Vinay Gupta: The Cities That Will Walk Away

Welcome to the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker series. My name is Chrisstina Hamilton, the series director. Oh, I hope that you all are enjoying these very last days of summer, ’cause I’ve been thinking about all these borders coming up to today, and we find ourselves fast approaching a very serious border in Michigan, that is the autumnal equinox on Monday. It will be fall, so do enjoy. We have a summer weekend ahead. And today, in the heat, we present digital visionary and future builder, Vinay Gupta. A big thank you to our partners today for their support. This is in partnership with the New Media Caucus Border Control Symposium with support from the Dissonance Event series, and of course our series partner, Arts Engine. A special welcome today to Border Control Symposium attendees who are joining us from near and far. Yeah, somebody’s excited about that. Vinay Gupta is here as a special keynote moment to open the symposium, which focuses on our current moment in which borders and boundaries are being challenged in tangible and ephemeral contexts. Human migration, the transnational impact of the climate crisis and a resurgence of nationalism are defining issues at the macro scale, while more intimately, we are redefining our articulation of personal identities and communities, while simultaneously facing the shifting boundaries encompassing truth and facts. Incidentally, I didn’t wanna forget to mention this, because I just discovered this, very appropriately, our speaker, Mr. Gupta, today, hails from an ancient border region of Hadrian’s Wall, so perhaps this may be why he is so adept at speaking on things border. Today, he’s going to give us some big picture view of the systems, infrastructures and borders in which we are all enmeshed, whether we like it or not. So open your minds. This is good, creative… Food for the creative mind, I should say, perhaps with all of our creative art and design students in here, we’ll all find a way out. The Border Control Symposium is taking place here throughout the weekend, not here at the Michigan Theater, but on the event campus, through the School of Art and Design. It’s accompanied by an exhibition of the same name and focus, which opens tomorrow evening, with a reception from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Stamps Gallery, which is just down the street on Division. Oh no, I must not forget. This is for Stamps students in the audience, I have two announcements that I promised you. These are for clubs that you should join. You can join the Med Launch; creates projects that help disabled community members collaborate with engineering, LSA, pre med and business students who value your creative perspective. If you wanna join, email [email protected], ASAP, that’s WUMOLLY, or follow them on Instagram @medlaunch. And the other club which you should join, we have some members in the audience, folks, the Michigan Animation Club. It’s a student run, student taught organization dedicated to helping students find a passion and hone their skills in animation, from stop motion to cartooning to screen writing to 3D modeling. Meetings are always held 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Friday evenings, in the design studio at the Duderstadt Library and they will provide workshops and studio time for all variety of techniques and projects. So just show up ready to make. Oh, we did it. Okay. So we have a busy and a dynamic Penny Stamps Speaker Series season for you. Here we are at the top. If you haven’t got one yet, pick up our new season calendar in the lobby on your way out. You can find us online at This weekend, the Penny Stamps Series will host a special event at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or UMMA. Join us Saturday evening for a talk by Botswana born artist Meleko Mokgosi. That’s at 7:30 PM in the Helmut Stern Auditorium. And this is also UMMA’s opening… Fall opening after hours event, so you can explore the museum and enjoy food and music. And then join us back here again next Thursday where we will also be taking a special moment to celebrate Penny Stamps herself. We will be having a Q&A today, following the talk here. It will be in the screening room, so you can join us there directly following Vinay’s talk here. Exit the theater, take a left down the hallway towards the bathroom, and you’ll find another lobby where you can enter the screening room. And now for a proper introduction of our guest today. We have just the right person, who’s traveled here to be with us today as part of the symposium, Chicago based artist, curator, professor and President of the New Media Caucus, an organizing conduit for all things Border Control, please welcome Mat Rappaport. Thank you. Can everybody hear me okay? Awesome. Great. Well, it is my pleasure to introduce the Penny Stamps lecture and keynote lecture for the Border Control Symposium. Vinay Gupta is a software engineer, humanitarian and polymath futurist. His work seeks to transform capitalism from a system which prioritizes or has much waste, environmental damage and inequality and transform it into a model of sustainability through the use of big data, open source initiatives and blockchain technologies. Gupta is CEO of Mattereum and founder of Hexayurt Capital and Internet of Agreements. He coordinated Ethereum’s 2015 launch, acted as a strategic architect at Consensus, the leading crypto venture studio and designed Dubai’s national Blockchain strategy. He’s also known for his humanitarian work and the invention of Hexayurt, a public domain disaster relief shelter, and I believe he’ll be talking about that tonight, including or in conjunction rather with the Blockchain materials. In a recent article, he laid out stakes for the expanded application of Blockchain and Mattereum in particular, quote, “We need to squeeze every last grain of efficiency that we can out of the global economy because people are still hungry. The structural waste on a finite planet is the enemy of everything that lives. If the internet has a purpose, if the Blockchain has a purpose, this has to be part of it. We aren’t just fighting against authoritarianism. We’re also fighting against entropy.” So I think, from that statement, you can see the stakes and the way in which Gupta is considering complex systems, but also strategizing scalable solutions to the problems of our times. So with that in mind, with the challenges of our times, they require us to assess and engage and transform the roles, our roles rather, in political and economic economies. In political and economic economies and systems, rather. Voices like our distinguished speaker tonight help to frame where there are opportunities for us all to move forward. And with that, Vinay Gupta. Alright. Okay. Alright. Good afternoon, everyone. Right. So we have a clock, we have an audience, we’ve got some slides. Let’s do this thing. So, I’m gonna cover a lot of material in a very loose and informal manner… They work… Because the amount of material we’re gonna cover is very large and we’re gonna switch levels of discourse and perspectives several times and pretty quickly. I will try not to be too disorienting, but just be aware that we’re gonna start at the particular and go up to the large and the small and there’ll be some turning around. So I’m gonna start with, really, a quick way of thinking about the world. It’s very hard, if you want to have an overview of everything in existence, if you wanna think about whole systems. It’s very hard to do if you think in a lot of detail. Detail kills our ability to do overview, because your working memory is really only, what, seven plus or minus two objects. So if you’ve got three or four pieces of detail in there, you have to try and fit the rest of the world into four items. Being able to zoom back and lose detail without losing so much detail that your stuff just doesn’t work, is a critical skill in being able to think at a kind of systemic level. And it’s a skill that’s very hard to find inside of academia, because academia spends a lot of time on detail and correctness. And whole systems thinking generally requires you to be pretty fuzzy with the details, otherwise you just can’t fit it inside of a human skull. So here’s a simple little model of the world, right? Urban rich, 2 billion people. That’s us, generally speaking. Urban poor, this is generally the folks in the slums, roughly a billion people globally. Rural rich, there aren’t really half a billion rural rich, but there’s more than none, and that’s people who run ski lodges in Montana and stuff like that. And then rural poor is the average human being, in that it’s the largest