The World We Dream- Jill Tarter Zeitgeist Americas 2012 - Clip

Uploaded by zeitgeistminds on 16.10.2012

>>Jill Tarter: We're here in the boondocks of a large spiral
Galaxy out at the edge nowhere near the center. And our sun is just one of about 400 billion
stars in this Galaxy. And the Milky Way Galaxy is actually here.
It's one of 100 billion or more galaxies in our observable universe.
But we've only recently come to understand that it takes a Cosmos to make a human. We
humans have a very deep and intimate relationship with the universe. We humans trace our lineage
not just back centuries through our families, or back through millennia for our civilizations,
not just back over the millions of years since we branched off from the apes, nor back the
2.4 billion years that the Earth's atmosphere has been profused with oxygen due to the labors
of photosynthetic cyanobacteria. And not just back to the formation of the sun and our solar
system 5 billion years ago, but all the way back to a supernova explosion and the death
of a massive star about 8 billion years ago. So the iron in the hemoglobin molecules in
your blood was fused deep within a massive star that ended its life in a supernova explosion,
leaving metal-rich remnants such as this recent Nova explosion. And these remnants are waiting
to be incorporated into the next generation of stars and planets and perhaps life.
So those of us who are in this room are very privileged for a number of reasons, one of
them being that we are among the first generation to be able to comprehend that the world around
us is actually a fragile island of life in a universe of possibilities.
So extremophiles such as these are beginning to illuminate the amazing possibilities for
life in every nook and cranny of this planet. And they're suggesting the potential for a
lot more habitable real estate out there, perhaps on other planets in our solar system.
This upclose and personal view of Mars is being brought to us by Curiosity, the Mars
science laboratory that landed in early August. I think it's awesome. That should be Camelback
Mountain, given the detail. But it's Mars. And alternatively, all right, life might be
found in the water oceans beneath the icy shells of Europa or Callisto or Ganymead,
these large moons of Jupiter. Or maybe in the ethane lakes of Titan, which is Saturn's
large moon. Or even possibly on one of the gazillions of icy comets in the oort cloud
that surround our solar system. And we're learning that planets exist in other systems.
It's now looking like there are more planets out there than there are stars. And ground-based
astronomers are scrambling mightily to confirm the thousands of exoplanet candidates that
the Kepler spacecraft has provided us and will be providing us with some more this month.
In fact, in our search for life, we have this particular chauvinism. We like -- we have
a bias for planets that might have liquid water on their surfaces. These so-called "habitable
worlds." And so far, there are 46 within this cadre of Kepler candidates.
So these habitable worlds, given our biases and our definitions, they do and should receive
special attention. But, actually, all of these exoplanetary systems are worthy of exploration.
And it's only if we look at them all that we can hedge against our biases, thinking
we know more than we actually do know. But many of these exoplanet systems out there
are turning out to be multiple planet systems, are really different than our own solar system,
our own nice, neat, clockwork solar system, where we used to build mechanical orreries
and turn the crank and watch the planet go around.
These multiplanet systems are allowing us to learn amazing lessons about the formation
of planets and planetary systems. And their diversity reminds us just how hard it is to
predict the diversity and abundance of possibilities in the world around us. When you have only
one example, we thought all of those were going to look just like ours. And we were
so wrong. So in the middle of the 20th century, the
descendents of World War II radars were turned skyward and the field of radio astronomy was
born. And that gave us new tools to use in trying to answer the questions about our place
in the Cosmos. So in 1959, Giuseppi Cocconi and Phil Morrison
published the first scientific paper on this subject, suggesting that the radio astronomer's
tools could be used, perhaps, to search for cosmic company. And independently, Frank Drake,
in 1960, used the Tattle Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, to make the first radio
search of two nearby stars, listening for someone else's technology. And in those years,
the exploratory science that we called SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence,
was born. So at the dawn of the current 21st century,
SETI harnessed the power of newly affordable optical sensors that can count photons as
they arrive at the telescope, can count them rapidly enough to figure out how many photons
arrive every single nanosecond. And this has enabled new searches for technological
civilizations that might be transmitting bright laser pulses.
So the toolbox of SETI researchers continues to expand, and will expand further in the
future, incorporating technologies that we don't yet even comprehend.
We reserve the right to get smarter. So today -- and, actually, tomorrow, but I
can't tell you today -- scientists are eagerly anticipating the discovery of Earth 2.0, a
planet the size and mass of the Earth, at the Earth's distance, circling a sun-like
star, a potentially habitable world. But for me, Earth 2.0 would be a world that was inhabited
by technologists. So our own technology is visible over interstellar distances, and their
technology might be as well. Some grand communications network, some shield against asteroid impacts
or something totally unthinkable might produce signals at optical and radio wavelengths which
we could detect with a determined search. And what, in fact, will determine the success
or failure in SETI is the average distance between technological civilizations. Now,
that's distance in space and distance across time.
