THE ED MYLETT SHOW - Why AI Could Be the Best Teacher You Ever Have w/ Sal Khan

Episode Date: June 11, 2024

AI is accelerating at a dizzying pace and you’ve got to be prepared for what’s to come. It’s not a matter of if, but when… and it’s going to be sooner than you expect! In this electrifying ...episode, we’re discussing the boundless potential of artificial intelligence and its transformative impact on education and beyond with none other than Sal Khan, the visionary behind Khan Academy. As an advocate for revolutionary educational practices, Sal shares his insights on how AI is not just a tool for learning but a gateway to reshaping educational paradigms. From our discussion, you'll gain revealing insights into: How Salman took The Khan Academy from a simple online tutoring program to a global educational powerhouse How AI is revolutionizing the way students learn Our thoughts on how AI could democratize access to quality education for students worldwide Potential challenges and ethical considerations as AI becomes more integrated into our educational systems Sal's personal journey and the visionary steps he's taking to merge technology with education, inspiring a new generation of learners and educators Sal's perspective not only enlightens on the current state of educational AI but also invites us to think critically about its future implications. Join us for a conversation that promises to enlighten, inspire, and challenge the way we perceive the intersection of technology and education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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Starting point is 00:01:25 BetMGM operates pursuant to an operating agreement with iGaming Ontario. This is The Admiring Show. Welcome back to the show everybody. So my guest today when I first started this show, I don't know seven eight years ago, was on my original list of the 10 people I wanted to have on, but when we were this little show, I couldn't get him. And now that we've grown a little bit, I'm grateful that we've risen to the level of being worthy of his presence. And I'm so excited to pick his brain. I consider him one of the most innovative, smart people on the planet. It's Sal Khan. He's my guest today. He's the
Starting point is 00:02:04 founder of, most of you probably know the Khan Academy, which is in my mind one of the most revolutionary, unbelievable organizations when it's come to education in the last few years. But we're going to discuss sort of the advances in that world today, particularly AI as it relates to education. But also I want to just touch on
Starting point is 00:02:20 AI in general with him today and what he thinks the impact on the world that's going to bring. He's promoting a new book he's got called Brave New Words and really what that book does is it discusses the integration of AI in education and he's got this new thing called the Konmigo AI Guide that I want to ask him about as well. So Sal Khan, finally, welcome to the show. Good to be here Ed. You didn't know you were on the top 10 places I wanted to be so you just had to ask. Gosh, the universe finally brought us together. I had that imposter syndrome going so. So I got so many things brother I want to ask you about. Let's start out though.
Starting point is 00:02:56 Most of you should know if you don't the Khan Academy is one of the most revolutionary nonprofit organizations on the planet. But talk about a little bit about you know, the foundation of why you started Khan Academy in the beginning, but also what's this Khan-migo and how do you think AI is going to revolutionize education in general? Yeah, so if you rewind back to 2004, my original background was in tech, but in 2004 I had just gotten married.
Starting point is 00:03:22 I was a year out of business school. I was an analyst at a hedge fund. And my family from New Orleans, which is where I was born and raised, they were visiting me in Boston. And I just came out of conversation. My 12 year old cousin, Nadia, was having trouble in math. So I offered to tutor her remotely.
Starting point is 00:03:36 When she went back to New Orleans, she agrees. And slowly but surely she got caught up with her class, a little bit ahead of her class. Word spreads in my family, free tutoring is going on. Before I know it, I'm tutoring 10, 15 cousins, family, friends every day after my hedge fund job. And I saw common patterns that they were struggling, not because they weren't bright or hardworking
Starting point is 00:03:56 or that they didn't go to good schools, it was because in traditional academic system, you're pushed ahead. Even if you understand something only 80% well, you move ahead to another topic, usually something that's going to be built on those 20% gaps. This is especially true in mathematics.
Starting point is 00:04:10 Or summer happens and you, even though you knew it really well last year, you forgot 30% of it, but now you're going to be building on those gaps. And so I started building software for them, really just a family project for them to get practice and for me to keep track of what they were doing. I called it Khan Academy.
Starting point is 00:04:26 It was a little bit of a joke. The domain name was available. It was, it's a family project. But a little part of me did think that maybe this could scale to more people. Then in 2006, a friend suggested that I make YouTube videos to supplement this software. I initially thought YouTube was a superficial modality
Starting point is 00:04:47 for learning, but I gave it a shot. And my cousins famously told me they liked me better on YouTube than in person. And what they were saying, I believe, is that they just appreciated having an on-demand version of their cousins, something that they could pause, repeat, watch in the middle of the night, not feel embarrassed if they had to review something
Starting point is 00:05:08 from fifth grade, even if they were in ninth grade now. So I kept going, but you could imagine it, people who weren't my cousins started using both the videos and the software, but the videos almost took on a life of their own. And by 2008, 2009, there were about 50 to 100,000 folks per month using this. And remember, this is just my side hustle,
Starting point is 00:05:26 so to speak, my hobby. And so in 2008, I set it up as a nonprofit. Even then I didn't think I was going to quit my job. I thought it was still going to be a side thing, but Khan Academy mission, free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. But then 2009, I quit my day job to work on it full-time. It was a hard year, but by 2010 we got our first real support.
Starting point is 00:05:47 It just came out of the woodwork that Bill Gates was using it himself. He was using it with his kids. So that helped with the Gates Foundation. It turns out senior executives at Google were using it for their kids. And so Google and the Gates Foundation were the first philanthropic supporters,
Starting point is 00:06:01 there's been many since. And if you fast forward to, let's call it the last year and a half, two years, a lot of what Khan supporters has been many since. And if you fast forward to, let's call it the last year and a half, two years, a lot of what Khan Academy has been doing is just trying to scale what I was originally doing with Nadia and using technology to do it, making it more accessible. And a lot of it is scaling personalization.