single category. And this is people that grow almost all of their own food for themselves and their families on about an acre or two acres of land. And that’s what an average human looks like. Everyone else is an exception, that’s the fundamental base. And all of these groups are affected by climate change in different ways. But the vast majority of the damage will be to the rural poor because they’re the folks with the least resources and the least ability to get connected to global networks. If you’re urban poor and things go really badly, your city is still connected to the global network. There are trains, there are buses, there are boats, they’ll bring in food and work and money, or you can leave. If you’re rural poor and things go really wrong, you are stuck. And that was a common experience. If you think about the Great Depression and the American Dust Bowl, that’s what rural poor looks like. When things go wrong, you’re really really fragile. So we all know this stuff is happening, right? We’ve seen the fires, we’ve seen the floods, we’ve seen a little bit of drought and we’ve seen a lot of crop destruction from just rain coming at the wrong times or early frosts. The global warming thing, whether or not we’re entirely convinced of any specific piece of research, certainly seems to be a good way of describing what’s happening to the climate observationally. And even if you don’t think of global warming as being the driver of this, ’cause I know that’s a contentious issue in the States, unlike the rest of the world, we’re still in a position where things like topsoil depletion or biodiversity loss and deforestation are causing the same kind of damage, right? Global warming is one way of seeing what’s happening, but even if you pretend that isn’t happening, you still have an enormous onrush of environmental destruction that’s destabilizing ecosystems, because you need a certain amount of biomass before the biological system is stable, that if you get rid of half of the green stuff in the world, it turns out that things like weather patterns really do change. And just deforestation will do that. And everyone is in the firing line for this, right? There used to be a saying in the kind of Rachel Carson days of the environmental movement that everyone is down the street. If somebody’s dumping toxins into the biosphere, they will eventually re circulate everywhere. And that’s how it is with this kind of systemic climate induced destruction. It doesn’t really matter where you are, nowhere is completely isolated from these things, rich or poor, urban or rural, you are affected. Some people are more vulnerable than others, but the problems are everywhere. And where are these folks from? Can you tell? Does it matter? As soon as people hit the road in large numbers, they all look the same; nothing really changes. These people could be from almost anywhere. They could be going almost anywhere. Once you become a refugee or an IDP, once you’re displaced, you are displaced, and once you’re in that section of humanity, there really isn’t any way back from there. People wind up in a position where they get dislocated from their circumstance, and it can be 15, 20, 25 years, or five generations before they get cliqued back on to the economic system which produces stability and high quality of life. Once you get slid out of the system, it’s very hard to get plugged back in again. So the question that we have to ask is where are these people going? If you’re from a place like Bangladesh, and you have to leave because your villages have been inundated and it’s gonna keep happening, where are you going? The classical model is the refugee camp. People wind up as refugees, and what happens then? When the refugee comp was designed, it was designed, really, in World War II. End of World War II, Europe was awash in refugees and it had enormous amounts of military surplus lying around. So the tents that they put refugees into were basically just World War II army tents. And when they ran out of World War II army surplus, they started manufacturing them from scratch, and that’s generally speaking what refugees wind up in the UN context. We’ve changed that a little in the last 10 years, but not very fast. This model assumed that once peace broke out you were going to go back home. You came from Vienna, you were a refugee, Vienna would eventually return to being a place you could live. You’d go back up. You might even get your old apartment back. That model doesn’t really apply when we’re dealing with ecosystem level shift. If drought has decimated your area, in all probability, the weather patterns have shifted, and even if you get a little rain in a year or a year… Or two years, if you move back home, in all probability, the third or the fourth year, you’re gonna get another drought and you’re gonna have problems again. So we’re beginning to get into situations where the ecological support networks, which allowed people to live on pieces of land, are eroding away to the point where you can’t live there anymore and you have to leave, and you have to leave permanently. If you’re somebody that lost their house in the fires around, say, San Diego, it’s unlikely that you’re gonna be unable to find another place to live, and you’ll wind up in a refugee camp. But if you’re somebody that’s being pushed out of their home by, say, salination of a delta, the water is just becoming saltier and saltier and you can’t grow things, in all probability, once you leave, any capital that you had was access to the land that you’ve had to leave behind, and now you’re a landless peasant, which is what happened to my family in Scotland 300 years ago, they lost their land in a set of land clearances and they’ve kind of bimbled around at the bottom of society since then. If things had gone a little differently, they would have moved to America, just like the rest of the Scots, Irish did in those days, but they lacked the initiative. It’s true. But this perspective is… It’s our history as well. If we go back in any one of our lineages 5, 10, 15, 20 generations, there’ll be people that got forced off their land by one cataclysm or another and wound up having to try and rebuild their lives from there. This is like a common human experience, because the world changes a lot, and when you get knocked out of your niche, you kind of fall into the rumble tumble and maybe you get out and maybe you don’t. So the camp as a model just doesn’t work, except in relatively rare circumstances. This covers the exception, but doesn’t cover the rule. This is the situation where it’s a temporary thing and you go back. Most of the time it’s not temporary. Once you’re gone, you’re on the road and you have to find a new place. So the camp model has become synonymous with the condition of being refugees. And because the camp model has become synonymous with the condition of refugee camp, we wind up leaving people that we classify as refugees in camps for a really long time. But the camps are not set up like cities. They don’t have amenities. They don’t allow people to work. There’s no way that you can rebuild your life in a refuge camp in the same way that you could rebuild your life if you were equally poor, but in a city, where you have the freedom to transact and the freedom to rejoin the economy. It’s very, very, very hard to rebuild your life in a refugee camp, because the fundamental infrastructure of life isn’t there. You can’t get back to a condition of individual economic self sufficiency if you’re in a position where you have no economic rights. And for the vast majority of people, being able to stand on your own feet is what defines the feeling that you’ve gotten control of your life back and that you’re in charge of your own affairs again. You feel like you’re back in the system when you manage to earn a wage and you manage to put your feet back on the ground, and you’re paying rent, or you’re paying a mortgage, or you’ve got land access. That’s when you’re back out of the crisis condition. The refugee camps just prolong the crisis condition. They’ll save your life, but they won’t get you back out. So once we accept that this model was kind of an exception to the rule, we have to say, “What are we gonna do instead?” If we’re not going to just warehouse people in refugee camps temporarily because the two or 300 million climate refugees that we’re expecting are far too numerous to house in camps, and for the most part, they’re permanently displaced, we have to find a new way of thinking about what to do to help people that are permanently displaced, because that’s the norm now. Once people are displaced, they’re probably displaced for good, at least a lot of them, and the existing