So unless two technological civilizations are close enough in space and are coeval,
they exist at the same time, SETI will never succeed. So longevity is the key to success.
Unless most technological civilizations in fact grow old, SETI will not succeed. So we
are a very young technology in a 10 billion year old galaxy, and we don't yet know whether
technologies can persist. So Philip Morrison expressed this idea very
powerfully. He said, "SETI is the archaeology of the future." And now I know perhaps he
stole that phrase from you, John. What we mean here is that the tyranny of light
speed means that any information contained in a signal that's detected will tell us about
their past. But the fact that we detect a signal and the longevity required for that
successful detection tells us that there's a possibility that we can have a long future
as a technology. So SETI has been searching for a bit more
than 50 years. And we've been trying to explore this cosmic ocean. But so far, if you take
the ocean's volume as an analog and you restrict yourself to electromagnetic signals, I calculate
that so far, we've looked at about one eight-ounce glass out of that water.
[ Laughter ] >>Jill Tarter: But that cosmic ocean beckons
us. The cosmic ocean is huge, the task is huge. But it excites us, because our tools
are getting fast exponentially. In Northern California, we've commissioned
the first phase of the Allen Telescope Array with 42 telescopes. It's the first time we've
built an array of a large number of dishes connected with computers. So that makes silicon
as important as aluminum and steel. And growth potential in the future lies both in building
out this telescope with more dishes for more sensitivity, perhaps to as many as 350 such
dishes, and also in leveraging Moore's Law to get more processing power to be able to
look for more kinds of signals. And many of you in this room have the resources and the
skills to help us with this. And I think that or I predict that you'd probably enjoy the
challenges. So I'd like to talk with you. All right. Today, radio and optical SETI searches
are looking for simple signal artifacts that have been compressed either in frequency or
in time, signals that we don't think nature can produce but we know technologies can.
So here, for instance, it's a waterfall plot. It's a two-dimensional plot, a frequency-time
domain. What's in there is the carrier signal from the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the most distant
human object. Have you seen it yet?
Well, even without the specific phase lock loops of NASA's big DSN receiving telescopes,
the extremely efficient algorithms that work on the Allen Telescope Array can find that
signal extremely quickly and easily. It's very detectable.
These are simple artifacts. Tomorrow, with increased computational capability, we can
permit searches from more complex patterns. And we're doing our searches in real time.
That's our challenge. Maybe you'd like to help.
Over the millennia, we've seen where tribalism leads. We've seen what happens when you divide
the world around us into smaller islands. But, ultimately, all of us belong to only
one tribe. We're all Earthlings. And as members of that tribe, we really owe it to ourselves
and each other to celebrate our commonalities rather than our perceived differences. And
from this perspective, the violence against women and neighbors that we discussed yesterday
and today just seems so much more absurd and unjustifiable and not something that we want
to keep within our world. So SETI is a mirror that can show us ourselves
from an extraordinary point of view, a mirror that can trivialize the differences among
us. And if SETI does nothing else but reveal this perspective to the world around us to
every human being, it will be among the most profound endeavors in all history.
So this perspective is a meme. So call it the cosmic meme, the Earthling meme. It's
an idea. It's an idea capable of spreading light in darkness. And the important thing
about a meme concept is that it can be spread. By encouraging the act of participation of
all Earthlings in this ultimate search for cosmic company, the meme can proliferate.
Today, we're uniquely positioned. All right, technology and social media can make this
happen. Spreading the cosmic meme can become a form of nonprofit collaboration. And in
Clinton's words, creative cooperation. And companies and individuals can build reputation
capital by spreading this meme. So it took a Cosmos to make a human. And it
will take all humans working together to solve the challenges that we face in the world around
us. A robust SETI program can in fact spread this
meme and foster the cooperation that's needed to deal with the many problems that do not
respect national boundaries. Ultimately, we are star dust, capable of studying
the stars. We are, all of us, what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and
helium evolves for so long that it begins to ask where it came from.
At the SETI Institute, we've seen just how powerful this cosmic meme can be in the classroom
and how physics and math and biology and chemistry are so enjoyable to students within the context
of this really compelling cosmic meme. And I hope that it will motivate them to innovate
the new technologies that drive the changes that are going to be needed to sustain the
world around us. SETI's kind of like a startup; right? The
odds are long, but if it's done right, it can change the world.
So in searching for others, we may finally come to know who we are and be able to secure
that long future for the world around us. I look forward to talking with some of you
about how to push this forward. Thank you. [ Applause. ]
>>John Battelle: Thank you so much, Dr. Tarter. If your mind hasn't already been blown, we're
going to keep working on that. I've got two people to bring up now. And I'll
tell you about them before I do so we can get right to it.
