147: The Future of Undecided

Matt and Sean talk about where Undecided is headed, and how it’s going to get there.

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Hey everybody. Welcome to Still To Be Determined, the channel where we talk about Matt’s most recent episodes from undecided with Matt Ferrell. But today it’s a special day. Matt . Something different. We’re doing something different. You know what we’re doing. , what are we doing, Sean? We’re not talking about your video.

What? That’s right. We’re talking about the channel as a whole. This is kind of a year end wrap up in talking about where the channel is and some of the things that are gonna be coming in the future. And to that end, let me just quickly let you know who you’re listening to. You’re listening to Sean Ferrell.

That’s me. I’m a writer. I write sci-fi. I write some stuff for kids. And I’m curious about technology, and of course you all know. Matt Ferrell of undecided with Matt Ferrell and his videos that focus on technology and its impact on our lives. Matt, how you doing? I’m good. I’m about about you. I’m doing well.

It’s getting a little chilly outside. It’s already December. We’re almost done with the year, so I figured what a great time to take a step back and just kind of talk about your channel. Here on still to be determined. We’re not changing a thing. If the magic isn’t, isn’t broken, why?

Why would you screw it?

Why would you screw it?

Perfection. Listen to the sound of my voice. People.

You, you, you know what I’m, although I will say, although I will say I do plan to inject more of the full interviews that I do from time to time. To still be determined, but it won’t change the structure of the show that much

at all.

Yeah, we’ve talked about that in the past, and yeah, the most recent time we did it, we asked viewers, what did you think we like. Had our little brief chat, and then we were like, and here’s the full video, and it was like a 35 minute long. Mm-hmm. interview between you and the interviewee and response was overwhelmingly positive.

I think people really wanna get into a deeper dive into the conversations that drive your main channel, and I think that’s a great use of this space for that. It also makes it incredibly easy for.

And if you know anything about Sean Ferrell. ,

he’s like water. He buys the easiest

pack. Yeah. You know that Sean Ferrell likes to, uh, Just slide, slide downhill. , if I didn’t have to be sitting up right now, I wouldn’t be, I’d be lying on the floor, but it would make for a weird video . But on your main channel, there will be a few new things on the way.

And just topic wise, I’m curious, what are some of. New things that you’re gonna be talking about in 2023? I can’t believe I just said that sentence, but No. In 2023, what are some of the things you’re gonna be discussing? Well,

one of the things I’m planning on doing is I’m planning on talking about more of like home technologies that we can get today to put in your home and use today.

I haven’t done, I’ve done that from time to time over the past year or two, but I wanna try to make it more of a regular thing. I, I don’t want to. Over promise, but like a once a month kind of thing. I wanna try to have something that’s more accessible to today, almost like a review, kind of a video about that product.

Mm-hmm. maybe some of my firsthand experience or talking to somebody who has first firsthand experience with it. I wanna try to do that more often. Another thing is, uh, just there’s topics I’m talking about more. It’s like I just did a video on fusion and I’m kind of going down this fusion rabbit hole, so I have.

Plans ahead to talk to more places and more people about what they’re doing for Fusion. Trying to get it out there. Do more site visits, is the other thing I wanna do. Uh, but like immediately there’s more battery tech, more solar tech. I’ll be talking about, like, there’s a video coming up probably within a week or two of this, uh, about wood batteries.

That’s right. wood batteries. That’s right. Um, it’s real,

it’s really interesting worth talking about. But yeah, it’s, it’s. I, most of the topics I’m kind of focusing on, I’m, I’m listening to the viewers in the comments and seeing what they’re talking about, and that’s kind of helping me to inform what we’re.

gonna potentially talk about, so there’s wood batteries, there’s more hydrogen videos coming up, there’s more videos about fusion. Um, more videos about nuclear technologies as well, mixed in with that. While I just talked about home tech, things that are more immediately available to us to add to our homes.

