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EXPERTS ON EXPERT: Yuval Noah Harari
Hiller everybody. I'm Dax Shepard. This is ranch Rodman and this is an episode of experts on expert in today's expert is a Jews see one. You've all Harari your me. Talk all the time about both sapiens and homo dais, and he has a new book Twenty-one lessons for the twenty first century, and it's equally stimulating as the previous do books. There's a lot of concepts that he has introduced me to that. I have rattled off on here. So I think Monica, I both felt this way we had x. amount of time with you've all in that x. amount of time went by in what felt like sixteen minutes? Never in my life. Had the experience we're time flew so quickly. I agree because he's so dang, smart and interesting. It was a good time for us, right? It was candy. Brain candy was brain candy. We left turbocharged. So please enjoy the genius. We call you've all Harari guys. We are supported by cash app now, I don't know if you knew this, but cash up is the number one finance app on the app store. 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And of course, when you download the cash app, enter the referral code armchair one word armchair you'll receive five dollars and your cash card will send five dollars to CASA, Columbia gorge, the nonprofit that helps children in the foster care system. So check out cash app at the app store or Google play. He's. Harari. Welcome to armchair expert. Are you out on a book tour? Yes, you are just touring the North America. Will you go all over the world? Now we have another European leg of the tour, and then China and then maybe Turkey and India, and eventually we hope to reach South America's well, we'll your first two books sapiens and homo day as sold twelve million copies more at this point in was translated in forty, five languages. Yeah. So I assume you have a very global appeal. It seems. So is it mind-blowing for an academic to have such success popular success? I, it wasn't the beginning. You get used to almost everything, but he's also, you know, I get a lot of help from a lot of people. My husband will also my partner in manager is kind of the PR genius behind this whole phenomena and the have a team of of other people working with us. And you know if it was only me. Would have collapsed long ago. Yeah, it's impossible to deal with it and just as the single individual, an arrangement, I to have my wife. Yeah, actually, historically, it's quite a common arrangement that the marriage partners of the family is also the basic economic unit. So once upon a time you had together a field or a head of goats and now you manage books. Well, I want to kind of launch right into some your ideas. Let me I just wanna. I say that I, I've read both of your first books. I've just started Twenty-one lessons for the twenty first century that your new book I got the title, correct? Yes. Okay, wonderful. I just passed the first test, but I read the first two books and I loved them sapiens homo day. As I think I may be even homeless for me was more mind-blowing in some concepts I had never thought of, but I also heard you on Sam Harris over a year ago, I guess. And you said some. Things in there that weren't. We're not in either book that really kind of blew my mind. So kinda wanna bring people slowly up to speed. So you I, you have a PHD in history from Oxford. Is that accurate? Originally, I was a specialist in medieval military history. I was writing about the crusades and the hundred years war and things like that. Yeah, totally off topic. But have you seen any of this stuff where they're starting to. Bring to market some of these potions that they used in medieval Europe. That could because they were re and it turns out that some of them have been really effective in treating like SARS and stuff, or is these super viruses? I would be very skeptical about it. Life expectancy in the middle ages was under forty. Something like almost fifty percent of children died before they reached adulthood. Yeah, medieval medicine. You wouldn't like the safest thing is to stay away from it. Okay. But they did. They didn't realize they did, but they had antibiotics they had. They had the alchemists were coming up with, you know, they would let it rotten a yak belly and all this crazy stuff, but they were creating antibiotics. But then as viruses evolve, so quickly, they become irrelevant and they just existed. Now in a book, it's fascinating to me that you can discover something amazing then you can lose it, then you can. It can come. Yeah, that that can certainly happen in history that we have lost a lot of stuff on the way and we don't even know what we've lost. Right. We don't know what we don't know. We don't know what we don't know. Yeah. And so you grew up in Israel, is that? Yeah. And you still live there? Yeah, I live in Israel. Okay. And you also just get in your personal life for five seconds. I learned on Sam Harris. You also disappear for like three months of the year and go to India and meditate my accurate altogether. If you take all the retreats that I do during the year, I think it adopted thumbs something like almost three months now, I just want to say, I admire that you, I mean, basically what you have is boundaries for your life. Right? Because it would be I assume, quite tempting for you to just stay on the hamster wheel spill. It's not. It's all it's not. It's it's exhausting. So really, it's it's not easy to just stop everything yet at four, a month or two, but it is tempting. I mean, it's, but I would imagine there are people that are disappointed to learn that they will not hear from you for another six weeks or something. So in your real life, you're having to tell people. I'm very sorry. I know you need me, but I will be gone. Yes, that's an admirable quality. I think it's almost the opposite of codependence in a way, so you know how to take care of yourself, right? Yeah. But again, it also demands the cooperation of other people like my husband, they disappear for sixty days and he has to stay there and keep answering the phones and the emails and ninety nine percent of what we do know is just say, no people call me all kinds of requests from interviews to theater. Productions to, and many of them are really wonderful ideas and good causes yet. Andy, just, you know, the thing is with human being so far you can't. You can't copy them. So is a book I can have twelve million copies of my book and can reach everywhere. But with myself, there is just one pair of legs and one stomach and one head today today. Yeah, and it's just in one place and you can't call it will end on that topic. I think our all of our minds are blown that you're here. No saying yes to your in our stupid little addict. And that's a little Mike blowing to me as a huge fan of yours. But I think what's kinda unique about what you do is you and this is always confused me why there isn't a, maybe there is now, but why there isn't a department at all universities that is aggregating everything and just noticing, oh, is there some overlap here are like we missing? Are they? Are they finding little bits of truth that someone should be assembling or aggregating to come up with some some real thought breakthroughs in what you seem to do is you have a very comprehensive interest in the world. It starts, I assume, with history, but then much of sapiens is anthropological, which was what I studied. And then you get into technology and philosophy and Buddhism all these things. It's it's so comprehensive. Did you at all feel like you're getting off the path by doing that? Yeah, it's a bit of the path, but the the scientific enterprise is they're going to build on corporation. Nobody can be an expert on everything. Most people become experts on more and more narrow subjects, and this is very important, but you do need also people who kind of look at the big picture and also are able to communicate this big picture to the general public, which is what I do now, if all scientists would do what I do, we would not have any science dryer I, it would just heavy bunch of guys trying to depict the big picture. But without any details, you'd have a lot of great dinner conversation. Yes, but then no iphone. Yeah. So you need the people who spent like five years on developing the new antibiotic and you need the people who spent ten years on researching some. Medieval manuscript in order to better understand the relations between Christianity and