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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Welcome to the Future
Aired June 25, 2006 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm really hopeful about the future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel I have a lot more control over my future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think technology will affect life as we know it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever read George Orwell, "1984," for god's sake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I wouldn't mind the robot that can make my coffee in the morning and bring it to my bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The future is tantalizing with possibility.
MICHAEL DYSON, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: In terms of work, when you think about the shift from manufacturing to the service industries, it's no longer necessarily located to a physical place.
DICKINSON: I agree, a lot of us are going to be working more at home, but we're going to be working until we're 85 years old.
GOLD: Well, 85 is the new 40.
DICKINSON: It's true.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: The future. When I look at the future, I see flying cars. But I wanted to know what other people see. So I assembled a group of forward thinkers.
Dean Kamen lives in the future. He invented the Segway transporter and the iBot wheelchair and commutes to work in his own helicopter.
DEAN KAMEN, INVENTOR/ENTREPRENEUR: I fly and I land on the roof of a 150-year-old mill building.
O'BRIEN: Judy Gold is an award winning writer and comedian who sees the future as both comedy and tragedy.
JUDY GOLD, COMEDIAN, WRITER/PRODUCER: We are now seeing the effects of conspicuous consumption.
O'BRIEN: Kellyanne Conway has a sharp eye on the future. She's a political pollster who tracks public opinions and has a few of her own.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, CEO, THE POLLING COMPANY, INC.: It's about time to make business responsible for whom they employ.
O'BRIEN: Michael Eric Dyson, a best-selling author, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, he's also an ordained Baptist minister.
DYSON: Martin Luther King, Jr. said you're going to be a thermostat or a thermometer. Either you're going to change the temperature or you're going to register it.
O'BRIEN: Amy Dickinson writes the nationally syndicated advice column, "Ask Amy," so you know she has something to say.
AMY DICKINSON, COLUMNIST, "ASK AMY," "CHICAGO-TRIBUNE": We won't have pension plans. We will not have health care. We, you know, like it's -- I don't think it's such a pretty sight.
O'BRIEN: And me. I'm Miles O'Brien, the host of this gathering and an amateur futurist. I'm just hoping some day I get my flying car.
To top it all off, I'll sit down with the people who have the biggest stake in the future -- kids.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I hope that there'll be less pollution in the future and the environment will be more healthy.
O'BRIEN: One thing that is on everybody's mind is gas prices, these days. If you talk about what Jimmy Carter got started during the first energy crunch, the push he made into some alternatives, which was pretty much scuttled in subsequent years when gas prices went down, in a sense, high gas prices, I think, create an opportunity for us to better our lives.
GOLD: Well, I mean we can't afford it so we have -- we -- it's basically forcing us. Plane travel, train travel, everything is so expensive now. I can't -- I remember being in college, I filled up my car for five bucks. And now it's like $60 to fill up my gas tank. It's ridiculous.
DICKINSON: Well, my daughter and I were at the movies and we were watching a scene -- it takes place in Europe -- and the character was driving a smart car. And she said get a load of that. It was tiny, tiny. And I said yes, gas over there has cost $10 a gallon forever.
DICKINSON: Or it's been very, very expensive and forced people to adapt their mechanics and technology to that. CONWAY: Well, the current environment has had a little bit of an effect on people and their gas consumption. But at the same time, the car is still the symbol of freedom and independence and American liberty. And it's going to take more than charging, basically, the same as a latte for a gallon to folks to get them off of the roads and into alternative means of transportation.
O'BRIEN: I don't think Americans will ever give up the car. But what we're seeing now for the first time since the '70s is talk about some alternatives.
Let's take a look at what the future is going to look like.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DYSON: On my daily commute, it's not so much what I see, it's what I smell of the pollutants.
Riding my bicycle changed my perspective on the environment. Automobiles are a very large source of our pollution. We really need to make a big step in improving our overall fuel economy standards.
My wish for the future is that we balance our existence on Earth.
We have all of the tools available to us today and if we don't do something to change it, we're not going to have a world to change.
O'BRIEN: When it comes to transportation, oil has become a dirty word. National security concerns, high gas prices and threats to the environment have us all scrambling for alternatives.
(voice-over): By now, you've probably heard of alternative fuels. From hydrogen gas to biodiesels, the list of energy sources is long. Nathaniel Green of the Natural Resources Defense Council says his money is on ethanol, an Earth friendly fuel that's cost-effective, too.
NATHANIEL GREEN, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: There are so many ways that we can make it -- switch grass, corn kernels, wood chips. One of the exciting things about this next generation of ethanol technology is that they have the potential to be not just cost-competitive with gasoline, but actually cheaper.
O'BRIEN: Something Brazil is already embracing. In fact, 75 percent of Brazil's new cars burn both gasoline and ethanol. And Green says it can happen here, too.
GREEN: Ethanol is great. But it's not a silver bullet. We need to have more efficient vehicles, as well, that we're putting this fuel in. We need a government commitment to do this and do it in a smart way.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
GOLD: Who was the anchor person?
DICKINSON: He looks kind of like Wink Martindale.
GOLD: Oh, he is really...
O'BRIEN: Kind of a Gene Rayburn for a new generation.
DYSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ethanol.
O'BRIEN: What are the alternatives that you see that may lie ahead?
KAMEN: I think we're now at a point that where all the alternatives that were just not economically attractive alternatives, whether it's solar, photovoltaics or ethanol or lots of stuff that we haven't even seen yet, all of those alternatives start to become attractive economically. And once they're in place, they'll be certainly attractive environmentally.
DYSON: I think the addiction to oil, as the president said, is huge. And I think that that addiction will play itself out not like the crack pipe, but there will be, you know, some serious wrenching of the American economy and mind set before we are able to move past that fundamental fact of our existence.
DICKINSON: I'm a little more pessimistic, like Michael. But -- and I -- but I think that energy sources and the uses of alternative sources is going to be a class thing. It's going to be very chic to build your fabulous home using green sources and having green living spaces. It's going to be really chic to have hybrid cars, hybrid Hummers. But...
GOLD: But that's a good thing, in a way, right?
DICKINSON: Yes, sure.
DICKINSON: But I think that's going to continue to be really expensive.
KAMEN: Well, I think most of the successful world will end up realizing that the future is about ideas. The past was about stuff. And the world was fighting over gold or oil or whatever it was. If the world of the future is about ideas, that's a happy place, if we can educate most of the world, because if there's six billion people having good ideas, that's better for all of us.
It's not a zero sum game like the world is stuff. You're not fighting over a finite resource spreading it among more and more people. Instead, you have more ideas, more solutions, more wealth being shared by more people.
DYSON: You are a raging optimistic, aren't you? (CROSSTALK)
GOLD: I want to live in your medication.
DICKINSON: I want to move to your world.
GOLD: What are you on?
DICKINSON: I want to move to...
O'BRIEN: All right...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god.
O'BRIEN: Imagine your own personal submarine.
Would you like that, kids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
O'BRIEN: Raise your hand if you want your own submarine. Come on, boys and girls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: We're overdue for like what happened to the dinosaurs, a meteor, a drastic change in weather or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAMEN: I think over time, particularly in the last decade, we've seen way more interest than ever before in what's under the ocean.
O'BRIEN: If you could get a personal submarine and go deep beneath the sea, would you do it?
GOLD: Oh, totally. How great would that be?
O'BRIEN: Check this out.
DICKINSON: If they could give me a huge pair of nose plugs, like...
O'BRIEN: Check this out.
GOLD: As long as we don't get the bends, we're fine.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) GRAHAM HAWKES, FOUNDER, HAWKES OCEAN TECHNOLOGIES: It's like going to another planet. It's a totally different thing that anything you can experience on land.
We've just got this tiny little surface layer of water in the ocean that we can actually go and explore. The problem with scuba, you've got to watch that gauge all the time and suddenly I'm out of air and I have to come back up.
Every time we go a little deeper, we find a whole new layer of life. The question is what else is down there?
I'd love to see the day when we have readily accessible vehicles that allow us to go down and spend some time with the fish in deeper water.
O'BRIEN: So would a lot of others. Yet the mysteries that lie deep beneath the surface of the sea have been out of reach for most of us. But maybe not for long.
Imagine a private submarine that could take you well beyond the limits of mask, fins and scuba tanks.
HAWKES: I'm right alongside of a manta ray.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Graham Hawkes, founder of Hawkes Ocean Technologies, has created a vehicle that can fly through water.
HAWKES: And the Wright Brothers really did that a hundred years ago. But we're taking that into this big deep blue space.
O'BRIEN: Built like a jet, these winged submersibles dive more than 1,500 feet, with speeds up to 12 knots.
HAWKES: But in terms of filming and studying animals, it's going to be a whole new ball game. You can put on a big suction cup on the front and try and grab animals out of the water.
O'BRIEN: But you don't have to be a marine biologist to get in on the fun. Hawkes' flight schools let amateurs become deep sea explorers. And Hawkes' ultimate goal? To reach the deepest depths of the ocean, about 37,000 feet below.
HAWKES: Just Google this planet and you'll see it's all blue. Our future lies with understanding and exploring the oceans.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
O'BRIEN: Pretty cool, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes sense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is amazing.
O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes.
Let's talk -- as long as we're on this general subject, because the oceans play a big part in all of this, the subject of global warming.
Are we doing enough?
DYSON: The big story about global warming is that it's here, that we're seeing the effects of it. What do we do as conscientious human beings to force the debate into a different arena?
GOLD: But it's like until it affects them personally...
O'BRIEN: Right. Right.
GOLD: ... and, you know, no one is going to...
O'BRIEN: I think it's affecting you right now...
GOLD: Hell, no. But it's a -- it's just amazing, you know? These ice caps are melting. We have these unbelievable hurricanes. There's no more seasons. I mean I have -- I tell my kids, you know, it used to snow. I used to have snow days. You know, we don't have snow days. My kids never get snow days. It's so incredible how the Earth has changed in my 43 years. I can't even imagine what's going to happen in the next 43 years.
CONWAY: But not enough to have curbed human conduct almost whatsoever. And, in fact, I think the global warming advocates who diagnose the problem as such ought to spend less time on the gloom and doom and more time on putting a little bit more of an optimistic, sunny, inviting way...
DICKINSON: We can't even go out in the sun-because you get melanoma.
CONWAY: ... sunny, inviting way to get people involved, because people just don't like to hear something, the Earth is falling and Chicken Little is going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
GOLD: Right. But now it's like with the gas, you know? It's like now we really kind of have to deal with this.
DICKINSON: And you know what? We -- our kids are growing up with full knowledge of this...
GOLD: Right. DICKINSON: ... unlike our generation. Our children have complete, you know, awareness of this. And I think there is, from what I see, they're really concerned about it.
DYSON: You can't P.R. this thing, you know?
DYSON: You know, the sunny, optimistic outlook, I take Kellyanne's point very seriously. It's not that we're trying to go out here and sell a doom and gloom. The thing is, one person's doom and gloom is another person's realism.
So at what point do we say let's stop with the political kvetching and ideological condensation and get down to brass tacks and knuckles. We are in a hot house and we need to do something about it before we implode.
O'BRIEN: Is there a way to invent ourselves out of the problem of global warming?
KAMEN: I think the future is going to be dramatically impacted if we figure out how to apply technology to the right issues today, without having this big debate about what could have happened, what might have happened, what should have happened.
Let's figure out how collectively we can do less damage to an environment as it gets more and more fragile, as we get more and more populated on this Earth and as everybody on this Earth decides we want more.
GOLD: But I also think we're so quick to identify the problem, but not to identify the solution. And -- or agree on a solution.
O'BRIEN: Well, it's not an easy one.
O'BRIEN: All right, here we are in 2006 and we're talking about all of these potentially high tech solutions to problems. And one of the biggest problems on our planet is the fact that people don't have clean water to drink. Truly a scandal of our century, I think.
Why don't you -- why don't you tell folks a little bit about what you're trying to do?
KAMEN: There are 1.6 billion people alive today that have never used electricity and 1.2 billion people that don't have access to clean water. So I built two little boxes. One -- each about the size of a dorm room refrigerator.
One produces 1,000 liters of water per day, which is enough for 100 people -- from any source water. And the other is a box about the same size that produces enough electricity for the same group of people, a small village, and it does it without any external infrastructure. And the only fuel that's ever been put in either of these two boxes is cow dung. It's an entirely renewable system. It is localized and doesn't require any transmission or infrastructure. And it's brought to 30 family villages some hope and some light -- not just physical light, but metaphorical light.
So that with, you know, a few million of these machines, we could wipe out the number one source of human disease.
O'BRIEN: There's no reason why we shouldn't have a few million of those machines deployed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's amazing.
O'BRIEN: Let's do it.
All right, we're going on the take a break and when we come back, immigration. We're going to talk about immigration.
DICKINSON: Oh, boy.
O'BRIEN: Stay tuned for some hot debate on one of America's most controversial issues.
DYSON: ... community...
CONWAY: But who do you think loses out...
DYSON: ... when, indeed...
CONWAY: Who do you think loses out to illegal immigration? Me or the African-Americans looking for jobs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Immigration in the future?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: You wouldn't want to make it so easy, but you would want to make it easier and so that people who are good people do get to come and have a better opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Do you foresee in the future fortress America?
O'BRIEN: Is that where we're headed?
DYSON: Yes. O'BRIEN: Razor wire...
GOLD: I think we are if we continue in a realm...
GOLD: You know...
DYSON: Yes, I think we -- neo-empire fortress America.
CONWAY: Want some B roll of what the border looks like now?
CONWAY: Yes, razor wire, 5,000 more Guards.
O'BRIEN: That's what's coming in the future?
DYSON: This is what's already. The future is here.
GOLD: Well, I don't think we'll have them because they'll all be in Iraq.
CONWAY: There are 10,000 flights a day in and out of America. It's still the greatest nation on Earth.
DYSON: ... we were just talking about...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love America.
CONWAY: Part of me is my pro-American Pollyannaish view and it's a place where people want to come.
DYSON: Just Pollyannaish.
O'BRIEN: This is a heated debate which rages. And it's not a debate that, it seems to me, comes with an easy technological solution, this so-called virtual wall we've heard about.
But one of the other ideas that's out there is coming up with a way of making it easier for employers to figure out who is legal and who is illegal.
Let's take a look at this piece.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TIM: They're here to make money. That's the American way. That's why I do what I do. I just do it legally.
When I'm out trying to make a living doing it the honest way and someone else is short cutting the rules, then it makes it very difficult for me as a business owner.
It's going to be a challenge as an employer to verify that the paperwork is true and accurate. The more illegals we have, the tougher it will become as a legitimate business owner to run-a business.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Many employers in businesses like landscaping, construction, food service struggle to stay legit in arenas flooded with illegal workers.
How can employers protect themselves and stay afloat?
TAMAR JACOBY, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: We have 12 million people in this country whose names we don't even know.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Just one reason why Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute says immigration reform is vital for employers, as well as immigrants.
JACOBY: Why are we forcing them to be in the black market when we could have them on the right side of the law, enhancing our security, enhancing our rule of law and actually enhancing workplace relationships?
O'BRIEN: Right now, employers can use a government Web site to ensure job seekers are legal. But of five-and-a-half million employers in the country, a mere 5,000 are enrolled in the program.
JACOBY: The databases aren't as accurate as they should be. So right now it's an experiment on the way to the program that we need.
O'BRIEN: If current reform bills become law, the verification system would include biometric I.D. cards to prevent fraud and would make it mandatory for all U.S. employers to screen their workers, from mega corporations to families with household help.
JACOBY: Once you make sure that you can't get a job if you're illegal, that's how you're going to control who comes and who doesn't come.
O'BRIEN: It seems like a reasonable idea, you know who's legal and who's not. I think you have a problem with it, don't you?
DYSON: Yes. I'm highly suspicious and skeptical, maybe even paranoid, I'll admit that, about those forms of technological tracking that can bleed beyond their intended purposes into all kinds of other arenas. Then you begin to track the people you don't like. Then you begin to, you know, make -- mess them up legally. And I think that's the Pandora's Box for me. O'BRIEN: Aren't there are two issues here, though? The one issue of national security, I think, is a little bit harder to quibble with. I mean we want to know who's coming across this border. But isn't that separate from the 12 million people here who have, in many cases, been working for years and years and have families and work hard?
DYSON: It amazes me the people who claim to be family values oriented are going to rip off families.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
DYSON: I mean 11 million people are here. Now, if we say they're here, their children are legal, they're not. So what are you going to do? You're going to send them back and then make orphans of these children?
CONWAY: I think that you've got to find something between that extreme and the extreme of just looking the other way. And I have to tell, as somebody who's...
O'BRIEN: But it's hard to find middle ground in this, Kellyanne, isn't it?
CONWAY: But we must. I don't think on the immigration issue you can be pregnant or not pregnant. I think you're going to have to find something in between. It's a complex problem that does not -- that merits more than a glib, quick sound bite or a fixed solution.
I will say this, though, I did a project in 1998. I repeated the project in 2002. In 1998, the women, particularly in the focus groups were like oh, but aren't we all immigrants? And those poor little kids. And, you know, my grandfather came from Italy, blah, blah, blah.
Fast forward four short years, four short years, the women, I had to put Velcro on their seats to keep them calmed down in the focus group. In those interim four years they had sat in emergency rooms waiting for three hours instead of 30 minutes to see their -- to have their kids seen because of what they perceive (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
DYSON: Justice is inconvenient (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
CONWAY: No -- were a parade of illegals...
DYSON: Justice is inconvenient.
CONWAY: ... getting benefits in front of them. They believe there's a scarcity of resources, whether it's water or space in the classroom or jobs in the blue collar arena or too much traffic and congestion and ATMS...
DYSON: But where have we heard those arguments before? Look it here. Let me -- I'm sorry.
CONWAY: They're saying it now. DYSON: No, no.
CONWAY: They're saying it. These same women are like...
DYSON: No, here. Then I'll tell you where I've heard these arguments before. Black workers supplanting white workers.
CONWAY: But who do you think loses out...
DYSON: When, indeed...
CONWAY: Who do you think loses out from illegal immigration? Me or the African-Americans looking for jobs?
DYSON: We're not -- we're speaking about Mexicans and this, to me, is coded language. Protecting our borders is, to me, often thinly veiled ethnic resistance and sometimes outright racism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
O'BRIEN: Through your prism, through your eyes, how do you interpret this whole debate?
KAMEN: This debate is way above my pay grade. I have spent my life trying to understand the laws of nature. They're really subtle, but they're not cruel and they're not inconsistent. I think the laws of man tend to be transient, inconsistent, typically illogical. Inevitably, they prove to be unfair in that they got us to an unintended consequence.
I would just say generally whatever we enact into law should be something that's driving toward giving us homogeneity and not armed camps.
DYSON: I think that there is a certain kind of luxury of moral neutrality to suggest that we have increasing homogeneity from people who have been integrated into the fabric of American society, who were themselves immigrants. I mean if we did some of the same litmus tests that we're trying to evoke now to distinguish ourselves from those Mexicans, a lot of Italians would have to get out here. Poles would have to leave. Irish would have to get on the boat, because they were illegal.
GOLD: This might be going off on a complete tangent, but to me it smells of, you know, we want less government, except when it comes to your personal life and tracking what you do. And I just think there's such a hypocrisy and less government yet I'm going to tell you how to live, you know -- you know, whether or not we're...
CONWAY: Not you, illegal immigrants.
GOLD: Well, I understand illegal immigrants.
CONWAY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we already know where you are. You have a driver's license...
GOLD: But we're doing...
CONWAY: You vote, you pay taxes.
GOLD: I do pay taxes.
DYSON: It's only when American borders are under crisis, because, again, of the 2001 9/11 that we're now so hyper concerned that I think we're doing some negative things in the balance.
O'BRIEN: We're going to take a break.
When we come back, wait until you see who my copilot was in my cool plane. He's got the right stuff.
GOLD: In your cool plane?
O'BRIEN: My cool plane.
Wait until you see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Do you think people one day will commute to work George Jetson style?
SEN. JOHN GLENN (D), OHIO: We'll see advances like that in the future. I'm convinced of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really hopeful about the future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever read George Orwell, "1984," for god's sake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The future is tantalizing with possibilities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think about the shift from manufacturing to service industries, it's no longer necessarily located to a physical place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of us are going to be working more at home, but we're going to be working until we're 85 years old.
O'BRIEN (on camera): Welcome back. We're talking transportation with somebody who knows a lot about it -- past, present and the future, for that matter. This is Senator John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. I'm privileged to have him as my copilot today.
Thanks for being aboard. JOHN GLENN, FMR. SENATOR AND ASTRONAUT: Thank you, glad to be here. I haven't been up in a plane like this before, with this particular presentation. So I'm really enjoying every minute of it, Miles.
O'BRIEN (Voice-over): John Glenn has been on the cutting edge of aviation since the Second World War. Through the Korean War and after, he continued to push into the future with a record-breaking transcontinental flight. Then he set his sights on space. In 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.
And in 1998, he was at it again, becoming the oldest person ever to go into space. Now at age 85, he's still flying straight and level into the future.
(on camera): What do you think is going to happen in the next 60, 70 years as relates to aviation and space travel?
GLENN: I think by that time, we'll have probably gone back to the moon again. I hope that we will also have resumed our emphasis on research in some of these areas in the space program. Research is what has driven us into a new modern airplane like this -- better instrument presentation, research on communications, electronics, on how do you pick up all this information. That's a benefit, not only in the space program, but it is a benefit to private aviation and making this available for more people in the future, than we ever have up to now.
O'BRIEN: Is it ever going to be really be, though, air travel for the masses, per se?
GLENN: I think there'll be a tendency in the future to do far more direct flight. If I take off here, I will have the option to fly direct, as we do with the GPS -- Global Positioning System -- now, which you have on here. You fly direct; it keeps planes spread out more. So those things are all being developed and I think that will be the wave of the future.
O'BRIEN: Will there ever be a flying car?
GLENN: I think that can come sometime. We'll see advances like that in the future. I'm convinced of that. We're going to see more aviation, not less, that's for sure.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): So, I've got to say, that was kind of fun. He talked a little bit about the elusive flying car.
DICKINSON: The flying car.
O'BRIEN: The George Jetson thing.
So there are many ideas that have come and gone. It's a very expensive thing. Let's look at one idea, by one inventor, who thinks he might be on to something.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to the moon -- there has to be other ways to get to our jobs.
I get up between 4:45 and 5:00 every day. I have to be to work at 7:15. I often find myself dashing across the parking lot to make it. It affects my life, it affects the way I feel. That feeling of, Am I going to make it on time? Time is such a valuable thing. It's up to three hours of a day that I spend in my car. That's a huge amount of my life wasted.
I'd be willing to try anything that would make my commute less painful.
O'BRIEN: It is really painful when you add up all the time we spend in our cars grinding our teeth as we grind our way through traffic. But what if we could commute through the wild blue yonder, breezing past the gridlock below?
WOODY NORRIS, INVENTOR: One day, not too far in the future, people are going to get off the ground and they are going to be able to get airborne.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Woody Norris is a man with big ideas. The inventor's latest project, the Air Scooter. Don't let its looks fool you. This flying machine is ingenious for its simplicity. It is an odd hybrid design with blades like a helicopter, a handlebar like a motorcycle, and a specially-designed lightweight four-stroke engine.
NORRIS: Turn the throttle, you go up. Release the throttle and you come down.
O'BRIEN: Due to hit the market later this year with a price tag of about $50,000, Norris says the Air Scooter could make rush hours a thing of the past.
NORRIS: With the Air Scooter, it is a direct line, the way the bird flies. There's a lot more space up there than there is down here on the ground. We think that's going to solve the congestion problem.
O'BRIEN: Ah, yes, but where would you park it.
DICKINSON: And I'm picturing the mangled, the charred.
GOLD: Talk about being optimistic. Oh, my god!
DICKINSON: That's no flying car. That's like a lawn mower.
O'BRIEN: It's a first step.
Dean Kamen, you've had experience in this; you're a pilot. We've been talking about this thing since the 1930s -- flying cars -- and it still hasn't really come close to happening, will it ever?
KAMEN: I have to say, I'm biassed. I've built hundreds of helicopters. I keep two helicopters in my house.
CONWAY: Me, too -- that's so funny.
KAMEN: In my garage. And I do commute -- I leave my house, I get into my helicopter, I fly and I land on the roof of a 150-year old mill building in Manchester. It's the only rooftop-approved helipad in the state of New Hampshire. I qualify as a zealot for aviation. I love flying. But I can assure you, we will not see flying devices like that as an alternative to congestion.
O'BRIEN: Why won't it happen, Dean?
KAMEN: Because if you look at density of cars on the road, they're literally inches apart in both directions. When you look at our airspace, the controller that you talk to gets very nervous if there's an airplane within a mile or two of you. So if you go a mile in each direction for each airplane, you'd need a place the size of New Hampshire for a few dozen aircraft.
GOLD: And also the density of the American people would be a big --
I can't even imagine.
O'BRIEN: Is mass transit going to become a solution? It works in cities designed like this one, where you've got a hub. And most of the newer cities -- Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix -- they're completely nonlinear, they're not hub-and-spoke cities. Come up with some solutions that make sense.
DYSON: What are those things you go up in skiing?
DICKINSON: Chair lifts.
DYSON: What if human beings could hook themselves individually --
CONWAY: They do here; it's called Roosevelt Island and --
GOLD: That worked out really well.
O'BRIEN: That didn't do so well.
DYSON: Individually, though. I'm talking about individual hooks, so you're in your little cart. That's why I'm not an inventor.
DICKINSON: You know, it is a pleasure -- I live in Chicago, I get this righteous lift every day from using public transportation to get to and from my job. Transportation dictated where I lived. It dictated where my daughter went to school. We made all of our decisions in moving to Chicago based on public transportation. It really worked out for us.
But I could afford it.
CONWAY: The mobility -- owning a car and using a car to commute to your job for years has been a certain class symbol, also. It means that you can do this, that you have a job and you can drop the kids off at school. People -- much like the rich people shopping at Wal- Mart and Target and K-Mart now, they get excited about getting a bargain. I think you'll start to see this -- thankfully -- this lessening of the stigma attached with public transportation. And you can see some attorneys and bankers on buses, because it just makes sense for them. As long as you put a Starbucks at the beginning of the bus stop and the end of the bus stop, they'll be fine.
O'BRIEN: Do you think that's the way of the future?
KAMEN: I think even more generalized than just the stigma you talk about, the big news is, we're going to repopulate the cities with high income-earning people that will bring back the energy and the tax base and the schools and same things that emptied it out. And then you have a situation where high densities of millions and millions of people living in places like Manhattan, where -- in Manhattan -- very few people drive.
But what if, for instance, you could get on a Segway and cruise around in a pedestrian environment at eight miles an hour? You're faster and more efficient. You're more free to go where you want to go, which is why people like their cars. And most of all you're good for the environment and you're having fun.
O'BRIEN: But, you can't even use it on the sidewalks here in Manhattan.
KAMEN: Well, 21st century technology doesn't mean we have 21st century mind sets.
DICKINSON: I agree more of us will work at home, but we'll work until we're 85 years old.
GOLD: Well, 85 is the new 40.
DICKINSON: It is true.
O'BRIEN: Mom and dad, in at home, working all the time. You think it would be good?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Imagine having, when I do something wrong, having two parents yelling at you at the same time.
O'BRIEN: One word on work and family.
DICKINSON: That's not a word?
GOLD: It is now.
DISEN: In terms of work, I think that when you're thinking about the shipping, manufacturing and service industries, the brawn, the sweat of the brow that used to accumulate wealth, to catalyze people's upward mobility in the middle class is virtually gone. Work is beginning to shift. It is no longer located in a physical place, it becomes one of infinite potential because you're able to maximize your intelligence in relationship to your work.
DICKINSON: I agree, a lot of us will work more at home. But we'll work until we're 85 years old. Because, we won't have pension plans. We won't have health care.
GOLD: Well, 85 is the new 40.
DICKINSON: It is true.
KAMEN: I think it is only work if you rather be doing something else. I never make a distinction between my avocations and my vocation. But I'm lucky.
O'BRIEN: So, this next segment I think you're going to like a lot. Remember Get Smart.
DICKINSON: Oh I love that show.
KAMEN: The cone of silence.
O'BRIEN: It turns out the cone of silence, maybe the shoe phone too, could be the solution to the weary Dilbert nation. We'll show you what the office of the future is going to look like. Michael Disen, sorry you can't stick around. I know you're immediate future calls you to a speaking engagement. We'll see you next time.
DISEN: In the future.
O'BRIEN: In the future.
Alright, it turns out the amount of space we have for our workspace is diminishing and it is leading to a lot of discontent among workers. But there apparently some solutions out there. So let's watch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The current work environment is not very efficient.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some work spaces can be sort of cramped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a cubicle, we tend to have less privacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Phone calls are heard all over the place. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Future office might have more technology.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relaxation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lighting actually plays a huge key into office space.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to be more relaxed. It really matters.
O'BRIEN: A noisy news room, glaring studio lights, a guy in a tie yammering over your shoulder. If you had the chance, you could probably come up with pet peeves about your workspace as well. So, if life in your cube seems as grim as a Dilbert cartoon, we have some ideas for you to consider.
(voice-over): When it comes to office space, steel cage designer James Ludwig is thinking out of the cube. He's trying some new shapes and sizes in office design.
JAMES LUDWIG, STEEL CAGE DESIGNER: It's about bringing architecture, furniture and technology together in new ways to make their people more effective.
O'BRIEN: For noise control how about a real life cone of silence, a la Get Smart. Step into the cell, cell.
LUDWIG: The industrial felt is a sound absorption material. And the ambient lighting is created by LED which also brightens when the space is occupied.
O'BRIEN: Need to collaborate with a coworker, have a seat in the digital yurt. It's hard outer shell reflects outside noise, the felt line walls inside keep conversations private.
LUDWIG: When two people come together. The things that are made more quickly. They tend to be smarter and have deeper impact. Innovation flows more quickly through a network.
O'BRIEN: How important is this?
O'BRIEN: That we pay attention to this.
DICKINSON: I write an advice column, I would say that maybe a third of the letters I get are about office relationships. And not office romances, unfortunately, it is about discord, discontent. Feuding cubicle neighbors in their cubicle farms that aren't getting along. It is all about noise, disruptions, lighting. I got a letter about the music that was playing over the sound system and the person was being driven insane, by yes, Madonna, borderline.
GOLD: That is music now. DICKINSON: That's music now.
GOLD: I'm so old.
O'BRIEN: So, Proud Mary has some company.
CONWAY: Lack of privacy in the workplace is tantamount to lack of efficiency and on top of that, I think it costs us billions of dollars a year in lost productivity, people getting sick, germs from each other. People taking a sick day just because they can't deal with the inefficiencies and the noise, and feel like they can just disconnect. Well, I know not all people are for border control, but I think in the cubicles you might reconsider.
O'BRIEN: Alright, let's talk about the trend of people working at home. How does that change family dynamics in the future.
DICKINSON: I think, it is a problem, it takes a certain amount of discipline. Something I've really had to impose on my own life, in order to have a family life that is not about work at all.
GOLD: I work at home. We have a rule between 5:30 and 7:30 I can't look at the computer. I can not pick up the phone. I can not look at the blackberry. And I'm so tempted. It is right there in my face.
CONWAY: Employers are worried about the opposite thing, if you're working at home, you're baking cookies, you're getting other things done. People will do more things from home, mainstreaming what people on the fringe will be doing, schooling their kids from home, banking from home, shopping from home.
DICKINSON: I see us even with the technology we have currently at home, kids, each kid plugged into an IPOD. I mean, when was the last time you went on a car trip with your kids.
CONWAY: I say that to them all the time. I have to actually play eye spy.
DICKINSON: That's the thing. I really loathe this idea of each of us disappearing into our own little cone of silence at home.
O'BRIEN: Coming up. One group has a bigger stake in the future than any of us. Kids. So what do they think about the future?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Takes more than ten years to make dramatic changes.
O'BRIEN: Kids. The future is theirs. Fortunately, they're already thinking about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Elizabeth and I'm 11. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Connie and I'm almost 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm A.J and I'm 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Luis and I'm 12.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Willie and I'm 12.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Collage and I'm 12.
O'BRIEN: When you look at the future you see a lot of challenges, don't you. It's not like it's going to be all great and perfect. What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we're going to back ourselves into a corner because we're taking all these amazing things we have for granted. One day something's going to happen, like you know, we will run out of oil or something like that.
O'BRIEN: You don't think we will come up with some way, we always come with new ideas, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I know, we'll back ourselves into a corner, but then we might find a solution, but there's still going to be like, I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a bunch of problems that we have now. Some of the solutions we come up with, that causes more problems, but it fixes this one. So what I think will happen, I think we'll always have problems, but we'll also always have solutions also. It's back and forth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're overdue for a drastic change in weather or something. We're extremely lucky to be here right now. Any time any minute, the world can end outside for something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe things will go maybe become obsolete. Maybe after a while our cars will become obsolete. But now you think, are fax machines obsolete? And most people think yes. Do people still use them? Well, some people still use fax machines.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The typewriter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like to be retro, like everyone has their hovering cars, but then they'll be like I'll have my fossil fueled van. You're crazy.
O'BRIEN: Immigration, in the future. If you're the president and you have to solve this problem, what would you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually wouldn't change anything. The economy is based on immigration. The immigrants are allowed to do the work that no one else does.
O'BRIEN: Shouldn't we know who is coming into this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People should be able to come in and out.
O'BRIEN: What about terrorism? Wouldn't you be worried about that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would make it much easier for people to get their green card and come in. So they wouldn't have to wait six years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to make it so easy but you want to make it easier so the people who are good people do get to come and have a better opportunity.
O'BRIEN: Do you agree? What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would do what Willie says but also make a compromise with the Mexican government but allow like 6,000 people to come over and work and then go back.
O'BRIEN: What about the notion of flying cars? Do you like that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the highway, it's just two dimension. But, if you added in the air, too it would be a third dimension. It would be harder to control. I think there may be more accidents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think I would like flying cars because it's really dangerous. Besides crashing, you also fall and die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like flying because I like to fly. I think California would be a really good alternative but then we have highways and we would be stuck in traffic highways. We would be moleculed traffic.
O'BRIEN: Alright, Elizabeth, ten years from now, predictions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would be same but everything will be more environmentally healthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think everybody will be solved by technology. I don't think that's good. I think it will be true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think and hope there will be less pollution in the future and the environment will be more healthy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe there will be a video game that is virtual. That's pretty cool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the computers will be a much bigger part of our lives. There will be so many more advances. Make them faster and smaller that after a while we will have a palm pilot that's a super computer that you can do anything on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it takes more than ten years to do dramatic changes to help the world or make everything more efficient for us. I think we should try and like figure out housing and population, how to make all that better.
O'BRIEN: All right. We will see in ten years.
DICKINSON: God willing.
KAMEN: Are we done?
O'BRIEN: I think you have to go? You're passed due. You have the chairman of Coke waiting on you.
KAMEN: You're past due, we're all turning into pumpkins now. These cookies need to be eaten anyways.
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