The Atlantic Meets the Pacific: Exploring Technology with Evan Williams

this ucsd-tv program is a presentation of university of california television for educational and non-commercial use only there’s no question that new technology and in particular social media of shaped global events this year so during this session we’re going to have leading experts and entrepreneurs will examine how technology has spurred globalization they’ll also look at how emerging technologies are changing the way that we enter interact with each other on a social level and specific areas of innovation that will be discussing today will be super computing software and video gaming simulated reality cyber infrastructure social media and wireless technology we might even find out what Evan Williams next project is so with that please welcome Evan Williams and Jim fallows thank thank you very much Joe for that gracious introduction thanks to you all for coming here I am a Jim fallows in the Atlantic Monthly here with Evan Williams there was a touching episode a few minutes ago where the two of us were standing together and somebody innocently asked which one was the the guy from twitter so i took this as a high note in my life i will tell my i’ll tell my children about that it’s a real pleasure for me personally to have Evan Williams here and I think it’s a very natural continuity continuation of our program because it’s all been about people with wide-ranging interest wide-ranging accomplishments whom able to talk about the interaction of all the forces we’ve been talking about about technology about government about health about exploration science and all the rest Evan Williams as you know but I’ll say it just just for the record too has been a very important technological entrepreneur and an innovator he was the co-founder first of Pyra labs it’s the right pronunciation right which founded blogger which is now part of google and you worked at Google for a while and then more recently the co founder of twitter which has had a profound influence on on life in ways ways both both good and bad he was born and raised well we’ll get into that well get into that whether to how does those things net out born and raised in a farm in central Nebraska now lives in san francisco and lists his pastimes in addition to changing the world as being long watching the city tofu and bourbon which sounds like a good confluence of its own I’d like to start with sort of a personal position in question we’ve heard from the several distinguished predecessors on the pin on the stage here about the ways in which they’re interesting effect on the world was shaped how they became the kind of people they are now how did you from central Nebraska become the co founder of twitter and blogger sort of the central insight which made a farm boy think this is something I want to do to something I can do yeah it certainly isn’t a path that that I would have anticipated I did grow up literally in the middle of cornfields outside of town of 400 people and I was there was no internet obviously so so it was a lot of alone time building Legos and wood shop and and whatnot and I got it in my mind very early that I was going to be an entrepreneur I don’t know if I use that term but as soon as I learned that term I use that term and just it but i remember playing with the little cars and legos and imagining my Empire which I probably pictured a lot more like Elon Musk Empire withers car companies and spaceships and stuff I haven’t accomplished that but I stumbled upon the Internet in 93 I think I don’t know how I think I was toying around with computers not from a super young age I had taken a programming course in high school loved it that I’m going to be a computer programmer and I then I didn’t really have access because of the school I went to and and other factors

so got away from that but always kept the idea I’d be an entrepreneur came back at computers as a way as a route to that and played with online services AOL CompuServe and then found the internet and decided well this this seems like it’ll be a big thing started an Internet company in in 94 because you could be that specific and say there’s an Internet company and had all kinds of ideas had no idea what I was doing I never had a job before so starting a company was greatly ludicrous but I mean I never had a job in an office I my job to run the farm and you know fast food place so that’s actually a very encouraging touch that you mentioned he went from fast food to your your career so I thought it was well qualified to start a technology company and I was still in Nebraska and there wasn’t really a lot of people around I tried to raise money and I would go to the people who had money there made their money in cattle or plumbing and so my task was to explain to them what the internet was and that was going to be a big deal and how equity investments work private it was it was not easy I didn’t didn’t end up raising a lot of money but got some friends together and we we tried to create some internet stuff and learned a bunch of stuff dismal failure as a business eventually made it out to California where where people were actually building stuff I had a couple of jobs before I i started my next company which was Pyrrha labs and that started with the idea by then I had learned enough to actually build software and websites and web applications and that started out with the idea that I I wanted to build a system for people to collaborate online work together as a Productivity tool actually blogger was a side project of that company which I’ve always had a problem focusing kind of like a lawn musk and so we started the side project