Islam in the twelfth century and things like that. And then he has, you need a few people who will take all these bits and pieces together and build some picture out of it because it's people are now, you know, flooded with enormous amounts of information and the thing they need most is not more information. It's the last thing they need is more information. They need to make sense of it. And this is becoming more and more difficult. Well, this is I don't know if you remember, but as soon as we had the Patriot Act and we, the government had all these. They can now gather all this information from telephones and all this stuff. Gathering information is no problem. They have billions and billions of megabytes of all this information, but nobody's figured out a way to sift through it or make any use of it really. So it's almost useless that they're even. Gavin, if you going this direction, if you look for example at the recent wars in Iraq in Afghanistan, nobody in history had such good intelligent, gathering abilities as the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. You couldn't make yourself a Cup of coffee in some Baghdad suburb without the Americans knowing about it, and what did they do with all these amazing for me, they still lost are losing both the wars? Yeah. So apparently just gathering lots and lots of information is not enough to make the right decisions. So I'm going to try to just Reader's Digest version Sapien. So I you correct me if I'm wrong, but the compelling kind of narrative of that book is. We is animals. We as humans we have. We have dominated this planet, right? And how did we come to do that? Your first thought is our smart, but that there's more to it than that. Yeah, for us to to dominate, right. We have to be able to gather in large large groups and how do we do that in the answer is myths, right? Is that the thing that allows to strangers to meet each other on the planes and that that stranger goes, I believe in money and you do too. So we have some business we could do, or I believe in Jesus is the son of God me too. So it allows these miss trick that are in group out group than allows us to include a lot of people in our in. So do a better job than I just did. All of this above all else to trust and cooperate with strangers, all social animals. I mean, the many social animals besides homo sapiens and also animals are have tricks about how to cooperate with other animals. They know she pansies can cooperate with fifty. Other Shimpo sees hundred other chimpanzees human species. Once there were many human species we, oh, we all know the only unions around, but until not very long ago, a couple of tens of thousands of years. There were many different human species on the planet earth, and they're also social animals. What is really Ron remarkable about our specie is not that we are smarter than everybody else, but that we can cooperate in foul larger groups than anybody else. We can go parade in thousands and tens of thousands and millions. And eventually today we have global network of network. Works of billions of people, for instance, trading and belonging to the same economic system. So the question, why did home safety and come to dominate this planet really boils down to why are we the only animals the only mammals that can cooperate on a very large scale. And the answer to that is the imagination, the ability to create and spread fictions because if you look at any large-scale human corporation, you will always find some fictional story at the basis, its its clearest in the case of religions that they are based on fictional stories. Now, even religious people will agreem- that all religions are fictional stories, except one, except my religion, of course. To the Joe will tell you, Judaism testers, the truth, but Christianity, you know, all these stories about Jesus rising from the dead and being the son of God. This is just fictional story. Humans invented that you go to the Christians, they will say, no, no, no, no, this is truth, but the Muslims, they believe in all these crazy mythologies that Mohammed receive the Koran from the arch angel Gabriel and so on and so forth. This is a fiction. You ask the Muslims, they will tell you the Hindus, they believe in really silly myth and like that. So it's very obvious that all religious really are based on fiction, which is doesn't mean that they are bent. These fictions enable people not just to fight crusades Jihad's, but also come together to build beautiful cathedrals or to build schools and hospitals and so soulful what is more important to realize is that the same principle also. Underlies nations also underlies the modern economic system. Modern economic system is also based on fictional stories corporations, which are the most important economic entities in the world. They are just stories in entered by the powerful sorcerers that we call lawyers corporation like Google or iota or General Motors. It's it's not a factory. It's not the people. It's not the product. It's a story invented by lawyers, but as long as everybody believes in the story it works. Yeah. And just as you know, a thousand years ago almost or people served some imaginary guard or the other. So today most of us serve some imaginary corporation or other. Now when. I was reading and I had this very. I guess I called native dissonance where I'm reading and you're kind of taking me wisely from the most obvious which is religion, which is an atheist. I'm like, Yep, that's a myth. Everyone believed in it. I see why it allowed people to gather in groups of tens of thousands money. Yes, money has no value this piece of paper. We all agree that it has a value, but there's no intrinsic value in the piece of paper. We all disagree upon it. That makes sense. And I'm going down the list of the things you expose as being missed the nation state. I agree we've there is a line across the map and one side's Canada, one side's America, and we really think I'm American. That's my identity I go. Yeah, that's preposterous. But then you go humanism math and I all hold on there. You've all. No, no, no, this is true. And then you say, civil rights is a myth and I go, hold on, you lost me. And then I had to really challenge myself. I'm like, well, how? What are the ads that I agree with? Every other example he gave, but he's wrong on the two I cherish which is kind of the fun of reading the book if you're open to that kind of challenging your yourself. So just explain quickly how on earth could human rights be a myth. What else? I mean, they are different your smug about. Yeah. They'll definitely not a biological reality. I mean, people talk about natural rights and things like that, but on the biological level, just as simple as don't have right and jellyfish onto have rights, homo sapiens has no right. They'll not written in our DNA. You don't find the declaration of independence written surviving. You don't need shelter water food in a right to vote, you know, in order to survive, you need all kinds of stuff. But it doesn't mean you have a right to these things just as. I dunno antelopes on the African savannah. They don't have a right to live try to convince the lions and the cheetah's that the antelopes variety to live. So also homeless ain't paeans biologically speaking. The rights don't exist. You take human being. You look anywhere you want. You cut the human open. You look in the heart in the brain in the DNA. You won't find any rights there. There's no Oregon though, is that the center of the brain. Rights, our story invented by unions, not so long ago. It wasn't there throughout history just in the last couple of centuries. It became a very popular and widespread story. This idea that humans have rights. I'm not saying that there is the is something bad. I mean. Many people when when they hear that this is a story of the fictional story, they think that this is bad. It's not necessarily bad. I mean, you can't organize people to do almost anything unless they agree on some fictional lows or fictional stories. You can't play baseball or basketball or football, unless you get a couple of people to agree on lows, which should be obvious to everybody. We invented them. They did not come from heaven or from physics. Yes, so that's a great point to make just because you're pointing out that it is a meth or a fiction or created by us is not an argument against it. No ores suggesting it shouldn't be. It's just, let's let's under the. All about what it is