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Bio
The Technician
No Imperfections Noted
The Jeff and Casey Show
Jeff and Casey Time
Casey Muratori
Seattle, WA
McGruff the Crime Dog
"It takes five monitors to be an asshole. Nobody's an asshole with just one screen anymore."
Original air date: April 7th, 2014
Topics. Basic line numbering. Micorosft Visual Studio. The C++ Standards Committee. Intel. CPUs. Snookie. Kim Kardashian. Large Hadron Collider. STD quarks. Human evolution. The Alien in the Basement. will.i.am. Sugar cooling. Alienware. Star Trek IV. Whales. Narwhals. Klingons. Star Trek: First Contact. Time travel. Porn goggles. War. Opiates. Religion. Watson. SkyNet. Terminator 2. Wall street. The barter economy. Cost of living. Bookies. Casinos. Stock brokers. Interest. Economics. Zero-growth scenarios. Corportations.
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Transcript
Jeff:
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Jeff & Casey Show.
Casey:
Hello, and welcome to the Jeff & Casey Show.
Jeff:
Right. You just got upset because I said, “What episode number is this?” And you’re like, “Don’t do that because we always delete these or we move them out of order…”
Casey:
Yeah. I mean, this is the point is that when you’re recording something like a podcast, you don’t know ahead of time what you’re gonna be doing with that recording. So you’re gonna have…
Jeff:
Do you feel like I’m dating this?
Casey:
Okay, you can do one of 2 things.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Either you can stop saying anything that says what the date is or what episode number at the top of the show or…
Jeff:
Well, can I say when we record it?
Casey:
Hold on. No.
Jeff:
God damn it.
Casey:
Or you can use some kind of a basic line numbering scheme where you say, “Welcome to episode a hundred,” so that if we need to go back and insert something in between, too, that we’ve aired…
Jeff:
Oh, I see. This is like Basic line numbers….
Casey:
Basic line numbering…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
You can do one of those two things but that’s it.
Jeff:
You know, I once had a customer early on in about 1995. And they were having a problem. And this was back when we were selling Smacker. And they were like, “I have some problem.” I said, “No problem. Why don’t you send me your code? Let me try to run it here.”
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
He had written all of his C as if it was Basic.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Because it’s technically legal in C to have numeric labels.
Casey:
Oh, okay.
Jeff:
You know, the “Go to: ‘blah’”, those can be numbers.
Casey:
So the actual C grammar allows them to be… If something is followed by a colon…
Jeff:
It’s a label.
Casey:
Even if it’s a number, it becomes a label. It’s not an illegal…
Jeff:
It’s the way they rock.
Casey:
Alright. That’s great.
Jeff:
So I loaded it. And it was like he didn’t use for loops, he didn’t use [ Wiles ]. He just Go to-ed from the bottom to the top.
Casey:
Awesome.
Jeff:
It was nuts.
Casey:
I love it.
Jeff:
It was nuts. He could have probably skipped over and just wrote assembly for the way this was written like the higher order concept…
Casey:
Yeah, on some level.
Jeff:
It was a disaster. Also…
Casey:
That’s so weird because the whole thing…
Jeff:
The bug ended up being because he was calling Smacker with the insufficient number of parameters.
Casey:
How come… Oh, did you have some kind of stuff turned off for warnings or…
Jeff:
Well, I was like, “This shouldn’t even compile,” and he’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. When we turn that shit on, it’s just so many warnings.” I’m like, “Okay, here’s what you’re gonna do. Here’s how you’re gonna fix all the warnings…”
Casey:
Although if you just… I mean, maybe just turn that one on. That’s not a bad warning.
Jeff:
They ended up shipping, over the next there or four years, they turned into a company that shipped a lot of games.
Casey:
Really.
Jeff:
So somehow, they just powered through…
Casey:
See, the weird thing about that…
Jeff:
It may be that they just didn’t get into any trouble like in terms of… They didn’t bury themselves in complexity because it was impossible to do the exact complex…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
So they were like, “Well, everything’s pretty straightforward.”
Casey:
It’s just weird to do it with line numbers because the whole thing with C labels is that if you want to use Go to’s, they’re so much more convenient because you only have to put a label where you actually want it to jump. It’s so odd to go back to… That’s weird…
Jeff:
It seemed like he’d done it with some editor that handled it because it did…
Casey:
Seriously? What editor has that feature.
Jeff:
It was enough stuff that you were like, “I don’t… [ He did this ] by hand,” or you’re just really odd dude…
Casey:
Autistic man… Alright.
Jeff:
But anyway, he did leave the standard basic thing of leaving 10, 20, 30, 40 so that he could have a 45 when he put it in.
Casey:
It would be better if instead of actually getting to a place where we didn’t need these anymore, if we had just continued down that rat hole. So like, the new innovation would be like floating point line numbers. So now, you don’t have to worry about ever… You could always find a place in between to…
Jeff:
If digital studio was happening in 1920…
Casey:
That’s where we’d be.
Jeff:
That’s where we’d be. They’d have graphical display like you could right-click and it would take you to the labels…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And they’d talk about our new Go to capabilities. It would be a new feature. And they have something like [ Team go to ]…
Casey:
Right. I’m just gonna say it would be like Microsoft Visual Studio Line collaboration tool…
Jeff:
Line collaboration… Because you can’t all name your lines… And then they do things like, “Oh, well that is a pain. So what we’ve done now is we’ve allowed you to keep the number system within the procedure separate…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And then you can run the ports, like what happens on all your line 10’s?
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And then somewhat… No one would… But they totally miss the fact that this is just wrong because that’s how they kind of evolve. They evolve on what is there and easy to add to their shit versus what actually makes their life simple.
Casey:
I feel like the C++ standards committee would have all kinds of great stuff to do there, too. They would have been like, “Okay, look. We realize that there’s a bunch of things that are hard to do with line numbers. So what we’ve introduced is the ability to have line numbers for your line numbers. So each line number can itself get a new line number so that that way, you can reference it by that additional line number without having to use the original line number.
Jeff:
Well, what you can do is you can call a procedure with a line number parameter.
Casey:
Right. Exactly.
Jeff:
With a label… And that allows you to polymorphical…
Casey:
You can pass line number into other things, exactly.
Jeff:
Yeah. Anyway…
Casey:
It’s like what number is this, you know… Maybe you wanted a rational exactly line number for this line…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Or an irrational line number… You can have, like, polymorphic… Was this line irrational? I don’t know. You can make a template of… It cracks whether or not… You know, you use that to determine whether it was irrational or non-irrational. But of course, we don’t actually have an ability for you to check whether it’s rational or irrational at the call. You have to implement some weird, like, “Can this thing be eventually represented in decimal template meta-programming things?”
Jeff:
Yeah. You’d have to do a template thing as like…
Casey:
Absolutely.
Jeff:
Yeah, number series…
Casey:
Oh, C++…
Jeff:
Anyway, I just… I don’t know… Oh, because of the… Alright, so this is episode 110.
Casey:
Yeah, this is episode 1,000 of the Jeff & Casey Show. So today, we're going to cover a topic that was originally brought up by…
Jeff:
Wait, can we just mention right now that we are in crystalline 24-bit audio right now?
Casey:
That’s true.
Jeff:
I don’t know if the listeners out there can tell…
Casey:
I think they can tell.
Jeff:
That extra 8 bit…
Casey:
I think they can tell. The extra 8 bits makes all the difference.
Jeff:
I feel like 24-bits was made for us. We have that dynamic range.
Casey:
We do have that dynamic range.
Jeff:
And we’ll use it.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
Yes, we’re 24-bit. So that means one of two things — this will be sound just fantastic…
Casey:
Or you’ll never hear the show.
Jeff:
Or you’ll never it won’t read the file. Both of things are on the table…
Casey:
Actually, it could be that it’s like, they’re hearing it right now and it’s like… Something went horribly wrong and that was the best we could get out of the audio.
Jeff:
That’s awesome.
Casey:
But yes, you know, I was listening to… I mixed down the first 6 ones that we have recorded. And I was listening to them.
Jeff:
So this is episode 7.
Casey:
Within the first 6, there was already a bunch of errors. As I was listening to them, I’m like, “Oh, God.”
Jeff:
Really?
Casey:
So the audio has brought us back to full… Yeah… ‘Cos I was listening… First of all, when I was trying to say how an MRI worked, I was totally wrong.
Jeff:
You went and looked it up?
Casey:
’Cos I went and looked it up and it was… First of all, it’s even more banana cakes than I thought it was. It doesn’t make any sense. I would basically encourage anyone who listened to that podcast to actually go read how an MRI works and just be, like, “This is impossible. It should not fucking work at all because…”
Jeff:
There’s a surprising number of things in the world that I don’t believe really exist even though they do.
Casey:
You sound like [ John Blow ] all of a sudden.
Jeff:
Well, no…
Casey:
That’s something he would say.
Jeff:
I mean, that’s a good example. Like it is… Given our shitty process, our shitty software and the general quality of the Intel engineers…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
It is impossible that a CPU exists. Like John is right…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
It is somehow… I don’t know how they work…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But I don’t believe that they do.
Casey:
Okay. But they obviously do.
Jeff:
I don’t think so. I think something’s happening…
Casey:
Alright, so I have a counterpoint to this line of reasoning which I agree is not as far-fetched as it sounds at first ‘cos when people say something like, “I don’t believe that CPU’s actual work,” it sounds ridiculous when you say it. But in actuality, there is some validity to that point which is basically that these things are so complicated that given how poorly we seem to do much more straightforward tasks, it seems impossible to conceive of a world where we could also do this other thing which is so much more complicated.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
How is that happening?
Jeff:
And the CPU is a bad example like the Hadron collider.
Casey:
Yes, exactly. How is that possible?
Jeff:
That’s not in our same universe. And we talked about this before. I can’t remember what we said. The same universe that had Snookie in it, right? It was something like that. We can’t have a universe with the Kardashians and the LHC.
Casey:
Now, on the other hand, if someone can build a collider that accelerated Snookie and Kim Kardashian into each other at close to the speed of light, the particles that would come out of, that would be so absurd.
Jeff:
Yeah, that’s right. They’d be little tan babies. They’re so tan.