humanitarian system has maybe 60 million refugees in it. And it’s going to be completely overwhelmed by having five times as many people become refugees as are currently refugees. So we need a new category for people that are never going home and that need to be plugged back into the global economy really quickly, otherwise, they’re going to basically drain all the humanitarian capacity and we won’t be able to pick up the emergency cases. It’s a very, very difficult challenge because the refugee model was enormously protective for a lot of people for a long time, but once you get outside the parameters that the refugee model was designed for, you’re faced with a whole new class of problems. And I think we can all see in the enormous border struggles that you see in the US and Europe, how the existing categories for things like asylum seeker, refugee, migrant are all getting mashed together because nobody’s willing to say, look, these people are refugees but they’re not refugees from bad government, they’re refugees from climate problems, and they’re on the road, and they’re permanently on the road until they get reconnected to the global economy. A fundamentally different thing is happening here. And if we approach that fundamentally different thing with the same toolkit that we’ve always used, we’re not gonna get a result that people can live with, and I think we can see that happening right now. So the suggestion that I have here is that urbanization is an underlying global mega trend. The cities are getting larger and larger and larger, people are fleeing the countryside for the cities, they’re doing that largely for quality of life reasons. And as a result… I have to think of exactly the right way to say this… What we could do is we could go with the flow. If urbanization is the general trend that we’re in, if people are pushed towards the urban because it suits their needs better than the rural that they were coming from, and that’s an underlying situation, it’s happening in the global economy already, then we could lean into that trend and start talking about accelerating urbanization as we’re handling the refugee crisis. So people become permanently displaced individuals and they would really quite like to move to a city, they probably don’t want to wind up in a rural area because people are migrating to the cities preferentially, what if we just roll with that? We just accept that this is the direction of travel and we begin to work with it, as a way of re absorbing the populations that are becoming permanently displaced. I think that has an enormous amount of hope, because if you’re somebody that’s been pushed off your land by a climate crisis and the offer is, well, you could spend four generations in a refugee camp and you won’t be allowed to work, or you could come to a new city and you’ll be involved in, basically, setting up and building a place where you and your descendants will be first class citizens, I think in almost all cases people would prefer the second case. If there’s a possibility of going home, you might want the option of going home, but if you’ve given up on home because home has become a wasteland, the idea of being able to take a fresh start in something and build it from the ground up, that, as a human experience, I think has much more to offer people and I think many people would recognize it. I certainly would if I had the choice. So my suggestion is that we move towards a model of constructing new cities as a response to climate change. Now, the new city paradigm is not the first choice. Simply taking existing cities that run and that have economies and having those absorb hundreds of millions of new people is probably the best way that we could do this. But for that to work, you have to be in a regime where the residents of those cities are willing to absorb gigantic numbers of people that have been displaced. And overall, globally, willingness is a little bit low. Well, I mean, it’s certainly not zero. Germany absorbed something like one, maybe one and a half million refugees from Syria, very successfully, with very little trouble, as far as I could tell. There are certainly societies which have the ability to do this kind of absorption. But for the most part, when we start talking about displacing twice the population of Nigeria, you begin to think that there are some problems. I mean, five times the population of the UK, 300 million people, is about the size of the number of people that we’re expecting to hit the road in the next 20, 30 years because their existing habitat is wrecked, that means basically building something like 30 cities the size of New York, maybe 15, if you count the burrows. So, effort on that kind of level, is the sort of thing that you need to do if you’re gonna manage 5% of the human race getting pushed off their land by change in climate. And it’s unlikely, I think, politically, that we would be able to grant citizenship enormously quickly to those sizes of displaced populations, whereas, you might be able to take alternate approaches and make it work. And I’m gonna discuss some of those alternate approaches. But I’m not suggesting that this is a utopian vision, or a right vision, or maybe even the best vision, I just don’t know of a better model. I can see this oncoming wave, which looks like it’s certainly going to overwhelm our existing humanitarian capacity, and I’m trying to figure out how we get into a position where people don’t just fall between the cracks, and we wind up with a totally broken humanitarian system that just runs out of money, runs out of food, and then you get mass starvation of climate refugees. And we screwed things up that badly before. If people remember in the ’80s and ’90s, there was round after round after round of famine in Africa and huge relief programs, where money was raised very quickly and spent very foolishly. We know the humanitarian world can screw up that badly, it’s done it before, and I don’t wanna see it happen this time, so I’m grasping for new models. This is a nice little map that basically shows the expected growth in cities, as it currently stands. So from 1950 through to a projected 2030, you can see a lot of the cities become much, much larger, but this doesn’t bake in climate displacement. So imagine something like this, but you start building new cities in, for example, special economic zones and you have those cities chartered in such a way that they can absorb enormous amounts of labor to bootstrap economically into a way that would work. Could you imagine a map like this with two dozen new dots on it? Yeah, that seems pretty manageable. But can you imagine 300 million people being relocated into the cities that already exist? It’s a political will problem, but those are often the hardest problems that we have. So I think that, for political reasons, even if it’s not optimal economically or at an engineering level, I think you wind up with new city construction is the way forward, because it doesn’t have the problem of granting citizenship to 300 million new people. And I really wanna focus on this idea of the scale of the adaptation required, right? When you start thinking about having 5% of the human race move… If you look around this room, you know, 5% of this room is probably that entire front section. And if we try and reseat them in the rest of the audience, you begin to run out of seating. It’s a pretty simple thing. When you begin to deal with disruption on this kind of scale, you have to increase the size of the room, you can’t just swap people into the existing room and squeeze out the slack. You need to actually make new things when you’re operating at this scale. And we’re not very good at making new things anymore. The kind of deep optimism that was necessary to do things like the space race has become much harder to find, but if we don’t get into that kind of gear around the climate migrant crisis, what we’re going to see is kind of incremental adaptation and the incremental adaptation will fall short. You can’t slightly expand the existing humanitarian capacity 5 or 10% a year, and keep up with the scale of the changes which are coming because paradigmatically it doesn’t do the job you need it to do, to handle the situation that we’re actually in. Now, let me tell you a little bit about how I wound up in the position of having to think about this stuff. Spring of 2002, I was at a think tank called Rocky Mountain Institute and somebody pretty much randomly walked up to me and said, “Vinay, could you design a flat packed refugee shelter that could be folded up, put on the back of a truck and used again once the refugees were resettled?” And I said, “Sure.” And I said sure because I’d spent six