The Seacoast Podcast: Things You Won't Hear On Sunday

86 - A.I., the Future of America and more (w/ Jack Hoey x 2)

February 20, 2024 Seacoast Church
The Seacoast Podcast: Things You Won't Hear On Sunday
86 - A.I., the Future of America and more (w/ Jack Hoey x 2)
Show Notes Transcript

Two regulars to the podcast join the show together for the first time as a "father and son duo."  Both part of the Seacoast family for over 20 years,  Jack Hoey Jr. (the father) and Jack Hoey III (the son) talk to Joey and Lynne about the future of America, whether Artificial Intelligence holds the capacity to create art or of being a threat to humanity; today's staggeringly low birthrates, The Waffle House, and other subjects they've written about on their new Substack account, Matter at Hand. 

On this episode
Jack Hoey Jr. /
Jack Hoey III /
Lynne Stroy, host / Instagram
Joey Svendsen, host / Instagram

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Executive Producer: Josh Surratt
Producer/Editor: Joey Svendsen
Sound Engineer/Editor: JT Price
Sound Engineer: Katelyn Vandiver

Music, including theme song: Joel T. Hamilton Music

Since the beginning of 2024, this podcast releases fully-produced, video versions of each episode. You can find these on our YouTube Channel.

It's a really dark time right now. The international situation is darker than at any time that I can really remember. The federal government is just on an unsustainable financial path. Period. You know, there's all the culture issues where it just seems like we're tearing each other apart. And our politics is so paralyzed and so polarized that we seem incapable of beginning to deal with any of these things. Like, right now, I'm not like it's not stressing me out. And I think that has come in time. I mean, even and I would even say for for me, 2020 was really like a check point. And like me having to capture my thoughts and saying like, hey, I'm not in control of this stuff. And I had to stop, like, looking at news feeds every 15 minutes and checking, you know, all the things. So this has been a progression for me. So anyway, it's not like I'm not worried about evil robots. I'm worried about stupid humans. Gotcha. No, that's. Is there a risk of evil robots, in your opinion? Like, is that even? No. Because I don't think robots can be evil. Well, art isn't art, and, like, that is almost like a hell all die on for me. Because I just don't think you can make art if you're not a human. Because it doesn't create anything. It just regurgitates things like A.I. does not have any sort of creative impulse. Right. It's not inspired. It's not asking questions. It's not trying to achieve something. It just makes stuff. Right. Like, there's a it is the same thing as a factory assembly line where this thing stamps license plates or molds or whatever. It's the same thing. Just because I don't believe or agree doesn't mean I can't learn from you. Why did you have to. Bring that up? Okay. That one I'm super embarrassed about. Do you like me? Do I like it as a as an individual? As a person? I got to go. And I don't have any interest in appearing to be stronger than I am. I about a network and as a statue, he gonna you fill me? How do we love people who see the world differently than we do? But what it look like if we truly loved all of our neighbors? Could listening to their stories be the first step? This is Seacoast Church, and there's way more to talk about. I don't think that you like I don't think probably anybody likes the terminology. And I say that we talk black stuff with you. Yeah, we're talking jack stuff today. Jack stuff today. A welcome change from black stuff. So welcome to the Seacoast podcast. If you are a first time listener, let me go ahead and map this out real quick. So this is a father and son that we have sitting at the table, and you guys have both sat at this table pretty frequently, just never together. And we have all I've to say, we've explained it a couple of times as far as Jack the Greater Jack the lesser. I want to just go ahead and clear the air right now. You came up with that distinction, correct? Jack. So you gave yourself the nickname Jack, the Lesser. Yeah, well, you know, when we both kind of came, I mean, we've been partially closed forever, but we both kind of came on staff within like a month of each other, something like that. And so there were a lot of people who knew me, and then there were people who knew my dad. But there was, you know, kind of not a ton of overlap. Or rather, I would say there are substantial people who didn't know both of us. So it was confusing for a little bit. And so that was just kind of my offhanded way of, you know, telling the difference. And it has stuck around a very long time. Yeah, yeah. We've got so much that we have to accomplish. Lynn Having them both at the table because this opportunity that come around. This is my favorite episode and it hasn't even started. I was just going to say, I think this this is your Little House on the Prairie episode, all right? I want I want one. You sent me the wrong email. You meant to send my son or dad stories from both of you. I got to hear just one that comes to mind. You guys were both working at Seacoast, so you both had at actually, you stuck with your Gmail, I think, throughout your years here. But give us one story. Jack Yeah, I. Okay. Well, there's one that comes to mind where I, I was actually out I don't know. I was out in my neighborhood and a staff member who happened to live in that same neighborhood saw me out and they said, Hey, I just sent you an email. I need you to not look at it. I'm your father. And it was, you know, And so, like, that's fine. So I just saw deleted it. But it's like, obviously there was some legal stuff or for lawyers or whatever. It's mostly bad. Just either things that I can't see. I think almost everyone, I mean, almost everyone has made that mistake at some point. Yeah. Yeah. Our our founding pastor once sent an angry email to it was an angry text Maybe I can't remember what the issue was, but he kind of like the bang, bang, bang, bang. But he sent it to me. Well, so actually so his when that happens, I mean, not, not regularly, but it happens every every once in a while where I'll, you know, it'll be like a Friday or Saturday and my phone will go off and I see it's, it's Pastor Josh and I'll pick it up, I'll go say, you know, hey what's up? And he'll go, hey now if there's that pause, I know you meant to call my dad and he's like, I'm sorry, but I don't care. It's fine. But yeah, that's always a funny one because I can always tell right away when someone has called the wrong. Jack Yeah. Yeah. All right. I want to share this, and I want to get Len's take because you and I, we've come in to see cows at different seasons and everything, but I think and I don't know if I don't know, you know, the proper terminology for these things. I don't know if it's legends or myths, but there has been a mystique about the greater at Sea Coast. At different stages. When I came on here and I saw you for the first time, someone told me hey and they were serious and I don't remember who it was, but they said, That guy, he's so smart. He has written down a plan to get this country out of debt. And it's it's complete. I mean, he's got the details. Like if he were to send it to the current president, United States, we could get out of debt as a country. This person is dead serious. And and so I'm like, my gosh, this dude is unbelievable, unbelievably smart. And I'm thinking, I wonder how that got started. I could hear Pastor Greg leaning over to somebody, Hey, that's my friend