I, yeah, how reporter is a fiction? Doesn't mean it's bad wage. Craft is very bad. People start killing each other because they believe in a different version of the story of Harry Potter that's bad. But as long as they do that, I mean, it's it's a very nice book. Well, that's where I'm guilty. I kinda wanna throw the baby out with the bathwater. So if I see that people arguing about whether Hogwarts was. Set here or there, and that's causing wars. I'm like, let's get rid of this fucking book like it's causing all this problem. Very famous incident. I think in Britain, maybe to use ago, I think I throw in the player in in one of the movies the the wanted to const a black person to play her Nyoni. Okay. And there was this huge uproar in the internet. How can like persons player Miami? She's she's white. Yeah. And they went over the entire seven books of Harry Potter until they found the one single case were there is a reference in the books to the skin color of her Miami, something that they are sneaking in the woods at night, and the moonlight shines on the on the white skin of something like that. It's the one place in the whole seven books that they've found, and this was their proof that must be. Wide person, and it's unthinkable for a black person to play her. And this was amazing. On the one hand, you know this, this big liquor, Alexa, Jesus, that the you find this. This here here in Jeremiah. Pout three chop two one. It says that so and also that you know, you accept people flying on broomsticks. That's fine. That's fine. But at person, no, no, no, no, no. Yes. Again off topic, but have you had the pleasure of seen Hamilton? The yes, you have, right. I was amazed that anybody without a peach in history can understand what's happening there. Apparently they can. There were, there were many impressive things about it. One is I read that book and I thought how on earth is this person going to put that entire book into a two hour musical and by God. He did it almost the whole books in there. It's incredible. But I had this moment where I was like, well, this is gonna be interesting. There's going to be a black Aaron Burr in a black Hamilton or whatever. You know, all these historical figures are going to be played by black or Hispanic actors. That's gonna be weird. That was my thought going in and within nine seconds of play starting, I've completely lost that. I'm like, oh, it doesn't fucking matter at all. But I almost I needed to experience it to recognize it has doesn't matter. We honestly should be casting black folks in movies as historical, but it doesn't mean anything like think about I dunno, Julius Caesar Shakespeare play. Now we'll perfectly fine. We somebody talking English as Julius Caesar. Perfectly fine with the Christian playing Julius Caesar. Why not even though Jesus was not even born at the time, Julius Caesar was alive so, but when it comes to something like race or skin color? No, no, no, no, no, that's that's impulsive. Yes. And in anthro this was something that people got great joy out of is just how arbitrary and insignificant to even start a category that would be skin color because it's one of the most simple things in our DNA. Right? You're a couple of a Liles that are going to determine your skin color while there's billions of other LEOs that you probably have much more in common with someone would perhaps black skin. It's just a terrible biological category, but it's very, very useful interval way for political and cultural purposes. Yes. Yeah. It's very, you don't need to map the person's genome to put them in the category. Exactly. If you want to build a hierarchical society, you need very simple categories and you usually also need categories that are inherited in the family. I mean, if you're the king, you don't want your son to suddenly be in the wrong category. Yes. So if it's not an inherited, it's not inherited the family. Usually it will not be selected to be the basis of some hierarchical social system for more armchair. If you there. Experts is supported by stitch fix. It's as if this was created specifically for me Monica because you hate shopping. Oh, I hate it. I go into the store and I get exhausted. The second I step in there. I don't want to comb through all that stuff. I don't think anything looks good on me or fits me the lighting as poor, not ideal, but what stitch fix does is it offers an online personal stylist. It's incredible than they deliver clothes shoes, excess Sary's to fit your body, type your budget in your lifestyle. Just go to stitch, fix dot com. Slash Dax. 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Another thing in say, paeans that I loved it. You have a really unique ability you. You kinda cracked two concepts for me in sapiens. One was we'll just communism. I had never really heard why communism didn't work in such a very simple elegant way, which probably other people knew. And I just simply didn't because I'm a bozo, but. The fact that the fact that it was centralized is the problem. That's why that system doesn't work is just you can't have centralized control of anything and have it immediately meet the needs to to to correct for supply and everything else. I in the new, you kind of you map that onto everything. And now how we, how we trade ideas and how important everything is to be decentralized and I just thought, oh, okay. There is nothing even theoretical or moral or anything. It's just a almost a mechanical principle in depends really on the technology you have at your disposal. You could look at the whole history through the prism of. Of of methods to process information. And the two main contenders are centralized system. When all the information goes into one place and being processed there in the decisions are made there and distributed systems in which information flows freely between many different organizations and institutions and individuals. There is no center and the lots of places in that that decisions important decisions are being made. Any of the twentieth century political arena. You see the struggle between communism and democracy. It's really about that communism works by concentrating all the information and power in one place. You have some some people in Moscow deciding how many cabbages will be grown in some farm in Kazakhstan and what will be the price of bread in every shop in the country. And then you have democracy and the free market system which says, no will just allow information to flow freely between between people and institutions, and they can make their own decisions and given the technological realities of the twentieth century, it just worked much much, much better. There was a famous story or anecdote Iran's third that the waning days of the Soviet Union and the system was collapsing. So Gorbachev sent people to the west. To understand how these capitalists, how do they manage their society as he goes to London and the British very happy to Margaret Thatcher is in power. Every everything is about the free market capitalism, very happy to explain to the Soviet official, how the system works. So they take him to the banks and to the stock exchange into the e to talk to two economics professors until he finally says, wait a minute though, is something much more fundamental. I can't understand about your system back home in Moscow. We have our best minds. Best mind is Soviet Union, working on the problem of how to provide bread to Moscow and nevertheless, in every grocery store and every supermarket. You have this long line a cue for the bread and here in London. It's a city of millions. We've been passing all day all these bakeries and grocery stores. I haven't seen a single breadline, so cancel all my other appointments and just. Take me to meet the person the Middle East. Mr. bread and then the British host, they they like with this guy out, there is no minister of bread. Nobody's in charge of providing bradfo London, and that's the real secret of the system. You just allow all these consumers and producers to exchange information and make their own decisions. Now what people often forget when they hear this example or the analysis is that it only depends on the technology of the day. In some situations in given some commodities, centralized systems are much less less efficient than distributed systems. This was the case in the late twentieth century, and this is why had states defeated the Soviet Union, but it's not always like that given a different technological