episode 63.2: The Power to Re-engineer Humanity with Dr. Robert Epstein and Reggie Littlejohn
Dr. Robert Epstein and Reggie Littlejohn describe how a leaked internal Google video describes their goal of impacting the beliefs, attitudes, purchases, and votes of 2.5 billion people around the world.
episode 63.2 transcript
Speaker 1: 00:04 Welcome to the Bill Walton show featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and thinkers. Fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics and human flourishing. Interesting people, Interesting things.
Bill Walton: 00:24 Hello and welcome to the Bill Walton show. The Iron Heel written in 1908 by Jack London, We, by a brilliant Russian writer, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 1984, George Orwell. The hidden persuaders written 1957 by Vance Packard. So what do all these have in common? They have in common a world controlled by elites, using technology and every other means at their disposal to shape how we think, how we live, what we believe, what we feel, and every aspect of our life. The alarming thing that is occurring now is that we’re seeing what’s happening in China, we’re looking what’s happening here in the United States with search engines like Google. And a lot of these fictional works are beginning to spring to life in the real world, and a real time in 2019, and I think we all need to know a lot more about it.
With me to dig into that is Dr. Robert Epstein noted professor, noted researcher and prolific author and former editor of Psychology Today, among other things. Talk about Reggie Littlejohn, human rights activist in China. Their full BIOS are on our website, and also they’re in the show that we just finished part one, and this is now part two, discussing Google and China, we’ve ended up [inaudible 00:01:56] with Google, Reggie you want to kick off why China could be a predictor of what we may become worldwide?
Reggie L.: 02:04 Well, China as I mentioned in the last show, has this social credit system that is run by they have as you mentioned, like 500,000 internet police just in Beijing, they watch your internet, they’ve got surveillance cameras that are different from our surveillance cameras in the sense that they have facial recognition which they are perfecting, and that it’s connected to artificial intelligence that will track you everywhere you go, all the time, and then they keep track of any crime that you’ve committed, etc. So this is social engineering and complete social control. But what they also want to do is engineer the soul, so this is even one step beyond that. And so what they’re doing in order to engineer the soul is, for example, there’s an area in Hunan, China, where they are tearing down 10 commandments in the churches and replacing it with Xi Jinping Thought.
There’s another area of China where they’ve taken down pictures, holy [crosstalk 00:03:19].
Bill Walton: 03:18 Xi Jinping is the president for life in China. His signature now is identical to Mao’s.
Reggie L.: 03:26 Right. Even George Soros has said that what China has implemented is an extreme danger to human beings and human autonomy. That’s a paraphrase, but that’s basically what he said. So Xi Jinping has basically declared himself King by getting rid of term limits. There’s an area of China in which they have taken down holy images of Jesus or Mary or whatever other holy image and replace it with images of Xi Jinping or Chairman Mao, replacing the 10 commands with Xi Jinping Thought, forcing people to read Xi Jinping Thought on their cell phones every day, monitoring it. If you work in a certain company and you don’t do your Xi Jinping Thought for that day you can get disciplined the next morning when you come into work.
So this is a way of coercive, not only mental but also emotional and even spiritual control. I understand from an article that was written, I think it was in The Washington Times, and I quote from I believe it was Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid, that the issue that Xi Jinping has with the 10 commandments is the first commandment, which is, I am the Lord thy God, you shall not worship any other God above me. They don’t want people to be worshiping God first, it’s got to be the Chinese Communist Party is on top.
Bill Walton: 05:06 Robert, thoughts.
Robert Epstein: 05:10 That type of control is like the control that you see in George Orwell’s classic novel 1984. It has its reward elements, you could say, and it has its punishment elements. Almost every every aspect of it is visible to people, people are aware of the expectations, they’re aware that they’re being monitored, they’re aware of the consequences of various actions, so it’s a visible system of control.
What I’ve been learning about, almost accidentally stumbling onto one phenomenon after another, is that in much of the rest of the world, another very dangerous system of control has been established. That’s not run by a government, it’s run by couple of private companies, mainly one, which is Google. It’s every bit as dangerous as the system of control that we’re now seeing in China. Interestingly enough, Google has shown a willingness to work with the Chinese government to improve their system of control. So we’re talking about these very big, powerful entities, a big government, a big company, having similar goals, namely, to get humanity under control, having slightly different methods but similar goals.
Bill Walton: 06:56 And we’ll talk about the potential for manipulating the 2020 election in a bit, but the point I think that needs to be made, you raised George Soros as an issues this is not left versus right issue only. These are people in Google or President Xi and China who believe themselves beyond and above humanity, and the Google people definitely think that, they’re all products of the elite colleges, Stanford and I think, in fact Google was set up by a professor lot of people who thought they were the cognitive elite, and wanted to make this part of the vehicle through which they could be in charge.
