Manuel Vexler is the Executive Director at the Actionable Knowledge Foundational Institute (AKFI) and a Cornell Instructor and facilitator. He has a wealth of experience in leading and facilitating discussions on sustainability and digital transformation. Manuel believes that 5G doesn’t have a clear benefit and is rather a reflection of our growth-obsessed economies.
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[00:00:00] Gerry McGovern: Manuel Wexler is the Executive Director at the Actionable Knowledge Foundational Institute, AKFI, and a Cornell instructor and facilitator. He has a wealth of experience in leading and facilitating discussions on sustainability and digital transformation. I started our conversation by asking Manuel to give a brief overview of what 5G is.
[00:00:27] Manuel Vexler: Uh, it's a radical departure architecturally. It is really the first architecture that merges telecom and IT. Uh, so it's very little distinction, uh, short of base stations and radio deployments between the architecture of a, uh, cloud based, uh, IT product and the telecom product. So the control plane, for instance, is totally in the cloud.
[00:00:58] Manuel Vexler: So it's a radical [00:01:00] departure, uh, with the intent to leverage on the cloud. And to finish this, we notice already in the U. S. and probably in the U. S.,
[00:01:15] Manuel Vexler: Verizon, um, actually outsourcing their control plane to the cloud vendors, uh, AT& T to Microsoft Azure.
[00:01:25] Gerry McGovern: You know, certainly in my opinion, we are at a moment, uh, that is probably the greatest threat that humans, modern humans have ever faced in their 200 or 1000 year history on this planet. Uh, is 5G a good idea in that context?
[00:01:45] Gerry McGovern: It's a two
[00:01:46] Manuel Vexler: sided coin, like almost everything we do in technology. Uh, on one hand, It's, um, uh, allowing a much more [00:02:00] or better communication, which can actually reduce the amount of using transportation, uh, because of communications, direct communications. It also allows deployment of technologies in case of emergencies.
[00:02:17] Manuel Vexler: It allows a very high density of IoT internet of things, so we can use it for measurements on the climate and, uh, uh, you know, in agriculture in, in the cities. So there is definitely a positive aspect which comes from technology in general and 5G is a more efficient technology. If we measure, for instance, the amount of power used per user, To, um, have the same level of connectivity, let's say 10 megabits per second.
[00:02:49] Manuel Vexler: You flip the coin and on the other side of the coin you have a higher density of base stations, which require, uh, [00:03:00] definitely more electricity, uh, require also Uh, use, you know, using more materials, including connectivity, like we need to connect these base stations with fiber optics, uh, normally requires overall more power.
[00:03:21] Manuel Vexler: Uh, it also allows to go into the enterprise and control robots. So, from an energy, energy viewpoint, it has to be energy spent, it has to be, um, uh, scope, scope, uh, two and three for, or scope one if you are a telco. So, you know, like everything we do in technology, we can look from a positive. and the negative on the environment.
[00:03:50] Manuel Vexler: Whatever we do, it impacts the environment, it impacts social, it impacts the economics,
[00:03:57] Gerry McGovern: and so on. Yeah, and I was reading [00:04:00] about... The actual construction of these base stations that, that, uh, there's rare earths like, uh, Yttrium and Barium and, and, uh, also Aluminium and Copper. And that they're, they're not designed to be recycled, that, uh, which is a classic of the technology industry that, um, the recycling rate in, in, in e waste is about 20 percent or less.
[00:04:33] Gerry McGovern: Thank you. And of. What we even recycle any of that 20 percent we get back about 30 percent of materials. So the effective cycling rate in technology is 5%. So 95 percent of what goes into a typical technology project product ends up in a dump poisoning water. And poisoning [00:05:00] air and we're going to have, and that's, you know, I've spent 30 years in the technology industry and I've never.
[00:05:08] Gerry McGovern: You know, I never thought about these issues until a couple of years ago that, that really, we are leaving an extraordinary toxic legacy behind us. Uh, and, you know, we have, we face all these multiple crises, a soil crisis, air crisis, water crisis, novel entities crisis. There's so many crises. It's not just climate change.
