Episode 235 – Unstoppable Thinker and Philosopher with Roberto Mayer

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When I invited Roberto Mayer of São Paulo Brazille to be a guest on Unstoppable Mindset I did not foresee the scope and far-ranging directions our conversation would go. Let me first tell you a bit about him.

Roberto spent his life in São Paulo. Even at an early age he was teaching and tutoring classmates in math and Science. While in College he in the late 70s he learned about Microcomputers and helped bring them to South America. While at São Paulo University he also held a full-time job working at a bank computerizing the organization. For the past twenty years he has owned and operated his own consultant organization. He also volunteers for several organizations and he even finds time to relax playing in-door volleyball.

Roberto, as you will see, is a deep thinker and a philosopher. During our time we discuss computers of course including the future of AI, religion vs spirituality and drugs, alcohol drugs and addiction.

I find Roberto to be a humble and thoughtful person. I trust you will find him to be the same and that you will value our time together.

About the Guest:

Roberto pioneered microcomputers’ introduction in South America as a teenager, in the late 70s. After some years as a corporate employee, he started working as an entrepreneur, and has not stopped to this day. In parallel, he developed an academic career in Maths and Computer Science, at São Paulo University, for many years.

During his long career, Roberto always worked as a volunteer, across many organizations. His participation in IT Trade Associations evolved from local to worldwide.

Hence, when life presented challenged related to drug addiction in his family, he entered the world of mutual help groups.

Roberto’s writing skills turned into several books over time – covering various aspects of his rich career.

Ways to connect with Roberto:

Website: https://robertocmayer.com.br
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rocmayer
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/roberto.c.mayer.br
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roberto.c.mayer.br
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/rocmayer

About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.


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Transcription Notes:

Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Hi, there, I’m your host, Mike hingson. And welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to interview Roberto Carlos Mayer, and Roberto lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has a really interesting story to tell I’m sure in a lot of ways, one of the things I learned from reading his bio, is that he brought microcomputers to South America as a teenager in the late 70s. That must be kind of fun. But Roberto has had a long career as an entrepreneur, working with a lot of different kinds of fields. And we’ll get to that. He’s also a writer, and has been an entrepreneur, as I said most of his life. So Roberto, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We’re really glad you’re here.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 02:08
Thanks, Michael. I’m very glad for your invitation, and hope to share a little bit of my long story. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 02:17
why don’t we start at the beginning of your long story. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about you growing up and all that.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 02:24
Okay, I, I started my involvement with computers, as you mentioned in the early 70s. Now I at that time, I was in college, and the chemistry professor told me that his brother had brought some micro computers from the United States here. And he was gathering people to try to understand what they did, how they could be programmed and so on. In school, I was always a very good student in math and other scientific subjects. So I accepted that invitation. And from that time on, I started working with computers up to this day, I did change my mind
Michael Hingson ** 03:20
worked out pretty well. Well. So go back a little bit further. Have you always lived in Sao Paulo?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 03:28
Yes, in fact, I have lived in San Paulo, all my life.
Michael Hingson ** 03:35
So you’re your What did your parents do? And how did that shape what you do?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 03:44
Well, in fact, I have been always independent, I started working very early. I think I was the time 11 or 12 years old when I started lecturing some colleagues in school in hours after school, and I so I developed my independence very, very early in life, and always managed to do many things simultaneously. I think that’s my characteristic. And besides my work with computers, I’ve always managed to bring them together. Studying and social activities and volunteering activities is very, very early. Ah,
Michael Hingson ** 04:40
well when you were 11 and 12. And you said you were lecturing to some of your classmates, what did you lecture about?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 04:49
Well, in fact, I lectured about math about physics, about chemistry, about English. Many, there were some classmates who He had very difficulty in some of the subjects and the teachers always considered these people to be the those that would not be able to learn it. But I managed to teach them and to pass the exams. So there are parents who are very satisfied with my work. And so this was a tie for me a significant income source. It also allowed me to decide to what to do with my money, which normally is even those times was not the standard behavior for teenagers.
Michael Hingson ** 05:44
No, I certainly certainly wasn’t. So did your parents encourage you to do this? In
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 05:51
fact, my, my father was never very involved with me. But my mother, in fact, encouraged this, because she knew that it, it was the thing I like to do.
Michael Hingson ** 06:07
And so she encouraged you to develop your talents. Did she work? Did she work?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 06:13
Yes. She, she worked as a secretary at the big corporation.
Michael Hingson ** 06:19
And what did your father do?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 06:21
My father was an eternal student, he was involved in some very exotic subjects, which I never got to understand the 100%. But he didn’t have a, as far as I know, irregular or working skills for long.
Michael Hingson ** 06:45
But you were always interested in math and science and technology, which is, which is kind of cool. And you learn to program these computers that your, your chemistry professor told you about? So What languages did you program in? What did you learn?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 07:02
Well, the first language I learned to program in was the basic basic Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 07:10
I remember based on
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 07:11
that, but then I, I started studying the organization of the microprocessors, and teach myself to program in assembler also. Ah, yeah. So I learned the assembler for the apple, two chip for ADHD chip, and many others, I don’t remember.
Michael Hingson ** 07:38
Well, so you, you did that in college. And when you left college, what did you? Well, when you graduate, you graduated? What did you get a degree in?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 07:51
Well, in fact, the I don’t know, this educational system here in Brazil is a little bit different. We get a standard nomination just for completing our studies as teenagers. And then we get into the university main factor, but when I left school, I started working. And due to this involvement with computers, first as a freelancer, and then in a very short time period, I managed to start working for a very huge local bank here in Brazil, where I was responsible for introducing this microcomputer culture. That was at the beginning of the 80s. And so I had the challenge to once again to manage my university studies simultaneously to this professional work, which was obviously was all day
Michael Hingson ** 09:02
what were networks like back then, so you talked about using micro computers, but they they had to in one way or another communicate with each other, I would assume, right?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 09:13