Lisa Randall is professor of physics at Harvard university. Her research connects theoretical
insights addressing puzzles in our current understanding of the properties of matter,
the universe, and space. I did take six hours trying to understand
what she gets in an instant, and I'm still working on that.
But she's also cocurated a Los Angeles art association exhibit and written a libretto
of an opera and is an author of as she puts it two and a half books.
Ron Garan is a NASA astronaut. No big deal. He's only traveled around 71 million miles
around the Earth in almost 3,000 orbits during almost 180 days in space. He spent over 27
hours outside of a spacecraft hanging above the Earth. He also participated in the last
space walk of the shuttle, and he spent six months at the International Space Station.
So join me in welcoming both these extraordinary individuals to the stage.
Ron, here. This is the best part. I was told I had 20 minutes to discuss what it feels
like to hang out in space and to understand theoretical physics. And then they just told
me we had 18 minutes. So we're going to do our best here, and I'm
going to start, Lisa, with you. There's been some news, a lot of news, actually,
in the last year, in the topics we've been discussing today. But in your field, some
of the most exciting news in a long time, which spurred you to write your half book
about the Higgs Boson. Can you tell us what the Higgs Boson is.
>>Lisa Randall: That's a great place to start, because it's probably the most challenging
thing to explain. >>John Battelle: I figured we'd get it right
up-front. >>Lisa Randall: So, basically, the large hadron
collider is this big accelerator. It's looking for new particles, it's looking to understand
what underlies our matter, what are the forces that connect it.
But one of the big questions is, how do elementary particles acquire their masses? That sounds
like a strange question. Mass seems like an intrinsic property of matter. But it turns
out that if particles had masses from the get-go, if there wasn't something called the
Higgs mechanism, that you would have crazy predictions, like probably (indiscernible)
is greater than one. I mean, it really wouldn't make sense. There is this mechanism having
to did with how particles get their masses. And we really believe that that's true. But
you want experimental confirmation. And furthermore, you want to know how it's
implemented. How is it that these particles are gaining mass? What is it that's around
there. It's a little bit like there's a charge spread throughout the universe that the particles
interact with that's everywhere. And you want to know where it came from. Finding the Higgs
Boson is a major step, because it tells us first of all, this mechanism is, indeed, correct.
It does make sense the way we thought it did. But It tells us also how to go forward in
the sense of what is beyond what we already knew. And there turn out to be puzzles about
this particular particle that lead to even more extraordinary possibilities.
>>John Battelle: How did you go about finding it? Like, what was the process? You have a
good, I think, analogy that sort of sets it up. But how do you -- there's so much noise
in the data that you get -- >>Lisa Randall: First of all, I should be
really clear that everyone who's been talking today actually works with machines and instruments.
I do theory. So I don't look for anything. I just tell people to go look.
>>John Battelle: But you are sort of the -- you're the describer of the signal that helps people
decide where to look. >>Lisa Randall: So we tell them how to look
and what to look for. And so one of the major challenges that really
is quite fascinating is that it's such -- these are rare events. You can ask, why don't we
know the answers to these questions? It's because it's hard. It's hard for two reasons.
One is that you have to get to higher energies to make stuff. But the other is, it happens
really rarely. >>John Battelle: When you say "higher energy,"
you mean the LHC could actually have enough energy to create just the right --
>>Lisa Randall: Thank you. >>John Battelle: -- explosion?
>>Lisa Randall: Yes. So when you collide together particles -- Basically, E equals MC squared.
So how much energy you have tells you how much --
>>John Battelle: I've heard of that one. >>Lisa Randall: -- tells you how much mass
you can make. It's as simple as that. So, basically, more energy, you can get higher
mass particles. But also, you want a lot of collisions, because it turns out most of the
time when these collisions happen, you get stuff we already know about. It's called the
standard (indiscernible) particle physics. It's the stuff that we're -- that we know
we're made of and also heavier partners of those things, like articles called quarks,
which are inside protons and neutrons and electrons. And that's stuff we know about.
But you want to find new stuff. And so to find new stuff, you have to say,
what are the extraordinary characteristics of whatever happens so that you can pull out
those literally one out of a billion events that can possibly be something new.
So that's the kind of the thing we're telling. What are the striking characteristics?
In fact, there's so much data that the large hadron collider is collecting that they can't
keep all of it. There's a billion events per second.
>>John Battelle: I sense a theme. It's sort of like the large hadron collider is sort
of like the SETI of inner space in a way. >>Lisa Randall: It's like the SETI if there
were a lot of signal. So in this case, there's -- they get a ton of data, which is to say
a billion events per second. So you have to actually narrow it down. You can't possibly
even store that much data. >>John Battelle: Not even Google.
>>Lisa Randall: Not even Google. But you can work on it.
