tv The Communicators Hop Skip Go co-author Stephen Baker CSPAN May 23, 2020 12:45am-1:17am EDT
worst. and features perspective into the lives of our nation's chief executive and leadership styles. visit our website, cspan.org/thepresident to learn more about each president and historian feature and order your copy today wherever books and e-books are sold. >> long-time technology journalist and author stephen baker is the co-author of this new book called hop skip and go. you write this is the coming age of mobility, what do you mean by that? >> it's an information revolution and we've been watching it for the last half-century. his bread into computers and overwhelm media and advertising. and then it spread into telephones and we were carrying around internet wherever we went. in the next stage, the internet
and the mobile machines will carry us around. so i think it'll be in a doom which new choices will surface for us and we will be able to go a lot of places the novel have a big effect on our cities and at the same time companies and city governments will be able to manage our movements and that will result kinds of questions with privacy. it's the next stage of the internet revolution. >> if you imagine a scenario, los angeles 2028, what should we expect? >> one thing about information revolution, you cannot bet on dates. we've seen it before with cell phones. my co-author was in paris at the turn-of-the-century and around
the year 2000, we were predicting smart phones were going to change communication by 2003 and it turned out we were way early, they did not come until 2007. but the changes were important, los angeles in 2028, we will see a lot more choices, they will spend billions of dollars on public transportation, they will be cars that are semi- autonomous running in certain parts of los angeles, i don't think by that point will help folio thomas cars going around that space. but we will have some of that in there could be internship's like networks of small robotic drones that carry people across los angeles. >> you spent time with mayor garcetti, you talk about the olympics and what they're planning to do.
>> yeah, they have a lot of big projects they hope to get in gear by 2028 for the olympics. i think the big thing about los angeles, people are really fed up more than ever with traffic in los angeles. they are so fed up that they decided to tax themselves, raising gas taxes for public transit. if we funded public transit. many of the people will leave the roads and things will move faster. with these billions of dollars that are being spent in los angeles, are they being spent on smart transportation or more roads, more vehicles. >> are not being spent on more roads and vehicles, there being spent of a dramatic expansion of the metro system, more buses and
more electric buses in there looking at los angeles as a testbed for all new technology. so their opening up and telling people if you set up your new company whether scooters or thomas cars or flying ships, you can trade on los angeles. >> that happened in santa monica with the bird scooter? >> yeah, a lot of people were unhappy because one day the bird scooters disappeared in santa monica and they looked at them and they are riding around without helmets, getting in the way of traffic and making some people very mad and the funny thing about it, a guy who had previously worked at uber in the way that uber traditionally has
worked is barging, offer your service, get a lot of people who like it and then deal with government once you have a constituency and a fan base. that's what brooded an angered officials into mnemonic. i was there a few days ago and lots of people are zipping around on scooters. >> if governments failed to assert their control with taxes and regulation, cheap ubiquitous materially services could overwhelm the entire region much the way the automobile did. but mr. baker, someone argued that ubiquitous services what we want. >> it is to a degree but if it is so cheap and ubiquitous, you might send a card 20 miles to pick up a special type of panini that you like.
if it is too cheap and of the overuse and overwhelm the infrastructure. it involves molecules and you only have a certain number that you can move and a certain physical space. >> what do you see of the role of government in mobility age? >> government is going to have to take a much more active role that they did then they have in the internet revolution. and much more active than a century ago when cars came in. if you think about cars coming into the city's over the last century, they basically colonized our cities and i was describing with bird, they develop their constituency and all motorist around the world in the motorist in the car industry forced cities to build immense infrastructure, all these roads
to pave much of the planet in this next stage, it's a chance for a do over. cities that we visited from writing this book, los angeles, dubai, los angeles, each one has a different approach. 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. there's questions of equity as well. >> how is the approach in los angeles to the mobility generation different than that in dubai. >> los angeles is a hard place to govern, their scores are municipalities within los angeles county. there is a lot of freedom, that's what makes the united states and california unique.