Jack. He's really smart. He has some good thoughts on the economy. That's how it started. Then next thing, telephone game. Now he has got a comprehensive plan to get this country out of debt. Like have. How much experience do you have with Jack? The greater here how much interaction? I mean, I think he was one of the first people I spoke to before I moved from the Irmo campus to the Mount. So do you feel like you're kind of sitting with a legend? You were part of the I was part of the interview, yes. And so so that was my first experience. I hadn't heard of him outside of coming down to Mount Pleasant. But when I got here, there was this sort of like and I don't know if it's because you had the title greater or More People, and still today people are intimidated to talk to you. I somebody said maybe a month ago that if they see you in the breezeway, they don't make eye contact because you're going to ask them what they're reading or you're going to like, you know, like they you're going to ask them something that intimidates them. And so, yes, the moment that I got to Mount Pleasant, I think that was like the common theme around and the and of course, on in your office, the board of words that they were not supposed to say prohibited. Words and phrases. Added to the added to it. man. And I've got a couple of stories I want to share about you because you were my supervisor for a good little while. There. But before I do that, I want to play a clip from a former episode, and this will bring some laughs to all of us. And if you haven't heard it, you're about to have maybe an awkward but dad moment where you're like, That was really sweet that my son said that about me. Do you ever wish that your dad would be a little less humble and a little more aggressive? That's so funny. I actually get, like, a little bit anxious whenever there's an episode with my dad. Sometimes I don't listen to them because I'm like, you know, obviously, like my inclination or anyone disagrees with my dad is be like, you're an idiot. But I do. They're like. Every time. Whether amazing, whether it's the podcast that he's done, like with Godless, right? Like your old one or this one. There are moments and I honestly think this is where it's like my dad is in a lot of different people. But I do feel like he's an he's just an older, wiser version of me because there are points where some will say something and I'm like, Get him in. And he never does. And I think, you know, like, like the definition of of meekness is power under control. But I think about my dad a lot because there's a lot of times where I know what my dad thinks about certain things and I feel like if he wanted to, there's opportunities for him to just go to town and he never does. And I don't think that's a that's a mark of humility, though. It is humility. I think it's just kind of a graciousness and and an understanding which I think would really be good to come back in this world is I don't have to be right. I don't have to show you how wrong you are. My stuff that make you feel. Yeah, that's got to make you feel good and special. my gosh. So I hope I hear my son talking to me. That's family. But now, now that we're here not attacking Godless, when he had the chance and not releasing his economic plan, I feel like these things are connected and maybe not as flattering as I had thought. man. So I don't know if you remember this or. no, no, I forgot I was going to really put you on the spot with a great question, Liz. I'm sorry. My gosh. I got ahead of myself. If we all everybody on the face of this earth had a ranking as on their head, everybody's walking around. They have a ranking as far as how smart they are of everybody. So maybe it can fluctuate in real time, like as we're taking on different knowledge. So there's somebody walking around the world he's got number one on is like was the smartest guy because we all know, Lyn is 1,300,000 and now Joe is 2 billion. What ranking is on his head? I don't know. Is he in the top thousand. No. What, what? I mean this is not a hard question. Yeah. I don't really want to put you on the spot. What would you say? Top million. So top million would be in the top? Probably like 10001 800th of 1%. So no, I would say not. I do. I do want to ask, I think, what would be a very fruitful question, because I do lean in on listening to you and your wisdom and all of that, but I know it's kind of uncomfortable, but reflect on that because that is an unbelievably strong characteristic, because you don't have to say it for yourself. Everybody already heard it. You have acquired a lot of knowledge for your good in the business world. There's just a lot of things that you have to share, and it seems like you have found some sort of nice balance of not carrying yourself in that way. But I would say to the point where many people have not figured out the balance that well. So really good compliment to you, but gift our listeners where was that a process and are you a fake You know what I'm saying? Like are you like you guys just don't know how arrogant. I actually am. I don't. I have no idea how to address this. Well, you know, here's I think just one of the fundamental things about being a human being. It's like me. Okay, who am I? And and I think task one is to see yourself in a proper relationship to God. And we are all awfully small and finite and limited and flawed, you know, when you're looking at that comparison. So, you know, that's that's the first thing. And then, you know, the other thing is and and what are we all here to do? It's, you know, we're we're here to love God and love our neighbors. You know, we're here to we're here to be a loving part of, you know, the community that we're in. And so and I think the other thing, you know, I as a young man was very ambitious and you know what I feel like I learned through from some of my experiences over time was, you know, first of all, like what was more important to me than climbing whatever ladder I happened to be on and why? And, you know, I think that they both kind of come back to this issue of trying to, you know, flourish in the way that God designed you to flourish and understanding what that looks like. And so, you know, for me, probably like a big change. I was I was I started off with a, you know, global company and left after about 12 years. Because what I realized was that the most important thing to me in terms of my work was I wanted to be able to manage in a certain way and that I could never do that in a big company. I had to be basically I had to be working for myself or in an environment where I had tremendous autonomy. So I don't know. I just like to me, the whole thing about trying to walk through life and grow spiritually is trying to come up with that understanding of what is it that God wants to use me for and how can I equip myself to be to fill the flourish? Yeah, yeah. I don't know if that answers your question. Don't know. I think it's great. I'll I don't know if you remember this or not, but a couple of stories I have with you being my supervisor. It was it was crazy because it was a Christmas Eve and for some reason I was able to I think my family, we we celebrate Christmas Eve out in the country and we were able they they celebrated it way earlier in the day. So my wife and I were able to Priscilla nine, the family were able to drive there and then still do the Christmas Eve service as well. We had just made a relationship business relationship with the Terrace Theater. And now Paul and I are great friends. And so I can say on the air how crazy of a situation this was because at the time we were