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January 10, 2023 51 mins

Gare and Robert talk about the most fucked up and frightening trends in tech right now, and what they mean for the future.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Ah, welcome back to it could happen me all that's horrible.
You didn't like that, Garrison, Well, they can all be winners. Uh.
This is part I Guess three of our coverage of
the Consumer Electronics Show and what the tech industry has

in store for all of us in the future. Um.
Last episode we talked about the stuff we saw at
CS that was both cool and optimistic and spoke to
some some potentially positive trends in tech. And today we're
going to get back to what we do best, which
is making you feel bad. But first I want to

open this up a little bit with Garrison. You're a Canadian,
You're you're you're You're a very young Canadian twenty years old,
grew up in a cult and now you have just
seen Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time. Did it
change your life? UM? I mean I guess so, I
I guess I guess it did change my life in

in my perception of what Las Vegas is and my
desire to never return of But yeah, I mean, we
we've been able to spend probably around half our time
at CES, the other half just so soaking in the
impeccable vibes of Las Vegas, Nevada. Yeah, I've been. I've

been tour guiding you around, uh soberly and safely. We
went to the Venetian and the Palazzo. We took a
very expensive gondola, right, that was an expensive gondola. Right,
got to see the beautiful blue skies of Venice and
all their four corners. Your reaction to seeing inside the

Vendea if you've never been the Venetian, the interior of it,
it's this massive casino, as they all are. They're all
like small towns inside buildings massive, and the Venetian is
like a replica of the city of Venice with a
fake sky. And that is one giant mall. I believe
it's the second largest hotel in the world. It is

unbelievably large, uh, incredibly expensive. And the fidelity of like
the fakeness of all of these things that are based
on real stuff is is quite high to it's it's
a whole thing. Yeah, it's It's really interesting because some
of the most impactful stuff is all of like the
fake storefronts inside because in many ways they're kind of

just all glorified malls, um and glorified arcades, all slot machines,
And it's funny because, like you know, they make all
of these facades on the inside, they have they have
the ceiling painted to look like the sky, but it's
it's it's just it's so dark in there, like it's
so like it's you see blue skies above you, but

there's like no light anywhere, no light anywhere. There's no
claws in the rooms. No, you never know what time
it is. You never see the outdoors. You're all isolated
in these little corridors leading from one shop to another
with slot machines all along the way. You're flying back soon,
are you looking forward to not being in a maze
of lights designed to bewilder and slowly damage you enough

that you sit down at a craps table and very
excited to see a real tree that's not a palm tree.
It's very excited to like touch grass, because there's no
grass in Las Vegas. No, it's actually I think illegal
in a lot of parts of the city to have
like a grass lawn, which is so one of the
things so obviously Vegas is in an objective sense, incredibly wasteful.

A huge amount of resources get poured into what is
effectively just for gaming. But UM. The other thing, like
another thing that you have to hold in your mind
when you recognize that, is that of all of the
states in the Southwest utilizing the very limited water resources there.
If I'm not mistaken, because it was just reading an
article about this, Nevada is the one state that has
reduced its water usage while it's grown by like three

quarters of a million people. UM, So it contains multitudes.
And also Nevada, like Vegas, is where the I'm spacing
on the name right now. But basically you have all
of these different states in the Southwest that are all
kind of coming together to try to figure out how
to deal with the fact that uh Lake Meat water

levels are getting lower in the Colorado River is disappearing
in some areas, and it is the only thing that
makes life out here possible on the scale that it
currently exists on. UM. And a couple of months before
c e S they had their big meeting in Las
Vegas in order to talk about how to try and
deal with the calamitous water situation. So it is very

much this city that is like filled with simulacra of
the past, um which it uses to try to hack
your brain to get you to stay up for four
days in a row, gambling and spending tens of thousands
of dollars. And it also because it's the best place
to hold a convention, and in a very technical sense,
like it is the most prepared for a large convention.

They this city can handle a hundred and fifty two
hundred thousand people coming in overnight and needing places to
stay and needing infrastructure in order. So it's also where
a lot of things about the future get decided, which
is when you spend enough time walking kind of horrifying.
It's kind of horrified the fact that important decisions get

made in this in this realm of in this place
that's designed to be mind altering. Yeah, it is, it is.
It is crafted. We're not like joking about this. There
are no clocks in the hotel rooms, like the casinos
are crafted to damage your perception of time. Um, so
I don't know that somebody should maybe look into that.
It's I do like when you're talking about like me.
It's a great example of the overall vibes of Las

