Renegade Capital

From H.A.L to Chat GPT: Preparing for the Future of AI & Investing, feat. Deepti Doshi, New_Public and Katy Knight, Siegel Family Endowment

February 06, 2024 Andrea Longton, Ebony Perkins, & Leah Fremouw Season 3 Episode 8
Renegade Capital
From H.A.L to Chat GPT: Preparing for the Future of AI & Investing, feat. Deepti Doshi, New_Public and Katy Knight, Siegel Family Endowment
Show Notes Transcript

S3 Ep8 | What does Artificial Intelligence (AI) have to do with financial activism? And what should investors know as the field continues to evolve? This episode Renegade is joined by Katy Knight, President & Executive Director, Siegel Family Endowment and Deepti Doshi, Co-Director, New_Public to learn more about AI and innovation in this field. Our guests share how leveraging technology for the public good is a critical part of building inclusive access to information, education, and wealth-building opportunities.   

About Deepti.
Deepti Doshi is a community organizer who has been working at the intersection of social change, social media, and leadership development across the private, non-profit and public sectors. As a Director at Meta, Deepti helped establish the New Product Experimentation team and created the Community Partnerships team. She founded Haiyya, India’s largest community organizing platform; Escuela Nueva India, an education company that serves the urban poor; the Fellows Program at Acumen Fund to build leaders for the social enterprise sector.

About Katy.
Katy Knight is President and Executive Director of Siegel Family Endowment, a foundation focused on the nexus of technology and society. Beginning as Deputy Executive Director in 2017, she has pioneered an inquiry-driven approach to philanthropy, grounded in the scientific method and centered on reframing big questions and learning alongside grantees. Katy has been recognized for her leadership in Crain's Notable Black Leaders in 2022, and City & State’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in 2015. She previously led Community Engagement at Two Sigma and held positions on Google’s Communications and Public Affairs teams, where she acted as a liaison to stakeholders in local government, communities, and nonprofits.

Renegade Capital Tools & Tips
A renegade not only listens but acts. We've consolidated a few tips from this episode to help you prepare for the future of AI and investing. 

  • Be patient. Whether you are a funder, investor, or everyday activist, this work requires thoughtfulness and patience from everyone involved. That means patient capital, taking time to collect the right input, and thinking long term. 
  • Embrace duality. The future of technology can feel both exciting and terrifying, and we have to get comfortable with the fact that there are many possibilities. Find the reasons to be optimistic AND ask the hard questions that will push change for the better.
  • Find ways to use and support tech for public good. Deepti and Katy shared several resources for our listeners to use technology in informed and inclusive ways. 

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Note: this transcript is automatically generated and so may contain errors
this is Andrea Longton this is Leah frea and this is Evony Perkins and we are
Renegade Capital. 
All Views expressed in this podcast are our own we are not financial
planners investment advisers or tax advisers the views that we have on this show do not necessarily reflect the
views and opinions of the people who sign our paychecks so please keep that in mind and always always consult a
trained Financial professional before you start moving your hard-earned money let's dive
in yeah yeah artificial intelligence and how it is um and has been changing our
world we started with this topic kind of skeptical of like how it would connect to Renegade capital and some of the
other topics that we've covered through the last couple seasons and even this past season but as we learned more about
um some of the work that our guests are doing and just even how philanthropy and
investors are looking to kind of inform
and support organizations that are supportive and very excited about artificial intelligence and the
development of those tools but to develop a focus on the public good and how it can increase access um to things
like education Capital gosh Health Care um just even how our lives are just more
efficient as this topic kind of came online um as an idea I feel like all
three of us kind of got to a place we like oh maybe this is maybe this is a fit um what was kind of the Tipping
Point for you all as far as bringing speakers on around this I am still a healthy skeptic to be honest uh and so
I'm really looking forward to this conversation I'm scared of AI and the impact that it could have in finance and
so I'm actually really eager to to talk through this with experts I want to have
the conversation so that I can learn more because while I'm scared of it I don't actually know very much about it
and I'd rather not be ignorant of something that seems like it's a huge wave of how we're going to be doing
business and just living our lives in the future I am extremely cautious about
jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to like well pretty much anything but
especially like stuff you hear about in the media right so you're hearing a lot about AI I know the AI was a big um
topic for the the actors and writer strike and to be honest I don't I don't
know much about it it feels a little bit like social media to me and that there
are pros and cons in it it's just how you use it but I don't know exactly um
what exactly it is and what that means for the future of this work and to be
really honest with you especially when we are trying to to question the system
the system that has created the inequities that we're in can a system
really dismantle that so I don't know I'm I'm intrigued to find out Leo why was this topic really important to you
because you pushed hard on this and you really pushed me and Ebony to expand how we think about this and to talk about it
on the show and and to give it I know you have pushed me personally to really think about it why is it important to
you what what's your passion behind it because I don't know how it's going to
influence the work that we do um or you know the systems that we talk about on
the show that we're trying to break down but it's it's here it's not going anywhere so to know more about it and um
like our guests that we'll talk to today you know we have a leader in philanthropy and investing in
organizations like new public who um is uh the other guest is a founder and
principle of where the Investments are creating research and Innovations and um
kind of I guess even maybe even parameters around how AI should be
restricted and maybe regulated so the public good and um and that can be