not. But he everybody knows how big of a deal Christmas is I mean at church and see cos there's so much so we, we go in to a movie theater and we have to convert all sorts of things to make it a Christmas Eve service, the band, the sound and all of that. And so he calls me and he says, Hey, we had a little bit of a change in the movie's schedule. You're not going to be able to get into the theater until about 5 minutes before the service. And I was like, are you serious? And I was very new in leading a campus. And I was like, my gosh, I called you up and I don't remember what your advice to me was. Your advice was, tell him he can't do that. And I was like, Okay. So I mean, you're literally like, that's not something that he can do. He can't just throw that at you, you know? And I was like, I think I text and I was like, you really can't do that. You know, I think you walk me through how to address that with Paul, but that was a big learning moment for me because I was like, What are we going to do? I mean, this is we're completely stuck. And you're right, he can't do that. And then I was meeting with you one time. I don't know if I've told you this before, but I was sitting there and I was trying to keep focus, but I kept almost passing out. I was super hot. And anyway, I actually had 104 fever. So you were almost the last person I ever talked to because I was blacking out everything. But I made it home and I was safe and all of that. So weird. Well, so weird. It is. Yeah. Why that. Weird? It's just a strange thing to say. Well, so strange. Everyone is potentially the last person that's not special. I don't know. Now we have to cut some laughing because that's. Really quite. All right. So you guys just started a substack. I know for a fact that there are many people who have no clue what a substack even is. So give us a snapshot of what Substack is before we even dive into it. So, you know, I think maybe the best way to describe a substack, I mean, it's kind of like a blog and a newsletter. It kind of combined, like the thing with the blog is, you know, the weather is you're going to go there and, you know, with newsletters, it's you have something show up to your inbox. But that's really kind of what it is. And the substack is is both. And so, you know, I started paying attention to Substack like a lot of people over the last few years because a lot of very high profile journalists have left newspapers and magazines and and started substack. And so and so that was really interesting. And so I checked it out and, you know, I used to have a WordPress blog like 15 years ago, and I never really liked it because I always felt like I was using 2% of what it could do, and the other 98% were just like totally opaque to me. I didn't understand any of it was Substack is like, it's unbelievably simple on the back end, which I really, really enjoy. So anyway, so, you know, I know that I've been trying to write more for a long time. And so as we talk, that's something that we thought we'd enjoy doing together and we're both trying to write more. And so so yeah, so we started talking about it this time last year and, you know, it's kind of took our time and figured it out. But yeah, that's basically what a substack is. So you can, you know, you can subscribe to it, but you don't have to. You can just, you know, you can just go there and read it like a blog if that's what you want. But, but yeah. Yeah. And subscribing is there like a financial arrangement for people. Yeah, but. You know, that's not something that we have. Yeah right. Yeah. And so, you know, Substack is called matter at hand. And how did it come about? Like where were you all just talking one day and thought like you were just saying it'd be fun to write some stuff together and. Well, I think I brought it up. My recollection is I have been, I've been working on a, on a book manuscript and one of the things that I've been realizing is I started the research publication side of things is that whatever path I chose there, the whole question comes down to what's your social media presence? And I don't have any and I kind of like refused to. But I had like, you know, there were a couple of Substack newsletters that I was subscribing to, and it just seemed like a great tool. And we talked about it a couple of times and I just thought, Well, this would be good. I'd like to start writing regularly. It would. This would be a way to see if anybody's interested in what I write. I knew that you wanted to start writing more regularly, and I thought this could fit both of us then. So that kind of started the conversation. If you've at least heard of Substack right? Or is this conversation really is. As a first? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It does feel like it's almost it almost feels like a response to mainstream media, almost like how indie and punk music was back in the day to mainstream music. It's like now we're going to get back to the rawness of This is real, you know, that kind of A. Yeah, I mean, it's. Like that analogy or now I'm not saying you're punk. Rock. It is a bit strange because, you know, in a sense, I mean, you could say, well, what's different about then it's been for the last 20 years. I mean. But, but I do think I do think it's it is different. And I would struggle, I think, a little bit to articulate why Substack feels so different than just, again, like plenty of people have blogs 20 years ago. But it does it does feel different. I do think part of it is the platform itself, but but but it no, I mean, it has really over the last couple of years become a very significant it's not even an alternative in itself. I would say it's an alternative place for people who, you know, whether it's they feel kind of stifled at the, you know, outlets that they're a part of or, you know, kind of whatever, you know, kind of enables them to, you know, kind of build their own audience and, you know, kind of write what they're wanting to write. And so, you know, I think that it probably, you know, gives you a little bit more more connection with your audience than, you know, traditional blog did. But yeah. Yeah. How does your audience find you? So when you guys started it, how did you gather your followers, I guess home followers. Well, Jack over here makes some TikTok videos and puts them out. I can see that. I just we just, you know, set out invitations to people we thought would be interesting. Yeah. I would say, you know, the most important thing we did was have an enormous family. All so in that sense, there's tremendous foresight there. Well, it's definitely some good stuff. And I want to get your I mean, you guys talk like a lot of wellness things. A I we got some waffle talk talk, but I do want to talk about the the question at hand, is America going to be okay and our wanna get into some A.I. when it comes to that but I want to get into some of your help help the mind stuff and I love this line and I would love for you to kind of, you know, I read it and then I read everything that surrounded it and I was like, that would be a really good one for you to unpack for our listeners. But it seems to me what the fundamental cognitive task is to understand what is in front of us. I was I was a big sentence that kind of caught me and then just kind of connected so much. But to explain to people what you mean by that. Well, you know, so, you know, I'm sitting here looking at this camera. And the way that it feels is that I am directly apprehending what is in front of me, that there is. But actually what's happening is I've got these receptors in my eyeballs that are taking in information