I had a email with you a couple of days ago, believe it or not, listeners, Matt and I actually correspond outside of these video. . That’s right. We do. Or podcasts, depending on how you’re consuming this right now. And I shared a little news story with Matt and with mm-hmm. , a couple of.dot dots question mark for the podcast, maybe.

Mm-hmm. about a technology that’s


taking vegetable cell structures and using them as a medium to regrow human. Nerve cells, it’s tripping. And it was the development of a researcher who is in early stages of looking at using vegetation like asparagus and basically removing the, the living cells from the vegetation and allowing that to become a structure that then the neurons can regrow.

really trippy. Kind of like you gotta squint and turn your head and say like, does this make any sense? But it’s legitimate research. It is from a reliable news source. It was a remarkable piece of writing. I was very interested in it, shared it with Matt and I was basically like, would you ever talk about this kind of thing?

And Matt’s response was, I was surprised. Sure.

Well, the, the reason for that is my channel has morphed over the years and re and for the past few years, I’ve really zeroed in on renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Mm-hmm. , that’s the real hardened focus of undecided, but the intention of my channel was, I’m just inspired by the amazing science and engineering and research that’s happening that’s gonna basically push humanity in different ways and how it’s gonna impact our lives in the coming years.

And so that goes beyond renewable energy and sustainable technology. And I wanna start to experiment with that to see if viewers are interested in it. So Sean, bring up basically this biotech. I have a huge interest in biotech, um, basical. Printing organs, . Yeah. You know, like there’s crazy stuff that’s happening, nanotechnology that can help people who have had heart attacks and just really amazing stuff.

And I want to start to experiment with looking at that as well as like, um, AI and machine learning. I have a huge interest in that. And I don’t know, Sean, if you may have not noticed this, but 20 20, 20 22 to. has been the year of AI really becoming mainstream because there have been so many tools that have just like flooded the market, especially for creators like myself of like Jasper AI Notion, which is a, a service I use for managing my project management.

Has integrated AI and machine learning directly into the tools where it’s like you can basically tell the ai, I wanna make a video about hydrogen. , what could, what could be a good opening hook for the video and it will actually write you an opening hook. Mm-hmm. . Now granted it’s more mist than hit . Yeah,

But some of this tech is like crazy. Like it’s creepy. It’s like in an uncanny valley right now where Yeah, you can say to it, I want to, like, I’m trying to write JavaScript for my website and I want to do X, Y, and Z when this happens. And it will get, write the JavaScript for you, right? It. Machines are coming for everybody’s jobs.

Mm-hmm. , including the computer programmers who are writing the machines. Right. It’s like there’s gonna be a day where those programmers aren’t needed because the machines can program themselves. And so it’s like we’re, we’re rapidly heading to this and I find it fascinating and it’s gonna impact the future of everything.

So it’s like, I wanna talk about that stuff too. Yeah. But it’s. . It’s a matter of I’m not gonna just like do a cold Turkey, turn the channel in a 90 degree direction and go someplace different. Yeah. But I do wanna start experimenting with this and maybe putting on a video every once in a while that’s a little outside of what I normally talk about to see how people

like it.

Yeah. Listeners and viewers, you should weigh in about how, whether that’s in your interest area, because I think that those would be some very interesting conversations, especially when you talk about ai, which brings with it not only. , the fascination of what the AI can do, but also serious concerns about privacy concerns.

Oh yeah. About, you mentioned it’s the ais are coming for your jobs. People aren’t


happy about that, and it’s not just the people who might be like working in a shop where they’re putting together cars, and the cars are being put together by robots. It’s not just those jobs. It’s literally my job as a writer, I mean, I write, that’s my job too.


the beginning. There are the beginnings of, as Matt just said, you take an AI and you say, I want to tell a story about such and such and such, and then the computer writes the story. Or there was a big blowup this last year around AI driven art where the, there were a number of different apps that dropped around the same time where you could go in and say, I want something that’s an impressionist style.

