Skip to main content

tv   Press Here  NBC  November 3, 2013 9:00am-9:31am PST

9:00 am
new revelations say the nsa is tapping na siinto silicon va in ways we never thought possible. we'll talk to one of the inventors of modern encryption about what can be done. stanford students band together to create their own startups, and entrepreneur ramona pearson's incredible story of survival. with reporters kim mcnicholas and alistair bar of "usa today" this week on "press:here." >> good morning, everyone. i'm scott mcgrew. where to start with my first guest. is the most remarkable thing about her that she started college at cal berkeley at 16 or she's so start the marine corps came to her to help them predict
9:01 am
what america's enemies might do? or is it the ph.d. in neuroscience? or is the most amazing thing about ramona pearson simply that she is alive at all? >> the bumper of the car hit my throat slicing it open. i ended up with a bunch of trauma. our ajorta comes up behind your heart and it was severed, so my blood was gurgling out of my mouth, it fomd, and horrible things were happened to me. >> math genius and u.s. marine ramona pearson was run down by a drunk driver when she was just 22 years old. the extent of her injuries was staggering. in a coma for 18 months, and when she woke up, she was blind. she remained blind for 11 years. while her body was damaged, her
9:02 am
mathematical mind continued to grow. this is pearson today as ceo of her own startup declara, which uses mathematical algorithms to help large companies connect employees. if you're thinking to yourself someone should make a movie about ramona pearson's life, a script writer has already beat you do it. joined by alistair bar of "u.s. today," welcome to the program. kim mcnicholas of pando daily. obviously awful, awful things happened to you, and we'll get to that in a second but one of the vance that ashley vance in bloomberg business week wrote about you is you spent a number of years essentially in an old folks home at the age of 22 recovering, and they themselves took care of you, the senior citizens. >> yeah. you know, ashley was exactly right. i spent about three years in a senior citizens home in colorado, and during that time
9:03 am
it was as if i had 100 grandparents and just like anybody's grandparents, they'll assess you, figure out what your learning needs are, and then they retrain you, and when i showed up at the senior citizens home, i couldn't speak. i could barely walk. i had no ability to cook or to take care of myself, and everybody figured out where their skills were best and paired up with me to help me learn to speak, cook, go to the grocery store, go to the bank, open up a bank account, and so, yeah -- >> saved your life. >> saved my life. >> along with a team of surgeons. >> that's true, but i wouldn't be here today without them, and what's interesting is because they personalized my learning experience, they sort of set me on this path to build declara. >> you also got multiple degrees while you were in the nursing
9:04 am
home at last you started, or was it after? >> it was after. during that time i had to learn how to learn. i had to learn how to be a blind person, and it's kind of interesting because when you're growing up, you take for granted the ability to speak and to navigate and to be able to do so many things, and during that time i had to learn how to move my tongue, grab air, synchronize my, you know, how my mouth was going to form words -- >> and how does that play into your view of learning today because if you had to relearn how to learn, that's an original experience for someone. >> it's interesting because declara is all about making it more transparent for people, and it was important through my trajectory that learning how to learn means you have to make learning transparent to the learner so that they can gauge
9:05 am
themselves and actually build their learning pathway, and so it definitely influenced how i -- >> what was the most difficult things you had to learn? >> how to see again. so after i had brain surgery and eye surgery and i can get into details, but i had to have a new cornea -- somebody died and donated that -- and retina reattached, hematoma removed, and when i was able to see again, i didn't recognize things because -- >> it had been 11 years. >> it had been 11 years, and your memory trace starts to decay -- >> wow. >> and so just simple things like looking at a laundry bask t basket. i looked at it and thought what the heck is that? >> overall, you didn't really lose your memory per se. >> no. >> in terms of what you learned, your education. >> right. so i relearned the world through
9:06 am