so it's a hard place to govern, dubai has a central authority that has a lot of power dubai is organizing things so they can control movement. there investing in all technology and like los angeles there looking to become a testbed for flying machines, robotic cars and all the rest. but all of the data and dubai is going to go to a command center and the goal in the command center is to move people and the things around as efficiently the items here where out. it is a question of freedom versus efficiency. you say you're in dubai and china in the home a lot of deficiency. in the question of the united
states, how do we achieve that efficiency while respecting peoples data and giving them the freedom that there used to. >> an authoritarian government and dubai has an easier time of it? >> yes. i think that is true about all kinds of things with authoritarian government. they have an easier time controlling things until people rise up. >> and dubai, you compare it to being in the jensen. >> it is not there yet but that's the vision. the vision is to have flying airships early in this coming decade and not just a few of them carrying around rich people carrying all kinds of people and they want to have a flying network, just like a metro system with little stops all
over dubai with flying machines carrying people back and forth. >> what did they develop already? >> they had not really developed anything but they've open their doors and they've done test flights with the german company were drones carry people across the city but they are not at a point where it's happening yet. they have a stretch goal of 2022 for these flying machines, as i can't say earlier, you can't count on dates for technology revolution. if those machines don't prove to be safe, they cannot go with it. they cannot go with that yet. >> from your book, whoever controlled the data will be at a position. what data are we talking about
and who can control it? >> if you think about anna thomas card, it is a huge data machine, it will have the equivalent of supercomputers in each car calculating each turn in recording everything that is happening in the car and looking at the information onto network and even scooters and favorite party machines with century. and every movement that humanity makes in a city. so who should have access to change battle in the coming decade. i'll give you an example, florida wants to offer all kinds of great services, digital services in their cars and they want to have voice command and
inner safety with using with entertainment maps and all the rest. so they could develop that technology themselves or they could team up with amazon and give people alexa in the car. all of a sudden amazon has access to all the mobility data. but that's a decision that comes with it. how much of the data dry want the tech companies to control because the tech companies are better at data and they have services that people want. but you go further and hop skip and go and suggest perhaps that data that the tech companies have should be turned over to government for efficiency. >> i don't know if it should be
turned over to government but in health safety what they do, i think it's one of the cities that we focused on. they don't turned the data over to government. what they do, they stipulate whether it's a bankshares or car share has to provide mobility data with the same standard so any company that wants to manage mobility or mobility services has access to this data and can use it to provide services. that's the case where the government doesn't control the data but they put you nominal data that makes it available to entrepreneurs and companies. >> you mentioned earlier florida motor company and in your book you write that piece-by-piece
where there out to conquer the car in one of the characters in your book, chris thomas. >> chris thomas is a young man he was a graduate at yale and he's from detroit and he asked for an internship at florida, he went to florida and got the most boring internship he could've imagined. he sent e-mails to all the top executives at florida saying can i have a half hour of your time to talk about what i want of the internship. he gets to talk for half an hour with the chairman of florida, billy florida and tells him how boring his internship is in bags him for something else and he puts them in this project which is just go about the future of transportation and megacities.
it is a venture for --dash a venture fund with robotics and other mobility technologies. i think he has done just fine. if he made that kind of money with the education venture that's not a huge profit maker but he's doing that to try to help detroit. >>host: a lot of the mobility technology developed now has not seen a return. is that correct? >> right. we are in the boom phase. so money is pouring into all kinds of startups and ventures. silicon valley is full of all kinds of mobility startups. at some point this will and and then investors last difficult questions if the companies are making money.
that will lead as we have seen in previous iterations to a bubble bursting and many companies including those that are profiled in the book are likely to fail because that's what happens when booms and and then the victors and survivors will pick up the brainpower, the code in the patents and grow with it. >>host: what's going on in china right now with the mobility technology? >> china is all over this technology. it has massive government-funded investment and artificial intelligence which is at the heart of the mobility technologies. they went to become leaders of robotic cars and economist vehicles and are big on airships. they wanted all and they want
china to be the leader of the technology and also they want to improve life in chinese cities like shanghai and beijing are covered in smog and the traffic is miserable so they can organize this right they can make the cities much more attractive and vibrant and at the same time become a leader in perhaps the most important technology in the next ten or 20 years. >> you write by far china has the biggest and richest data set on earth. >> right. they don't have any citizen action groups that decry this or ask for anonymous data the chinese have access to the data and can do what they want.