blogger a couple months into starting this other company and blogger was very simple idea of you can type something and hit a button and a post on the web and so we didn’t invent web logs as they recall this time before they’re called blogs but but without that’s a neat idea let’s write this little application to make it easy to do that and maybe maybe if people see that they’ll then find out about our real product the the more complicated productivity product and of course the simple thing is what ended up being the hit and we were bootstrapping that for the first year working on the side on the contract programming jobs then blogger eventually grew and that I ran for four years and I sold to google and that was sort of off to the is it because you are unusual in many ways but including and having experienced both in the strict blogging world by creating blogger and now of course with Twitter I wonder if you’d comment on whether these forms of social media are a natural evolutionary extension of themselves mean Twitter from from blogger what I have in mind is a lot of line last year to the twitter is sort of obviated blogs you know that blogs are over once twitter has come how do you think of the line of descent from blogger or a cent from some blogs to twitter well one line is just about lowering the barrier and that’s most of what looking back I’ve done in my career is is made it easier and easier to for someone to have a thought and expose it in such a way that a worldwide audience could see it and I thought that was pretty they’re actually very very similar and the funny thing is the early couple years of bloggers we’re very similar there were a couple years of Twitter which is a lot of people saying why would anyone do that who cares and eventually people and and it’s true because if you make it really really easy for anyone in the world to share their thoughts you know what if you listen to every phone call that everybody ever had are you going to hear profound things most of the time probably not but but once in a while there’s really important things being communicated or they’re important to a very small number of people and so I believe passionately about giving a voice to as many people as possible and that that voice creating systems and where that voice can resonate with the right audience and over the years heard story after story of important things

happening happening either on the personal or the global level because of these communication channels which weren’t open before so I see them he’s essentially the same thing and Twitter of course lowering the barrier another order of magnitude from from where blogs were in that you don’t have to set anything up essentially the constraint of 140 characters lowers that a lot of the psychological barrier to even writing something in the first place where you think you have to have something that is well structured and that’s not even an option so you just kind of fire it out there and and the wait twitter has impacted blogging is is definitely impacted it on the casual level and so there’s what I call casual bloggers which are people who aren’t doing it for money or for really even a hobby it’s more just like I have thoughts i want to share am i get some feedback it’s a lot about interacting with other people for that use case a lot of a lot of people turn to turn to Twitter or other lighter weight publishing systems more and more on the other side there are they’re probably more professional or commercial bloggers than ever before and Twitter and other social media are very complementary to that because they drive traffic we’re going to talk now about the effects on the world that social media and general Twitter in particular have had I thought I’d start that by asking you what has surprised you about Twitter’s effect on the world compared to what you were thinking say five or six years ago hmm well there there’s constant constantly surprises about Twitter at this point we have over 100 million active users so twitter is everywhere if any major event happens in the world twitter is there and it impacts twitter and it has this it reverberates throughout twitter and so at this point very little surprising it’s just it happened in the world then we see there’s there’s at least is reflected on Twitter sometimes then there’s a feedback loop and it causes more of something to happen so that’s been surprising certainly the the biggest things are the Middle East thing stuff that’s happened and I’m not an expert on all that so there’s been a lot of debated as how much Twitter and social media affected those uprisings I don’t honestly know but i have seen from early days in twitter a phenomenon we’ve noticed and I’ve come to believe we’ll have much bigger impact in the years to come with the internet is people seeing that other people think the same way they do and that in bolding being them to act a simple early example we saw probably in 2007 they always remember was was someone in toronto i think it was it was around Christmas time and they they saw some homeless people on the street and they they thought you know it’s super cold out what can we do to help these people and it’s probably thought a lot of people had had you know people have that thought every all the time he tweeted something about it and other people in Toronto saw that tweet and started a conversation and it turned into action where they said okay let’s all you know tomorrow take munch of food and blankets down we’ll meet on this intersection and and help these people out and that’s me is a great example of when you facilitating an action by by linking people together who share a desire or thought and