But one thing that people actually get confused about about these particular experiments is
that you think about telescopes that point in space, and you have to know where you're
looking. In this case, you just record as much as you
can. You try to get anything that could look like something new. And then, afterwards,
you go back and analyze that data. And theorists can do that; experimenters can do it. But
you go back, and experiments will process it and then give it -- hand it along.
They're looking for various different types of theories. So, you know, people are surprised.
They're looking -- people say which are your theories you're looking for? They're looking
for all of them. And they don't even have to be consistent. Because there's one data
set. They're just collecting as much as they can.
>>John Battelle: Do you think they're throwing out data that might actually be useful, say,
five, ten years from now? If we only had it, we might go back and look at it and discover
something really important? >>Lisa Randall: So that actually is one of
the reasons that it is important to do theory, which is what I and my colleagues do. Because
we want to make sure that's not the case. And sometimes we do find out that they are
throwing away things that are potentially interesting. And then it's a question of managing
the probabilities, like, which are the things that are more important to keep. So, yes,
that possibility definitely exists, but we try to minimize it.
>>John Battelle: Do you think the discovery of the Higgs Boson and sort of the proof of
it, of the Higgs mechanism in the standard model is the biggest discovery in your lifetime
in your field? Or do you think more is coming? >>Lisa Randall: Oh, in my lifetime. That's
true. That includes the future, doesn't it? >>John Battelle: And if you paid attention
to the fellow earlier this morning, it's going to be a very long life.
>>Lisa Randall: Those are all good possibilities. So I definitely hope it's not the end. And
there are reasons to think it's not the end. Because in addition to the question of how
particles acquire their masses, just what is the mechanism underlying it, there's a
question of why those masses are what they are. Why aren't they many orders of magnitude
heavier? Which, it turns out, is what you'd expect according to quantum mechanics. And,
unbelievably, it's a really hard problem to solve.
And it turns out the answers to those questions seem -- so far, the only consistent answers
seem to involve very exotic possibilities, such as an extension of the symmetries of
space and time, the symmetry that says physics is the same in this direction and that, into
the quantum regime, or even as exotic as an extra dimension of space beyond the three
we're familiar with, left, right, back, forward, up, down. There could be some that explain
what masses are because of gravity changing in another dimension. These are extraordinary
possibilities. And they actually have experimental consequences at the large hadron collider.
The question -- I definitely believe there is more beyond. And it's very close in energy.
The question is whether the large hadron collider really will achieve the necessary energy to
get there. Because if it's a factor of two heavier, from the point of view of theory,
it still works fine as a solution. From the point of view of experiment, it's a difference
of seeing it or not seeing it. >>John Battelle: You're going to need a bigger
collider. >>Lisa Randall: So I definitely think that
-- I mean, it sounds funny, but, actually, the collider that we shut down was going to
be bigger, and it would have had about three times the energy, which is enormous. I mean,
that is a big difference. So, yes, they're all exploring the same energy
scale. But when we do the experiments, you are at the edge of what's possible. So doing
it halfway is useless unless there's stuff there.
And so you really want to get this high energy. It's not just a joke to say you want higher
energy. It really is true. >>John Battelle: I want to pivot to you, Ron.
And I swear we're going to bring this back together, I think, at the end. We've seen
a lot of pictures and video of space. You were there. A lot. And when you came back,
you came up with this phrase, which you and I have discussed and you talk about this orbital
perspective. You have a video of sort of -- sort of shows
that. But tell me what you mean by it, first. >>Ron Garan: Well, what I mean by it is we
could look down at our planet, we could realize that each and every one of us is riding through
the universe together on the spaceship that we call earth. We are all interconnected,
that we are all in this together, as Jill Tarter said, we are all family and it really
is a cognitive shift in just awareness of who we are and what we are and it is an incredible
transformational experience. I don't want to make it sound like it was
an epiphany. It wasn't an epiphany for me. It was an epiphany in slow motion over the
course of a half a year. I launched into space with the belief that we have all of the technology,
we have all of the resources to solve all of the problems that we face. And I spent
a good part -- you know, any spare time that I had, I had my face plastered to a window.
>>John Battelle: Like a kid staring out. >>Ron Garan: Usually with a camera in my hand,
looking at our beautiful earth and pondering that question. You know, if we do have all
of the technology, if we have all of the resources to solve all of the problems, why do we still
have them? What is the critical thing that's missing? And one of the -- one of the key
things that I think is missing is our ability to collaborate on a global scale. And if we
could show the first video, this -- before you show it one --
>>John Battelle: Roll that. >>Ron Garan: This is not CGI. This is real,
this will show you the global scale and as you watch this video, you see our beautiful
earth, our magical earth, I want you to see this so great contradiction between the beauty
of our planet and the unfortunate realities of life on our planet for many. That was one
of 16 sunrises we see a day. There goes Miami. And Cuba. Haiti it off to the left. You can
see the lights of Port-au-Prince there. That thin line, that's not the atmosphere. That's
something called (inaudible), the atmosphere is much, much thinner.