[00:05:34] Gerry McGovern: And, you know, It, it, it strikes me that, that, you know, we just, I mean, imagine the technology industry designs its products in a way so that only 5 percent of the materials used can be reused again and that base stations are a perfect example of products that are being designed [00:06:00] so that they cannot be recycled.
[00:06:03] Manuel Vexler: I would say there are no design not to be recycled because that means design intent. I was a product manager in a couple of jobs. One of them was Cisco. So when you are a product manager, you're looking at the design intent and the design intent, as you said, is, is to is functional. So they have to function.
[00:06:25] Manuel Vexler: Do you look at reliability figures? So they're going to want you to have a high failure rate, What we've done at AKFI, and we are in the process of just launching, we, um, rewrote the book on how to design a product for recycling. We call it the, uh, the, uh, so, so we look at the whole process from the definition of the product, which it's called the market requirement documents to a product requirement documents.
[00:06:56] Manuel Vexler: And we put sustainability, we call it the S M R D [00:07:00] and SS P R D, putting sustainability in front of this process. So, to, to, to answer your question, uh, I would argue that the design intent, it's. Uh, functional so far and nobody cares about recycling or what happens when the end of life happens for this product working in the industry.
[00:07:23] Manuel Vexler: I know there are many people caring about the environment, but they don't have the right processes, the right time, the right cost to build, recycle, recycle, uh, into the product. So we have a white paper for whoever in your, uh, audience wants to order one. Uh, I think you'll put my email address in my introduction.
[00:07:49] Gerry McGovern: Absolutely. But it's also the technology and in general, it's business case, not to make things recyclable so [00:08:00] that you can sell the next generation product. Like it's, it's, it's a business model. Uh, Uh, Maybe unstated, but it's, it's planned obsolescence is a business model and the less recyclable products are, the more new products you can actually sell.
[00:08:23] Gerry McGovern: So it's, it's maybe it's no, no manager gets up and states. Uh, we are not going to make this recyclable, but I remember reading in Brian Merchant's book, the, the, the one, um, the one product over about the iPhone, I can't remember his name, but one of the senior engineers said to him, uh, uh, from Apple, he says, well, we weren't asked to make it repairable.
[00:08:52] Gerry McGovern: That's true,
[00:08:53] Manuel Vexler: because, because, and actually very recently Apple had to change because of [00:09:00] law changes. They have them to make the product repairable and actually offer third party repairs, the, they need to share the diagrams and so on. But, um, let's be real, repairing a smartphone may cost you more than Buying a new one, as you said, and to complete your idea, uh, uh, Jerry, uh, Apple had been sued because they reduce the on the old models that reduce the functionality, the life cycle of the battery, uh, to in order to, you know, people buy more.
[00:09:40] Manuel Vexler: I would step back from what you said for a second, if you allow me. And stepping back, I'm going to say that this is a general economic problem of our society. We measure everything in gross of GDP. So it's not only Apple or Microsoft or telecom industry or transportation industry. [00:10:00] We all measure on growth.
[00:10:01] Manuel Vexler: We reward the CEOs, we reward And when we do that, of course you want to, uh, to sell the new Gizmo.
[00:10:13] Gerry McGovern: Somebody said to me, you know, 5G in a factory setting, uh, it can be a really excellent, um, environment, but 5G for most people, is it really necessary? Like, you know, can, can't most people live quite well with, with 2G, well, 3G or 4G, like, you know, uh, You know, or is it really to sell VR headset, like, I mean, in, in these, this.
[00:10:48] Gerry McGovern: Absolute crisis of humanity. It seems like the technology industry is focused on virtual reality and artificial, you know, stuff [00:11:00] that's just incredibly energy intense and incredibly material intense. And that. You know, this, these, these are not solutions that are appropriate to, uh, an environmental crisis, but they are appropriate to Erikson's or whoever's, uh, growth trajectory for the next three years.
[00:11:25] Manuel Vexler: The point is 5G, it's a solution that is looking for a killer app or a You know, a problem. And the problem is not AR VR. The problem is not downloading a Netflix video in 5 seconds or 50 seconds. Because we cannot watch you. We have 5G exceeds our biological capabilities to read, to watch, to listen, right?