Starting point is 00:06:19 Can I brag on you for a minute? Can I just brag, just interject? I just want everybody to understand, he's being very humble. I just wanna add this. Khan Academy is in over 190 countries, 160 million users. So when he talks about it, he wanted to scale it, it's scaled. And I just want to step back really quick as he continues to go. Some of you entrepreneurs should step back and listen to that again just as a blueprint
Starting point is 00:06:42 of how a business could begin. Seeing patterns, seeing a need in the marketplace, being somewhat innovative, finding unique ways to scale, using technology to scale. So I didn't want to interrupt you, but I also want everyone to know, my gosh, I mean, this has not been, he hasn't made a little drop in the universe. This has been a, this has been a revolution of sorts that I sort of think leads to where you're going now. So I didn't want to interrupt, but I also wanted to make sure they knew the impact that you and Khan Academy
Starting point is 00:07:08 have made in the world. Cause I don't think with what you're about to describe would probably be on, on the table right now, had you not done what you did back in 2008, it's sort of prepared for this moment. So back to you. No, that's right. And I appreciate that. And you can imagine sometimes when you're in the midst of it, as far as we've come, And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that.
Starting point is 00:07:29 And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that.
Starting point is 00:07:42 And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a great way to do that. And I think that's a type of one-on-one tutoring personalization that I was able to do with Nadia initially. And I used to, to new employees at Khan Academy, I used to hand them a whole series of science fiction books, books like Ender's Game or Diamond Age. And the common theme was all of these books had artificial intelligences tutoring students so that these students could dramatically accelerate their learning. And I always put that out there as like a vision, hey, this might not even happen in our lifetime.
Starting point is 00:08:11 It might be a hundred years out, but this is what we're eventually going to be. And when OpenAI Sam Altman, Greg Brockman popped me an email about a year and a half ago, this is summer of 2022, actually a little bit more, almost two years ago, they said, hey, we're gonna, we're training our next model. It just ended up being GPT-4.
Starting point is 00:08:32 For folks to remember, this was still six months before even ChatGPT existed. And ChatGPT was based on GPT 3.5 when it launched. So when they showed me GPT-4, which I went into that meeting curious, I thought the technology was probably going to be cool, but I thought I was skeptical as to whether it was going to be relevant
Starting point is 00:08:47 to what we were doing. But I saw that, yes, it had some issues in terms of hallucinations and math errors, but in certain ways, it was almost indiscernible from what I was able to do at Nadia back in 2004. And I said, well, if you pair that with some guardrails, pair it with some of the content that we already have, implement it for education,
Starting point is 00:09:09 make sure it's not a cheating tool, but an actual support tool. This could do what I thought we weren't gonna be able to do for 50 years, we might be able to do in five months. And so we've increasingly pivoted the organization on this to build Conmigo, which we're calling a tutor for every student and a teaching assistant for every teacher because it can help them develop
Starting point is 00:09:32 lesson plans, write progress reports. It can synthesize what students have been doing in narrative ways. And even calling it a tutor is, to some degree, selling it short. It can do things like simulate historical figures or literary characters. It acts as a writing coach. It can do things like simulate historical figures or literary characters. It acts as a writing coach.
Starting point is 00:09:47 It can act as a guidance counselor. So even things that I wasn't, I did do a guidance counselor a little bit for my cousins, but I never pretended to be George Washington for them. So it's transcending. I wanted to ask you that. I wanted to interject. I wanted to ask you about the guidance counselor
Starting point is 00:10:01 because I was reading it. I get the tutor part. I get the teacher assistant part. How can AI about the guidance counselor, because I was reading it. I get the tutor part, I get the teacher assistant part. How can AI be a guidance counselor? That part of it perplexed me a little bit. That's where I thought you would need a human. Well, ideally you want the human. And I don't view any of what we're doing
Starting point is 00:10:17 as a replacement for a human. But if you take most students in a traditional setting, the student to guidance counselor ratio at their school if you take most students in a traditional setting, the student to guidance counselor ratio at their school is probably 100 to one at best. And so you have limited meetings and then, the guidance counselors don't have necessarily all of the time to really give the, or in some cases they might not have the context of,
Starting point is 00:10:43 when I was in high school, my dream was to go to MIT. No one from my high school had ever attended MIT. So my guidance counselor really didn't have, when I said I wanna go to MIT, he's like, Michigan's cold, I'm like, it's not in Michigan. And he was a great guy, he was a great guy. I don't wanna, he actually helped me a lot. But it's that context.
Starting point is 00:11:03 And what we've been able to do with Conmigo is go to some of the top college coaches, when I say coaches, college admissions coaches in the country, people who would typically charge wealthy families $500 an hour to consult with their kids. And we're able to emulate a lot of those pieces so that every student with the artificial intelligence could understand, okay,
Starting point is 00:11:24 what actually makes a great application? What actually makes a great essay? We actually have a feature where it'll give you feedback on your college admissions essay. Won't write it for you, but it'll give you feedback. The type of feedback that most kids don't have access to. So once again, I think it just, it amplifies the work of a guidance counselor or it helps raise the floor for kids who don't have access to one. Let's step back on the AI topic just for a second. By the way, I appreciate all that color and background. You've made the conscious decision and you know this, there's two camps. There's the people that want to dance with AI and leverage it to help advance society and culture in their
Starting point is 00:11:58 businesses. And then there's the camp that's very afraid of it and worried about what it's going to do to the job market, what it's going to do to careers. I want to ask you some things beyond that a little bit. When it comes to education, everybody listening to this today, we're going to move into AI in general and how it's going to impact you. When he says education, this affects that we're talking about scholastics here, but it could be in the business I'm in where I teach people how to close or persuade or be an entrepreneur. That's education. So there's there's an element of it. There's an AI of me right now that I just listened to recently that can give a speech like I can't give that can answer the questions that I'd be answering that currently I get paid to answer. Right. And so I'm curious from an education standpoint, I'm thrilled about this, especially what you're doing with it, because I was fortunate in the sense that I probably started life on, you know,
Starting point is 00:12:46 I didn't start on at home plate. I started on at least second base. I had a middle class upbringing. I went to a public school, but it was a good public school. My family couldn't afford private school to me. There's kind of like, you know, private school, a good public school, and then there's like a lot of public schools that are not so good.