Here comes Europe. There's -- there's Italy, obviously. We're coming up there's Cyprus,
you can see Israel and Egypt, the Nile River Valley, coming into view the Red Sea. So this
is a time lapse photography, these are the auroras, what is really looks like now. This
is sped up a little bit, so the motion is a little bit more than what we get, but this
is really what it looks like. It's just absolutely breathtaking. But again, you know, you are
-- you are filled with this sobering contradiction. You can see the solar panels of the space
station tracking the sun, even though the sun is on the other side of the earth.
It is truly a magical, beautiful, planet that we have.
>>John Battelle: Now, it is gorgeous and I think -- since not all of us can spend six
months in space to get the point of view that you have now -- when you look at that video,
you are looking down at the earth. I'm curious, did you ever look the other way?
[ Laughter ] >>Ron Garan: I did.
>>John Battelle: And sort of wonder -- you know, Dr. Tarter here, so -- you know, do
you believe? >>Ron Garan: Do I believe in aliens?
[ Laughter ] >>Ron Garan: Well, I've never seen any aliens,
but that's because they're very, very small. [ Laughter ]
>>Ron Garan: Just kidding. >>John Battelle: When you are looking down,
do you have the Chris Farley moment when you are like "This is awesome!"
>>Ron Garan: Oh, yeah, every moment of every day. But the -- you know, you've brought up
a good point. You know, not everybody has had the opportunity to go into space and one
of the points that we're trying to make is you don't have to be in orbit to have the
orbit perspective. We saw that over the last couple of days. I mean, just awe-inspiring
visions of our planet, of where our planet is going, of what we can do as humans. We
are going to hear Peter Diamandis in a little bit about a possible path we can go down,
which will make life, you know, so much better than we have right now. To the point where
we're -- life on our planet approaches how visibly -- how visibly beautiful it is.
>>Lisa Randall: So actually I think one of the beauties of science is the fact that it
sort of gets outside of us. I mean, we have the world around us. I think we're focusing
on the around part when we think about what space is like. So we study the world, we study
us. But one of the beauties of science is that it is just intrinsic truths about the
universe. It doesn't necessarily involve us. I think that's great. And one of the great
things about the large Hadron Collider is it actually -- it's based at CERN, which originally
was just a European consortium. It's probably one of the most successful, if not the most
successful, international collaborations. >>John Battelle: Well, Ron was talking about
collaboration, it's more than a thousand physicists collaborating. That's the thing. But it's
also physicists from many different countries. It started off with 20 but it's increased.
And so it's all of those different countries working together because it's just a common
goal. It's not something that one country benefits from more than the other. And it
only really works because it was the European Union and now it's extended beyond that.
>>John Battelle: I'm curious, Ron, when you did your last space flight, you were working
with Russian cosmonauts and but it seems from the layperson's point of view that U.S. based
manned space flight, at least as a collective, not as a private, but as a collective government
funded effort, doesn't seem to have much of a future in it. But robotic based space flight
does. Do you think there's anything lost there? >>Ron Garan: Well, I think it's a misconception,
first of all. Actually, when we closed the hatch on Atlantis and Atlantis returned to
earth, I was getting messages from very, very concerned citizens wondering how our nation
could strand an astronaut in space with no obvious way to get home since the shuttle
was -- you know, since the space program was ended. So the space program has not ended.
We are going to continue human exploration, we are going to continue robotic exploration.
But what I think you are going to see -- we've had robotic exploration, we've had human exploration
-- we're going to see those coming together and we're going to see those combining. And
we've worked on that quite a bit on ways we can integrate robotics -- not just talking
robotic arms, but robotic explorers, scouting out seeing what's over the next hill type
of thing with human explorers. I think there's a great place for that.
>>Lisa Randall: There also are experiments out in space. So they are not even just looking
for other planets, but they are just looking -- well, for example looking for dark matter
or looking for particles in space that could tell you about dark matter, but could also
just tell you about other astrophysical objects, so there are missions to do that as well.
>>John Battelle: Great. There's one last very, very short video clip that, Ron, I want you
to set up. I think that starts with that sort of child-like face pressed up against the
space capsule. But then you see a bright line. Can we roll that real quick.
>>Ron Garan: Right. On the bottom of the international space station is the cupola. So I went to
the cupola once to shoot some still pictures that eventually got turned into the time lapse.
Here's the sun going down. This is the real shot of me in the cupola. And as I was taking
some practice shots, this picture popped up and in it was this long illuminated line snaking
across hundreds of miles. Initially, I just kind of wrote that off as a strange exposure
from moonlight on a river. I didn't know what it was. It turns out, this was not a natural
reflection at all. I was one of these astronauts that has always said you can't see any borders
from space. Apparently I was wrong because what this is is the manmade illuminated border
between India and Pakistan. Seeing that had, you know, just a tremendous impact on me.