[00:11:53] Manuel Vexler: We're not going to listen to Beethoven and 10X speed, right? So, [00:12:00] uh, 5G, it's a, it's an architecture that is driven by the evolution of the technology, not by the evolution of the market, in my opinion.
[00:12:10] Gerry McGovern: Or, or, or the human , like, it's a great point. So what, like, why would I, why do I need five G as an ordinary person?
[00:12:20] Gerry McGovern: I
[00:12:21] Manuel Vexler: would argue that you, you know, short of certain, you know, very narrow, as you said, industrial applications. Uh, I don't see, uh, the four G performance being a limiting factor for usage. For, for instance, a lot of time people talk about five G and the higher band spectrum, but you can do, as you know very well, you can reduce the power for the antenna and, uh, and, uh, increase the density.
[00:12:50] Manuel Vexler: So, uh, there, there, there are technical solutions that engineers know how to, and, and we've, we've been doing that with. Some of our network for [00:13:00] years and years, so sure. I do not know. And, uh, I have many discussions in the industry with the, with people in, in, in different functions. I don't know a killer app for 5g.
[00:13:16] Gerry McGovern: Like it seems manual that We are caught as humans, you know, and almost like the more intelligent we are, the more trapped we are by progress and by innovation that we are, you know, that we, we, we recognize all these greater problems. Like if we want to solve. The climate crisis, we must reduce energy consumption.
[00:13:46] Gerry McGovern: It's not about finding new models of energy production. It's not about moving from, from oil to electric, we need to radically reduce Uh, consumption of, of [00:14:00] energy, if we're going to have any hope to survive the next 100 years in, in any way like the way we are today. And, and, and that means like walking more, cycling more, uh, cities, a very different view of cities, a very different view of cars.
[00:14:20] Gerry McGovern: Certainly not automated, automated cars, self driving cars, which are just enormous. producers of data and everything like that. And yet our best minds are really designing more energy consumptive solutions rather than, than, than what we need. Like we need, we need social engineering. We need, how do we get people, how do we get children off e scooters and onto bicycles?
[00:14:49] Gerry McGovern: Like, uh, how do we get people away from technology? Like, you know, but I see it. You know, we need to, we need to get back into nature [00:15:00] if we're going to survive as a species. And yet all the drivers are driving us further and deeper into technology.
[00:15:09] Manuel Vexler: You're absolutely right. This is a correct observation and, uh, I mean, a very good point.
[00:15:18] Manuel Vexler: The, uh, not only drives in technology, but also drives in the proliferation of technology, right? So, we're not talking only, uh, on a vertical, more technologies, more innovations in that direction, but we're also talking on the distribution on the Earth. The problem we have is, on one dimension, as an individual, as a consumer, we are pulled in all these directions, you know, consumer, and not only technology, but clothes, shoes, uh, entertainment, transportation, and so on.
[00:15:55] Manuel Vexler: So, so we increase the gap in this way between [00:16:00] us and the environment. On the other hand, we also, uh, uh, push into the technology and into the consumption, uh, uh, to, to, uh, uh, uh, at, at the social level. So as an individual, we are pushed to consume more, uh, because this is the basic economics, right? It's, it's GDP growth, it's industry growth, and so on.
[00:16:28] Manuel Vexler: We all measure growth. We have to start to think differently if we want, uh, an impact that is regional or global, in my, in my opinion, you know, in my, uh, in my observation is because if we have a strategy of growth and we measure growth and we reward growth, it's normal, it's natural to have these effects.
[00:16:52] Manuel Vexler: We are, as humans, we are innovative, we, as you said, we are more and more intelligent, we [00:17:00] have more and more tools, but it's all about growth. We have companies now valued at trillions of dollars, uh, one company not to name is about the same valuation as the GDP of Italy, for instance, I mentioned, it's, um, it's a complex problem and people recognize on one hand the, uh, the engine and the damage and, uh, We do the environment.
[00:17:30] Manuel Vexler: On the other hand, however, as a society, we act in the opposite direction. Even if we invest in EVs, even if we invest in public transportation in some countries.
[00:17:43] Gerry McGovern: It struck me a couple of years ago, we could, we could innovate ourselves to extinction. Like, innovation isn't necessarily an overall positive in...