Vegas is as as like meat is drying up. We
keep finding bodies inside the lake like bodies that have
been there a long time, bodies of people who had
alternate ideas about how Vegas should look. I mean a
lot of them were probably yeah, yeah, well walk walk
to the Venetian, walked through Caesar's Palace. Uh, they had
they had some nice vapor wave elieds displays outside. Briefly

went into the Paris one, which was honestly, I think
they Paris handled this, handled the fake sky the worst
because not only was this the sky painted ceiling so low,
the the bottom part of the Eiffel Tower just stops
where the ceiling stops. That they didn't even try. They
don't even try to continue the illusion. It's just just

as is a hard stop. Um. We wrote a roller coaster.
We we went to New York. We we went to
the Little Blurry for me because you were so drunk.
But I just bought them. I dumped the the attempt
at like buying drinks from places and just got a
handle of Woodford Reserve, which allegedly you can mix into

one of the th HC Pina coladas that they have
and allegedly it's pretty good time. We we went to
Rainforest Cafe. I unfortunately bought you got sicker than I
did eating Rainforest Cafe I I bought. I bought this
volcano cake and it was quite regrettable. Um. And then
we walked over to the New York themed casino inside

Las Vegas. So if you want a city themed casino
inside the city that you're in, you can go there.
Just pretty different city creating microcostums within microcostums. You're just
like the nesting, nesting all the way down. And I,
in an effort to make both me and Robert vomit,
we went on a roller coaster we've barely survived. That

did feel like a very dangerous roller that was we
were so close to vomiting everywhere. Just yeah, it was
a good time. That was pretty fun. I felt great
so that I just felt people would enjoy your your
your first Vegas experience. And of course you stayed at
Circus Circus, which we just walked through earlier today, one
last time, one final, one final debut to see a

family of four with thirty eight thousand dollars imagined losing that.
Circus Circus unbelieveabout the worst casino in the world. I think,
in order to segue into our next topic, it's Pretti.
I think Las Vegas is probably one of the most
heavily surveilled cities in the United States. It would be

hard to find one with more, especially when you're on
the Strip. Obviously there's a lot of lots of it.
I have family who live here and they can go
years without visiting the fucking strip because it's terrible. Um.
But another another, and and so kind of in a
similar sense. At CES, there was a lot of stuff
about surveillance, a lot of stuff about, uh, you know,

collect different new innovative ways to collect data on you
and your and your appliances and what's in your home. Um,
do we want to stalk start by talking about the
the almdipure of of surveillance tech. Yeah, there was actually
just an article in the Washington Post about this about
how unsafe quite a bit of it is. And one

of the things that you may have caught in some
of your news because this was probably one of the
more viral stories, is that there was a lot of
piss based technology, a lot of p analyzation. Vivu had
a thing there was there was at least three different
p test kits that were on the show floor. I
think some of them wont some some of the CS
Innovation Awards where basically you can analyze what's in your urine. Yeah,

and these are always framed as like it can let
you give you confirmation if you have a U t I,
it can help people who have all these different illnesses.
It can help diabetics. UM. And I'm sure there's a
degree to which that's true, But I asked the Vivu
lady and I didn't speak with the There was another
called UM you scan by with things and and you

you scans urine sensor analyzes hormone levels in urine. That's interesting, Yeah,
which is is why it won some awards, and also
why a bunch of folks, including Consumer Reports UM, put
out like a warning about it, saying like we shouldn't
be celebrating this. This is an incredibly dangerous product because
it all is going to your phone, the data is

being collected digitally, and if, for example, you are in
a state that heavily restricts women's access to reproductive healthcare, uh,
there is literally nothing stopping the law enforcement or the
government of those states from demanding all of that data
be handed over, potentially even in real time. There's absolutely
nothing stopping that. And the company has already said they'll

comply with law enforcement with government requests. Um. And there's
they don't have any kind of plan for the fact
that they are creating a way to surveile people's bodies,
um for the government. Um. And when I talked to
the one of the representatives of Vivu, which is another
one of these urine companies that I don't believe detect
your hormone levels but but does is generating a lot

of data about your body, a lot of biometric data.
And the most she would give me is that the
data is encrypted. Which great, that that that's a fancy
word for saying, yeah, we have it. We are. We
are sitting here right after one of the most damaging
data hacks of all time, which has it was last

pass It was one of the massive password collecting apps
where you basically like centralize all your passwords behind one
and remember and like it's a lot of people are
exposed as a result of that. And um, I just
think that like the this show, such a massive part
of it was we have we are debuting devices that

will allow you to monitor different parts of your body
at all times and get real time, biometric data your
body and your house and centralizing all this data about you.
Talk about ring in one place, because that's the same
thing with like smart homes and smart appliances were very popular.
Smart cars were a very big thing. Um we're talking about,
like smart cities were another big thing for just other
ways to centralize all of the data about what you own,

where it is um and how to effectively provide advertising
to get you to buy more. There's an attempt being
made by Republicans in Oklahoma right now to make it
criminal two do gender transition if you are under twenty
six years of age. There's no reason why a product
like this couldn't be used to determine whether or not
somebody is illegally taking hormones in a state where they

are attempting to restrict trans people like it's this is
all We're not just being like fuddy duddies. These are
all very serious implications, and there's zero thought, zero evidence
of thought being given to it with any of the
biometric companies. Now, one of the reasons we talked about
that those smart glasses UM that are for people who
are hearing impaired, that caption conversations live around them. One

of the reasons I was impressed by that is that
it's all a closed loop. None of it goes to
your smartphone, none of it's broadcast wirely wirelessly. Um, it
is all on device and none of it is stored anywhere.
And when they said that, that was part of what
convinced me these people understand the responsibility the d they
have delivering a healthcare product. We should move on to