For 50 years we've been going into space -- >>John Battelle: Like an angry scar across
the earth. >>Ron Garan: It's a sign of a lack of collaboration
is what it is. Part of the imagery that really indicated to me that that's the answer is
working together and collaborating. But, you know, it -- astronauts and cosmonauts have
always said how beautiful, how fragile, how peaceful our earth looks from space. These
are not cliches. It really is moving and transformative to have that perspective. Again, I can't say
this enough times, you don't have to be in orbit to have that perspective.
>>Lisa Randall: Also made the point that just --
>>> Told me (inaudible) grew up in a world where we are at war (inaudible) can you tell
us what it was like (inaudible) to go up in the Russian space (inaudible)?
>>Ron Garan: Yeah. That was surreal. Because I was born in the year that Yuri Gagarin became
the first human in space. 50 years later, almost to the day from this very same launch
pad, I'm strapping into a Russian rocket with two Russian military officers in a spacecraft
called Gagarin with an American flag on the side of it. Obviously, everything is in Russian.
>>John Battelle: Sounds like progress. >>Ron Garan: It is progress. On one of my
space walks, I'm looking down -- I was on the end of the space station's robotic arm,
way over the top of the space station, looking down at the international space station with
the earth behind it, obviously. But what really, really hit me in that moment was that this
is an accomplishment of humanity. This is 15 nations all working together, some of which
have not always been the best of friends. Setting aside their differences, working towards
a common goal, imagine what we can do if we apply that same concept here on earth.
>>John Battelle: Lisa, you were saying. >>Lisa Randall: I was saying I think also
one of the really nice things about science is looking beyond all of these questions and
I think Maria was partially making that point that we are all looking for answers to questions.
Right now we have access to many different questions about the substructure of matter
at scales of 10 to the minus 19th meters, we're looking at the universe out at 10 to
the 27th meters. So we are looking from that great big perspective and to a very small
perspective. And a lot of the missions in space, in fact, can connect those. For example,
understanding what is the universe made of, what is dark matter, what is dark energy,
all of this stuff that we don't even yet know about. So those are really interesting scientific
questions that with he have a hope of making progress on in the near future.
>>John Battelle: It's wonderful. I want you to answer very quickly the last question.
If time, politics, money, resources were not an issue, in each of your fields, what should
we be building? >>Ron Garan: Um ... what -- what I think -- main
focus, I think you can guess from my talk is to build a universal open source platform
for collaboration. And the reason why I think that's so important is because it will affect
everything else. And including economics. I really think that a true open source universal
platform for collaboration would be an economic engine. And some of the problems like corruption
and, you know, unhealthy competition, secretive dealings, all of that stuff, the people who
engage in that will see themselves being left behind and instead of hitting those type of
things head on, we make them obsolete. We make them obsolete because the people who
are engaged in that would have to take on a more cooperative mindset, more collaborative
mindset, more open mindset in order to keep up with that economic growth. It would affect
education, it would affect humanitarian development across the board. Scientific research all
across the board. If we have mechanisms to work together to avoid duplication of effort,
to get real economies of scale, et cetera. >>Lisa Randall: So I have already partially
given you an answer. In my field actually just having a higher energy, bigger accelerator,
that would make a huge difference. >>John Battelle: You want a bigger collider.
>>Lisa Randall: It would make a huge difference. Because it really is a difference between
knowing that we are going to get the answers to these questions and not being sure. But
since there's a little bit of time -- >>John Battelle: There's actually no time.
Negative time. But you understand that better than I do.
[ Laughter ] >>Lisa Randall: I'm going to say this anyway.
I think one thing that is also an interesting possibility that is just beginning to happen,
it's not even my field, but I think that it's very exciting is the possibility of gravity
wave detectors. And that's because everything that we've detected so far we detect with
life in some form. In some level we are looking at photons. I think the idea of really having
detectors that just look at gravity is a really exciting possibility because it goes beyond
things that are just like us, so I think if that happens that would be really exciting.
>>John Battelle: Well, please join me in thanking these two extraordinary individuals. Thank
you, Lisa. [ Applause ]
Ron, thank you. Next up an inspirational figure, certainly
for me and I think many of us who know him, Peter Diamandis, the chairman and CEO of the
X PRIZE Foundation which launches large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for
the benefit of humankind. His mission is to open the space frontier for humanity. His
personal motto is the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.
