250: TZ Discussion – Rise of the Human Robot

Justin and Jason discuss Justin’s hiring strategy for Digedu and IBM’s notorious “Black Team”, the women in tech controversy and how it misrepresented Paul Graham’s statements on the matter, how Jason finally conquered the Triangle Peg Board Game, his recent day at the slopes and his idea for a social checklistapp, the Cradlepoint Hotspot, a post mortem on Digedu’s Q4 technology goals, Salman Khan’s thoughts on learning and Digedu’s blended learning approach, how there were Von hipsters even in the 1600’s, when boys used to wear pink, the story of Minecraft and why Sweden is such a force in IT, the English dramaWallander, why Justin uses both Sequel Pro and MySQL Workbenchhow software is eating the world and how it’s hollowing out the white-collared middle class, our robotic future, Jason’s sciaticaAubrey de Grey’s link to Cambridge University, how the French high court has approved a 75 percent tax for top earners, the startup that’s refining plant seeds into jet fuel and how much jet fuel is required by US passenger and cargo airlineshow a former BP geologist claims that we hit peak oil in 2008 and why Elon Musks thinks electric jets are the future.

  1. Check out Average Is Over by Tyler Cowen for more on our man-machine future.

  2. Jason says:

    @Steve French – Thanks, I’ll check it out.

  3. Graham says:

    Hi guys, haven’t commented before but just wanted to say how much better the show is sounding since you went back to doing weekly episodes!

  4. Jason says:

    @Graham – Thanks! If that’s true I wonder why that might be? I’m definitely more excited about the show now that we’re doing it more regularly, so maybe that’s the reason.

    Anyway, we’re a few days behind this week because Justin had to spend the weekend moving and he’s in Chicago until Wednesday, but we’re going to try to record and release a show as soon as he gets back.

  5. Robin says:

    Great that you’re back on the weekly schedule.
    I am another long time listener and I still enjoy listening to your perspectives and opinions on the world.

  6. Jason says:

    @Robin – Thanks, we really appreciate that. Also, it’s great to hear from long-time listeners, especially as long as we’ve been going with this show.

  7. Seb says:

    I just asked the Swedish chap in our office why he thinks it’s so gamey in Sweden and he said it’s for the same reason table tennis is popular – because it’s an indoor sport (it gets very cold in Sweden).

  8. Jason says:

    @Seb – Yeah, I guess that makes sense. 😉

  9. Late comment but regarding the discussion of what would humans do if they didn’t have to work…

    We actually have had this happen before. Here’s a comment I posed on HN a while back.

    I find it interesting that though the use of machines and the like we are rapidly approaching what occurred in ancient cultures through the use of slaves, which is many having a great deal of time to devote to leisure.

    What do we do we currently do with leisure? Watch TV unwind… but assuming you didn’t need to unwind from work (because there was none) what would you be doing? Personally I would be studying random topics (sculpture, latin and dance), working on my own projects (software and community) and generally improving myself and hopefully society.

    I would imagine that the absence of work would be a net gain for society as people could devote their time to helping others or doing something for pure merit.

    Interestingly enough that’s what the ancients did. The ancient greek word for leisure “schole” means learning or self improvement.

    That’s my view of it. If all of a sudden most of the population didn’t have to work social norms would change. Politics would become increasingly important and it would be a social obligation to participate in it as was expected in Greece and Rome. Leisure time would change from being “down time” to learning.

    Of course there would be portions of the population that would end up just watching TV but I feel they would be in the minority simply based on past evidence.

  10. Late comments, I’m playing catch up…

    @Jason, while I share some of your views on the differences between males and females and that’s just the way it is, I’m sometimes concerned that it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. For example, why do your daughters ski and Colby snowboard? Is it because Sandy skis and you snowboard? Not having a dig at your family matters, it was just an example that fell in to my lap. It’s something I’m really conscious of with our daughter, she loves being a princess, playing tea parties, doing people’s hair etc and I’d never try and put her off those things (most of those activities are great for development, girls use their imagination, boys tend to just bash things), but I constantly try and make sure that she has the opportunity to be interested in things that are more associated with boys, building things, playing with cars, playing football etc.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on the snowboarding/skiing differences, I also say snowboarding is hard to start, easy to master, where as skiing is the other way around. I also agree with you on the attraction of it all, I haven’t been since my kids where born, but even before that my views where changing. I’ve been snowboarding for 15 years, so I’m quite comfortable, but my wife has only been a handful of times, so my recent trips have been more leisurely and less thrill seeking. However, I kind of like it! My parents have an apartment in the Italian Alps, so it’s a home from home, my snowboarding gear is all there, I just need flights and car hire for the week. Once I’m there, it’s all about relaxing and enjoying the outdoors and cuisine, snowboarding almost ends up being a mode of transport 🙂 The tranquillity will probably be smashed the first time we go with our kids.

    Anyway, another great show, keep up the schedule, it’s been a while since I sent my first donation, the guilt is certainly building up, another couple of shows and I’ll just have to send you guys something.

  11. I couldn’t sit through the English Wallander think the original Swedish series is far superior. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907702/

    …but I may be biased.

  12. Justin says:

    @Erik It is kinda slow… but that’s the way BBC dramas are…