managed in some form or fashion um I listened to a webinar which is where I I
heard about Katie Knight at first um she's the CEO of the seagull um Family
Foundation that we'll be um talking to and those there was a panel discussion
but they equated the the legal system and what was done decades ago and generations ago
around um you now just the public defender system and that the law system
had to be kind of managed um around public good because those with access to
lawyers and the legal system had the money and the means to make it work for them and there was a very intentional
movement um by the Grassroots efforts and you know different people that led
that to to kind of put some parameters around that and so one of the guest speakers on that on that webinar um
which we can link in the show notes it was hosted by Arabella advisers um you know compared the two and that we're at
that kind of moment in time with AI and and the investments in these um in these organizations researching and and um
creating I guess looking to see what they can do to create parameters around it well I think um with AI it's it's
also an opportunity um I think a lot of times we become afraid of stuff we just don't understand and there is no
freaking denying how much and how far technology has brought us as a society um it's just how do we use it
for good and I think that's the overall um message and and and answers that
we're searching for today right actually ebony um what you said there reminded me of a quote that we pulled out that Katie
Knight said on that webinar and this is quoting her verbatim um we ask how
technology can be shaped and deployed in ways that better Society we believe the
path of Technology Innovation is not set in stone but rather Guided by decisions made by us all our goal is to help
inform those that are developing in ations those that deploy new technology and those that set policies and
guidelines across sectors so you know she gets paid the the big bucks to to
lead and and write about this stuff but but your note about society and how it's it's um influencing that I hopefully
it's what we talked about tonight do you think we're all unduly influenced by the horror movies about
technology and AI um and so that's like created a lens through which we see this
if we can only see how things can go poorly um and we have these like Doomsday scenarios or um scenarios that
are designed to scare us and and make us question things well you know Andrew I
think that question is interesting because what scares me is not the movies but it's it's the
standardization of decisionmaking that we fight against right in our day jobs and what we talk
about on this podcast and so like if my impression of AI making
standardization and decision- making more efficient because it learned on how you did the last one well if we did that
then credit score would be the perfect formula for banking people you know and so that's where I'm scared of how this
will replace the context of the human story and kind of the human piece of the
work that that we're involved in and to me it's also yes and who gets which AI
Technologies right so like the technologies that you get for free are not very good at least not right now but
the technologies that you pay money for and might be a bit better or know you a
bit more um who gets access to those versus whatever you get you know for
free on the street um or for free on the worldwide web I was working with
somebody this summer who was putting together a business plan for um a small business and he was like I'm just going
to throw it all into the chat GPT and fro M his plan and he did and I was like this is not we cannot use this
like yes it exists and like yes it has the name of your business in here but
this we this no even on the like on the small side of that like there's Tech now
that um I don't want to name the name because I don't know if it's any good or not but the function that they're trying
to replace or to create efficiency around is grant writing and so the the organization feeds in Old proposals you
know editorial guides you know things like that and then um the new user can
feed in questions from a a new Grant application and it will take old copy
and and kind of start to answer the questions for you so for you know someone that's running a a firm that has
a very small team you know time and kind of making those proposals and there that
writing faster and even you know that's that's money we're not spending on a
consultant we're spending on lending yeah very true this is Andrea lton this
is Evony Perkins this is Leah Frau and we are Renegade Capital today we are talking about artificial intelligence
and how Innovations and research are framing it for public
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Finance so Katie Deep D as a way of introduction would you tell us a little
bit about your story and your kind of your background and how you got into the work that you currently do and its
connection to artificial intelligence or AI um and how it's kind of fueling you
these days yeah so I had a winding path to philanthropy and Tech philanthropy in
particular which is its own uh Beast so I um to try to make a long story short I
took some time off in college uh I'd been sort of interning in the nonprofit space and just was dissatisfied with
education in the moment there are lots of reasons but to some time off school um so I joined the Working World in the
ear a and I was working at a real estate company did some Community work as part of the marketing there um was working
parttime in a nonprofit went back to school graduated went back to that nonprofit realized I was making like $9
an hour and that was why I couldn't pay my rent so I was also working in catering but um I wound up looking for a
new job and and went to work at Google by accident like I saw a marketing job wasn't sort of super hungry to work at
Google but I thought hey I can do this and it'll probably pay me more than nonprofit work so let me jump in um it
turned out that I was a great fit because Google Plus was launching at the time and they were looking to develop
nonprofit Partnerships um so I went and I joined like the Google Plus marketing team and I got an early lesson in
failure in the teex Bas uh because obviously Google+ did not last sometimes
recently I asked someone but I told someone my story and I said I worked at Google+ andbody said what is that so
great um and then from there I worked on
uh public policy Community engagement Corporate social responsibility work education work and got pulled over um
and met this sort of interesting guy who had made a lot of money in uh Financial
Services doing quantitative Investment Management I went to work at his company and sort of got pulled into his personal
fanthropy because like me he is concerned about the impact of technology
on society and that was about you know almost a decade ago and I think when we were talking about that challenge then