being tactile and auditory, and so it's very interesting because in my last company i built some algorithms around the modalities in which people learn best because i had to relearn the modalities in which i learn best. >> i'm sorry. you're a mathematician at heart, and a blind mathematician. you still did math in your head. that must have been -- i assume you used to do it on a chalkboard -- i don't know how mathematicians work. believe me. >> she created cognitive maps of of the world in her mind when she was blind. i'm curious your techniques in doing that. >> how do you do that? >> and can you teach it? >> mathematics is a natural language for people, and we forget that, and we have so many -- we create the obstacles sometimes because we have a problem synthesizes information
9:07 am
auditor auditorally or in other modalities, but math is the natural language of your brain, and so losing my sight, i spent a lot of time creating visual maps of the mathematics which mathematics is essentially patterns. so really trying to understand the world around me by creating cognitive maps and reducing things to patterns and statistical numbers and then -- >> i want to talk to you about declara not being in the u.s. you're in australia and some other countries. what's wrong with the education system in the u.s.? is that why you're not here? >> you know, my last company was focused in the united states, and i have learned a lot about what we're doing here, and a lot of times we create an idea of what learning should be, and we try to shove kids forward into preconceived notions of
9:08 am
learning, and what's happening in latin america and australia is they have opened up the concept of learning, and what we've been working on is adult learning, and adult learn something more complex in so many ways because think of your job, your raising kids, and one of the projects that we're about to roll out is a judicial reform program so you have judges and lawyers that are trying to democratize a whole country in latin america, and you can't send them all back to school, so you have to engage these learners and compete with their day-to-day jobs. >> in the service you're providing, is it judicial in latin america. >> it's across a lot of spaces. >> but there's math in the back of this. you're creating social networks and connections but the value add you bring is this understanding that somehow there's math in the back of this. >> right. it's just like your -- the human
9:09 am
genome. your genome tells you how to personalize things, how you're going to look, act, and, you know, there's nature and nurture. we create essentially a learning genome. so we personalize everything, and we create a behavior trajectory around learning for people. so it can be in judicial reform. it can be in education. it can be, for instance, we're working with a large pharmaceutical company who is trying to solve creating molecules -- or inventing new molecules for different genome types for cancer. >> i will let kim have the last question. go right ahead. >> in terms of education, what is that one thing that you believe in that almost no one else does? >> that we need to really allow for understanding the processing and synthesizing of information to really unfold learning for
9:10 am
people and help people mbuild their potential of learning instead of trying to define education and cap people's potential around something that is a preconceived notion of the ceiling for different people. >> ramona pearson is the ceo and founder of declara and an amazing human being, and thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you so much. >> up next, bank and credit card companies and hospitals say they keep our secrets safe through complex encryption. now we hear the nsa can break through those locks. we'll talk to the inventor of the lock when "press:here" continues.
9:11 am
welcome back to "press:here." recent articles in "the guardian" quoting information provided by edward snowden indicate the national security agency has done what many people
9:12 am
thought could not be done. the nsa has cracked the powerful encryption which protects bank transfers and medical records and trade secrets as they travel through cyberspace. "the new york times" says the nsa treats its recent successes in deciphering protected information as among its most closely guarded secrets which is why then nsa won't talk to us about kriping to ra if i but martin has been arguing with and working with the nsa since 1975. thank you for being with us this morning. let me ask, and i understand you have no special way of peeking inside the nsa. these encryption standards, i always heard it would take 100 computers 100 years to break the sort of encryption standards we use today. am i wrong? >> it's complicated.
