Mike van Alstine

In this episode of the Judgment Call Mike and I talk about:

  • Why entrepreneurship is a major driver in this world to alleviate poverty, increase freedom and increase wealth
  • Why entrepreneurship of the last 30 years has been different and what role large Internet platforms play in this.
  • What opportunities are there for entrepreneurs in the in life sciences and healthcare field?
  • Why the Opentronix platform might be a game changer?
  • How to get a large enough dataset for AI analysis in life sciences?
  • Should patients be able to sell their own medical data?
  • Is single cell DNA analysis a big step forward?
  • What role will ‘injectable machines’ play in the next 10 years?
  • Will we all stay ’28 year olds’ forever?
  • How is aging and income related to the number of children we have?
  • Is innovation related to studying art?
  • Will learning and social media be done with the help of an AI that helps us interact with the Internet AIs.
  • Are we repeating the issues with cancer with COVID testing?

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Mike graduated from the University of Toledo with a BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, with a focus on Physics. Serial entrepreneur, with a focus on process improvements via technology automation and user experience design. Additionally, spent three years in leadership development, fundraising, and membership recruitment for the National Exchange Club, which was made up of ~800 clubs and ~30,000 members. Spent three years as director of technology for Pukka Headwear, completely re-writing and automating a large portion of their design, sales, and order system with a focus on the web. Spent seven years focused on processes and automation at MD Anderson, ultimately building a system that managed over 3,000 clinical trials and secures over half a million patient records. Currently serving as VP of Customer Success and Innovation at Project Ronin, a start-up with a mission of utilizing AI and Data Science to remove uncertainty from cancer patients’ care and improve their outcomes. Current entrepreneurial endeavors include co-founder of a laser cutting business, a CBD company, and Pro Research Management, which is focusing on delivering clinical trials to underrepresented communities by partnering with local care givers.  

You can reach Mike on LinkedIn.

You can find the episode’s transcript here.


Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Judgment Call, podcasts where I talk to risk takers, adventurers, travelers, entrepreneurs, and simply mind partners. My name is Thorsten Jacoby and I’m your host. In this episode of the Judgment Call podcast, Mike and I talk about why entrepreneurship is a major driver in this world to alleviate poverty, increase freedom, and increase wealth. Why is entrepreneurship of the last 30 years different than the one before and what will large internet platforms play in this? Also, we talk about what opportunities are therefore entrepreneurs currently in the life sciences and healthcare field. We’re also going to talk about why open tronics might be a real game changer in the field. Also, we talk about how large, how difficult is it to get large enough data sets for AI in the life sciences? And should patients be able to sell their own medical data? Additionally, Mike has news on what single cell DNA analysis will do and how injectable machines will change the field of life sciences in the next 10 years. Also, Mike introduces a study idea of staying 28 year old forever. And here’s a lot of thoughts on how aging and the changes of income change the way we have children and when we have children and how many we have. Also, we’re going to talk about is innovation related to art and will learning and social media be done with the help of an AI that helps us interact with other internet AIs? Also, we talk about are we repeating the issues we had with cancer testing with the current COVID testing? This episode of Judgement Call is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium. Full disclosure, this is my business. Mighty Travels Premium finds the travel deals that you really want and it finds them as they happen. Between 450,000 airflares every day to give you the best deals in economy, premium economy, business, and first class. We also make recommendations for four and five star hotels all over the planet when they are much cheaper than they usually are. Thousands of subscribers have saved more than 95% on the airfare tickets and have flown the business class, life led, transcontinental using our deals. In case you didn’t know, Americans, Europeans, and many other nationalities can now travel to more than 80 destinations again. Give it a shot and try out Mighty Travels Premium for free for 30 days today. You can sign up at mightytravels.com slash mtp of everyone who’s troubled with all these characters. Go to mtp4u that’s just five characters mtp4u.com and sign up for your 30 day free trial. Really excited today to have Mike van Alsten on the Judgement Call podcast. Mike is an innovator, entrepreneur, futurist, and he really is an entrepreneur at heart. He has worked in various ventures in the life sciences field and I have a ton of questions for him so I’m really excited to get started with this. Hey Mike, how are you? Good, how are you doing today? I’m very good. I’m here in Mexico so you might hear a couple of weird sounds in the background, some party music. Well, that sounds like a good day. Yeah, I’ll reserve a pina colada for you. Nice. I’ll try. I’ll try. So, you know, I ask many people when, before they come on the show, but also like in real life, I even talk to people in real life sometimes, I know that sounds weird. And I ask a lot of people, what is an experience that changed their world view kind of in an instant? Something that transformed you from a world view that you had and you’ve been holding dear for quite some time and then it changed quite quickly and you told me something really interesting when we spoke earlier. Well, what happened to you? Yeah, so, you know, early on in my career in the really the second company that I started, I was running software that really helped in manufacturing and automation. It said classic, go in, write software, optimize efficiencies and then unfortunately that tends to turn into people being either laid off or let go. And I had an opportunity to work with the Ottawa County Board of Mental Health and Retardation inside of Ohio. It was actually quite the opposite experience. They wanted to save jobs by automation, because the company that they were doing return services for had grown to such a scale that they no longer wanted to process the manual paperwork that came with the returns of their audio book product. And you know, through the through the course of that exercise, you grow close with the people that you’re working with. But one of the things that I hadn’t really understood was that sometimes the mentally different have exceptional strength. And so there was really this no physical contact kind of rule just because of personal safety. And there was a gentleman there is his name was Tim. And it happened to be the last day that I was there. And they had a cake and kind of a little going away celebration since I wouldn’t be around anymore. And I was getting ready to walk out. I’m not a small guy. I’ve always been 250, 260, about six foot tall. And Tim tore me off the ground like a rag doll and just gave me a big hug. And he, you know, after that, sent me down. I was like, Well, Tim, what’s going on? He goes, you know, last night I went home, and I told my mom, I’m smart now because I can use a computer. And you made that happen. You know, he said it in his own way in his own words, but effectively, that’s a paraphrasing of what he said. And, you know, after that day, I just couldn’t go back to doing that heart wrenching job where effectively you’re increasing efficiencies and eliminating people’s jobs and sold that company and went and worked in the nonprofit world for three years. So it was really a life altering experience. That is a major shift. And it’s, it’s something that really impacted the next couple of years, right? You worked in a different startup. You, you, you went from for profit to nonprofit. That, that’s a major shift. I mean, not a lot of people have that, that they can trace it back to one single moment where they feel like, whoa, that, that really changed my worldview. I find that an amazing story. Yeah. And in, it’s interesting how, how things, you know, ebb and flow and working for nonprofit, they really focused heavily on the prevention of child abuse. So just being in that space, it’s, it’s very heart wrenching to actually see many of the problems that really befall a large portion of America. And lots of that is just driven by poverty, which kind of has driven a large portion of the latter portion of my career. The side projects that I work on, on top of what I do in my, my day job. So, you know, how, how do we address these issues of poverty and really solve systemic poverty? If you look like Southern Chicago, you know, that you have people whose best career opportunity is to be a drug dealer. Yeah, we have to be able to change that if we’re going to ever really change the course of those communities and really help people out and up. Yeah, that is such a big topic. And it’s so important. The, there isn’t a lot of good answers. I was just debating that today because I’m here in Mexico and the place I’m in is kind of the big Amazon warehouse for legal drugs. So whenever you go outside the secure area, you get offered any drug on the planet for seemingly just a few pesos. And I always feel like this is, this is the best career you can have here is make money with drugs, maybe do some money laundering, and then hopefully get out before it kills you by the age of 40 and retire. And that seems really odd. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot, a lot of intractable problems that are, that are inside of this. But I think this whole legalization of drugs might change a couple of those effects, but it’s a much easier issue than, than solving, as you say, systemic or like intrinsic poverty in a lot of places. Do you have like a framework you’re working on in order to change that? Or do you have like a, I don’t know, the one, two, three, if you could change things, what you would, you would do? Well, I don’t know about a one, two, three, but definitely a handful of areas that I think we could focus on is, you know, for the most part, everybody now looks towards a company to be the provider of income and they’ve moved away from entrepreneurship. And especially in these areas, it’s going to be hard to attract major retailers or any major existing brands. But if you’re making minimum wage at McDonald’s or whatever fast food or convenience store that happens to be there, I think most people could start their own business in the service industry and make two to three times that amount of money and really help build the base of their communities. I think another area that, you know, and, you know, so entrepreneurship as a method to grow. And I struggle, I think there are things that governments could do differently. There’s always this counter. You’re preaching to the choir here. That’s kind of one of the main messages I want to get out. And I think this is what Nassim Talib has in one chapter. And I’m like, holy smokes, he finally got there. You know, he comes from the world of finance and he writes 10s, probably 10 books that are, you know, highly interesting. And I think some of the best books I’ve ever read, they take a little bit to dive into. And then there’s in his latest book about that he calls his book for fragility or anti fragility, which is fascinating, fascinating read one chapter is about entrepreneurship. And he says, this is basically the thing that we need in order to cure the world of most of their evils, because it is a voluntary, it be is driven by the individual who takes a risk and see because it in order to be a successful entrepreneur or to be any entrepreneur that goes through life and has something to eat, let’s put it this way, has any kind of income, you need to provide something that makes other people’s lives better. And that might be something, you know, extremely small that we don’t have to think about entrepreneurship in the ways of changing the world for everyone