Casey:
Tan quarks, silicone quarks… There’d be a bunch of different new quarks we discovered.
Jeff:
All wearing lots of Axe body spray.
Casey:
Right. STD quarks. There’d be a lot of disease quarks probably come out of there, as well. I have a feeling that’s just all [ bad all around ]. Now, strangely enough, no matter how many of those collisions you do, the intelligence [ bozon ] will never be found.
Jeff:
Never, no.
Casey:
They’ll never find that particle.
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
Yeah. Okay, so I do have one thing to say to both you and [ John Blow ] which is not actually to disagree with you. It’s more to just point out a weird way of looking at the world that counters that weird way of looking at the world in an interesting way that may be fruitful to consider. And that is that if you look at it less about “we tried to make a microprocessor and succeeded”…
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
Which I agree is not possible.
Jeff:
It’s impossible.
Casey:
If you look at it more in a natural selection, backwards looking way…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
So it’s like, if you think about how did nature make a human, it seems so unlikely. But then, it’s like… Well, that’s not really what happened. It’s not that nature set out to make a human and mate it, it’s that a bunch of random processes occurred and the human happened to be the most advanced life form thing that emerged out of those random processes. There was no volition involved in making the human.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
It wasn’t like we had a blueprint for a human 14 million years ago or something and then we got one for trying to build it.
Jeff:
Alright.
Casey:
That’s not what happened. What happened was we had a bunch of random processes and they, over time, latched. They got better and better with the selection mechanism to eventually produce a human. And there might be many different ways those random processes could’ve… There could’ve been lots of different human-level quality things that could’ve happened through different sets like how the random numbers played out, right, it’s like die roll. You keep rolling the die and you ratcheting it up as you go. Well, we did it one hill climb… There may have been many other hill climbs. So when you look back at just one potential history and go, “How remarkable is it that we made a human?” The answer is that it might not be that remarkable because there may have been millions of different high order life forms that could’ve happened with a different series of die rolls that you would’ve gotten.
Jeff:
Okay. Right. Okay.
Casey:
Does that make some sense?
Jeff:
Alright. So you’re saying in alternate histories, there is no transistor but there’s wicked good medicine and everyone lives long. . .
Casey:
Yeah, whatever…
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
So I’m saying if you looked at technology that way, it’s like no one tried to make a transistor. There’s just random people working on random stuff who just have the sanity, enough sanity, to keep doing something once it works. That is the only thing that actually occurred.
Jeff:
I see.
Casey:
And eventually, out of that, you get a transistor. And yes, not a single God damned human may have ever actually sat down with a plan to start from nothing and build a transistor. That may not literally be impossible. Like, humans may be completely incapable of starting from zero and making a transistor but they don’t have to. They just have to, throughout history, keep ratcheting up and doing random things on top of their ratchet and eventually you fucking get a transistor. Does that make sense?
Jeff:
Yeah, I can see where you’re going there but I still think it’s the alien in the basement that’s doing that.
Casey:
There could be an alien in the basement at Intel. That’s totally possible. But I’m just saying I don’t think it’s necessary.
Jeff:
When he quotes stock price, sell that shit. Sell that shit. I also like that…
Casey:
Maybe it’s a very long-lived alien, though.
Jeff:
That’s true.
Casey:
What’s the alien’s name, in a basement at Intel? If you think there’s an alien in the basement of Intel…
Jeff:
I think his name is probably Intel and that’s what “Intel inside” means. It’s like a real little twist of the knife. He’s like, “Hey, you know what our jingle is? It’s Intel inside. Hahaha… Here’s the rule…”
Casey:
Wait, so why is he… So they have him locked in the…
Jeff:
Oh, yeah.
Casey:
Like, he’s a prisoner…
Jeff:
He’s not gonna hang around the Intel engineers. Are you kidding me?
Casey:
I don’t know.
Jeff:
They come down and they’re like, “Hey, I got this idea. Will I Am is gonna be our chief technology and dance video and the alien just puts his face in his hands and rubs it. He’s like, “Oh, my God. I wish my spaceship didn’t run out of gas.” He’s just really sad.
Casey:
Maybe that’s who Will I Am is. Maybe Will I Am is actually the Intel alien and he’s just learning to talk, like he’s learning to speak English. The doesn’t really know how to communicate with humans. He’s really very smart. He just sounds like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he hasn’t mastered the language.
Jeff:
I don’t know if that’s true…
Casey:
Probably not.
Jeff:
Because I feel like analysis of the lyrics are mostly about drinking and a lot of things that I feel like an alien would not be interested in if he went to earth.
Casey:
Why do you think an alien wouldn’t be interested in coming to earth?
Jeff:
I feel like there are better places to party than earth if you’re an alien.
Casey:
How do you know this?
Jeff:
Well, because I just…
Casey:
What makes you think that?
Jeff:
Because I feel like if you are a super advanced alien and you’re gonna fly all the way here…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
And all you have is Jersey Shore dudes and Axe body spray and…
Casey:
But wait. No, you know he’s not a super advanced alien because if fucking Intel could lock him up successfully, how advanced could he be?
Jeff:
No, I think he just… He crashed.
Casey:
Yes, okay.
Jeff:
He’s…
Casey:
Why don’t you tell me the whole story? So somewhere out in space, there’s a planet of aliens who can build microprocessors. They know how to do that.
Jeff:
Okay, so here’s what I think. I think there is… So let’s come up with a plausible scenario.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So we have to have an alien that lived an extremely long time because they have to get here from very far away.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So they have to be something that is more like… I don’t know, something that is not going to deteriorate, some very…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Like, you can’t be in the body of Will I am ‘cos he’s gonna croak.
Casey:
How do you know? Maybe he looks…
Jeff:
No, I mean like cellular… That’s not gonna work. You’re gonna have to be something else.
Casey:
Well, it could be. I mean, we age… We could go forever if we didn’t sort of have pre-programmed aging and other things in our cells. So it could be…
Jeff:
I hear that over and over again and then, at the same time, you see Alz-- I think it’s one of those things that as we knock of, like, “Oh, hey, we turned off the system by which we…
Casey:
No, no. I’m just saying it could be cellular. It could be a more intelligently designed cellular system, right.
Jeff:
Oh, I see.
Casey:
I think they have…
Jeff:
I think it would have to be more…
Casey:
There are bacterial colonies that live for very long.
Jeff:
I think it would have to be more physical than chemical to last a long time.
Casey:
There’s no difference between those 2 things but, okay.
Jeff:
No, but I mean like it has to be electric like where you’re not enzyming shit like… Chemical and physical different in the sense of the processes that happen… Or, I mean it’s the same things as the difference between…
Casey:
It’s a scale question…
Jeff:
We all put the sugar on top of the CPU, we plug it in?
Casey:
What?
Jeff:
Like, there are more efficient… There are more efficiencies being at an atomic level of energy than doing… Like, alright, we don’t want to have to feed the alien sugar because that stupid shit is gonna be full of bananas.
Casey:
Dude, okay, first of all, I would like to state for the record that I do not believe Alienware would be incapable, literally the Alienware the company…
Jeff:
Not the Alienware… The company?
Casey:
Alienware would be…
Jeff:
Wait, the company?
Casey:
I could see the company, Alienware, shipping a CPU that has to have a sugar cube on top of it for some reason. That is not out of the question. They’d be like, “Alright, look, guys. I realized that it’s a pain in the ass to constantly pour a bunch of…” He’s got, like, a big funnel on top and you have to pour all this sugar into the top. And he’s like, “Look, but the gaming performance is great.”
Jeff:
It’s 5% better.
Casey:
We could only over clock it by having it be sugar-cooled. This is our new sugar-cooled system. It’s fine. Okay, keep going.
Jeff:
Okay, so anyway, it would have to be something that lived a long time because it had to get here from somewhere.
Casey:
Yes. Okay.
Jeff:
So it gets here and something terrible happens that is very unlikely like his ship being damaged in a very unlikely way because he had to get here for so long and nothing else happened unless he was just around the block and he’s like a teenager and he crashes his car in the cul-de-sac.
Casey:
Right. You don’t know the nature of this alien.
Jeff:
But I’m assuming that he had to come from a long way because there’s a lot more long way than there is nearby.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So percentages says he’s coming from a long way.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So he comes and he gets hit by a meteor or something that’s unlikely that he didn’t see.
Casey:
So when he comes here…
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
Now, you are imagining that he came here recently?
Jeff:
No. I assume that he’s been here for a long fucking time and bored out of his mind.
Casey:
Okay, so basically… Did he come before humans or during humans?
Jeff:
I would assume that he’s been around for a lot longer than humans.
Casey:
So he may have been… There could have been, like, “It’s primordial soup time.”
Jeff:
I would assume he… Yes.
Casey:
And he landed here and he was like, “Fuck.”
Jeff:
He’s like, “Fuck.”
Casey:
There’s nothing here. It’s just like a lava planet or something.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
It just sucks. And he…
Jeff:
It’s terrible.
Casey:
Yes. And he’s sort of like… Lightning storms…
Jeff:
[ Right around with ] the dinosaurs…
Casey:
Still waiting to, like, fuse some stuff into a single cell organism…
Jeff:
Well, you’re still one guy.
Casey:
Okay. Yes.
Jeff:
Like, even if you’re super smart now and they just drop you on a planet, unless you’re that dude who drinks his urine, you’re gonna give pretty quick.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
Even you being an advanced person…
Casey:
When you say the dude who drinks his urine, you’re talking about Kevin Costner in Waterworld?
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
Like he’s…
Jeff:
No, I’m talking about the guy, the survivalist. He’s on one of those reality shows. They drop him in the middle of nowhere and he has to survive.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
One time, he was like…
Casey:
I’ve heard of this but I’ve never seen it.
Jeff:
Bear something maybe? I don’t know.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Anyway, so he’s all by himself. He can’t just start constructing things to get off the planet.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
It’s just him. So he’s like, “Alright, fuck.” And we’ve already said he’s lived a long time. He’s just gonna wait it out ‘til he has enough things around him to like, “Okay. Alright, let’s get these humans on [ fabs ] because I’m gonna need [ fabs ] to build something.” And this is, like, his long-term play…
Casey:
So you’re basically saying that this dude crashed his space ship…
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
He needs to repair it or build a new one, like whatever has to happen…
Jeff:
He needs to wait until our tech [ gets to the point to build the stuff ]…
Casey:
So in your mind…
Jeff:
Probably, as soon as he gets to fusion, we figure out a way to do fusion, he’s like, “Alright, thanks, guys. I’m out of here.” And then that’s where…
Casey:
When we have that product? Okay.