the other part of the Panopticon that we saw and
talk about Ring. Yeah, the Ring booth was one of
the more terrifyingly dystopian bits. And it's you know, and
it's describe it for our listeners. Well, I mean it's
they basically made like a white Pickett house. Um. And
you know again ces these are massive, massive buildings, and

so they do people can construct a full house in
there and did so, like you know, there's fake fake
green grass, a nice little fence, this perfect little ideal
at home. And the massive massive sign above was like, uh,
you know, ring keeping, like keeping keeping your neighborhood and
say if you know like all of all of all
of that that type of messaging. Um. The in the

model home they had there was like a dozen cameras
on every all all around the sides approach, multiple cameras
on the doors. There's a doorbell camera, peephole camera camera
on the fence at one door with three cameras on
the door itself. And I mean ring zoned by Amazon.
There was you know, Alexa Alexa assisted Ring cameras um

all of the day that gets gets used by law enforcement.
A Ring partners like directly with law enforcement to make
data like immediately available and make feeds immediately available. And
the probably the still least thing we saw at the
Ring booth was this home security tiny little drone. Yeah,
so basically they've built and it's weird because the so

the box it comes in looks like a fucking um
de humidifier that I used to have or humidifier that
I used to have in my house. It's almost identical.
Um but it's like this little plastic box and a
drone can take off and fly out of it. Uh,
And the drone trains itself on your house, so it
knows how to get around and if somebody it thinks

somebody's breaking in. A person who is effectively like works
for Ring, like an actual human being sitting in a
call center somewhere takes control of the drone and can
confront someone in your house, which I guess there's a
potential security benefit there, But also, you are signing up

to allow Amazon to have a random person travel around
your home at any hour of the night, in a
in a thing they control, in a little flying machine
that they control, and that I cannot put myself in.
That I get, obviously, I get wanting to have cameras.
I don't think it's unreasonable to have security cameras on

your home. I even understand how some people who are
not as privacy conscious as I am could be like, yeah,
I don't care if it's connected to the internet. Um,
even though that's not a thing I like, I can't
put myself in the head of somebody who would want
that thing in their house. Yeah, it's bizarre because obviously
there's needs. Again, they're like health related. Maybe if you've
got like an illness or something, you might want something
like that. Like, I can understand how very specific purpose

driven needs, but like, as a normal person wanting an
Amazon employee to be able to wander around your home,
it seems weird to me. I mean, that's obviously can
also all that data getting used. Amazon can scan your
entire house fiera, what what products you buy, you know,
what what non Amazon things are inside your home, what
types of trends that you're using, and all that kind

of get used to help get you to buy more things.
That the the one of the morn cities parts of
like all of the marketing and some of like the
some of like the video commercials for Ring that we saw,
you know, playing on these giant, giant screens inside is
they're they're really trying to also push that. They're trying
to push in a normalize using ring as a part

of your everyday life, but for non security means like
you know, when you're leaving your grandma's house, you say
goodbye to her in her little ring camera. You know
when you when you're getting to your friend's house you
do a little funny pranks in front of their ring camera.
It's like it's all these different ways to make rings
seem like this fun and normal thing to like play
with your friends and your family social, when in reality,

look again, security cameras are inherently anti social. It doesn't
mean that there aren't good reasons to have one. And
as someone who's been burglarized. I do understand that, Um,
it's not bad, but it's anti social because you are
surveilling people because you're worried about what they might do.
That is that is a fundamentally anti social thing. And

so the attempt to like turn that, the attempt to
kind of like merge that into normal family life and
to make it like friendly is really bad. Yeah. I
think that we briefly stopped by the A d T
Booth And this is kind of this This is kind
of similar to the little drone that we just talked about,
but a little bit more ridiculous. Um, they have at

the A d T Booth this home security robot, like
six six ft tall robot with uh with like a
like like an like a lc D little face with
this big smile on it, and and it's powered or
not powered. It is controlled by you, the owner, by

wearing an Oculus headset, and it has it has rolling
feet so it can move around by rolling. But it's
like six ft tall. It has two arms, massive smiling
face and if if you have you know, your headset
with you, and you think someone's breaking into your home,
you can put this on and control this robot to
like chase them out. And I was overhearing that a

d T guys talking about it, and they're like, yeah,
this is even. This is even just like a great deterrence.
Like imagine you're if someone's breaking into your home and
then they see a massive, smiling robot rolling towards you.
I would run away very quickly, like had like like
what this this thing has to cost like tens of
tens of thousands of dollars and like this is what

you're doing too, feel like you're really just spend that
much money to to create this sense of safety. Really really,
this is this is what you're doing. You're you're you're
getting a robot that gets powered by a Facebook headset
so you can walk around your house in a rolling
robot to make sure no one's gonna come, you know,

take random shipped from your house. Yeah. When like number one, Um,
anyone who would do that is the kind of person
that needs to be have things taken from them. Um.
But number two like if you're actually concerned for your
actual safety, and again I think that's perfectly valid. Um,
none of these drones, this robot of security theater, it's