immediately, right now and make trillion dollars and then retire in two years. It is something that might be and you gave me that example of a laser cutter, or you had another example in a hospital, or I actually forgot the specifics, but it’s it’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot of good to be had from just offering something that will other people make other people’s lives instantly better. It could be service could be a product and there’s barely any downside to it and we we’ve forgotten that this was the strength of America and certainly that was in the in the beginning a British idea of Adam Smith’s idea that those are the seeds of improving everyone’s lives and for some reason we’ve been going down this path and seeing as you said earlier it’s a corporation or it’s the government or it’s it’s kind of something we can scam through the word is not a technical term it doesn’t have to be a scam doesn’t have to be a fraud but it’s a way where we basically file a piece of paper and get some money and can be on our own and there’s this big debate about UBI that I feel is also misguided, although it’s well intentioned, I feel it’s misguided the way it’s being talked about. I think we all agree that entrepreneurship has a lot of good to it and I think this spawns even the both political parties in the US that can’t agree on anything. The trouble is though how did we get from a situation where we had way more entrepreneurship seemingly at least in retrospective and where we are now where we have a few billion dollar companies trillion dollar companies that seem to gobble up everything and entrepreneurship even in Silicon Valley is at a relatively low level I feel it’s at the lowest level ever and you can’t institute entrepreneurship by fiat the government can provide incentives but these incentives are just they’re almost like cheating in my mind because in the end what you want is it’s an individual recognizing the opportunity and you can educate obviously that’s a big deal but how do we how do we get this this this revolution of entrepreneurship this this explosion how do we actually get it going so it’s it’s really improving the lives of the people who kind of have been forgotten. Yeah and I think in our initial conversation you actually brought up something that we both agree with fundamentally goes to this discussion is there are two types of entrepreneurship and one type has been promoted throughout the media which is the come up with insert generic cheesy app idea build it with four people in the garage get bought for a hundred million dollars by a Silicon Valley company and never work again but I don’t think that when either you or I see entrepreneurship that’s what we think of we think of that family who you know know built the Chinese restaurant that put their kids through college or you know I had a landlord at one point when I lived in Ohio he ran a bolt company and you know it was employed 30 40 people and they all made decent living wages and he made several hundred thousand dollars a year but he would never be you know quote unquote rich but it was a very meaningful business it served a need it filled a need he built it from scratch you know I think when we say entrepreneurs those are really the people that we’re thinking about oh absolutely absolutely and that’s that’s kind of I wonder if this is a generational thing I feel like a lot of young people they’re not that interested in this career they’re like no I’ll rather take some money or I’ll manipulate my parents and giving me money because seemingly they have a good amount of money you know there has been a good amount of wealth creation that happened up until like 20 30 years ago we talked in prior podcasts about the big stagnation which I think is becoming a bigger theme now a lot more people are recognizing it and the money was real until say the 90s and it’s still with the generation so a lot of young people feel like that sounds like too much work why don’t I just go on tiktok and try my best becoming a tiktok viral star and if not you know I’ll go back to my parents yeah and you know some of that it’s interesting because you know for some people that actually turns into a career that they can they can leverage for five six seven years and but I think the the tiktok success is the same as the company who built an app and just sold it off to another company and moved on they they missed that joy of creating that comes from it and I think part of it we just you used to see it celebrated in television or in media more I think it’s and even more so just than entrepreneurs if you really look at what gets celebrated in reality tv or tv shows in general now the same thing has happened with the auto worker the plumber the meat cutter you know these used to be well paying middle class jobs generally a small business or or you know a business that would employ three or four people or people made a respectable wage and they were members of their society but if you see tv now the plumbers made fun of the mechanic is you know often made out to be either you know some form of a toxic masculine person or just you know a complete moron who couldn’t get through college education and the people who are successful or all people who go to college well I don’t think that’s the route for most people or should be I think only 30 or 40 percent of the US population actually go to college so we really need to focus on something that works for the other 60 to 70 percent of people yeah I I’m totally with you I think we are two old men just lament lamenting about the horrible youngsters but but besides that we there’s something to it that that material changed and you we saw that trend when when coronavirus hit a lot of people took the money they got and a lot of it was unemployment benefits and they took it and went to Robinhood and said you know this is basically a casino where I feel I know some of the brands so have slightly better odds than if I go to Vegas they put it all into amazon on apple and hope for the best and that yeah the the motivation often was seemingly you know obviously everyone’s slightly different the motivation was seemingly I can’t afford a house anyways in most places you know think about the west coast cities I can’t if I make an incrementally better money like take that money and put it somewhere to use that really won’t change my life but if I hit it big then I could change it if I lose you know there’s a downside protection in most west coast cities this this the I would call it semi socialist benefits so if I’m really poor that’s okay too and if I’m really rich that’s great but in between it really sucks so why would I even try starting a business yeah now and I and it even not in entrepreneurship but inside I think companies in general there seems to be this chasm of jobs that keeps just getting wider where you can realistically probably make up to 40 or 50 thousand dollars a year non west coast I don’t know what that looks like in the california area but then there’s this gap where there really isn’t a whole lot of jobs between the the 50 000 to the 125 000 range and and to jump that chasm is very hard for many people yeah and it’s usually not entrepreneurship that’s kind of my suspicion I definitely know you sound like like old man but my suspicion is there’s a lot more to be gained by playing the politics games in big corporations by going to the right university and universities are another example you know they haven’t been a ton of new universities making it big this is usually all the old universities have been around a hundred years ago that are just even bigger now and they’ve been rolling in the high tuition and it’s hasn’t been the online universities no they’re coming up but they have trouble creating the same kind of success story so far yeah well and I think oh go ahead I’m just the the idea of the necessity entrepreneur that I think is the world the world’s road to to freedom and to richness you can see that in in Africa a lot in a lot of countries where the the the public institutions are so corrupt and have been so corrupt for such a long time that the the only things you can really control are in the sphere of a necessity entrepreneur that you can’t be really rich then you will become a target um you but you can have you kind of the state is so so far away from you that you basically have a lot of personal freedoms and a lot of economic freedoms and this is where we see it and this is where it’s really happening right now you saw that growth in in Africa that jumped five six seven percent and just that is just a registered economy there’s a huge market economy that nobody ever ever sees because it’s kind of hitting it’s all black market so I think it happens there and it definitely happens in Asia maybe we are just too rich for for creating necessity entrepreneurs yeah I I think it’s interesting I think one of the things even the people in America who who live in poverty who haven’t had the opportunity to travel or the people who don’t live in poverty but still haven’t traveled they miss out that even our poorest people tend to live significantly better than the vast majority of the world and so to your point maybe that’s part of it there’s a Ukrainian individual Alex who I met who was an immigrant who came here he’s 27 now he started a laser cutting wall art business that his store is completely on Etsy he found this really neat niche that is Amazon’s not touching him none of the major manufacturers are touching him he employs three or four guys and it’s about a million dollar a year business so you know he’s he’s managed to find this decent scale where he can eke out a great living but you know how long will that last how many people are capable of finding these niches how many people are willing to go after them you know I it’s it’s really exciting when you you find those people who have that passion to do it yeah my my friend actually he started I hope I can bring him on the podcast one day he started selling children’s clothing and he he he wasn’t actually into well he didn’t have kids on on his own and let’s put it mildly he wasn’t into that and the children’s clothing he didn’t know anything about it but he realized there’s an opportunity margins are high and he started a business selling drop shipping you can say but also via Amazon children’s clothing in Europe and that has taken off that is two people like easily a million dollars on revenue has healthy margins and it’s the best business he’s ever done he said but if Amazon says one day you know you’re late or you’re rating dropped too much then that’s it so you can be you run that risk that you can be switched off by the platform and what we talked about a little bit before is that if these these big platforms like eBay did they generated this boom in entrepreneurship and on a small scale everyone made like another hundred dollars and I think Uber is a little bit like that or was like that until last year the problem is that they can switch you off instantly and they kind of will that they comes when they don’t need you anymore like Uber doesn’t need drivers anymore obviously because there’s no demand anymore but that’s true for a lot of people on YouTube it creates an opportunity and you learn something maybe you can use it in a different way most likely you can but then you have those this moment when the platform switches you off for good reasons bad reasons who knows but often it’s because that particular model that the platform wanted isn’t really working out and or they can do it themselves better they don’t need independent creators or independent merchants on in the case of Amazon and I felt that’s that’s really kind of the feeling that a lot of a lot of young people have what you you when we talk about entrepreneurship it’s something that we can feel we feel like we can control this and we can run this for 50 years say we the plumber yeah but if you run on these platforms if you have two years that’s great it could be over in a month and they will never tell you what the reason was right they will just shut you off and say you can never create an account again and that creates a whole kind of anxiety and it doesn’t help promote entrepreneurship in my mind yeah it might give people that taste but also it gives you that that bitter taste especially when defeat is not because you ran a bad business or your products didn’t sell but some person arbitrarily