it felt like oh this is something addressable right like Tech and Society there's a lot going on here maybe not a
lot of people are focused on it and now it is everything and everywhere and so to your other question about how that
relates to AI we as a single family endowment are focused on the impact of technology on society and how we
understand and shape that I think a lot of our work in the last decade has been about
understanding what technology is doing to society and how we as humans are
living in a world with pervasive Tech AI is certainly not new but I think in
terms of it being out in the world in a big way it is new enough that we still have the opportunity to shape it so
that's where I think our work as a foundation investing in what the future might look like with these emerging
Technologies is related to Ai and actually really exciting right now for
me so it's uh I often say working in Tech enthropy is my pendant for the
years I spent at Google and I think T has similar perhaps about her path but
um yeah I'm I'm just really excited about the way that we're able to actually attack the AI questions
challenges and problems from like an understand and shape opportunity how old
from a tech standpoint is this typee of technology and is there a really simple
example or you know kind of mundane example where we might go oh I've been using AI for 30 years and I didn't know
you know something just so we can understand the full Continuum that we're on AI machine learning the notion of
developing algorithms like that's decades and decades because that's fundamentals of computer science I think
artificial intelligence machine learning as we might think of it um AutoFill in
Google searches or in your uh text messaging that's Ai and so we've been
doing that for ages even when we were T9 texting if you remember that right like
so that is a version of AI it's just not as sexy and shiny as the chat thoughts
that that have made the the last year I totally forgot about T9 texting and I remember when I got it and my anyway
there was a whole moment where my fellow bartender friend was like you're finally caught up but gu I was using all my all
my thumbs uh deep do you mind sharing too yeah my
entry into this work is really kind of grounded in my own kind of like story as an immigrant
here my parents are from India they came over here in the 70s and they certain they came from kind of lower middle
class families um and so we spent our summers going and spending three or four
months in India each summer and like I just I still have really visceral
memories of feeling kind of the difference from the Stark difference in the way that we were as three kids
living our lives in Raleigh North Carolina and the lives that my parents came from um but also the communities
that surrounded them um kind of in in India and for those of you who've been to India you kind of know that the rich
live on top of the poor gentrification looks a little bit different there than it looks like in the states and so it's
like you're really in it all the time you know so I I I ended up becoming a community organizer and as an organizer
in India I was creating this organization called Haya and the goal of it was to bring together the rich and
the poor um because in India the it is just really easy to privatize your way
to pay your way out of any sort of dependency on anybody else your kids go to private school you can even on things
like the climate you have private filters in your car that you walk straight into you have Private health
care and it just really struck me that like how can we how can this be the
world's largest democracy if in fact there's no real interdependency between the populations who live here together
and so um Haya kind of our angle into solving the problem was really local was
block by block to bring um to find the issues of common ground and one of many
of you may remember there was a large very um it became a very well-known rape
case in 2012 of a woman named near Baya in Delhi and after that women's safety
became um a a really important topic in India and that is that is that is a um
issue that you can't pay your way out of and so we actually kind of used and galvanized that energy to bring
together people on their own block the rich and the poor together to really figure out kind of what they wanted to
do to make their own neighborhoods more safe and get into better relationship with a very local um BMC they boss
Bombay Municipal Corporation the police and Haya actually has a really fun story so my neighbor made up the name Haya
Haya is when a when construction workers are building are building something in
India there a whole bunch of construction workers and so one leader one person says zor lagake and that
means with all of our strength and then everybody together says Haya as they're lifting this like heavy Boulder together
and that was what the inspiration of kind of the name of this organization was anyways hya grew it scaled we used
college campuses to kind of grow and to identify organizers who took this work
you know block by block across the country and they started using Facebook groups and so that's how I began
interested in the role of these digital Tools in building healthier communities because whether you were rich or poor
you likely were on Facebook or were on WhatsApp and so it was and particularly
post Arab Spring became really interested in kind of the role of Facebook in democratizing power and in
giving everybody a voice and so that's what took me to Facebook um I was at
Facebook for seven years much longer than I had ever anticipated being and mainly worked on Facebook groups while I
was there um and through that experience you know saw
the the beauty of what can happen in a I mean I experienced it at hayya and then
I experienced it at a completely different scale at Facebook but also what the the horrors of the some of the
things that is that can happen in groups if they're not well-managed or well moderated eventually I just I became
tired of running up against this incentive structure which governed us which was that when we had to make tough
decisions um it was really really hard to support the leaders that group admins
over our own needs to drive engagement and growth and so that's then what led
me um to create new public with Eli parer and Talia stad my co-directors and
we're a little R&D lab um that's supporting the creation of what we call
digital public spaces um the parks and libraries of the digital age and so we
believe like we believe that these are critically important to to maintain the
social fabric of our society in the same way that those little hi block by block campaigns did um so that we preserve our
democracy could you expand a little bit more on um kind where we currently are
with the Innovations in the AI space in this in the tech field and then and how