months in 1996 trying to redesign Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome to be more efficient to build. And this is one of these things where it’s a long sequence of weird coincidences. There was a place called The Farm in Tennessee which was sort of the… Oh, what’s the phrase I’m looking for? It was like The Rivendell of the hippies. It was the biggest of the hippie communes. Stephen Gaskin went down there with a whole bunch of people, set up a farm. They focused on tofu, midwifery and preventative medicine. And they did a huge export of know how to the rest of the world and then ran out of money. And I went down there to see what it’d be like ’cause I was fascinated by the cultural history. And I wound up getting my life ruined in a weekend because they told me about this thing called the environment, and they asked me if I could figure out how to build a geodesic dome with no waste. And those two questions, they’ve completely dominated the rest of my life, so just watch out for the hippies, they’re dangerous. So 2002, I figure out that you could take four by eight sheets and you can use them just right off the back of the truck to make walls and you can then cut them in half and you could make these big triangles, and you can use those big triangles to build roofs. How Buckminster Fuller and all these people missed this, I have no idea. Right? I mean, literally, it took me 15 minutes to do. I’d spend six months mastering the floor stuff. I couldn’t improve it, it was perfect. Came back to it seven years later with the mindset that came from software engineering. What is the simplest thing that could possibly work? Okay. Well, you just cut the panel in half. Can I make a roof out of that? Oh yeah, I can. Here we are. So there is this saying that once you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And I had no interest in refugee issues at this point. I was quite interested in geodesic domes as the intellectual exercise. I thought it that might be nice to live in one. I was quite interested in building my own house one day. And then I look at this thing and it’s like, “Oh, wow, you could just mass produce shelter on a truly epic scale with no capital and no tools, you just need a table saw or a lot of refugees and handsaws.” Wow. And at that point, I made a terrible error, which is that I decided that this was my problem, because I had the ability to do something about it, because I had the insight that something could be done, I have the hammer, I started looking at the world as a sea of nails. And fortunately, I was smart enough not to start a charity. So if you have an idea like this, and you start a charity, what happens is that you become completely trapped in the fundraising cycle, and the fundraising cycle is no more ethical or effective than any other form of marketing. It really is a continual sales process, and it’s very hard to get the kind of money that allows you to do a lot of failing. And it turns out that failing is critical to the engineering process. Engineers learn by trial and error, and the humanitarian funding cycle is completely intolerant of error, so what happens is you get into a position where you can’t do any experimentation, which is why the modern UN camps look so much like the camps they built after World War II. And because I was smart enough to say I’m not gonna start a charity, I wound up running this thing as a hobby. Because I expected it to take 30 years from 2002 where we did a little test engineering to be able to build global capacity, that would have the ability to soak up 10s or 100s of millions of people, expected that to be a 30 year project and we’re halfway through now. We just did the first test, and with actual live refugees, a project called ShiftPod. I’ll talk about that as we go on a little. So what if… Draw attention to this mindset. The tool you have, you start looking around for ways of solving it. I don’t know for sure that this is the right way to approach the refugee problem. There are a lot of people with much more experience than I have, particularly people that have been refugees who are probably far further up the list of people that ought to be designing the refugee solutions of the future. But you have an idea, you give it a try, as long as you’re not soaking up a bunch of resources or making other better ideas less probable by attacking them, no reason not to add some more diversity to the portfolio of tools so that people in the sharp end who are holding the budget to solve problems have a wider range of things that they can do. So it’s quite an important distinction that you have to believe in your ideas enough to make them available to other people and to see if they work, but it’s important to stop short of trying to force them on the world, whether they fit or not. And I think that’s something that I’ve had to guard against pretty carefully because when you do look at that and say, “Okay, that’s a $250 building and that big dome at the back is a $1000 and it’s fully insulated,” there would be a tendency to get evangelical zeal, and there are good reasons for not doing that, because you can imagine the kind of TED version of this talk, where it’s all like, “We’ve solved the global housing crisis. It’s gonna to be amazing.” Right? And never believe anybody that sounds like that, ’cause we’ve heard those talks for 15 years and I don’t notice things getting fixed. So there’s a picture of me when I was a younger and more enthusiastic man. At the point, probably knew it was gonna work. I was sitting inside of that thing, which was about 6 feet wide, 7 feet long… 8 feet long, 7 feet wide, 6 feet high, and I opened the door, and there was a one meter visibility dust storm outside, I could just about see to the end of the door, it was a 60 mile an hour wind, it was a white out, it was a total nightmare. I slammed the door close again. And I realized I didn’t know that there was the dust storm outside until I opened the door. Like, “Wow, this is a building, it’s got an inside and an outside and they’re completely separated,” and I put the thing together out of cardboard tape and some shiny foil stuff, and that was when I knew like, “Okay, this really works. This is going so far.” So there’s the design pattern, right? Does it get any simpler than that? And that big dome that you saw is just four of these roofs put together with the roofs on their sites, looks very simple. Now, let’s see if this will play. Excuse the terrible video, this is a really old video. This is the first folding hexayurt and it’s being demonstrated inside of a big geodesic dome in the Netherlands to a bunch of guys from the Red Cross. There you have it, took about 15 minutes, we had a lot of timelapse cameras set up, and there’s a house, right? And that material came off a production line that also produces table tops for IKEA, right? It’s basically the same material, it’s really pretty cheap. We came very close to having this be the IKEA shelter. It’s not the design they went with in the end. But you can imagine us being in a world in which the entire IKEA capacity could flip to making emergency shelters whenever they’re needed, and then flip back to table tops when they’re not. As long as this thing that you’re producing can be manufactured using industrial capacity that already exists, you don’t have to go down this difficult path of raising enormous quantities of capital and then building specialized equipment and specialized tooling. If you could take commodities directly out of the industrial supply chain, and then re purpose them to keep people alive, you’re in a much stronger position because you have to raise far less money to get things done. So the place where it really caught on was Burning Man. Alright? I did my testing at Burning Man, other people saw them, I put up a webpage about it. No copyright, no patent, no trademark, get on board, this thing is amazing. And surely enough, the Burners started to download the designs and build them themselves, with their bare hands. And that was… To me, it was quite a revolutionary thing because there aren’t very many building technologies that ordinary people will build themselves, and they trust it enough that they’ll take it to a place with 60 mile an hour winds and enormous dust storms, at 120 degree temperatures in the daytime. That’s a place where, if your building fails you, you’re gonna have a really bad time. And these things are really common at Burning Man, like 5000 units a year or something. The other thing architecture, by which I mean that people would hack on them. So that thing over there is an air conditioner and they’ve just run a bunch of ducting into each one of the individual little pods, so