not it's theater. It's easy to to like damage, it's easy.
You can knock it's it's all three wheels. You knock
it over. It can't get up. Put on block so
that you're completely covered, knock it over, and then proceed
to rob the house. It's not useful, it's it's it's
a purity alarm at that point. It's it's it's wild
and like and people will find ways to hack them

and stuff. You know, you can't hack a well trained
guard dog, which also will cost you tens of thousands
of dollars less. And we'll love you like a Doberman
pincher will kill your enemies if they break into your home,
and loves you like the same way. You know, there
was people getting into Alexa machines a few years ago.
There was Alexa Alexa machines listening and sending info when

they weren't supposed to do. There was a mass there
was a pretty big incident actually in Portland a few
years ago, of of Alexa listening in too when it
was wasn't supposed to do, and and and like listening
to different conversations and trying trying to finish conversational cues.
Um you know, it's only a matter of time before
someone figures out how to control, how to remotely control
one of these A d T robots and you have
some something like rolling around in your house that you

don't control anymore. Like it's yeah, there are um, it's
there are always vulnerabilities in these things and they always
get hacked. Um. And more to the point, like well,
if you have some sort of security drone like your
ring drone, there's no way like again, Amazon would comply
with law enforcement requests. There's nothing that says law enforcement,

if it was part of an investigation, could not use
this technology to surveil you in real time. UM. So
I don't like that. UM, not my favorite. And while
we're when we're talking about surveillance, uh, we can't ignore
our good friends at palent here now if you haven't
been paying attention to the surveillance industry, palent Heer is

a company that exists to collect data and build machine
solutions and machine learning solutions UM to surveil people and
to help equipment like drones, targeting and whatnot work better.
They're an intelligence company. There's like lots of systems they
do systems. It's not like they make a single product.
They help build systems to collect data and enable governments

and militaries to make decisions off of that data. That
is like the thing that they do primarily systems analysts tracking.
I mean, like what one of the one of the
things we saw was them you know, analyzing homes to
data around like water conservation. Right there, they're trying to
put a variety of their usage not just kill brown people,
but but they do a lot of the primary the
center of their booth was this massive military truck with

a huge armored box on the back that was filled
with computers specifically to collect data and to um like
do command and control for drone fleets in theater. Um.
And one of the things you know when you see
a vehicle of that size and it was very massive,
is that well, this is not this is intended either
to be very far back from the front, which which

mitigates some of the uses of it, or it is
intended to be used in an area in which the
enemy does not have air power. Um. But so again
the kind of places where you're just bombing them, right
like theaters like Yemen where the rebels have minimum ability
to do something like bomb a gigantic truck. That's a target. Um,

but you have kind of unrestricted ability to do stuff
like drone strike school buses, which has happened repeatedly there. Um.
We had a couple of conversations with the good people
at Palenteer. Uh they were I don't I think we
kind of figured out they were primarily they're looking for
talent because they were looking for people to recruit, looking

for different things to integrate into their systems. Yeah, they
would not show much of what they had. Everything inside
the van itself was uh classified. Here would you hit
me my phone find that person's name? But everything in
there was was classified whenever we started talking, especially the
first time we were there, because I started asking some

pretty specific questions about what was actually in that and
how it worked and how it was different from current
drone command and control solutions. And there was a very
specific woman with Palenteer who, no matter who I was
talking to, would come up behind me and kind of
direct conversation. And I think also was there to listen
to the answers that were being provided to me and

stop people from saying things on her team if they
weren't supposed to say them. Um, there were a couple
of occasions in which I asked, Hey, can we check
this thing out on the inside, and we were told no,
it was classified. No one else could get in. You
have to you have to gain permission from the army. Yeah.
I definitely saw some individuals exited, but they were Palenteer people.

But then the next day we came back, um and
I watched a woman exit the vehicle UM and a
man from Palenteer with her, But the woman was not
from Palenteer. Now, people wear badges at c e s,
so their names are on display and what they do
is on display. Although it's easy to look this person up,
and I saw she had a badge as a speaker.

Her name was Mary or sorry, her name was Melody
Hildebrand UM. So I I googled Melody Hildebrand uh because
I wanted to know she does not work for Palenteer.
What is she doing inside Palentteer's giant class classified robot
murder box? Uh. Melody is the president of Blockchain Creative
Labs and the chief Information Security officer for the Fox