and they are relaying it to a part of my brain that is interpreting it. So, you know, it's not a direct process. It's actually a complicated process. And it is a process that, though we think it's automatic, actually is subject to some error. Like, did you ever see what you wanted to see? Did you ever see what you expected to see? The answer is yes. And, you know, I think if you apply this not just to like literal vision, but to the way that we try to understand the world as leaders in particular, You know, we're trying to make sense of the environment that we're in and seeing it accurately is critically important. And yet we have a lot of field distortions that can affect how accurately we're seeing. And ironically, I think a lot of that that is a bigger problem for successful organizations than it is for failure. If you're a failing organization, you have a strong motivation to try to see what you know, figure out what you're missing. But successful organizations, you know, a lot of times what happens is here's something new that comes along that is disrupting your program. Well, you know, we just we just need to try harder. Somebody is not doing their job. So, you know, the first response often is to dismiss rather than to say, stop, wait, let me look and make sure that I'm seeing this clearly. Yeah, Yeah. You had told me this a long time ago. Just because you and I have been friends for a good little while and I and I read in one of your posts how we should go ahead and read the sort of books that we are currently interested in. You said that there are people who have books that they say, Yeah, I keep getting I keep trying to get to that book, or if there's books that you have just laying around and you say, I keep trying to get to, it kind of means you're not interested, well then don't read it because you need to read what you're actually gravitating towards. And I thought that was fascinating and I've kind of thought about that before. Like I've got tons of books that I want to read, but then there's some of them I look. I'm like, Ooh, that one. I just want to start that one. That one sounds really interesting. And I pick that one instead of one. That may be more like, I want to learn this stuff, but it doesn't sound as exciting. Yeah, I mean, my thing is, read what you're hungry for, and then what if you do, you'll read more. If reading is this obligation that you, I, I need to read the thing that I should read. You'll read a lot less and I let's kind of my thing is read more. Reading more is good and and you can develop a taste for some of the there may be that that book that because you're in a regular pattern of reading there will be a moment where it's the right time to read it and you'll want to. Yeah And I want to ask all of you all this because I think I think it was a four parter and I want to say the last one had a lot to do with intellectual exploration, if I remember correctly. And as I was reading it, I was thinking, you know, there are a lot of people who really love intellectual exploration. And I and I and I think along the lines of there are a lot of people who really love to run. They just they just love it. But you would still say, just like we would say, well, running is important for everybody or some form of exercise. Intellectual exploration is important, even if it's not something that gets you all excited because there are some people that are just like, I don't man, I don't want to think about that. Like I've been working all day. That's the last thing I want to do is think about stuff I don't understand. Well, I think what I would say, though, is that and more and probably it wasn't a point that I made terribly clearly, but I don't think it has to be intellectual exploration. So it's like the one example I gave was my 88 year old mother, who is memorizing the book of James. You know, that's not an intellectual process necessarily, but that's a spiritual depth process. And so I think that was kind of the, you know, you know, the title of the piece, in fact, was Go Deep. And, you know, I tend to think about I'm in I'm very interested in a lot of intellectual exploration, but not everybody is. So my feeling would be there's there's something that you should be going deep on, though, spiritually, if nothing else, I'm. How do you do that? What I mean. Yeah, okay. I wanted to I want to go that way, but I know we can't because we've got limited time here. Jack. By the way, we just needed you at the beginning. And with I want to get into your thoughts when it comes to art, but I do want to focus in now on the question of is, is America going to be okay? And obviously, the the okay piece is a very subjective terminology. But before we go to to a I and dangers it could pose and then so I guess a little more less scary art implications or maybe it just just as scary. Tell us about those birthrates. That's super interesting as far as just is it the lowest birthrates we've ever seen as a as the world or as a country is like, give us a snapshot on the current state of affairs when it comes to birth rates. I think Japan has the lowest. You know, this is great. This is actually a real time example of an email going to the wrong Jack because here's Joe is sitting here looking at my dad asking this question, but I'm the one who wrote about birth rates. This is amazing. Well. I will say this, though. In my defense, he brought it up in a conversation on this podcast about the economy. So I actually sat down with him and talked to him about it. Okay. So that's a good excuse that he actually brought it up. Sure. Okay. Go for it. No, now. We really do need you now. I'm. I've heard your dad's thoughts on it. I want to hear your SO. Okay, well, you know, I just think it's so basically the deal is birthrates are kind of falling almost universally. You know, there are some countries you. Know this by the way. I had no idea. I did not. No. There are some countries where this isn't true, but it's, you know, in really the you know, the the highly developed countries, the birth rate is falling in some you know, in a lot of countries is well below replacement level. You know, I think it's like, you know, South Korea's, you know, abysmally low. A lot are below one. And, you know, like a replacement rate is like 2.5. And and this isn't like some, you know, like conspiracy or something in the water thing. It's just like, you know, that's kind of what you tend to see. And as countries become more developed and affluent, as the birthrates tend to decline, that's for a number of reasons. But, you know, at some point you just kind of have the question of, well, how sustainable is, you know, the current standard of living in the way we do things if you have a lot fewer humans going forward? And so so you know, in tell us, wow. That's a lot. Give us a number like how less babies are we having than typically like or how sharp the decrease in the last decade ish. I mean, just I don't know what kind of numbers we're talking like. Well, so the population of Japan is likely to decline by about 30% in the next 30 years. Wow. It did in the last 30. Years going to it if you if you project. So to his point, 2.5, I think is the. 105. That's right. Now so so in other words, the average woman needs to have 2.05 children if you're going to maintain the population of South Korea's is not is a little bit above one third of that. It's like .78, I think .78. Wow. And you know, so so again, like what? So so you think like when you know the best known example of you know significant population you actually I'll bring up two one is the Black death in Europe. But again