Robert Epstein: 07:40 Well, this is the problem, when you have a business that’s run by business people, well, their goals are pretty standard, which are to make money and do well by the shareholders. So one of the problems with Google is that it is indeed run by utopians, and that’s extremely dangerous.
Reggie L.: 08:05 Or dystopians, some of us would say.
Robert Epstein: 08:06 Some would say, yes, but there’s a whole book written on that aspect of the big tech companies, that’s by Jonathan Taplin, who’s a friend of mine, it’s called Move Fast and Break Things. And he actually focuses on these individuals, their backgrounds, their values, and concludes, with very few exceptions that the people who lead these big tech companies, they do think they’re superior, and they do think that their vision for humanity is the right vision. That’s extremely dangerous, giving people who think like that the power to shift the thinking and behavior of billions of people, and we’re talking about, within three years from now, they will have that ability to influence, to control and manipulate more than 4 billion people around the world, that’s within the next three years.
Bill Walton: 09:10 Coming back to Reggie’s point about George Soros, I found the quote, he said, “I believe that the social credit system Beijing is building, if allowed to expand could sound the death knell of open societies not only in China, but also throughout the globe.”
Reggie L.: 09:28 Right. So as you said, this is not a left right issue, we’re in this together, we need to join forces and oppose this.
Bill Walton: 09:35 Well, Robert when we talked before the show, we talked about Google’s motives, and you came up with three, and one is profit, and they are suffering a little bit from a revenue standpoint, they’ve had competitors, Amazon’s done a lot more with cloud computing than they have, and Google as seeing its second motive which is social engineering, I think getting away a bit of profit motive. And then the third agenda they have is working with the intelligence agencies, NSA, CIA, and doing things like helping them monitor typing and things like who’s building a bomb. I think, Reggie, you sent me a piece on the nexus between government and these big companies.
Reggie L.: 10:23 Yeah, I mean, I would like your view. Personally, I am uncomfortable with the extent to which the US government is relying on Google and on the cloud, in some of our most sensitive information. Can Google break into that, if they are running this whole network? Can they find out what our secrets are? Also, you mentioned that they are the ones that are keeping the register of all of our DNA. Could you please expand on that?
Robert Epstein: 10:53 Googlers they’re called, people who work for Google. They love information, and of course, they state openly our goal is to organize all the world’s information, but what they don’t say is they also want to collect all the world’s information and use it for all kinds of purposes, most of which they don’t discuss with us. There’s three big threats that they pose, the first is the surveillance threat, because they’re surveilling us 24 hours a day, Reggie you had an Android phone, Android phones the reason why Google developed a mobile operating system like that was because they wanted information about people who weren’t necessarily online, who weren’t necessarily using the Google browser which is called Chrome, who weren’t necessarily using the Google search engine.
So they created an operating system, because the operating system on mobile phones, and they dominate that market by the way worldwide. The operating system on mobile phones, it tracks you whether you’re online or not. If you happen to be offline and there’s no Wi-Fi around, it’s still tracking you. The moment you go back online, it uploads all the information it’s collected which could be enormous amount of information, uploads it immediately to Google. So they’re tracking you in ways you can’t even imagine.
A few years ago Google bought the smart thermostat company, NEST. And we found out a few months ago that sometime after they bought it, they started putting microphones into smart thermostats, and now they’re adding cameras into smart thermostats, because they want to listen to everything that happens in your house. Google has in recent months been issued patents for technology that analyzes sounds in the home so they can tell whether your kids are brushing their teeth enough, what your sex life is like, whether there’s too much arguing going on. They’re actually patenting technology to analyze signals coming in through devices in people’s homes.
Bill Walton: 13:12 So years ago, you hear about cameras and surveillance, I always comforted myself, well, those are a million cameras, they’re not going to have a million people watching these cameras to monitor. But now we have artificial intelligence, so they don’t need one human being, if they’ve got good algorithms to monitor facial recognition, voice patterns, whatever-
Reggie L.: 13:36 And that’s what they’re doing in China, see this is the thing. You figure no one’s actually watching those cameras, well, you know what? Artificial intelligence with facial recognition is watching it. And talk about, they’re saying, are you arguing too much? One of the things that they analyze with their artificial intelligence in China is, is this person displaying too much emotion on the street?
And in China, they will identify people through all their various different mechanisms, all the different ways they do have them under surveillance, and then arrest people and just take them away, because they might not even have committed a crime, but they look like they’re… These are thought police, they think it the wrong way. And what I’m saying is, we don’t do that in the United States yet, okay. Hopefully we never will, but the technology exists, and if it gets into the wrong hands it could happen here.