[00:17:54] Gerry McGovern: Sure. It's, it's fracking, oil fracking is innovation, et cetera, et cetera, but [00:18:00] just connected with, or in that general theme, um, um, about six months ago, I had a very interesting conversation with a, with an Italian engineer, uh, Pietro Jarr is his name, he's, he's, um, a founder of this movement called Slow Web, but he, he was also, um, An environmental engineer in the area of mining for 30 years and and built up a very successful company there and he.
[00:18:29] Gerry McGovern: Um, a semi retired at this stage, but he was saying about his thinking about his life, his sons are engineers as well. And he was saying about what he was taught in engineering school was was an obsession with efficiency. And he says, 30 years later, he sees his sons are being taught. About efficiency, um, as well, uh, and he says that's the wrong concept.
[00:18:54] Gerry McGovern: He says we've, we've made such a mistake by focusing on [00:19:00] efficiency because he said what, what is much more important is, is the quantity. That is released by the efficiency that from an environmental point of view, the earth would be much happier with one filthy container ship going around the world than 10 million much more efficient ones that are, you know, burning fuel in a more efficient manner.
[00:19:31] Gerry McGovern: And just connecting that up with 5G, like the argument of 5G is that. It's more efficient like, like this, this almost religious or they've said efficiency. It must be great. But, you know, so now you can, you can download, you know, a gigabyte faster than a megabyte. But we're now downloading, as a result, 100 gigabytes, so that the [00:20:00] efficient, they talk about the per megabyte efficiency.
[00:20:03] Gerry McGovern: Oh, it's so much more efficient than 4G. But now we're downloading 200 or 500 times more than we would be downloading. So the overall energy and waste and impact is actually much, much greater. But if you look in this kind of myopic. Lens of efficiency per megabyte. It looks like it's a great thing, but at a broader environmental level, it's a horrible thing.
[00:20:36] Gerry McGovern: Efficiency per megabyte, so much better. And, and we got, we've got lost in that myopic view of efficiency or, or, or what would you think about, but that, that fillet, you know, that, that obsession with efficiency.
[00:20:53] Manuel Vexler: I'll connect it back with, uh, you know, growth and economic efficiency is not only [00:21:00] technical. Uh, first thing, uh, as an engineer, I can tell you that in the engineering school, and I think you are an engineer as well.
[00:21:09] Manuel Vexler: Um, they don't teach anything about environment. They don't, they train us to improve, right? Improve is another word for efficiency, right? Make it more efficient, make it better. Um, I think we're going really, really fundamental. I think the whole education system, it needs to have a second look because we build people that are very Uh, good scientists, for instance, as engineers, uh, but, uh, we never ask to solve, solve a social problem.
[00:21:51] Manuel Vexler: We always ask to solve a technical problem. Can you increase the base stations? Yes. Can you reduce the power on the base station? [00:22:00] Yes. To reduce the efficiency of, of electric, you know, consumption, so I can sell newer base stations. It's not the environment that they reduce the power, it's for, uh, for replacing, as you said in, in your example, one generation is another.
[00:22:16] Gerry McGovern: Improved,
[00:22:18] Manuel Vexler: efficient, right. Uh, we, we need people that are, uh, uh, transdisciplinary. They can have a, a conversation about the environment as well as about the technology. We need to, to be much more holistic, more, much more system. oriented if, if we want to fix the problem of environmental. And you started the conversation, Jerry, by saying, you know, weather changes, but people say, okay, weather changes means I need more air conditioning in a developed country.
[00:22:54] Manuel Vexler: It doesn't say we need to figure out why it changed. Where
[00:22:58] Gerry McGovern: are we going? Like, what's [00:23:00] your, are we, are we on this? path to maybe not extinction. It's very difficult to, you know, uh, the human race are extraordinarily resilient. But, you know, many scientists, many believe we are, we are heading towards an incredible series of shocks.
[00:23:23] Gerry McGovern: And, uh, perhaps tipping points where we are the last generation that could actually do something about passing on a livable, uh, climate to our children and, and their children. And we may be of 20, 30, 40 years, maybe 50 at a stretch, a hundred years to do it. Um, what's, what's your thoughts
[00:23:50] Manuel Vexler: there? We need to address this socioeconomic model where we are all for consumption.