decided that you weren’t you no longer were part of the in crowd or whatever metric they used to determine that you should no longer be able to operate on their platform you know that would be a very you know to your point scary moving from platform businesses over to something that’s more sustainable one of the areas that you’d asked about is how do you break into healthcare and right now healthcare is going through these amazing transitions you know right now everything is what’s called fee for service you know if you go have a broken arm and your broken arm gets set every little piece gets charged to you or your insurance whereas everybody is trying to move to this value based model where it’s more about the outcome that matters so if you treat 10 patients with diabetes you would get paid the same amount for all of those patients I think this it’s opening up lots of opportunities for businesses to try to find or businesses in this case hospitals and doctor’s offices to find ways to become more efficient one of the nice things about the medical world is effectively they still operate like they’re in the 1990s or maybe early 2000s so anybody who’s an entrepreneur who’s been around technology you can pretty much take something that you did last year and apply it to healthcare and be an innovator yeah which is nice yeah probably something that we did five years ago I was I was just this is very timely and I want to want to stay with that topic but this is very timely that was the the announcement today that DeepMind made a lot of progress about the unfolding of proteins and apparently that’s that’s a big deal has been a challenge for 50 years and they announced today that their AI has been very successful way more than any other computer algorithm before and I was like I was reading through through some of the deeper technical analysis and I felt like whoa this is this is I mean this sounds like something we should have done a couple years ago like shouldn’t that be state of the art for for any research project the AI use was relatively small the data set was relatively small the learning was only on only on about a hundred GPUs so it seemed like this isn’t such a big deal but apparently this is this was hailed at least today and this is in early December if you look on Twitter everyone says like okay AI is is finally is finally delivering what what it has been promised in life sciences yeah and I find it interesting uh we were having a discussion about this with some people at work today and you know there’s it is interesting on one hand you know I I don’t know that large AI platforms are really within the scale of an average startup entrepreneur but there are definitely smaller scale things but you know to your point on life science the vast majority of discovery is still a manual process literally we pay PhD students or PhDs called postdocs to set in labs and hand pipette and look at things under microscopes that could all relatively easily be done with basic AI algorithms that are out there for image recognition there’s you know a platform called open tronics which is to my knowledge the first open source lab processing equipment they basically do liquid handling so processing and pipetting of bloods and liquids and you know there’s lots of mixing of reagents and things that go into running these tests and it’s all performed by hand by the most part in all these academic centers because they don’t have half a million dollars for an expensive robot but open tronics is kind of paving the way and if you could pair that with their open source platform you could build image recognition to determine whether or not cell cultures are growing there are tons of really low hanging fruit where a scrappy entrepreneur or a group of two or three people could come together and really build a solution that could be you know vastly changing the trajectory of our research and also make out a very nice business that isn’t a platform and they could grow on that’s you know staying in the tech side of what you might be able to do in the entrepreneurship and the medical space but can you explain more what what open tronics does you were using a lot of keywords there that i i didn’t understand maybe my listeners do but but what’s the the what does it actually do i mean what kind of information does it store where does it come from and how are the labs involved into this can i just go to any lab and get that information or uh how does that how does it get into how does this value chain work i’m on yeah so um i guess first in tronics platform do it’s if i say pipetting does that translate i want to make sure i don’t know what that is yeah okay so so is it related to surfing no unfortunately that would be a lot more entertaining so a pipet is if you would think of a straw that basically has a button on one end and if you push a button it sucks liquid up the straw uh you’ll have a plate with normally 96 really small wells we’re talking like one or two drops of liquid per well and so somebody will take a blood sample and they’ll separate it into its various components and then they’ll suck up those components in this straw and then they’ll hand put a handful of drops in each one of those wells and each of the wells will have a different set of agents or things that they want to test in them and then they’ll manually put it on shake like these tables that will rock it so that awake it’s mixed well and then put it in a machine that will for many of the cases will do you know do it either via imaging or another analysis to determine what those results actually are but the labor intensive part of that is this hand pipetting of fluids around and the open tronics platform has a standard open api and it makes it really easy for anybody with some basic programming experience to set this up and run it in their lab and get rid of that manual step which you know that’s that’s very nice that seems like something that should have been done a long time ago I mean this isn’t isn’t that a prime robotics workload they all different sizes is that a size issue or like different this this the pipet is different in and for each material for each sample uh they’re no they’re fairly standardized I mean there are different volumes that you might do and there have been robots for 30 or 40 years that do this but for example on the research lab that I helped automate we were really lucky we had a really good government funding and the robot that would do this off the shelf sold by a company in tcan was a half a million dollar robot and so if you’re running a really tight research ship and your total funding for the year is $150,000 you’re not going to have that kind of money laying around to be able to buy a robot and plus you’re probably not going to be doing the volume as samples like our our robot would process anywhere in between 200 and 1,000 blood samples a day where you know most of these labs might be doing 10, 20, 30 samples a day and so it’s part of it’s a scale and part of it is a cost but most of research is happening by these hand pipetting and it’s the slow part but since the largest cost in it is tends to be salary discovery is done at the time that people can pipet so this robot could really be game changing for a lot of small small labs that are doing research yeah and do you are you required to send this sample somewhere else is it like a centralized system uh no yeah they’re they’re tabletop they’re about two and a half foot by two and a half foot by two and a half foot or I don’t know might as well go by a meter cubed if if you’d rather on metric but yeah they’re there’s small tabletop units it would be in each lab and so each scientist could have their own they’re like said they’re not terribly expensive or a couple labs could pool it and use it as a centralized resource but uh I think the part that’s really driving and it shows in you know art in the tech world from really 2000s on it’s all about interconnectivity so you could take a really affordable raspberry pie put a camera on it have it capture images of so one of the things that you do is you may put samples inside of a plate and you might want to see if say something grows and this is easily detectable by your eye you know that it may be in say a clear or a light yellow medium that’s growing this either cells or bacteria and the bacteria itself will be a drastically different color so that’s something that’s very easy to detect from AI but if you would put that system together now you can have it hand pipette but the next thing that they do is one of two things if you’re trying to grow something then in the ones that grow you’re going to want to pipette out those solutions and put into something else and grow more of it so you could see using like a raspberry pie with some open AI to detect that something’s there and instead of having a person manually inspect these 96 plates you could just set the plate in the machine hit a button it gets analyzed it picks the three that are most promising and then would pull out the sample and then do what it takes to grow that sample out further but right now all of that’s done by hand in most labs around the country that’s crazy that’s shocking to hear that to be honest and you always I always feel like the idea of bioinformatics the way that we we’ve enabled big data and mostly entertainment and the media world and in advertising if we take the same approach to the data that’s inside our bodies it’s inside what medicine already knows it should be much easier one thing that I feel like has been a barrier for a long time is that for AI the when I use tensorflow for instance or when I use acaris the the usage has gotten much easier what what what is the trouble now and millions of people can use it tensorflow is probably downloaded a hundred million times now and what the the trouble is you have to find a data set that is relevant has a relevant pattern inside and isn’t too big but then computing costs scales up too much but isn’t too small so you can’t find any new patterns and you find those in some markets like like advertising you find those like it’s basically user behavior you find those everywhere you just you just track DNS queries for instance and you have tons of data to run to run your AI on in in the medicine field it’s hard to get to the data right you you either are this patient privacy so you’re not allowed to loop into the record so you don’t exactly know what symptoms may be appeared given a certain sample you it’s hard to get to a large sample size say of a million a million different blood tests done for I don’t know I don’t have a good example maybe a little bit panels and then those you can compare against actual onset of for instance diabetes or heart attacks I don’t know where could download those data sets if they exist so some of them will exist in the government this and this is a spot where government can actually be useful there’s a website called clinical trials dot gov and effectively if you run a clinical research protocol at the conclusion of that trial a a portion of that data is supposed to be published up to this site so you can go find trials where they’ve published that data and a lot of these algorithms use some of that data for their their basic understanding okay most of the time it’s not at the fidelity that you need to do true AI yeah I mean what do you need this like the core data right you can’t you can’t parse research papers I mean you can run some text analysis on it doesn’t it’s not the same granularity you need like tons and tons of core data that isn’t isn’t the influence by anything on top of it like no human has ever seen it let’s put it this way or has made any sense of it that’s I think very AI is the strongest yeah well I think the the thing that gets interesting on clinical trials is you know where AI is really great at finding unintended patterns and large sums of data clinical trials operates on the opposite of the scale which is highly refined highly nuanced ideas so that way you can get the the end down to a small enough number that you can do it one of my my mentors Dr. Logathidas is one of his great sayings is anytime you bring up big data is there’s no drug on the market today that hadn’t shown efficacy with 50 patients so it’s kind of a different way of looking at things but you know we had I worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center and we had some of the largest patient populations out there