like that's a civilizational disaster when you have population contract so much. The other that I can think of would be actually Ireland during the not the great potato famine. And the deal is Ireland's population and you know there's there's you know emigration involved there. But Ireland's population has never been as high as it was before the great potato famine like 250 years ago. And that has real consequences for how your country can function and what it can do. And, you know, and that coupled with, you know, at some point you're going to have just this incredible because in generally what you see in, you know, charts of, you know, kind of age distribution is, you know, kind of goes like this as you get towards the, you know, older the older population tends to, you know, obviously is you know, the older you get, the fewer there are. But like now you have this weird, you know, curve where they're, you know, it's a lot skinnier at the bottom than it used to be. And that's not good. So here's a here's a vivid in Japan, more adult diapers are sold than baby diapers. That's crazy. Yes. Yes. I'll tell you one picture of the way I see. You know, I grew up in Pittsburgh, and so you go back to Pittsburgh. The population of the city peaked in about the year 1900 and the decline was slow for a long time. And it's, you know, just continued steadily. And so they can't maintain their infrastructure. You know, you drive past whole areas that are just largely abandoned and the roads look like, you know, look like this is. Is this what we're seeing? And the customer service industry and fast food restaurants and things like that? I mean, is this part of what we're seeing. Is just. Not enough workers sort of thing? Yeah. What does that look like so that you're talking about Japan and then 30 years, what does America look like in 30 years? Well, one of the things that's been a big offset to the lower birthrate, first of all, our birthrate isn't nearly that low. It's a little bit below replacement, but not drastically. And then the other factor with the U.S. population is immigration. So we've continued to have population growth largely because immigration has more than offset the lower birth rates now. Well, in the other you know, the other country that I've seen brought up a couple of times, you know, not as much just because right now its birthrate isn't as bad as some of the other places. But so you look at Russia. So they've had tens of thousands of young men get and hundreds of thousands of young men leave the country. So what does Russia look like in 50 years? Or like, is there even like, can it can even can it even state together just because of the population of so many young men leaving or being killed? That's a I mean, that's a you know, that is sort of a hello. That is kind of crazy. What if what does it look like in 50 years? Yeah, yeah. Ah, we as Christians, I think this is a tough question for all of us to grapple with. But there is I wouldn't say it's a Christian thing. I'd say it's a just humanity thing. A lot of us really care about the economy and that that's a good thing, but it does sometimes make me pause for thought when I think of how important that is for me. The economy and when it is, I think how it's affecting my wallet, my money. And it just makes me think sometimes how good am I doing of being in the world, but not of it, because there's for sure more important issues than just the economy. But that statement right there, it's probably not ness, maybe too simplified, but how would you feel about people who economy is like that's that's what they are looking at the most. So if one of the candidates have a better track record with the economy, that's what I'm voting for because that's what I care about. The most ideal. I think that that. Or I the only thing I would say there and again, you say one of the candidates. So you're talking about like the presidential race. The thing I would say about there is you're also looking at what is the person's job. I mean, you could say that the the two most important aspects of the president's job or two are to guide economic policy and to oversee national defense. Yeah. So, you know, their position on lots of other things, though it may be it's some level more important than pure economics. It's not their job. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we've talked about this before as far as I mean, do we still call America the that is it still considered the powerhouse of the world? I mean, maybe, maybe not. But we talked about how a lot of people are like, you know, why do we get so concerned about America being the powerhouse? Like, that's a bad thing. But you and I were talking and you said you asked the question, well, what other country would you want it to be? Because we were talking about this country's not perfect. Far from it. There's corruption here, just like anywhere but there are other countries that you could just point to be like, Well, I'm glad they're not the the most powerful. But when I want to think about a guy, the future of this country specifically. But before we go, I how do you how do you feel when people lament over, my gosh, are we seeing are we seeing the end? Like, how do you feel about that? I mean. Wasted thought, wasted anxiety? No, no, not necessarily. Okay. So like, you're you know, I can't read how you said a few months ago, but some of like, you know, like what is what does the future look like for America? It's like, well, what's your timeline? You know, it's like 25 years, like because like, you know, if your timelines 500 years, then not great. But I mean, you know, that's not really what we're talking about. I think the so, you know, I've you know, I agree a lot of history. And I just think that a couple of things are that you know, at some point things, you know, fall apart. No country or civilization sustains things forever. But, you know, I think the resilient ones tend to go through cycles of decline and then, you know, kind of a rebirth of sorts. And, you know, so so it's, you know, decline doesn't have to be final. And then at some point it is it's like I'm I'm, you know, right now in the middle of a trilogy for about the Civil War. And it's just it's just so funny about how many of the how many of the things that sort of like plagued their society just in terms of how they related to one another. You know, like the thing that was cracking me up as I was reading about, I think was General McDowell's straw hat. This was one of the union generals had this straw hat that he liked. And it was, you know, a little bit ostentatious, but it was so unusual that there were a lot of his own troops who assumed that he was a traitor and that the straw hat was so that the rebels would know not to shoot him. It's like that is that is as ridiculous as anything I see on Twitter. And it's the same. Kind of the same kind. Of thing. It's the same kind of thing so it's sort of like the, you know, not so different also, you know, very different. So, you know, like the like what are America's prospects? I don't know. You know, better than a lot of people tend to think. But also things can, you know, kind of go bad very quickly and in unexpected ways. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You don't know. I mean, I guess the way I think about it is you could you can make a case for it's a really dark time right now. The international situation is darker than at any time that I can really remember in, in, in a real sense. And that's, that's, that's, that's heavy because that's 911 that's the early nineties war. Yeah it's all the war on terror. But but all those things were awful but they weren't existence threatening and you know the environment we face now you could make an argument that has that potential economically there are some like the federal government is just on an unsustainable financial path period. And and then, you know, there's all the cultural issues where it just seems like we're tearing each other apart and a lot of people we're going to worry about, you know, what is it that we believe? Do we believe anything in common anymore, etc.? And all of these are really rough things. And the the issue with all of them is and our politics is so paralyzed and so polarized that we seem incapable of beginning to deal with any of these things. But here's what I would say. That's hard to hear. That's true. Okay. But how do people react to dealing with hard decisions that they don't have to deal with? They avoid them, right? So we haven't had any hard decisions as a country for 30 years, since the following year. And really, there's been nothing there been issues, there been problems, but like nothing life threatening. And so as a result. Tell us, I mean, for some people, that's a long, long time ago. What what was special about 30 years ago? Well, again, follow the Iron Curtain, which is like the early nineties. Okay. So so when when when the Soviet Union ceased to really be a kind of a geopolitical threat, we you know, like we stood astride the world as the sole superpower. No, you know, kind of unchallengeable by anybody. And, you know, we're we're we're several years into entering a world where that's not the case anymore for the first time in a long time. And so my kind of thing about the human beings, their natural tendency is if they don't have to face a hard decision, they won't. So the result is that we haven't had any tough political decisions to make for a long, long time. And so our politics has devolved into just this profound unseriousness. Yeah. Now here's the thing. I keep saying iron wall for our listeners. We're talking the wall in Germany. What's the iron? Yeah, the Iron Curtain. Okay. Yeah, yeah. You know, it's the fall of communism and the and the, you know, the Soviet Union kind of being the epicenter and then the, the, you know, the emergence into freedom of all of the Eastern European countries that had been satellites. So the Iron Curtain is not metaphorical for the wall in Germany that went down just for the Cold War in general. Yeah. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, yeah. I put my ignorance out on display. I really did Just one of those things where, like, I wrote a post on Pearl Harbor Day and Jack said, You need to explain what Pearl Harbor Day is because a lot of people aren't going to know. Yeah, It's like, Yeah, okay, Yeah. But anyway, so my point though then is but that's not that's not irrevocable. We can be serious in our politics and we will when we have to be. And that's the tendency that democracies have. They're always behind the curve when it comes to facing hard decisions. Yeah, but then once they coalesce behind a direction, they can move faster and more powerfully than any other form of any other type of government can move because they have people unified and moving in the same direction. So what I would say is that though it looks bleak now and and their problems look unsolvable in large part that's because we've been through this era where we haven't had to solve any problems. We can solve problems again, Will we? I don't know, but I don't see any reason why. Dang, what kind of hard decisions would prompt that? Like if you're just looking into the future and you're saying these type of things would unite. China, invades Taiwan, what do want? Russia decides to drop nuclear weapons or to threaten nuclear threaten NATO countries with nuclear weapons would be another Iran launches a full scale invasion of Saudi Arabia. All right. So for real question land everybody and their faith journey or life journey has different strengths and weaknesses. Would this be a weakness area? These conversations stress you out and burden you or or can you be a part of conversations to be like, I don't have control over this stuff and I trust God? Like, who's the land with these conversations? Because these used to bother me really badly and I guess an area of maturity, I don't know, because I don't I don't get all caught up in it because it's something. I guess, back and forth. Like right now I'm not like it's not stressing me out. And I think that has come in time. I mean, even and I would even say for for me, 2020 was really like a checkpoint and like me having to capture my thoughts and saying like, hey, I'm not in control of this stuff. And I had to stop looking at newsfeeds every 15 minutes and checking on, you know, all the things. So this has been a progression for me, but for the most part I'm like, that doesn't bother me as much. Like I can't do anything about it. Now, when there's something that's directly impacting me, I'll get involved, but I'm not going to lose sleep over. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. All right. I think some people will hear this question and be like, Whoa, that's sci fi, outer space stuff. I don't even know what you're talking about. Where some people be like, Yeah, I think about this kind of thing all the time. Specifically Jax here. Lynn too. Nobody cares what I think about this, but do y'all have thoughts of Yes, it could happen for a guy to take over and have an animosity towards humanity to try to exterminate them. I mean, movies are having fun with this sort of thing, but people are saying, Hey, y'all don't realize AI is dangerous. And I know we've talked about this before that I was like, Jack, is there ever a time when a AI is not a complex spreadsheet and you're like, No. And I was like, I didn't think so. Like, what am I missing here? But is is there a chance of, my gosh, A.I. is taking over and now humanity is threat? I don't know. I don't, you know. And do you hear that as a stupid question? No, I do. You know, it's kind of an important question, not because I'm nervous about A.I., but because I'm nervous about people. Because I think all of the people that I see working in that field seem very, very uninterested in consequences and all interested in possibility are like, you know, you asked earlier, like the, you know, where would you write, where would we rank ourselves in terms of intelligence? And just like one things I thought was like the stupidest people on the planet are the smartest people on the planet. In my experience, it's like, you know, you can be so smart that you have zero common sense and you know, you can't see anything other than what you're doing. Like like intelligence that isn't tempered by common sense. And wisdom is not that's not good. And so, like, I don't really have any concerns about AI having animosity. It's more like I'm more concerned about people creating a program that they lose control of and can't stop. You know, I think the. But what it what is what is the thing they can't stop. Well so I mean if you so now we're coming to the limits of my technical knowledge right but you know like. We're not asking for your expertise. We're asking for like if you if you develop a program that you know, hey, you know, what would be great is if I could just remotely shut off my washing machine and then suddenly lose control. And now no one can turn the washing machine on, you know, or, you know, hey, you know, I've got this thing where my fridge I can, I can lock it via wi fi. So like I, I can only eat a certain hours, but now no one can open their fridge