[00:23:56] Manuel Vexler: So we call it consumers, right? We don't [00:24:00] call them users or customers. We call them consumers, consumer markets. So just the mind shift. So I'll maybe just focus on how we change the minds of people to think differently. And words count, right? If I call you a consumer, what's How do I see you as a technologist?
[00:24:21] Manuel Vexler: Somebody that consumes my product, make it better, more attractive, get rid of your, uh, iPhone and buy the new one. So it is such a fundamental system change. We have a society where sort of we base a lot of, uh, Things on past history, right? More performance, as you said, more efficiency, make it more efficient, efficient technology than before.
[00:24:51] Manuel Vexler: I'll give you an example from another field. We, instead of many of our conditions like high [00:25:00] blood pressure can be solved, for instance, with a bit of diet, no salt. Uh, and more walking physical activity. You can solve a problem. How do we solve it today? We solve it with more medicine, give people to eat normal if you want.
[00:25:18] Manuel Vexler: Like a McDonald's probably has sold for one or two days in a couple of bites. This is how we address problems. We encourage consumption of everything. So, uh, as you said, uh, you can reach a tipping point. Do we have technologies to destroy ourselves? Oh, plenty of them. Do we really react at individual or collective level?
[00:25:42] Manuel Vexler: Not really. Uh, we become desensitized, uh, desensitized or, um, you know, no longer sensitive. To these kind of things. So, you know, if you ask me to predict long winding discussion, but, uh, human race has, uh, uh, [00:26:00] the capability to survive, and also the capability to self destroy. And, as I said in the beginning, these are two sides of the same
[00:26:08] Gerry McGovern: coin.
[00:26:09] Gerry McGovern: What you said about 5G, that there's no, no real reason for it, and yet it's been rolled out, like that, a kind of, um, was almost like a conversation stopper in a way and in the sense of yet it's been rolled out at an incredible pace and we're, and there's mega marketing and, and you're, you're going to have to upgrade your phones and, you know, and, and yet we were, it's, it really feels like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
[00:26:47] Gerry McGovern: type of side of human nature and it's, of course, not just, it's not simply 5G, but, you know, we look at the energy impact of artificial intelligence, [00:27:00] et cetera, that when we need, we need answers today, we need, we need ways of creating a more livable planet. Um, it seems like it's. From a technological side, we are, we are tipping towards the wrong side of the coin.
[00:27:21] Manuel Vexler: You said it, Jerry, and we need, we need many, Jerry, if I may say it this way, uh, to, um, to really get the people to wake up. It's not a question of, uh, we, we cannot change the direction. It's a question of how we change the direction, you know. Uh, I'll give you an example. We, we invest a lot in electric vehicles.
[00:27:50] Manuel Vexler: I did a presentation at Cornell on systems, uh, uh, systems thinking, and I, I, I look at the, uh, the [00:28:00] electric vehicles, uh, in total electric. Uh, you know, it's, it's a cousin if you want, of the telecom industry. They, we need a lot of rare metals with earth metal, you know, earth uh, elements. Uh, we move mountains to get a few kilos of lithium.
[00:28:21] Manuel Vexler: Um, and if you add everything together, uh, these cars are supposed to be fed by renewable energy. And if you look at the global level, renewables are 17 percent of the total energy produced, but I didn't say, I didn't say everything. Renewables includes hydro and includes nuclear. If you separate wind and, and the sun.
[00:28:52] Manuel Vexler: You are in the low, low tens percentage of energy produced globally. So we produce these cars that [00:29:00] require electricity and electricity, still oil and gas and, uh, A little bit less now on, uh, on call. So we saw, we create a solution to just hit, you know, kick the ball down the down the road and say, okay, now is the time to produce renewable energy.
[00:29:23] Manuel Vexler: We do not have technologies for renewable. Uh, that are either accepted, nuclear could be a solution for producing larger and constant amounts of energy, right? So, uh, it is the same with every industry. It's a push toward a change of technologies in the name of sustainability, but we need people with a clear mind and, you know, clear eyesight, like yourself, to really say, look, these things don't
[00:29:58] Gerry McGovern: add up.