but even my prostate cancer patient population was only 60,000 and that was representative of 25 years at the number one cancer center with the number one volume in the world finding a bigger data set probably isn’t going to happen anywhere and still it’s not really as scale that you true big data now you can get lots of really interesting stuff out of that and there are definitely people who have done for example page AI which you may or may not have heard of but they came from based out of MSK they’re doing pathology off of prostate cancer slides and they were able to train an algorithm I believe on 10,000 slides so you can you can get down to smaller numbers yeah for sure I mean that’s what where would they get samples from what they have to collect them would they go and like literally email doctors and say we want to include this into the study and they probably already are tagged where would you get those from otherwise yeah well and so that was since it was born out of a hospital there was still controversy around it they went to the head of pathology and effectively raised enough capital that they were able to buy access to the information yeah and you know it’s that’s probably the little known dirty secret about medical research is you know one of the reasons why it gets guarded so heavily if you look at epic epic is really against this idea of the sharing of patient data it’s because anybody who interacts with their app orchard pays on a per patient data level you know and so this you know there’s big money in having patient data and making it freely available would cut a lot of people out of the significant source of revenue yeah well I mean I being being someone who who who loves the free market and I love people and companies setting their own guidelines and you know defending and a real business I feel if we would be able and you know this might be utopian but if we would be able to get our hands and we can we can run people through a couple of different certifications if we could get our data our hands on data DNA data all kinds of symptoms all kinds of medical history that that happened over the course of a lifetime we could get really good at predicting not just the traits you get from 23andMe but we could get really good really quickly at what our DNA and the RNA and the protein say about the actual propensity to have a life changing life altering disease because the technology for this is there that the the only thing that’s missing is the data set and I know 23andMe is in that market they have access to your DNA and you you you provide it to them for research purposes if you want your results but they don’t have access to your medical history and the predictions they make from what I’ve seen for for my DNA they weren’t particular specific or interesting I think we can do much better oh for for sure and I think it’s interesting because there’s a couple a couple issues that come to mind there first on on data and it’s actually a company I’ve contemplated starting many times is fundamentally I believe patient data it belongs to the patient and they should have access to it in at the same fidelity and richness that their doctors do absolutely but this opens up a really interesting potential marketplace for patients if you have a rare disease many drug companies want access to that information and there are many many billion dollar examples where drug companies have paid billions of dollars a company needs to get access to this kind of data but if you would think about it in the context of a person let’s say that you are unfortunate you got diagnosed with cancer and you’re looking at especially in America you know a hundred two hundred thousand dollars in medical bills but you happen to have a variant of the cancer that medical or the oncology pharma is looking into researching I I’ve definitely seen them pay upwards of four or five thousand dollars a record for that information so with the right platform as a patient you may be able to sell your data and even if you use the apple model which I think less people are being friendly towards the the itunes store model of taking 30 but still let’s say it’s five thousand dollars if you’re an average patient thirty five hundred dollars goes a long way towards helping you make ends meet even if you have great insurance so I can’t believe that doesn’t exist yeah I think this is this you shouldn’t share that idea on the podcast it’s too good well I mean it sounds it sounds like something that should be it should be out there and the idea is near Eric Weinstein was saying that about the the opening up of of the US labor market the idea was that if we allow more people to come in I think that happened really in the 90s and the 2000s that would make America richer and I think that was properly true the trouble is that there’s a lot of people who will not benefit from this so that the people who benefit from this are very definitely other people who who suffer from that change and I think what he suggested is this this access to the American labor market which was exclusive to Americans and people who were legally here before that change was instituted that is worth something and say this is worth a thousand dollars per person five thousand dollars I don’t know what the value is and I think the same I see with the patient records this is something that intrinsically belongs to to a patient and he should be able to monetize that and that that is something we should we should build a market on and I think this is a much more useful market than like an artificial market like carbon offset I always feel like it’s very artificial and very political if we get get such a data access to work I think the incentives for sharing that data would come along and but obviously there are practical issues right I don’t have a lot of medical access myself of my own data I always request a copy but you get see let’s go back to the lipid panel I get like a pdf that’s barely scannable under like maybe sometimes there’s a handwritten notes on it and that’s all you get like you don’t get access to the core data and maybe you get access to an MRI or xray but then it’s like in a strange format and the resolution is pretty shitty and nobody can read it anyways but we don’t so there should be universal standard to share that data provided to patients maybe as a legal requirement because it’s it’s their data and then just get the hospital or whatever institution that did run the test should get a copy of that yeah I think one of the so this is where a strength and a hindrance that comes from being in America is I pose a question do you think you own your medical data and I would think so but you’re gonna tell me it I’m not I’m gonna tell you it depends what state you live in oh okay in some states you own your data and other states the hospitals own your data I didn’t know that well it’s is it like the frequent flyer miles so you you you get a balance but it’s it’s all the airlines property you can’t you can’t actually take it somewhere else because they’re correct yeah yeah and even yes and even in the states where you own the data you still can’t take it really anywhere so effectively it doesn’t matter but there is there is a difference in thinking because if you don’t even own it then it’s hard to it’s harder to get access to it but in states where at least you own your data you could see that you would theoretically be able to say hey I deserve a full copy of it please give it to me and that you know that should drive a lot of change it’s something like a crypto wallet because I feel like a lot of people they don’t have the data from like it goes down to the details of why do you save I don’t know at 100 gig MRI scan like people just don’t have the storage right and they will be like why wouldn’t I need that but if you have like a wallet like an like a crypto address where this is being sent to and it just stays there and it’s you know distributed I have to pay for storage and have to worry too much about it and everyone can access based on the access that you’re you’re providing and that could actually work but I feel like you can only make this happen if there’s dollar amounts behind it right nobody will really worry about it until they they realize oh I could sell that data down the line maybe yeah that or for people who are relatively healthy they don’t care as much but people who end up having something chronic like cancer or another you know lifelong life threatening disease they start to not everybody but some of those people start to care a lot more about that data because they’re going to be going and seeing many different specialists and effectively they just get tired of asking for copies of their data all the time yeah but that’s the exception yeah so you know well I would be what you said yeah I mean we talked about cancer research and you you’re an expert in this I was I was shocked a couple years ago when my mom passed away that that didn’t seem to be any research that didn’t seem to be any any path to to surviving that cancer even more than three or four months and apparently she had a late stage brain cancer and I think there’s a there’s a better word for this it’s a big growth of cancer that already happened in her brain so it’s something that is relatively late stage and there is obviously seemingly nothing to be done but I was you know maybe still that naive I was in that situation you go to a doctor and you go to someone who has a a lot of expensive equipment and they run a lot of tests and then they say okay maybe three months maybe less maybe a little more and you feel like what so you always feel like this should be at least a temporary solution that extends your life there could be a couple different trials you could run on maybe you just you just wanted to happen obviously you want this you want to connect your hope is something that you can can put some something tangible to it but that didn’t happen in my mother’s case and I was I was really shocked by that that definitely altered my worldview and I felt like oh my gosh there’s really nothing you can do and they say well not that we know of yeah and this is this is actually one of the things where it may be tangential but you know we often think of truth as truth but when you’re on that edge of science where you are actually discovering what truth is you learn that determining what is true can often be very hard in figuring out how to move forward or how to solve something that has never existed before and cancer you know we call cancer like it’s a singular disease and then we got a little better and we’re like well cancer it’s you know it’s you know unfortunately for your mom I don’t know if it was like a glioblastoma where it was cancer specific to the brain or if I think that’s what it was yeah yeah that’s the term they use yeah yeah and then which is I mean that’s tragic all the way around I had a really good friend in college she ended up marrying one of my best friends and she developed glioblastoma at the age of 26 and was dead before she turned 27 so it’s it’s one of the worst forms of cancer out there to get and you know everybody is working hard on it but it will take time thankfully there have been advances in other cancers but cancer of all diseases should be the disease that will really benefit from access to big data and you know we were talking about genetic information and RNA and various proteomic data and all of those kind of tell a story your DNA kind of is this is what you’re the risk you’re born with your RNA is kind of the the risk that you acquired by how you lived your life and your proteomic data or you know exosome data can be this is actually what’s getting communicated in your body you know one of the things and you know I didn’t go to school to do clinical research I went to school to be a software engineer and a physicist but you know I found fascinating you get a DNA report it’s really not quite what I thought of when you got a DNA report I thought it was like hey this is my DNA it’s really more like they took 10 or 20 thousand cells threw it in a blender you know made a daiquiri and then give you the averages of what those DNA values are so one of the new technologies they’re making now is single cell DNA where you actually get the DNA of individual cells and you could think of a network inside of a cancer where if you pulled 10,000 cells if DNA itself is around a 40 gigabyte file for RNA seek