they’re cooling six buildings or… Six… One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight buildings, cooling eight buildings off a single air conditioner using the ducting. I felt that was really clever. And there are hundreds of pages of people on the internet doing these kinds of things with the hexayurt as a platform and just innovating and riffing and modifying, and you’ll see new ideas pop up and spread and be tested and then other ideas will come in and they’re putting it together with zippers and velcro and all kinds of stuff. And there are a whole bunch of little companies that are manufacturing them. There’s this thing called the ShiftPod which was… Somebody wanted to make hexayurt that they could mass produce and that would fit in the back of a car and that meant moving from hard sided panels to a fabric material, so they went to a frame model. And these things are all over Burning Man. They built them in refugee camps, they are giving and selling them to humanitarian agencies, they’ve got actual refugees living inside of them, they’re hugely successful. And this is the advantage of open source. If I had copyrighted or patented the hexayurt, if I’d had a design registration, something like that, these folks might have been discouraged from actually just going out there and building stuff. And these are all ideas that were taken from open source software and Richard Stallman’s work, and Stallman’s political philosophy has been enormously powerful and influential, even if Stallman occasionally puts his foot in his mouth. You could make big ones. That’s a close up of these domes. And this is literally just a bunch of folks that downloaded the designs from the internet and built it. I had never built one of these domes. They were designed by a friend of mine, Edmund Harriss, and it was a theoretical possibility. We knew that it could be done, we didn’t have the time or the resources or the willpower to do it ourselves. And then they started popping up at Burning Man and popping up on the internet when people took pictures, right? Open source design really works, the idea spread and they become modified and fractal and you actually get development. Here’s the full range of buildings that we know how to build and most of these buildings preserve the panels as whole sheets or half sheets, which means you can just pull them apart and then rebuild them as other buildings, kind of like LEGO kits. All the same basic approach, all the same basic materials and you can make them out of just about anything. Plywood, insulation boards, honeycomb polypropylene is a particularly amazing material. There’s a huge range of possible ways of doing this. And it’s just become a standard thing that people do at Burning Man. It’s just a very simple way of building and it’s become completely ubiquitous. If you wanted to make these permanent, you could basically just put a little bit more of a foundation under them and then spray them with concrete, and you would have insulated permanent buildings for a few hundred dollars each. So, let’s go back to the big level again. What the hexayurt gets us is a somewhat inelegant way of building modular relocatable cities. Now, we’ve discussed why you want cities rather than refugee camps. There are a whole bunch of political questions which we’ll come back to about why a city is a city. But the simple hardware question is, “Can you build something much more city like out of stuff that you can sling around the world relatively easily?” And if you need to move the refugee camp, or you move the city or you need to add to it or you want to turn a suburb into a new city center, if you want to do these things, you don’t want to lose all the capital that you’ve spent to build the systems. A building like this, you can’t take this building to pieces and move it somewhere. It’s gonna cost more than building another one. But modern building techniques where you do things like bolt together steel girders rather than welding them, those you can disassemble, move and then reassemble. And those kind of approaches, the modularity and the reusability and the standardization, those approaches haven’t yet come to the building industry in a big way, frankly, because the building industry is kind of a gigantic ripoff. But there’s no reason that we couldn’t apply these kind of principles to a new kind of emergency urbanism and then back propagate that into the real world as a way of enormously reducing the price of housing globally. And the overpricing of housing comes from market manipulation and terrible engineering practice. Housing doesn’t have to be this expensive. We could fix it if you would let engineers build houses rather than architects. So, this is a factory which makes hexayurts. It’s an outfit called Reno Hexayurt. They have an Instagram and they post lots of pictures on Instagram of their factory where they’re making hexayurts, and they’re just producing these things for Burning Man, a few hundred units a year, I guess. Not sure how… Exactly how many they’re producing, but they’re moving truckloads of housing around. And that stuff could easily be packed into sea containers and moved around. These hexayurts, by the way, are not their hexayurts, their hexayurts are a lot neater. These are somebody else’s hexayurts. But I couldn’t find a picture of a mass of the reno hexayurts. It’s a small shop. It’s got no industrial tooling to speak of. It’s a bunch of people assembling these things with hand tools and a few power tools. You could build a factory like this anywhere in the world, and just ship the material there and turn it into housing, but it’s not the only thing that you can do this for. That’s a cooking stove, a water filter, a cargo bicycle, toilets. These are solar lights. All of this stuff flat packs into sea containers. Ship out the components, assemble them on site or ship out the entire things, and it takes up a little bit more space. We can containerize more or less all the machinery that is required to keep people alive and to gradually build a higher and higher and higher standard of living. And you know that for a fact because practically everything you own went through a sea container at some point, right? We go through this vast kind of performance art of trying to make you think that everything was handmade and boutique and was delivered by Wombles or something. But you walk around even the funky little boutiques downtown here and all that stuff came in a sea container from China. And you know that, and I know that, but they won’t show you the sea container because they can charge you 10 times more for your stuff. But you can imagine gigantic warehouses where you just line up the sea containers filled with whatever it was that happened to be in them when they were delivered, and you index it all on the computer and people just walk around with wheelbarrows and pick out the stuff that they need, and that’s more or less what Costco does. The amount of wrapping that you put around the thing hugely changes the value, but the basic proposition is you make it and you ship it in a box and then you take it out and you use it. And you can do that for everything. What makes a city a city is a service architecture. A refugee camp provides you basically with food, sanitation or water, maybe some medical care. A city provides you with a vastly wider and broader service architecture but a lot of that service architecture is the same basic components remixed and remixed and remixed and remixed. The difference between an office and a movie theater is basically the kind of deployment of the seating and how big your video projector is. And if you were going to compromise a little bit on some of the nuances, you could probably use the same seats and the same video projectors in either an office configuration or in a cinema configuration. And certainly, if you’re dealing with people that are internally displaced or have become permanently displaced in refugee camp type settings, the idea that you might have a little bit of compromise on some of the detail, but you’ve got a reconfigurable array of things that produce services, that sounds like a pretty good approach to me. So when I started trying to design refugee camps at scale, I realized that I didn’t have a way of designing them. I could sort of sit down and imagine how things would be and write down what I thought ought to happen, but there was no methodology that I could find that would allow me to identify and build a comprehensive model of what was happening. There are things like the sphere standards, but the sphere standards were kind of like a laundry list. I should’ve put this on a slide actually. Does anybody know The Celestial