allowing them to act where that otherwise that thought may have been isolated amongst each of them and probably nothing would have ever happened and we’ve seen other examples like that so I’m convinced that if you let people organize even let them express something and then let other people see that that people share their viewpoint things can happen that otherwise wouldn’t have happened and respecting your position that you’re not here is a political analyst of the Middle East or anything else there are two aspects that I did want to just get your thoughts on about Twitter’s role in social media’s role in recent political developments one is the news during the Arab Spring that the US State Department was essentially becoming an ally of Twitter from the company’s point of view recognizing you have some arm’s length from it did you how did you feel about that embrace by State Department the other is the Chinese analogues of twitter twitter itself does not right there but way ball does and what you have you observe anything interesting about the way this pattern is unfolding in a control society in china so in the first point

the the thing that happened during the iranian revolt was we we had advertised or you know announced a main plan downtime for twitter and it turned out that that downtime for us it was late at night in in Iran it was during when some important thing was happening I forget exactly what and a lot of people came to us and said hey can you postpone that because this is a really bad time and including some folks from the State Department who reached out and at first that was this was early I think so we were we were flattered and surprised by this attention but we were also nervous about that because we we thought it was critical that we are viewed as a neutral party and Twitter is a global system and the last thing we wanted to do was look like we’re an arm of the US government and so I think it was actually we would have preferred that they hadn’t reached out or at least that no one knew they reached out because we you know that that’s not good for for global PR perspective it was good from like a Twitter sounds really important if the State Department’s reaching out to you but it didn’t drive our decision necessarily it was just it was it it was a Wayne between the risks of putting off the maintenance and getting our provider network provider to agree and and all these other factors and we decided to put off the maintenance but we want to make it very clear that it wasn’t because the State Department asked and still to this a I’ve talked to people who you know from Egypt and in other places who partially because of that but partially just because we’re in the US they assume where we are controlled by the government and that’s something that we we always want to it doesn’t help us they we them to trust our system and on the Chinese front now how you see your counterpart the the alternative universe Twitter unfolding in China well you probably know more about this than I do so I’d love you to tell us but what for my understand so yeah we’ve been blocked in China from very early on and we’ve talked to people in China about you should partner with us you should come to China and essentially we’ve said we’re not interested in that because before before I let me mention brief to engineer I do not speak on behalf of Twitter I’m not I’m not paid to do that anymore so when I say we I’m talking mostly retro actively I’m a member of the board but i am i’m no longer at the company day today so i have to be careful when I’m speaking as Twitter which I’m not so i can speak much more recklessly than than normal good he I’ve talked to Twitter communication in the present don’t don’t talk about China that’s crazy so anyway I’ll talk personally about China from what I understand well from from my perspective it twitter is about personal expression and in free speech so fundamentally the way to operate in China you can operate this kind of service you just have to make sure basically people censor themselves and you have to make sure that correct me if I’m wrong on this but you people register essentially and they can be tracked and then if someone says something that they shouldn’t have said the government has the data or they asked for the data to find out who that was and they go have a friendly chat with them from what I understand and the term is have T that’s literally what they call really know you come have tea with me so we just didn’t want to be in a position like Google and Yahoo and I we didn’t in order to do that they you need to have an office there and have servers there so they have some leverage on you and then your office or your employees are are used to potentially against you so we never want to be in that situation we didn’t want to to even have a service where people couldn’t couldn’t really express themselves truly so what’s happened instead is competitors have four clones essentially have grown up in China that that serve this purpose for that market and from what I understand they’re doing quite well as in terms of business or user growth beyond that I’m not sure great let me turn now to the domestic perspective on Twitter there are a number of complaints or concerns about what this form of communication will do for the world it will make people even stupider than they are it will create rep Weiner type situations it will make people go even further into their own little sort of siloed