Company for the you know that Fox Corporation. So it
looked like by the way her her Twitter says uh C,
I s O Fox Web three engineering cybersecurity, former war gamer,
lover of farm animals, so that's cool. Um and yeah,
over here we've got her retweeting a post about and Rill,

which is UM. One of the Peter Teel companies like
Palenteer is raising one point four eight billion in their
Series E funding. UM. This new funding will enable us
to accelerate R and DED and bring new cutting edge
automous defense capabilities to market. Now, I don't know, I
wonder what they mean by the word defense. Yeah. Yeah, Yeah,

she's also pro n f T so that's good. I'm
gonna I'm gonna tweet to her in a little bit. UM.
But no, it was it was very clear that there
was you know, there was pr people on the ground
to make sure that the line of questioning if they
were too if people were asking questions about their surveillance tech,
about this big titan truck which is what it's called Titan,

um that there's only very very specific answers. And like
they were not there to talk to journalists. They were
not there to talk to media. They were there to
recruit people to you know, become more capable at their
surveillance tech. That's that was very clear. Uh. They were
also right across the street, right across the hall from

the Fantastic Robos and Transformers robots. So on the on
one side you have a fun optimist prim robot that transforms.
The other side you have the rolling metal deathcage. So
that was that was that was most of palat here.
They had this um sky box, which was this box
that had like encrypted communications technology, drones and drone drone

piloting technology and like, um, you know, a military computer
that all in this little tiny box that they can
drop into people who are you know, basically drop into
people who are in trouble. Yeah, they were, they were.
They were building it as basically number one. It would
be for it could be for special forces teams. It
has like a laptop in there. It has potentially several

drones in there. UM and it has like a bunch
of specially modified field cameras so you could set up
surveillance on an area UM and and those cameras kind
of work with a machine learning algorithm to do stuff
like try and identify where landmines are. And again like
these are the stuff that's problematic primarily about Palatiners it's
it's data collecting, its surveillance, and the fact that we

know that drone warfare is generally pretty fucked up and
has an extremely high civilian casualty rate and is used
in a lot of theaters obviously, not in a lot
of theaters where they are primarily just massacring people either
fighting where their freedom are trying to survive. This is
the problem with it. Obviously, all of this tech will
also be used in generally positive things like, for example,

dropping a box like this into the hands of some
Ukrainian special Forces guys to to integrate them into a
more advanced command and control network so they have better
access to tactical data like is not a thing. I
don't specifically have a problem with that application. The problem
is more broadly palenteer um do you want to do?

Do you want to briefly explain in case people are
not Lord of the Rings fans. So again, these are
all companies owned by Peter Teal, who is a self
described fascist, believes in ending democracy. Believes that democracy and
freedom are not compatible because freedom he defines specifically as
the ability of people with lots of money to not

have any kind of restrictions on their behavior or what
they can compel other people to do. Peter Teal owns
Palenteer and Andy rill Um the Palanteer Palenteer. Both of
those are names from Lord of the Rings, and in
Lord of the Rings, the Palenteer was an orb given
by the big bad Guy Sawon to one of his lackeys,
a wizard named Saramon, so that he could surveil any

part of Middle Earth he wanted in order to send
his armies to crush the free peoples of the world.
Like that is that is literally what this company is
named after. It is the bad guy surveillance tech to
use the Oro Kai against the free people of Middle Earth.
It is it is specifically something that only evil people use. Um.

It's it's pretty cool that the whole company is named after.
And there were all these very nice, polite people in
uh Patagonia style vests with Palenteer logos stitched on them
standing around. UM happy to answer any of your questions.
Uh anyway, I'm I'm curious as to why Melody Hildebrandt

was inside there. What the chief information security officer of
Fox would want to do with one of those vans.
That is curious that is curious, she's on Twitter. I
did reach out to her, but we that We also
saw a few of the robot dogs. We saw the
Boston to the Dynamics one, which was very impressive and
how it moves. Um. Then we saw one much more

cheaper um uh model of of a robot dog that
had not as great mobility, but it seemed to be
more more suited towards the types of the types of
style of dogs that were that we've seen law enforcements
start to buy. Um. The cheaper ones with less flexibility,
more mounts to attach you know, things to the top

of the robot which you don't really see you with
the Boston Dynamics ones. They do not like mounting extra
things on. But the the other robot dog we saw
had this little arm that it was that it was
that that had attached to the top that was in
the robotics section, pretty close to Palatiner. That one was
much less impressive than Because we saw both robot dogs
and these are if you see video of a robot

dog that people are freaking about out about online, these
are those robot dogs. UM. The one we saw with
the arm on, it did not move. It was number
one controlled directly by a guy with a controller. It
was not autonomous and it didn't move very smoothly. The
sitting in front of the Boston Dynamic Spot spot and

watching it move was really Surrey. It was number one.
We both talked about this garrison. It's like watching c
g I in real life because it's it's so fine tuned. Yeah,
it moves like a living thing, but clearly is not
um and it moves like a living thing enough that
it is not it's not an uncanny valley. That's not
the right way to describe it now, because the movements

are kind of perfect. It's just not it's alive. It's
almost it's it's it's not uncanny valley. It's almost like instead,
it's like too perfect. Yeah, it's it's just so fine tuned.
It's it was pretty It was pretty impressive to watch.
It was very impressive and it it's become obvious to
me that like one of the things that absolutely is
going on at Boston Dynamics is that they feel there

is there is an it is important to them as
a business. Some of this may just be that they
this is a personal challenge for a lot of these
engineering guys, but I suspect they also see this as
valuable to their business to replicate physical emotionality. And when
I talk about that, when you like, watch a dog, right,
you can tell a dog's emotions from the way that
the dog moves, because that's how dogs work. Um, the