Peter. Welcome. [ Applause ]
>>Peter Diamandis: So Eric Schmidt opened up this Zeitgeist with a question: Is the
future getting better? And I'm someone who believes it's getting better at an extraordinary
rate. That in fact not only does the evidence show it, but literally everything that we're
doing is moving us in that direction. But people don't believe that. A lot of people
are cynical, a lot of people irrespective of the evidence don't believe that that's
happening. And I ask myself the question why? It hits me that to a large degree we're looking
at the future with the wetware and hardware that evolved on the plains of Africa hundreds
of thousands of years ago. And if you think about it, our bodies evolved to understand
and react with our environment. And back then, the world was best described as local and
linear. It was local and everything that affected you was within a day's walk. Something happened
on the other side of the planet, you knew nothing about it. It was linear, the life
of your great grandparents, your grandparents, you and your kids, nothing changed century
to century, generation to generation. But today the world is anything but that. Today
the world is global and exponential. Something happens in China or India, we know about it
seconds later. Literally, things are changing year to year.
And when you look at what that means, it means that this red line is our boards of directors,
it's our politicians, it's us. We are linear thinkers. We don't know how not to think in
a linear fashion. And we project the future as we did the past. But that yellow line,
that's technology. It's technology that we're building here in the room, that we're using
every day and it's growing at an extraordinary rate. And the difference between that is what
I call disruptive stress or if you are an optimist, disruptive opportunity.
So what does that mean? That means that you have literally companies that are mainstay
corporations of America. Kodak, 140,000 person organization, $28 billion market cap, that
invented the digital camera that put them out of business. But what happened? They said,
"We're Kodak, we only do beautiful high resolution images, this digital camera stuff, it's a
toy for kids." And they ignore it. This year, they are bankrupt.
But in that same year, this year, we have FaceBook acquiring Instagram, also in the
imagery business, for a billion dollars, this time with 13 employees. This juxtapositioning
is the difference between a linear company and an exponential one. We are moving into
a period of exponential growth for society. So I study this. I study this at a university
called Singularity University up in Silicon Valley, backed by our friends here at Google,
Autodesk and Nokia and Cisco, and many others, and we talk about the fact that literally
a couple of guys or gals, today have the ability to impact the lives of a billion people in
a positive way. We call it 10 to the 9th plus impact. That's an extraordinary time to be
alive. Absolutely extraordinary. You have the chance to impact a billion people.
So when I think about this movement from a linear thinking society to an exponential
one, it really comes into the tools we have. Exponential technologies, AI, robotics, synthetic
biology, digital medicine, nanomaterials, 3D manufacturing. Then what I call exponential
organizational tools. The ability for you to, you know, gamify, to crowdsource, open
source, hardware, software, to use machine learning competitions, incentive competitions.
For me, those are the things that I study. On the X PRIZE front, I study where can we
create large incentive competitions that will go out there to the cognitive surplus, the
most brilliant people in the world, no matter where they are, and say, "I don't care where
you are from, where you went to school, if you solve this problem, you win."
And we all win in the process. So hopefully you know we ran something called the Ansari
X PRIZE, put up $10 million for the first team to build a private spaceship and fly
twice into space. 26 teams from seven countries spent $100 million. Now you can go all go
and fly on a Virgin Galatic flight which commercialized that technology. When the oil spill occurred
back in 2010, we looked at what can we do there. Because if we can clean up the oil
spill on the ocean's surface before it hits the land, we said we can prevent environmental
disaster. So we looked at the problem. We realized that the technology for cleaning
up the Exxon Valdez in 2010 up in Alaska and the technology used to clean up the BP spill
was the same. There had been no change in 20 years.
So we went out to other benefactors, Wendy Schmidt stood up and said I will fund it.
She put about $3.5 million, 2 million to operate the competition, a million and a half purse
money. We challenged teams around the world, reinvent cleaning up oil spills.
In the year's time, we had 350 teams -- I had no idea there was 350 people interested
in the subject -- from around the planet who entered the competition. We narrowed it down
to a top 10 that went head-to-head in the world's largest oil spill cleanup facility,
which is located in New Jersey. And those teams, the top 10 teams, none of which was
larger than 100 people in size in terms of a company, seven of those top 10 teams doubled
what had been the oil spill cleanup rate for a multi-hundred-billion dollar industry and
they did it in a year. The winning team that thought it was impossible to double it, increased
it a factor of six. And here's the most interesting thing for me, one of the teams that doubled
the oil spill cleanup rate was a team that came together and met in a Las Vegas tattoo
parlor. [ Laughter ]
>>Peter Diamandis: The tattoo artist was a designer, one of his customers put up the
money. Let me show you that video.
>>> My full-time job back home is -- is running a tattoo studio in Las Vegas.
>>> We get asked all the time, how long have you been in the oil industry? Well, counting
today? [ Laughter ]
>>Peter Diamandis: So you never know where is that genius, because sometimes experts
of those people can tell you exactly how it can't be done. Truly the naive, orthogonal
thinking that comes in with a brand new idea and blows away the way it always has been.