information spheres what do you think what are the most legitimate concerns to have about this stage in social media and what do you worry about the stage of social media I think all the concerns are legitimate and they think I’ve been thinking about this a lot in context of my new company because we’re we really want to focus on things that have really big positive impact and and so I’ve been think about how do you measure that or how do you determine that ahead of time and think about television for instance and basically every canoe communication channel was going to be this utopian save of the world idea is going to the television was going to bring education and information in the homes and everyone was going to be enlightened and connected across the country and that had some unintended consequences and I think all these systems have unintended consequences even though we can point all these positive affirmative uses of them and so I think when you build a system like this a you try you try and you hope for it to be used more constructively than destructively but but I think about it kind of as a power tool I want to enable a empower people to do more than they could be four and so if you want to do that you have to believe that generally people are more good than they are bad or will use that power for more good than bad and you hope for if it’s you know fifteen percent more good than bad and if it’s really really big then that’s a lot of good and it’s like a power tool and that it’s like like a table saw and if you’re a rep Weiner you can slip and you can cut off your finger so to speak and sorry and so that happens does that mean we shouldn’t have table saws you know that would really slowed down a lot of building of constructive things but you try to I think you can bias these systems to a certain degree in and little things about what you call things and how what you allow and how you shape them how you shape the community and the mores on these systems can bump them a little bit more toward constructive behavior but I think there’s a lot of destructive things people can do I wanted to follow up one thing you mentioned there before asking about your next project you were saying your fundamental belief is that people are more good than bad we use tools for more good than that I’ve heard Eric Schmidt for example about Google make that exact point about having the world’s information be available all of our previous speakers have made a sort of similarly optimistic point about the trajectory of human nature political philosophy is basically it’s based on the premise that people are bad that they have to there’s famous phrase if men were angels no government would be would be necessary does is this a huge culture clash do you think between the tech world and the world of politics international affairs that one is based on tragedy and one is based on on optimism maybe that’s why when we go to DC we can’t seem to have any useful conversation I I don’t know I maybe it’s just a requirement of succeeding as an entrepreneur in the tech world that you you see these these positive outcomes and you kind of downplay the negative outcomes and if you didn’t it’s not that it’s riot it’s just the people who succeed have to believe that or that wouldn’t succeed or they wouldn’t try and so yeah if you were inventing table saws and you thought most people are going to cut their fingers off you probably wouldn’t bother so you know maybe it’s just a necessary belief but but it does seem to be a disconnect with a lot of the world for sure tell us if you would about your next project how it will change our lives and when we will look forward to do so well it’s a little soon to say about the next project but essentially would the new company is called the obvious corporation and it’s actually restarted obvious was the company we spun Twitter out of four years ago and the idea was we were going to create a series of products and basically be a development lab for new ideas and we we worked on a couple things that Twitter very quickly became the thing we had to pay attention to for

a few years so that went pretty well now we’re back in the lab essentially trying to think about what’s next as myself in biz stone another co founder of twitter and and jason goldman who is a vp product of twitter and now we have a team of a few other people some engineers and we are essentially playing around but i’m super excited about this phase right now because I’ve never now they’ve been doing internet startups for about 15 years or as long as there have been internet startups there I’ve never seen more opportunity and in fact the opportunities are multiplying faster than then we can implement on them if you someone’s just matching to me the other day how the new iPhone came out as twice as fast as the iphone that came out last year and we haven’t even scratched the surface on thinking of the ideas that we could take advantage of the last in the last hardware for and and all these you know the Twitter’s and Facebook’s and Google’s and everything are getting very very big and they’re in some ways they’re kind of getting a lock on their market but they’re all creating as many opportunities and new ecosystems among themselves and new ways so all this is just the ocean is rising and there’s more and more opportunities to do more stuff and more capabilities and so the hardest thing about starting something now is is trying to focus and figure out what to do but so we’re thinking about the future of media having been in the publishing world for a long time one of the big things we’re thinking about is what’s next I think a lot of people especially from the media world focus on how the Internet is basically destroyed their business which is true even even if you can acknowledge a lot of the positive aspects of lots of people being able to publish lots of information being out