Well, in fact, communication was very, very restricted. Yeah. We had some communication through serial cables. I remember Rs 232.
Michael Hingson ** 09:25
I know.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 09:30
And another experiment I was involved, which is also uncommon. At that time, there were no printers for microcomputers. So we adopted telex machine to be used as a printer for microcomputers. But the don’t the Telex machines don’t use the ASCII character system. So we had to study how the Telex machines codes the characters they print, and then develop a routine to do the translation from the computer ASCII set character set to the set used by telex machines, which Alex Baldo was invented by a French mathematician called Bobo.
Michael Hingson ** 10:21
So, basically, when you printed something the the process was that the microcomputer whatever computer you were using would send the ASCII characters to a translating computer, which would translate and then send it to the printer.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 10:43
Now, it was all running on the same computer. Okay, okay, we developed a co developed language, which was running behind the this high level programming language. Yeah. And we connected the Telex machine to the serial port. So it was all running on a single micro computer with 8k of RAM memory.
Michael Hingson ** 11:13
You didn’t even have a parallel cable, huh?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 11:15
No, yeah, I’m not.
Michael Hingson ** 11:19
Well, when I went to college at the University of California at Irvine, one of the things that I didn’t have access to was any kind of a braille printer. They didn’t really have much of any of those things back then. And one of the people in the computer science department, who I got to know very well Dick Rubinstein found a place that could well that had developed a sort of a way of making a braille printer it was using one of the wasn’t an IBM Selectric. It was one of the computers with the little print cylinders, or one of the printers with the little print cylinders. And somebody had developed a routine that and they with a modified version of the cylinder that had some Braille dots on it in certain positions. And in certain rows. The, if I wanted to print something, the printer was actually connected to a PDP eight computer that did the translation. So I could have my print my compute Well, my keyboard and my system connected through a modem 1200 baud, and then this PDP eight would actually do the translation so I could actually get Braille print out. So it was a pretty fascinating sort of thing. And it worked. But, you know, that was back in 1971 1972. And 73 and beyond. But technology has changed a little bit since then, hasn’t it? It
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 13:05
hasn’t changed by many orders of magnitude.
Michael Hingson ** 13:09
Yeah, being sarcastic. Yeah. So you went to work for a bank? And what did you primarily do for them?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 13:18
Well, in fact, today, he had bought some micro computers and didn’t know exactly how to apply them in practice. So my my first job there was to develop the needed application software’s in order to make these micro computers useful. And I started when then this was completed in a couple of months. Then they started buying more and more micro computers, and we needed more and more people. So I was at the time 20 something. And I had to manage a huge team. And to develop a group of new programmers which I had to train me I stayed there until 1986. And at the time I left I was 25. It was managing a team of 40 people.
Michael Hingson ** 14:22
Now when you were working at the bank, were you also doing work at Sao Paulo University.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 14:29
Yes, in fact, at that time, I was a student now i i was studying at San Paolo university, because I was my wish to continue to study something related to math and science and computers. But at that time at the public university here in San Paolo the the only course available with lectures at night was a computer A Course, which was intended to build math professors. So that was the only choice I had. I went after it. And I, I decided to take that course. In fact, when I finished that course, that was one year after I left the bank, I had already started working on my own. Thanks to that, then I was able to start doing my course in as a master’s in science, in computer science and applied math. And that took me another five years at the university. And after one year, and a couple of months, I was invited to become a professor at the computer science department stayed there for almost 12 years.
Michael Hingson ** 16:00
When you were studying and working at the bank, and then after you left the bank, you I think you started your own consulting and went out on your own right? Yep. Okay, how did you do all of that at the same time, because being a student is pretty much a full time job typically. And working at the bank had to be a full time job. That was a lot to do at once.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 16:23
Yes, I think that’s one of the my abilities I developed over all my life. And managing to balance these very different things requires, in first place, a lot of discipline. And on the other the other thing is, as I was studying many things I, which were, for me relatively easy. studying maths for me was never a problem in attending. Classes was enough for me to be able to pass the exams, net exercises, were just the task professors put on us, but they weren’t for me learning to. Now I remember when I was in a very young child in six plus years, 10 years old. There was a professor basics Elementary School. Anyway, he didn’t want to teach. He wrote a lot of math exercises, for class to solve. And when he, he ended up writing up all his exercises, I had already solved all but the last one. She took my piece of paper and use it to correct the exercises of the others. And I use this time, I had three inside class to do my other homework for the other. So the this was an example of how I was able to manage various things at the same time. So