Emperor’s Benevolent Emporium of Knowledge, something like that? It’s a thing from Borges, and basically, it’s a list of animals divided up into 14 completely nonsensical categories, and that’s what most of the design tools are like when you start trying to do things at this scale. They’re not really orthogonal; they’re not neat and tidy. So I built one that was very objective. Engineers. Too hot, too cold, hunger, thirst, illness and injury. These are the six things that can kill you. And then we build around us this kind of cocoon of services that protect us from the things that will kill us. And this is called civilization. It’s basically just the machine that keeps you alive from all of these different things that can happen to you. And then we’ve got a bunch of activities we do to keep ourselves occupied between birth and death, like watching television or knitting, right? But the core of civilization is that it covers these basic needs. The municipal level is the level that we’re really talking about here. So we’re talking about the services that are delivered at the level of a town. But if you want to understand civilization, it’s actually a stack that goes from individual all the way up to global. So if we go back here one, if you look at this too cold segment here, dying of the cold is something that you can all relate to because you live here. So we just have to think about it, right? What protects you from the cold as a tiered service architecture. So layer one is your clothes, and layer two is the building that you’re in, layer three is the energy that heats the building that you’re in, and layer four is the global markets that capitalize the infrastructure that extracts the energy from the ground and then pumps it to your building. And there you have it, energy markets, power station, heating system, clothing isn’t on that one. Alright? But if you think about it, every time you don’t die of cold in the winter here, you’re dependent on global financial markets to keep the oil moving, which runs the rest of your civilization. Maybe it’s fracking the natural gas or maybe it’s nuclear, you can actually map out these systems in a fair bit of detail. So, multiple classes of services that operate at different levels, nation state cascades down to organization, cascades down to the individual, right? So we would form a group, simple, simple, simple ways of modeling, right? And workspace is where we are, right? Communications is how you knew that this was the place to be on this particular day, and transport is how you got here, and that’s the things you need for group. Resource control is why we’re using this theater for this purpose, rather than having a showing of Gone With The Wind or something. And that’s basically it, that’s all you need to form groups, is communications, transport, workspace and some ability to set a boundary, it’s very, very simple. Groups turn into organizations. They get a shared plan, they get a map of action… Or sorry, rather, they get a map, they get a plan relative to the map and they get some way of selecting new leadership if something goes wrong. Now, you’ve got a fire service or a hospital. And we go up to the nation state level. A nation state is a set of effective organizations, a list of territory… Sorry, a map of territory, a list of citizens and then there’s some hocus pocus around things like international recognition, but if you have these systems in place, they’re basically a state. Jurisdiction is very, very important. My definition of the nation state is not that it’s a thing that has a monopoly of violence, which is the Weberian model, but it’s the thing which has the ability to retroactively or proactively pardon crime. So, if you pardon murder, you get an army, if you pardon assault, you get police, if you pardon theft, you get tax collectors. And this, I think, is key to the understanding of what the state is, and how this interlinks with theories of justice. It’s a state of exception, to be a nation state. And this is the big map, right? So this is a simple ish way of understanding the entire function of a civilization, and when you start talking about building cities from an endless series of sea containers that get dropped off at a dock and unpacked by the refugees, and each box you unpack allows you another 10 refuges because you’ve gotten a bunch more life supporters bill. It’s quite important to have some model of how it’s all meant to work, even if it’s very abstract, because if we can’t do this kind of systemic and meta systemic thinking, you wind up in a position where all the components work, but they don’t add up to a nation state or they don’t add up to a city at the end of it. And we’ve all seen this kind of complex systems architecture, like when corporations try and deploy new software, the failure rate is something like 70%, 90% because all the individual components work but the thing overall doesn’t do what it’s meant to, and that kind of systemic problem, anytime somebody tries to do something like install mass transit in a city, you see all of these kinds of problems. And I should point to this. So this mystery of sovereignty down here, this is the thing that goes wrong when something turns into a failed state, is something becomes unhooked down in that corner, and you go from having a country to not having a country. And to be honest, nobody really understands what that is. So I call it the mystery of sovereignty, but it’s somewhere down in that corner of interrelationships. It’s about like an arch, that are a whole bunch of things leaning on each other, and if any one of them drops out, the whole thing falls to pieces, but if you don’t have a model of what it’s meant to look like when it’s stood up again, it’s very hard to stand it up again, as has been seen in places like Afghanistan. Right. So this is really the assertion, right? We can’t build cities from scratch, a sea container at a time. You figure out what’s going in the box, depending on what climate people are in and what their cultural norms are. You maybe do some testing at the village scale, you make sure it all kind of works and then you just start pumping the industrial platforms to produce enormous amounts of material, and you ship it around the world and the people that are going to be living in these towns take the stuff out of the boxes and clip it together using nice videos that you’ve probably put on YouTube and that they watch on their phones. It doesn’t sound that bad. If you’ve gone to Burning Man a bunch of times… Raise your hands if you’ve gone to Burning Man a bunch of times, right? You’ve participated in this process, right? It’s not that different from Burning Man. The Burners would be exactly the people that you’d get to project managing. It’s a very plausible thing, but you have to do this in a model where what you expect to get out of it is a city and not just a cozier refugee camp. And for it to be a city, the people need economic rights, they need passports even if they’re restricted, they need some concept of citizenship, some concept of sovereignty. Because if you’re in a position where the entire ecology is simply controlled by a single bureaucracy with absolute power, which is the typical fate of the refugees, it’s incredibly difficult to do any kind of innovation, because innovation is inherently messy, and it’s inherently anti bureaucratic. So we have to think very carefully about what it means to give cities as the way forward for the people that become permanently displaced persons rather than for it to be camps or resettlement. It’s a very different mindset, because cities are extremely ancient. Humans have been doing this city thing for really a long time. We’ve got a lot of experience doing it, but not all of that experience is written down and the cities themselves have complex emergent properties, which is why Paris feels like a completely different place from, say, Brussels. Now, there is more. So to get this to work, we have to get an enormous number of moving parts to fit together neatly and smoothly, otherwise, we’re going to wind up with systems that just don’t behave. And this is very easy to see, anytime you do something like try and spend a billion dollars on writing a piece of software, most of the time it fails because of the coordination problem. The pieces work but the whole fails. So I wanna start looking at the coordination problem from the perspective of global coordination, because if we’re talking about shipping things around the world and assembling them into functioning cities, really, that’s a global coordination problem. But I’m gonna start at the most abstract possible level and work down. This is one of those level shifts I warned you