there the distribution costs being tiny there’s lots of positive impacts of that I think we have yet to apply a lot of things the internet is good at to media beyond lowering distribution costs and lowering the barrier I think there’s all kinds of ways we can one major theme and I’m thinking about is how do you you help people collaborate to create something better than existed before this is one of the things that the internet is great at and there’s examples from really early like open source software and Wikipedia being being the one that most people have seen where lots and lots of people contributing a tiny bit can create this hold as much greater and but there aren’t is examples of that as I think there could be and I think that could apply all over the place it could apply to the real world from like you know how do we create a community garden or how do we get this law passed or Kickstarter is a great example of a site that lets people contribute to create some product or company in little bits by by pledging one hundred dollars or ten dollars and make something happen that wouldn’t otherwise happen and I think that that principle in general is is what the internet could be great at and is not yet not that yet there for the most part I think there’s also ways that we can tap into the collective intelligence of on the internet to to help people get smarter I think there’s also there’s so much of the focus of the internet to help people show people what the next interesting thing is but there’s little to help you pay attention to what you really care about and so I think all these are interesting problems it’s just one area we’re thinking about with obvious and we’ll see we have about 60 seconds left on stage this is a an obvious type Twitter challenge for you what’s in a sentence or two what’s the main thing that you wish all the rest of us understood about the revolution you’re you’re in the middle of we don’t understand well if I think the biggest thing is that we’ve only scratched the surface and people kind of come to accept this they know the pace of change is phenomenal and yet people still accept the status quo in most areas from from government from their institutions from organizations from their neighborhoods and from their technology a lot of it is still pretty primitive and he’s in her to use and it doesn’t do at all what what is capable of and so I think if thinking bigger demanding more and and just setting a higher bar and saying what if I would really encourage

because I don’t think there’s enough of that I think we focus too much on the incremental and there’s just so much more to thank you so much please join me in thanking everyone for voting on my far right is Susan shirk who’s familiar to all of you here at UCSD she’s a longtime friend of mine from the china china beat and she is the director of the institute on global conflict and cooperation and has so many publications on china that i would use up all of our time if i started listing them i’ll simply say that she’s provided me fodder in many a speech about China over the past couple of years because Susan’s one of her recent books about China was called fragile superpower and the wonderful anecdote tells is that when she’s in the US people say what do you mean fragile and when she’s in China they say what do you mean superpower and this does this doesn’t capsulate a lot of what is going on we have Larry Smarr in the middle from the California’s to for telecommunications and information technology the founding director of that institute and has again so many professorships that i will let you read them in in the the the dossier i’ll say an outstanding expert on the convergence of data and real life data and medical science what we do with the ever increasing power of to manipulate and acquired data to be able to change on going and long-standing problems in life now we have Peggy Johnson from Qualcomm who is executive vice president and president of global market development at Qualcomm and she has an expert on wireless technology which has new relevance to us just at this moment on stage but Qualcomm of course part of the combined wireless tech and life sciences tech powerhouse that has been so important in San Diego in recent years so i would like to start with you Peggy Johnson we were hearing from Evan Williams just now about the way that social media have had an effect domestically culturally individually and politically what do you think is the next stage of understanding the effect of wireless technology and in what other ways that were not yet anticipating can we make sense of any boy Evan Williams is closing comment that we’re just scratching the surface what do you see and know about that the rest of us should be aware of in the potential here well a couple things so first of all I’ve had the pleasure of seeing for the last 22 years at Qualcomm the accelerating pace of innovation in this field from voice to data to computers in our hands so it’s been amazing and we at Qualcomm feel the same way we’re just scratching the surface a couple of things coming up next sort of that will hear about the next one to three years our peer-to-peer communication so when you think about the Arab Spring and when some of the government’s were shutting down the infrastructure how great would it be for your radio in your pocket and there’s many radios in your cell phone to talk to someone close by and that’s very possible that’s something that I think you know in a Twitter fashion you could you could relay messages and then out to a point outside the country so that’s that’s one thing that’s coming another thing is this idea of contexts that have talked a