But it’s of a, a painting of a cityscape in the rain populated by robots. And then these apps will give for you various versions of this. There was a lot of, uh, debate in art communities about one, is this actually art two? , is it okay when the AI is learning the styles by going through the internet and lifting the styles of artists from pages like Deviant Art, where artists post their own work, so the AI is, in fact, the argument goes a little bit like this.

The AI is kind of plagiarizing Yes. In order to take the style of artists. . So it’s a real weird gray area and we really haven’t, I’m like, have we ever had this happen before where something pushes forward and then makes this kind of debate around idea ownership? Style ownership. It’s a very new, well, there’s two

very gray area.

There’s two things I wanna, there’s two things I wanna add. I just watched a video this morning from a YouTuber who’s a Smart Home YouTube channel, and he used one of these open AI tools where you can just tell it what you want to do it. He said, describe what the home assistant, smart home platform is, as if in an m and m wrap.

And it gave him, I’m not joking, the description of Home Assistant was spot on. Like it described exactly what a smart home was, how, what Home Assistant was and how it works. And it was a rhyming wrap. And it was, it was disturbing Sean that it, it was like, it, it was like, , if nobody told you, you might think a human wrote it.

Mm-hmm. , like it’s getting really creepy. Yeah. And it’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s still in that machine. Machine learning territory. There’s a tool that I use called Descript where you can take any audio file or video file, you jump it into, into descript and it will transcribe what was said. But it’s also an editor.

So like if you have a podcast and you put it in there and you’re like, oh, I wanna cut this sentence out, just like a word processor. Looks like a word doc. You highlight that sentence. . It’s now outside of it’s, it’s cut. So now it just plays seamlessly because the machine learning goes, oh, I have to put a cut here before this word and after that word, and it figures out what to do.

Right. It can auto automatically remove ums and uhs and stuff like that. You can, it also does video editing now, but here’s the creepy part, Sean it now can learn your voice. Yeah. And you can type new sentences, deep, fake, and it sounds like you. Yeah. And they have rules around it where you can only do it if it’s your voice.

Right. And you have to prove it’s you. So like I did it as a test and I said, I do it for me. And I had to read this specific sentence saying, I give descript authorization. I am approving this to happen. And it used that as an approval. And I uploaded a file from our podcast of just me talking. And to say it’s, it’s not perfect cuz some of the sentences I put in there, it sounded, the intonation wasn’t completely right.

Right. But I would say like 70% of it, it sounded like it was me actually speaking. It was disturbing. Yeah. It’s like you could take this and then have the AI write scripts and then the ai, I can find B-roll and then. You don’t need Matt Ferrell to actually make a video for undecided the computer’s, just making videos on its own.

Right. , it’s like it gets really weird, really fast . That’s Oh,

interesting. Interesting topics. And these are things that I really do look forward to talking about with you as, as you put these videos together and. , any other things that our listeners or viewers might be picking up on? Shoot them into the comments.

Shoot them through the contact information in the podcast description. Let us know what you’ve heard about, because that’s kind of stuff is, uh, it’s fascinating to me and I mm-hmm. , and the debate is also important because it reaches the point where policies and regulations are not in place about any of this stuff, but this stuff.

We’re going to be seen more and more in our lives. As Matt just described, you have the ability to create an audio that is indecipherable from an actual recording of an individual talking. Mm-hmm. . How long before somebody stands up in a court of law and says, that’s not my voice. Somebody made that using their computer.

Mm-hmm. . If it hasn’t already happened, I’m sure it will happen soon. The last thing we wanted to talk about today. is some changes. Matt, you’ve already talked about some changes in the vision of your channel, and you’ve talked about the scope, but I wonder about the background of the channel itself, the putting it together.

I remember way back when when a young lad named Matt Farrell said to me, yeah, I’m thinking about starting a YouTube channel. And that young lad was doing everyth. From, yes. Researching, writing, production, editing, releasing. Everything was being done by Matt Ferrell and Matt Ferrell was a tired, young lad.

He was working. 80 to a hundred hours a week. 80 to a hundred hours a week. And we’ve already discussed not an exaggeration. Yeah. We’ve discussed in a previous episode how Sean likes to just be like water rolling down a hill. Or maybe that was earlier in this episode. I don’t even remember anymore. Anyway, helpers together.