robot dog expresses physical emotion and obviously it doesn't feel emotion,
but it physically expresses emotion in a similar way to
a dog like curiosity. They're very good at mimicking a
curious dog in the way it's body language works, which
is really wild. Yeah, that would be one of the

things I did not like. Um, I mean, it's impressive.
A lot of this stuff is a objectively impressive. Most
of the other robotics we saw there was not that impressive.
Like I saw this this robot bartender that was making boba,
but it but it didn't know, it didn't know how,
or it wasn't able to actually deliver the boba onto

the secondary robot that delivers the boba. So this this
this one robot with arms made made the drink, a
human picked it up, inspected it, then put it on
a secondary robot which then delivered the drink. And I
and this technology. I mean I I was eating at
a at a at a Burmese place in Portland a
few months ago where they were using this same food

delivery robot system. It's not it's not brand new, it's
just becoming cheaper and more people are trying to like
make it a thing. And there was so there was
a lot of those types of things, a lot of
like R two D two on Jabba's sale barge, like
delivering drinks style style robots that are autonomous, like they
do move themselves around. They don't need a remote controller,

but they're not that impressive. But that that that was
like the majority of stuff in the robotics section was
that there was a few other kind of smaller rolling
robots that were there was just like elderly people like
if if someone falls down, this robot kind of goes
around and will help you. And yeah, I don't feel
well that specific stuff I don't feel like well suited

to describe, like to guess as to how well it
would work. UM. But I think more broadly talking about
autonomous tech because that was one of the biggest product
categories at Sea as it was all over the place. Um,
there were a lot of cars, and a lot of
companies doing autonomous software and light our solutions for cars.
I consider that all to be vaporware. There's a great

deal of evidence here, but fully autonomous vehicles, UM, in
the way that some of these companies are advertising is
simply not. They simply do do not exist, and not
exist and will not exist. And we did talk to
a couple of people, so again for the stuff that's
very real about autonomous tech, there's things like driver assistance,
so for like truck drivers, to allow them to strain

and stress themselves less while driving and to help um
make certain things like backing up and parking that can
be very difficult in certain environments safer by having more
cameras and machine assistance. That makes sense. And one of
the people who worked at one of those companies said
to us, Um, yeah, there's no such thing as autonomous
trucks or cars, like they don't exist outside of very
tightly controlled conditions. All we are trying to do is

make truck driving safer and less stressful on the driver,
which sounds great. UM. I mean, obviously it there's problems
with the way the trucking industry exists outside of that,
but that sounds again like one of those products meant
to actually mitigate worker fatigue and discomfort and potentially makes

it safer. So I'm on board with that kind of stuff.
But um other like an autonomous and smart tech that
we like, like like smart cars, um e V like
electronic vehicles and autonomous stuff. There was some stuff at
the John Deer Booth which it was pushing towards automation,
like we talked about in the last episode. And then
also they're they're evy tractor just launched, which so John

Dear if you're not aware, has had a series of
long running legal battles, particularly with farmers in Ukraine, over
the fact that they do not want it to be
possible or legal for you to repair your tractor if
you're a farmer. Farmers have previously in history often repaired
and fixed and modified their vehicles. Um this is both

necessary if a thing breaks you can't always get it
back to a manufacturing facility in time. And a lot
of farms in the middle of nowhere. A lot of
farms are in the middle of nowhere, which is where
food comes from. And you also like you can't wait,
you can't just be like, well, let's just put harvesting
off for a week or two. That that is a problem. Um.
John Deere sees that as a severe threat to their profits,

and they have fought viciously in courts UH to make it,
to try to make it illegal to repair your own devices. Um.
They have lost a lot of those fights in the
United States, and to its credit, the Biden administration has
taken a strong stance in favor of the right to repair.
And what we saw from John Deere at this ce
S was a bunch of very impressive autonomous products that

just coincidentally will also make it completely impossible to repair
your tractors. It's like, specifically with the new ev tractor
that launched, so much of it is a computer that
it is impossible to repair unless you work for John Deer.
Like we when we asked them, like, hey, you know,
if if this thing breaks down, how how would a
farmer go about trying to fix this? Since it is

a lot of it is like not it's it's it's
not like motors and stuff from like a classic car.
It is it is like it is computer driven. Um.
And they're like they just can't. It's just it's just
so complicated that an average person cannot repair this like
at all. It's just it just it's impossible. So that's
the way they are gonna try to get around this, uh,

this right to repair a shoe. Yeah, we will just
and the and it's being done under the guys of
well you you know, by having this much more advanced,
we can use a lot less pesticide, which is better
for the soil, better for everything, um, less carbon and
less carbon. The farmer will have more time because the
vehicle can handle this autonomously. So that's eight hours the
farmer you know, gets to to spend doing something else

and um, all of this stuff that's kind of meant
to distract from like, well, I guess yeah, maybe he'll
have more time, but also substantially less autonomy and be
completely dependent upon the John Deer Corporation in order to
produce the food that human beings need to survive. Um.
I'm also gonna point it out there and say I
started this by saying that, like, one of the major
lawsuits was between John Deer and a lot of a