little bit about it just knowing we have this deluge of data coming at us all the time what do you do with all of it how do you filter it appropriately for you which is different from me and from each of us here and part of that is your phone will and is starting to have many many sensors on it it has a few things now an accelerometer if you you know few light weight sensors but there’s a lot more coming and we can know where you’re at what’s important to you we can listen to your surroundings and we can feed you appropriate data at the appropriate time so you don’t you’re not overwhelmed so those are a couple things that are that are coming that I think in the hands of our developers out there could turn into some fascinating innovations and I’m just asking one follow-up question here I was seeing for reasons I’ll get into later a wonderful old movie a couple days ago called Mona Lisa it’s a new are set in London with Bob Hoskins and it’s great but one of the riveting scenes in it was when they give Bob Hoskins a cell phone he says how does this work how does it know where to send me the signals you know how does it know what the number is so that’s 20 years ago people had not seen he that could be a plot element of movie 20 years from now what do you think would be a people look back to the movies right now what would they find unbelievably primitive about our cell phone our wireless LG well the fact that it’s not monitoring what’s going on on our bodies right now it’s so it’s a computer in your hands it could it could make such a better hearing aid for instance it could be signal processing and a much better way more real-time rather than you know having to turn things up and down it could be constantly measuring your blood pressure it could be it you know today when you put a blood pressure monitor on you or you might take your blood

pressure once a day obviously if you had a consistent view of that it would it would present a different picture to your doctor so I think we’ll look back and say you know our kids will say well you know you didn’t know what your blood pressure was all the time and so in addition to being very interesting what you said is a perfect segue to the work that Larry Smarr is doing so would you give us the same perspective of what you’re in the middle of you think the rest of us don’t know enough about and should be excited about well fortunately you’ll be able to come tonight to the Cal 82 from six to nine and see a lot of the virtual reality and extreme visualizations I want to talk about that but for the last ten years since we were founded we have been looking at the digital transformation of the environment energy health and culture and health in particular is probably the nearest term change just as was mentioned you know the the thing we know the least about is the insides of our body how can you not know the state of your body that’s just nuts and yet we don’t in your car you’ve got you know during the 50s you had to go wait till smoke came out of the hood that would be like having a symptom in medicine today right wait till you’re broken and then go to the doctor and anyway the point is instead what we have as little flash memories at the spark plugs the brakes everything else that you know record every second you go in the garage it reads that out it compares them with all the other cars like yours in the country over the net and if you’re in the middle of bell curve for that value then of course you’re fine if you’re out here or something’s off on one of the a time series of with the data you pull a modular new module in and 200,000 miles later your car runs just the way it did the day you bought it why aren’t we doing that with our bodies and so one of the things we’ve we explored is as the in this ten years we’ve seen computers are now a thousand times faster and a thousand I’m cheaper but genome sequencing is a million times cheaper than it was when the first human genome was done in two thousand that means that all doctors today operate without using your genetic information and I was just talking to the new class of medical students at UCSD last week and I said by the time you’re in practice you’ll assume that you have the full genome of your patient and relative to all of the other people in our population as a basis for medicine so we’re in the middle in the middle of a radical shift and so one of things I’ve been doing my own body is anticipating that I take my blood every quarter I metric measure 60 different chemicals I keep track of the state of my colon we’re actually you have ten times as many cells and your microbe as you do in your entire human body and 100 times the genes in those microbes that you have in your human DNA and that’s completely ignored by doctors in fact they go in and napalm the with broad-spectrum antibiotics without any thinking about what that does to your immune system or anything else because those jeans and those microbes are coexpressing with your human genes to create you and we ignore that so there’s this complete step function I think that we’re in the middle of and the ability to have the cell phone be your body area sensor and read this stuff out and into data banks that will be possible to look across the population hopefully of the privacy conserving algorithms to really begin to understand ourselves and and and instead of having a sickness fixing sickness paradigm it will be instead a wellness paradigm that each of us takes more personal responsibility for keeping our own bodies in good shape let me ask one follow-up that I know could it elicits a ten-hour answer but but for a sort of one minute answer to it fundamentally will these innovations mean that we could spend a hundred percent of the gdp on health care or will it be some way that we could put a ceiling on the GPA for hello currently what is going to bankrupt our country before anything else the biggest threat to our country is that three-quarters we’ve grown to the point to three-quarters of our people are overweight or obese pre-diabetic and there’s not enough money in the universe to take care of that until people take care of their own bodies and avoid becoming chronically ill voluntarily which is what we’re doing now on a mass feat way in our culture then oh yes we are going to complete bankrupt the country what is the counter-revolution what you see here in La Jolla is look