like, you know, there's just the potential like, is anyone not had a device do something that it's like, shoot what can I do? How do I undo it? Right. So that at scale in ways that, you know, are directly, you know, connected to our infrastructure, that's the sort of thing that's concerning. Like, I think the the only like doomsday scenario that I thought was compelling in a in a way that makes sense to me. Way is someone says, so, you know, let's say, you know, someone designs in A.I. that you know, only they can make paperclips and that's what it does. And then, you know, the thing decides that literally everything should be a paperclip. That's my function. I turn things into paperclips. And so, you know, people should be paperclips, and it just, like, starts destroying things because it has one function and that's all it knows. And so just goes crazy idea. That's like horror movie stuff, but like, that's the sort of thing, you design a program not thinking about what would happen if this, you know, thing gets into, you know, and there's a reason that, you know, some guys they, you know, kind of programs, they, you know, keep them off the open Internet or or, you know, whatever. It's like there there's a reason that, you know, it would be kind of insane to put, you know, like all of our nuclear capabilities on the Internet, right? Like, so anyway, it's not like I'm not worried about evil robots. I'm worried about stupid humans. Gotcha. Yeah, that's it. Is there a risk of evil robots, in your opinion? Like, is that even now? Because I don't think robots can be evil. That's like. Evil. Yeah. I watched a movie recently. It was a pretty neat handling of A.I. called the Creator. And what I thought was interesting, I think the setting was 2065 and I told my kids over dinner, I said, Hey, you guys think about this. But I think that there is a possibility, you know, some of the arguments that different generations are having right now. I said, I think you guys may be the grandparents or the older generation that is telling your kids and their grandkids they're not people. They're spreadsheets. Because in the movie you had a bunch of people saying you have to treat them equal just like anybody else. And you could tell they were portraying, Hey, this is where we're going to be divided. At some point, some people are going to say, hey, we treat them as equals. And other people are just like, but they're not they're they're humans. Touch on this a little bit. Jack. Well, I guess what comes to mind, I mean, and you know, I'm the least technical logically the person around the table here, so I won't I won't try to go there. But a writer who has had a couple of very interesting explorations of this is Kazuo Ishiguro, who's the one that won the Nobel Prize for literature some years ago. And actually both of them, I just think are both The books that I'm thinking about are fascinating in terms of implications for faith. So one of them is called Klara and The Sun, which was his most recent novel, and Klara as a robot and but a robot designed to be a human companion. What happens is this family buys Klara at the robot store, and and their thought was maybe they could make Klara because their daughter had an incurable disease. And maybe what they could do is get Klara to mimic their daughter so well that it would be like having their daughter after their daughter died while. And anyway, Clara Bow has this belief that if she could only get the little girl out into the sun like because she saw a drunk, you know, an urban alley across from the store where she was for sale, wake up when the sun hit them. So her So Klara, who's not a very advanced robot in some ways, and it's just But anyway, and what happens is the sun hits the girl and she is healed late in the book. And it's anyway, it's like, what does that mean? I have no idea. And I think he's trying to say it means anything, but it's just and then another one is is one of his wonderful books is called Never Let Me Go. And the idea is it's again, a future society where they have cloned people and they are raising them so that they can harvest their organs. And then the question, the big question of the book that book asks is, are they human? Do they have soul? What does that mean? And it's interesting, super interesting. Anyway, so I don't know, I guess that's kind of what I think it like. To me, there are all kinds of questions that, you know, in a lot of ways the questions all point back to us is the way I think about it. Yeah. And I think that that's that's the thing that I can't comprehend is how does someone outside of May maybe there's some sort of a mental challenge or something going on but how does someone go from losing a child to I'm going to make myself feel better by keeping my child? How do they cross that line? That. Yeah, but I still know that's not like that. There's no life to it. There's no conscious ness to it. Like, can people get there? And so I want to go to what you've been thinking about as far as art is concerned. It would be a novelty and I think there may be some out there already, but it would be a novelty to listen to a podcast conversation, a conversation that's completely I think there's some stuff out there, but after a while I wouldn't do it unless it was unbelievably entertaining. But if I was listening to it to like, connect with them as people, it would never happen because I could never make that jump. These aren't people they don't even know what they're saying. Do you think people will ever be like, I don't care. That moves me and I connect with that. I sometimes you really hate my questions. No, I don't, you know. Well, let me go back a little bit because you talked about like the, you know, your the idea of like your kids with the grandparents saying, like, that's not a person. And I do think that, you know, one of the things so in some ways, like I feel like there's not actually been a really grown up conversation about like the idea of like animal rights because so what to me is like, so, like the desire to give things dignity is a very human thing to do. And so like the idea of like, animals have rights. I don't think that's a a super weird impulse. The and therefore animals are people to me, it's like, see now. But I think that it's like the Hey, are we supposed to treat all living things with dignity as like, yeah, I mean, like, you know, being stewards of creation means something. And so in the same way, it's like the idea of, you know, could there be a point where, you know, robots say, whatever we want to say is we want to confer some kind of human dignity on it. It's like like I could see that. And I think I'd be somewhat sympathetic to that impulse, you know, because because I think like, in a sense, like that's a that impulses kind of reflected of, you know, like being creatures who are created, who also ourselves create things. So like, you could we so could I see people listening to completely AI podcasts or whatever. So yeah, sure. I mean, listen, you're doing it right now in the sense of the articles you read, the there are a ton of, you know, like there are a ton of outlets who don't employ human writers for things like they've been opening up front. About it, like. They've been open about it, and some of them like they, like, you know, the byline has a human name, but it's not a human end. And they're good articles like. they're trans. I didn't know. Well, no sex at writing. I didn't know. AI's terrible writing is also. So here's the thing is like, you know, part of my thing is, you know, is air good? It's like, well, art isn't. And like, that is almost