I think that that’s what George Soros is saying. I mean, it’s a rare moment when I agree with George Soros, but I’m with him on this one. Would you agree that the same thing that’s happening in China, I understand that in the United States, we don’t yet have the artificial intelligence monitoring our surveillance cameras, but that could be fixed pretty quickly. And we do have facial recognition in the United States, I know I’ve run into it at the airport.
Bill Walton: 14:56 Well, how does Google track its data that it’s getting now? I mean, we know that China’s doing this using AI, is Google doing the same thing? Do they have ability to say okay, this thing triggers that and we need to step in?
Robert Epstein: 15:10 Oh, yes, absolutely, Google and Facebook as well, they’re using artificial intelligence to analyze the massive amount of data that they’re collecting, there’s no way they could not do that. And in fact we learned recently that even after Google insisted that it wasn’t going ahead with Project Dragonfly to reenter the Chinese market and work with the Chinese in controlling the Chinese population. We learned after that, that Google has continued to work with people in China and developing AI. So yeah, Google is extremely interested in and how to analyze massive amounts of data in an automatic fashion, so it doesn’t take up people’s time.
That was the problem the Stasi had in East Germany, is that they needed people listening in on all those mics.
Bill Walton: 16:04 They couldn’t monitor everything.
Robert Epstein: 16:05 You can’t monitor everything that way, but you can monitor everyone that way using AI and other technology. And yes, the infrastructure for doing this is rapidly growing in the United States, and it will soon probably be every bit as sophisticated as the infrastructure in China.
Bill Walton: 16:27 You’re watching the Bill Walton Show, I’m here with Reggie Littlejohn and Dr. Robert Epstein, rather, we’re talking about all the different ways that we’re potentially being manipulated and influenced by social media, in particular Google. And how similar it could become to what’s going on in China. Turning towards 2020, we said this isn’t political, but everything in a sense is political. We’ve got a presidential election coming up, you’ve written and researched that Google might have swang as many as 3 million votes towards Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. 2020 is coming up and you pointed out in the book Hidden persuaders, which I’d alluded to or referred to earlier, there’s a quote in here that says, from Kenneth Boulding, whose was at Michigan at the time from 1957, “A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.”
Robert Epstein: 17:33 Well, yes, and by the way that’s an extraordinary book, that’s been in print for more than 50 years, written by a journalist Vance Packard, and Packard was concerned back in the 1950s, that companies and to some extent even politicians back then were starting to work with social scientists, to figure out, in the case of companies, how to get people to buy more and more things, and especially to buy things they didn’t need. So Packard was very concerned about this because they were developing methods that people couldn’t see.
So one of the first things that he talks about, for example, is that people will buy more things in a supermarket it turns out if you play music, especially slow music in speakers overhead, it gets people to listen, and they move a little slower, and they end up buying a lot more. And of course, today, here it is 60, 70 years later, can you even think of a store that you walk into that isn’t playing slow music on speakers overhead? And it’s pretty common, but that came from social scientists working together with corporate people. What I have learned is that the internet has made it an entirely new class of methods of influence, that have never existed before in human history. There’s always been music right, that’s been around a long time.
So the methods in fact that Packard’s talking about in this book, in some sense, they’ve always been around, but the Internet has made possible entirely new methods for controlling billions of people that people cannot see, and that have an enormous impact on behavior.
Bill Walton: 19:34 And an example of one of these methods would be?
Robert Epstein: 19:37 Well, here’s one for example, we know positively that on election day in 2016, if Mark Zuckerberg had sent out a go out and vote reminder just two Democrats, number one, no one would have known that he did that, that he was sending it just to Democrats, and number two, that would have given at least 450,000 more votes to Hillary Clinton, than she got. Now I don’t think he sent that, but that’s an example of a method of influence, that has never existed before, certainly not on that kind of scale. And in 2018, Google did this, so on Google’s homepage on the day of the 2018 election, instead of showing us the word Google in those pretty colors, they replaced that with the words Go Vote, and so that was on their homepage all day on election day.
Reggie L.: 20:41 But was that for everybody or only democrats?
Robert Epstein: 20:44 Well, since we weren’t monitoring that, and I can tell you more about monitoring systems as we go forward here. We don’t know whether they show that to everyone or just mainly to Democrats or people leaning left, but I did the calculations which I’m sure that Google data analysts had done before they posted that reminder, and my calculations show without any doubt that that was not a public service, that was a vote manipulation, that that prompt because more Democrats, more people leaning left would have seen that prompt that day than Republicans, that prompt gave at least 800,000 more votes to Democrats than to Republicans. Now that’s spread across hundreds of races, because this was a midterm election, but still, that was not a public service, that was a brilliant and an extraordinary vote manipulation.
Bill Walton: 21:45 So what if we wanted to do something about that for 2020? Is there a way to set up a monitoring system to monitor the monitors, because they’re watching us, Don’t we get to watch them too?