fast are things changing and and how's new public kind of engaging in that I
mean for us we're focused on fostering an ecosystem of the growth of healthy
and thriving communities online and so we're really dialed into social media and generative AI for us is potentially
upending everything about online communication um from content moderation
to misinformation to even the coding that's required to develop the new platforms there's probably not one area
that generative AI isn't touching and by
definition the changes we're seeing are exponential I mean I don't know about y'all but every day I feel like I see
another really interesting use case of AI most recently somebody sent over to
me a song that they built on AI with like a 10-word prompt and then I then
used it to make an engagement song that I may or may not sing at my brother's wedding
next um we won't tell them we support yeah tools and resources
um and I think that as you as we as we become exposed to them we see we begin
to see our o like our own concerns about some of the things that are coming up as
well what excites me is that we have the lessons of the last decade or two
decades that move fast and break things you know when Katie and I were embedded Within the Googles and the Facebooks of
the world is like no longer acceptable and it seems to me that these the risks
it is that we're sensing are part of the conversation much earlier than they were
at the Adent of um social media and that is really exciting yes we still have a
little bit of regulatory gridlock around this issue we still have a lot of kind of policy education that's needed to
happen um we don't have a lot of understanding on the effects of young users on of AI in particular but I think
we are way more position better positioned to know what questions to be asking and to be prepared for the
unexpected can you roll back a little bit whenever you talk about move fast and break things um what what does that
mean to you because um I have an intuitive sense but I feel like that might be a bigger part of culture around
Ai and it sounds like that is changing a lot um what does that mean yeah I'm
actually if you're okay with me turning the question around when you hear I'm going to tell you what what what it
meant at Facebook um but when you hear it what is what do You Hear What I Hear
is that from from what you said in the past it was just do it Go quickly figure
it out if you break things okay we we'll fix it later or maybe we'll flow with it later um but then if you break things
then that has ramifications and then you have to sort through those Ripple effects and you might lose control of
Ripple effects yeah you know I think at the time where these college dropouts came
together you know to the Far Far West and ended up over here in in that
moment there was there what was driving them was a spirit of innovation and anything being possible and not and
wanting to create a culture I think in their at that time very small team at Facebook of being comfortable with risk
being comfortable with mistakes and um you know it's okay if um
if it it's it's important to keep our speed up so that we're maintaining a speed of innovation and if that means
that the code you built last week is no longer the right code throw it out the window like don't hold on to things like
keep going keep moving forward um but I think that you're exactly right that
that that has has become a pervasive culture of across um Silicon Valley
Tech and it really is grounded in a speed of innovation keeping up with the
market and um serving the market as fast as you can growing as quickly as you can
and delivering these kind of like 10x 100x returns to VC um to your
investors and break things began over time to mean not just yes last week's
code like the real lives of people and though that's what start has started to
break and continues to break and I but I but I do think that even at Facebook I
don't remember actually so don't quote me on this but we change ended up changing the slogan because we acknowledged maybe Katie no will know
what it changed to I don't remember what it did we acknowledged that um like we
can't have this philosophy at the scale that we were operating anymore you know it's like slow down and fix things like
we need slow down and fix things is what we need to do and I'm not suggesting that generative AI is slowing down in
fixing things but I do think that there is a there's some lessons from from this
that have been helpful are helpful to us as we head into the future do you feel
like there are guard reils now because when I think about breaking things it's
just to to put my own lens on it I think about it in finance and in particular
financing and for people who have been chronically disconnected from the
mainstream Financial system and so I want to see more guard rails in
finance about how we are thinking about how mainstream like fintech is
impacting um lower wealth communities uh and so whenever I think about Ai and
finance and I go whoa whoa what are they what are the guard rails because AI is built by humans and can absorb the
biases of humans and so that's that's where I get nervous is how are we
thinking about regulation how are we thinking about guardrails how are we thinking about responsible financing if
we're doing it through a lens of of AI and finance is built on technology like big Finance is all about big
technology um and just seeing how Ai and generative AI is being applied to this
feels like it's compounding some of those things um and how to how do we think about that how do we have
regulations against that how do we keep that run fast and break things uh or move fast and break things from breaking
a financial system that we're trying to have a more inclusive Financial
system so my short answer is you know to your question do we have enough guard
rails no the answer is no um and you know Katie should jump in here too
because I think she's been thinking about kind of policy reform more than more than we have um but no we don't we
no we don't and do we even have like the right people in the seats who are educated about these issues to develop
the guard rails I think that's also an important question here and an important um you know piece of the ecosystem that
also needs to be invested in but Kitty you should jump in here well I think so
on like the notion of move fast and break things I feel like what is important about the story there is you
take something you know something that was said by a well-intentioned nerd to
his team about their work right break what you previously created it doesn't
matter break the like you know site reliability break it in the quest to
make it better but it got adopted at this much larger scale where
suddenly the companies themselves are aimed at moving fast and breaking things
like I think about Uber which some people roll their eyes when they're like talking about Uber is you know you're