around and then go to the Midwest and look around and notice the difference there is a counter-revolution of personal responsibility personal health maintenance thinking about what you eat thinking about exercise and it’s spreading across the country the question is will it spread fast enough so Susan one of your areas of long-standing expertise has been the interaction of media and politics media and society or one of your I think probably your latest book was this one on changing media in China as you hear about these revolutions and monitoring and information transfer and health and communications how do you think we should understand them politically you know their their effect on societies and the social media and what it means in China what it means in the u.s. you as a political scientist what do you think as you hear this sort of discussion these or anything else you’d like to tell us well as I think about these innovations I think that in these fields we’re not going to see any cutting-edge major innovations occurring in China because China has great ambitions to be a technology superpower but the way they’re going about it is to throw a whole lot of money into it and to have the central government set priorities and to give most of the money to research institutes and big state-owned enterprises so no garage based in a vision no small scale innovation of the type that we know really matters so in some ways however of course where China’s accomplishing is very substantial we have a project in which we’re trying to look at these different areas of Chinese innovation more systematically and I have to tell you that one of the areas we thought was very successful was high speed rail yes well you know there was this terrible accident so I think what that shows you is that that ambition that mad rush to get things done quickly the eagerness to because of nationalism and this kind of national ambition to show that everything is Chinese origin technology but in fact it’s not actually true what’s happening is that they are adopting in one way or another foreign technologies and then there is process innovation which reduces the costs and it makes things happen very quickly and some of that is great for the world you know the solar and wind bubble in China and it really is a kind of bubble but what it’s done is create the and engineered solar panels and wind farms that other countries can adopt but for a much lower price and citizens of the planet we all care about that because that will help you know reduce climate change so it’s a complicated picture and and no doubt because I have followed your works over the years what you say sounds exactly right to me but I want to ask one implication of it you live here in San Diego which is the focus of all this communications and life science innovation you often travel to China where lots of these things are sort of creamed off and as you’ve just described do you have any cautions to give to your colleagues here in the life sciences and the the wireless field about how they should do they need to guard themselves against the next round of this being done for the Chinese or just not worry about it well I mean I was listening to the discussion about Twitter now with Facebook and Twitter being and Google to a large extent being frozen out of China many of us had okay this is going to be bad for China because what we’re going to get is monopolistic companies in all of these sectors they will have a Chinese version chinese version will be less good and it will be done by some monopolistic company that’s favored by the government I don’t think actually that’s happened I think that the Chinese recognize that some competition is good and in the microblog space for example there actually are two main microblogs Tencent TT and way ball way boss seems to be leading but from what I see and what I understand is that way ball has some features that are better than Twitter and wave was going international wave was going to taiwan they’re going to Hong Kong and there’s no reason they couldn’t go to non-chinese not suggesting that those are crossing

national boundaries are you this is an inside China joke sorry I would of course I would not say that but there is one China right but you know watch out for robot yeah very interesting so a recurring theme in our discussions here recurring because I keep asking it is about the the pessimistic potential of some of these some of these technological developments and part of what you’ve described been describing in all its its potential is a sort of pan optic and nightmare to where everything about you is monitored all the time you know how many days until you’re going to die everybody knows where the government knows where you are at all times how do you think about the the nightmare possibilities of omnipresent every second communication and monitoring and what do you think about that well obviously that’s a that’s an issue and we think about that a lot but