Jeff:
We’re at 5 gigahertz, from then on… We stop at 5. And Intel’s like… When the [ fabs ] start deteriorating, it’s like, “These little last ones…”
Casey:
So in your mind, this is not dissimilar to the plot from Star Trek 4. It’s like…
Jeff:
What is the 4th?
Casey:
Scotty comes down and he’s like, “We need to build a whale tank. You guys don’t know how to build glass strong enough to hold it.”
Jeff:
Wait, were the whales old?
Casey:
You didn’t see Star Trek 4?
Jeff:
No, but… Wait, 4 is the one where they come back and they take a whale back up…
Casey:
Yeah, so in the…
Jeff:
But the whales are not super…
Casey:
In the infinitesimal wisdom of the people who write Star Trek, which I guess I shouldn’t be so flippant because I thought Star Trek 2 was very well done and I think Nicolas Myer actually wrote Star Trek 4, as well…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Heaven help him. For some reason, he decided…
Jeff:
That’s a more comedic one, right?
Casey:
It’s comedic and it actually works… The comedy’s not bad, if I remember it correctly. It’s just…
Jeff:
I don’t remember…
Casey:
Guys, it’s science fiction. At least try to make something vaguely interesting.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
The concept that is satellite or alien spacecraft is coming back and causing problems for earth because there are no whales to sing back to it is fucked up.
Jeff:
Oh, that’s the…
Casey:
I mean, come on.
Jeff:
Wait, I thought that… Isn’t that Star Trek 1, too? Doesn’t Voyager come back and start blowing…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
We’ve gotta stop sending things away.
Casey:
We do. Anyway, so Star Trek 4, they need to come back and they need to get a whale. That’s the bit. We need to get a whale. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna time travel back in time which apparently you can just do even though no one prior or since has done it in Star Trek, in spite of the immense…
Jeff:
This is one of those sequence problems where you’re like, “Wait, you just need a whale? Why are you going back in time? It’s like… At that point in time, you’re just like, “We’re just going to genetically engineer the whale.”
Casey:
And I think… So they did that and they did it on purpose. They go around the sun. And I think one other time… I don’t know Star Trek very well but I believe one other time, it happens by accident or something…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
’Cos Star Trek: First Contact, also they go back in time but it’s ‘cos someone else like the Borgs sent them back through a worm… I don’t fucking know. I don’t remember…
Jeff:
Oh, yeah, right. I remember that one.
Casey:
All I know is there’s been at least 2 time travels that happened. And one of them has volitional and you’re just like, “Okay, if there was volitional time travel, people would be doing this all the fucking time.” You could not have a war between 2 major factions of the galaxy and not having them time travel the shit out of each other…
Jeff:
Time travel is the end of civilization….
Casey:
Yeah, so anyway…
Jeff:
Not because they disrupt the timeline
Casey:
No, it’s fine.
Jeff:
But because everybody won’t make any forward progress because every time they fuck up, they’re just gonna go back…
Casey:
Right, exactly. It’s a disaster. But apparently, it’s fine if you need to get a whale. So they go back in time to get a whale.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
They’re on some Klingon… They’re on a bird of prey that they got on at the end of 3…
Jeff:
Oh, I remember that.
Casey:
They’re on a bird of prey. They go around the sun with that. They’re back there, hovering over earth’s atmosphere. They got to get a whale back.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
But the problem… And this obviously is a planning problem. I guess somehow, Klingons have never thought about aquatic transport.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
So their ship is not outfitted to transport a whale. Do you see the problem?
Jeff:
[ Kapla ] does not mean “get a whale”.
Casey:
Exactly. Whale does not exist in Klingon. They didn’t have it on their planet.
Jeff:
No.
Casey:
They just had big beefy, like gladiator whales that wore armor and shit and fought with their flippers.
Jeff:
They’re all the whales with the stick.
Casey:
Right, narwhal.
Jeff:
That’s all they have.
Casey:
Fighting narwhal.
Jeff:
Yeah. With forehead ridges. . .
Casey:
Exactly. So that’s actually perfect. A narwhal is the Klingon whale. It’s like we took a fucking whale and we stuck something on its forehead to let you know that it’s not a whale.
Jeff:
It is extreme.
Casey:
It’s an alien whale. So anyway, they go back there. They go down to the planet’s surface. And they have to have someone build them a tank that they can put on to this Klingon vessel in this bay, I guess. I don’t remember. That they could put a whale and water in…
Jeff:
Right, I remember that now.
Casey:
So the idea is they build the thing, put it in the ship, we’ll beam the whale up into it, and then we will go back around the sun because apparently forward time travel also works, conveniently (it’s good to know). And then we’ll beam the whale from the tank back into the ocean.
Jeff:
I see.
Casey:
Very meticulously planned. So the problem is, I guess, humans do not have a way of building a tank…
Jeff:
Strong enough wall or something?
Casey:
That can hold the whale…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Because it’s too big and they don’t know how to do it. Now, that doesn’t really make any sense because I feel like concrete would do the job.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
But I guess maybe they wanted it nice and translucent? I’m not sure. There’s no weight in space so I don’t think you would care how heavy it was although inertial-ly, maybe it would be a problem. Like, the space ship itself has to accelerate into warp speed. So maybe… But it doesn’t matter because the water is gonna be way heavier than the wall so…
Jeff:
Exactly.
Casey:
Not to mention the fact that what happens to liquids when you hit warp?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Like, oh fuck, man. That whale’s gonna be mushed against the side of the fucking thing. But alright, I don’t know. I guess that’s not a problem ‘cos they don’t get mushed across the side of things so I guess you’re inertial frame is not a problem…
Jeff:
No, no, they actually have… There are [ inertial dampeners ] ‘cos they always say [ inertial dampeners offline ].
Casey:
Which don’t work…
Jeff:
And then they go [ flying ].
Casey:
Which don’t work when they get hit by a missile, apparently ‘cos they all shudder even when it’s a minor…
Jeff:
Well, no. It’s just like audio normalization. It’s just the moving average. And then they don’t quite get it and so you get a little bit of shakey shake going on.
Casey:
Anyway, ignoring all that ridiculous Star Trek awesomeness, the point that I have been sort of tugging at for this entire time and failing to reach was simply that that is what… The situation you were describing with the alien is exactly what happens. The Star Trek crew goes down to earth to get this thing built. And they can’t build it. So they kind of miracle them the formula for ultra strong glass which, of course, is just known in the future. The polymer that is the infinitely strong…
Jeff:
Transparent aluminum…
Casey:
Something or whatever it is. I don’t remember what it was.
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
And so, they just build that. And that sounded exactly like what you’re talking about, the alien. The alien knows how to build a super micro processor.
Jeff:
Oh, I see.
Casey:
And he needs it for him. So he’s willing to have us learn these things because he needs us to build it for him…
Jeff:
I see.
Casey:
Because of his situation.
Jeff:
We’re being used, I see. Alright. Well, that’s what’s happening.
Casey:
Glad I got that out there for you.
Jeff:
Alright. When we hit 5 gigahertz, he’s going home.
Casey:
So keep going… So this alien crash-landed on the planet.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
He has been biding his time…
Jeff:
I don’t think… He’s not help hostage as much as he is, like…
Casey:
He has help us because he needs this to happen.
Jeff:
No, he needs to build these tech to happen and it has to…
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
Anyway…
Casey:
So complete the story. So alien crash-lands, biding his time…
Jeff:
Biding his time… He’s waiting…
Casey:
Has he intervened at other levels in history? Was he… Like, Bronze Age/Iron Age, was he helping out or was he just sitting around…
Jeff:
I would assume he’s… I think he sees us as like muscle. Like, we will help get the job done but I don’t think he gives two shits.
Casey:
But, I mean, has he been helping our progress all along? Was the steam engine…
Jeff:
Well…
Casey:
Was there not steam engine until the alien said, “Look, guys, light it on fire and fucking make the water go…” Was that him?
Jeff:
Yeah, I don’t know. It would be an open question on whether that… He’s like, “Well, I know enough about the way these things go at the life span I’m at. The getting from steam to nuclear takes 200 years.”
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
Or getting from nothing to the point at which we’re molecularly manipulating matter…
Casey:
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Jeff:
Takes about 250 years and then whether he goes, “Alright, I’ll speed that up,” or, “I’ll slow that down,” assuming he’s been here 60 million years or whatever or more…
Casey:
It wouldn’t be that bummed to wait…
Jeff:
He doesn’t give a shit. He’s like, “I don’t need them.
Casey:
“I’m gonna sit this one out.”
Jeff:
“I hope they don’t kill all of each other. Otherwise, I’ve got to wait for the dolphins, I’ll have to wait for the raccoons…”
Casey:
I don’t buy your argument because if that was the case, why is he helping Intel?
Jeff:
What do you mean?
Casey:
Why did he jump in now?
Jeff:
I don’t think he jumped in now. He’s like… He got in in 1969 or whatever when we’re like, “Alright, we can start making these transistors.” And now that this is a point at which you guys have reached the limit of what you’re capable of… It may even have been like, “Hey, nuclear power whatever… We go back to the point at which we go, “That’s too crazy for humans to really pull off.”
Casey:
Alright.
Jeff:
We go to the point at which intelligence is too extreme from what somebody’s able to conceive of and what the average human is thinking.
Casey:
Alright. Okay.
Jeff:
So who know when that is?
Casey:
I was misinterpreting your statement. So if I understand you correctly, what happened was something like this — Alien crash-lands on the planet long, long time ago. And he’s like, “I’m fucked now.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
But he doesn’t die and he maybe can’t commit suicide or whatever. So he just sits there waiting.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Like, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe someone will come find me. I don’t know.”
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
He waits many millions of years and eventually he sees humans on the scene starting to do some stuff. And he’s like, “Oh.”