Robert Epstein: 22:00 Well, I set up the first ever system to monitor what the tech companies are showing people back in 2016, it released its first trickle of data as early as May of that year, as we got closer and closer to the November election, we were picking up more and more data. This was a system that allowed us to look over the shoulders of people as they were conducting election related searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. So we had recruited in secret 95 people in 24 states, we were able to preserve 13,207 election related searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo, and the more than 98,000 web pages to which the search results linked, and then we analyze the data to see whether there was any bias in the search results that Google was showing people.
We found substantial bias favoring Hillary Clinton whom I supported, in all 10 search positions on the first page of Google search results, but that bias was absent on Bing and Yahoo. Then I simply did some calculations at the time, and because of my experimental research, I know pretty much how many boats that’s going to shift over time, and calculated that that gave to Hillary Clinton, somewhere between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes with no one knowing that they were even being influenced. 2018 I set up a bigger, more ambitious monitoring system, again, found a strong liberal bias in Google search results but not Bing or Yahoo, that bias was sufficient to have given upwards of 78.2 million votes to Democrats, but again, that’s spread over hundreds of elections, because that was midterm election.
2020, I want to build a much, much, much bigger and more comprehensive monitoring system, not just looking at search results, but looking at news feeds, looking at email suppression, looking at De ranking in Google search results, looking at what’s called shadow banning on Twitter, the time has come, I mean, I’ve run these projects, you could call them proof of concept projects. In 2020, I’m pretty sure that these tech companies are going to go all out, they will take no chances, they do not want President Trump reelected. And they’re going to use every possible means at their disposal to shift votes. And I’m telling you that if we have no monitoring system to detect what they’re doing, and report what they’re doing, we’ll never know, we will never know what happened.
Bill Walton: 25:06 It occurs to me that 2020 is the general election, but there’s a hotly contested Democratic primary going on, and you’ve got I don’t know how many people still in. Wouldn’t you want to know if you’re a democrat, what was happening to guide people towards your favorite or unfavorite candidate?
Robert Epstein: 25:27 That’s an excellent question. When I first was thinking about building this big system for 2020, unfortunately I didn’t think about the primaries, now, suddenly, I am thinking about the primaries and I realize that I’d like to set the system up early enough so that we could look at the primaries [crosstalk 00:25:48]-
Bill Walton: 25:47 When in the first primary?
Robert Epstein: 25:49 It’s pretty soon actually [crosstalk 00:25:51].
Reggie L.: 25:51 I think it’d be very interesting to everybody including Democrats, if there is a favorite at Google. And if Google is shuttling people towards whoever their chosen person is, by their various means.
Robert Epstein: 26:06 Exactly. And see, I can’t emphasize how important this point is, okay? If we have no monitoring systems in place, it means we will never understand how votes are being shifted on a very massive scale, by the way, if no monitoring system means no knowledge, and you can’t go back in time and reconstruct what it was they did.
Reggie L.: 26:31 Right. But so I understand you wanting to understand it, wanting to reconstruct it, what we want to do is stop it, right? So how is your monitoring system going to help legislators or maybe even just journalists, and the general public actually stop this, so people will see what’s going on, and something they can do to stop it? We can have a fair election.
Robert Epstein: 26:52 We’re developing a technology now, in fact, using AI that will allow us to analyze the massive amounts of data that we’re bringing in, in real time. Now, with that ability, we will be able to detect certain kinds of manipulations. For example, if Zuckerberg sends out a Go Vote reminder just to Democrats, we would detect that within hours. If-
Bill Walton: 27:19 How would that be detected?
Robert Epstein: 27:20 Well, because we will have field agents around the country at least 1000. And with their permission using special software we’ll be looking over their shoulders as they’re using their computers and doing election related things, we will have that information streaming to us 24/7, and we’re going to analyze the data as the data are coming in. And when we find bias, manipulations, shenanigans, we will report it immediately, we’ll report it to the media, the Federal Election Commission, other authorities that might be relevant. One of two things is going to happen here, this is the answer to your question, Reggie, either, number one, these companies just back off and they stop doing these things, which is what I hope will happen. And by the way, we’ll detect that, we’ll know if they backed off. Or they continue to to show people bias search results, bias news feeds, bias search suggestion-
Bill Walton: 28:25 My guess is they would continue, because they don’t think anybody’s smarter than they are.
Reggie L.: 28:28 But I wonder if there’s some kind of a law, this is something that somebody would need to research against election tampering like that. That they could be hit with some kind of a lawsuit or even contest the election, if they’re doing something like that.
Robert Epstein: 28:40 There isn’t, but there is something else. And that is there’s campaign finance law, that is relevant here, because if you are doing something on a large scale to support one candidate, and someone else who might want to use your services would have to pay for it, then there’s a dollar value associated with what you’re doing.
Bill Walton: 29:07 It’s an in kind contribution of services as opposed to cash.