[00:29:59] Gerry McGovern: Like, [00:30:00] it's only half renewable because, like, as you indicated, the mining, like, I mean, these things, the, uh, uh, a wind turbine is not renewable. It's tons of copper, lithium, uh, fiberglass wings that currently are buried. In desert somewhere in the process. So the actual making the like the lies we tell ourselves like that.
[00:30:27] Gerry McGovern: Um, these things have to be built and to build them. You have to mine and. In, in mining to get these rare earth materials or to get the lithiums, we end up going to the last vestiges of nature often, uh, in, whether it's in Chile or Brazil or, or not, they're now coming to the rural parts of Ireland looking for Thank you very much.
[00:30:54] Gerry McGovern: Lithium, et cetera, or of Portugal, or you're going to the Samis, [00:31:00] um, the indigenous people of Sweden and taking their land. So you're going to the last vestiges where nature is left. And you're digging up that area to get your lithium and your cobalt and your aluminium, etc. And then you're building these machines and you're often bringing them back to these places to put them, to stick them in rural areas.
[00:31:27] Gerry McGovern: These big wind turbines to disrupt the life of that rural area. And then at the end of their life, you're dumping them in these rural areas, in these biodiverse areas. And this is what you're calling renewable. This is what you're calling sustainable green development. And yes, is it better than oil? Yes, it's better.
[00:31:49] Gerry McGovern: But that's because oil and coal. is so extraordinarily bad, like it's, it's not, you're, you're calling this green only because oil is so incredibly [00:32:00] bad. We've convinced ourselves that we're actually, this is the solution. So we're going to destroy nature, which is already under threat to build this green future.
[00:32:14] Gerry McGovern: So it's this enormous lie that we very smart people are telling ourselves. About how we're going to solve the problem. The, the, the
[00:32:25] Manuel Vexler: challenge is, uh, we, we never think or, or never thought what the economists, uh, called the unintended consequences or systems engineers, right? Uh, you, you, you solve a problem only in a narrow field.
[00:32:41] Manuel Vexler: Okay? So I need, uh, I can, I can use the wind. As a source of energy, you know, good place, but as you said, we don't design, uh, we don't design, uh, uh, wind farms to be [00:33:00] recyclable. We don't design wind to be environmental, let's say. And, uh, you know, to add complexity to the problem, you have industries that make billions of dollars in the last, uh, Years, actually, the oil and gas industry had extraordinary profits, profits they never had before, I believe.
[00:33:25] Manuel Vexler: So, uh, when we're talking about such a complex system, as you said, there has to be a tipping point, has to be a catastrophic event near to the homes of the people that make the decisions, and they have to live with it. So, uh, people don't see the mining, the, the child exploitation in, in, uh, in African countries where kids at 6, 8 years old are, you know, digging with their hands for, uh, for lithium.
[00:33:58] Manuel Vexler: We see the... [00:34:00] The phones, you see them, you know, the magnets and the batteries and stuff like that. So, uh, not that, not that if we show the pictures to people, they'll say, well, it's not my problem, right? So, you know, getting sort of on a philosophical level, the human race has, uh, has most capabilities to progress, progress, and I'll come back to what I mean by progress.
[00:34:32] Manuel Vexler: And, uh, or or to destroy itself, as you said, and by progress, I was thinking when we talk about climate change, I remember going some years back in Mexico in, uh, in, uh, trying to visit some ruins, right? So we entered this building. No air condition completely open, right? It had palm leaves on top of the, uh, [00:35:00] instead of the roof.
[00:35:01] Manuel Vexler: But they left a space between the roof and the wall, and it was cool. It has air draft and cooling. We had technologies that, you know, people figured it out many hundreds, thousands of years ago, how to live in, inside the very hard climate. It's not putting your air conditioning at 65 Fahrenheit and hoping that, uh, Well, you know, electricity still keeps going in Texas.
[00:35:35] Manuel Vexler: For instance, we get warnings. Don't consume too much because you're going to get blackouts. So, so we have, we have the technologies, we have the knowledge, we have the will.
[00:35:47] Gerry McGovern: and the wisdom, what you intimated there. We have lost a lot of historical wisdom from indigenous peoples or the [00:36:00] older, you know, going back older generations.