reality things look very different and one of the dangerous in the twenty first century is that machine learning not. Official intelligence will make centralized systems much more efficient than distributed systems and dictatorship might become more efficient than the McRae's fascinating that's juicy. So that I assume is in twenty first that spot of twenty four twenty one lessons for the twentieth century, right? Because there was no way for the Soviet Union to be gathering the appropriate dad real time making real time decisions in technology is such. Now that that could conceivably happen with some mega computer governing the data is less. The problem is not so much gathering the data, it's it's processing it in analyzing it. And so like in nineteen seventy Soviet Union, you would have all these massive amounts of information flowing all the time from the most distant provinces of Russia and Kazakhstan and Ukraine to the central nervous system of the whole of the hope of the whole. A organization in Moscow in very, you had the problem. Nobody had the ability to process these enormous amounts of information, fast enough inefficiently enough and make the right decisions. So they are working worse and worse decisions. But what's changing now is that in giving machine learning not official intelligence, we are developing technology that can process enormous amount of information much better than any human being in one place. And actually there is now an advantage to try to concentrate it all in one place because you can thereby discover all kinds of patterns in the data that if you have only partial data, you will never be able to do to give an example if you think about the advances now in genetics. So to discover. What a gene or a group of Jean is doing you. It's most of the time just based on statistics. You have statistics about the DNA and the medical situation in the life of a lot of people, and you just discover patterns are people who have this gene. They tend to suffer from this disease. People who have this combination of genes. They tend to be very proficient in this kind of skill. A high found something. So it's also districts will a lot of great steps coming out of like Denmark in those those Netherland where the your medical information, although private, it's not. It doesn't have your name attached to. It does go into a database and they do all these great -demia logical studies there, and they have breakthroughs in three hours like here, we people had the spurious connection between one of our vaccines in autism, and they were just like, oh, let us tell you in three hours here. Fifty percent of the people had that vaccine here zero correlation case solved. Exactly, yeah. And in in these cases, concentrating all the data in one place actually makes it the the system much more efficient. So to take the extreme example, what happens if tomorrow morning, the Chinese government issues and older that every citizen of the People's Republic of China should go within the next two weeks to the nearest clinic or police station and given a DNA sample. And also, of course, give free access to all their medical records and school records and in whatever. And you build in a stroke, the largest genetic database in the world. And with zero privacy concerns, and you can start making all these amazing discoveries. And then what the next thing that happens is people all over the world. They realize actually the Chinese are the most advanced in this field of genetics. So if I want to scan my DNA and discover what kind of say, ailments I am more susceptible to, I will not go to some American company which has just database about a million people. I will go to the Chinese with their database of one point, four billion people. And when everybody goes there, it's a snowball effect. It becomes even more efficient and very soon, and it's all based on concentrating the data in one place. Yes. So for us, Americans, hell bent on liberty and privacy and all these myths, we of basically come together to celebrate. That's a big leap for us. Right? Yeah. We have a lot of distrust with whoever's in charge of that database and for very good reason. I mean, I'm not to recommend the Chinese system is the best in the world. It obviously has a downside when somebody knows so much about you and they are hardly accountable to you. It's not like it's an election in in four years and you can vote them out of office, then you are extremely exposed to control and manipulation of a kind. We have never seen before in history. Stunning. Hitler didn't have anything like that right now you have some some, some clairvoyant powers. You have some incredible and there in homo day their amazing your observations. Does this make this kind of thing being able to potentially map one point, four billion people's genome solve. Probably a laundry list of medical conditions. Does that make you excited and optimistic or fearful, or a combination of all both bombing, these kind. Of developments, the always have an upside downside. They can do amazing things. For example, our health and at the same time, they can have terrible political and social consequences resulting in worst in worse discrimination than ever before in farmer dicta Togo regimes than ever before in opening real biological gaps between for example, classes and costs that we've never seen before, and it's true of every major technology in history. It always had a an upside downside, but futile to even worry. I mean, like the future you present is likely nothing could stop it? No, nothing waste of your anxiety on none. I don't agree. I mean, are you better off just doing these things than than than as bad consequences, arise solving those. Those those consequences, or should you be fighting passionately to prevent it from even happening? I guess what? What's the we need first of all that we need to realize that technology doesn't determine how people use it. I mean, if somebody comes along and says, look in genetics, this is scary stuff. We should just stop all research in genetics. These this will not happen some foreign actor. We'll do it. Hear somebody will do even if you can get an entire country, even the the great USA bans offer the research in genetics, so it will just continue in other places. And very soon the Americans will realize that they are being left behind so they have to join the so you can't just ideal steroids in the Olympics. What the hell else are you going to do. That I wanted to. I will give because he, you can actually do something regulation is effective. It can be effective, and there is a very good case to be made that we do need to regulate something like steroids in in sports and that we can do it. Technology can help us. I mean, that works both ways. You can use the new technologies for example, to. Give more and more treatments to to athletes, but you can also use technology to money till these kinds of usages in a more effective way and regulate against them. If this is what what you want to do, it's the same. We something like iron surveillance that at present, we see the development of more and more AI systems which work in the service of corporations and governments to monitor individuals. But there is nothing about the basic ab- basically abilities of a I, which says, you cannot use it in the opposite way. You can build a systems that monitor corporations and governments in the service of individuals is sort of the government is not big capital required to have that kind of system just naturally exclude the proletariat like how you want. Develop it yourself, but there is a huge market outer, for example, to develop an AI system that monitors government officials in order to prevent corruption that the same way that the government can employ an AI system to spy on the citizens and locate incid incident in which citizens express criticism of the government. It just goes over only or emails and oil phone calls and picks up the patterns of that are the government deems to be dangerous, can do that. You can also do the reverse build an AI system that constantly monitors the actions and the emails and the Bank accounts and the lifestyle of of government officials in order to discover patterns that are linked with corruption and why not end there is a huge market for that. Where will that come out of the university who who's fighting for us at present? We don't see many such systems. Being developed? Yeah. What I'm saying is is the technically can