Jeff:
And maybe he’s monitoring the other creatures that have some…
Casey:
Just to see… But he sees… And he’s like, “Oh, the apes are doing good…”
Jeff:
The apes have got a chance.
Casey:
“This is good. These guys will eventually build spaceships. And I’ll get on one of these spaceships and I’ll go home.” That’s what he’s thinking in his head.
Jeff:
Or he will manipulate…
Casey:
Hold on. Hold on. I’m just gonna see if I can put it together ‘cos it sounded like you were saying something very specific. I’ll see if… “And I’ll go home.” So he keeps waiting up on his mountain part lair, wherever he lives, under the water, I don’t know, a giant squid, whatever he’s doing…
Jeff:
Where would he live?
Casey:
But at some point in, like, 1950 or 60, we tap out. It’s like, we got nothing. And he’s like, “What is going on?” It’s like, “They should have been building a transistor-powered microprocessor…”
Jeff:
“Why are they watching Elvis Presley?”
Casey:
“What is this [ iniac ] piece of shit… Like, this is crap,” or whatever, right?
Jeff:
Well, it’s when we became… When we started getting distracted by trivial things. He’s like, “God damn it, guys.”
Casey:
So then he goes… So he thinks we topped up. So he’s like, “Fuck. I gotta get in there.” So he’s like, “Maybe if I go show them how to do some of these things, I can get them over the hump.”
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
But he’s never got us over the hump. So he’s just in there working now, he’s working for us, basically, hoping eventually we’ll get up to the point where we can build him a spaceship.
Jeff:
I assume there are endpoints in technology, I think. I don’t think we have, like, this… Like, you know, the normal thing… The normal philosophical kind of way to talk about this stuff is eventually we get to the point where we can be digitally stored, singularity happens or whatever, we upload our consciousness, we live forever, right? That’s, like, the end game of the nonsense people…
Casey:
Yeah, let’s push that on the stack.
Jeff:
Okay. What I’m gonna say is I don’t see that as the end game. I see our end game as being very close to where we are.
Casey:
Oh, no. Really?
Jeff:
We’re gonna get fusion. We’re gonna get very low level manipulation of…
Casey:
We’re gonna use fusion power? We have a fusion bomb?
Jeff:
Yes, right. And then, we’re gonna get to the point where we can manipulate matter itself molecularly.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
And then we’re just going to make porn on the oculus for the rest of the time.
Casey:
Okay. Alright, okay.
Jeff:
We’re just like, “Alright, this is it. Our basic needs are kept. We got the fusion generator running Alaska. That’s it for the world.”
Casey:
Right. Alright.
Jeff:
And we don’t… It’ll get to the point where our progress is stunted by our massive inattention or short attention span.
Casey:
So basically, what you’re saying is like, [ Slurryware ] or whoever brings us the feeding tube, the computer-controlled feeding tube, and oculus rift, the porn goggles that have an autoerotic device. Once we have that, it’s done ‘cos the humans are so pleased, they’re like, “This is all we ever needed,” and then they’re done.
Jeff:
Well, I don’t think there’s any question we have a very specific thing that will mock us out as a species…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Which is once we have direct stimulation of our brain, like, specifically…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
I mean, we see this with other animals and we see this with drug addicts. Once we can just press the dopamine button, then we’re done. We won’t leave the house. And it will take, like 2 or 3 years and then, poof, no one will have kids, no one will be like, “Hey, it just ended. What happened here?” And they’ll look back… Because I think once you have that, people are not… I don’t think people especially people who have not done drugs or done things where you, like, get external stimulation of emotions that you normally feel…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Don’t get that once they have that, it’s all over.
Casey:
So I actually am inclined to disagree with you on that.
Jeff:
Interesting.
Casey:
And the reason that I’m inclined to disagree with you on that is… And granted, this is such a far-fetched scenario… Or far-fetched is the wrong word. It’s such a far out in the future scenario that, like, it’s difficult to… 50 years, even, is a long time to try and really predict, right?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
So it’s far… What you’re talking about is far enough out even if it’s only 50 years in the future that it’s hard for me to really think about it, in a concrete term. But my gut reaction to what you’re saying is that that’s not what will happen. And the reason that I think that is actually somewhat intricate. It’s that I think… You know, I don’t like war very much. I’m not a war person. But as much as, in that way, I often try to see things from as many angles as I can just ‘cos I feel like there’s always something to learn there; war has an interesting thing to it where I kind of have to appreciate its existence because I feel like war and our propensity for it as a species has given us something that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
And that is a fair number of individuals in our species seem to be born with traits that you could only really ascribe to being necessary for a war machine. There’s a number of them.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
There’s like patriotism, like tribal instincts and stuff like this and “us versus them” kinds of stuff that seem pretty primal…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
But there’s also other things like being willing to forego immediate rewards and people who don’t do things that are pleasurable things for them on purpose, all these different things… And they seem, to me, to be about, like, “Okay, why did Westerners wipe out Native Americans and stuff like that?” And like, I feel like some of that is just some strains of our DNA were bred for doing all these things that are against what you would normally do for your own self-satisfaction and harmony because you are a war machine. You are about making sure that you don’t take these pleasurable things so that when you will fight the other tribe, you win because they were all sitting around doing more harmonious, more pleasurable activities.
Jeff:
Possibly…
Casey:
Which is smarter… Everyone should have been doing that thing. If you can have the whole world be peaceful in a teepee and, you know, whatever we’re gonna do, right? That’s actually better…
Jeff:
But I think…
Casey:
But…
Jeff:
Yeah. I see what you’re saying but I think that what that gives us, like, as a person, like, “Hey, I like feeling dopey and silly…”
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
That’s one way to look at it and, like, “Oh, a lot of people are not gonna be into that.” The point of… Once we really understand how our brain works and directly manipulate it, is if you are the kind of person that gets off on the adrenaline of fighting, we’ll just give you that…
Casey:
No, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the… I believe that if what you’re talking starts to happen, there will be a significant segment of the population who refuses to use those things.
Jeff:
Oh, I definitely will agree with that. I definitely agree with that.
Casey:
And they will take over. They will rule society and all of the rest of the people will be marginalized.
Jeff:
Yeah, that’s possible.
Casey:
And that’s what I mean by… It is those workings in our brains that would allow that to happen ‘cos normally, I would agree with you. If we hadn’t been so bred for attempting superiority over each other, I feel like what you’re saying would definitely happen.
Jeff:
I just think there’s going to be a reaction to that happening.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Because we won’t know how bad it is at first. Once we’re able to do this, we’ll be like, “Oh, this is amazing. Have you fucked on the thing? It’s incredible? Have you eaten? Have you tried the thing where they just…” And whatever you like, it’s that good.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
We won’t know that… I feel like it’s going to be the kind of thing that’s so fast that we’re gonna be left with thousands of people on earth and maybe they explode back up again but I think that society itself will… I feel like it’s a fall apart event.
Casey:
Much like war, I think religion’s in that same category ‘cos I don’t like religion at all. But I still respect some aspects of it. And that would be a perfect example of that. There will be a religion, possibly a major one, which is like, “You must not use these machines.”
Jeff:
I think there will be very… I 100% agree that they will say they don’t because it is exactly… You will not need religion anymore. It will be like drug addicts. It will be the most amazing thing ever. So definitely the way…
Casey:
So that’s why I think you’re right on that.
Jeff:
I just think that we underestimate something… ‘Cos drugs take a lot of people, pull a lot of people under very easily.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
None of those drugs are custom-made for people. The closest that we can say that were designer drugs is the opiates, right, because they’ve evolved with us for so God damn long, right, and they work in this perfect key way where you’re like, “Oh, my God. This is so perfect.”
Casey:
I don’t really know much about that.
Jeff:
Those are the ones that are like… You’re like, “Holy shit. How does this exist when we’re on the planet, too?” You know, like, “Well, because we came up together, it’s this great thing…” But the effects of this will be nothing like opiates. It will be a thousand-fold stronger. And I think the people that can really… It will be a just say… Never once… What is that thing for meth? Not even once.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
Don’t try it, not even once. That’s the best chance they got. And tech doesn’t work that way at least initially. I mean, they used to have opium dens in New York, right? And marijuana was put in cough syrup. All these drugs had… Before we knew they were addictive… Were available… If there’s any availability on the direct manipulation of the mind, it’s just gonna be something that, like, is so fast and so overwhelming that we’re going to have no response.
Casey:
But we’re already there. I mean, this podcast is a perfect example of how we, the Jeff & Casey Show, are already warding off the downfall of civilization by alerting people to this problem. This podcast may turn out to save the world, Jeff.
Jeff:
Yes, it’s true.
Casey:
This may save the world because without this podcast, people may not have thought about this and would have blindly gone off the cliff that you’re talking about. But now that they know, we have [ inoculated ] them. And because so many people listen to the show… I mean, literally, dozens of people listen to this show…
Jeff:
Will survive?
Casey:
And those dozens of people may even tell their kids…
Jeff:
I feel like it’s gonna be…
Casey:
So we can have literally hundreds of people surviving…
Jeff:
It will also be so shitty…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
It will be so shitty in the world without everything because then we’re in the situation of waiting like… Look, I am a very technical person.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
I work on very difficult technical things.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
If the generator stops working in this building, I’m fucked.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
I can’t even go fix the small stuff.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And I’m super handy. I can probably build…
Casey:
You’re better than me. I’m the worst off.
Jeff:
I can probably build a shack.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But like, I’m done programming the minute…
Casey:
I’m a [inaudible 42:08]
Jeff:
I’m not going to the power plant and rebooting. That’s not happening. John Miles will be fine.
Casey:
John Miles probably will be fine.
Jeff:
Yeah, he’s like… He’ll figure out a way to get his electricity going.
Casey:
Yeah, he’ll generate some kind of something with a hand crank… Or he could rig something pretty quickly.
Jeff:
Yeah, I don’t know. I do feel like there are limits. But I mean, the weird thing about that is people are always like, “We need to get off the planet. We need to do these things. We need to keep the thing…”
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
You know, there’s evolution happening.
Casey:
Yeah, we do need to get off the planet but that’s separate…
Jeff:
But I will just say this. The world has been destroyed down to, like, cinders 7 or 8 times in its existence and we still popped back up. If humans wipe up, it will take another hundred million years but something will come back up. It’s just…
Casey:
Oh, they’re only talking about if we want humans, as a species, to continue.