9:13 am
the basic standard known as the advanced encryption standard, it would take millions of computers millions of years to break, but it's how you implement it. it's like if you have a resettable combination lock with let's say four digits and you set it to one, two, three, four, that will be real easy to steal your bike. the problem seems to be with the implementation standards, not with the encryption standards. >> it's what's happening where the people are encrypting data that the nsa is finding the weak spot? >> yeah. and there is one auxiliary standard that is suspect, but it's not the encryption itself. >> you're talking about these reports or this idea that the nsa has some time ago built a backdoor into encryption? >> actually, i was one of the ones to first put that forth with the data encryption standard that preceded the current one. they presented it full blown. there were a bunch of random
9:14 am
number tables and we figured out how if we could come up with a the random number tables we could have built a backdoor in. >> are there backdoors in the mod he were day inkreptions? >> not in the advanced standards. that was done much too publicly. they had public conferences. there was public feedback. i really sincerely doubt there's a back door in there. when it comes to some of the pseudorandom number generators that might be generating keys, there there might be a backdoor. >> should the average person worry? is there something they should be concerned about? >> let's see, sometimes it comes down to a question of whether you're going to have secure encryption against everybody but nsa or insecure encryption where everybody can read your mail. this is basically what we faced in the '90s as i started looking
9:15 am
at it. and so i wouldn't be too worried, but i think we need to have more careful oversight. for example, only as a result of these revelations did i come to know that the chief justice of the supreme court picks all the judges on the fisa court that oversees these warnts. that's a single point failure. according to what i read in the paper, nine out of 12 were republicans or something like that. we need better oversight, and not just that. we need to have technical people, not just lawyers, involved in the oversight. we need real oversight not just a cosmetic oversight. >> what about google and yahoo! and the other tech companies? are they doing enough on this? are they culpable in any way? >> i don't know, but i do suspect they do everything they can to avoid being culpable but they have to abide by the law. if there's a warrant, they have to go along with it. >> there are issues in which the fisa courts have given orders to peek into google and yahoo!, but even more deeply is this question about are they culpable. they have been given a set of
9:16 am
locks, right, that may or may not work. we were under the impression these things worked, that the encryption worked. if the nsa can figure out something, that's one thing, and i think we could understand that the nsa whether it's doing the right thing or the wrong thing at heart has our best interests in mind whether they're doing it directly or not. if the nsa can do it in 2013, almost 2014, could the chinese do it in two years and could the north koreans do it in ten? in other words, if something is flawed from the beginning and only the nsa can peek into it, that's still a problem. >> it is potentially a problem. in fact, we pointed this out back in the mid '70s with the data encryption standard. there it had 100,000 million million keys which sounds like a lot, but i and my colleague figured out that you could search that in about a day on a computer built -- >> you met with the nsa at stanford university and say, hey, fellows, this is not
9:17 am
enough. >> well, not initially. initial biwe wely we were deali the national bureau of standards, now the national institute of standards and technology and we just thought it was a mistake at first. but over six months as i wrote letters and got back bs replies, it became clear that not only was it not just a mistake, but that nsa was almost surely behind reducing the key size, and in hindsight i can see where they had a problem -- >> it scared them. >> do you want terrorists? do you want criminals being able to encrypt things that law enforcement and the defense department can't read? >> how do you know they can't already? they just may not have acted on it. >> you don't, but coming back to scott's question, we pointed out that even if our proposed machine in 1975 was off by a factor of ten, that is instead of $10,000 per solution, it was $100,000 per solution, that would be reraerased in five yea
9:18 am
time because the cost of computing has been falling. you have a valid concern. >> you have been working with national politics and policy for a long time. what do you make of snowden and wikileaks and the idea that fewer secrets make a safer world? >> there are trade-offs. fewer secrets make a safe world in some ways, and they make a more dangerous world in others. one of the reasons we have this problem is after september 11th, the whole country, myself included, got really scared and said -- i remember saying i want my government to be more intrusive in my life. now, i probably overreacted a bit but we got the patriot act, and we got the renewals of the patriot act and a lot of what nsa is doing we through our elected representatives asked them to do, and now we're not happy. we want it all, we want privacy and we want security against the terrorists. we have to recognize there's a trade-off and as long as we keep basically our civil liberties,
9:19 am
our collateral damage to the war on terror and the american national security state, if we want to get away from this, we have to be less intrusive in the world, we have to kill fewer people who might then want to come and kill us. >> looking into the future technology-wise, how capable are google and other technologists in creating better encryption that could thwart the nsa? >> i don't think that's what they should do. it's better to have, in my opinion, one standard or maybe o at most, like the advanced encryption standard, so all of the effort of the academic community that is concerned with security goes to trying to break that and if there are any problems we'll find it. with the aes it was even better. they put it out to the academic community to try to break before it was a standard. they made changes to improve it as we found minor weaknesses in it. i don't think google should develop its own encryption because the effort to do that
9:20 am
and the effort to make sure it's secure is something beyond what google can do. >> thank you for being with us. the center of the tech world is silicon valley. the center of silicon valley is stanford. some of the cardinal rules of success when "press:here" continues.
9:21 am
welcome back to "press:here here." bill gates and mark zuckerman are harvard men but it's stanford is the only internet incubator that has it's oun football team. they have a startup incubator created by the students themselves. it's called startx. it gives students and alumni help in creating their own startups for free, though the company will take an equity position in certain cases.
