tv The Communicators Future of Transportation with Hop Skip Go co-author... CSPAN May 15, 2020 7:02pm-7:32pm EDT
i look forward to this working with all of you in achieving these goals and affecting this great economy from further harm and offering family engine sound is across this country for what they deserve is a weather the storm together. thank you all for participating which is now concluded. >> with the federal government at work in d.c. and throughout the country use the congressional directory for contact information for members of congress, governors, and federal agencies. order your copy online today at c-span store.org. >> longtime technology journalist steven baker is the co-author of this new book it is called hop, skip, go. this is about the coming age
of mobility what do you mean by that? >> is an information revolution and we have been watching it for the last half-century it has spread into computers overwhelms media and advertising. and then it spread into telephones. we were caring around the internet wherever we went. now in this next stage, the internet panda mobile machines are becoming us around, it is going to be an age in which all kinds of new choices are going to surface for us and we are going to be able to go a lot of places and it's going to have a big effect on our cities and at the same time, companies and city governments are going to be able to manage our movements and that will raise all kinds of questions about privacy. it's the next stage of the internet revolution part. >> imagine the scenario something you write about in
your book, los angeles, 2028, what should we expect? >> well, one thing but information razzle revolution is you cannot bet on dates. we have seen it before with cell phones might co-author night were in paris at the turn-of-the-century around the year 2000 and we were predicting smart phones were going to change communication by 2003. it turned out we were way early they did not come until 2007. but the changes are still important. los angeles in 2028 what are you gonna see? we are going to see a lot more choices, they're going to spent billions of dollars on public transportation, there is going to be cars that are semi- autonomous running in certain parts of los angeles i don't think by that time we will have fully at thomas cars going around that space.
we will have some of that. it could be airships like networks on small robotic drones that carry people hither and yon across los angeles. >> you took some time and spent with mayor out there and you talked about the olympics and with a plan to do after that time for it. >> have a lot of big projects they hope to get in gear by 2028 olympics. the big thing about los angeles is people are really fed up more than ever with traffic in los angeles they are so fed up they decided to tax themselves raising gas taxes to fund public transit. the hope for many of them is if we find public transit many of the people will roads, they will leave the roads and things will move faster.
>> with these billions of dollars are being spent in los angeles, they being spent on smart transportation or more roads, more vehicles? they are not being spent on more roads and more vehicles are being spent on a dramatic expansion of the metro system, more buses more electric buses. they're looking at los angeles as this test bed for all kinds of new technology there opening it up and they are telling people if you set up your new company whether it scooters, thomas cars, flying ships, you can try it out in los angeles. >> that happened actually in santa monica pier didn't with the scooter? >> yes. a lot of people were unhappy about it. one day the bird scooters
appeared on the sidewalks in santa monica pier people looked at them they saw how they could use their phones to activate them for the next thing they are writing around without helmets, getting in the way of some traffic making some people very mad the thing about it was a guy who set up bird had previously worked at uber. the way uber traditionally has worked is barging, offer your service, get a lot of people who like it's, and then deal with government once you got a constituency and a fan base. that is what bird did. that angered officials and santa monica pier. while people are zipping on all kinds of scooters. in "hop, skip, go" you write this. of government failed to assert their control taxes and regulations, cheap mobility services could overwhelm the entire region, much the way the automobile did.
>> some would argue that cheap ubiquitous services what we want. it is to a degree you might send a card 20 miles to pick up a special type of something you like. if it is too cheap it will get overuse and overwhelm the infrastructure. in involves moving molecules. you only have a certain number of molecules you can move in a certain physical space. >> host: what you see is the role of government in the coming mobility age? >> guest: government is going to have to take a much more active role than they have in the internet revolution. and much more active than they did a century ago when cars
came in pretty think about cars coming into the cities, the think about that over the last century they basically colonized our cities. as i was describing with bird, they developed a constituency, motorists all around the world, then the motorists and the car industry, forced cities to build immense infrastructure. all of these roads basically to pave much of the planet. so in this next stage it's a chance for a do over. cities we visited in writing this book from los angeles, dubai, shanghai each one has a different approach to it, but what they have to do is figure out how to make things work efficiently, cleanly, and also giving everybody a chance to move around and not just the rich. their question of equity as
well part. >> cousy approach in los angeles to the mobility generation different than that in dubai? >> will, los angeles is a really hard place to govern. there are scores of different municipalities within los angeles county. and there is a lot of freedom. that is part what makes the united states and especially california unique. and so, it is a hard place to govern were as dubai, there is a central authority that has a lot of power. so dubai is organizing things so that they can control movement. they are investing in all kinds of new technology like los angeles are looking to be a test bed for flying machines, robotic cars and all the rest. all of the data and dubai is going to go to a command center. the goal and that command