happen. It can happen. There is nothing that the colleges that says it must in the service unique directional. Yeah. So it could come from a corporation which realizes, hey, the is a huge business opportunity here I can sell this monitoring system to countries all over the world in order to fight corruption. Corruption is a business worth. Trillions of dollars. Yeah. So money so many things going all over the world. It can come from an NGO. You can get people to, you know, the many NGOs fighting against corruption, so they need to get together and get a few good coders and start developing these kinds of tools. It can be sponsored by government, lots of government on. I'm not very happy with their officials being corrupt Rozelle. Yeah, there is a huge. Opportunity, outer staging, more armchair expert. If you dare, we are supported by one of my favorite sponsors vital farms. Now I want to clear something up really quick. You might have heard on my Ted Danson episode that I said, I don't ex- the fact is I have eaten millions of eggs prior to try to curb my intake in when I ate them eight exclusively vital farm. So it might have been confusing there that I said, I like him. I do like them. They're delicious eggs. They are much better than this Bs cage free. These are bullshit free. Their pasture raised aches, which means these hands are parading around and one hundred and eight square feet of sunny space cage free. They spend their entire lives indoors with only one square foot of space. Don't be fooled. Pasha raised hens, spend their days doing the things hens love to do just hanging around eating grass breed, them. Fresh air and foraging for food, and you can taste the difference in the eggs. It's not that runny little yellow yolk. It's a nice rich orange, it's far superior, and you can taste the difference when you're eating bullshit, free eggs to get your coupon for vital farms. Pasteurize aids head to vital farms dot com. Slash Dax. Okay. Now of the many things I bring up dinner parties that are your thoughts. The one I think I trade in most often as in homo day as you talk about this very profound thing, which is the self and we think of the self as being one thing me doc shepherd. I myself in you point out that minimally. There's two deck shepherds. There's the experiential deck shepherd, the one who's tr- you know, scrolling through Instagram and so happy for two hours the whole time. I'm doing it. I'm in heaven and then I go to lay down at night to go to bed. And then there's the narrative self who's writing DAX's life story who says, Jesus dude, you fuck and spent two hours staring at your hand, that's terrible ways to your life. I'm disappointed in you, right? So you start by just introducing this concept that even we aren't unified. As one thing we have these facets in net where we're heading with technology, is that your smartphone. On very soon in the future will be measuring biometrics. It'll know your blood sugar, your heart rate, your cortisol levels, all these things. And the example I think you give is that you could set a goal on this smartphone to help you realize something and that smartphone may by breath as you're walking into a meeting and say, hey, Dax, don't talk in this meeting because the last time your blood sugar was this way and you got this little amount asleep, you pissed off your boss? Yes. So just shut the fuck up for the next hour and a half, and then you pose the most intoxicating question of all is what is the device gonna service? Is it going to service the narrative Dax or the experiential self? And we'll we give it permission to make that decision that blew my head off my shoulders. What did I leave out of that? Or could you elaborate on that? I mean, I just find that to be, we will be confronting this problem. You laid out. Out in my lifetime. You'll see us. I mean, as as our understanding of the human body in the brain improves and at the same time as we have more and more sophisticated a on. So these kinds of scenarios that you know, going all kinds of directions you can have the government monitoring, you twenty four hours a day. So if you live in North Korea and the what you just described will take a very different form. You have to were biometric bracelet all day, which constantly monitors just what you said, your cortisol level, your sugar, Leveille abroad, blood pressure, and so forth. And if you just happen to listen to a speech by Kim Jung and the bracelet picks up the biometric signs of anger, that's the end of you. So it can go in bed direct in in some countries to even get even like even more inconsequential like my wife's got it hooked to my wrists, and I walked by beautiful girl on the street. She goes. Excuse me serve. I see what's happening in your body. Yes, total individual internal life. Yeah, one felt experiment which maybe even being done to them, not sure imagine that you're wearing a shirt which reacts, which is conditioned is connected to biometric sensors like your Fitbit or whatever. And the shirt can light up in all kinds of cars. If you're angry becomes rents. If you are sexually attracted becomes red with flashing lights. If you're bald, it becomes I dunno blue and just imagine what it means in the technically. It's very simple. Maybe there is over start of other. If not, after this podcast, I think we'll have a couple share and maybe I should actually registered. Parents wanting it for their kids. You could just visually know what animal you're dealing with about so helpful, but just imagine, let's leave aside, you know, the sexual issues. Okay. Them like what happens if you go to meet your boss, you're having a chart with your mother, whatever. And the shirt goes blue and they know and all the other things that were millions of years evolution adopted us to hide. Yeah, so only they are out there. So the shirt, so experiment, this is like the most in-your-face. Yeah, but you have all kinds of subtle scenarios in which only the government knows only the corporation nose or only you know, like you want to gather information about yourself during the day that will afterwards the useful to making decisions in life. I mean, because of what you describe this. Division between the experiencing self and in the narrating sell for the storytelling self, we experienced life in one way, and then we imagine it and we tell ourselves stories which are often completely different of one hundred married. You've experienced daily? Yes. So if you think about making decisions about other, no. Like which friends you like to hang? Hang up with, and so you think you enjoy yourself with with these friends, but actually the truth is very different, so the device can tell you what you actually enjoy and do you know people experienced it, for instance, with television with VOD view on demand, always Netflix, that there is the famous study. I think been done that when people record on their VOD all kinds of movies, they tend to record all these kinds of high-level dramas. And you know. Like that. But then when the moment comes to actually watch a movie, you never, you never want to see it. You want to see some stupid Hollywood comedy and watch your mouth, please. No. No. There are some very good. But the that that and this device now you you, you see it like you scroll through the list of movies and you say, yes, I recorded all these movies, but I don't really want to see them because my narrating self has this image of me is a very sophisticated person washed these French. Out new dramas and whatever, and but I don't really want to see them, you know, I, yeah, my comparison would be every not everyone. Lots of people in my circle subscribe at the New Yorker. And then if you go into their bathroom and there's a New Yorker and us weekly that us weekly, the pages are almost worn off and they have not cracked the New Yorker, like they wanna be the person who reads the New Yorker every time they can sit down yet, but they just can't resist the juicy pitchers so, but what's interesting about this world, your future of ours, you're painting. Is that these questions that are ultimately philosophical questions which you would almost think would have been rendered obsolete as we kind of get more technologically advanced? They are almost were in a position where they're, they're gonna be vital. Weirdly like we, we actually now we're gonna have to find out what our philosophy is because we're going to engage these machines to execute what we think we believe in. So. We