about at the beginning. So the speed of light means that it takes about a third of a second for a signal to get all the way around the world and back. It’s usually a bit longer than that on the internet because the switches take time and the cables aren’t perfectly straight, but it’s about this amount of time. And that is a hard physical limit which can never be reduced, as far as we know, right? So you’re never going to get less than about a third of a seconds delay if you want to do communication around the world. Now, a third of a second doesn’t seem like very long. You can write fancy software that allow human beings to talk to each other and it will stretch out your speech a little bit as you talk, and then cover the third of a second delay so that you never actually talk over the other person. Almost all of your video conferencing software does this. So you can manage it for people, but you can’t manage it for machines. About 50% of the world’s commodities are traded using a thing called high frequency trading. And high frequency trading, a typical system would process on the order of 10 million transactions a second. So a third of a second delay in a system like that is a 3 million transaction de synchronization. So if I’m trying to make sure that I wind up with 50,000 chairs, 500 video projectors and 50 big geodesic domes or something, if I need to lock in purchasing for each one of those things, there has to be some way of handling this delay or I might wind up with two of the three and I’ve already locked in purchases. If I want to be able to coordinate all of these different moving pieces, I need to be able to simultaneously execute trades because I’m completely wrecked if I’ve got everything that I need except the toilets. Right? So if we want to build really efficient systems, we have to be able to synchronize the machinery of trade really effectively. Now, for something like refugee camps, this is only a theoretical problem, right? We’re never going to see a speed of light delay affect the ability to build a refugee camp and make it work. But that speed of light delay problem is cracking open the global trading system right now because nearly all the machines that do high frequency trading of commodities are in America and this is beginning to make the rest of the world rather upset, because it means that all the money which is trading those commodities is being governed by American law and we may see a point in the future where the Chinese and the Europeans set up independent high frequency trading facilities, and then we have to coordinate these things internationally or we wind up with three much smaller, much less liquid markets, rather than a single global market. And we can’t afford the world to break up into a whole bunch of less liquid markets that were all balkanized because we weren’t able to figure out the software and the politics of ensuring that global trade stays global. This problem really matters. And I’ll come back to that in a second. So another example of this kind of global system, GPS, right? GPS uses the time lag between your phone and the satellite to figure out where your phone is relative to the satellite, and when you do that for a number of satellites, it can calculate your position to within a couple of meters. Every time you use Google Maps or some other mapping service, you’re using the speed of light delay to locate yourself on Earth. Isn’t that cool? Right? Turns out that general relativity is good for something. Google Spanner, right? Collaborative document, editing on the web, all of that stuff, powered by a database called Spanner, which is a completely global network, and the data centers all have atomic clocks and very careful synchronization protocols to make sure all the pieces stay lined up. And that structure is why it’s possible to have half a dozen people editing documents from all different corners of the world and they’re not continually editing over each other or lagging while the documents catch up. Google Spanner plus a whole bunch of advanced mathematics involving operator theory. And again, it’s just managing the speed of light problem. Right? Blockchain. So this is my kind of home industry. 2014, I kinda washed out of the back end of academia and decided I had to go and make like something resembling a living, so I went off and joined the Ethereum team as a project manager and I ran the launch processes for the Ethereum blockchain, which was kind of a big deal. I had no idea it would work this well. But the blockchain solves that speed of light problem by imposing a mandatory delay, right? Speed of light is a third of a second, the block length is 15 seconds, so we just assemble all of the trades in a 15 second block and then sequence them in an arbitrary way. And that’s how the Ethereum system works. That’s how all the blockchains work, bitcoin and all the rest of it. It’s an approach to solving the synchronization problem globally in a way that facilitates trade. That’s why you can spend a bitcoin from America to China and you don’t have to go through a whole bunch of complicated banking stuff to do the synchronization to make sure the coin isn’t spent twice or there’s a fraud because it’s all being handled on the internet using this approach of having a nice, long delay between when you say something has happened and when everybody else has had a chance to check that it’s not a fraud. It’s a very simple approach but it solves the global trade problem that HFT doesn’t solve. So if we slowed global trade down to a 10 second block and we cleared it using an algorithm and everybody was using the same algorithm so everybody agreed on what had happened, we could build a decentralized architecture for global commodity trading which would also get rid of high frequency trading, which most economists agree is a source of pure friction in the economy. All the money made in high frequency trading is actually a tax on the people that are doing things like building houses and cars because it makes their commodities more expensive for no good reason. So you could kill two birds with one stone if you could put an enormous break on the amount of money being taken out of the economy by HFT and you could prevent the balkanization of the global economy into a set of competing HFT regions. That, I think, is the most important argument for blockchain. So these things are all aspects of a single underlying truth, which is global civilization, right, is now well established. The Internet is its predominant manifestation, but that’s actually the third or fourth round of global interconnectedness that’s happened in the last century. The first big one was probably the sea container system which was set up and now carries the vast majority of goods in the world, and the entire world operates on a single standard. Something similar happened in financialization in the 1980s and 1990s, where we basically interconnected all the banks, and that turned into a single global architecture for moving money around. Then we did the Internet. We did the same thing for information. And arguably, with the blockchain, we’re doing the same thing for trade. Inevitably, right, we’re moving into a world where the pieces are permanently interconnected because everything affects everything else. And we need to be able to measure and account for those interactions and interdependencies, or we’re gonna get into real trouble. The predominant problem that we have managing the environment is we can’t tell whose fault it is that things are screwed up, and so we can’t send them a bill, right? If we had total transparency and we understood everything that was happening in the carbon economy, we could figure out exactly where the problem was, and we could just send people bills, and it would stop. And this is what’s happening, right? One way or another, we are building this architectural global knowing. It’s being built in many different pieces, it’s being built in many different forms, different people are working on different parts of it, but that system is for real. Whether it’s a national security apparatus in student global monitoring or whether it’s a global credit reporting system like Visa operates, we’re building systems that understand the world in a holistic way because all the causes and effects are playing out on a global stage. Okay. Last couple of slides, and then we will be done. Sorry, it’s been kind of long and complicated. So this global knowing system, the global knowing about people which is most fundamental is passports. But the passport system doesn’t actually serve our needs very well because you’re constantly losing the damn thing, and it doesn’t give you any ability to interact with