Anyway, the idea of working 80 to a hundred hours a week, uh, sounds absolutely. So it is, you have grown since then and you are planning on growing some more, and why don’t you talk a little bit about what your team looks like and how that all

works. I, I gotta start off by saying I feel blessed because my channel has had success and it’s grown and that was my goal, was to get it to grow because I can, I earn money from Google Ad Sense.

I earn money from the direct sponsorships you see in my videos. And then I. Fantastic support from the Patreon members. So it’s like between all of that, it’s allowed me to kind of scale up a team to make this sustainable for myself from a don’t get burned out point of view. So I have people on my team that have been ramping up over the past couple years, but this past year has had a lot of growth where I have an assistant producer, his name’s Lewis, fantastic.

He helps me so much with just like logistics around the channel, helping to kind of vet topic ideas about what we’re gonna. And then he takes care of like making sure that they’re released properly and everything like that. Um, I have a couple video editors, one that does all the video editing now for all of the undecided videos.

His name’s Sunny Peter is my video and audio editor that does all these podcasts and that you’re watching right now. And then beyond that, it’s like, for a couple years I’ve had people that help me with the research and some of the writing and I’ve been, one of the biggest changes I made just recently is I recently just hired kind of a lead writer.

Somebody that’s gonna. Because even though it is like I always have my hands on every script, I put my own ideas, my own thoughts into each script. But that takes a lot of time. And so now with this lead writer, his name’s Vincent, he’s helping to not only help write the scripts, but to basically proofread, copy it, copy edit final scripts to make sure everything’s buttoned up and tight and proper and precise.

And I’ve got a , I don’t, I don’t know, I have an official title for this, but I have a science advisory board. And this is something that is important because I am not a physicist. I am not an engineer. Very clear that I’m not, and if you look at my about page, but it’s one of those, I have a fascination with technology.

I have lifelong fascination in engineering and things like that, so it’s like I’ve kind of self-taught in a lot of this, but having science advisors who are experts in physics, who are experts in mechanical engineering that I can ask questions to, I’ve been doing that informally for the past couple of years.

Cause I’ve been building up contacts in different industries where, Ping out a question about a physics question to a physicist that I’ve, I’ve made connections with. I’ve been doing that for a while, but this is more formal and this is a new process that I’ve been putting into place where I have this science advisory board, which are people that are funded because of all this, the.

Ad revenue and the Patreon sponsorships that allow me to do this. So I’m, I have this team that’s mechanical engineers, material scientists, chemists, physicists that are all on board. So that from the very beginning seat of a topic idea, we can all be talking about, like, what are the gotchas here? What are the things we should be looking at?

Where are the, what are the things I’m not aware of that we should dig? And so I can ask questions and they can advise as to like what areas we should focus on and not focus on, and, and making sure that we’re explaining things in a precise way. Because precision in this, what I’m doing is very important and then, so I wanna try to make that better and better and better over time.

So that’s the biggest change that’s happened just recently is that more formalized science advisory board.

That’s all really very cool. Yeah. The growth of the channel has been impressive. And as somebody who’s incredibly lazy, no, I’m not lazy. Um, he’s not, he’s

not lazy . But as, as somebody on the side, a man wrote a novel on a train on his phone,

Yeah. Which I don’t understand.

Well, you do what you have to. Yeah. But as somebody who’s watched all this stuff develop and the structure grow over time, it’s, it’s very impressive to see. And I think it shows in the videos and I think that, Listeners, what do you hope to see in 2023? Matt’s just described how the structure of his team, he’s trying to bring the best product to all of you.

He’s trying to spur on conversations around things that are on the cutting edge. And I’m curious, listeners, what do you see as being a good focus for 2023? Let us know because what you suggest might just end up in a video. Mm-hmm. , and then be part of the convers. You really do help drive all of that and we appreciate your taking the time to weigh in.

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