Starting point is 00:13:02 I was in the middle there. I had a good public school education but I had to work for my education. Do you worry, even though it levels the playing field hopefully to some extent, do you worry that this just becomes too easy for a young person? That they don't have to even really work to learn most things anymore? That it's at their fingertips? I've watched, I think, and I'll get off my soapbox, I feel like technology in general may have impacted some forms of work ethic
Starting point is 00:13:29 already in young people. Like you and I had to go do a report in high school, I'd go down to the library, get an encyclopedia, read it, type it on a typewriter. My daughter now types three words into Google now with chat, GBT, you know, I mean she's got a report. Do you worry that it makes, does it impact work ethic in a student to have such great access? I don't know if anyone's ever asked you that before. Yeah, I was just, yes.
Starting point is 00:13:51 And this is something we think a lot about. It depends how it's used and what direction we go in. You're absolutely right. These tools can be used as shortcuts. So if the education system tries to ignore it or doesn't adapt to it, then yes, it's going to undermine what's going on. And I write about it in my book about the fact can be used as shortcuts. So if the education system tries to ignore it or doesn't adapt to it, then yes, it's going to undermine what's going on.
Starting point is 00:14:08 And I write about it in my book about this. And I write, you know, we have a whole chapter about cheating and I start pre-chat GPT. And I'm like, look, cheating's already been an issue. There's internet services where you can pay $5 a page. And a human being in Nigeria, it turns out, is a big place where people can write good college essays for you.
Starting point is 00:14:26 They'll write you one, you know, an A minus or better guaranteed. So this was always going to be an issue. I'm hopeful that actually, once again, it depends on how you use it. All technologies just amplify your intent. And so I actually think there's an opportunity, let's say on the writing, we're launching a tool
Starting point is 00:14:45 where a teacher can assign through the AI, the AI won't do the essay for you, it'll work with you. And then when the student is ready, the AI will report back to the teacher, not just the output of the essay, but the whole process. Yeah, Sal and I worked on this for three and a half hours, et cetera, et cetera. It's consistent with his other work.
Starting point is 00:15:01 I'm confident it is his work. If I went to chat GPT, or if I went to one of these Nigerian essay farms and got my essay written, it'll say, hey, we didn't work on this essay together. And by the way, it's not consistent with his other writing. I would double check that. So the AI can now support students better
Starting point is 00:15:18 and it could even police some of the other forms of cutting corners. But the places where I'm really excited is, you mentioned you teach people how to sell. That traditionally, we didn't even consider that as on the table in schools, because how do you assess that? How do you simulate that?
Starting point is 00:15:34 And I can start to do that. One of the big problems that I think has happened since you and I were in school, I'm not against standardized tests. In fact, I make the argument in the book, which part do you not like, testing or standardization? You need to test something to get better at it. And you want it to be standardized
Starting point is 00:15:51 so that you can compare it and you can benchmark. But the problem that's happened is, as we've gotten more and more indexed on standardized tests over the last 30 or 40 years, there's been a, and these standardized tests had to be scalable. So they can only measure things with, for the most part, multiple choice questions,
Starting point is 00:16:08 which is a very narrow set of skills. A lot of schools, especially the schools that were struggling, started to narrow their curricula to be more and more focused on those narrow assessments. And if all you are doing is multiple choice, you're never learning to articulate, you're never learning to write.
Starting point is 00:16:25 And it does seem like there's an epidemic in, I was talking to a very senior official at Harvard recently who said, even Harvard freshmen, like most of them can't write. That's telling you something. And so in this world now where we're going to be able to create AI based assessment where you don't, it's not multiple choice, where you can ask a student
Starting point is 00:16:43 to say what they think, to write a passage, to design an experiment, to engage in a simulation where you're, let's say you're trying to sell something to someone. I think it's actually going to broaden the aperture and allow more creation to happen, which is actually more cognitive load, not less, but you're gonna get that feedback
Starting point is 00:17:01 so you can get better at it. So, hey guys, as you know, I've partnered up with my good friend, Brennan Bruchard, but you're going to get that feedback so you to get courses that would cost thousands of dollars completely for free. It's incredible. Go to forward slash ed and check it out. This show is sponsored by BetterHelp. So you know, I get asked a lot, what are some of the common practices or behaviors of the successful people that have been on your show? I got to tell you, most of them have been to therapy. And they've told me therapy has made a big difference in their life. It's made a big difference in my life.
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Starting point is 00:18:12 slash ed show. Right now to get 10% off your first month, that's BetterHelp, H-E-L-P dot com slash ed show. So there's a lot of people including people on my show. We talk often times about the benefits of fasting like weight loss, mental and physical performance, gut health, but people worry about the whole not eating part. Well that's exactly why Prolon was created. Prolon is a revolutionary plant based nutrition program that helps nourish the body while making the cells believe they're fasting.
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Starting point is 00:19:03 Go to slash my let that's. Go to slash MyLet. That's slash MyLet for this special offer. That's slash MyLet. These statements and products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Yeah, I'm excited about that. diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition? Yeah, I'm excited about that. And I'm also one of the other applications that I'm excited about is that what is education can expand, meaning what I was never taught about money, for example,
Starting point is 00:19:36 when I was a young person or interpersonal relationships or how to communicate better. And because there's just a finite amount of time and space in a traditional school, but now, you know, and because there's just a finite amount of time and space in a traditional school. But now, you know, maybe people can begin to study things that are more their aptitude basis long term. I'm excited about that. Here's an odd question, but just like I, by the way, the book is outstanding, everybody. And most of the things I'm asking Sal today, you can get more answers to in the book.