Jeff:
Specifically…
Casey:
Yeah. Nobody’s talking about…
Jeff:
Intelligence happens.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So it’s like, “Alright, yes, we’re pretty awesome but we’re also pretty shitty.”
Casey:
Well, intelligence happens in some States of the Union, not all of them. Like Southern California probably not so much.
Jeff:
Oh, yes.
Casey:
Well, I guess, I mean… But the other thing is, though, too…
Jeff:
There is a default preciousness people think about in terms of our intelligence but I think that, like…
Casey:
But we don’t really know. That’s the other thing is we don’t know how likely intelligence is to happen, right? We don’t know the die rolls necessary for that.
Jeff:
Yes. That is true. But we do know life has started. We can say that life has gone down to nothing and then restarted 6 times. We do have evidence of that. So we do know that life will happen…
Casey:
When you say life, you mean, self-reproducing structure of some kind? Or?
Jeff:
Yeah, like we’ve seen cellular…
Casey:
What’s life?
Jeff:
I mean, yeah, that’s a good… The same thing we’re looking for on Mars…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Cells, some… It doesn’t have to be smart.
Casey:
Something that can reproduce itself.
Jeff:
Once we can get to the point of where there’s cells and we have water, then something going to evolve over time based on the conditions as long as that is there.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And the conditions on earth are such that we know it’s happened a couple times because it’s been… We’ve been to the point where asteroids and the Cold Era in Russia… All these things have happened over the point of time at which when they did hit, it was an extinction event. And given another 100 million years, poof, we have… Now, whether intelligence always is the natural end of life, I don’t know. That’s a good question. I assume that it is because…
Casey:
Logically, the answer would probably be that intelligence is not the logical end and that there’s actually quite a bit beyond intelligence because, presumably, we just think of intelligence as the end because that happens to be the most advanced thing we have observed…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
But, you know, it’s entirely possible that that is what would have been “thought” by organisms before intelligence. Obviously, they can’t think. But if you magically popped up at that time, you’d be like, “Wow, we are so advanced.” Our multi-cellular organism that doesn’t even have a nervous system or whatever look at those single-celled organisms… I guess if you give it enough time, you can get to multi-cellular or whatever the fuck, right?
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
So at any point in time, you presumably think that the most advanced thing is the end of the line…
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
But who knows? So there may be things way better than intelligence down the line that we just don’t know about because you can’t really conceive something that far past what we know. It’s too hard probably for us to conceptualize…
Jeff:
It’s Watson basically. That’s the end game. It’s Watson.
Casey:
It can play Jeopardy.
Jeff:
And that’s it. It can play Jeopardy.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
But nothing else. It can’t move around.
Casey:
No.
Jeff:
And it can only answer in the form of a question. That is the end game. I saw an awesome thing where, like, someone had written a letter to the editor and I can’t remember…
Casey:
A letter to the editor of a magazine?
Jeff:
It was a newspaper.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
And this got copied around on the internet as they always are. But it was a guy saying, like, “You know what we should do is we should get rid of all these judges and have Watson decide the outcome of all cases because he’s impartial.” And I’m like…
Casey:
Please tell me that’s not true.
Jeff:
No, that’s what the guy… I mean, I’ve talked with people before who think Watson is thinking and not just like… And you’re like… And you want to break it to them like, “No, dude. Watson’s grep and like, some sorting, it’s a weighted grep.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
That’s all Watson is. That’s not what people do. The difference between what people do and the weighted grep is so vast and ridiculous…
Casey:
Well, I will tell you one thing with is that I doubt it would be much worse than our current judicial system, right? So like, I agree that making…
Jeff:
What is 10 years?
Casey:
Yeah, you’re right. I agree that making a judge that was, like, good would be a very hard, artificial intelligence problem because it has to understand the input in some structural way that it can determine what’s the best thing for a society. You have to start… At that point, you even have to answer questions that are not even logistical like how active is… Like, what leeway should a judge have in deciding things because let’s say we make one that’s absolutely adherent to the law, do we want that or do we want something that can be lenient, can be merciful, right? All that stuff but even assuming either way, that’s actually hard. Making something that’s as fickle as our current system may be no harder than rand mod 2.
Jeff:
So what this is is there’s a young John Conner who’s growing up to be an attorney…
Casey:
What?
Jeff:
And then, the legal net…
Casey:
From Terminator?
Jeff:
The legal net in the future has expanded and has ruled on our fate in a nanosecond and decides we need to send back one of the legal machines to destroy John Conner before because…
Casey:
I see. Well, no, you won’t destroy him. Just argue him…
Jeff:
You just argue him to death, yeah.
Casey:
You just argue with him so he would lose the argument.
Jeff:
If the end game of [ Sky Map ] was [ a legal net ]… If it wasn’t… That makes way more sense in our current world is it probably would be like… It’s not gonna be a war machine, the war computers. It would probably be some finance algorithm like the one that becomes intelligent…
Casey:
It’s funny you should bring this up because I actually watched Terminator 2 literally 4 days ago. I was looking for something on Netflix and it happened to be on there. Netflix, by the way…
Jeff:
I didn’t love Terminator 2..
Casey:
Has like, no movies…
Jeff:
I liked Terminator a lot. I didn’t love Terminator 2.
Casey:
I actually… Love may be a strong word. I do quite like Terminator 2. And most of that is just because… And we’ve talked about this when we did the Pacific Rim cast, right, which is that I actually… It sounds like, when I’m talking… At least I feel like people interpret it this way. It sound like when I talk about movies that I’m like a movie snob or something. But in actuality…
Jeff:
You’re not really.
Casey:
I’m not at all. I’m actually I’m not at all. I have a pretty low bar for movies. And when I go to a movie…
Jeff:
Well, I mean, you’re not watching [ Day for Night ]. You’re not watching kind of the “foo foo” high end films…
Casey:
Yeah, I don’t even like… Like you know, most that stuff is lost on me, right. Fancy filmmaking is lost on me. Like I said oftentimes… Like, even in that in that podcast… I don’t know… Alfonso cuaran versus fucking… I don’t know any of those guys and someone was actually mad. They’re like, “I can’t believe you don’t know this writer.” I’m like, “I don’t know dorks and I don’t care”, like I literally just don’t. And so, when I go to the movies really what I’m looking for is I want an exciting action spectacle. I want what movies were kind of about in the Cinerama… Like, you know, Lawrence of Arabia… I want the big… We’re doing some big spectacle thing. I like that. I don’t need it to be artsy or whatever. It’s just I can’t handle it when it doesn’t make sense. That’s the only problem.
Jeff:
But just to be clear. And you don’t mean, “Make sense” in our world. You mean make sense within its own rules…
Casey:
Just its own… Right. It could be the most fucking arbitrary set of rules that they want, right? And as long as they adhere to those rules…
Jeff:
You’re fine.
Casey:
I’m totally fine with it, right. And usually, I basically have things… I’ll usually rank things kind of on the spectrum of how integral was this to their premise. So for example, if you could’ve just removed the scene that didn’t make sense and the rest of the movie still works, I’m unlikely to… That will probably not ruin the movie for me because it’s like, “Alright, the cool stuff that I liked about the movie didn’t hinge on this ridiculous thing.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
It was just a ridiculous thing that happened that was like, “You probably shouldn’t have had that in there. It was dumb,” but whatever, right? So anyway, Terminator 2, I actually liked quite a bit because it is still from the old school of movie-making where the sequence of events actually makes some logical sense. Like the Terminators don’t randomly show up at places and fight which is how they would do it now. If you made Terminator 2, there’d be a sequence of the Terminators fighting and you’d have no idea how the fuck they got there. Whereas in Terminator 2, they actually take time to go like, “Oh, okay. He thinks that he’s there. Okay. They called here to see… So now, this Terminator doesn’t know where the other Terminator is taking the kid. So he starts searching places…” They actually behave in ways that makes the plot work in some way. It’s not as masterful as, say, The Fugitive (which was my favorite of those) where they managed to keep this whole cat and mouse thing going where every time, there is a real reason for each person to know where the other one was and all that stuff, right? It’s that kind of thing. So I watched Terminator 2 and I quite liked it. I do remember there being one thing that was bizarre which was the central premise of Terminator 2 is that, like, the reason there’s a nuclear holocaust (and I think this was what I was about to get to when we kind of went down on that tangent, this ridiculous tangent)… The reason there’s a nuclear holocaust is because Skynet starts to become out of control. They don’t really say what this necessarily means but like, it starts…
Jeff:
Well, in Terminator 1, they had decided that humans weren’t worth it.
Casey:
No, no, no. That’s… So…
Jeff:
Terminator 1, right? They decided… They launched the missiles intentionally.
Casey:
So just to be clear on what they said in Terminator 2… I don’t necessarily remember Terminator 1 because I haven’t seen that recently. In Terminator 2, what they said was, “Skynet starts to become sentient… Like, reaches a level of…”
Jeff:
And then they try to unplug it. It gets scared.
Casey:
They try to unplug it.
Jeff:
And so it destroys us.
Casey:
No. So what they claim happened… And this is the part that doesn’t make any sense to me at all…
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
What they claimed happened is it then launches a nuclear attack on Russia because that’s what it can do so that Russia will retaliate and wipe out the people who were trying to unplug Skynet, who were trying to take Skynet down.
Jeff:
Okay. I don’t remember that part.
Casey:
That’s what they said.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
Now, trying to play that out in my head, there is no way I can make that work even at all. Like, how you have a system which, A, is susceptible to unplugging meaning there is some way that humans could theoretically shut it down, but that is undamaged by a massive nuclear assault that wipes out all of the humans in the locations that could have shut it down…
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
Not very likely. Just not a very likely thing. I think you’ve got a problem there. But either way, that is what supposedly happened.
Jeff:
I see. I don’t remember… I thought it was that…
Casey:
It was a ping pong…
Jeff:
I thought that they quickly took control of everything. I don’t know. There’s probably, in that way…
Casey:
That’s what they said in Terminator 2.