So where are we going? We've got the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and success, this is
challenging teams around the world to build a device, a robot, land on the surface of
the moon, take from YouTube videos and photos, send them back, rove half a kilometer and
send back more photos and videos. We have 25 teams around the world doing and working
on only what only the U.S. and Soviets have ever done before. We have just launched the
$10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE. A hand held mobile device that can diagnose
you better than a team of board certified doctors that a mom can use at 2:00 a.m. in
the morning. Announced this as CES in January. Already we have 230 teams around the world
competing for this. Thank you. [ Applause ]
>>Peter Diamandis: So those are launch prizes. We're working right now on something called
Organogenesis X PRIZE to go from a skin skill to a pluripotent stem cell and regrow your
heart, liver, lung or kidney. For me, having two 16-month-old boys at home,
how about reinventing education? So we are working on a Global Literacy X PRIZE. Give
a team 200 illiterate kids, perhaps age six to nine, what team can bring them to literacy
the fastest? With a scalable technology.
So I wrote a book called Abundance, The Future is Better Than You Think. We did really well
with my parter Steven Kotler, and I go around and talk to audiences and say, you know, we
are heading towards a world of abundance. These technologies that I've spoke about are
empowering us to get there. People go really?!! Diamandis, haven't you
been watching the crisis in Europe and the terrorist activities, all of these things?!!
I go, My God! We're living in a world today where most of the news media is a drug pusher
and negative news is their drug. On every Android device you have, every television,
every newspaper, every radio, you are getting literally negative news over and over and
over again. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No wonder people are pessimistic.
There's a reason for this. Because there's an ancient part of the temporal lobe called
the amygdal that pays far more attention to all of the negative news than positive news.
The old adage if it bleeds it leads is played up over and over again. But it turns out that
technology is a resource liberating force. It's a chance to change our world. So in Abundance,
I talk about the story of this man, Napoleon, III who invites guy, the King of Siam over
for dinner in 1840 to the Palace of Versailles. And to show his amazing capabilities, Napoleon
feeds all of his troops with silver utensils. Napoleon himself eats with gold utensils,
but the King of Siam, the royal guest, he's fed with aluminum utensils. Because in 1840,
aluminum was the scarcest metal on the planet. Even though the earth is made 8.3% aluminum
by weight, you can't actually go and dig it out of the ground. It's all bound by oxidates
and silicates to literally create bauxite. And it was so energetically difficult to extract
the aluminum from the bauxite, it was worth more than platinum and gold. Which by the
way is the reason the tip of the Washington monument is capped with aluminum. Built in
that same decade. They the technology of electrolyzes came along
and made it so easy remove aluminum from bauxite, we literally use it for aluminum foil, aluminum
cans, aluminum airplanes, everywhere. If you think about the analogy of technology taking
that which was scarce and making it abundant, I think about it in these ways: We live on
a world -- talk about energy scarcity -- we live on a world that is bathed in 5,000 times
more energy than we consume as a species in a year. It's about making that energy available.
And by the way, the cost of solar has dropped 50% last year, 50% the year before. We are
increasing our production rates globally by 30%. And if we have abundant energy, a squanderable
amount of abundant energy, then water is not an issue.
We talk about water scarcity and water wars. We live on a water planet, the pale blue dot.
Two-thirds of our surface is water. 97% is saltwater. Two percent the polar caps and
we fight about half a percent. The same way we extract aluminum from Bauxite so shall
we the water from our oceans. There is amazing work being done by Dean Kamen and Muhtar Kent,
the chairman of Coca-Cola, is committed to taking that technology globally. It will give
us a world of abundant water. This Masai warrior on a cell phone has better
mobile com than President Clinton did when he was in office.
And if he's on literally -- on Google, on Android phone, he has access to more access
and information than President Bush did. On something that they're microfinancing with
a set of applications that literally give them extraordinary video teleconferencing,
video cameras for no cost. We talked about these mobile devices also
opening up a world of health and a world of communication as AI comes on and provides
the poorest of child an education that is better than you can buy today.
So I'll end with this slide. It's a notion of where we're going. One of the most important
impacts that people are not speaking about today. This is global population. We just
crossed the seven billion mark. These green lines here are Internet penetration.
In 2010 we had 2 billion people connected online and by went to that number is growing
to 5 billion people. Three billion people who have never been heard
from before are plugging into the global economy. These are three billion new minds who will
create, discover, produce, help solve our world's problems. They represent tens of trillions
of dollars being plugged into our global economy. They represent your next generation of customers
or your customer's next generation of customers. They also represent for me literally the beginning
of the greatest period of innovation this planet has ever seen.
Thank you. [ Applause ]
>>John Battelle: Thank you. It's good to go to lunch on an up note, but it will be a short
lunch. We need to get back on schedule, so we ask that you be back here at 2:30 sharp.
I know that's a very short amount of time, but there will be box lunches.
Please come back for the final session as it will feature Google CEO Larry Page. 2:30.
See you then. [ Lunch ]