Starting point is 00:19:59 I read it in two days. But, you know, one of the things I thought about is this sort of access, uh, and this is like now everybody, we're not talking about three years from now changes the pace in which somebody can consume education information as well. Right? So somebody like yourself that maybe have a little bit higher IQ or desire to learn, my gosh, by the time you're eight or nine years old, you could have accumulated all the knowledge that someone took 12 years to go through a traditional education. Here's an odd one for you that I always
Starting point is 00:20:27 worry about with technology is exactly what you just said. I feel like people have more and more access to information, but their maturity level, their ability to communicate, interact as an adult is trailing further and further behind what they know and what they can apply. And I'm wondering if you worry about that at all, that that someone can have a vast amount of education, yet the maturity level of the person has not caught up to their ability to learn. Their maturity level aptitude isn't as high
Starting point is 00:20:53 as their intellect or their education or information level and what that might do to structures in society. Yeah, what you're describing, I think has always been an issue where some people spike on the academic side and not on the interpersonal side or the maturity or the wisdom side. And sometimes it goes the other way. And some of the people who do spike on the wisdom or the interpersonal side don't even
Starting point is 00:21:14 realize their gifts until they're out of the school system. My general view, because I also get this question, because obviously Khan Academy, our mission, nonprofit, free world-class education for anyone anywhere, there's sometimes well-intentioned stakeholders, sometimes it's people on our team, sometimes it's donors who say, hey, my neighbor got on Khan Academy and is now four grade levels ahead,
Starting point is 00:21:39 isn't this separating that kid more from the other kids and isn't that in some ways driving inequity? And I'm a big believer and I'm willing to take a strong stance on this. The way to drive equity is never to hold people back. The way is to make sure more people can accelerate. So if there's a young kid who is nine years old and can do calculus, God bless them, let them do calculus.
Starting point is 00:22:04 And a lot of folks don't realize the highest dropout rates are kids who are really struggling academically and actually gifted kids, have a very high drop, because they get bored or they get disaffected and they get into trouble. I guarantee you, a lot of the kids who are getting into trouble are actually gifted kids, because they're just not stimulated enough.
Starting point is 00:22:23 So I think you definitely want people to be able to tap into the position. By the way, selfishly, some of these kids are going to cure diseases for us. They're going to figure out how to address environmental issues. They're gonna be the people that, write the next great novel or start the next great company
Starting point is 00:22:39 that we're all going to be employed by, whatever it might be. So the- Well, you make the case of that in the book, Sal. You make that case in the book where I'm starting to read the book and I'm like, this is going to stifle creativity. This is one of the biggest problems here. Creativity is going to be stifled.
Starting point is 00:22:53 And you give this DaVinci example that I'll let you kind of wrap on here for a minute, which makes the case that no, actually culture and society will be advanced by AI dynamics and structures like this for the following reasons. So go ahead on that because this is a big deal everybody because I've always thought I don't know I'm old school ease uh restricts innovation sometimes work ethic is restricted and maturity is restricted but or suppressed you sort of put forward a different argument and we're early in this debate everybody, you know, no one knows certainly But I think this Da Vinci example is pretty darn powerful
Starting point is 00:23:30 Well, what I'd say is everything everything in AI. I always just like to turn it into an old-school Question where like if you go back I always give the example you go back 2300 years Alexander the Great had Aristotle as his tutor. Those with resources always had this highly engaged, personalized education that would flex to what you needed. And so on this creativity question, I use the example of, have my most creative times been when I'm alone or when I am with other creative people?
Starting point is 00:24:07 When another creative person walks into the room, my reaction isn't, oh good, you're creative. I don't have to be creative anymore. Please tell me what to write. I think most creative people get excited and you start riffing off of each other and you start saying, oh, what about this? Oh, what about that?
Starting point is 00:24:21 Hey, let's make it like this. That's going to be extra cool. And so now you can do that with the AI. And this is another thing that happens, unfortunately, in a lot of schools these days, is that culturally, the best way to get yourself beat up is to seem engaged or to seem like you're academically interested
Starting point is 00:24:37 or that you wanna keep exploring something. But now, look, I'll be very open. In my high school, I had to pretend to not care a lot of times, even though secretly inside I was like, oh my God, are you telling me that that's what atoms are? And so what are the, you know, I want to, I have this question and that question. And so if, and, but if I raised my hand and you know,
Starting point is 00:24:55 it wouldn't have been a good afternoon for me that day. So the, a chance for students wherever they are, even if they're in a family that's, you know, that's gas you know, that's gaslighting them to believe that they shouldn't be doing something, that they shouldn't be inquiring, but then they could talk to a machine
Starting point is 00:25:13 that can riff with them and be creative with them, I think is very powerful. And I know this sounds a little bizarre, give them a little bit of intellectual companionship that they might not be getting in their family or at school, which unfortunately is happening way too often. Now, there are definitely people, including students,
Starting point is 00:25:31 that if they can take a shortcut, they will take a shortcut. But I don't think those are the kids that were, you know, somehow magically engaged to begin with. And so I think that's where, and I do think most people are creative. Most people can be engaged. I think that's where, and I do think most people are creative. Most people can be engaged. I think the traditional systems and some of the peer pressure in schools
Starting point is 00:25:51 try to kind of squelch that out of people. But there are also ways, making tools for people to tap into their creativity and tap into their learning better is I think a net positive. And then the question is, how do you get more people to engage that way? It's interesting as an athlete, I think of all these guys that I played against
Starting point is 00:26:13 that were better than me, but for whatever reason, family issues, financial issues, distraction took them out. And so I ended up doing pretty well as an athlete But I wasn't really the most I'd have the most aptitude And he makes the point in the book that instead of now in a few hundred years instead of having one Mozart We could have a thousand instead of having one Einstein We could have a thousand and that is one of the great advantages of this is that it does level the playing field for those that maybe come from a more disadvantaged place or a distracted place a
Starting point is 00:26:43 Dysfunctional, a dysfunctional family, a dysfunctional environment. My challenge with AI, now we're going to step back on the AI question for you because you, Peter Diamandis have sort of this positive outlook. I've had Moe Gaudet on who's a little bit more trepidatious, I think about things. And so this last weekend I was in Arizona and it just struck me two things happened. One, I was at my son's college graduation and it was beautiful and proud of him. He graduated with honors and I was in Arizona and it just struck me two things happened. One, I was at my son's college graduation and it was beautiful and proud of him. He graduated with honors and I was sitting there thinking, I wonder if this structure exists 20 years from now, like a physical place he goes, you go through here for four years.
Starting point is 00:27:16 There's a ceremony at the end. I just sat there wondering, am I watching something that's going to disappear like block Blockbuster Video, for example, right? And then we were driving out of there and literally on the way back, there was a car next to us that was an Uber with nobody driving it, which just like freaked me out. But I'm looking at going, I don't even know that I would get in there, but it has replaced the need.