[00:36:04] Gerry McGovern: I know the Iranians had Similar solutions to what you described for air conditioning in, in how they constructed their buildings, kind of special type of chimneys or whatever, but even in, in Brazil, which is a more modern country. I've been in very hot parts of Brazil, where my wife is from, and they have the same concept in the, in the rural areas of how to design the, um, the houses, there's a gap, uh, up at the roof, um, that allows this circulation, so it's not a closed, uh, so you think, oh, that's crazy, but it's actually, it's, it's, it's, it's in extreme heat, it's quite cool, like it's, it's quite livable, so the, the, the, the, the, the, the, We've, we've come up with [00:37:00] a lot of very energy efficient solutions, but they said, I remember reading the article about Iran, they were saying, ah, yeah, but people, as they got wealthier, they didn't want to, um, use these so much because you had to clean them out.
[00:37:15] Gerry McGovern: You know, you had to 'cause dust would, would gather at the bottom of the chimney that the, so it was a bit more messy, you know, it was, wasn't as convenient. Uh, and as a modern family, you don't want to have to clean out this chimney every morning. This was the air conditioning chimney, you know, and so we've had so many innovative solutions in the past, being able to deal with problems at great.
[00:37:44] Gerry McGovern: Um, That today we just get rid of by a technological solution, but that technological solution has this huge hidden imprint. So anyway, maybe this, as [00:38:00] you've indicated, there's a wisdom that we have lost that we could maybe regain because we're very intelligent today, but I don't think we're very wise. We
[00:38:12] Manuel Vexler: measure growth, we measure efficiency, we measure profitability, we measure internal investments.
[00:38:20] Manuel Vexler: And if you have these measurements as the way of defining the society, putting palm leaves and what I said on top of a building is not a, um, You know, I can imagine the accountants or the economists trying to figure out how many leaves you need and so on, right? And how you make a business out of that and you want.
[00:38:45] Gerry McGovern: Is there a, is there a momentum? That modern technology creates within the human psychic that, you know, that as we get to digital, or digital [00:39:00] allows us to speed up, so then do we speed up, like digital, it's very hard to design something digital to slow us down, you know, digital by its nature, leans towards speed, and it leans towards creating copies, so And, and, and just creating stuff, so, oh, if it's easy to create copies, well, let's create 10 copies in the cloud.
[00:39:28] Gerry McGovern: Because it's easy to create copies, and if it's easy to create copies, it's easy to create more data. Like it seems it's much easier to create more data than less data, because that's the nature of the Of the, of the beast, as they say, or the thing, what's the nature of technology is speed and copying. And so we do a lot of things quickly and we do a [00:40:00] lot of creating and copying.
[00:40:03] Gerry McGovern: Yeah, in the
[00:40:04] Manuel Vexler: game is this whole model of consumption, competition, economic crisis at the end because you have the super production you produce too much and people don't cannot consume or they don't have the money to consume. I don't think we, uh. We stopped at 5G when you look at the bigger picture. It's a symptom.
[00:40:29] Manuel Vexler: Exactly. It's, it's part, it's part, as you said, part of the problem. But the, the bigger picture, it's, we create more products to sell, more services to sell. We are a cumulative society. I'll give you a positive news at the end, however, if I may. Good, good. We have, we have, uh, 20 volunteers and students and they KFI and they are working really hard because they believe in sustainability.
[00:40:58] Manuel Vexler: They believe [00:41:00] that things have to change. They believe that things can be changed. So you refer to the next generation and generations. I think we start to understand the problem. We don't have a solution or solutions yet, but we started the right point because once we understand. We are innovative as a human race.
[00:41:24] Manuel Vexler: We are diverse. We are, uh, we, we, as you said, we had solutions hundreds and thousands of years ago. We can go back, and go back in an intelligent fashion, right? Because we have so much more knowledge, so many universities, so many ways to learn and so on, to transmit knowledge.
[00:41:46] Gerry McGovern: If you're interested in these sort of ideas, please check out my book, Worldwide Waste, at jerrymagovern.
[00:41:51] Gerry McGovern: com To hear other interesting podcasts, please visit thisishcd. com. Thank you for listening.[00:42:00]
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