Robert Epstein: 29:11 Well, it turns out these could be considered massive in kind contributions to political campaigns that are not being declared and that’s illegal. So that’s the key to really going after these companies in 2020, if we catch them doing things that they shouldn’t be doing, that is the key, because there could be prosecutions here and a lot of public embarrassment is possible as well.
Bill Walton: 29:38 Well, the 2016 was biased towards Hillary against Bernie.
Reggie L.: 29:42 Mm-hmm (affirmative), that’s right.
Robert Epstein: 29:42 That’s right.
Bill Walton: 29:45 And so there’s got to be that same bias somewhere inside the democrat primary.
Robert Epstein: 29:52 Bill, you keep hitting that point, and I feel so embarrassed really, that I didn’t think of this many months ago. At this point in time, I don’t yet have the funding in place to move forward because we wouldn’t need to move forward.
Bill Walton: 30:07 But this has got to cost millions of dollars to get all this setup?
Robert Epstein: 30:10 Well, a full system on the scale we’re talking about, we’re talking about over $50 million.
Bill Walton: 30:16 Of course, in the primaries though, you got just New Hampshire and Iowa. So you could probably focus in those states at a much lower scale, much less scale.
Robert Epstein: 30:26 Well, the problem here is timetable, but the point is, if we have enough money coming in early enough, we should be able to monitor at least some of those primaries. And I agree with you if we’re able to monitor the primaries, that means the ears of the Democrats should perk up, and it means maybe we can get bipartisan support for setting up these monitoring systems. But I do wish I had thought of this months ago for sure.
Reggie L.: 30:52 Well, another thing is if there’s obvious bias, then you can kick in that law of in kind contributions that if there starts to be prosecutions in the primary election, that’s a warning, don’t try this for the general election, because there will be legal consequences.
Robert Epstein: 31:09 To me there is no possible harm, we can only win in fact by setting up large scale monitoring systems, because again, it’ll either get these companies to back off, in which case we win as a society, the free and fair election wins, because it’s been protected. Or they don’t back off, in which case we have a massive amount of data, massive, that can be used to prosecute these companies, and in some cases probably shut them down.
Bill Walton: 31:40 Under the campaign finance laws.
Robert Epstein: 31:43 Well, there could be other [crosstalk 00:31:45]-
Bill Walton: 31:45 Whatever, that’s a promising line of action. So I can’t turn the show into an infomercial [crosstalk 00:31:57].
Reggie L.: 31:59 Go ahead, go ahead Bill.
Bill Walton: 31:59 And also government agencies, there’s the SEC out there, we got to be careful about making offerings, but there is something that ought to be explored, there’s a line of action here, we don’t have to be just passive about it.
Speaking of lines of action, let’s go from the sublime problems, the big ones to the simple ones, the personal ones. You’ve written something called seven simple steps toward online privacy?
Robert Epstein: 32:24 Yes.
Bill Walton: 32:25 What are a couple of those simple steps? First place Reggie’s got to get rid of her Android phone.
Reggie L.: 32:30 Yeah, [inaudible 00:32:31] just bought a BlackBerry?
Robert Epstein: 32:35 Well, BlackBerry still exists, it’s a relatively small company, I mean it’s all I use, it’s here somewhere. My phone is extremely secure compared to the phones most people use. There are other options out there as well, iPhone is certainly much more secure than any Android phone. iPhone is an Apple product. And the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook has actually said publicly that he thinks that the business model that Google invented, which is called the surveillance business model, he thinks that that’s not a legitimate model for doing business, he thinks it should be illegal, and I agree completely.
At the moment, anyway, Apple doesn’t use that model, they sell real products to us and we pay money, cash money, and we get the products. Companies like Google and Facebook, they don’t have any products, we are the product.
Bill Walton: 33:30 We are the product, they’re selling our preferences, our buying [crosstalk 00:33:35]-
Robert Epstein: 33:35 All these tools that we use that they provide for us for free, and they’re not really for free, by the way, because we pay for them with our freedom. But these tools that they use are actually surveillance tools, they’re all surveillance tools, every single one of them.
Bill Walton: 33:51 You’re watching the Bill Walton show, and we’re getting into online privacy and surveillance tools and what you can do about it. Talking with Dr. Robert Epstein and Reggie Littlejohn. Continue.
Robert Epstein: 34:04 Well sure, I did set up a pretty simple link, it’s mysevensimplesteps.com. So if people go to mysevensimplesteps.com they’ll get to an article I wrote, which explains how you can protect yourself and your family from the surveillance. I personally have not received a targeted ad since 2014. So I obviously must be doing something a little different than everyone else does, and it’s true I use the internet, and I use these tools a little differently. It’s not that hard to take some of these steps.