just talking about extremes but I don't think it's true that Uber is just an extreme because it created sort of a model but operating in kind of
regulatory Grace base right like coming in and saying this probably Breaks the
Rules in spirit but not in the letter so we're going to undermine taxi prices
we're going to flood the market we're going to do these things and we'll figure out the consequences later or the
consequences don't actually touch us the ripple effect doesn't actually Ripple out to us it we're at the center of it
that's where the move fast and break things piece has turned the tech industry and like these advancements
that we're making through Tech into something to be not fearful of but
concerned about and to be thinking differently about and so when we talk about Ai and like what's next or what we
need to be doing or where the guardrail should be I think we have to be thinking
about how to keep Pace with an industry that is now sort of drank so much of its
own Kool-Aid and and really has a lot of power and and has tentacles that kind of
reach into all other Industries and think about like how do we people talk
about raining in the tech industry and I think it's not just about that it's about kind of the process of Designing
regulation it's about the entities and institutions that will create that can help that will be fed with knowledgeable
people and that will do the work that allows us to keep up with what's going on like right now we don't have
appropriate guard rails because we're not sure what they should be and who should be making them or who has the
authority to make them and I think that piece is that's where the regulation should start is like okay what's the
authority here what are we looking to do how are we trying to set this up um but
we're we're just
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[Music] all you've made one point several times
that it's important who the people are who are knowledgeable about the policies
and who are knowledgeable about creating policies that and I'm going to put my lens on it again that create inclusive
systems um that have those right guard rails what does that look like like it's one thing to say okay we got to have the
right people there but what how do you even do that how do you even just start to think about
that yeah so I there's a few different pieces of it so I'm not a computer Scientist by and I feel like that's
important to say because I work with and around and for so many people who have like computer science knowledge and our
you know my chairman is a roboticist computer scientist artificial intelligence expert all of these things
and I think too often we think that those are the only people who can weigh in and help design regulation or figure
this stuff out if I can figure it out we don't you don't need to have a PhD and
computer SI to figure this stuff out so I think first is like being Tech adjacent being a technologist being part
of like the conversation is not just limited to the people who have phds in this and we need to kind of break that
normative Behavior where we're only asking experts I think anyone can be
trained in and understand technology and be fluent with it and kind of help write
policy and regulations I don't think we have great uh levers for getting people
into the right places in government or other institutions to help step like
Steward and Shepherd the sort of tech regulation we need um one thing that is
that I'm excited about and their grantee of ours um uh the endowment is Tech
Congress which is placing fellows in as staffers in Congressional offices on
both sides of the a who have deep knowledge of technology to help with the
legislative process to draft legislation to just inform their electives about tech and be that person so that's like
one way that we're trying to hack the system with bit right to get people have knowledge into into the rooms in the
hope that that then creates a sense that oh wa if I don't have technical knowledge or knowledge about technology
on my team as an elected official then I'm missing something I think that has
led to some culture shift there that that I hope will actually lead us in the right direction in terms of Regulation I
want to add to this conversation whether it's Tech Pol like whether it's informing policy and the right Talent
there in my like humble opinion anything that has to do with the future of
technology it is about bringing different disciplines together we have to take a multidisciplinary approach and
to the extent it is that like the audience here are investors and supporters of this sort of
work I think it's really really important to be assessing the
multidisciplinary nature of interventions and we call it soot technical leadership where for us as we
think about what the creation of these parks and libraries of the internet are is like you need to understand um we
need to bring the best in class thinking of sociology and group dynamics and um
group behaviors and norming no matter what context they happen in with some of
this like best-in-class talent that we've been lucky to recruit from the Spotify and the Googles and the
Facebooks um and you know but to build off of what saying I think then we need to also ensure that we're combining that
kind of policy and Regulatory knowledge to understand how to move things through that system but it it doesn't even
matter to me kind of what the problem is but the future if we're going to build a healthy future I believe strongly that
we're only going to do that with a multidisciplinary perspective where we're able to kind of bring together all
these different points of view to ensure that we're learning from our past
when you say Healthy Future what is possible when we get this right when we
think about public interest and public good as the core for the the why like
what is working well what kind of systems are better for most communities that we live
in you know when we think about trying to do inclusive development work on a
tech product or platform the difficulty is the pace right we were talking about
how everything has to move so fast and and there's this incredible pressure on Tech prits especially in this world
where AI is in news every single day and everyone wants to be launching something AI related like there's a lot of
intentionality and and work at like building the right table and putting the
right people in those seats and like opening it up and and creating safety like psychological
safety for people to actually feel like they can contribute to this work like I think for
communities and that word can be defined so many ways right like there are various types of community but for any
community that you're in feel like they have the space to have a say in what
technology they are being exposed to or being or or using every day like we are