center is to move people and their things around as efficiently as the items in amazon warehouse. >> the question of freedom it's a question of freedom versus efficiency. >> you standby in china they will have a lot of efficiency. the question in the united states is going to be how do you achieve that efficiency will still respecting peoples data and giving them the freedom we are used to pay. >> in a sense an authoritarian government like that in dubai has an easier time of it? yes. think that's all kinds about things with authoritarian governments. they have an easier time controlling things until people rise up. >> so in dubai you compare it to being on the jetsons. >> guest: it's not there yet
but that is the vision is to have flying airships early in this coming decade and not just a few of them carrying around rich people of the golf courses in luxury hotels for they want to have flying airships carrying all kinds of people they want to have a flying network it's like a metro system with little stops all over dubai with flying machines carrying people back and forth. >> host: what had they developed already? >> guest: they have not really developed anything what they have is they've open their doors they have done test flights with the german company called a volo copter were drones carried people across the city. they are not at a point where it is happening yet. they have a goal, a stretch goal of 2022 for these flying machines. as i was saying earlier you
cannot count on dates for technology revolution. if those machines don't proved to be safe, they can't go with it, they can't go with it yet. >> host: from your book, whoever controls the data will be in a position to manage movement. what data are we talking about? and who should control it? if you think about in the thomas car, it is a huge data machine it will have the equivalent of supercomputers in each car calculating each turn and recording everything that's happening in that car. much of that information goes up to networks. at the same time scooters, bikes all these machines are network machines with sensors so there's a vast amounts of data going to be recording
every movement that humanity makes in the city. so, who should have access to? that is going to be one of the big battles in the coming decade. i will give you an example. ford once to offer all kinds of great services, digital services in their cars they want to have voice commands, interface with the music, entertainment, maps and all the rest. they could have that technology themselves or they could team up with amazon and give people alexa in the car. so if they get people elects in the car all the sudden amazon has access to all of this mobility data. and ford has access to less of it. so that is a decision car makers organ have to make how much of the data we want tech companies to control because
they are better at data and they have services people want. you go further and hop skip and go and suggest perhaps that date of the tech companies have should be turned over to governments. for efficiency sake. >> guest: while, i don't know if it should be turned over to government. one thing, and helsinki what they do helsinki is one of the cities we focus on, they don't turn the data over to government, what they do is they stipulate that every conveyance, whether it is a bike share, car share, bus or metro, has to provide mobility data with the same standard so that any company that wants to manage mobility and offer
mobility services so that's a case where the government does not control the data but the government puts data and makes it available to entrepreneurs and companies. >> host: mr. baker you mentioned earlier ford motor company in your book you write that piece-by-piece, software firms are out to conquer the car. one of the characters in your book is chris thomas who is he? >> chris thomas is a young man -- mikey is still young man who went to ford -- it was a graduate student at yale he is from detroit. he asked for an internship at ford. he went to ford and got the most boring internship you could imagine. we sent e-mails to all of the top executives at ford sync
and i have a half an hour of your time to talk about what i want out of this internship? he gets to talk for half an hour with the chairman of ford, billy ford. and tells him how boring his internship is and begs him for an interesting job. billy ford eventually puts him in this project which is the skunk works which is to scope out the future of transportation and megacities. in soap chris thomas sees this mobility revolution we are talking about, and he convinces billy ford and others to set up a venture fund that will invest in all of these new technologies. and so that is what he did. when we wrote the book, he will still doing that. but later, he quit the venture fund and is now setting up an education basically a new university to develop the
brainpower for new mobility in detroit. the idea being they need to have the talent for these new technologies, robotics and other new technologies to keep the auto business in detroit. >> has he made any profits from what he has been doing since he left ford? >> while i imagine he did very well it's a venture fund in its had a good return on a lot of its investments. they are in robotics and other mobility technology. i think he's done just fine. >> i don't think he is making a ton of money with his education venture, i don't think that is a huge profit maker, i think he's doing it to try to help detroit. so a lot of mobility technology that's being developed now has not seen a return, is that correct. >> rights.
what's happening is we're in the boom phase. money is pouring into all kinds of startups and ventures. silicon valley is just full of all kinds of mobility startups. and, at some point, this a boom phase will and the investors will start asking difficult questions whether the companies are making money. that will lead as we have seen in previous iterations of the internet, to some kind of bubble bursting. many of the companies including i'm sure some of the company's new profile in this book are likely to fail. that is what happens when booms end. in others, the victors, survivors will pick up the brainpower, the code, the patents, and grow with it. >> mr. baker what is going on in china right now when it comes to the mobility
technology? >> china is all over this technology. they have massive government-funded investments in artificial intelligence which is at the heart of many of these mobility technologies. they want to become leaders in robotic cars, taught us vehicles, are really big on airships. they want it all. they want china to be the leader in technology and also they want it to improve life in chinese cities. like shanghai and beijing are covered in smog and the traffic is miserable. so if they can organize this right, they can make their cities much more attractive and vibrant and at the same time become a leader and perhaps the most important technology in the next ten or 20 years.