Michael Hingson ** 18:07
you worked at the bank during the day, right? Yeah.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 18:11
Well, so Brian, in the morning to 6pm.
Michael Hingson ** 18:15
So classes were mostly at night for you then because yesterday started
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 18:19
about 7pm and went until 10 3011. In the night, yeah. Wow.
Michael Hingson ** 18:28
I should do homework.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 18:31
Well, I the same way I learned to read in school, inside the class.
Michael Hingson ** 18:37
Okay. Can you? Have you ever been able to teach other people to develop those same skills? Have you ever tried to do that?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 18:48
Well, in fact, that’s one of my current projects. I’m involved in its structure in this as a methodology to teach others to be able to do the same and multitask.
Michael Hingson ** 19:03
Yeah, and then be efficient. How’s that working out? How is it working? Okay, are you getting? Are you having success of teaching other people to do it?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 19:15
Well, in fact, I am starting in structuring materials I am not ready to as a public to offer this to the public at this moment. I hope to do this over the next 12 or 15 mil.
Michael Hingson ** 19:30
Well, it it sounds like it’d be a very fascinating thing to to do. And if you can actually develop a program and a process and teach people to do it. That would certainly be a beneficial thing. At the same time, you know, people do need to take some time to relax. Do you ever take time to relax?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 19:50
Yes, of course.
Michael Hingson ** 19:51
Okay, just checking
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 19:56
about my life the best way I I like to relax is traveling. And and this is also a subject I have developed very uncommon experiences due to many other works. Now another way of relaxing, I always say relaxing doesn’t mean doing something relaxing means doing something different from what you are doing that is changing your brain operation to a completely different area. This can involve something like traveling, I like very much to travel by car to plan travels to get to know people in the way they live, and not the way us tourist packages are normally offered. So to know people in fact, and another way of relaxing, let’s say I developed also very early when I started with this at the time I was at the bank is in doing voluntary work, which involves promoting a course and provides a way to know a lot of other people which are interested in the same course which have the same goals. But which is different from the working and studying space. So switching from one environment to the other is a very efficient way to relax. Another arena I’m involved now for over 10 years is in sports. So that’s another way of relaxing and I take this very seriously. Why is my schedule reserved for that? Doesn’t matter how much it rains or whatever happens? What kind of sports? But I’m playing volleyball for 10 years
Michael Hingson ** 22:04
volleyball? indoor or outdoor?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 22:09
Indoor indoor? Yeah, well, then
Michael Hingson ** 22:11
you get away from the rain. Okay. That’s how you do that. Okay, I understand. Well, but even so, I hear what you’re saying. And then you You really said something that I have felt for a long time. The problem with a lot of the guided tours and the tours that people buy is that you, you go somewhere and you’re on a very strict schedule, and you don’t really get to know people and you don’t really get the same flavor of, of the environment that gives you a deeper knowledge and understanding and I’m buying with you I’d rather go somewhere and get a chance to meet people and spend some real time. My wife was a travel agent for a few years. Back when we first got married, and we would take occasional trips, familiarization trips, and again, they were they’re well organized. But you didn’t get to spend a lot of time it was as you would say today very touristy. And so we found that it was a lot more fun when we took our own trips and and really got to spend more time and get to know things a lot better than just the organized tours did.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 23:27
Yes, I fully agree with that. I always try to do it that way. Obviously, when you have a very short scheduled, you have some meetings, for work or for some organization where I volunteer and you have to fly out and back in just one or two days, you’re obviously cannot involve a lot of time to do that kind of exploration. But when I have at least a week to be at some place, I always like to reserve some time for these kinds of local incursions.
Michael Hingson ** 24:08
One of the things that I also do is try to find, of course, for me only knowing English it has to be in English, but local radio stations for example that I can listen to, to really get a little bit more of a flavor. But yeah, I think you’re right. And as a as a speaker, oftentimes, I will go somewhere and not be able to spend a lot of time because it’s like one or two days, and then I’m off again, or I come home. And so I don’t get to know things as well as I would like. But I really enjoy it when I do have the time to spend a few days somewhere to get to know people and to get to know the country. It is so wonderful to be able to have that opportunity. Yes,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 24:56