data could you imagine now you’re really looking at 10,000 cells so you’re 10,000 times that data and you have to do analysis on it like our computers just aren’t there but would it be very different though well I mean like say you say you have a bunch of different cells and I understand the DNA expresses itself well that’s RNA and that’s proteins but the DNA itself should be more or less the same between each different cell right no we no I mean when you get your your read out of your DNA it’s percentages that read in a specific format in a specific setup and normally it’s pretty high you know that you would expect that a gene across you know 10,000 or 20,000 cells they may express it as like 97% of the genes were expressed this way in the sample but that still means there’s 3% that weren’t okay so but if you have 10,000 if you have 10,000 so you have like I don’t know a skin cell and then you have some saliva and I don’t know a couple different cells would that improve would we get down to like more like 100 99.9 so where where you would get down to a single cell DNA is you would at least know what the DNA in each of those cells are yeah so if you would look at a biopsy normally when you take a biopsy of a cancer you’re not getting 100 cancer cell you’re getting some percentage cancer some percentage normal tissue sure and you’re you really don’t know you can a pathologist can look under a slide and say oh this is mostly cancer but now in the how DNA currently works if you then take that chunk of tissue and you throw it in the blender you don’t know which of those cells are truly cancer and which ones are normal but once you move to single cell DNA you would be able to see different populations so let’s say that like and we don’t know but let’s say that a lethal cancer is actually if you just took like prostate cancer what if it isn’t that your prostate cancer cells had this one mutation but it’s actually you need three different cell populations to set up all with one or two mutations in different orientations then an appropriate therapy might be blocking one or two of those combinations it is truly a big data problem and but we have to get the fidelity of the data to actually be able to look at that yeah yeah we definitely have to dig deeper there and I I feel like we have all the tools now coming from from software development and it’s if we solve the data acquisition part I was I was really amazed we talked about that as well is how Rick Kurzweil who’s one of his very famous book author a futurist who’s been writing about the future his whole life and is now in the 70s and he’s he’s predicting a major step up in how technology operates on he says nanotechnology on a level that is it could be inside our brain it could be inside our bloodstream so something that isn’t quite down on the molecular level yet but is just one one scale bigger than this and those are tiny robots that can fix cells that are not working the way they should be they could replace a bunch of organs and could just be little robots that kind of do the same thing that body functions currently operate in that it could replace our blood cells right blood cells or white blood cells but do you see that happening in the next 10 years because he was pretty specific this is going to happen in 2030 and then it’s going to go into this big singularity 10 15 years later yeah so not my my specific area that I do a lot of research on but it is fascinating we are getting machines that are on the scale that they’re injectable so the the potential exists for it and I mean I think the you know the specific nanotech has existed in sci sci fi at least for 60 years I think the interesting thing is is 10 years I don’t know if that’s true he’s been right about a lot of predictions so if he’s really confident on it I would go with it but what I say within our lifetime and you know you cited that we’re old men but I’m I’m only 40 so I hope you’re out for at least twice as long as I have that puts you to the old category if I if I ask my my kids the teenagers they feel like it won’t be on 30s like from the stone age so oh yeah yeah for sure we have to accept that we’re like dinosaurs now yep yeah and we don’t know anything so it’s okay yeah obviously obviously um but yeah I mean I I would say that within our lifetime we should expect to see those kind of technologies exist yeah I think it would make a big a big difference having just having the understanding you know I call this the imaging problem we we gotta figure out what actually goes on in our bodies and why and I think I this is huge respect that the general population has for doctors especially or for medical staff and they feel like they’ve got sand and they they they come down with the treatment and then you’re going to be fine I always feel 90% of the treatments you would have ended there anyways but what the body does in self healing maybe my percentage is off but I feel like the not just the placebo effect but there’s a lot of things that our body takes care of and we we there’s good technology and there’s good intentions but I feel like medical science is still a little bit like a like a witch doctor to me we don’t know if this pill will work on you we don’t know if we do the surgery however we’ll end up for you we have no idea where this cancer came from we don’t know anything but we’ll can cut the open and hope for the best and if you don’t want us to do it that’s fine too but then statistically your chances are that much lower that you will have serious side effects or will die from it I feel that’s if you’re a software engineer and you would you would you would be like this and you say work at Google you wouldn’t make it very long like with this low hit rate and and this much of a self healing concept that’s already doing it anyways you wouldn’t really be required I always feel like doctors have this high esteem in culture but given the error rate we should look at medicine quite definitely and yeah so a couple thoughts that come off that one I agree if you would go if you would go back to the 70s and you look at the error rates that existed in healthcare and airline industries they’re actually very similar back then and you know you heard about a fair amount of plane crashes back then too the difference being is the airline industry took the initiative to improve their quality and improve their standards and learn from all of the mistakes and now here hearing of an airplane accident is almost unheard of and but if you come to the medical world the same level of mistakes that were made in the 70s are the ones that were made now if not more so because it’s just becoming that much more complex to treat people yeah um the other part that I wanted to comment on there is you know when you think of medicine we often say cure when you take a pill but if you have to take a pill the rest of your life it’s not actually a cure it’s just preventing a side effect in effect right like if you have high blood pressure and you’re taking a blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life the side effect that you have for an unhealthy life high blood pressure and so the pill is just mitigating that side effect but it’s not actually curing the underlying problem yeah and I always struggle with this notion that nobody knows if it works for you like there is a general prediction and we’ve done this trial maybe and people with very different DNA that’s that’s usually not disclosed in the trials nobody knows so there might be ginormous differences between your personal DNA and what what the trial was about and the trial might have been 20 years ago and we always prescribe it and then we hope for the best and then you come back in like a month and if you still alive then we do another test this is you know it’s like if you sell TVs and you’re like you say oh we sell you this TV and it might work or not if it doesn’t work then just give it 30 days and just bring it back um and this wouldn’t just happen like once in a thousand that would happen like no 50 percent of them it doesn’t work and you’re like oh we should improve that error rate but I feel the approach that medicine has taken so far is is that of a witch doctor not that of a data scientist yeah well I mean you gotta be also be fair if you you would come back and you would say for example insulin and people who have diabetes there is no doubt that the vast majority of people who take insulin who are diabetic live significantly longer because insulin exists there is no doubt when it’s acute if you’re a surgeon and somebody’s appendix ruptured they would have died if you didn’t go in and fix the problem you know so especially when it comes to surgery when they repair something like for example cardiac bypasses that that person would have been dead they are alive so there are certain situations but you know there there is this certainty to your point that it isn’t there and especially the more rare and more acute a disease gets the less knowledge exists around it and that and that’s where it starts to become far closer to which doctoring than anything that resembles what we would consider medicine yeah well I guess like if we have a more data driven approach than the imaging would would improve rather quickly once that that does we have therapists can either that are individualized and they are specific to once express DNA or DNA or state of of that that particular tissue or that particular organ we can introduce those and then if we have the the tiny little machines this would this would give medicine a whole different success factor so success factor could go up to 90 and there’s a lot of aging research that seems to be coming a lot online now and people are very confident if you listen to them that we can not just stop aging we feel like or we can we can just freeze as someone but we can go back to any point of our lifetime more or less we can say oh we’re going to be like a 28 year old and then we can not just use external mechanisms but we can use the mechanisms that the body already has and keep you at that stage of a 28 year old healthy if you’re not you know a crazy person smoking and drinking but this this doesn’t seem like science fiction anymore that seems like are we going to have that in the next 10 years from the people I listen to yeah it’ll be interesting you know people do generally a poor job on estimating time frames but at least from the fundamentals so I worked with a gentleman who I believe when he did the research was at Harvard it was just coincidental that he happened to do the research I’ve also been very interested in the anti aging or reverse aging but in a mouse model was able to genetically engineer a mouse that when given an appropriate chemical they could just basically reverse to your point the growth of a mouse back there was a finite stopping kind of stopped for if you would translate it to human years to somewhere between being in between 25 and 30 but you know that that’s not if you would have asked somebody in the 90s if that was possible it would have been science fiction and it’s it’s working in labs now so the fundamental research is being done and it will eventually be a reality the the timing I don’t know about but the reality will come which is kind of fascinating well if that happens this is this is a massive opportunity it’s like the internet right if not bigger it it changes everything it’s it’s you know I I did my my my growing years I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was in seventh grade or sixth grade um I I had my first venture during the internet years and for people it’s hard to understand now what kind of um because we have it every day and we use it and it’s cheap it’s almost free but the idea that you can access knowledge in any way you want instantly was like never heard of life changing experience in the early 90s although some research scientists had us for 20 years and I feel the same would be true with not just the same it would be such a big revolution if you say oh why don’t we just inject you with this dosage and um then you’re never going to age again I wonder this this is going to I mean just not just society changing this is going to be the end of society as we know I think yeah uh you know we we definitely still have an issue with overpopulation and people still are dying so uh that’s only going to get significantly worse if people basically live forever um Audrey DeGray who’s one of one of