group of Ukrainian farmers, um, the same farmers presumably who
were towing a lot of Russian ordinance away with the
John Deer tractors. Um, I don't know that it's that
kind of stuff. And one of the things that I
think looking at a lot of this autonomous tech, some
of it's great, some of it could save lives. Some

of it. Rather than like reducing the need for humans
to do work that it would be good if they
didn't have to do, we'll do just what you recognize,
create an even less human job for a human, like
taking drinks from a robot that makes drinks to a
robot that carries them to people. Because we we just
couldn't figure out that interstitial step. So your job as

a human being, as a as a member of of
of a species that spent millions of years evolving to
be capable of creating nearly anything, your job will be
to take a drink from one robot and set it
down at another. I mean we we we. The thing
is like that we already had that same idea in factories,
Like as as factories have gone towards being more made

by machines, they're still as factory works who need to
do all this little in between steps. So we're taking
this factory model and now just applying it to customer
service doing the same thing, trying to automize it as
much as possible, and then only rely on humans for
all of these little in between ups that for some reason,
the robots in all of the autonomous texts isn't very
good at yet or you know, isn't really focused on completing.

And that's that's the main thing that that humans are
going to be are going to be doing in the
in the autonomous Boba store that's gonna come to your
neighborhood in like ten years. Speaking of bad things about
the future or at least the present, let's talk about
Elon Musk's celebrity death tunnel. So, if you're not aware Elon,

one of the companies, actually the company he started that
is based on his own legitimate ideas is the boring
company UM, which makes big tubes underground uh so that
people can drive their individual cars through them and avoid traffic. Now,
Elon Musk is a man who takes his private jet
between airports in the same city in order to avoid traffic.

There is nothing he hates more than the idea of
being a normal person or being at all connected to
the lives of regular people, which is why you get
a private jet, um when you could just like fly
first class or something, because even if you're flying for
first class, you're still going to an airport and through
security around like the poor the poors. Um Ellen has

been vociferous about his hatred of of traffic um transit,
but also he hates public transit because you might sit
next to a serial killer. UM. So his solution is
dig holes underground and let people drive there. And Uh.
Most of the cities that have attempted to have bording
tunnels completed have been ghosted by the company. It is

kind of a con um. But they did build one
in Las Vegas and Garrison and I used it, uh,
and it took us from one side of the convention
center to the other. Um. We potentially, if we had
made the most use of this service, we we might
have gotten a five to seven minutes that we didn't
have to walk, just just you and me alone inside

the tesla, not having to be around other people in
the in the RGB tunnel if you're in. One of
the things Lama has literally said is like, well, if
you take public transit, you might sit next to some
serial killer. The way this tunnel thing works is you
tell them whether you're going east or west, and they
put you in a tesla that some dude is driving
that you don't know, and then they fill the tesla

with other other people that you also don't know. You're
still sitting next to stranger and you're in this this
tube that is lit up the same way a pair
of like Razor gaming headphones are lit up um and
you just slowly stuck in this tunnel with two random
people who you don't know. I horrible, like one thing

I feel like obviously if you're in like New York
or something or Berlin. I've been in a lot of
cities where I've traveled on the underground, and I don't
feel scared traveling in the underground because those have existed
for a very long time, and so we know what
happens when there's floods and when there's fires, and there's
a lot of systems built, which is why you don't
generally hear about a shipload of people dying in subway.
It's an extremely safe way to travel this time. Unnol

is filled with vehicles that take we know about fifty
five gallons of water to put out a fire when
the battery catches fire, and the batteries on Tesla's we
also know, catch fire with some regularity, and you are
trapped in a tunnel. Uh, there is sometimes traffic. Near
the end of our ride, we wound up in a
line of like twenty Tesla's and that did not feel

good because you just you can see nothing but Tesla's
ahead of you and behind you, and you're surrounded entirely
by this tight claustrophobic wall with absolutely no emergency exit's visible.
So in fire suppression systems visible, I don't know what
they have installed, but you can't see anything. You cannot
see a thing. All you see is the Razor r
GB gaming mouse. And then as as so, as soon

as we got off this this thing that was supposed
to take us to like the central area, it just
took us to the other side of the convention center.
In order to actually gets where we needed to go,
we just use the monorail, the thing that's been there
for a long time and looks fine. And mono rails
are also not great ideas for a lot of reasons.
But it got us right to the other end of
the strip very quickly, conveniently, cleanly. It took cost five dollars. UM.