using so much technology every day maybe by choice maybe not and and we have no
say in the data collection we have no say in uses and privacy we are really
sort of in a Vortex of pervasive Tech and not to make it sound like this is
not Black Mirror but we are not in control in a way that I think has robbed
humans of the agency to make decisions about what they where they want their
data to be or or what they want their kids to see when they are clicking through YouTube videos like those kind
of things and so I think what would be ideal is for people to have more agency
like I think part of why we at SLE were attracted to to new public and the
vision that t and Eli and the other members of the team have is that public
parks and libraries like there's agency that you have in a public space because it is a space that's for you and others
and so there's agency and there's collaboration and there's all these good things that we think May for healthy
societal interaction I think we just have right now a society that is not
whether online or offline is not at Optimal Health like we're just not talking to each other the way that we could be we're not engaging with each
other the way that we should be we're just in our in our bubbles in our boxes sort of on our phones and and how how we
change that and make these spaces that are that are actually joyful and not
just cess pools of the neoch chambers and like that I think is the hard the
hard work and where I'm hopeful that we'll get something good out of this new
tech I am super optimistic in terms of kind of getting to a healthier place and
I think it's really um it's it's grounded in good reasons like there are hundreds of Builders and engineers and
designers and developers who are really attempting to make these new Pro social
and public spirited places on the internet um and at and similarly there
are many many many what we call stewards unpaid volunteers moderating and
administering communities in places like Reddit and Wikipedia and Facebook groups
like to us these are the people who are the Future Leaders of the internet and
we can learn and we can co-design and we can support them um and for us that
means philanthropic Capital right now like working as a nonprofit to create
the space for imagination for what public on the internet can look like and
it's a it's I don't know it's a it is a really joyful movement to be a part of is it a subscale movement yeah it's a
subscale movement but everything was subscale at some point and um you know
this is you know this to us is the future and actually what's coming to my mind right now is Mark andreon
U Manifesto on Tech optimism I don't know maybe six weeks ago now that like anybody who cares about tech safety or
ethics is an enemy of building like for us that couldn't be further from the truth like the people who care about
making the social internet a place as Katie said that is joyful a place that's
nice to spend time in a about making platforms safe and
effective places to host Comm communities these these are the people who are actually building the future
like the future is in their hands you mentioned um the parks and Library the
library analogy earlier Leah and Katie just kind of nodded to it we really like
that analogy because what we're saying is that we need libraries that are publicly funded that do give people
agency and that serve this public purpose but we also need the local small
bookshops you know who are working on a sustainability who who are who are profitable you know um and the malls may
have a role to play in our lives too and you know that's our cor lary for the for
for the Facebooks and they can keep doing but we but we need to be able to expand our imagination and our vision of
the sorts of spaces that we are all able to spend time on in the internet and for what purpose and for what sort of
connection in community we're looking for um so that's what makes me see a
clear path to a healthy internet but it's because I get to spend time every day with these Builders and these
stewards who are doing you know who've rolled up their sleeves and are doing the
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favorite streaming service Katie your organization how long
have you been investing in creating space for imagination and Innovation um
and are there other philanthropies kind of following suit yeah I think so we've been doing this sort of work for I guess
our entire existence in one way or another like the earliest iterations of our mission were really about just
supporting people who had great ideas about how to solve these Tech and Society problems and that's still core
to what we do even though the mission and vision are more sophisticated now but ultimately it's about kind
of finding people who are proximate to the problems and empowering them to find
Creative Solutions I have really beat this metaphor up but I like to talk
about will problems and way problems will problems are problems where we know
what the answer is we just like don't have the will to solve something I say
hunger is a really good example because there's actually no reason in terms of knowledge and capability that we should
have people go hungry in the world and yet we do because we lack sort of political will and some infrastructure
to solve that problem there's the capitalist thing you know all that but we could solve it way problems are
problems where we actually don't know how to do something we don't know what the answer is we don't know what the solution is we don't know what we're
focused on or we don't know what we're sort of what we should be focused on to try to get to make this better and so we
need to do the sort of questioning and and learning together that you can only
get when you invest in people who have like new ideas and are coming to the problem from different spaces so with
new public it's cool because not only do we have this group of people that are thinking about this in terms of the core
team but then they're creating another group of people who are thinking about this in terms of all the partners they're engaged with so we're getting
this multiplier effect of trying to bring people in to solve these like really challenging way problems um and
to answer the other part of your question you know I think we have some Partners um in terms of like the work we
do on public interest technology that our fellow Travelers like SP foundation
and the McGovern Foundation pivotal Ventures and Schmid features but it
always feels like so um arrogant to say like there's no one else doing what we do but there are not a lot of
foundations that are necessarily thinking about it this way and and approaching it this way and sort of combining all those things so I think I
have you know lots of partial friends but maybe not anyone that's doing the exact same thing and this is refreshing
a soap box that I like to get on um uh hopefully somewhat diplomatically is