had better figure out what we believe in right is more now than ever. It's paramount that we know what we're trying to aim for 's as these things assist us to get there. I think philosophies now more important than than ever before because lots of what used to be philosophical problems are becoming very practical problems of of engineering and more and more engineers, I think need to learn philosophy in order to solve the best example. I noise with self driving cars that as everybody, I don't think about it in order to put a self driving car on the road, you need to solve a few philosophical question of bright. Like the most common scenario is the the car is is is driving and two kids running after a bull jump in front of the car, and the only way to save the two kids is to swerve to the side and full of perso- peace and kill the owner of the car who is. Sleep in the backseat. Yeah. Now what should we do? These kinds of questions philosophers have been arguing about for thousands and thousands of years with very little actual impact. It's the trolley Dolly problem. Exactly. That's really probably and the interesting thing about Raleigh problem. There is a very big difference between what people say in in the philosophy seminal university and how they actually behave. Yes, but with a self driving car, you need to program the anger them in a certain way. You can't just go with undecided. Yeah, you you. You need an answer. The engineers need an answer. So the answer can concurring all kinds of ways. The government can mandate an answer. All you can just say, I believe in the free market tesla will come up with the tesla outraced and the tesla egoists and you just choose the customer is always right. Let me answer that question for you. Now they don't even have to bring the philanthropist version to the market. Everyone's buying the ego is tesla. The was actually again study about that. And the thing is most people who were asked said, they think that the car should sacrifice its owner, but then when they ask them, would you actually buy the car? They said, absolutely. Not crazy. That's right by Mercedes, I bet they'll let me live. Yeah. Now, this wasn't neither year books, but this was this comes from salmon. I this again was another mind blowing experience for me. Is you're laying this future of AI and you were talking about the high probability that in the future eighty percent of the jobs that are currently being done now by humans will be done by machines and that you're going to have a huge class of people, the useless class that don't really do anything, but all their needs are met by these different robots, right? And Sam said, well, what are people going to do all day to give meaning to their life? And you said, we'll, they're gonna participate in virtual reality. They're gonna play. Virtual reality games probably does ring a bell Mike, getting wrong. I'm familiar with the. Okay. So like Sam, I was listening to you, and I thought, well, this is so distorted. I don't want my kids to just put fucking goggles on and that's their life. Right? And he said, well, I'm so discouraged that that's what people are going to do in the use said, oh, Sam. We've been playing virtual reality for thousands of years. Religion is virtual reality. Explain. Wind us how religion is virtual reality. Well, you have a couple of a rules of the game which were invented by women's, but those who play this political game, they are sure that this is the reality and you leave your entire life trying to gain points and not lose points. So if you play the Christian game, then you need to give to charity and you need to pray and you should. You shouldn't have sex before marriage and I'm -solutely know homosexual sex, this, you lose one hundred points if usually big one. And that's a big one. And even the end of life, you have a high enough score, then you move on to the next level of the game in heaven. Yeah, that's wonderful. And some people, especially, I think further back in history are playing that game for hours of the day. They're aware of that game, like a good chunk of their consciousness is dedicated to that game in how they're interacting with people and everything. So what's another example you could give of this virtual reality. We've all been playing well, you have. I mean, what people I, if I have to say he's absolutely not a prophecy and like nobody really knows how the job market or how the world would look like in in fifty years. This was just exploring one church. One of the possibilities that we are facing, we can still do many things to prevent this particular possibility from being realized. But if it does happen and of course also much worse possibilities. There is the scenario that you have a lot. A lot of people who have no jobs, no economic value, no political power, and nobody cares about them and they get no support. They don't get to play richer Verity games because they hardly have anything to eat. They have to struggle for survival. So there are definitely worse scenarios evil that even when you were describing it and I was listening, I thought sure. At the point where eighty percent of the people are unemployed, and we've really figured out some productions scale that feeds everyone enclosed them great. But then I said, it's when it's thirty five percent of the population that I don't even know how you get there. Like yes, if you could turn on a light switch and eighty percent of us are unemployed. Great. But I don't know how you get past the win thirty, five percent of the country's unemployed. That's a revolution. I don't know only full thirty, five percent. I don't know how we get there. It's almost like you just have to keep building the infrastructure building built. The lead is we're not allowed to turn that light switch on until it's literally self sufficient, which of course will not happen the many, many pitfalls on the way, and they're going to people. It's not like one day suddenly eighty percent of jobs disappear and that's it. No, it's a gradual process. Some jobs disappear. Some jobs change, new jobs appear, the will be new jobs. Yeah, but one of the problems is that the pace of change is going to excel, right. And in order to find employment in the new jobs, you will have to retrain yourself and not just once, but several times because you got new job and ten years later, the new jobs to has been automated. So you again have to reinvent yourself and it's going to be very difficult to retrain people not just on the I know practical level of new skills, but you, you really need to reinvent yourself even psychologically. Well, my urologist told me that he doesn't think. He would recommend his son go to medical school. He said, if you've seen Watson diagnosed cancer, an eighty percent success rate in the oncologists are only at fifty percent. I can tell you pretty assuredly that jobs not gonna exist for my kid. I know. I mean, something that has to do only with information information comes in, gets processed and information goes out. This is the easiest thing to automate. So at doctor who's almost sole duty east to suck information from you, process it and come up with a diagnosis. This is not going to be a viable job in a couple of their mind blow, but immerse on the other hand, this is a much safer bet because anything that involves both cognitive and manual skills is much much more difficult. So the will be nurses, human nurses, long after the all diagnosis of cancer is done. Done by computers because to give an injection all to replace the bandage robots are so far away from that. You see. Whether the element of robots today in the we we met, I think two years ago, this expert on robotics and and she said that if the robot are coming from inside some apocalyptic Roble science fiction movie, if the robots are coming for you just close the door behind, you know, robot is over able to manage the simple task opening the door. No, I just watched the video and everyone was so excited that this robot did in fact open a door and this like forty five seconds. This zella writing like that was clumsy is a good I wanted you to talk about is a little bit because I also love your breakdown of of craving. I just think that's a fascinating thing to be aware of as a human being. Is that true suffering comes from craving that's a breakthrough and thought for me. Yeah, that's good. Is in one one for the last two thousand five hundred years, but basically that yes, I mean, suffering is you want