Bill Walton: 34:44 Where can we find seven simple steps towards online privacy? Is that on your website, myGoogleresearch.com or that’s on your myGoogleresearch.com something else?
Robert Epstein: 34:53 Well, I set up a link that’s just for this article, because so many people are interested in it. That link is just mysevensimplesteps.com, that’ll take you right to this article.
Reggie L.: 35:04 I mean, a couple of other steps are to get an encrypted email like proton mail, I set up a proton mail account because my friend Robert would not communicate with me.
Bill Walton: 35:16 That’s his first step.
Reggie L.: 35:16 Yeah, he would not communicate with me on Gmail. Was like, I’m not… So now I have proton mail. Another one is to not use Google but to use start page, so I have done some things, okay? All right, those are the two things I did do.
Bill Walton: 35:34 So start page, proton mail. And by the way, we have no stake in these companies, we’re simply helping everyone keep their privacy, and you would use brave as a browser.
Robert Epstein: 35:46 I love brave, brave is a fairly new browser, it suppresses all ads and runs faster than Chrome, mainly because it suppresses all ads. It does a lot of very clever technical things to protect your privacy. So that’s brave.com, that’s a very simple change, to shift from using Chrome over to using Brave, and again, I said, brave.com. So there are things you can do and and you’re still using the internet, you’re still getting all your information, but it means that these companies, Google in particular, are no longer able to track you.
Bill Walton: 36:26 Well, and I love your fifth point he heev home, which I think you’re talking about the listening devices, when you’re talking to Alexa.
Reggie L.: 36:35 Yeah, I don’t talk to Alexa, I’m smart enough to not ever, I don’t do Alexa, I don’t Siri, I don’t do any of that stuff.
Robert Epstein: 36:41 Well someone gave my eldest son Alexa as a birthday present, and I gave him a speech about Alexa and Google Home and even Siri, unfortunately. He threw his Alexa device into the garbage pale right in front of me. And I thought, wow, that’s pretty cool, because I-
Reggie L.: 37:04 You’re very persuasive, I mean most kids will not do that on their fathers advice, teenagers.
Robert Epstein: 37:11 Well, also, I’m not a very controlling parent, and it’s not like I was… I’m just saying he really he just got the message, and that’s the message I’m trying so hard to convey to people, the surveillance is out of control, and you have no idea how extensive it is.
Reggie L.: 37:33 Could you please talk to us about the DNA database that Google, I mean, we’re talking about surveillance being out of control. And then you just told me during the break that Google has a database of all our DNA.
Robert Epstein: 37:47 Well, my wife with very good intentions sent in her $99, or whatever it was to 23andMe, because she wanted to get her whole background based on submitting her saliva and having her DNA analyzed. And so I gave my wife this speech, because Google is a major investor in 23andMe, it was actually founded or co-founded by the wives of one of Google’s founders. And Google has been investing in a number of DNA repositories, at some point was even running the national DNA repository, why? Because they’re adding DNA information to our profiles.
Reggie L.: 38:36 What is the point of that?
Robert Epstein: 38:36 Well, if you have DNA information, it means you can predict what diseases people are going to get, which means you can start marketing products to them, even before they get sick, there are lots of benefits you also happen to know which husbands have been cuckolded, I mean, I don’t know how you monetize that, but the point is, you have that information. Point is, to a company like Google, all information has value, and so you collect data now and then later, some point in the future you can figure out how to monetize it or how to use it for your various purposes.
Reggie L.: 39:12 Well, I can tell you how the Chinese government monetize the DNA information, but it’s pretty grizzly, I don’t know.
Bill Walton: 39:17 Tell us?
Reggie L.: 39:19 I’m not saying Google [crosstalk 00:39:20]-
Bill Walton: 39:20 I’m already feeling like we’ve got enough Grizzly stuff out here, let’s add to the pile.
Reggie L.: 39:26 Okay, I want to completely separate this, I’m not saying that this has anything to do with the United States, this has anything to do with Google, but I will say that in the Xinjiang province of China, they have detained over like a million weaker citizens, and what they do [crosstalk 00:39:41]-
Bill Walton: 39:40 Those are the Muslim?
Reggie L.: 39:42 Yes, weaker Muslim neighbors, okay, and one of the first thing they do is they take their blood. We don’t have any direct evidence of this, but what we do know is that there’s something called Organ tourism in China, where you can just say, “Oh, I need a kidney.” And you can set a date when you’re going to go to China and they will promise you a kidney. How did they get that kidney? Other than, they already have this database of DNA, and they know that they can match on the date of your preference. In the United States, if you need a kidney, or liver or heart or something like that you have to wait years.
Bill Walton: 40:19 So they’re harvesting organs from living people?
Reggie L.: 40:24 Yeah.