Jeff:
Yeah. In that way, there’s a ton of patch up work that goes on in those. When there’s a popular story like that, there’s comics. There’s books. There’s all that stuff. You go in and repatch all that shit it…
Casey:
I don’t know how much patching you could do but, yeah, sure.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
I’m sorry I derailed you there. You were trying to say… You were trying to imagine the legal Terminator…
Jeff:
Well, I think in the legal Terminator… Well, I was imagining the thing that would have the intelligence that would be the one that went out of control…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
And you could argue that that’s already happened and that’s why the stock market keeps crashing. That’s the only way. He has to destroy us. And he’s like, “We’re so close in 2008…” We waited all these years and they waited for Glass Stengal, they’re just working on it. So now, they’re lobbying and then they’ll get the right set of deregulation to happen. And this time will really push the humans to the brink.
Casey:
I feel like it’s interesting to try and imagine the sort of the actual kind of computer apocalypse that could theoretically happen. And it…
Jeff:
In the real world, like in our universe?
Casey:
Yeah. It seems to me like it is so unreasonable to expect that if there ever was a computer-driven apocalypse, that it has anything to do with anything other than bugs. Like it seems to be, the concept of the computer starts intentionally trying to do something. It’s so absurd because it seems so much more likely that it will just start failing in a very bad way.
Jeff:
No, I think it would just be the thing of, like, software ends up everywhere and it is…
Casey:
It all goes to shit…
Jeff:
It all goes to shit and everything launches accidentally because they had an off by one error. And everybody has loaded the same [ software everywhere ]. And then they all actually launch at the exact same time. And we’re like, “What the fuck happened?”
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
And then like, “Oh, God damn it.” It would be probably more like that.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
I have to think more about that. I mean, for the most part, when everybody talks about cyber-terrorism and all that nonsense, the day to day… If computers just didn’t work anymore, I feel like it would be chaos for one or two months while we straightened out where everybody’s fucking balance is and, like what money we have…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
But I think we would be able to live in a world without the internet pretty easily.
Casey:
Well, you know, honestly the biggest problem that we would hit by far (which sounds very unglamorous) but I think the number 1 problem would be the massive scale of unemployment that would happen if IT and manufacturing for tech went away.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
I mean, ‘cos one of the things that is fairly underappreciated is the fact that right now, we entirely live on a synthetic economy. Most of the things that you do and buy have nothing to do with sustaining you.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
Like your food budget is still probably a third of your budget or something like this but it’s a third. The other two-thirds, entirely synthetic, right? You didn’t need the TV. You didn’t need the computer. You didn’t need the software. You didn’t need the phone. You didn’t need most of your furniture.
Jeff:
Yeah. That’s actually kind of interesting…
Casey:
There’s so many things you don’t need.
Jeff:
What you add up… I mean, for me, it’s absurd ratio anyway…
Casey:
But I’m talking about for a less wealthy individual.
Jeff:
Yeah, but for the normal people, if it’s just food and lodging, that is even… For almost anybody, it’s gonna be a small percent of the total.
Casey:
And if you’re not talking about eating healthily, like if you’re talking about, “I’m just trying to survive,” the calorie density in something like a loaf of bread that you can buy for a Dollar or 2 at the store… I mean, you only need 2,000 calories a day. You can get that in a fucking $3 bag of cookies.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
So if you’re actually talking about subsistence, the actual amount of money that you need to spend to subsist is incredibly low. And in fact, lodging would actually come out way higher if you actually… ‘Cos a lot of places, it’s much more expensive just to have a place to stay than it is to get the food you need. So as a result, if you actually think about it in a slightly different way and go, “What would happen if we were reduced back to sort of the barter economy level of things where it’s like, “We’ve got food,” and people are pitching tents and shit but that’s where we’re at, the resultant complete lack of people’s ability to make a living would be… That would be the problem. It would just be unruly mobs of poor people everywhere. We’d all be poor. You and I would be broke, right?
Jeff:
The University of Phoenix is gonna teach everybody to be plumbers and ditch diggers…
Casey:
You don’t need any of that shit.
Jeff:
Oh, dude. That will spring up as long as they can borrow money to go to get my…
Casey:
Where are you gonna borrow money from? The banks wouldn’t be able to keep track of that shit.
Jeff:
Oh, they’ll keep… Oh, lending will not go over. Are you kidding? That is absolutely…
Casey:
As long as there are still pencils.
Jeff:
Yeah. They had lending in [ Sumerian ] times…
Casey:
You’re right. Oh, no. Yeah, I know, that’s true. Yeah.
Jeff:
Like, yeah… Lending’s no problem.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
It just will be lending not electronically but arbitrage is all very different in a physical way. But yeah, I think it would be that. I mean, it would be trade schools and all that [ turn up ] quickly…
Casey:
Yeah, it’d be a massive reboot..
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
’Cos even the lending, like you said, has to be retrained. Like, Wall Street wouldn’t know how to exist without computers. They’d have to go way back to square one and be greedy dicks with a pen and paper all of a sudden.
Jeff:
That’s right.
Casey:
It’s like, “I don’t know how to be an asshole with this.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
“Well, you’re gonna have to learn, God damn it.”
Jeff:
Now buckle down and fuck someone.
Casey:
I love the Wall Street thing, too, when you see it now, right. Like, it takes 5 monitors to be an asshole or something. You know, you see those pictures and it’s like, nobody’s an asshole with just one screen anymore. Like, they’ve got this bank of Matrox-driven, 6-display, like there’s graphs and charts and everything. It’s like, all that screen real estate just to be a dick, right?
Jeff:
Well, I don’t even think about it like that. Most of modern finance is sales, it’s convincing somebody to invest in something. It’s like…
Casey:
Yeah, I’m talking about the trading but you’re right.
Jeff:
But they still have those…
Casey:
It’s meeting rooms were you sell the State of Chicago…
Jeff:
But they still have graphs going up and down. It doesn’t matter. You’re selling what we told you to sell. Who cares what the stock is doing?
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
We own 60%, we sell the other 40 and we can move it up and down all we want. We can make a graph do it. That graph is draggable, not reacting.
Casey:
I think you’re being even a little bit oldschool with what you’re talking about there. Maybe in 1920… Nowadays, it’s like, “Which direction did the graph go?” And, like, “We don’t fucking care because we sold have of a way… If a stock goes up, we fuck Chicago. If the stock goes down, we fuck Minneapolis because we sold both municipalities some shit products. We make fees no matter what.”
Jeff:
I will say this… That’s the worst thing about modern finance now is not just that because if you’re a bookie and your job is to balance the bets and the odds…
Casey:
Right. So you take 10% no matter what…
Jeff:
You take 10% no matter what. I’m okay with that as a business. Bookies, I have no problem with the service they’re providing…
Casey:
Because they’re pretty upfront…
Jeff:
That’s not what finance does.
Casey:
No, it’s not.
Jeff:
Finance is doing… They’re like, “That’s not good enough. We still have that.” But we’re actively shorting things that we’re telling people to sell because they’re playing… They’re on one side of the best sometimes. So they’re not doing the thing where they’re… And that’s why it’s so bad is at least with a bookie, they’ll only be as bad as the delay in keeping those bets balanced.
Casey:
Right. Right.
Jeff:
And like, hey, when something bad happens… If an athlete gets hurt right before a big game, it does spike and they can lose money. But finance just goes, “Well, if I’m on the side of the bet and I’m selling this, I control both sides of the lever,” that’s great when you do but if something goes wrong…
Casey:
Yes, yes…
Jeff:
You’re just fucked. That’s what happens over and over again. And so, yeah, finance is way worse than bookies, way worse than a lot of… It’s way worse than casinos, right, ‘cos at least with the casino, you’re not doing… They don’t have the control that even finance does. It’s terrifying.
Casey:
Oh, definitely. Well, yeah…
Jeff:
Of a bet, of any particular bet…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Finance controls all the ends. They control the percentage they make. They control one side. And they can put you in and win you. They can win or lose you…
Casey:
With casinos at least, too, the odds of the game are known and fixed. It’s like, we know what roulette is. We know what craps is. And they aren’t trying to hide it from you. They’re not like, “I don’t know,” you know. It’s what it is.
Jeff:
Well, it can’t get any worse than what the bet is.
Casey:
Exactly. And the odds don’t get any worse than what they are. The casinos don’t, as far as I know, try to manipulate the dice that they’re using or whatever to make… But finance absolutely does. They’re like, won’t sell you shit…
Jeff:
’Cos they’re not doing the things. When people are not investors, they imagine finance is selling IBM to a person, selling a stock to them. That’s not what they do.
Casey:
Yeah. That’s a hundred year-old concept or whatever.
Jeff:
Finance is making up products to sell that they control the product now which is things that are bundled together. As simple as something like a mutual fund with hundreds of things within it to as complicated as derivatives that they barely understand themselves. So the products that they’re selling are not… This isn’t market-driven stuff anymore.
Casey:
Well, what it is is it’s basically a program. Like the way that I think of those finance things and specifically how they got so fucked up is it’s exactly analogous to a bad programmer who made a large program. They start with something that is a function and the function’s kinda buggy. It only sort of works. And that’s sort of like when they go, “Okay, we have a function which computes the chance that a mortgage will go wrong,” or whatever right?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
And that function is buggy as hell. It only works for a very small range of inputs and all these other stuff, right? But then, they’re like… They go one level up in the program and they just see the name of the function which is “Chance house will go bad” and then like, “Oh, that computes the exact chance that the house will go bad. Awesome. If I use that, I can make this other function which can compute the chance of a bunch of different house things that I have going bad to produce composite chance set of houses will go bad.” And they keep building all the way up. Now, each one of those functions is buggy as fuck. It doesn’t work at all. It’s a fuzzy function that only sometimes returns the correct results. And other times, it’s totally wrong, right? And then they’re just like, they build this giant program that really is pretty complicated. It’s got fucking 15 function calls in it or some ridiculous thing which, for finance, is too many. And since all of them are broken, it’s only a matter of time before you pick some inputs, a year has some inputs, then the whole thing goes to shit. And that’s exactly what happens. Unfortunately, they don’t think of things that way, right? As far as I can tell, finance people don’t think of things that way at all. They think of things, like, “Oh, we found this set of things that has these correlative properties which means we produced a product with exactly does X.” It’s like, “No, it doesn’t even sort of do X. You guys are completely fooling yourselves.”