Starting point is 00:27:41 We went from taxis to Ubers. That was innovative. Didn't need a taxi cab driver anymore. Now we don't even need the driver. Then when we left, we were at the airport and I went in and there were three people working there, yet they had these computers that are AI generated computers where you would scan all of your goods, so nobody really even checked you out of a store. Which as an entrepreneur, they still had three people working there. I'm thinking, I don't know what these three people are doing here.
Starting point is 00:28:04 They don't, they're literally just monitoring the ai so to speak the machine and i thought to myself long term someone who owns one of these businesses is not going to pay the driver long term you're not going to pay three people to man your store you'll pay one to make sure everything doesn't break down and so when it comes to teaching in the book you say i don't think this eliminates the need for teachers. Candidly, I'm not sure I'm persuaded to believe that just yet. That this technology isn't going to completely eliminate
Starting point is 00:28:34 or wipe out lots of different careers and sectors of work. So make the case, do you believe summer is gonna be eliminated and why won't it be teachers? So I definitely think there's gonna be job dislocations. And if I were to take even an education lens, you know, there are these offices, we all remember from like universities, you know, you'd walk down these hallways
Starting point is 00:28:57 and you're like, what do all these people do in these hallways? They weren't professors, they were some type of registrar's office or this office or that office. I think AI will be able to do a lot of that work. On the teaching side or being a professor, it depends what we consider being a teacher.
Starting point is 00:29:11 If the role of the teacher is nothing but giving lectures, making assignments and grading papers, yeah, I think AI is going to be able to do that. And I think the good news is that that's going to raise the floor for a lot of folks who did not have access to world-class information, world-class practice and assessment, world-class feedback. AI is going to be able to give it that.
Starting point is 00:29:34 But I think any great teacher, that's not what they are about. They are really about forming human connections with their students, mentoring their students, acting as coaches for them, being able to do more small group interventions, being able to orchestrate really engaging conversations, simulations, games in the classroom.
Starting point is 00:29:56 And so I think any teacher who indexes there and then leverages the AI to do everything else, not only are they going to be very relevant, they're gonna be very important. I also think they're going to enjoy their job more than ever. If you listen to this show for a while, you've heard me and my guests talk a lot
Starting point is 00:30:11 about how critical it is to have your wellness goals in order, especially lately with me. So you know how powerful visualization is. When you visualize yourself one, 10, 30 years from now, you've achieved all your goals. Ask yourself this, am I healthy at that point? In your visions, of course you are. But like anything else, without a plan to get and remain healthy, you can achieved all your goals, ask yourself this, am I healthy at that point? In your visions of course you are, but like anything else without a plan to get and remain healthy, you can't hit the goal. That's why I'm so thrilled to be partnering with LifeForce. It's
Starting point is 00:30:31 co-founded by my good friend Tony Robbins and Peter Diamanis. LifeForce is a leader in proactive care. The LifeForce membership includes everything you need to understand your wellness and help you make good decisions today to keep you on track in the future for your health. Listeners of my show get $250 when they first sign up for their membership by going to my slash ed. That's my slash ed. Take control of your wellness with LifeForce and see what the healthiest version of you actually looks like and is capable of. These products and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure,
Starting point is 00:31:07 or prevent any disease. If Nadia was her age now, what advice would you be giving with her about the rest of her life and her career as it relates to this new revolution? Yeah, well, my daughter is exactly the age that Nadia was, so she's 12. So I definitely see the parallels. But there is something about being the father versus the cousin that's not as engaging. So I'm dealing a traditionalist and I write about this in the book. I think it's even more imperative for someone to be excellent at the traditional skills, reading comprehension, written and oral communication, solid content knowledge, critical thinking, mathematical skills.
Starting point is 00:32:16 Not, and a lot of people say, well, why are you saying that? AI is going to be able to do a lot of that. I was like, yeah, I'm gonna do a lot of that. I'm gonna do a lot of that. I'm gonna do a lot of that. I'm gonna do a lot of that. I'm gonna do a lot of that. I'm gonna do a lot of that., not, and a lot of people say, well, why are you saying that? AI is going to be able to do a lot of that.
Starting point is 00:32:29 I was like, AI is going to need someone to manage it. And those who can elevate above the AI, or at least keep up with the AI, they're going to be in the best position to leverage the AI. They're going to become wildly productive. And there's going to be elements of the AI that, you know, we're talking about decades before the AI is going to know, we're talking about decades
Starting point is 00:32:45 before the AI is going to be good at where you're going to need people who interface with the real world and interface with the AI. But once again, they're going to have to understand the work that the AI is doing. They're gonna have to be able to put those pieces together. But to do that, you're gonna have to be even better
Starting point is 00:33:00 academically at all of these things. And there's other areas that, as we mentioned, it's not traditionally in the academic system, entrepreneurship, you know, entrepreneurship, if you think about it as a factor of production in economics, it's the ability to put pieces together that already exist in ways that create value. That's going to be the ultimate skill,
Starting point is 00:33:17 because there's going to be even better pieces to put together, better Lego building blocks with the AI. So that's what I'm telling my kids. You know, my son is finishing his freshman year in high school and he loves piano, he loves coding. I've been encouraging him, look, take your piano, compose stuff, maybe use AI to make music videos,
Starting point is 00:33:39 have creative expression for it. For his coding, I'm like, look, use AI before whatever your aspirations are, you can now start making professional level games or applications that you didn't even think were possible before. I'm also encouraging him to teach other people so that he builds those very human skills
Starting point is 00:33:55 that aren't necessarily developed in a traditional academic environment. We have a platform, another nonprofit called, which is all about free tutoring. The way that we about free tutoring. The way that we give free tutoring over Zoom is you have vetted volunteer tutors. So I'm trying to get him to be a vetted volunteer tutor so
Starting point is 00:34:12 that he can give back and learn to communicate and lead folks. But I think if you develop those types of skills, you're going to be in good shape. Are there any industries, I'm putting, pinning you down here, any industries that you, with your vision, cause Khan Academy, even though you say it's, you know, I saw this pattern, I kind of stumbled into it. You're a visionary. You saw need, you saw where the future was. It's like they say in hockey,
Starting point is 00:34:34 I don't know if Gretzky was the greatest player, but everybody else skates where the puck is. He was skating to where the puck was going. Where do you think the puck is going in terms of careers? If there was, if there, are there industries that you say this is going to be an industry, if you pursued it and chased it, you're going to be in great shape when it comes to AI. And are there one or two where you're like, you know, my sense is these are going to be in some trouble? I would say whether we call it engineering, computer science, you know, a lot of people are skeptical
Starting point is 00:35:02 because like, hey, these AIs can code better than they can do almost everything else. But if you're good at it, I remember I graduated with a CS degree and a master's back in the late 90s. And I remember everyone telling me that, hey, your job is gonna get outsourced to India. You should do something else. And that's one of the reasons why I went to business school.