Robert Epstein: 40:24 But more importantly, they can say in advance who’s going to be a match, and they do that based on DNA data. So the point is, DNA data have value, as I said, Google very often collects information, sometimes for years before they figure out how to use the information. So the idea is collect it all, that’s the general thinking of the company, collect everything. Then over time we’ll figure out how to use it.
Now. One of the most dangerous ways in which the company uses information is they build digital models of us. So if you’re an adult in the United States, there’s a pretty good chance if you’ve been online for a while, 10 years or so or 10, 15 years, Google has the equivalent of about 3 million pages of information about you. Maybe you remember, Cambridge Analytica claimed to have 5000 data points on every American voter that they purchased by the way, it was all purchased from other companies.
Well, think about what Google has, by comparison, the equivalent of 3 million pages of information about you, and for many of us they also have our DNA data. Now, are they using all of that every single day for various… not necessarily, but the main use is digital modeling, creating a model of you that they can use to predict everything you want to do, predict your wants, your needs, predict where you’re going to go, because that formation allows them… the better they can predict what you want, that allows them to sell you things, and also to manipulate you, the more you know about someone, the easier it is to manipulate that person.
Bill Walton: 42:15 Life After Google, our friend George Gilder wrote a book about the fall of big data and the rise of the blockchain economy, and he thought that Google would be eclipsed by the blockchain technology and that the thing we don’t think about much is the existing internet is a huge energy consumer. And there’s lots of… what are the terms for the big, the power plants to drive it, there’s a term.
Robert Epstein: 42:48 But Google just calls them data centers.
Bill Walton: 42:50 That was it, data center. Technical term. You don’t think there is life after Google, at least the way this is described?
Robert Epstein: 43:04 Google is continuing to grow at a fantastic rate, and by the way, so are their revenues. So they this year probably surpassed $130 billion, they have more than 100 billion dollars in the bank, when they get hit with fines, which they have by the EU repeatedly, they just brush them off.
Bill Walton: 43:20 8 billion in fines is a drop in the bucket.
Robert Epstein: 43:22 It’s nothing to them. So, on the other hand, they are facing right now an onslaught of investigations. Literally just days ago, the House Judiciary Committee requested from Google and three of the other big tech companies 10s of thousands of pages of documents, including email communications among their top executives. Just a couple of weeks ago 50 Attorneys General, 50 of them in the United States, that’s 48 states and two territories began an antitrust action against Google, and that’s very significant, because no matter what happens in Washington, no matter what administration is in place, whether they’re pro-Google, anti-Google doesn’t matter, the AGs, they just keep going, they just keep going. So that’s a huge threat to Google.
It was just announced in the EU that Vestager who is the woman who has been behind the anti trust investigations of Google in Europe, which has resulted right now in, I think they’re approaching $10 billion in fines, she’s been reappointed, she was supposed to retire, she’s been reappointed and given more powers, more power than she ever had before. So there’s an onslaught of investigations against Google, we’re talking about Congress, the Attorney General around the country, the European Union. They know that they’re in trouble, because they have gone through two corporate reorganizations in the last few years, and I’ve asked top lawyers here and in Europe, what these reorganizations are all about, what these reorganizations are doing, is they’re protecting the major shareholders from any disaster that might befall the Google search engine, they’re protecting the stock of the major shareholders. So they understand that things could change for them at some point.
Bill Walton: 45:32 Even though it’s public, it’s still controlled by the founding shareholders?
Robert Epstein: 45:35 That’s correct, there’s two classes of stock… Facebook, the situation is even worse, because there are two classes of stock, and Mark Zuckerberg controls 60% of the voting shares. In other words he’s an emperor at Facebook, no one can challenge him.
Bill Walton: 45:53 But you think it’s going to be legal government regulation, something that’s imposed from the outside, rather than just competitive dynamics, technological change the rise of a new competitor, somebody in a garage inventing something that’s better?
Robert Epstein: 46:09 Well, I happen to admire George Gilder and I read-
Bill Walton: 46:11 Yeah, he’s a genius.
Robert Epstein: 46:13 Yeah, and I read his book, Life After Google, but I’m happy to advertise it and tell people to go and get it, but-
Bill Walton: 46:18 Yeah, I’m recommending everybody buy the book, just to get another CounterPoint to this.
Robert Epstein: 46:23 But I’m pretty sure he’s completely wrong, not partially wrong, but completely wrong with this. From my perspective, he doesn’t understand how glued people are to all of these free services, and you can’t actually break up the Facebook social network, you can’t break that up because that would be like building the Berlin Wall, right? And you’d be breaking up families, you can’t break up Google search engine also, because it wouldn’t work very well, it works well because the index is so large, it’s drawing on so much information, so it can almost always give you a fantastic answer. And people are attached to these so called free services. And people have been trying to set up competitors for these companies, for a long, long time, no one has made any progress whatsoever, these are entrenched in our lives.