kind of the the the thinking in philanthropy and you know from the ecosystem work which is kind of what you
all are describing but in a a different framing that I do in community it's like
corporate whatever the money expects trans Community transformation in one to two years of the grant performance
period or they don't want to fund something that's new and Innovative they want something they can measure and
track and and count the backpacks or count the jobs created and so it's really refreshing to know that there are
this space is being nurtured and fostered and invested in and has been this is not new to you all it um and it
sounds like the thinking and I think the thinking in philanthropy is is Shifting has been shifting since Co if not
earlier into kind of more outcome based and letting those of us doing the work
tell you and work on the solutions um and so that's encouraging to hear deept
with the Investments and like with the kind of outcome based thinking and maybe
expectations I mean how do you how do you kind of manage the the investment
and the the kind of accountability for the the dollars is there hard lines or
kind of learning in Partnership and that is what makes it work I mean I think what gets us excited about our
relationship with seagull and Katie um and many of the other organizations she just mentioned is that it has really
felt like partnership on the kind of the the new
Wicked grimy problem it is that we're trying to solve and you know we're
grateful and about partnering with for example Katie and seagull foundation not only because of their investment in us
but because of um it feels like we're building the field together and so for
example what I can share as an example of this is that seagull's investment in new public actually helped us kind of
kick off this co-design Journey um one of like one of my largest grapes at
Facebook was that often these Community stewards these group admins that we would work with who were at the front
lines of understanding what would lead to these flourishing and safe communities didn't have a seat at our
design table we're not part of the decision making and so um at new public
um we're really committed to changing that and wanting to kind of build and design together and so sequel support
helped us get that kicked off we started thinking about working with parents and caregivers and teachers to think about
the new sorts of um tools that could be built to support people to get into
healthier Community around their school um and we learned a ton from that
actually anybody who know anybody who has kids and maybe using parents Square you know that parents Square kind of
sucks and so we were trying to figure out like parent Square isn't actually helping us build community so what may
and we worked with some kind of underperforming schools here in Oakland to kind of do that work together and we
learned from that Sprint um and while that was kind of what seagull's commit
you know what seagull funded us to do that work has now evolved into something that we're calling the community
stewards Guild where we're starting a network of a number of different Community stewards to kind of come
together um to be able to co-design and co-create with them um but all just to say that like you know Katie Laura and
the and seagull have been Partners through that Journey um not necessarily
asking for outcome reports and metrics and numbers but kind of staying
proximate with us to the problem and what we're learning through it I will confess that I was very skeptical um
about Ai and how we're thinking about Finance only because I've been burned in in the past with with finance and um
and thinking about that but I feel so much more optimistic after talking with you all um because I hear the same
thought and the same uh aha uh that percolates through Community Development
finance and investing and you all are saying it in different words than we are um but the extreme importance of
listening to the communities and co-designing and Katie I loved your point that agency and collaboration are
necessary for a healthy Society uh because it's been a huge shift in community investing or at least how we
talk about it of in order to address the problems we need to talk to people who
sit closest to those problems because they're always going to have the best insights for the solutions uh and so
just hearing you all talk about how do we find the people who are approximate to the issue and then Empower them to
solve it and I'm totally stealing your words makes me extremely optimistic that there's a lot of people thinking about
this and similar ways and doing the hard work of of listening um and bringing the
right people to the table and thinking about that well and it's like taking kind of I feel like you all sit at the
20,000 foot view of and and at the Tactical you know all all the different
levels for sure but how can someone like me or my neighbor or you know how do is
there things that we can do as individuals to engage in this work in in a meaningful way even if we're not in
the research and like how do we influence beyond our day-to-day lives um
with our capital or our involvement yeah I was just going to kind of build off of Andrea your point and I think it gets to
yours too a little bit Leah is like there are all of these people who are
kind of creating the containers for this co-design and this co-building and for
bringing and for bringing the communities who are the most affected by some of these decisions into the process
but it is is that in itself is really hard gnarly work like here we you know
even at new public we have Facebook Engineers working with church pastors
like it's we're we we ourselves are learning how to speak each other's languages how to create the containers
for Mutual trust because this is not the first time it's been tried um
and I I think that there's a like the demand the need is for patients and is
to to Really create the spaces for that sort of
relationality to build so that we can do things in this multidisciplinary way it is slow work
it's hard work it's reflective work um and that doesn't and it's only if we
invest in all of that kind of foundational um capital and process and
Norms in the how we go about this work that are we going to lead to outcomes
that we're proud of and and frankly a speed that we're proud of like I like move fast I like speed but we're not
going to get speed on the problems it is that I care about solving without this kind of investment this grounds this
ground level investment that needs to be made and that requires a lot of patients
and so um and I and I and I don't think I think we're you you know we're lucky
to be in relationship with organizations like seagull and Katie but like that's
not that's still not fully understood I think by the individuals who are often