Starting point is 00:35:21 But if you look at the last 20 years since then, the inflation adjusted salaries for engineers has gone through the roof. I went to it, I became a hedge fund analyst because I thought that's how I could pay off my debt versus working as an engineer. Now the best way to pay off your debt is go get some stock and work as an engineer.
Starting point is 00:35:38 I think that trend is going to continue. Even at Khan Academy, we've seen that phenomenon. We're already seeing our engineers get two or three X productivity from these AI tools. To me, that's not told us, oh, we only need one third as many engineers. We're saying we need three times as many engineers because we can now do so much more.
Starting point is 00:35:55 The return on investment from hiring more engineers now is even better. So I think you're going to see that type of an accelerant. I think anyone, you don't have to be a formal engineer, but who has that type of thinking where they can put the pieces together to make something work, I think is very, very powerful. So, you know, your point about whether universities
Starting point is 00:36:19 in the traditional sense are going to exist, I think they are going to exist in some way, shape or form, but you're going to have many other alternative paths. And I've been a big proponent of competency-based learning. It shouldn't be, you sat in a chair for four years and now we're gonna give you a diploma that might mean something. It should be, hey, here are the skills that matter.
Starting point is 00:36:36 You should try to learn them and prove that you know them. If you haven't proved it yet, or if you fail the first time, try again next month. And I can imagine, you already see this at infields like engineering and software engineering because there's such a shortage that there's alternative paths. I'm trying to actually my 15 year old, I'm trying to get him to do one of these software engineering camps that even people with engineering degrees do because the universities aren't teaching them how to actually be a professional software engineer.
Starting point is 00:37:04 But if he does that when he's 16 or 17, he could actually go make six figures. And then if he wants to go to college, he can go to college and, you know, he'll be able to treat his friends to dinner. I don't know if that's how you wanna make your friends. But so I think you're gonna have other pathways other than the four-year degree.
Starting point is 00:37:22 And it's gonna put pressure on a four-year degree that costs 200, $300,000, has a four-year degree and it's going to put pressure on a four-year degree that costs 200,000, 300,000 dollars, has a four-year opportunity cost to get a little bit more innovative. It is. We share that opinion. I was thinking about, you know, in college sports now, these guys have their NIL deals and they can make more money younger. The two things that I want everybody to hear is that if you have a young person in your life, there's going to be an opportunity. More and more the world has been innovative that younger and younger people can get wealthier and wealthier, frankly. You look at Zuck or Cuban or Musk or whoever, right?
Starting point is 00:37:55 Even in my case, I got pretty wealthy young, not on their level, but younger and younger. And I know a lot of influencers sort of teach, be patient, but there's a chance now as a young person, if you're entrepreneurial and innovative, or even if you've got these unique skills, you can start to make an awful lot of money much younger in life. The other application is if you're middle-aged or a little bit older, making a pivot in your career and learning a new trade or a new craft or a new skill is going to become so much more accessible to so many of you to change your life in midlife than it was before when this access wasn't there. The reason I wanted you on the show back in the day, Sal, was this a question about you? And please, you know, I know you have a
Starting point is 00:38:32 great deal of humility, but the more I read about you years ago, I'm like, okay, here's this really brilliant man. He could have taken his life and stayed at a hedge fund or started his own one or, and I don't know that I don't know if Khan Academy's made you an extremely wealthy man or not but I do know if you applied yourself and wanted to build massive wealth that was the course you wanted to take in your life by this age you could be in the conversation with these other titans of innovation in the world you clearly made a decision as a pretty young man
Starting point is 00:39:05 to pursue, I think, passion and cause over net worth. At least it appears that way to me. Is that true? And if so, why? Like, was that a conscious decision you made? And are you happy that you made it in hindsight? Most of the time. Yeah, you know, the, and no, I am not independently wealthy
Starting point is 00:39:26 in that sense, but because Khan Academy is a not-for-profit, you own as much of Khan Academy as I do. I get a salary from the board. I think a very generous one, more than I expected to make when I started this as a nonprofit, but yeah, I have a solidly upper middle-class lifestyle now, but I'm very happy with it. You know, my decision back in 2008, 2009
Starting point is 00:39:47 to work on this full-time, I just dug deep and said, well, what makes me happy? And I was like, well, you know, as long as I have my friends and family, we have the resources where I don't, you know, I grew up fairly, you know, grew up in a single mother household, we didn't have a lot.
Starting point is 00:40:05 So I did and frankly still do have some insecurities about when financial stress gets too much. But I said, look, as long as we can have a 2000 square foot house, have a couple of cars in the garage, go out to eat every now and then, go on vacations every now and then, nothing ostentatious. And I have my friends, my family, and my health, and I get to work on something I care about, that's wealth.
Starting point is 00:40:29 That's the ultimate. And everything else, I don't really need much more than that. And that's when I quit my day job to start working on Khan Academy. And every now and then, I think it was the 19th century, some author wrote, I have something that many of these billionaires, at the time I think he said millionaires, will never have. And then the interviewer said,
Starting point is 00:40:49 I think that's a good thing, but I think that's a good thing, because I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing.