It’s going to take some very radical action on the part of governments, and my opinion to make any difference. And frankly, I don’t even think governments are going to be able to help us that much, I believe, the only real way we can protect ourselves from these companies, and the companies that succeed them, the companies that are established in the future that perhaps threaten us, is with more and more sophisticated monitoring systems, because law and regulation move very slowly. Technology moves at lightspeed, but monitoring systems, those are technology systems, and they can move fast, they can move as fast as these companies move.
Monitoring systems need to be established in my opinion around the world, so that we can keep an eye on what tech companies are doing to us, what they’re showing us, what they’re telling us on our personal assistance, we are going to be surrounded literally within a year or two by the Internet of Things, 10s of billions of devices all around us, connected to the Internet, and providing information to big tech companies.
Bill Walton: 48:47 Well, I’ve already told people to get rid of my thermostats. Yeah. Well, how does China do this? I mean, they are not? China’s monitoring its population, you’re talking about monitoring the monitors.
Robert Epstein: 49:06 Correct.
Bill Walton: 49:06 And who would do that?
Robert Epstein: 49:09 In China I doubt anyone can.
Bill Walton: 49:11 China’s not doing it. It was just thinking about the hierarchy of who monitors who, if we did it here, would we set up an NGO some non governmental group? Would it be a-
Reggie L.: 49:23 He’s got a nonprofit that is set up to monitor the elections etc. Right?
Robert Epstein: 49:31 This is true, but I think we actually need multiple organization. And they need to exist around the world, and they need to be coordinated. This task is too big for just me, and too big for just my nonprofit. This is a huge task, these are very, very smart, aggressive people who run these companies. And again, we only learned recently about Google putting microphones into the NEST, smart thermostats.
Reggie L.: 50:04 Wait, I just want to stop there on that. Okay, that’s horrifying, I’m sorry. Okay, who doesn’t have a thermostat in their bedroom? If you have a new one, it’s called what?
Robert Epstein: 50:15 NEST.
Reggie L.: 50:16 NEST, and so it’s got a microphone and a camera.
Robert Epstein: 50:19 The newest ones they have cameras now.
Reggie L.: 50:21 So what is their excuse for putting this in? Number one. And number two, how do they get around invasion of privacy concerns?
Robert Epstein: 50:31 Well, they’ve been quite open about marketing the Google Home personal assistant.
Bill Walton: 50:42 My bet is they pitch it as, we’ve got a monitoring device, so if there’s some sound in the room a baby crying or something like that, we can help with your security.
Robert Epstein: 50:50 Well, that’s one of their newest patents actually, is we can figure out whether your infant is in distress, and not just based on sound, but because we’re looking at the infant, we can see whether the movements are normal.
Bill Walton: 51:03 It’s benign sounding, but it’s pernicious.
Robert Epstein: 51:05 Yeah. Well, there’s always the cover story, which sounds wonderful, but then there’s the surveillance.
Bill Walton: 51:10 Surveillance story, then there’s the real story.
Robert Epstein: 51:14 But they’ve been really selling the Google Home device, which is of course a surveillance device. They’ve been marketing it saying, you need this in every room in your house, and they name the rooms, and they show you in their advertising pictures of the Google Home device in every single room in someone’s house. So to some extent, they’re not hiding what they’re doing, they’re telling you we want to be everywhere you are.
Bill Walton: 51:44 Well, we’ve really dug into a lot of interesting topics here Dr. Robert Epstein. Thank you. Reggie Littlejohn, thank you. This is much, much more that ought to be done with this, and good doctor, your work is at mygoogleresearch.com?
Robert Epstein: 52:05 Well, that’s a link people can go to if they want to support my work, or learn more about it, yes, mygoogleresearch.com.
Bill Walton: 52:11 And Reggie, you are at womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org?
Reggie L.: 52:15 I’m at womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org unless Google takes me down as an insult participating with you guys in this conversation.
Bill Walton: 52:22 Yeah, I think you have, I mean, we’re talking about this openly, we just go right back after Google, right? So what we do when we contribute to women’s rights without frontiers? [crosstalk 00:52:34]
Reggie L.: 52:35 Thank you for asking, so as you know, we save baby girls from sex selective abortion and abandoned widows in China. If you want to help support that you can just go to womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org, and there’s red buttons on the right side of the homepage. Save Girls, Save A Widow, click there you can get more information.
Bill Walton: 52:54 Great. Robert, Reggie, thank you. You’ve been watching The Bill Walton show, listening The Bill Walton show. Please join me for upcoming shows, our next up is Robert Atkinson, who will be talking about trade and technology issues with China. I’m sure based on this conversations, that’s likely to be quite lively, we’ll see you then.
Speaker 1: 53:14 Thanks for listening. Want more? Be sure to subscribe at the billwaltonshow.com or on iTunes.
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