the in my mind the leading scientists in that area estimates just by statistical probability of randomness if you weren’t going to die from biological causes you’d probably be in some accident it would kill you every 3,500 years so okay I’ll take that I’ll take that so so would I but still if you would think about that becoming the new age span like what does that it almost mandates that we would have to have space travel exploration because there’s you know all of our advancement has happened in the past 500 years and we that that advancement has already made it so that it’s not sustainable for us to be how we are now yeah I mean there’s one thing that I always feel is important is people expire I mean they die is for a reason because they weren’t useful from for evolution and evolution it can be we can replace evolution by just becoming smarter so it’s it’s hard to find 40 year olds who are still having the mindset of a teenager they generally some do but generally they’ve learned a lot of life lessons and core I mean just time they had to look at their screen and be influenced by real knowledge or real facts or at least some facts is put it this way that kind of replaces evolution because our mind is being altered and changed and improved over the course of a lifetime and those minds have gotten a lot of upgrades it’s at least from technology in the last 30 40 50 years so that kind of seems to we are logically at that point where I feel the extension of our lifespan is something that kind of necessarily has to happen and that will also reduce the birth rate right the birth rates everywhere people have have choices and they know they’re going to live long they instantly have less kids it happens like instantly is once you have birth control and you reach a certain level of of income the birth rates just just drop out of the sky they just all go to minus two to a negative rate which where we are at now so we wouldn’t acquire this technology I think they would be end of humanity relatively so now at least you know as we as we know it I think that’s you know a really fascinating point about you know birth rates because it’s not so much that we’re going to live longer but it really comes down to a matter of the quality of life that we live so if you really look birth rates tend to fall as quality of life goes up yeah maybe another plug for entrepreneurism and it’s saving the world but effectively if you can have a higher quality of life which tends to mean you also have lower infant mortality and you have other creature comforts then you feel you have to have less children to be able to be successful well one thing that occurred to me is also you feel like and we’re hitting this now with this big stagnation when you have children you want them to have a good future you think there is going to be a space for your children in the future so and obviously as more children you think will die or people around you will die from diseases or from unnatural events you feel like oh your children will have a pretty bright future because they’re going to be around when nobody else is around so I think there’s a feeling that parents have about this and what I think happens once you acquire a certain amount of wealth and we’ve only we’ve seen in the last 50 years is the first time ever that these birth rates drop so much is because parents somehow instinctively feel there isn’t going to be a space for their children anymore and we see this a bit now with the boomers as having accumulated that wealth with 70s and 80s 60s but since then not a lot of wealth has been accumulated and it goes along strikingly with another drop in birth rate like Japan had a crazy low birth rate and their GDP growth just didn’t happen and you could say oh it isn’t because they don’t have people but it also per capita it doesn’t grow anymore yeah which which is really odd right it seems it seems people have an idea about the future instinctively that they know how many children they should have because maybe there’s really nothing to do for their children as sad as this sounds because there’s other people around and these old people are much more efficient so we don’t it takes much longer to mature to that state become useful to society yeah yeah I mean I I think there’s also you know that correlation that goes along with education and you know that it tends to be I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book The Bell Curve controversial for many many reasons but one of the ones that I don’t think was very controversial was that I think I think I heard isn’t that the one that that’s like Q test between the races yeah yeah yeah which is ironic it was like the smallest segment of the book but it’s the only one that most people cite um because it was the one that was controversial but the one that didn’t end up being so controversial was number of children had by people grouped by IQ and as IQ went up the number of children drastically went down so I I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Idiocracy but effectively that book was the basis for part of that movie yeah but since what the average IQ seems still to be rising I think that was the theme of that book as well right so the the the IQ tests have to be adjusted every year so the average goes to this artificial 100 and this has been going on I don’t know since these tests were introduced and it’s it’s a really strange phenomena yeah yeah well yeah because it’s a it’s a distribution right it’s not a it’s not like if you have an IQ of 100 it’s you’re some magic fixed in stone it’s compared to everybody who took the tests you fall about here and 100 being average but the questions have to get harder but like one or two percent every year so to speak yeah so you’re saying because we have better education or it’s because the IQ is rising in the population that part I didn’t understand yeah and I would have you know I’m not an expert in any means by those tests but it depends what aspects of it but some of it when it comes to knowledge I think you know undoubtedly I recently joined a school board for a charter school and I was amazed what kindergarten’s kindergarteners doing kindergarten now because like I seem to remember trying to color within the lines and they’re explaining how to do addition subtraction multiplication and division yeah I’m like you know so as we learn how to educate better I could definitely see that being a true statement and we we are just making smarter people yeah well do the common sense has gone away okay I don’t know if we can fix that but it seems to be an entrepreneurial skill because you you’ve got to be able to to take something concrete make it more abstract and then extrapolate it into the future and make it concrete again say you you you see all these phones and I had a Linux phone in 2005 and I thought is awesome and had like a little pen and touchscreen display and at the time that was that was totally novel I felt like oh this is really cool and then Apple came out with the iPhone in 2007 I think it was was the year and you feel like this everyone could have come up with this if they only spent enough time with it and had the resources but it still takes a lot of it was it was hard to put these things all together to make it like apps and all of these these paradigms that we now know they were completely unknown at the time and you had to make it user friendly and get the wife right to work at the same time when you have a cell phone connection which was a big deal at the time and these all these things I feel you need to have knowledge from different sources so it’s it’s a good idea to be a polymath it’s good idea to have a good idea of common sense because then you can extrapolate what people might like in the future and you can answer why they might like it and going back to the younger generation I feel this is a big challenge for them they they’re very specialized and they you see this with people under 18 they’re very verbal they have very good way to express themselves they’re almost like all ready for TV and you’re like oh my gosh you they should all be an American idol but you ask them to want to know fix the fridge or adjust the fridge to a lower setting and they will be like uh I don’t know I’ve never heard of that like they can’t figure it out they can’t find a way to to get the setting so there’s this common sense of using something to learn something else and applying it to a new area in a in a useful matter relatively quickly that seems to be gone away from it’s not a skill that people need anymore so they don’t develop it yeah it seems interesting and I don’t remember the title of the book that I read uh just finished reading but it was on innovation and it was an interesting discussion around effectively everything that we have is either bent blended or broken from other abstract pieces of different technologies but to your point on that the the one thing that I thought was interesting was they dedicated a whole chapter to art and the vast majority of the book was learning as an example through art and then how that got applied into technology and business and I think as we tried to compete on a global scale we focused on the ability to do arithmetic and the the uh STEM classes but really it’s one thing to be able to draw the perfect line or calculate an equation or do any of those things it’s a whole other thing to be able to assemble something from nothing and come up with new creative ideas and at least in this book their argument is most people learn that skill through exposure to art and that one of the deficits that we’re facing now is that we’ve really removed art from a large portion of you know people’s education that’s an interesting take another thought about that but that’s that’s absolutely true art is it’s kind of the idea you know the the artists I’ve I’ve seen in my life they always ask for inspiration and then I feel like oh you just copy this and decide no that’s inspiration it’s I use different things that I’ve seen somewhere else but I remix them and create something new out of it which might be a random combination but it makes sense in my mind that is a picture a mental picture of what I have and and true that’s that’s not a skill that’s that’s being being held up at all yeah and that the the part of why art makes that an okay vessel to learn innovation is unlike other spaces art is an okay place to fail yeah right like you know if you you make a bad drawing you know it’s not like the end of the world but if you were building a bridge and it collapses you know that’s that’s not a place where you’re gonna be rewarding and unless you’re in California then that’s okay yeah don’t worry about it but I think that you know to your point on entrepreneurs part of why we have that common sense is at the end of the day maybe more so than anyone else we tend to own the beginning the middle and the end of the entire process and if our idea is bad we see it’s bad because we can’t sell it we can’t make it work we can’t figure it out and so we have to go back and iterate on that idea or that product until we really find out what somebody wants if you can’t do that then you’re you’re not going to make it as an entrepreneur yeah it’s true it’s true I remember I’ve had this company about 15 years ago and we had two maybe three parts of the office one was sales people marketing and the customer service so they they all kind of they could talk to each other and they had a common language and they had even had some tech knowledge at the time then we had another department obviously there was technology development they had their own language they were very happy with each other but they would never cross to the other side it was like the rubicon so they would would never go on the wrong side of the office they would didn’t want to mail with the sales people and then we had a third part and those were the artists that mostly did website design and worked on graphics and they also had their own language and they they could talk to some extent to the developers on a very superficial level and he could also do this with the sales people so they were the only ones who could bridge between those two worlds which was software development which was hardcore technology and for sales which was very unstructured it was the voice of the customer they were in between and they were able to to bridge this sometimes they could go from one world to another and they