that’s where I think having the computer in your hand on yourself and you controlling and allowing what crosses over into the cloud or elsewhere is is an empowering thing that we need to think about and not push everything out that way you you’re a lot about the computing in the cloud where our handsets are pretty pretty hefty right now going you know dual core quad core there they’re capable of a lot and so if you could filter the information that comes into you and then process it custom to you and only allow what you want to go back the other way so I think there are ways to help control that and Larry you mentioned appropriate privacy algorithms could you expand on that yeah I mean I think fundamental we we need a legal reform in this country that you own your data and just like the government can’t come into your house with a search warrant they shouldn’t be able to get your data corporation shouldn’t be able to get your data without your explicit permission or I process like core porn other countries I think have perhaps more sophisticated thinking about data but since I will agree with Evan you haven’t seen anything yet you’re gonna see hundreds thousands of times as much data about yourself being generated as you have now and so if we don’t get on the soon it’ll be too late and then a lot of bad things could very well happen but the fundamental reason that like I put all of my data out on my portal or on my powerpoints is because you know I’m I can get a lot of people who have things like I have talking to me and sharing experiences which is probably more knowledge to me about the things I care about then I’ll ever get from 15 minutes twice a year for the doctor and Susan you’re an expert on the society which is sort of taking the constant monitoring to its extreme what can we learn about whether they’ll be able to sustain that whether that’s a danger for us well it’s a race between the Chinese citizen and the Chinese state and the and it does stimulate a lot of innovation on both sides I think that right now the microblog space is where you see the Chinese government trying to play catch-up because they haven’t so far developed a way to really completely control the microblog and the other thing about microblogs twitter’s is that it allows individuals to become these public personalities with large numbers of followers so just about I mean including people like reform economist with hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers and that has is really potentially quite threatening politically to the Chinese government so I have confidence that they’re that the Chinese state will never be able to completely control this but it I think most of us have been sobered by the fact that if you look at search for example still ninety-five percent or more of the searches in China are done to Chinese sites you know the great firewall around China still persists and a lot of this evasion software to climb the wall does not seem to be easily adopted so that’s not working as well as we thought and then the fact that the Chinese government including the private firms like Cena you know are so dependent on the party the propaganda authorities they’re

practically part of the Chinese state so really the most powerful methods are not the technological once there the political and sociological ones and economic ones and that is very very difficult to break you know I saw a posting recently of a foreigner in China who said you know posted hey guys I want to get on facebook but I can’t seem to be doing to gain access to and what should I do and the responses were very interesting from other netizens there were things like well help us get democracy first and then we’ll help you get on facebook so I think there’s I think the the medicines there is a growing sophistication about the censorship and a growing frustration among people who otherwise would not be politically active that they are very frustrated that they’re being treated like children and I think eventually it could become a focal point for an opposition movement interesting i have twitter scale questions for each of our to tech people here i was asking evan williams you know the main thing that he knows from his world that he wishes ever other people to know what’s the main thing you know in twitter scale from being in the middle of this wireless technology you wish the rest of us knew just the impact that wireless is having on the emerging markets because you’re giving people who had no access to education and health and all sorts of information for the first time access to that and they can be the next Steve Jobs who knows where the next is going to come from but in our lifetime you know literally billions of people will be connected to the internet for the first time and that I think is going to have a profound impact on the world and Larry the main thing you wish we all knew well I think that the fact that your body has all these data available for measuring and that the and that the speed with which the cost is going down means that we will be able to do this and a very routine way for a large number of people and I think the reason that Cal 82 we have a lot of projects you know sort of living in the future of this is because we’ve got to get a whole new medical community trained and and and I think I think that’s the real problem that so many of the current medical community really don’t see this coming and don’t have a way to get it into clinical practice in a fast way the way we except internet speed to keep the program moving what we should do right now is I hope you’ll join me in thanking our panelists Susan Sheriff Larry Smarr and heavy Jacqueline you you