9:22 am
the school recently announced it would help fund the evident with more than $1 million per year. thanks for being with us. let me get the obvious question out of the way. kids should go to college to learn english and history and physics and biology and this is a giant distraction. i mean, it's great they want to start their own companies, and sometimes with their professors. >> yeah. >> but they ought to get back to class and hit the history books. >> something you miss is that they also go there for engineering. the best way to build products is to do it. a lot of the times you have people who are spending 25% of their time in class and the rest of their time meeting people and at least 30% of their time building companies, building products, doing side projects, and that's where a lot of the learning at stanford comes from. >> what do they have to do to get into the program? what's your vetting process? >> we have an online application. you have to have at least one person that has graduated within the past few years a professor
9:23 am
that's on -- >> a stanford person. >> yes. we have a 10% acceptance rate. the people we're looking for are people who have a problem they're incredibly passionate about solving like cancer or clean energy. they have the "x" factor. we get venture capitalists to come in and see are these people going to stick with it through the trails and tribulations, can they actually build it, do they have good team dynamics. it's that they can learn quickly. >> what's that question, that one dealmaker or breaker you ask every entrepreneur. >> we ask when will you give up? >> good question. >> it seems the correct answer is never. >> no, definitely not. the thing is there's more -- if they'll never give up, then they're never going to learn. they have to know the right kind of mix of confidence, stubbornness, and the ability to learn quickly and change. >> i notice it's a dot org so
9:24 am
what's the money-making process behind it? >> we're a nonprofit. we get a lot of community support. we have partnerships with guys like microsoft and cisco, organizations like the kaufman foundation funds us and stanford and stanford's hospital gave us a big grant recently. >> entrepreneurs, if they're going to a program, do they give you a portion of their business? >> yeah. so we actually take no equity position ever in our companies. >> wow. >> we have a legally separate entity called the stanford startx fund which any participant who goes through the program can access 10% of their round. we aren't making a decision on whether a company is good or not, the market is. we let them -- >> and stanford then benefits. if the company goes that option, stanford could be an early investor in facebook -- the next facebook, the next google, what have you? >> that's their hope, yeah.
9:25 am
>> i just get a sense right now that i like tim draper bought that hotel and he turned it into a great university and is there too much money with too few ideas or the other way around? >> there's thousands of accelerators now. i think it's kind of ridiculous to be honest. there's only a few that matter. >> said the guy that made an accelerator. >> that's the point, right? we have roughly 7% of the stanford population apply to our program each year. a lot of people want to build startups but the problem is when you have a biomedical entrepreneur coming in and wanting to build an event application, you say why are you doing this? because it's cool. that's not a reason to slog five years of your life and go through a painful process. so part of our mission also is to help people focus on things they really care about and on solving big problems in the world. >> and i want to go back to the statistics, 7 out of 100 stanford students apply to you to create a startup. >> that's correct. >> that's huge. that's an enormous amount of the population.
9:26 am
we know big data is hot. what are the kids excited about? >> the kids -- >> about a minute to answer that question. running out of show. >> so we have about, you know, 60% of our founders are ph.d.s and then you have the undergrad population. >> young people then. >> and young people, it's turned a lot more into solving things in the health care industry. there are a lot of engineers trying to make the operating room more efficient or make it easier for to you monitor blood loss or one company taking skin cells and turning them into beating heart cells in a dish to screen for drug toxicity. we have i.t., clean tech, education, but that's the big excitement now. >> we're going to -- i can hear the music going. we're going to run out of time. cameron, thank you for being with us this morning. >> yeah. >> "press:here" will be back in just a moment.
9:27 am
9:28 am
that's our show for this week. my thanks to my guests, i'm scott mcgrew and thank you for making us part of your sunday morning. i'm scott mcgrew and thank you for making us part of your sunday morning. scott mcgrew and thank you for making us part of your sunday morning. i'm scott mcgrew and th for making us part of your sunday morning.
9:29 am
9:30 am
hello and welcome to "comunidad del valle." i'm damian trujillo. find out about a great international holiday on this show, "comunidad del valle." ♪ >> we begin today with the documentary impacto about the chi cano movement back in the '60s and how it relates in modern day bay area area. with me is rudy coronado. welcome back. tell us about this. you have been working on this for a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on