wouldn’t lose their mind all of us found that really fascinating and I think you know that it actually becomes very applicable anywhere in the world and whether you’re an entrepreneur or inside of a company that really the the people who make it aren’t the people who are the best at one thing it’s the people who are pretty good at at least two things and it’s it seems to be at that intersection where innovation and value get generated yeah well the I think there’s a there’s a problem do I fully agree with you there the problem do is there’s so many things you could you could entertain your mind worth 15 years ago it was a big deal that all the MIT courses would show up online but now you can literally um you can listen to Jordan Peterson and um to all the psychology lectures and maybe then you know as much as many psychology bachelors you could do the same thing with pretty much politics I listened to to the a lot of middle ages history lessons I then I ran into this rabbit hole and only listened to Old Testament courses for a while what I’m trying to say is there’s so much stuff online that you can have hundreds thousands of things you could become an expert in so to speak you’re not a real expert but you know a little bit about it and you find it really fascinating but there’s a very limited time um and it’s even harder to if you start out to to extract real knowledge out of it because you don’t know what’s relevant you don’t know what’s important so all of this knowledge is just coming on to you and you you feel like if I’m going to be a polymath I’m going to go crazy because there’s just too much knowledge out there and it all I can’t decipher what is important and what is not and that seems to be a problem for young people because they start out with with kind of and I always feel like when we we look at Twitter and we look at Instagram we basically look at it from an unprotected way we’re not protected by our own AI we basically we just the AI is just flashing things at us we are like helpless little little lizards and if we would had some something that helps us make those decisions and kind of guides us along kind of like the university used to be but now they they literally are out of scope with all that knowledge I think that’s what what entrepreneurs or young entrepreneurs need they need that that guiding way and that might be another person though that might be another AI that guides them along so they don’t lose track and all these things they become an expert in but they actually not an expert because they listen like literally my kids think they watch a YouTube video of 10 minutes and they’re an expert into surfing I’m like and that’s not how it works uh was it what is it Mark Twain who said with uh ignorance and confidence success is sure to follow yes so but I mean it is true for entrepreneurs right like but you have to have some willingness and a high level of failure tolerance to say I know enough about this that I think I can make a difference but I think we could all agree that if we look back and said man when I started this I actually knew nothing and being an entrepreneur if anything else is who can learn the fastest about what actually matters yeah applying it yeah then you know to your to your AI question this is something I I now take my dog for a walk every day for an hour and listen to a podcast on something but this whole idea of information overload keeps coming up and I had this thought that you know what we really need or would be really cool is an AI where it can evaluate what you see in your Facebook stream and your Twitter feed and your LinkedIn feed and then you could say well you know actually I really want to understand more what it’s like to be this person and then you pick a person and it would analyze the content that they get delivered and then provide you a pathway to allow you to comfortably move into something that you don’t know that is that is cool I mean I definitely feel we need like a protective AI to be exposed to all the other AIs on the internet and once we have that it also it’s like in the problem with the AI is that it changes our perception so effectively and maybe that’s not the intended effect I think it is a little bit because then we become more perceptive through the advertising and we we need a way to to share what as you said that other people have seen like it’s kind of an empathy like an AI empathy we kind of have to see that mental picture based on the prior information what that person might have seen would we make the same judgment or would our judgment be very different and if we can you know take shortcuts and getting that learning and being able to see that that will be wonderful wonderful thing to apply to AI for I don’t think there’s anything good right now yeah yeah in the other area that I just musings on AI is everybody is all happy with chat bots but what would actually be interesting is chat conversations like right now if let’s say you were talking and we had a chat bot that was hanging out in the background and you know for you know Apple people we can call it Siri but it’d be great if we were talking or like well in Syria you know so how long was this thing in Syria would interject as if it was fluid part of the conversation with more than one entity yeah yeah that that would be cool I think there is a one thing that comes to mind too is that these the chat bots right now they’re crazy security risks so you can actually have a conversation with them and then they tell you like the insides of that database because they can have access to that system because they didn’t they didn’t know if what’s relevant and what’s irrelevant they that is a problem for AI though they don’t have that the relevance decision is not they’re not strong yet in figuring out what’s what’s relevant they can see the pattern but they they can if they see many different patterns they have trouble figuring out what’s the most relevant in those and I mean they probably give you a top down list they probably can give you a top 20 or yeah there was a gentleman who wrote this really cool AI project you could feed it any musicians music and and he focused specifically on classical music so let’s say you you fed it all the works of Mozart he would then the AI would learn how Mozart composed and could then make more Mozart oh that’s cool would it also teach you if you want to do it yourself I don’t well no because it’s AI and generally AI ends up being black box right now yeah but uh the dilemma was is there was a company that was absolutely fascinated by it and but they asked the question well what is the best one because that’s the one we want to put on the CD first yeah well I don’t know nobody’s listened to any of them so it because at some point in an opinion has to be formed technically they’re all identical and they all are not identical but they they follow in a pattern and they are of equal quality but it’s still missing that element of is it good yeah I think that’s that’s where it’s lacking maybe that’s going to happen soon that this is this is something that AI develops an intuition they say the the model that they train for go and for chess that I think alpha go that google train it developed this intuition so people who would observe it in in the game that it played it it felt like it has an intuition it couldn’t express it but they everyone who observed it would say oh it has an intuition how to play this game it’s not obviously not brute forcing it and now that it has a trained model it did this for during the training but now it feels like intuition and intuition has come something like magical like consciousness all these things we can’t really define we’re like oh it’s intuition we know when we see it but we don’t really we can’t define it yeah it won’t and it’s interesting I I have to believe what I know for a fact that we have AI that meets Turing’s definition of the Turing test and that to be to have a conversation with it and you not know that it’s a computer I just researched that today before our conversation because a lot of people said that’s like what DeepMind did today that’s like another Turing test the protein folding okay yeah yeah yeah and I think you know as proof to that I don’t know if you’ve ran across this but Google on some Google now you can just like click make me a reservation and I had assumed that what was happening was you know that restaurant they had signed up or it interacted with open table or something it just made me a reservation but uh the restaurant that I went to this was obviously pre covid said well hey you know you didn’t sound like the person who called I was like well what do you mean well yeah we got a call you know asking to make a reservation for your party of four and so the Google is using their chat to place phone calls and make voice based reckoning our requests to get people to make reservations and they didn’t catch it like they fell and they didn’t catch it yep yeah yeah yeah so I mean in my mind that is the heart of the Turing test it is it is that’s that’s another way right I mean there’s just like some philosophical debate right you could have with that machine and they feel GPT3 is that way but they also say it has no it has no soul it there’s just nobody nobody’s home like you feel like eventually that this is a computer even if you can’t really say if it’s just the person who is like has no empathy or not a lot of self confidence it’s like nobody’s home or that’s strange I think it’s a fixable issue I don’t I don’t feel this is something that we won’t see in the next 10 years yeah well and I still don’t you know to Kirk’s Woz point I still don’t think that we broke the singularity right like we don’t have yeah 2045 he was very specific yeah so it’s impossible he didn’t predict that yeah he’s been so he’s been so smart and now that Intel I find that so fascinating because he’s using the doubling of the CPU speeds or transistor and that’s the Moore’s law as a main predictive guideline that’s been holding true but then Intel is kind of it hasn’t made as much progress and the because they’ve simply approached the physical limits of the the chip design and then he had more cores but they kind of didn’t really adhere to Moore’s law and now we saw Apple just boosting performance with a new chip like I don’t know three four times for the same price and I’m like whoa Moore’s Moore’s law is back yeah yeah it is interesting that we’re we’re on the boundary of Moore’s law and we had a decent discussion about healthcare and maybe that would be of interest I forget the gentleman but he made another law so Moore’s law basically says you can double the transistors at half the price every 18 months give or take yeah and there’s another person who says that actually anything you can digitize will eventually fall onto Moore’s law’s curve in healthcare the amount of information is doubling every nine months instead of every 18 months okay so even if Moore’s law holds true healthcare right now will outstrip computer power just by the nature of its growth factor wow because more Moore’s law is not fast enough okay interesting but you think it’s isn’t that just because we’re ramping up so much in the healthcare sector that we get like this this big jumps of data and it’s much shorter than the 18 month do you don’t you think it will eventually conquer over the 18 month uh I I don’t know that we’re anywhere close but I mean for example in the discussion we talked about actually doing single cell DNA on 10 000 cells like that is well over Moore’s law and that’s happening um so there was so much unknown we’re taking the tools that we learned in big data and we’re applying it to biology and discovering that biology is pretty remarkable in its ability to do parallel processing and things that we uh we often you know consider underrated what it actually does yeah I think we’re gonna learn from that um there’s one more thing let’s what we really wanted to to ask is we we’ve been going into this COVID debate and the testing debate with the PCRs and I find it difficult to fully understand the the debate that’s going on and we we’re recording this in December and we’ve just been like a month or a bit more than a month into the second wave in the United States in terms of COVID infections and there’s a lot of people and I’m as confused as everyone else I feel a lot of people on Twitter go on and say oh what actually we are we are picking up is not