Jeff:
I think they also think of the things that they build as resources or as, like, “We discovered something.”
Casey:
Right. Right.
Jeff:
“We discovered the physical law that allows you to reduce risks by adding them together.”
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
And you’re like, “That’s only valid for the underlying thing.” So that’s what I find funny if you talk about to finance people is they don’t… They don’t see this as they’re building a program or they’re building a set of algorithms.
Casey:
Yes, they don’t see that. They see it as analysis.
Jeff:
They are discovering…
Casey:
We analyze this and this is how it behaves.
Jeff:
They discover natural law…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
And then we are simply… We just discovered it like discovering electricity.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
We have found a way that you make money with these conditions. And you’re like, “Well, that’s not what you did.”
Casey:
It’s very disappointing. You’ve seen this too, in fact, with the Enron thing was exactly the same, right? It’s people who think… They think. . . They internalize into their head that a particular mathematical analysis of something is a function. It has a behavior that you can use. But that’s not what that is. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what the math is trying to tell you. It’s like there are people who don’t really understand the meaning of math. They only understand some math that they’ve been taught or something like this. And they think it means something very different. They think it means… They think statistics means the outcome but it’s not. That’s not what statistics is, right? Statistics is a way of talking about how a series of things, if they were distributed randomly, would end up. It’s telling you where most of the darts would be or whatever, right? It’s like, you have to have a more concrete understanding of just how ephemeral this thing is that you’re looking at. And it only works backwards. It never works forwards. Extrapolation isn’t a thing that statistics can really do for a system that doesn’t always behave in the same distribution, right? It’s like, if that distribution changes at all, it’s no longer valid. And it’s changing like with the sorts of things that they’re analyzing. So it’s incredibly frustrating with how they do things. It’s just like it’s so… Do you think there’s an alien in finance? Is one of your aliens who crashed landed, are they… And this was, like, the dumbass brother of the original alien who knows how to build the microprocessor and he’s like, he ended up in Wall Street and he’s just doing this shit and fucking it up…
Jeff:
I haven’t thought… I was talking about this with somebody of, like… It feels like in tech, there is a direction of complexity that’s increasing to do more things.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But the only thing that finance seems to do as it increases complexity is hide risk from the people that are putting money into the system such that you can take that money for yourself, right?
Casey:
Right. It’s a way of convincing them that the risk isn’t there even though the risk is still there.
Jeff:
And sometimes, they fool themselves and they believe that.
Casey:
That’s true.
Jeff:
Sometimes, they’re just like, “No, this is just an outright scam.”
Casey:
It seems to me like that is sort of what separates “good banks from bad banks”. And I mean that not in morality terms but I mean like the bad banks are the ones who are fooled by their own risk hiding. And the good banks are the ones who know it’s bullshit and know they can sell it to somebody. So they’re like, “We ain’t betting on this shit.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
“If anything, we’re betting against this shit but we’re gonna sell it to you as if we minimized the risks.”
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
So that’s like Goldman Sachs knows their stuff is crap and Bear Stearns doesn’t. That’s how that goes.
Jeff:
So what I’m saying about that is since the direction is only for increasing this fiat imaginary thing that can’t be used even in all of the world, let alone outside… It’s not serving to create the rocket that gets you off, the fusion that gets you off the earth…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
It literally is completely imaginary. I don’t think the alien goes there. He’s just like, “This doesn’t get anywhere.”
Casey:
I’m just saying it could be a different alien. It could be an alien from a planet of people who think… Who had some technology from the other aliens, like they kind of got it [ miracle ] and they just…
Jeff:
What do you think… So at the limit, acquisition of more money is only useful in the sense of making your life better and then having more power to get more money, right…
Casey:
Here’s the pitch. Here’s my pitch.
Jeff:
What is your alien’s long…
Casey:
Here’s my pitch. I’ll pitch it to you. You don’t think there is. I’m gonna pitch it to you. So here’s what happens. You have the alien that builds a microprocessor, right? So that alien comes from a species of people who build shit and is really good at it, right?
Jeff:
Or just wants to get home.
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
He’s the MacGyver of aliens.
Casey:
Whatever.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
On the next planet over, so that’s in the solar system… It’s going around, right… On the planet Intel, on the Will I Am planet or whatever it is that’s floating around the sun, the next planet over is… I don’t know… We’ll call it [ Trough Town ]. And on that planet, what has evolved is basically this blobby thing, right. And there’s a plentiful supply of ground rodents or something that is scurrying around. And this blob thing just kind of oozes around. And when it sees one of those little guys, it goes, like, “Don’t mind if I do,” and eats it.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
And it just kind of eats it, eats it, eats it, eats it. So all it does is try to get bigger all the time, right?
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
So when the other aliens end up coming down to this planet, the ones that have all the technology, right… The blob alien is like… Because it’s basically been evolved to constantly do whatever it takes to kind of get bigger, it’s like, “Oh, guys, great news. I can help you get these little rodent thing to eat or whatever. I just need you to help me with this technology. You give me some of this technology and I’ll give you all the rodents or whatever the fuck that you need,” and that’s their special thing that they’re bred to be able to do. These blobs can convince you that by feeding them, by helping them eat more shit or accumulate more shit into themselves, that somehow, you are getting benefited. Now, no benefit actually ever has to materialize. They’re just very good at convincing you to do that, right?
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
So somehow, that works. And the blobs, maybe it’s the selection process. The blobs that are good enough to convince these other aliens that for some reason they need to take blobs with them where they go, right?
Jeff:
Yes.
Casey:
They’re the ones who get off that planet and end up on earth when the spaceship crash-lands. Like, that dude who goes to work at Intel, his blob that he had with him (because he believes he needs a blob) is here, too. And that blob goes and starts and creates finance. That blob is like, “I need a way for people to get me shit without doing any work.”
Jeff:
But stay with the rules of the game a little bit which is that these things have to live a long time to get here.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
And they have to be… Whatever they do for themselves in this scenario has to benefit them in a way that they live so long that whatever we’re doing (watching TV, whatever) is going to seem so ridiculously fast and… It’s like what a hummingbird does when you can’t quite see what it’s doing to the flower…
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
The time span that finance is happening is so quick and nonsense. And currencies are exploding and going down. That doesn’t allow them to gain anything real, right? Like, over time…
Casey:
I just look at it at a different way. These aliens are not about making a value judgment. They simply take as much as they can at all times.
Jeff:
Well, I could see that but…
Casey:
So this just happens to be the most that they can take right now.
Jeff:
If there was such an alien, it seems like…
Casey:
They are a minimum effort, maximum input organism. They want to do the least amount of physical work and eat the most.
Jeff:
Isn’t that just gonna be some, like, algae or something that just explodes and surrounds the earth immediately?
Casey:
No, because that’s the beauty of finance. You can have all the algae working for you. You don’t have to actually do any of the photosynthesis yourself. You farm that shit out and you take fucking 20% of everyone else’s work for doing nothing.
Jeff:
For whatever reason, that seems more far-fetched to me. It seems like finance… Finance, to me, just seems like this really crazy thing that is seductive to people and sucks them in. It’s like a drug in that way.
Casey:
I see it as just another natural selection thing. It stands to reason that if you can create people who are able to do 3 things — 1, have an unlimited amount of greed so they don’t tap out, they can’t tap out. If you tap out, it wouldn’t work, right? 2, they can convince themselves that they are doing something.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
They can convince themselves that they are doing something. And 3, that they can convince you that they are doing something. Right? That they are necessary.
Jeff:
Right.
Casey:
It stands to reason that if there is such a thing that could exist, and we know that there is ‘cos that’s what a Wall Street person is, right? We know that this can exist then it stands to reason that eventually humanity would find it. Humanity would generate the DNA breeding, whatever the fuck you need, to create someone who has a boundless desire to accumulate wealth, has the ability to convince themselves that no matter what they’re doing, it’s okay, and has the ability to convince you that what they are doing is necessary. And that’s what finance is. All it is is just people who do that all day. They go to convince you that instead of using your money the way you normally would, you should give it to them, and they should take some of it. And then they don’t actually do anything. They don’t give you anything in return ’cos the actual value of Wall Street as far as we’ve ever been able to analyze is, at best, neutral. It’s, at best, zero to the end user.
Jeff:
Well, even if it’s not neutral, the amazing thing about finance in terms of effectiveness in keeping the money supply in your favor is that even when stocks go up, even when the thing that got you to invest goes up, nobody every goes, “Okay, that’s enough.” They might sell a stock but very few people go, “Great. Pull all the money out. I’m gonna go buy a bigger house with it.” They just leave it in as this imaginary thing of, like…
Casey:
I’m not sure I follow you.
Jeff:
Well, when you’re putting money in a savings account…
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
You put money in a savings account then you take it out to pay the rent.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
You put it in and take it out. You put it in and take it out.
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Some percentage of the money that you give, you put into your investments and they go up. And they stay in your Schwab account.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
You buy and sell stocks and they go up…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
But it stays imaginary.
Casey:
Yes.
Jeff:
It’s not ‘til you actually pull it… ’Til you really have control of that, that it’s really in any way because… I mean, you remember in 2008 and I had all my money in E-trade and you called me at 6 AM and said, “Holy shit, dude. You gotta wake up. E-trade went from 22 to 25 cents.” And I spent a week waiting for my money to come out. Or it’s like the Bitcoin thing, when I sold all the Bitcoins in December and I’m like, “They’re letting me take out 50K a month.” That’s gonna take forever. That company’s gonna go under. So it’s not… The awesome thing about finance is most people, even when they have a gain, they leave it in their account so you can get them next time. It’s like a casino that never… You’re like… “You won $5,000 today on slots. Congratulations. I’ll hold on to this for you the next time you come back to our casino.”
Casey:
Right. Yeah, it’s just a running account.
Jeff:
And the people are like, “Okay. Yeah, that’s true. I won’t have to carry the check. You hold on to it. That’s fantastic.”
Casey:
Yeah.
Jeff:
Yeah, it’s an odd thing. So you’re likely to make another between. And at the limit, you’re usually going to fail. And they’re always gonna win ‘cos they get that little [ protection ].
Casey:
This podcast is going on forever.