it's quite a bit like to buy. >> that makes a lot of american suspicious. >> yes. it is a huge issue in this country how do we reap the benefits of this revolution to maintain our freedom and privac privacy. >>host: in hop skip and go you list the technology and data collection needs to be judged on algorithm audits, open standards and net neutrality. can you walk us through those? >> sure. if you want a vibrant mobility system where you can go where you want to go and everything works well you have to have
standards so everybody has the same type of data it is what i was describing like helsinki. if you remember the cell phones back in the nineties and early 2000's we had different standards. some could not talk to each other. europe was way ahead of us because they had a common standard you could go from finland to portugal and make calls anywhere you wanted in europe. 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 that companies and governments can miss use the data and they
could conceivably make things happen so poor people cannot move as fast as rich people for example. and so they discriminate against certain types of people because they don't provide the economic return. what you want is an audit to make sure the algorithms are fair. >> net neutrality. >> net neutrality. it's related to the audits but the idea is that everybody should have equal access to the mobility to move around. >>host: have you found in the quality of ready with mobility? >> i think our world is full of inequality. we have cities that have
transit deserts where people cannot get public transit to go to a job interview or school. the idea is that we could perhaps use this next-generation mobility to provide more opportunities than this could change real estate because mobility deserts people move there because the rent is low and it is low because it's a pain to get anywhere. so there are areas in cities that would be fine and full of potential if not mobility deserts so if you have a system in which people could move around car or metro or bikes and access to more areas of the city then it would have a big effect on the real estate markets in the cities.
>>host: you have a futuristic vision where some of the highways or the four oh five in l.a. would be a bike path or a walking path as a return to nature. >> right. it will be a while before the four oh five becomes a bike pat path. [laughter] but the idea is and helsinki is doing this that if you have more people not using cars but other options to move around and you don't need as many parking lots the county of los angeles has an immense amount of parking i think it's five times the area of parking lots as in paris that's an opportunity for park parks, schools, swimming pools, whatever you want.
but in helsinki they have a venture called mobility is a service with the idea that you open the app on the cell phone and it tells you how to get someplace that has all the connections and they have a lot of transit in helsinki and it's all paid for with a monthly subscription. the idea is you can use information this way and package it people will not need their cars as much and then you can turn highways into a bike path and agreed way. >>host: how did helsinki become cutting-edge of the mobility revolution? >> things are very advanced in technology and they are willing to try things first. when i was working for businessweek in europe i would
go to helsinki all the time we are on the cutting-edge of mobile phones with gnocchi up. one - - gnocchi yes so this is the next stage of the internet on - - internet which happens to be more mobility in the question that it was huge for a while but then it was eclipsed by apple so can the sins be time world leaders in the zaps or if they are swallowed up by google. >> and others said the featured is jacquard up. what is going on there? >> it has some of the worst traffic in the world and so there is a company there that has turned the's motorbikes
that they have into a taxi and delivery service and they can go much much faster through jakarta than the caps on limousines. so once you have the mobility on the app then you can provide other services you can deliver food and banking services and it shows how if you think about the previous revolution of the smart phone imagining in the early 2000, you would not imagine the smart phone would become a music player, video player and a social network and all the other things it became. the same thing will happen with mobility if you have services that deliver then
those apps can move into other things like entertainment food and banking and that is what we are seeing in jakarta. >>host: he began the conversation talking about privacy. where will this had with privac privacy? >> i now. it varies from one place to the other. what is interesting if you think of the automobile revolution, we had incredible amounts of privacy because we could go anywhere we wanted and get lost and nobody knew where we were. our parents, the city is barel barely, they used to have to put hoses that counted cars to count the traffic so primitive so we had primitive
also critical waste but now the next revolution has much less waste and can be much greener but we are going to be counted, surveilled and controlled much more. and it is a trade-off and i think a lot of people will not be happy with it. but if you tell people about how intrusive the cell phone is and how much it tells google are the phone companies are the government about our lives people are horrified but we still carry cell phones because they provide a service we cannot do without in the same thing will be true of mobility. we will sacrifice more privacy and perhaps our freedom to get lost or escape. but if it works the way it could we could move much more efficiently and have a lot of
>> we want to get back home we need you to negotiate whatever it takes to get us out of here. and i went for food and clothing and shelter. so just to be resolved to stay in this community they didn't understand that language that they may that out of nowhere their customs and culture and this is our africa town.