>> host: you write that china has by far the biggest and richest data sets on earth. >> guest: right. they don't have any citizen action groups that are decrying this or asking for anonymized data and all the rest they have access to the data, they can do with it what they want. that gives them a big step up. it's quite a bit like to buy. >> that makes a lot of americans suspicious doesn't it? >> guest: yes it's going to be a huge issue in this country. how do we reap the benefits of this revolution while maintaining our freedom and our privacy? >> host: stephen baker, and hop skip and go you have three different items that data collection and technology needs speed judged on open
standards algorithm and net neutrality can you walk us through those please? sure you want a really vibrant mobility system or you can go we want to go and everything works well, you need to have standards so everyone has the same type of data. what i was describing earlier about helsinki. if you remember these cell phones back in the '90s an early 2000's there were different standards and some cell phones cannot talk to each other, and your moved away ahead of us that a common standard you could go from finland to portugal and make calls anywhere you wanted to go in your. we need that kind of open standard in mobility so
everybody can build together and not have a fractured ecosystem. as far as audits go, there are all kinds of ways companies and governments can misuse this data. they could conceivably make things happen so poor people can't move as fast as richer people for example. and so, they discriminate against certain types of people because they are not as economic -- they don't provide the economic return. so what you want is an audit to make sure the algorithms are fair. it was a third thing i forgot she went net neutrality. >> net neutrality it's related to the audits but the idea is
everybody should have equal access to the mobility. to move around in the cities. >> host: have you found already inequality when it comes to mobility? >> guest: i think our world is full of inequality. we have cities that have transit deserts were people can't get public transit to go to a job interview or go to a school. the idea is we could perhaps use this next generation mobility to provide more opportunities to wear those people it could also change real estate cities. mobility deserts -- people move from mobility deserts in part because the rent is low. the rent is low because it such a pain to get anywhere. so there are areas in cities that would be fine and full of
potential if they were not mobility deserts. and so if you had a system in which people could move around whether it's with car share, bike share, metro or whatever it is i had access to more areas of the city, it would have a big effect on the real estate market. see what it stephen baker and "hop, skip, go". you have a vision where some of the highways perhaps even the four oh five in l.a. would be a bypass or a walking path. or return to nature. >> guest: right spirit think it will be a while before the four or five becomes a bike path. yes, helsinki is doing this, the idea is if you have more people using -- not using cars, using other options to move around, then you won't need as many parking lots.
the county of los angeles has an immense amount of parking at think it is five times the area of paris in parking lots in san francisco i mean in los angeles. that's in a norma's opportunity for parks, schools, swimming pools, malls, whatever you want it does not have to be like that. in helsinki, they have this adventure that's called mobility as a service. the idea is you open an app on his cell phone tells you how to get someplace and has all these connections with got a lot of transit in helsinki. it is all paid for with the monthly subscription. the idea is if you can use information this way and package it, people won't be there cars as much. people don't either cars as much, you can start turning
highways into bike paths and greenways. >> host: how is it helsinki became part of the cutting edge of the mobility revolution? >> guest: the fins are very advance in technology. their willing to try things first. when i was working for business week in europe in the late '90s as going to helsinki all the time they were on the cutting edge of mobile phones with nokia and a bunch of other mobile phone providers. so this is just like the next step. the fins are into the next stage of the internet which happens to be mobility. the question is whether -- gnocchi was huge for a while and then it got eclipsed by basically by apple the question is whether the fins can become world leaders in these apps that move us around or if they will get swallowed up like somebody like google.
still want another city featured and "hop, skip, go" is jakarta what's happening there? >> jakarta has some of the worst traffic in the world. there is a company there that has turned these motorbikes they have into a taxi service and also a delivery service. they can go much much faster through jakarta then the cads or the limousines. so once you have mobility on an app, this companies finding, then you can start providing all kinds of other services on that app you can start delivering food, banking services, shows how, if you think about the previous revolution, the smart phone,
back when we were imagining in the early 2000, he would not imagine smart phone would become a music player, video player, social networks and all the other things it became. the same thing is going to happen with mobility. if you have services that deliver things and they are on apps, than those apps can move into other things like entertainment, food, banking and outsourcing and jakarta. >> host: you began this conversation, mr. baker and talking about privacy. where is this going to head when it comes to privacy? >> guest: i don't know. it really varies from one place to the other. the one thing that is interesting if you think about the automobile revolution, we had incredible amounts of privacy because we could go anywhere we wanted, we could
get lost and nobody knew where we were. our parents didn't know where we were, the cities barely knew where we were, they used to have to put hoses that counted cars across the road just to count the traffic, it was so primitive they treated us like herds. we had freedom and privacy incredible waste. now this next revolution has much less to waste and can be much greener. but we are going to be counted, surveilled, and controlled much more. i think it is a trade-off. i think a lot of people will not be happy with it. >> you know if it tell people about how intrusive the cell phone is, and how much it tells google or the phone companies or the government about our lives, a lot of people are horrified. but we still carry cell phones
around because they provide a service we cannot do without. i think the same thing is going to be true of mobility were going to sacrifice more of our privacy, a bit more of our freedom perhaps. the freedom to get lost, the freedom to escape. but if it works the way it could, we could move much more efficiently and we could have a lot of fun too. >> host: hop, scoop entrance skip go, all communicators are available as podcasts. >> tonight on cspan2, it is book tv with a look at the high tech industry. we start at 8:00 p.m. eastern with a meat web author of the big nine how the tech titans and their thinking machines could warp humanity. then a conversation on the book hacking darwin genetic engineering in the future of humanity.