Jeff:
Yes. We probably got to cut it off.
Casey:
We probably do have to cut it off at some point. I will say one thing, too, since we’ve gotten into the realm of the absolutely absurd at this point. I want to know… And I feel like somebody who is very good with economics, not what people call economics but I’m sure there’s people out there who do some good math on economics. I want to know if interest works without expansion. So if you are in a literally zero growth scenario, there is no more expansion, period.
Jeff:
Okay.
Casey:
There will be no more humans. The humans will not get any more productive. We literally have zero growth. The total number of resources that we have is fixed. No more wealth creation. So whatever that implies meaning anything that you have to do to fix that in the system… So you imagine, we’ve run out of space, can’t make more people. We’ve run out of ingenuity, can’t make any more tech. So it’s a closed system now that will not… It’s just a cycle.
Jeff:
If it’s closed, that means no one person can… Like, everyone gets their chance to earn interest for a little while but it can’t be one person ‘cos that will eventually take all the resources in the system, right?
Casey:
Well, this is my question. So is interest a thing…
Jeff:
So assuming you’re a corporation and you live forever…
Casey:
Yeah, I’m just saying… So I would like to know what are the circumstances ‘cos it seems to me that interest only makes sense if you assume that there’s more money later than there is now. Do you know what I mean?
Jeff:
Or if there’s a time…
Casey:
More wealth, I should say…
Jeff:
Well, there’s 2 times — in expansion or when you’re in the situation where you have money in certain times of the year and you have inventory in certain times of the year. That’s the other time that interest works, is when you’re like, “I’m a farmer and I have money,” or, “I have corn,” or, “I have something right now that I don’t in the winter.” So you lend it. That’s the other time you can do it. So like, “I’m well off now. I can lend you money. Eventually, I will need that money because if I don’t need it, if I’m only accumulating solely, then it explodes.”
Casey:
But what I’m saying is, in a closed system, does that work anymore? Because it doesn’t work, does it? Because you can’t actually have the interest keep going. Like you said, it would bankrupt the system. Even in a system that’s simple. So let’s say if I have 2 people who have alternating crops like you said, right, and one lends money to the other. The other would have to lend money back, presumably, during the cycle…
Jeff:
Well, the interest can be equal to whatever the system is capable of generating on its own. Like, assuming that people are able to produce work (not an increase of work but they can produce work) you can charge that amount, that percentage is whatever the people are producing. It can equal that.
Casey:
But you can’t, right? That’s what I’m saying. This is the part. This is the thing I want to get to ‘cos [ I ] don’t understand it. So let’s say I’ve got two people, right? And one of them has I guess… Wait a second… A cyclical…
Jeff:
It’s hard to say closed system because you still have the sunlight coming in to grow crops. There’s outside factors that you can…
Casey:
Well, closed system meaning it will be the same amount of production every year. So you know, we have $100 worth of corn produced from this field every year, or whatever it is, and $100 worth of apples produced by the orchard and we’re trying to do trade between these two or whatever the fuck it is, right? If either one of those people charges interest on the thing, the system ends very quickly because the interest just keeps getting worse, right? Somebody ends up with a net deficit that they can’t possibly get out of. Either that or one person got fucked.
Jeff:
Well, they get a net deficit, they get a net increase. And then the year after, the other guy gets a net increase and the other guy gets a net deficit. That’s fine. That’s what I’m trying to say. As long as it’s not one person that lives forever, it balances out which is why things like death taxes are important…
Casey:
So you can have interest as long as the interest actually isn’t really there meaning both people get the same interest at one point or another, meaning I got 20% but then I paid you 20% so it canceled itself out.
Jeff:
Yeah. But it happens in, like, when you’re young…
Casey:
I don’t think that’s true, though, because that would just be inflation. So I don’t think that actually works. That would literally just be inflation at that point. It wouldn’t actually be interest in real terms, meaning I wouldn’t have ended up with more wealth. I only end up with a bigger number. But that would just be inflated, right, in a closed system. It’s probably too hard for us to analyze…
Jeff:
I don’t know. I’d have to think about it ‘cos there are… There’s a lot of theoretical arguments…
Casey:
Someone out there… I’m sure someone in the podcast knows this. Send in a link that’s like —What happens in a closed system with interest? Does it work or is it not a thing?
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
’Cos I want to know if interest is just a transient thing that we happen to believe works ‘cos we’ve always been expanding and if we stop putting, it wouldn’t.
Jeff:
I think interest is important as long as we’re mortal, as long as we have a lifespan where we’re more effective at some points in life and less effective in others. I think those work. Where it doesn’t work is where you’re a corporation, you live forever, so you can accumulate wealth indefinitely…
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Like, corporations are a fairly modern thing. If Apple just continues to earn interest indefinitely forever and ever, they will eventually own everything just by natural use.
Casey:
What?
Jeff:
The smallest amount of money just stuck in the bank and sat on with no expenses will grow infinitely huge very quickly.
Casey:
No, it doesn’t.
Jeff:
What are you talking about? Interest compounds very quickly.
Casey:
No, that’s not true.
Jeff:
What are you talking about?
Casey:
Interest doesn’t compound any faster than inflation usually. In fact, it’s usually less.
Jeff:
Well, wait, there’s two things there. It depends on… If you include inflation in, like what the value of the Dollar…
Casey:
Well, you have to because without inflation… Yeah…
Jeff:
If you include inflation with it, then there’s always a difference. There’s always some difference between inflation and interest, either higher or lower. It oscillates back and forth.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
If a corporation is indefinitely long, they can play that arbitrage a long, long, long time. That’s why families like the Rockefellers still have a huge amount of money. It’s impossible for human lifespan to spend the kind of money that…
Casey:
I’m just saying that your premise of, “I put some money in the bank. Eventually, I’ll have all the money,” is totally wrong. That’s what I’m saying. I agree that they could be good at managing their money and continue to grow it if they were lucky and always picked good things. But they’re playing a game. They have to win that game. And there’s no reason why a corporation will necessary be able to win that game any better than anyone else is I guess what I’m trying to say.
Jeff:
Yeah.
Casey:
They could very easily make bad bets with that money or have a bank fuck them, which is entirely possible.
Jeff:
Well, the worst thing would be currency failure, things like that. But most of the…
Casey:
Or just bad investments.
Jeff:
But if you don’t do that, if you’re like, it just sits there and we’re counting on…
Casey:
That’s what I’m saying. There’s no such thing as just sitting there. You’re gonna need more than inflation. If it just sits there, it will be less than inflation.
Jeff:
No, for example, let’s say… Alright, I’m Apple right now and I’m like, “I don’t want to make iPads anymore.” And I have 100 billion Dollars in the bank…
Casey:
Right.
Jeff:
What you can do is make a long-term bet. Now, forget there’s people involved and forget… Let’s say it’s just the value of the corporation.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
Like, corporation as an entity or as a living being trying to protect itself. The smart move would simply be we’re gonna have massive deflation in the United States as the standard of living normalizes across the world over time.
Casey:
Okay.
Jeff:
So the smart thing to do their with their money… Like, the safe between over 200 years for them is just holding on to the money and putting it in the opposite currency that’s deflating, right?
Casey:
Well, what I’m saying is what you’re describing is not at all an automatic system for…
Jeff:
I suppose that’s true.
Casey:
You’re talking about totally risky, like…
Jeff:
I think it’s a long-term non-risk…
Casey:
Non-accumulatory things.
Jeff:
I think it’s a non-risky thing when you’re not looking at having to pay a mortgage, when you’re like, “I’m an invisible thing…”
Casey:
It’s less risky but I think you’re drastically overstating the case.
Jeff:
That’s probably where the actual alien is.
Casey:
At Apple?
Jeff:
No. The alien is not something that we consider a life form in any particular way. It’s an idea. And an idea is corporations and, like, somehow it’s like the way it infected the world of creating these things…
Casey:
I don’t understand why people say that. It’s the weirdest thing that I’ve ever heard. It was like this meme going around about how the singularity already happened in corporations or that thing or whatever. Governments are way more long-lived than corporations currently. Why didn’t people say that about governments?
Jeff:
Because corporations are not bound to any location. They can move wherever they want. Corporations are Governments ++. Corporations will be around a lot longer than the United States ‘cos as soon as the United States gets shaky, they just move somewhere else.
Casey:
But think about something like Britain or something. I mean, you think there’ll be corporations that will outlast Britain? So Britain will fall and then a corporation that’s been around from now will last a thousand years?
Jeff:
Well, I mean, there are Japanese companies that are, like, from the 12th… What was that one? There was that guy. They have been making… Fuck. Oh, I have to find it but it’s a corporation that’s almost a thousand years… Not a corporation but a family-owned business that has been running, doing the same thing for generation to generation for almost… I can’t remember. It was like, a long enough amount of time. It was way older than the United States. It’s not as old as Britain, obviously…
Casey:
I see.
Jeff:
But you’re like… Alright, well now, once that can go to the point where that corporation’s multinational and can move around, it’s like, “Oh, Japan fails? Well, our little outlet in Malaysia is doing great.” And then when that gets a little janky… As long as they keep putting out little pods, they can…
Casey:
We will see.
Jeff:
We won’t see.
Casey:
We won’t see? That’s awesome.
Jeff:
Alright, we’ve got to cut this off. We’re gonna fill up the God damned memory stick.
Casey:
That is… I pity the poor people who have listened all the way through.
Jeff:
I apologize. We apologize. I didn’t even think we’d talk about what we started with. We got off topic real quick.
Casey:
We did not even read the headline of the article that was supposed to be the topic.
Jeff:
Are you kidding me? This is all a tangent before the article?
Casey:
The fucking article was McGruff the Crime Dog. Did we mention a single thing?
Jeff:
So let’s call this episode “McGruff the Crime Dog” because… Holy shit, that’s the worst we’ve ever done. That’s the worst we’ve ever done.
Casey:
Maybe next week, we’ll talk about McGruff. Maybe we won’t.
Jeff:
That’s amazing.
Casey:
Thanks for listening, folks.
Jeff:
Thanks, everybody. We apologize.
Casey:
Have a great weekend. We apologize for this podcast.
Jeff:
Okay.
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casey muratori
the jeff and casey show - season 4 - episode 7
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