electronic services in a coherent way. So you can imagine new global identity systems that would work better than Facebook, or credit cards, or passports. A lot of these systems are called Self Sovereign ID, uPort is one system, Sovrin is another. Lots of people working on this, and this is potentially also incredibly important in terms of understanding global citizenship. Another part of this is the engineering of borders, right? So a border for goods and a border for people are essentially just software artifacts. So if I take a sea container and it has a JSON file which describes every single thing in that container to an arbitrary level of detail, I ought to be able to run a piece of software over that file that will tell me whether or not the box can pass customs and come into my country. And if I can do that, we could automate huge amounts of the friction that we get at borders, which would, again, facilitate global trade. And we need global trade to stay global because if we don’t have global trade to stay global, the global economy will break into a bunch of competing units. And those competing units will be less efficient, and we will all be much poorer. Global trade is super important. My company is a blockchain company called Mattereum that actually works on this problem of how we define what physical objects are well enough that we can make decisions about those objects using software. Of all people, we’re working for William Shatner right now, doing Star Trek memorabilia, which is a fascinating place to start. So all of this, we finally put it together, is… Fits into a framework that we think of as economies of omniscience, if we know what’s happening with everything, we can make optimal decisions about how to allocate resources. It’s like a super information rich, super information dense form of capitalism, and it has the side effect that it allows us to manage the environment at the same time. So as you’re building the deep understanding of physical objects that allows you to do things like establish prices for them accurately, you also get into a domain where you could track the environmental footprint or you can track contamination. If you want to know whether or not your lettuce was grown in an area that was affected by the outbreak of, say, E. Coli, that also gives you the information that you need to figure out whether it was imported illegally and ducked tariffs, or whether it comes from a nation that is, for example, currently blocked on trade because of human rights practices, right? The knowledge systems that you need to handle the capital are the same knowledge systems you market, are the same knowledge systems you need to handle the environment. And as we build the Internet out so it interconnects all the remaining systems, the production systems, the consumption systems, the payment systems, as we interconnect all of those things, we wind up with the necessary knowledge that we can then use algorithms to begin to solve the coordination problems which result in the economy being enormously destructive at the extraction end and enormously wasteful at the consumption end. And it’s all part of this long term trajectory of digitization. And this is the kind of mega trend, right? When we get right down to it, we’re gradually de digitizing reality, we’re building the sensor networks, we’re building the algorithms, we’re modeling how all the pieces fit together. And I don’t see another way for us to practically manage the problem. Keeping 2 billion people in luxury is consuming basically the resources of the entire planet. We have to find some way of becoming radically more effective in our ability to turn the things that we take out of the earth into extremely efficient human welfare. And the only way that I know of getting those kind of breakthroughs is basically to use computers to monitor processes, and make them more efficient, and detect waste, and eradicate it. We did it for manufacturing over the past 200 years, and it’s why you can buy a phone for $50. We did it for investment. That’s where high frequency trading, and algo trading, and quantitative finance came from. Now, we do it for the rest of the systems, ecology, economy, consumption, waste disposal. So the last thing I wanna talk a little bit about is volatility. So I guess we should do this in a personal way. Has anybody in this room been really poor for a decent chunk of time? I’d have thought, right? A few hands, yeah, less than you get in Europe? So when you’re poor, generally speaking, the worst thing that happens is volatility. You have money one day and you don’t have money the next day, because your cart breaks its leg, and those spikes are enormously stressful and distressing and they make you miserable, right? If we had use of things like insurance for all those tiny little risks, we could smooth out the income fluctuations for people that are very poor without it actually costing any more money, maybe 1 or 2% of income. Micro insurance is exactly the kind of service you can deliver if you’ve got computers and smart contracts and blockchains and all the rest of that. If you pair that with something like basic income, then you can get into a position where if you become poor, you become very stable. Because the thing that makes being poor horrifically stressful is the precarity. Things are bad, then they’re a little better, then they’re way worse, then they’re a little better, then they’re way worse, then they’re a little better, then they’re a little better, then they’re little better, then if something… And that is constant stress, and massively, massively difficult to live with. Basic income… Universal basic income alone doesn’t solve precarity because your expenses can self fluctuate, but a lot of expenses could be turned into insurable risk. So I can visualize a system where we begin to solve an enormous number of the problems that we have, dealing with the fact that a lot of us are poor, by simply accepting that one of the predominant goals is to take the precarity out of poverty. And we’ve done this in finance for decades, right? We found all kinds of elaborate ways of risk compensating deals so that if it’s really important that a billion dollars stays a billion dollars, it’s insured and it’s managed and it’s regulated and you can take care of it. We may not have enough money to run a much more elaborate welfare state, but we could run a welfare state that got rid of precarity on more or less the existing budgets. And these are the kinds of approaches that I think we need to think about as we look forward into the future, because if we don’t figure out how to provide reasonably, equitably for 9 billion people, we’re going to have a century of increasingly destructive war with really high tech weapons. And it’s gonna really suck. We’re at sort of the last stage where we can pretend that what’s happening in other countries, if it profits us, isn’t actually in some way our fault, right? We’re in the position where we are so deeply connected and there’s so much information available because of the Internet. And as we go through these processes of digitization it will become even more integrated and even more interwoven. Eventually, you realize that political accountability has to come along as part of the package. I used to say it when I was teaching people about economic collapse, and economic collapse means living in the same conditions as the people that grow your coffee. And you can’t have ultra efficient, ultra transparent global supply chains without having to contend with the welfare of the people that are on the other end of those supply chains. You can’t build an efficient system if you continue to put up veils between the producers and the consumers so that the consumers see this kind of fantasy world, but they pay 10 times more for the resources to maintain that fantasy world. The economic pressure forces us into reality, and as we’re forced into reality, we can get to grips with problems like climate but it also comes at the cost of having to clean up our act in terms of where the manufactured goods are manufactured and what the consequences are there. So the future that I see is that we build a world which is fundamentally more economically efficient, but also a world which is fundamentally more just, because the tools that we need for economic efficiency are identical to the tools that we need for justice. The actual software that you need to run an efficient world is also the software that you need to run a just world. Efficiency and justice, when you fundamentally get down to it, rely on exactly the same data sets. And that’s all I had to say. Thank you.

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