like a hell all die on for me because I just don't think you can make art if you're not a human, because air doesn't create anything. It just regurgitates things like air does not have any sort of creative impulse. Right? It's not inspired. It's not asking questions. It's not trying to achieve something. It just makes stuff, right? Like there's AI. Art is the same thing as a factory assembly line where there's things stamps, license plates or molds or whatever. It's the same thing. It doesn't really matter how pretty it looks. And I are writing and I feel like the first time, the first few times you see art, you're like, wow, that's indistinguishable. The more you see it, the more you can instantly recognize art in part, like, you know, in part because for some reason I programs have just the hardest time doing human hands. They look like just horror movies. It's hilarious. But but I writing is the same. I are writing, you know, is what I is what a bad writer thinks. Good writing sounds like a lot of time. Gotcha. But it it's not really a question of quality. I don't care how good in a I can get it in making art and I don't care how good it can get at writing. It's not actually creating anything. And the thing I really, you know, I really hate about it in the creative space is that when creatives use AI, they might say, I'm just skipping over a path I hate doing. This is like, it's not a big deal anyway. It's like, well, you're just letting that part atrophy because one, I think it's not as good as it would have been otherwise, but also skipping the hard part is like that's the essence of what creating is, right. It's like getting past that point of I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not sure if I'm succeeding, I don't know what I'm trying to do. And then actually doing something there was I don't know if you saw the text I sent you, but there was a piece where, you know, it was basically someone talking to a writer about who uses an AI program. And this writer talks about how they kind of like they don't use it as much. And they said that. So so basically this writer shall give it kind of the basics of a scene, give it a prompt and then let it write. And then the writer said this, like, I know we're going into the lobby and I know that this lobby is a secret paranormal fish hospital for Nyad's, but I don't care really what it looks like, other than there's two big fish tanks with tons of fish and it's high art. So she tells it that and gives it and it gives her 150 words about crystal chandeliers, gold etching and marble. And then she, the writer, says, My time is spent on the important aspects of the mystery and on the story than sitting there for 10 minutes trying to come up with the description of the lobby. And I just like I rather my feeling is what I really want this person to understand is that they're not a writer. And it was it was really satisfying just to see, like every writer on Twitter, just react with fury. Because. It's like, you know, it's the same sort of thing. It's like, you know, boy, I, I don't really feel like getting my kid dressed this morning, you know, like, I want them as long as I'm there for the teachable moments, like I don't need to be there for the unimportant stuff. All right. So that's like it's just a garbage way to view your own craft. Yeah. As though, who cares about the important things? Like, you know, why not let a five year old write them, right? And and the deal is, you know, I think my my response to that was, you know, just me putting my skill atrophy into all I'm capable of is writing. What do one liners tell you know, jokes supplied to me by a I bots, right. I was like, you know, you're letting a part of your ability die when you when you behave that way. And it really again, it's really like I find that incredibly disrespectful to your readers, incredibly disrespectful to yourself. You're deciding not to become better. It's also just bad art. It's like, Yeah. Okay, so what's inside the lobby isn't important. Why are you dealing with it at all? You don't have to describe it. Why is it like, why that's like a red herring. Why are you putting that in there anyway? It's a matter with you. Yeah, well, and like, if your story has unimportant parts just gone right, the Wikipedia plot summary. I'm sort of publishing it all, you know what I mean? Like, that's what I do for, like, there are movies I know I will never watch and do not care about, but I might like, like, have what? What was that movie about? Again, I'll read the Wikipedia plot summary. It's like, just do that. Don't publish just the articles. I should be angry. Or we'll definitely have in the show notes links for or the link for people to be able to come and read this stuff. It really is fine. Did you did you know that one of our giving lanes with legacy we're creating an additional a line but because there's so much more that could get done so much more leadership that's in our that's in our legacy giving lane. You know here here's all say like the theme is that's a good. First say it's a good line. Well well my view is we could definitely use more lens but I'm just thankful we have one. Yeah same. I do not want to sail on land walking around Waffle House. Let's wrap up with that. I thought it was a brilliant piece and I have to agree. I mean you can't argue against how fast you like, walk out, be like, okay, I was going to say, I mean, I would still respect you. It would just be I'd have to navigate that one lane. Like if you just said, I have. All the things. You don't have to navigate that for sure. I mean, if you brought up in the South and you don't like Waffle House or just some, you got a question that got a question that. Tell us about that because. Well, actually the so Friday's we do these short pieces on Jack called The Good Stuff. And sometimes it's a something we've read, sometimes it's sometimes it's a product that we use that we like and I like to. Recommendation. Recommend it. It's a recommendation, Yes. And I struggle with that. And what it makes me realize is how devoid of products my life is. Well, actually, I do feel like we've talked about this. The thing is been trying to get on, not trying to get because I have the same thing, but it's like, you know, you can actually tell people things about yourself and some of them might actually end up being interesting. And I think that was kind of met with a level of incomprehension because I feel like you should tell, Why don't you tell people an album you like? And I think you just kind of looked at me, but why would I do that? Yeah, but the Waffle House feels universal, I think. Yeah, yeah, that was inspired. We probably got more comments on that piece than anything else. I wrote a piece, a pean to the Waffle House, and Jack accompanied then with a clip of Anthony Bourdain visiting the Waffle House in Charleston. Yeah, I mean, maybe the most shared Anthony Bourdain clip. Better than the French. Lot better than the French Laundry. And it means he's not just saying it either. All right, Wrap up with y'all. Y'all brought your little write up on what you love about the other person. Kind of for Valentine's. Like a little love letter to your dad. Are you looking at me like that? I'm just. I do feel like I could do it. You do? Fairly. Fairly well. Thank you. Thank you all for listening. You've been listening to the things you won't hear on Sunday Seacoast podcast and the show notes. You'll see a link to our Facebook group page. Also, we love for you to consider subscribing so you get these episodes, download it right when they come out. Thanks so much for listening.