something you don't get it that suffering. That's that's the whole deal. Yeah. I mean, I grew up thinking mourning the loss of somebody was suffering, but recognizing no craving to not be feeling that morning is the suffering. When when you when. When you miss something, it's not an obstruct idea. It's very unpleasant sensations in the body, a very unpleasant experience. And then a part of the mind goes, I don't like this. Yeah, and and this, this, this is generated by the mind, and this is basically, this is what suffering is all about. And we know we go about trying to change the entire world way completely disrupt the the ecological system we fly to the moon. We split the atom wage world wars, and it's all because we can't handle. These experiences within ourselves. Yeah. Okay. So my my real question for you is, is you have more than any other person I've ever read the most comprehensive view of the world simply because you know it's history, so, well, you know, a lot of it's science. You really know how this place is working? No, no, no, no, no, no, I don't. I don't. Well, you own accept that, but I'm going to tell you know how it's working a lot more than most of us and I want to know that as you've come to understand more and more why we do what we do again, savings about how we got here on today's is about where we're going. Twenty-one lessons is about where we're at now, which I'm glad you're because I, we'll say that Mylan complain about the two books is that there's nothing really prescriptive. It's like, this is where it's going. This is where it was. I need you smart person. Tell me what the what should we do, but that aside having this comprehensive understanding of how we got to this place in what why we do the things we do bio chemically as that exacerbated the plight of the human condition or has it helped it. I want to know. I think it helps. I think the to to understand to be realistic about ourselves as individuals about ourselves as a specie. Is a very good thing to align your expectations with reality to be a were of of our own biases of our own weaknesses. This season extremely potent thing, especially now because of the really extraordinary powers that we are gaining as specie. We are really eyesight quite often. We'll really in the process of upgrading selves into God's. Yeah, and in the most literal and and you know, banal sense that whatever abilities ancient me follow Jesus -scribed to the gods to Zeus and to Vishnu into your highway. We all now acquiring these abilities to our selves, for instance, the ability to engineer life and to manufacture life. And we need to have a realistic understanding both off of power and of our weaknesses and biases. Other. Otherwise, we are going to be very irresponsible. God's in. If you had to choose between your two knowledge sets, one being whatever we would describe you're meditating in India as mode. We call that. Are you Buddhist? I know I care to understand myself as as as much as possible. Okay. So that's something you've dedicated a ton of time to as much or somewhat commensurate with your worldly knowledge? I'm gonna. I'm gonna. I am God and I'm in a race. One of those two understandings. Which one are you going to give up? Well, they are very closely intertwined. Yeah, I think of them as opposed, but you probably don't know. I don't think that I could have done my scholarly work and written sapiens and holmdale sin Twenty-one lessons without both the insights of, but also a deeper level simply theme. The mental training that I got from the nation in order, for example, to try and condense the whole history. Humankind to four hundred and fifty pages. Yeah, you need the ability to focus. Yeah, and I got that that from any tension. So I think if you took away like my experience with detention, most of my scholarly achievements will go away with it. So then I'm guessing you would not let go the meditation above all. Oh. Yeah, I think this is a fair for some. Okay. And then you and your partner. Let's say you guys have a daughter or a son adult is more like, but in this scenario, I don't think dogs go to college even it's not yet. Are you? Are you hoping if you have that child that they pursue one over the other? I guess it would be you'd hope that they would learn some internal peace probably start. I think the most important is is to to learn this to to get to know yourself better also because it's going to be the unlike in previous centuries. This is also going to be the most important for things like the job market and for finding your way around the world because when you're living in a situation in which you have all these systems, as we talk in the beginning that are really hacking you and getting to know you so well, so you have to know yourself very, very will. Otherwise you can be so easily manipulated and controlled by these. External systems will in as you're just saying this, that occurs to me even if you think about it in terms of the market, if there is a technology now that's going to replace so many parts of what a human can do. You had better invest in the one thing that can't be duplicated. Yeah, that's the one thing that will still be scarce. Yeah, we still know. So very little about the human potential in most jobs that exist today utilize just a tiny, tiny part of the potential. We don't know most of it. So both as individuals and also as a specie I would say that it's it's a very urgent thing to explore ourselves into good to know of full Uman potential before it's too late. I'm so mad you have to leave. I don't think I've ever been more upset by same. Yourselves by shall I'm so flattered you came in sauce, and I hope you have a great rest of your book tour yours. Fucking awesome. And I hope everyone is your because your incredible. Thank you. And now my favorite part of the show the fact check with my soul mate. Monica Padma n-. Okay. I wrote one down. This is a request. Oh, wow. This is an arm cherry request. Feel free to make them. I will note what was and I wrote it down. Oh yes, it's faction is a little place where we can get to get the check baby. I got me yet. Chrysler red seats up about twenty so hurry up and bring your jukebox money. The fact check is a little place where we can get to get the backcheck baby. Good request, right armchair coming, keep them coming, please. All right. You've all good luck. Checking those facts. When you have someone like you've all on need you check back Herat. There's not very many to chat. You're he is the facts. Yeah, he's who I would be looking up. Yeah, so so now not very many. Okay. So we decided to just take on, you've all put him on retainer to do our fact check just we were spending like three million dollars. You're just bankrupting ourselves to know that the facts are coming from the generator of most fat and might be worth it to know that they're going to with. Yeah. Okay. So you said that sapiens and homo day is so twelve million copies? Yeah, that's I read that directly off of the book jacket that they're promoting twenty twenty one. So I'm inclined to think that's correct. Might be correct. I scoured the internet for those numbers and I could not find it. You're the right on the jacket of the book. All right. The not all right. They win the internet in two thousand seventeen. Each of the his those books hit one million in the US, maybe domestic. This is a worldwide book translated into forty some languages. I don't think about it anyway. Okay. So this is a little tricky. Now you said that there's only a couple wheels that determines determined skin color. Thank you. Are you talking about because people define race as skin color, and there is like eight genetic variance in like just even African. What I'm saying is the criteria by which they're sorting people into racial groups yet, that's what I'm saying is solely skin color. Right? Exactly. Which is crazy because, but I think that it's a little different skin color is a super, it's a insen credibly, simple part of our genetic code, whether your skin is Brown, white black. So even if you were attempting to group people with similar genetics, the last thing you would do is take this really simple thing of skin color. Caller and make that the criteria by which you're sorting these people out. So what I'm saying is that there are people in Africa that have the same skin color. So they have a couple of the illegals or low side for that yet a much larger part of their DNA will bear more resemblance to someone from Ireland's than they do even from someone in another part of Africa. That's ri- right. I guess there was a New York Times article with this professor from the university of Pennsylvania. That was saying, researchers pinpointed eight genetic variants in four narrow regions of the human genome that strongly influence pigmentation in in Africans, some making skin darker and others making it lighter. So, and that is saying the same thing that we are. We are attributing race to color and that's wrong. But it's it's kind of saying we'll from answer bilogical thing that I'm talking about. It's just simply that how about this? If you. Or trying to separate food into nuts, plants, meat, dairy, and you said, because cheese is yellow, and so is squash those two things are the same, right? That would be a terrible way to group food. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I say a fun thing about skin color that I don't know. Everyone knows the whole reason that I am white is because my ancestors left Africa and they went to a northern climate with far less sunlight in you synthesize vitamin d from sunlight. And if you had dark skin and took on less sunlight, you would die of a vitamin d deficiency new couldn't pass on your genes, but that's what skin color is all about. Well, also why north city to make melanin is a big part of it shirt melanin is the thing that makes your skin different color darker. Yeah, yeah. So. If you have less of a genetically odds of passing your jeans on were much greater in a northern climate 'cause you'd be sucking in that Bytom Andy also male pattern baldness that's the suck up more more that yummy vitamin d this according to the net human skin color as apologetic trait, meaning multiple gene loci are involved in its expression at last count, the international federation of pigment cells. Society has determined that there are a total of three hundred seventy eight genetic lo Chi psi. Oh, what does that mean? Low sei is like let's say there's seven billion markers on DNA strand. Each one is the low Cy I like location. Yup. Yeah. That's why that's why gave it a hard. See Bri cid's ended up Anglia all right. So three hundred and seventy eight involved in determining skin color and human and mice, gladly through mice in there for us. Yeah. Case, we one. Wondering about my. Okay. So we talk about the trolley problem. We just mentioned the trolley problem really quick in case people. Don't know. The trolley problem is they don't watch the good player. Exactly. The good place is the trolley problem. It's a thought experiment in ethics and philosophy where you see a runaway trolley moving toward five tied up people lying on the tracks. You're standing next to a lever that controls a switch. If you pull the lever, the trolley will be redirected onto a sidetrack in the five people on the main track will be saved. However, there is a single person lying on the side track. So you have two options. One do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track or to pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the sidetrack where it will kill one person. What is the most ethical option interest such an interesting, what's interesting about that in itself. I don't find very interesting because everyone's going to say, I pull that lever and save four people, but the way that they then take the exact same math and fuck you up worse. This is then they go, okay, so now there are five six people in hospital bed, one healthy person line in another bed, and you have the option of killing that person harvesting the five organs that are required to save the five other people. Would you do that in? No one thinks that we should do that. Yeah, because then you're actually murdering someone, it's by your hand while I think it will. It's the same thing or the, yes. So that's how you feel about it? I think it's because we have come to accept that people get sick. We haven't come to accept that. Innocent people get hit by trolleys. We've come to accept that people get sick and die. So we're very used to that outcome and somewhat comfortable with it. It's a natural trajectory for people. So these five people that are dying of an illness, you're just you're used to that. Yeah, that's what happens. But this healthy person shouldn't be sacrificed to prevent something that we knows inevitable beginning by trolleys not inevitable. I think that's where it gets a hiccup. I guess. Yeah. I mean that that does make sense. I still think part of the dilemma is in there still a part that's removed or let's say that there was a like robotics is gotten to a place in I that you just pull a lever, and then the robot comes in and youth Anais is the person in ebbs in harvest their Oregon's then, is it. I mean, I think more people would say yes to that. Still think it'd be a very low percentage of people that would say we should kill a healthy person to save five ill people. I guess which is interesting because it's the exact same Mathis the trolley equation, although I guess it is, but it I guess you're right that it isn't because one is by natural forces and the other is someone tied these people to a track about the five people are disol- standing on the track, looking at the CNN tower. Guy. Okay. We haven't been like a captured and being held hostage on the tracks. Like there's one guy on the track on the left. He's looking at the CNN towers. Well, and then on the right side, there's five people looking at the c. n. tower. So just either five going to kill their one person's going to get killed. And then the other one five people are gonna die or one person's going to. Yeah, yeah, yes. I mean, it is all Matthew, but if you do start. But I think. And now, Yep, all it does is point out the frail, the of the human mind and how we have all these really kind of abstract are rationale for why things are moral or more like a robot. If the robot would pick to to kill this one person on the trolley truck, that same robot would definitely pick to kill. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So the modern form of the problem was first introduced in nineteen sixty seven. However, an earlier virgin in which one person to be sacrificed on the track was the switch. Men's child was part of a moral questionnaire given to undergraduates at the university washing Wisconsin in nineteen. Oh, five. So that's where it started. Okay. You mentioned Watson, you said at diagnosis cancer, an eighty percent success rate and on colleges or at five whole percent or in two thousand sixteen human experts at the university of North Carolina school of medicine tested Watson, by having an analyze a thousand cancer diagnoses in ninety nine percent of the cases Watson was able to recommend treatment plans at matched actual suggestions from oncologist, not only that, but because it can read and digest thous of documents and minutes, Watson, found treatment options. Human doctors missed in thirty percent of the cases, the is processing power, allowed it to take into account all the research papers or clinical trials at the human on colonists might not have read at the time of diagnosis. The thing I was talking about sawn sixty minutes who was pretty cool. It was just about diagnosing the patient with cancer to begin with. It wasn't like recommending treatment distancing. I saw. But they can diagnose cancer. They're not very good at it. They're they're right about half the time is what this thing said. Okay. That's it. That was that. Did you like you've all? Yeah, I did. Did you immensely? Can you walk me through what was going on in your in your head while it was happening? I mean, it was just like being in school being in the best lecture? Yeah. Okay. Last can I just say one fun fact about evolved? Yes. Please or so a fun comical fact was when you've all arrived, we learned that he had just met with somebody in that person who he had met with lives, like one hundred and fifty feet from us. Yes, but you can exit the neighborhood on the northern south side and they had exited on the wrong side. And then it took them fifteen minutes to get here through the back door when he got, here's a, oh, so sorry. It was took us fifteen minutes, you know, to get from this person's house. And I said, you know, that person's houses. One hundred fifty that way and it was. We had a good little charcoal. Nice laugh as a great little icebreaker. All right. All right, loving ready.
Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard