Video Excerpts From the Podcast
Meet Frank Sonder
The Post-Corona Situation
The Future of Work
A Major Crisis
Impact & Legacy
Transcript of the Interview
This text has been auto-transcripted. Please excuse mistakes.
Welcome to Challenging #ParadigmX.
My name is Xerxes Voshmgir and my podcasts tend to be people who challenge the status quo.
is what we used to have before the Corona pandemic worth going back to, or is the current situation and the aftermath of the Corona pandemic.
What we have been waiting for for us as a humanity to unite.
And what can we do to change the future?
Using the current opportunities through the pandemic?
My guest today is Frank Sonder. Frank gives keynotes about significant future topics ranging from the future of work to post Corona transformation from impact of artificial intelligence, to the power of distributed ledger technologies and from future fashion and music to the long fate of design.
Also he also others on stage at conferences and other formats.
He’s the creator of new ideas and concepts and right from rant to journalism, to ghostwriting.
A running coach, motivating people to go beyond the limits and member of the board of a Swiss think tank called wire visiting lecturer of the European school of design and as an experienced entrepreneur speaker, as well as innovation and business consultant, He was the founder, CEO and creative mind of foresee a company, developing interactive solutions at the intersection of humans, design and technology.
So if you are interested about our current state of the world, from someone who likes connect the dots, stay tuned.
New Track: Hi, I’m . Xerxes And today I am here with Frank.
Frank I’m happy that you’re here Please introduce yourself.
Who are you?
What do you do?
Frank Sonder: Thanks for having me Xerxes.
my name is Frank Sonder.
on my website, I have a TLDR, so too long, didn’t read a description of what I’m doing because it’s, challenging for me all the time as well.
So it says something like I’m a speaker, I’m speaking about, future relevant topics.
I’m hosting other people on stage.
I know who should be up there and how to get the best out of these great minds.
I’m creating concepts, know how to connect dots and how to impress people by, by a certain concept.
And then I’m writing.
I’ll take notes, rents, ghost writing, wherever I can put what I’m usually talking about into text, or like here in a podcast.
So that may be, is maybe the easiest, shortest description of what I’m doing right now.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay.
And why do you do what you do?
Frank Sonder: A good question, because it assumes that I know what I’m doing.
So thank you for that.
Yeah, of course why I’m doing what I do.
I think for me, it’s, it’s always, the quest for the new let’s say, so I was always interested in, into the future.
And even when I did different things in between, it was always about
understanding about the future, which of course also means that I forgot and forget a lot of things about the past so easily.
So if you have a focus possible forward, you, you forget things.
But what I’m interested in the past is to connecting the lines between history and future, because there’s almost nothing that
almost nothing I would say right now, nothing which doesn’t have a reference in history.
So I like to connect these things and maybe I would say on two levels that are interestingly, the one level is the very most urgent ones.
So the topics that are pressing right now, it was in the past something like blockchain or artificial intelligence.
The attention curve went a bit down since the last three or four years right now, of course, during the Corona crisis, it’s all related to virtual experience.
So I’m into that topic for quite a long time and was always again, interested to try things out, to test virtual reality and all that stuff.
even 10, 15 years ago.
Fortunately, I had a company where we were allowed to buy all that stuff and test it and try it out.
So, and right now into that virtual experience, of course, I’m happy that people get used to it.
So because before it, it was really difficult to get people engaged in digital things.
So substantially, I would say, but on the other level, this is more or less precise.
So I’m consulting clients right now.
how to deal with which will events, conferences and stuff like that.
But on the other level, what’s interesting me and driving me even more is yet to think about the impact to our society.
So, because everything we see right now and in the last decade, more or less will of course change society much, much more than.
It did so far.
So, so far we’re digitalizing everything, which is just a matter of media, but it will change fundamentally the way we do things, hopefully I would say so.
And this impact to society is interesting me.
And I’m talking about that most of the time on stage.
But I would add another method I’m using to find out whether it’s ride, what I’m doing.
So I have three kids and you know, when I imagine they in some they’ll between eight and 24, when they asking me in 10 years or even now, so what did you do when the wall came down?
What did you do?
During the financial crisis.
What did you think to which people you talk and what did you do during the Corona crisis?
Does it, did it change anything in the things you do?
I don’t want to say actually, you know, I was working at Volkswagen as a brand manager and we try to.
Sell old combustion engines to people and were waiting for support of the government, you know, or I don’t want to answer something like, I was a marketing manager for a product which cost me to develop and market, half a year or year.
And then it disappeared from the market after two months of the launch.
So I would like to give a different answer and.
Without overestimating my impact.
I at least think about that.
Write about that, go onstage, try to help people to understand, because I deal with how to understand and translate the impact of technology to society.
And at least I helped a little bit, you know, so, and do meaningful things.
So this is my method.
Of deciding whether what I’m doing is, is good for me and for my inner circle and for my wellbeing or not.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay.
So was there maybe some type of turning point in your life that led to what you do today?
Frank Sonder: Yeah.
It’s this question sounds a bit nostalgic, you know, so if you are looking back, I would say there was at least one huge turning point, which was, The fall of the wall and 30 years ago, because I was born in East Germany.
And you can imagine that my life would have been completely different if this country would still exist and we wouldn’t have the reunification and so on.
So it opened up, tons of opportunities for me, which I always tried to take.
So, and I was.
Like to remember that special event 30 years ago?
not only because it played a certain important role in my life, so, but then the other turning points more or less came.
Yeah, little by little one by one.
So not that one huge turning point where when you write your, the book of your life later on, say, okay, that was the turning point, but, but little turning points.
I founded the company in 2005, since 1999, I was working on this topic of interactive furniture, interactive solutions long before we know about the iPhone and touch screens and all that stuff.
So, and when we closed that company two years ago, we really simply closed it.
I can tell you later on why.
Which was good, but then it was not like a huge cut, you know, from being an entrepreneur, to being a speaker and so on because all the time I was continuously, speaking and was engaged with these topics.
So for me, not so many things changed or turned in a complete different direction.
I see my self.
So let’s say the last 20, 25 years, more or less as a one good continuation and yeah, getting these things I’m interested in and I’m doing more and more precise.
So it’s, it’s getting more and more clear what I’m good at what I’m not so good at or things I’m good at, but I don’t like to do, you know, so I’m good in extra sheets, but.
If I don’t have to, I don’t like to do that.
You know, so, and there have been many, many remarkable points may be in my career where I like to look back.
So for instance, in 2012, a friend of mine and myself, he was running a conference for five years already.
And we’ve fought about, okay, well, who would we like to have on stage?
So, and we couldn’t think of anybody we would like to have on stage as a keynote speaker or to open the conference.
So, and then in on holiday, I came up with the idea why not Julian Assange?
And we said, yeah, that sounds like a crazy idea.
And this is wide enough away.
And to, to get him.
And in the end, we managed to get him as a keynote speaker.
He was at the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time already.
So we got him and this teach me the fact so you can achieve whatever you want.
You can get in contact to people w whatever, wherever they are, how far they might be from, from you and how impossible it seems.
To reach something, you can get it.
So it’s a simple, learning more or less, but these are the points I like the most.
And fortunately there have been many of these kinds of remarkable, steps I did in between, which led me here, you know?
So, so talk to you today.
Xerxes Voshmgir: so in the way that I understand you and your work is you’ve done a lot of, different types of projects where there’s really about challenging the status quo in different ways.
always in a way connected to.
Future goal is connected to technology or usually connected to the technology.
And in a way you have you, you’re in a position of watching what’s happening in the world.
So really I’m interested in how you evaluate the situation right now that we are in with, let’s say.
A new economic situation in induced or kicked off, because of the Corona pandemic and, which might have a big implications for the future.
What is going on right now and will happen the next couple of months, because basically the economy will stand in.
Or let’s say two months of a you calculated.
So how has your evaluation of the current situation.
Frank Sonder: Yeah, let, let me maybe first, add to what you, how you.
Introduced the question.
So, I think I have a general view on topics, so I’m, I’m not so much into the simple single topics, like blockchain, AI, and all that stuff.
But my role, I see my role there in, yeah.
Really connecting the dots and bringing people together.
And as I always came up with also in research projects, I did some 15 years ago, funded by the European commission.
And so on.
I got the role of a, of a, translator, you know, so translating from one language, if you want to the other language.
So if you have somebody who’s really in AI, They, they are talking in a way that nobody understands, let’s say.
And on the other hand, my first contact with blockchain for instance, was, for the music industry.
So we were talking about music and blockchain, at the most wanted music conference in 2017.
So I had.
Can understand what musicians do and what their pain points are.
And I can a bit understand what, what’s all the fuss about the blockchain.
So I try to bring that together and teaching both sides, you know, how to talk to each other.
And where the potential is.
So that is my position more or less as a translator.
And in these mentioned research project that I had the fact that a lot of people came to me and say, okay, we listened to the doctors and professors.
but can you explain us again?
You know, so, because it’s too complicated.
So in, I tried to make it as simple as possible.
So that may be, as an introduction to answering your question about the current situation.
So on the one hand, when we were thinking about also at the different conferences and, my, my speeches thinking about the future, it was always somehow dystopian because, most of the people said, okay, people are not able to change that much back then, back then before Corona, we said, okay, we need some, some alien attack, more or less.
To unite people behind the great mission.
So, but there is no alien coming, you know, so there’s no alien challenging us, but this time, the alien more or less is within us, which is a crime of creepy, but this is the alien attack.
So we need to unite us, without borders, without any kind of distinguished.
And just as people as humanity to change something.
So, and of course, right now we have the situation that it’s twofold, you know, so you could be very pessimistic and people also tend to be that pessimistic about yeah.
The economic impact and the current situation in the U S for instance, and so on and so on.
And this comes also from the point that.
We don’t come from a really good position even before Corona.
So a lot of people right now say, okay, we want to get back to normal.
So some say new normal, but let’s say a lot of people in every industry want to go back and then I ask, okay, why back?
That wasn’t not good.
You know, so we already had a tremendous problems with our democracies, so I don’t have to mention any names.
You know what I’m talking about.
We had problems with our economy.
We have problems with, the climate.
We have the climate crisis.
So we are coming out of a really.
That situation more or less?
there was a, a guy here in Berlin who wrote an article, and he, he was writing about shopping malls.
but you can replace it with any other topic, more or less, any style shopping malls and shopping high streets and so on.
Are Corona patients with theory is preexisting conditions.
So you can apply that to too many things.
So right now, only the, any way obvious, failer comes obvious, you know, so you see right now much, much better, what’s going wrong, you know?
So if you, for instance, look at at a high street in every city, And they say, okay, all the chops move close.
Then I say, yeah, of course.
And hopefully, because not all the shops, of course.
So I’m happy with everybody making their business.
But if you see that our cities right now are only built for shopping, people come to Berlin just for shopping, you know?
So they, they go back with a lot of shopping bags and other suitcases they buy even here.
And they come here for shopping, not for the culture, not for the people, not for understanding and experiencing, but for chopping.
And if you look at the big cities or at every city, it’s meant for shopping and that’s wrong, you know, so we, we, and of course, if we see our high streets in the future with empty shops, then we have a structural problem.
And we can solve it right now.
That would be interesting.
Now only to mention one example, to focus on that and say, okay, what is important to integrate into a city?
So for a places, so places for communities where people can meet, that would be important.
So, and I don’t mind one, one shopping, One shop disappears or the other.
So, but I would think like, to think about how to replace that with meaningful things, you know, so, and there are many things which are those, the so called for places where people may meet and to have a social life, so that that’s just one aspect and you can apply, apply that to many other aspects and.
So to answer your question.
So right now we are in a situation to become conscious about that.
So at least 10 weeks after this all started, or is it even 12?
I don’t know.
people are still busy with, Doing, you know, I just say doing so they just want to work.
I see people who are busy even more than before.
And what I ask is to do, honestly, you’re really busy, so you could calm down, just step back, you know, because you’re trying to be busy because you can’t deal with the fact that you might be not busy.
So you have nothing to do.
It doesn’t make sense to make another meeting, talk for another two hours about a certain topic.
So step back.
And one of my speeches I had before Corona, was more or less called shut up, shut up and listen, you know, so, or do nothing, you know, just step back from these madness.
We have been in before and talking about the changes later on.
I really hope not things are changing because as I said already, our society, our political, political system, our economy isn’t in the best shape.
So we anyway, can’t continue that way.
So, and then we, of course, shouldn’t try to go back to the normal things as much as possible, but rethink how meaningful that was.
If you, if you want to talk about a broad, vision, then we can refer to postcapitalism.
So, Niko Paech, the, one of the authors, about this topic, he said, we have to make huge reductions in everything we are doing.
So he says, okay, we are in Germany.
I think consume.
And he says, okay, to fight the climate change, we have to reduce it to 2.5 tons, not by, but to 2.5 tons.
So this is a huge reduction.
So right now we come maybe a bit closer to that, but this means we have to change our complete lifestyle.
So, and people are not able, not willing to change.
They are lazy.
So, but right now they have to, and I said, there is the pessimistic side of that story, but, I’m rather on the optimistic side of the page, you know?
So, because I think there is no.
Other chance than to look forward in an optimistic way, because if I’m stay on the pessimistic side, I don’t have to do anything.
So if I’m pessimistic, I can choose to do whatever, because then I can’t change it anyway.
And then everything has gone anyway already.
So there is no alternative turn then to be positive.
And to embrace change and to take it and think about that.
And this is one topic we get right now.
And this in combination with, climate change is a huge driver.
And if we get rid of all these laziness and, of all these.
being afraid of change if we can teach people.
Okay, come on, go on.
You know, so we, we didn’t go to a restaurant for some time, so it’s okay.
So the restaurants open again.
So I’m, I’m serious, about the.
Business conditions they are in.
but we must also consider the fact that it’s, it’s not killing anyone here, at least not in central Europe or in most of the Western world, you know, we are in a good situation.
So we have to deal with that and we are able to do that.
So we can some kind of relaxed and.
So there are so many creative examples out there.
So for the event industry, for instance, what I really like where I say, okay, there are people who are not crying, you know, but, they already cried, but now they are stepping forward and come up with really bright ideas.
Xerxes Voshmgir: I’m really interested in, you talked a bit about this, between lions, at least, the way I understood it, that, this crisis that we’re experiencing.
I mean, do you see it as a crisis?
We didn’t mention the word crisis, I think.
Frank Sonder: I think w we have, a climate crisis anyway.
So we for now forgot about it.
That crisis we already have.
And of course in many ways, Corona is a crisis as well, of course, on many different levels, like on a, on a personal level.
Feel a crisis situation, but also, economically, financially, politically.
So, and there’s one, one big difference of that crisis, for instance, to the last crisis we have with, eh, which is of the financial crisis in 2008, you know?
So in 2008, the financial crisis was hard to understand actually, So we all know a bit about that, but financial things are hard to understand by the way by purpose, you know, so they make it hard to understand so nobody can follow.
but now this crisis.
Is easy to understand.
So it’s, it’s an, it’s an obviously clear thing.
I don’t talk about the details, but it’s easy to understand.
There’s a virus that gets transmitted and we have to fight it.
We have to flatten the curve and all these things.
So it’s easy to understand.
And the financial crisis was so far away and therefore.
all the financial institutions manage to get out of this, you know, so blaming the government or other institutions for that.
But right now we have a crisis which, is affecting everybody.
And it’s not so hard to understand.
So yes, there is a crisis, but you know, that saying that the crisis is also the translation for change.
So, and we obviously need that because as I already said, people are humanity is lazy.
They try to stick to what they have.
they, they don’t want to share, you know, even we are living in a sharing economy, so who actually wants to share, give me his car to drive and so on.
And so, but we have to see that the whole situation it’s even for climate and also for the Corona crisis is.
To the global South, you know, so they are in worse situation.
So, and we can’t continue that way because the world is global as we can see right now as well.
So, well, globally connected.
Actually nobody can blame any other, so B we all eat meat.
We all have these kinds of issues, so everybody can change something.
So, and we have to get rid of, what, what somebody called in another book, Imperial lifestyle.
So we have an Imperial lifestyle, so, and.
In the past, it was like, it was not transparent.
So we didn’t know about the working conditions in Chinese factories.
We didn’t know about the, the kids who, who try to get, get some money from the electronic waste we sent to them, you know, so we were happy about our new smartphone.
So, but right now, everybody who’s, who’s awake more or less, has to see that.
That these conditions apply to people, you know, so where our products come from and where our, our waste is going, you know, so, and where, yeah, kids in Africa make their toxic life out of the waste.
We are sending to them.
So, and we can’t hide there.
So, and this is the moment where we can step up, step up as humanity, as humans and say, okay, that shouldn’t work anymore.
And we have to get it back somehow.
So, and don’t rely on the politicians, so much.
And even for that, there are solutions that would make it possible for humans to get rid of these, tremendously powerful institutions in between.
Which is the, the middleman, you know, as you know, this discussion about the blockchain.
So we, we have the ability right now to get rid of these middleman who use their power to yeah.
So, and it’s not just their fault, you know, so they do what they are supposed to do, like a bank, like a government and so on.
So, but we are not making use out of this technology in the best way possible.
So there’s always a hype.
People buying Bitcoin.
And then it’s just, the same thing in a different shape, you know?
So, but we have to see that we are very powerful.
We, as humans can be very powerful, but then we have to move our ass, you know, so, and of course I don’t take me out of this discussion.
I in it as well, so we all, as I already sat lazy, I wouldn’t say we are.
So there’s the discussion.
So for centuries, we are discussing about the human image, you know, so is a human good or bad, you know, I believe humans are good.
Humans are good and not bad.
So they only become bad when there is something in between the two of them, you know?
So if there are two persons, one-to-one peer to peer.
Then there was a good chance that they behave in a good way as soon as somebody becomes part of a larger group.
and as if other interests come in or a third party, Yeah is doing their job, then people become bad.
But inside of us, I believe, at least.
So it’s a long discussion since the 15th century, humans.
Aren’t good, you know, but we forgot about that because we went shopping, you know, so we are busy with buying new stuff we don’t need.
So that’s one of the crucial points we have to get back into our hats, but.
All the institutions right now, let’s say are not the one who tell us, okay, you have the power, you know, so if I’m an institution, it’s not like that.
I say, okay, you don’t need me do it on your own.
So, and of course it’s, it’s a systematic error, more or less we have in our institutional system.
It’s a system error.
We have to change.
And we can change that, you know, so, but we have to come get out of this lazy, shopping behavior, you know, so if we succeeded with that, then there’s a bright future.
And then we can deal with that crisis and with the climate crisis and every crisis to come.
Xerxes Voshmgir: well, basically when I refer to crisis, I, of course, the coroner pandemic is a crisis and that, has major implications and impact on us.
I think humanity will manage to conquer the Corona virus.
I’m sure about that.
but when I refer to crisis and you also talked about that a bit.
I really mean, I go back maybe a little bit, basically what I’m saying already for quite some time, like other people, of course, but, the two major challenges that we’re facing in this decades from my perspective is, the climate crisis that you’ve also talked about and also the challenge of.
Artificial intelligence and what it means for us as humans, what it means for us, that we are humans to be human, what it means to be humane in a increased technological society.
And, if artificial intelligence will reach human level, it will be interesting to see what happens because.
Basically also my last conversation with the Chi, for example, he confirmed that it is that we are teaching artificial intelligence with our behavior, with our communication, for example, via social media.
So in a way you could say artificial intelligence will be the mirror of us as humans and humanity.
And a lot of people are not aware of that.
So to round it up, what I’m saying, talking about the classes, I think we have these two major challenges about on the one hand is how do we teach artificial intelligence?
And, I always see artificial intelligence is challenged to a mind.
And on the other hand, how we treat the environment and see this, the challenge to our body.
Because it’s where we live.
And I believe that the Chrome pandemic now does initiate a deep economic crisis, except if, you know, all laws of, economics that we know, will be refuted, could also be, but from what’s happening, we are going to face a very deep, deep crisis.
And I believe that this is the biggest it’s actually in beside of the fact that a lot of people will suffer because of poverty and everything.
But apart from that, which is a big thing, of course, but for humanity, from the perspective of, like when you look back to this events right now from 50 years ago to now, That looking at it.
This might be the biggest chance for us an opportunity to do the things right.
But at least shift, the steering wheel into the direction that makes us more aware and about the important things and, And in this sense, it’s the biggest blessing from my perspective what’s happening right now.
So apart from this aspect of, consumption, shopping and so on and so forth, what’s what’s what are your thoughts on what I’ve just talked about?
Frank Sonder: Yeah, I already made some notes in my head.
what I want to mention.
So first of all, looking back from the time 50 years in the future would probably see.
The ending of what we know as capitalism, which by the way, is just a couple of hundred years old.
So it’s, of course we don’t know anything else than this kind of system, but, the economic system and even the political system is quite new.
So a couple of.
A hundred, 200 years is not quite a long time.
So if you look 50 years into the future, it’s already a quarter of the time period.
We are considering now as irreplaceable.
So we can’t think about anything else.
And, but we have to think about many different things.
So when, when I start dealing with, the topic of AI, it was.
Also some five years ago, my Ted X talk, it was, I said, you know, and it’s still true and it’s still even more true.
We are in a, let’s say not so good situation, as I already mentioned.
So economically we are seeing the boundaries of, development.
So the climate change is.
The LA loudest, a wake up call to say, okay, there was something going wrong, you know, so we have a physical limited planet.
So we can’t exhaust, exaggerate everything even much, much more.
So this is, this is a very obvious, more or less so.
And if you think about possible solutions, Then there are in so many, you know, so we, we have problems in all these different areas.
So, and looking around there are not so many solutions and one of these solutions is technology.
So one of the solutions we have to fight climate change, poverty, inequality, and all these things, is, for instance, artificial intelligence.
So it can help us with that.
So if a lot of people say, okay, that’s going too far, artificial intelligence will wipe us out and so on.
And so on.
I would say, no, because what should be the intention?
So why a machine should do that, in the first place, but, it’s a great and tremendous good opportunity.
And probably almost the only opportunity we have.
To meet the challenges of our time.
So not only artificial intelligence, but also blockchain and IOT and all these technology trends out there, which are a lot, you know, so, they are amplifying each other.
They are amplifying themselves.
They have exponential growth, so that’s a tremendous development going on and any way we can stop it.
And even, even if that is a theoretical question, we shouldn’t stop it because it might help us.
It might save us, but this technology is in the hands of people.
We can’t control.
They control us.
We can’t control how artificial intelligence and all these other technologies are dealt with.
So of course, if there is a company which is reliable and is doing things in the right way and has a great mission and vision fine, but this might change.
So I, in that case, I like to refer back to an article your sister wrote, I would say five years ago, it was called the constitution of the buck.
And I was reading that at this time.
It was it’s on medium.
Whoever wants to read it.
And she wrote a very obvious thing I never thought about before she said, okay, the basis of our constitution, the founding moment of our constitution as it is today, you own the free forces.
You know, ex accretive, legislative, and Eureka TV.
So I don’t know if that’s not English, but you know what I’m talking about.
So police government and, courts and just, I called it
Xerxes Voshmgir: Justice
Frank Sonder: justice.
So, and she wrote, which is completely right, that there is one big powerful party missing at the table, which is extremely powerful today.
And which is probably the most powerful party, in our society today, which is private corporations.
So private property didn’t exist at that time in the 15th century, I think.
So it didn’t exist.
So, but now they are really existing.
We know how powerful, Facebook, Google and all these companies are.
So how powerful they are.
And the technology we are talking about.
Isn’t the hand of these people.
So if they are good, that’s fine.
But if they change their mind, we can’t control it.
And for instance, we have a lot of discussion about, for instance, the use of an app tracker for the Corona virus right now.
I don’t know how it’s in Austria, but in Germany, So it was supposed to be launched in April.
Now, maybe in the next couple of days, the, the government will show an app, which is supposed to track people and then that way to reduce the spread of the virus.
So there are a lot of concerns about yeah, big data privacy and all these topics.
So now we are, have to face it situation that we didn’t deal with these topics.
Beforehand, you know, so the impact and ethics of artificial intelligence, the way data are collected and so on.
And so on, we could right now use a lot of technologies and technological advances to help us fight the virus.
But we are stepping back because we are afraid of using it because of data security, privacy, and all these issues.
Now we, now we are patient paying the price.
For not dealing with that topic before.
So nobody knows about the ethics of AI, you know, so we know yeah.
There is a problem, like game theory, you know, so who should be killed when a car is, is driving on the street autonomously.
And we didn’t deal with that question.
If I say we, I mean, we, as a society, Of course companies like Tesla are trying to deal with that question.
So, but it’s the company.
So we didn’t elect these, these guys working there.
These, even if these are nice guys, you never know what’s happens in the future.
So we have to deal with these institutions and have to get the controls somehow back to deal with that.
in Germany, for instance, we have the so much discussed GDPR, so about data security and privacy and so on.
So of course government is able to, to do things like that.
And right now, for instance, it’s also good to see that government is not everywhere in the world, but for instance, in Germany, I got a quite different image of politicians in the meantime.
In the way they were reacting to that crisis, to that situation.
So I’m really happy how they behave and how they, at least to some extent, get the position back and not are in this kind of, Every arguments all the time.
So, but they are reacting in a really competent, knowledgeable way, which I like a lot.
So, and so the parties more or less disappear, nobody cares where they are from, you know, so at least one part of the society, I would say that you see politicians that try to react in a calm way, be positive.
And so that is also in terms of the power.
And who is having the power to change future circumstances.
It’s a really an important thing.
So we have to deal with that question.
And now we pay the price with that.
We didn’t deal with that question before to say it again, because we were busy shopping, you know, so shopping and watching casting shows on TV.
So keeping people busy, you know, with these kinds of silly things, even we don’t need anything anymore.
we forgot to think about really fundamental questions, which, guide us into a better future with the help of technology, but controlled by, by us, by us as a society and the way we, we see it.
Xerxes Voshmgir: The way I understand it is one of the focus of your work is the future of work.
Would you like to elaborate on that?
Frank Sonder: Yeah, that would be properly fill another session, but maybe just shortly that the future of work of course is very important.
So because the meaning of life today is work.
I would say, so there was a, in the past, there was an, the meaning of life was to survive to just be, you know, but now if you talk to people at a party, for instance, so the first question you get asked is, okay, what are you doing?
You know, so that’s the meaning of life, which is that way.
So we can’t change that, but.
Of course when now algorithms AI and all these technology advances are changing the work we are doing, or take it over.
On the one hand, I would say fine, you know, so, less work, could be a good thing, but of course, for most of the people isn’t because they are afraid of machines taking over our jobs, you know, because they lost track of what they really, really want.
Like Frithjof Bergmann said once.
So, and he also got the notion of, okay, we should work in the future, maybe one third of our time.
The second third, we should refer to what, or produce our own food sustainable and so on.
And the F for, for more or less should be what we really, really want.
So, and most of the questions, I ask in that way, nobody has an answer.
So it’s really hard to answer the question.
What do we want if nobody forces you to start in the office at nine o’clock in the morning and finish at five and in between not now, but in between commute to your job and back.
So it’s a really serious, important question we have to deal with.
And coming back, maybe to a situation where the meaning of life is something else again and not work.
So, and with that question, we have to deal as well.
And we have to, because the, these kind of disappearing jobs will happen.
It’s already happened.
We replace it with so-called bullshit jobs.
You know, a lot of jobs, nobody needs a, nobody wants and nobody wants to do, but of course, we’d be trying to hide that a bit, you know, so, and this is one really urgent topic as well, to deal with that question.
even when also a lot of jobs were just appear.
So, and then of course, we come to the unconditional, basic income, like a situation we even got in this crisis somehow because the German government paid a lot of money, unconditionally to people.
So, and also in other countries.
So that’s part of that game and everybody’s afraid of that, but we shouldn’t be, and we should just try and test it and, see how this happens.
So that’s a huge, important topic.
and we, we have to address that because it’s, the meaning of our life today, but not in the future.
Xerxes Voshmgir: So, I mean in between lines can heal or what paradigms you’re challenging, but, Please tell me explicitly, which paradigms do you think need to be challenged?
So we get to a better future for humanity.
Frank Sonder: What we have to change for sure is our very own position in that game.
So when I doing, a speech and yeah, challenged a lot of things and ways the people forward before, at the end, they always asking the question, okay, what shall I do?
So, what, what are you asking me to do?
What should I challenge?
And I say, do whatever you want, but do something.
You know, so if you can’t, sell your car because you need it, then fine do something else.
So the people should get the confidence back, that things they are doing matter, you know?
buying less crap, buy healthy foods, drive, not too much by car don’t fly every, every single, in, into every single holiday you’re out doing in the future when it’s possible again.
So, but do something and, you know, the reaction to that is ad is always, silent, you know, because.
When you don’t have an excuse anymore to say, yeah, I could do things, actually.
I, I could think about three things I can change from tomorrow on, you know, so, and it’s easily done and the Corona Christ has showed us how easily it can be done, you know?
So we, we reduced so much, so we got rid of so many things we never forward about before.
So, and This crisis should show us that this is possible and that we are the ones who, who are able to change the situation.
That, that is my main message, because of course you can, on the other hand, use your role as a voter, every four years or in between to change things.
But of course, this is a hard, hard way to do because we have.
Over the last centuries we developed so much institutional power that it’s, it’s hard to break it right now.
So it’s hard to break it at all.
So, but what we can do is raise our boys or even even better not raise the boys, don’t say anything, just do it.
Don’t write so much about, okay, you changed, you are now vegetarian, just be it without saying, you know, so just, just do these things.
So, not publicly, you know, so because then it’s just another marketing, story, even if it’s your own marketing story, but.
Just change it.
So trying to be a better person, trying to be more responsible, like the people right now are doing as well, you know, helping neighbors, getting a war of people of the circumstances around you.
And if everybody is just focusing a bit more about the people around him and about your own.
Way of living then that’s then we have a possible better future.
So, and what I like about that, because there are many other things who can challenge or change, but this you can do immediately.
So you don’t, you don’t have to have a lot of things.
I’m a running coach as well.
And I say, Of course guys running is the easiest thing to do.
You don’t have so many excuses, you just need some shoes and then you run.
So you don’t have these kinds of excuses.
I need a better bike or a, I need better, whatever.
So just run, you know, and just do it.
And we forgot about these very simple, easiest things.
And maybe then maybe another notion.
that I have in mind for, for quite some years.
So you probably know about Naomi Klein’s book shop talk, train.
So in a nutshell, the story is that I say it in a very simple way.
Sorry for that.
But the bad people always have a plan, a B, C the good people never have.
Any plan, you know, so if something happened like the shock, you know, so like an earthquake or like Corona crisis or like the financial crisis or like a wall whatsoever.
So the, the bad people let’s put it, let’s keep it that way.
not to be too, too much in the, in the details.
The people, these people have, have a plan, so.
in politics and economics.
So, and they go go to that draw with the plan, ABC, take one out.
And why all the, all the other peoples are still shocked.
Emotionally, as persons, as humans, they roll out as fast as possible, what they have in mind.
So Shakta Crean is exactly about that.
So, and since then, I, I think the book is quite, quite old.
I would say.
So since then I say, okay, we should have a plan too.
So we, the, the, the, the nice and open and borderless part of the world, should have a plan, but we don’t have a plan.
So then we are shocked right now.
And during that shot, we are not even able to roll out that plan.
A good plan, of course.
Because we are shocked.
So, in that way, of course, always the other side wins.
Let’s say, it’s, it’s not a fight.
It’s not a wall, but it’s good to have plans and to make plans.
And to, for instance, right now, think about what, I call in my speeches.
So the green deal, or not only I other people as well to say, okay, Right now, please.
Let’s not save, the old dirty industries.
So like you can imagine in an automobile nation like Germany, we had a lot of discussions about that.
So right now, at least it’s like that the German government will not give money to, the old car industry.
So only electric cars, maybe.
So I hope that will not change because they’re asking for money.
So, and they always say, okay, a lot of people will, will get droplets because of that.
So they have a lot of pressure they can apply on.
But Naomi Klein also says in the recent article, let’s not save the old dirty industries, but invest in new ones.
So if now certain industries are destroyed or.
get bankrupt or whatsoever try let’s please.
Let’s try to, to build new ones, cleaner ones.
So in every field more or less, and not just like always feed the financial institutions with money, feed the automobile or any kind of other, very powerful industry with money, so that the people buy more cars.
We don’t need more cars, you know, so, and.
So that is also something which we have to, break, you know?
So this kind of continuation of what was, how was it before, like I said, you know, so then because before it wasn’t that good, so maybe take what was good, but then put it to another level because right now that’s the, that’s probably the trans of our lifetime to put it on a level.
Well, we would like to have it
Xerxes Voshmgir: So.
When you imagine yourself again in 50 or 60 or 70 years, whatever it is, from the position of your deathbed and look back to your life, what impact is it that you want to have had on humanity basically in your lifetime?
Frank Sonder: That’s that’s a bold question.
I anyway, thought about eternal life.
So maybe that never happens.
No, and they’re not living forever about, maybe living much longer than we live today is by the way, an interesting question, asking people how long they would like to live.
I do it from time to time and it’s amazing what people answer you.
and even what you wouldn’t wouldn’t think probably a lot of people don’t want to live longer.
Even if they are having a happy life.
So, and I always say, okay, yeah, at least 120 would be good.
So eternal might not make sense, but boy, it gets boring, but 120 years would be good.
yeah, that’s, that’s a very interesting question.
So first of all, I have to say, I have my kids, you know, so, and that’s.
That’s what life are for is for, you know, so this would be of course my most important, thing to consider when it’s going to end someone to say, okay, I have my lucky kids, hopefully, in good health and in a better world, of course.
And then of course, around this small corner, we come to the point that.
The world should be a better place, at this time.
And I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go that far to say that I have an impact on that, so I could have, I might have, but on a very little small scale,
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so let me rephrase it.
Maybe I ask the question to Vick.
What’s the impact do you want to have with your work?
maybe if it’s not a major impact, but basically what, what do you want to leave behind,
Frank Sonder: yeah, that reminds me of a number of reference to, to me as a running coach.
because, I’m running my Roatan.
and I started, I don’t know, 20 years ago, and I think I brought many people to do, to run marathons as well.
And it’s probably not because I’m such a great marathon runner, so I’m a good runner.
So, but, but I think that I brought people there because they.
They were not afraid of doing it, you know?
So because maybe simple to put it in that way.
They, they see me and say, that’s a normal guy when he’s can run for 42 kilometers or 23 miles.
I can do it too.
So I’m, I’m not scaring people, to deal with running a marathon or deal with technology that they say, if, if he is saying that in that way, I understand it.
First of all, and I can deal with that.
So I always said, for instance, as well, I give always explanation about the blockchain, you know, so I offer free different ways.
And I say, what I want is that you are able to follow or lead a discussion on a party.
So when somebody is talking about blockchain, that you haven’t have a small idea what it is, or if somebody is asking you, you know, what a blockchain is, I give you, you, can I give you something on hand where you can explain it in a very simple way?
And talking about the impact I would like to have.
And referring to your question is that I can teach or support people in dealing with all of these challenges.
Be it running a marathon, be it dealing with technology, being able to judge about.
Whatever this is right or wrong in ethical ways and using technology.
And I think that’s the best role I can play in this position as a translator.
To understand many different sides and connecting the dots together and trying to explain that in a simple way.
I hate people who live from making things more complicated when explaining, so all these bus wording and so on.
So as soon as a headline, you know, you have to get rid of these words.
So, but explain it in a really simple way.
So there’s probably some.
Education has spirit within me and my kids know, then when they are asking me a question, they sometimes get a lecture and response, you know, so they already know, okay, it’s getting a bit longer.
but I guess they like it.
And, it’s a for instance, easy and interesting.
If you have to explain it to kids, So no matter it’s about racism or no matter if it’s about, economic impact.
So you would wonder how much you can talk to eight or 12 year old boys about these kinds of topics or even AI.
So explain it in a simple way.
And yeah, that’s properly.
I would be happy with the, with when this would be said at my funeral or something.
So that people said, okay, he was a nice guy.
He showed up that many things are possible.
So that would be maybe the best reply to your question.
Xerxes Voshmgir: Okay, so thank you for your time and this very interesting interview.
Thank you for being on my show.
So I wish you a great day then.
Thank you for staying tuned for this edition of challenging paradigm acts.
It was the season and the, of my first season.
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You’ll find in the show notes, the links to his work and his TEDx talk further.
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If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.
This is the final episode of the first season.
It was a remarkable journey for me interviewing so many interesting people.
We had two artificial intelligence professors, a thought process.
Facilitator is runners, intellectual, digital Sharman, and non-digital non Sharman.
A pastor who challenges the status quo and multipotentialite and marketing experts focusing on purpose, a hypnotizer lithology list and filmmaker and a futurist.
What connects to all of them is that they’re all cross disciplinary or multi-dimensional all of them challenged, the current paradigms and the status quo, and all of them want to move humanity forward with their work.
The second season of challenging paradigm X will be up in July.
So until then I wish you all the best, the great time.
And say chow.