't be off the grid.
You can't be solar and wind powered
if you have 200 growth chambers
at 250 watt bulbs a piece.
That would be highly energy intensive.
You can't do it very well,
so I've developed a low-powered
lighting system that I'm testing,
and then that should be done in about a
month or 2, and I'll know its viability.
Then I go to phase 2 which
is prototype development.
That's actually not that difficult since
all these technical systems exist,
we're just systems engineering.
We are putting them together in a way,
setting up the programs and getting all
the bells and whistles squared away.
Then when that's done, we can be off
and running on production scale,
so I'm looking at 12 months or less
to have these systems ready to go,.
and then we construct it on demand.
It's not like I'm going to have a warehouse
of a bunch of parts.
When a country wants something
I'll order it, then we'll ship it
there and build it on the sight.
Things like that, that's
how it's going to work.
I don't think this thing likes me.
Off. Now that will turn off the lights.
Forget it. Anyway…
Yes? – I am curious about
the 3D printing machine.
– OK.
– What kind of materials would the machine be using
in order to create items
and buildings and so on?
– The most recent thing that I have
seen (I'm not a 3D printing expert),
recently as in a
couple of days ago,
was a news video on YouTube (I think
you can look it up, actually)
where they use a powder
resin; it's a powder,
and they literally… It's almost…
think of it like ink jet.
They use this powder resin
to create a crescent wrench.
They scan the crescent
wrench into the computer,
and then it goes and prints it with
the working wheel and everything,
and he uses it and turns a bolt,
but it's made out of powder resin.
I don't know exactly what that's
made of, or how that works, but
you could also carve
stuff, using a 3D lathe,
that will move the objects
around and can create a part,
or something to that effect
out of a smaller system.
Then there's the RepRap.
That's another [3D printer]. You can look it up,
and that's a system
that you can actually
use a RepRap to build
another RepRap,
and then it can build other parts, so
it's like a self-replicating device
where you can build other
parts, and they're small
and they can go in your house, and you
can make simple things out of that.
I am not a 3D printing expert
but I know it's a technology
that is advancing
tremendously fast.
Yes? – I think it's actually
just a regular plaster
and they just coat it
with a hardened glue.
– It's something to research.
[imperceptible speech]
…most 3D printers use the same
substance that you have labeled once.
[imperceptible speech]
But I have a question, as well,
going back to the idea of
how to get there from here,
how do you deal with the
issue of land ownership?
I mean just the concept of it.
I mean I see how you can
take a few steps right now
and sort of make a city,
and then just, in a way,
compete, and then say:
"Well, do you want to live in that
city with pollution and the way it is,
or you want to live in
a super modern city
of the future where
everybody is happy?"
I think that would certainly
expand the project,
but at one point you
shouldn't have to say:
"OK, private ownership or
state ownership of land
…needs to stop."
– And that will happen.
I can't predict the future, but I think
the public will be the
driver of that one.
When they start seeing
how life can be better,
with a less-ownership
model where
they've got to control
and own everything,
then you're going to look at a scenario
where people might say "You know what?
Go ahead and let's use
my land for that.
Let's put some aquaponic
farms here, or
let's put a little solar
collector facility over there
because I know that's going to feed me.
That's going to help me."
It's a mindset change.
You can't force that on people
because they're going to
resist being told what to do,
but if you can get those cities built,
and you can start helping people
live a different way, you will change
the way they think about themselves
and the world, and how
they interact with others;
but "Rome wasn't
built in a day".
It's really going to take the public
to swell up and say "You know what?
We need to change
how we do things."
Private property might
be the last thing to go.
It might go really early.
I have no idea. I can't predict that.
What I do know is we have the technical
systems today to save a lot of lives,
and to make life better
for a lot of people.
That should be our
initial focus,
and then as we proceed further, we'll
tackle other hurdles as they come;
but if we try to think about
the big picture too much,
it can seem rather daunting
to try and figure out
how you're going to change the
entire planet and every human being:
the wealthy elites down to
the corrupt politicians,
down to the drug war lords, down
to the poor person in the street.
That becomes daunting. Try not to do that.
You'll drive yourself nuts.
OK. I think we've been here a while.
I really want to thank everybody for your time.
Thank you for coming out.
If you want the source sheet for
some of the information here
come down to the front, and
you can fill out a pad
with your email address, and I will
send it to everybody. Thank you.

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