funding this work you had a lot of head nods on the screen during the entire time you were talking it is um the the
challenge of our times is trying to figure out the right piece for
responsible Innovation I think and that can't just live with those of us who
consider ourselves philanthropists or impact investors or Community oriented I
think ultimately our work has to filter back out into being kind of a Baseline
and a set of principles and and it's not just moral and ethical guidance it's like in many ways it's practical
guidance because if we to be extreme destroy Society holding implodes no
one's making any money so it should be guidance for for anyone who's thinking about investing in technology or in
trying to create organizations or products or platforms that are going to
serve some bigger picture goal like what is the community input in this who are
you trying to serve and have you actually heard from them are they at the table are you solving a problem that
exists or are you just making something and hoping that it makes sense like that
that kind of mindset is also a shift that needs to happen beyond our bubble of of enthusiasm and optimism which I
think is good we need that optimism but also I want to draw more people in who are not there with us yet and figure out
how to get them optimistic about doing this responsibly in the same way that
they're optimistic about just like oh my God there's so much potential here you know how do we harness AI to do X Y and
Z how do we responsibly harness Ai and other emerging Technologies to do XY and
Z is a better question I hope everyone will be asking well I think that
statement right there is a great way to kind of close down the this conversation
tonight unfortunately um we asked you for an hour and we've used every every
second of that almost um so um because this is just amazing work and
fascinating and really appreciate the time that you're putting into that and sharing that with us tonight um but we
do have one question that we ask each one of our guests in every show and that is how do you define a
renegade and like to kind of hear your perspective on that before we close up I
think I'm a a renegade I've been called a professional instigator and I think that is my Renegade nature right like
are you willing to instigate the things that will lead to the change you want to
see I am very willing to instigate in any in any time and place but really
when it comes to the work like I I think when when uh my friend Aaron from innovu
told me like you're a professional instigator and I mean that in the best way possible it's like that's the highest compliment is actually on my
LinkedIn now it is my headline you got called an instigator I got called a bulldozer but that doesn't have anything
to do with that doesn't have anything to do with being a renegade and so Renegade
like I don't know I was actually confused when I heard the word Renegade so I looked it up and the Oxford dictionary says a person who deserts and
betrays an organization country or set of principles and I guess that doesn't really um capture the spirit of what it
means to be a renegade to me I think it is about I don't think it's about
necessarily just kind of like leaving something behind and jumping to the next
shiny new thing I I I do think it goes back to what we started at the top of this
conversation which is kind of like kind of holding the pluralism of everything
like what what can we take like being a renegade being means to me like BR being
brave enough to see that there's truth everywhere and that like you're going to
try to kind of find your path in the truth taking the experiences from from
the past and so yeah I don't know it's a it's a I I love that that's what this podcast is called and that's what
y'all's work is called and that you've given me this new kind of concept and word to be thinking
no I wouldn't talk to them for like five more hours so tell us about this little
tiny piece that I heard about once on you know Tik Tock no for real I mean just can't even
imagine the that world just no understanding of like how you would even
from even from a policy standpoint like the type of I don't want
to say education because that's more formal in my mind but like experience and
knowledge with the the questions that they're they're seeking to answer around
the policy table and kind of user experience I mean like surprises me that
you say that though Leah because you do like you tackle Finance on a public
policy level all the time time and finance is a huge system too so it it
actually surprises me that you say that because I saw so many parallels in Ai
and um internet and social media and what they're talking about and finance
and how it's you know you tackle one thing at a time and I felt really optimistic that there are people in that
world having the same conversations that we have in finance yeah I think Finance in my mind is is more baked and and like
just it's not learning on itself and it's not a niche expertise
that in the same way that this fast growing generative um technology is um
also opposite I think of what I I was interpreting your some of your comments
Andrea is like I think the regulation and compliance is what has left people out of finance and Capital Access and so
um getting like some of the finex not being regulated actually has created
access to you know different types of ways of banking and trading money and
earning money and it's like I mean there's like there's that middle ground Pro that we so um while I do abs the
other side of this is yes we need somebody with some guard rails but the regulations and compliance
in the financial sector is what was used to to to block um access so like DP said
there's many truths and finding what your truth is uh and staying in that
being comfortable in that lane and and tackling it from that makes a powerful Renegade no matter what your your sector
your industry is Ebony what you think I especially appreciate it deep D's
comments um because I often think about the language barrier between different groups and and for
someone in this space to acknowledge publicly hey we're still learning each other's
languages to me that's powerful and it's also an example um that this isn't going
to happen overnight and I I appreciate that I also really I think our slogan
for the season should be a renegade is a professional instigator I really like
that because I always thought about instigator as like somebody starting some mess
thank you for listening to this episode of renegade Capital if you like what you heard you can listen to previous
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out our website www. Renegade Capal to never miss a new release
our show is hosted by Andrea Longton Ebony Perkins and Leah freemount publicized by Elizabeth Gilbert k cell
of narrator Studios and produced by Yours Truly chance

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