So good work, Ellen. I love the tunnel. I hope
you're proud, ringing, ringing indoors. I can't wait for there
to be tunnels like that in every city. Don't worry,
they want the boring company is not a real company.
Um yeah, anything else care? I mean we already talked
about the digital health stuff, which was a very big

part of CEES. UM. Yeah, that's I think that's most
of what we want to touch on for now. Okay,
well that's gonna just about do it for all of
us here at whatever show this is. UM, we will
at some point have some stuff based on Oh yeah, actually,

let's let's in by I went in by talking about UM,
I guess another good thing, but it's a good thing
that relates to the bad things. Um. We ran across
a booth on our way out that on the first
day I had seen and I had thought was just
um like a I had assumed it was like a
GPS solution or something because the company was called off

grid UM, and it's the off grid phone. We talked
to the founder of the company, Ben Wilson, who was
just a guy who, as he put it, does not
like that uh, we consistently seated more and more control
over our data and over our communications to large companies
and governments and whoever the funk else gets access to

these massive and or massive not anonymous data sets, and
wanted to build a thing for himself that could eventually
replace his smartphone. UM. So he and the company he
started have produced these their dumb phones at this moment
that context and can call and do encrypted end to
end communication. They also, if you are off grid, like

in the middle of nowhere, and you and your friends
had of these, you can communicate through text thro through
phone to each other even if there is no network. Right.
The phones themselves do like make a network. They communicate
just just to each other, just to each other. They
do not connect to the why their internet. Yeah, which
is really cool and potentially extremely useful. This is this
is um There's a number of applications that this could have. Garrison,

you mentioned that the Atlanta Forest Defense people could benefit
from something like this because it will effectively they're about
two hundred bucks apiece. Anyone who can afford a few
of these, you can set up your own secure comm's
network for wherever you are and whatever you're doing and
and the other. The other feature of this is that
you can set it onto something called sheep mode, where basically,

if if if you suspect that that someone who you
don't want to look at your phone, whether that's law enforcement,
whether that's other random random other people, you can set
it to this mode that when they when they either
sees or gain gain possession of this device, all of
the the the data is immediately wiped before they can

actually open up the phone UM. And they will open
it up, they will see this fake profile that called
the called not not fake profile, but like this this
alternate profile called it called the sheep profile, which shows
not not the stuff that not the stuff that you
were using the food for. You can then just be
blank or you could like stick other numbers in there.

You could have like a series of fake text. But
and then and but if you ever regain possession of
the phone, you're able to put in UM a special
a special password that will it will send the data.
It'll it'll it'll send the data through encryption back onto
this device, so you still have the things that you
would have lost. And obviously there's a degree of like

you would have to have some trust for the company, yes,
which is says like and Ben says, like, we are
attempting to do this. He was very open about the
fact that that they have the phones. We saw them,
like some of this stuff is still getting built out.
It is it is is still in development. They're still
figuring out in different ways to keep the server secure,
to protect the servers from subpoenas from the American government
and from other from other governments. Like there's this this

is still something that is being worked on. Uh. It
was just one of the you know, we we see
a lot of like like a lot of lofty promises
and very very little thing to show for this. This
is one of the things that had actually, you know,
just this one guy that had you know, some pretty
some pretty relatable promises UM and and it's very open
about what they have done and what they haven't done

and what they're trying to do now. He he he was,
he was he was not bullshitting. He wasn't trying to
over emphasize what it can do um or what it
can do at the moment, like it's it's still being
worked on. But this is one of one of the
one of the few, one of the future things that
we will be that we will want to follow up on,
and I think we're going to try to have been
on the show in the near future because they're going
to be doing a kickstarter to fund one of the

next phases of production of this um. But you can
you can look them up yourself. You can buy the
version one of their product, which is on sale and
functional now at off grid phone dot com. Spelled the
way you would expect UM. So yeah, check out off
grid phone dot com. We found it interesting, will be
following up on that. Um. Ben gave me very strong

the good kind of libertarian vibes. Reminded me of a
couple of people I've I used to hang out with
in my youth, and it's very much is that kind
of like product of just a cranky guy who knows
tech and is angry at all of the data being
sucked up and all of the data that we just
kind of agree together, we're going to give away two

unsavory characters because life in the modern world is kind
of impossible if you don't do that. No, And like
one of one of the things on his signs was
something along the lines of don't let the pope po
look at your phone, so like it's yeah, it is
somebody who gets it. Yeah, yeah, we liked we liked
ben Um so yeah, that is that is the dark

side of the future of tech, as this year's ce
S has unveiled it to us. Um. You know, this
is the also the conclud usition of our reporting directly
on the convention itself. We will have some reporting in
the future that will be influenced by things we found
here that we're going to continue to look up. But
um and and we should have we should have some
of the audio that we pulled from inside the convection
center that should be edited together sometime in the future.

Talk to Paler. That'll be fine, yes, as as a
little kind of documentary, little daily diary of of of
what we were actually doing on the ground. So that's
being worked on. But this is this is as we're
recording right now. This is the final day of CES.
We are almost done. We have we are both very sore.
Is surprisingly hard on your body. We have to enter

Eureka Park one more time, but then we will be finished,
and then we'll have to upload this and and edited
the rest of the stuff we've made into into a
little piece for you. So that is that that is
still coming. You say we, which was very generous. You're
going to be doing that. Me and daniels I will
not be editing anything. UM. I don't know how to anyway,
go to Hell. I love you. It could Happen here

as a production of cool Zone Media. For more podcasts
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You can find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated
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