278: TZ Discussion – Burger Meister, Meister Burger

Justin and Jason discuss Justin’s recent purchasing debacles and his latest plan for getting healthy, the latest on Jason’s various injuries, Justin as Burger Meister, Meister Burger, the math team’s big success at Math Field Day, how Jason is connecting with Caltech’s Center for Teaching, Learning & Outreach, an update on the Battle Math card game, Justin’s TechZing breakfast, how everyone is seemingly trying to dunk, the problem of forgetting what you’ve read, how to capture selected text in a Titanium webview, the return of The X-Files, The Walking Dead spinoff series, why Jason can’t stomach shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saulwhy our brains love high ceilings, living off a dollar a day with Elon Musk and Tesla’s April Fool’s joke, the latest with MV Code Club, God’s Tweets, killing cancer cells with DNA nanobots, whether the human brain can ever fill up and the process of memory formation, recall and forgetting, why Jason is planning on cryogenically freezing himself, the new study that says it doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your kids, how inequality is far worse than you think and the prospect of a mostly robotic future.

  1. Burger Meister, Meister Burger – So funny!

    I’m a 6′, nearly 48 year old and I still want to dunk. The desire doesn’t go away Jason! ha ha Would like to hear more about how “Project Super Hero” is going once you get back on track. I’m not sure exactly why, but I find it inspiring.

  2. Jason says:

    @Mark Studebaker – Will do! I’m dying to get back to training again. These injuries are driving me crazy!!

  3. This was a pleasant surprise! Honestly I had expected you guys to throw in the towel considering how long it has been since the last two episodes and the ominous tones regarding the shows future previously.

    Justin, that German guy sounds totally banana’s. Never encountered someone that obviously batty before. The best part of the story of course being your accent and the Burger Meister comparison.

  4. Nice episode guys. Tax the robots to pay for basic income! I’m hoping that the coming of the robot revolution will be accompanied by corresponding cost reductions (and following price reductions) so that people can lead a simple life whilst only working a 20 hour week.

    @Jason, when are you going to create the kickstarter for your Battle Math card game?

  5. Jason says:

    @James McGrath – Yeah, I have been thinking about that. The kids are constantly on my ass about the card game, so I do need to get them something soon. They are not what you’d call a forgiving demographic. 😉 Maybe after I’ve worked out the worst of the kinks with the kids, I’ll see if it would make sense to make a bigger deal out of it.

  6. @Jason – good to hear. I’m sure you could leverage the techzing audience to make a kickstarter a roaring success. It would be a nice way for us to “give back” for the hours (or should I say days? weeks?)* of entertainment you two have given us over the years.

    Also, just from a purely selfish POV, as a father of three kids, ages 7-10, I would gladly pony up the $$ for a fun way to engage them with math.

    * 278 * 1hr (conservative) / 24 = 11.6 days of continuous techzing.

  7. Matt S says:

    Thought you guys might like this short story: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

    It’s about what happens when robots take over fast-food restaurant management.

  8. meta: weird… can’t reply on ep 277.

    @jason: thanks for the offer, but I probably already have the ones I’d be interested in your collection. I swear it’s not an addiction, honest!

  9. Jason says:

    @James McGrath – Awesome! Both about Battle Math and your commitment to the show!

  10. Jason says:

    @Matt S – It’s saved to read on my iPad.

  11. Martin Baker says:

    Great to meet you Justin. Talking about robotic futures, you’ve GOT to see a movie that has just come out here, ‘Ex Machina’. I saw it in London a few months ago and it is stunning. Definitely my movie of the year. Very intelligent and thought provoking.
    Get thy Tech Zing selves to ArcLight Pasadena!

  12. Jason says:

    @Martin Baker – Yeah, it looks cool! It’s too bad that it’s rated R as I’m sure Colby would like to see it. 😉

  13. Adam says:

    Nice episode. Lot’s of interesting topics to listen to on my commute this morning. I’m glad you guys haven’t given up.

    Some observations, none of them original or particularly interesting, but what the hell. It’s the internet and I’d like to add a small amount of ‘noise’.

    1) The inequality backlash

    Jason’s comments on rising inequality leading to negative consequences has some quite strong statistical backing in the work of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Picket. See: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.

    The obvious manifestation of a backlash to acute and/or rising inequality would be political rebellion.

    However widespread social ills (e.g. crime, health crises, increased incarceration, militarisation of police forces etc.) may pose the real threat to stability and order, rather than rebellious political movements.

    Could it be that instead of organised political insurrection our societies could face a decent into chaos? Just trying to keep it light and cheery here.

    2) Cryogenic reanimation and the soul

    As a thought experiment if we imagined for a moment that there may be something as ephemeral as a human soul, I wonder if it could survive the cryogenic process? If if could not survive and was instead extinguished by the process, our descendents may be reanimating beings without human souls.

    What kind of creature would that be? Couldn’t the the ‘reanimants’ without souls become the army of the undead? In other words perhaps future generations could unwittingly unleash the zombie apocalypse.

    I think we need to be a bit careful about this stuff.

    On the plus side, as the creatures would all be walking around in the bodies of 85 year olds they should be easy enough round up. They could easily be tracked down in supermarkets, over-handling the soft fruit and muttering about the prices.

    On the other hand if they had spent their middle and old age training to dunk, they could turn out to be a formidable enemy.

    3) Robots/AI and creative works

    I agree that the creation of the great American novel seems quite a stretch for current technology. However the recent output of much of the cultural industries of the west coast of the USA (sorry Californians this is not an rant against you guys), is so formulaic that algorithmic auto-generation doesn’t seem far fetched.

    Films like Transformers or Fast and Furious appear to be made with very little input from a human brain. It should not take much work to get those over the line without the involvement of an organic being.

    4) What happened to robots and our leisure time? Or shouldn’t the machines be working for us?

    Justin’s in good company when he predicts robots will free us from drudgery and allow us to reach our individual freewheeling potential. In the 1930’s Keynes made a similar prediction:

    “…economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century technology would have advanced sufficiently that in countries such as the UK and the US we’d be on 15-hour weeks.” See: Interview with David Graber

    Graber, has an interesting take on why we haven’t just become artisans following our passions.

    The answer is that many of us now have bullshit jobs. The real irony here is the amount that overpaid CEOs have profited from our bullshit activities leading us full circle to the first comments on inequality. Who knew how much money there was in non-productive bullshit jobs?

  14. Jason says:

    @Adam – I apologize that I don’t have time right now to write a long response, but you had me laughing out loud multiple times. I love the cryonic-zombie apocalypse concept! 😉

  15. Adam says:

    @Jason, no worries at all! Like I said, I’m just glad you guys haven’t given up. As one of my other favourite podcasters, Jake Johannsen, often says ‘Don’t give up now, there’ll be plenty of time for giving up later on’.