Starting point is 00:40:59 And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that's a good thing. And so I think that was the 19th century, some author wrote, I have something that many of these billionaires, at the time I think he said,
Starting point is 00:41:07 millionaires will never have. And then the interviewer said, what? And he said, I have enough. And I have more than enough. I click my heels every day to work and I feel blessed every moment. And I think that's very few people on the planet get to feel that way.
Starting point is 00:41:25 I admire that's very, very few people on the, on the planet get to feel that way. I admire that tremendously. That's an easy thing to say everybody, like in hindsight, but when you have the capacity that Sal has to have made that decision is a really noble decision and to live it out every single day of your life. As you see peers of yours with way less scale that haven't reached 165 million people with transformation build massive wealth. And I've always wanted to ask you that because I've admired it so much from a distance. So just want to acknowledge you for that brother. The work you do in the world clearly matters.
Starting point is 00:41:57 And I think when you're doing it, like you said, maybe you don't feel the impact of it because you're in the day-to-day grind, but just know as a fan of yours looking back at you, I have so much admiration for the way that you've decided to serve and live your life. So I want to acknowledge that. No, I appreciate that. But yeah, I'm having a good time. Good. I'm having a good time doing this interview. I just got to be honest with you.. No, a box of fine wines? Yes, Uber Eats can definitely get you that. Get almost almost anything delivered with Uber Eats. Order now. Alcohol in select markets. Product availability may vary by Regency app for details.
Starting point is 00:42:54 Let me ask you this. I'm going to poke a little deeper. What are your fears about the next five or 10 years of AI? Like if someone's, I've seen you talk a little bit about this, but you've covered most of the positive things. Clearly, you're bright enough man to know there are risks that come with revolution and innovation. What are they in your mind? Oh, and there's some things to be afraid of to be sure. I am very afraid of what we're going to be able to do with what bad actors actors are gonna do with deep fakes. You're already seeing cases of fraud where, you know, you get a phone call from,
Starting point is 00:43:27 sounds like your child says that they're arrested, it's interacting with you. They're trying to get you to send bail money, it's fraud. You're already seeing, yeah, unfortunately, people creating deep fakes of their classmates doing things and putting it on social media. That stuff is scary. And I don't have all the solutions on how to fix that. I think you're going to have state actors using AI
Starting point is 00:43:52 and deepfakes, but not just deepfakes, just AI's ability to seem very human, to manipulate people, to affect society. And you could imagine if you saw videos of people waiting in line for a bus, seem very human to manipulate people, to affect society. And you can imagine if you saw videos of people waiting outside at their bank and they're not getting their money and it's all fake. Well, then it could create a run on bank.
Starting point is 00:44:16 So these could be very, very serious things. So I'm very worried about that. I'm also worried about the economic dislocation. I've talked about who's safe, who's not safe. If you're a copywriter, you're writing text. If you're working at a call center, you're doing medical transcription, or if you are a, let's call it a middling software engineer,
Starting point is 00:44:44 you're not a great software engineer. You're kind of middle of the pack. I think that's going to be a tough economy. And so hopefully there's net new jobs that are more human centric that the AI can't do. That's my hope, but I'm not sure if that's going to be the case. So that we have to be on top of that.
Starting point is 00:45:01 I'm afraid, you know, the pace of change is so fast. You know, I feel like I'm in the middle of it. You know, the people doing the research at OpenAI and Microsoft and Google, like, are texting me and slacking me on a regular basis. So I feel like I'm plugged in, but even I feel like I'm falling behind. Every day someone in my team says, what about this?
Starting point is 00:45:21 And I'm like, oh my God, we're not gonna be able to incorporate that for another six months, but will that be too late? So I worry that when the change is so fast and it's accelerating, people have been talking about the singularity for 30 years now, we are in it. And I feel it every day that it's like,
Starting point is 00:45:39 what I thought last year would take a year, ended up taking two months. And then two months later, what I thought would take a year, ended up taking two months. And then two months later, what I thought would take now two months is now taking two weeks. So it's accelerating. So anytime change like that happens, you just don't feel in control as much.
Starting point is 00:45:56 And I warn, in the education realm, but I guess this is more broadly, I worry about AI not being used well, and then people throw out the baby with the bath water. And then the real problem there is the bad actors aren't going to slow down at all. And then the good actors are going to slow down out of fear, and then it's just gonna get worse and worse.
Starting point is 00:46:16 What's the separator then? Like, I feel like it used to be if I knew more than you in life, you know, if I had more information than you if I was better educated than you this is an overall general statement and it's not an easy one to answer but to some extent access to that is now levelized in an instant and that's an overall generalization and by the way that's sort of been the case the last decade and a half in the world anyway. So in your mind, what is a separator skill
Starting point is 00:46:49 somebody needs in culture now to succeed, to prosper, to increase their lifestyle, to increase their impact? It's entrepreneurship in the purest of forms. And you mentioned this has been the case the last 15 years. You can think of someone like, Justin Bieber would not have been discovered if not for YouTube. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point.
Starting point is 00:47:07 And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point.
Starting point is 00:47:16 And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. And I think that's a great point. of money before, if we go back 20 or 30 years, there were all these gatekeepers, these taste makers who would decide who's in and who's out regardless of how entrepreneurial that
Starting point is 00:47:30 person was, no matter how skilled that person was. But then the internet democratized that dramatically. Now you still do have bottlenecks because a lot of things are very capital intensive. If I want to make a great movie, it still costs $100 million maybe to make that movie. I have to go still through the tastemakers, through the production houses, the movie studios. I thought it was funny the debate with the screenwriters guild.
Starting point is 00:47:57 I thought it should have gone the other way around. The production houses should have been afraid that the screenwriters are going to start using AI to produce the entire movie. Because why do they need the production house anymore? If they can take an amazing story, as those people with an amazing sense of story, and if they have a vision for what they wanna create,
Starting point is 00:48:14 they're not gonna have to raise $100 million anymore. They're gonna be able to do that movie for $100,000. And then you're just gonna have more, and there's gonna be a lot of, when you lower the hurdles, you're gonna have a lot of crap out there, and you see that on YouTube and on the internet, but you're also going to be a lot of, when you lower the hurdles, you're going to have a lot of crap out there. And you see that on YouTube and on the internet, but you're also going to get a lot more good stuff
Starting point is 00:48:29 that's going to get discovered, it's going to get surfaced. So yeah, I think it's generally, it's that pure raw entrepreneurship is going to become even more and more valuable. In the past, things like going to getting a college degree, having brands on your resume, whether it's college brands or graduate school or employer brands on your resume,
Starting point is 00:48:53 it was a signal to the tastemakers, to the gatekeepers that, oh, I'm hiring a hedge fund analyst. Let me get that kid from Harvard Business School who seems to know what they're doing. And you won't even look at kids from someplace else. But as these tools democratize the ability to do things, you're gonna have more and more people not have to go through these gatekeepers,
Starting point is 00:49:15 not have to go through those same doors. They're gonna be able to prove on their own that they're capable. Gosh, just blows my mind. A couple of last questions. I'm just sitting here processing everything you're saying. I'm like, we are really in the middle because my world isn't your world every day, right?
Starting point is 00:49:30 Like this hasn't impacted me much yet. And quite frankly, I think the vast majority of the people that listen to my show haven't felt the impact of this yet. And that when I do a show like today, I wanna make sure they have context for it. Like this is here, this is coming where this isn't pie in the sky everybody. Like it may not hit your real estate business yet or your mortgage company yet or your insurance business yet or
Starting point is 00:49:55 your gym yet but there is an impact and an application and to get educated about this. I mean go to chat gbt and just play with, for example, just see it, just experience it. I guess my last question would be the human being, right? Someone said to me the other day, I told him I was interviewing you and they said, please ask him about like, can't avatars just do all of this work now? In other words, why would a human being,
Starting point is 00:50:22 if there's a school teacher, like why would I not just have if there's a school teacher like I Why would I not just have the avatar of a school teacher that avatar doesn't have a bad day? That avatar didn't have a disagreement with their spouse that morning, right? That avatar doesn't get sick Every single day. So the need for the human over that avatar in general will always be what I know It feels like I've sort of touched on this with you, but specifically everybody, you could take an avatar of me right now and I could come give a speech to your company. I could do a Q&A afterwards that's better than the Q&A maybe that I would do if I weren't having a very good day. In my mind, in my business, that does to some extent kind of
Starting point is 00:51:00 freak me out a little bit. So the overall okay, everyone think about that, the avatar version of you and anything you do, unless it's a physical thing like lifting a weight, what, why do we not need to worry about that in general? I know it's a little bit repetitive, but it's asked in a different way because that's what it looks like. Yeah, and look, even the lifting weight, I've been told that the robotics is the next big inflection
Starting point is 00:51:23 point that's about to hit. That's gonna be like a science fiction book. But the, my view, you're right. And maybe not today, but we can imagine three to five years, you are going to have, you are going to be able to zoom with an AI that can look at you, interact with you. It's going to feel like an amazing teacher or coach or coworker, I still think that at least in the teaching context, it's going to be better to have both, that you're going to have the in-person tutor.
Starting point is 00:51:54 At the end of the day, there's just something, there's just very, there's something very powerful that there's another sentient human being that is taking the time to care about me and that I've connected with. And no matter how good the AI gets, you're going to say, huh. I mean, it's kind of like machine made versus handmade.
Starting point is 00:52:14 We still value, you know, if you look at a painting and we'll pay, you know, today we'll pay a hundred times more for a original painting than for a print. Why? Because you're like, oh, there was a real sentient person who stood there and this was their real creative expression. And I think that's even more important when you're talking about someone
Starting point is 00:52:32 who's looking you in the eye, even if the AI can pretend to look you in the eye, but someone who's actually looking into the eye, who's actually emoting with you, who's actually hugging you, I think it's going to pay huge dividends. You know, there's, I've heard, I don't know if this is true. Well, I'll tamper, I'll taper what I was about to say.
Starting point is 00:52:50 There's, we think there's five senses, but there's millions of subtle cues we're constantly getting from other people. Many of which are probably subconscious, you know? Like I don't consciously smell someone else's pheromones, but maybe it's happening subconsciously, or there's all sorts of gestures and things that I can't even consciously articulate.
Starting point is 00:53:10 That stuff's happening. And look, I actually think the AI is going to get pretty good at some of that too, because it's going to train on a lot of things that we're not gonna necessarily pick up. But I've got to believe being in the room with someone, knowing that other person is sentient, they're taking the time to care about me,
Starting point is 00:53:24 is going to pay a huge psychological dividend. of being in the room with someone, knowing that other person is sentient, they're taking the time to care about me, is going to pay a huge psychological dividend. And if that person can be augmented with avatar versions of themselves, well, that's awesome too. Wow, what a crazy, crazy conversation. You guys, brave new words for me. You know, you read a book,
Starting point is 00:53:42 you're like, I've read this book before, okay? This book you've not ever read before because these times haven't existed prior. And one of the way that what I love about Sal is the way in which he writes is easy for everybody to read. And he's taken a pretty complicated topic and made it very digestible and simple to understand. There's solutions and the problems are stated in the book. There's a vision in the book as well for the future.
Starting point is 00:54:05 And I just think that the book is outstanding. I can't recommend the book enough everybody. It's called Brave New Words. And I got to tell you brother, you're one of the people that's moved culture and society forward over the last 10-15 years in this country, around the world. Actually, not just this country, around the world. And I'm just grateful you exist.
Starting point is 00:54:23 I'm grateful you made the decision you made many, many years ago with Nadia and that it's taken off to this point. And I'd love to have you back on another year or two and just update on where all this stuff is now and you can point us to the future then as well. I'd love that. No, well, I really enjoyed this conversation
Starting point is 00:54:40 and let's do that. And I think in a year we'll have a lot more to talk about. Things are moving fast. I do too, you guys, I do too. Hey everybody, this is one of those shows. I'd listen to it two times, because there's so much in here. And just start to get your head around this guys.
Starting point is 00:54:52 We're moving into a new world, we're living in it now. And it's people like Sal that can guide you through it. Hey guys, check out Khan Academy. Make sure you do that. And make sure you get the book, Brave New Words. All right, God bless you everybody. Max out. This is the Ed Mylan Show.

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