the second wave because we have a second wave in cases but we don’t have a second wave in in actual hospitalizations they are increasing but not at the same rate and what we are actually picking up is old RNA or something cells that are being detected that are actually from a much older infection so the people that are getting tested now and you might have mild symptoms they come from anything could be the flu could be from a cold could be they have no symptoms they go and have a test it’s a PCR test and what it does it multiplies a piece of I think it’s RNA you have to explain it to us and then it multiplies that astronomically and by doing this it makes it visible and then we look at it and say oh we can see COVID so you had COVID or you have COVID but weirdly enough the there’s something called a cycle threshold and that kind of blurs the picture because if you set it high enough literally you can find COVID on anything like someone who even had a very remote exposure to COVID years ago yeah you have to help me understand that is that correct or is it all nonsense what I just said I mean you know from what I would be able to describe here without a significant and longer discussion that’s not far from the truth so there is definitely an amplification and if you’re amplifying something you know a couple hundred thousand times you know one or two strands can be really bad uh my own personal because I you know I don’t know the real answer to this but thoughts that go with it is the the test we use to detect COVID it isn’t actually all that uh precise and I think Elon Musk sent out a tweet maybe two or three weeks ago he took four COVID tests two came back positive two came back negative yeah so does he have COVID or not um so if the tests are picking up and they’re not specific and they were kind of developed relatively quickly but if they’re let’s say that you’re just a normal coronavirus you’re not specifically the COVID 19 maybe you’re close enough that you’re still getting amplified and look like a COVID positive maybe there’s other viruses that are once again close enough that are getting amplified and it looks like a positive so that’s that’s one aspect um to your fundamental question are we experiencing a wave hospitals are definitely getting overwhelmed again um to me cases positive aren’t really what your measure is and you learn this in cancer because just as a a comparison in the early 90s PSA screening for males came up and basically they said oh my god if you have a PSA above two because we set that as the threshold you have prostate cancer you need to get a prostatectomy whoo whoo look at look at what we’re doing and so all of a sudden there’s this big spike in the amount of prostate cancer well it wasn’t a real spike in prostate cancer it’s just the testing now brought it to light and so where that got relevant is we actually over treated based on that which was bad for patients with prostate cancer um but if you looked at it the deaths stayed pretty constant and because what two things happened they removed a lot of people’s prostates but the same approximately the same number of people were dying every year still so basically all of those people that prostatectomies had unnecessary surgery because it ends up that prostate cancer for something like 80 to 85 percent of the people who will get it ends up not being lethal it’s just uh you know it gets detected and the same thing I think we’re also seeing to draw back to COVID is we really don’t know because the disease is new how lethal the disease really is and so we’re learning as we go and it’s actually you know from a learning about how science learns uh works perspective COVID has been really enlightening but it also has brought to light lots of times and you know science is all about changing and going with the best answer that’s there today you know for example we can take the mask debate which you know you you can argue people you hear people argue about it still and it’s because fundamentally the research hasn’t been done you know Denmark just released a study that it basically is being used by people who don’t believe in masks to say oh look masks don’t work and in their study they evaluated it in a population of people where not everybody was wearing a mask and there was something like a 15 reduction in the likelihood of getting COVID if you wore a mask in an environment where not everybody was wearing a mask so that would be protecting you from COVID in 15 percent some people might say that’s good and some people might say that’s bad you know the the study effectively called it a wash but you know the going hypothesis on masks is that actually they’re more effective at preventing COVID spread if you have the asymptomatic version preventing you from giving it to other people that study hasn’t been done but that’s once that’s out then we would have a definitive answer does masks make a difference or not I think there was a Chinese study um a couple I think it was only like a week ago and there was a Chinese study that I don’t know you know how much we want to trust Chinese data but there was at least one and they were focused on they do a lot of tests the tests are really cheaper um they do mass testing a lot and it’s mandatory so which is weird but I think it would fly in the US but they have these $10 or $5 tests and you have to show up and then the whole city gets tested so they had they followed um asymptomatic spread where they knew these people had COVID but had no symptoms and then they traced um whoever they were in touch with and they contacted them every week or every five days I don’t know what the cycle was it was um relatively big population and they from that study they said there’s no real spread from asymptomatic carriers but yeah masks are somewhat enforced in in China especially if you’re not tested recently so um um and the the testing itself if if you don’t have symptoms um you shouldn’t be you shouldn’t be I think the idea of of of creating this panic with with cases that are asymptomatic is a little silly um we should focus on on real infections that at least give you you don’t have to go to a hospital but you feel unwell for a certain amount of time that would be the case for for would be a real case to me and um those numbers are seemingly much slower much lower fortunately and I was personally very concerned about COVID you know when I first set on um my grandmother actually died from COVID back in January and I didn’t know what it was nobody knew it was just a mysterious case of um of viral infections of pneumonia that uh was apparently going on Italy since November and so it must have gone come to Italy much much earlier most people thought at least it was in Europe and by the time and um but even though it has done so all the symptoms looked like COVID but who knows it could have been just pneumonia but apparently it was pretty widespread in in the different nursing homes and I was really concerned that this is something that could have a major impact and I think panicked as much as everyone else but I felt like by May we were like fortunately over this first hump and seeing a lot of infections happened um with symptoms are none and the mortality rate is extremely low like it’s still higher than the flu but it’s for for what we thought in my mind like like a like an Ebola that you could get by just being around other people that might have it don’t even know it um that fortunately hasn’t happened for most people again if you’re a hundred years old like my grandma was that wasn’t an option for you but it was extremely dangerous and is extremely dangerous but um that’s very fortunate I think the summer has escaped maybe that’s all politics this has escaped the mind of the public quite a bit that what we prepared and thought it is in April and May and March and I was I was as much in uh influencing everyone around me that this is extremely dangerous that actually didn’t happen the worst case scenario which is lucky I guess it could have but this message has never made it out I felt like this is people went into masks and they went all kinds of psychological crutches but they they never got back to okay what is actually happening and is that a danger to us yeah no it’s I don’t think so we know a lot more now and I the news media has not helped this at all they keep you know pumping on the fear but you know it really is a tale of two diseases and even more so when you start subdividing by various races but you know if you you look at the stats you know in our age group we have if we got COVID we have like a one in five thousand chance of dying in COVID which you know I’m pretty comfortable with those odds but you move up to anybody over the age of 70 and it’s like one in 18 people who get a die and that you move into the African American population where there are two times more likely to die than somebody who is an African American now if you get to like one in nine chances of dying if you get COVID that starts to be a scary disease for certain populations but for the vast majority of the people under 50 it’s it’s not even a starter so I calculated my risk of death you know I went into the X around tables a couple years ago and it’s about if I’m not because I’m relatively healthy I think I’m pretty healthy um somewhere around one percent for me right now but it goes up quite a bit I’m just at that phase where it really jumps up and it just goes by age and it doesn’t look into anything else that these X around tables but when I looked into the the COVID death rates it only adds about five percent per year as you say to my my death rate and I’m like okay five percent that’s like five percent of one percent it’s a really small number and I go to a lot of dangerous places you know I go to pretty much every country um on the planet and some of them are dangerous just by diseases they’re dangerous by just because the government isn’t great or because the government it’s just not existing and everyone can basically do it to land what they want is to landarchy and I felt like the addition of five percent on top of one percent I don’t have to worry about that yeah no and that is to me the saddest thing that got lost in this entire thing is you know one half of the country has completely demonized the other half and not just of the country but of the world you either took it seriously and or you didn’t in whichever side you were on tended to demonize the other side instead of saying we’re all adults we can all make responsible decisions for ourselves and what we feel is best yeah there isn’t I mean since common sense is so so so hard to find these days I always felt like I mean India the virus doesn’t care right the virus just does what the virus says nobody nobody can do much about it and or maybe we could do things about it but but coming down with the idea of like let’s stop everyone’s lives right now which is I think what we should do when there’s Ebola out there and it’s airborne it’s really weird when we when we see these well it’s basically not not a thing from everyone under 70 so that’s that really struck me is I was not prepared for this that it that it would go down this way but yeah maybe just me other people might have seen that coming I know I’m with you or in somebody might have seen it coming but I was I was fairly surprised by the reaction in how things have played out yeah I was I was having like this this N95 mask and like locks on and then I was flying in March and nobody had a mask and nobody was allowed to wear a mask and I’m like oh this is going to get really bad and people don’t understand what’s going on I was like in full panic mode and I felt like the panic was absolutely justified because it could have been so bad it was at the time right and then but then you got more information and you were able to make a more informed decision you got your own personal risk but yeah nobody too few people are interested in that I feel most more people are interested in that in the fear of mongering and they really I mean they love it let’s put it this way I see this in my in my own family they love they love this this fear mongering and they’re not interested in fact so like no I’d rather go into this fear mode and I’ll stay there as long as I can no I I completely agree with that thanks for doing this Mike no problem man thanks again for the opportunity it was a really good time

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