uh huh. Radio stations you mentioned are very interest thing strategy I also use during my my travels, I speak obviously, Portuguese, I speak English, I fluent in Spanish in German. So this allows me to, to communicate in many countries, but when I’m in a country where I don’t know the language, the first thing I do is if I rented a car is hearing the radio. So accustomed the ear to the local language, and it obviously depends which country you are in, had, in some cases, it will be relatively easy. Let’s say for example, when I was hearing the radio in the Netherlands, now understanding Dutch, if you’re no English and German is not that difficult, once you will get a through the filter of the accent. On the other sides, you have languages, which are so complicated in their organization, that you can hear radio or even television for hours or days, and not be able to know the difference if you are hearing the news, or the transmission of a sports event. Yes. Chinese. To me, that happened to me in Poland, and Poland. In Poland, yes, the Polish language is very complicated, because it’s, it’s a language, which has roots in Slavic in Latin, and in the old German languages, like German and English. So you have for each word you have to know from which of these roots is word comes from. So it’s very, very difficult. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 26:52
then you also have languages like Chinese, which are extremely complex and extremely different. From this, the civil ensign, and all aspects of it are significantly different from what we’re all used to.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 27:09
He has of course, the you know, you have languages like Chinese, or Japanese or Hebrew or languages, like the Armenian which use each have different writing structures and different sentence organization. But in this case, for example, if you look at written polish, they use the Latin alphabet, but it’s not. It’s not understandable. I spent more than a week in Poland and managed to learn the basics, but it’s very, very difficult. Yeah, not least I was able to enter a restaurant and ask for sprinkling water or non sprinkling water correctly.
Michael Hingson ** 27:56
Yes, or, or carbonated water or not carbonated water?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 28:01
That was too much. Yeah, yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 28:04
Well, I hear you, and, but it’s, it is fun to go to different places. And I’ve had the joy of traveling to all 50 states in the United States over the years. And you know, there are different customs in different states. And it’s fascinating just in this country. And you, you see some of it, of course, being around different countries in South America, and certainly one of the larger ones. And, again, the same thing, different customs, and it’s fun and fascinating to to meet people who observe different customs, and we’re used to,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 28:42
yes, like that considered other privilege. I think it’s something which I got back from my volunteering. I, when I started as an entrepreneur, I started to volunteer in it trade associations. And due to my ability to speak in various languages, in a couple of years, I was allocated to international relations. So I started to get involved in International Federations in this area. And due to this, I had the opportunity to, to travel a lot, mainly in in the American area, from Canada to Argentina and in Europe. But in all, in almost 50 countries have driven cars and 29 of them. You
Michael Hingson ** 29:39
You’ve certainly had a wonderful golden opportunity to experience a lot I I’ve been to a few countries, not 50 but I’ve I’ve been to a number and really enjoy the people and I think that’s part of it is that we have to recognize that not everybody’s exactly The same way we are and we shouldn’t be disappointed if things aren’t just the way we are used to hear or in your case where you are because people and different civilizations are different cultures are are different. And we should respect that. And I sometimes I’ve seen tourists who don’t, which is unfortunate.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 30:22
But in fact, the more civilizations and different cultures, you know, you’ll have a, I think you’ll have a better understanding of how human life in works. In fact, I think most humanity problems come from those people who live in a single culture, maybe due to religious beliefs due to some autocratic government, which are restrained into a very single position. But I think most most humans in our in, in fact, good people, even those involved in autocratic regimes. I, I want tell the guy’s name. But for example, I had the opportunity to chat for hours and hours with a guy in Kuba, which was part of the official Communist Party. In Kubernetes, every couple of years now, you can have private businesses, but the licenses are only given out to members of the party. And I, it was my second time in Cuba. So I knew that I would be allowed to travel alone through the country, I went to visit a National Park, which is about 300 kilometers north of Nevada. And then I in the evening, I got to a very scenic city on on the shore. And this guy had who had the license to operate, small hotel and restaurant there. So he invited me to obviously pay to have dinner there. And then we started chatting I came in, it was still day, and when I left his place, it was already after midnight, to drive back to LA bhana. Another three hours, wow, come back to the hotel, because the Congress, the conference, I would I was participating got started next day. But it was a very interesting chat, and after some some doses of coupon room, he lost any restrictions on his talk. And then he, he told me about his real life.
Michael Hingson ** 33:06
And that’s, that’s the whole point is to get to know people well enough to really have the opportunity to understand. So it’s, it’s a lot of fun to do. Well, you so you continue to this day to do math and, and deal obviously with science and so on. But when you left the bank, what what did you start to do from a consulting an entrepreneurial standpoint? Although obviously, you had an entrepreneurial spirit before then, but what did you start to do to earn an income and so on after leaving the bank?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 33:42
Well, in the first years, I worked as a consultant, I did some programming and I did a lot of teaching other people to learn to program at the time, the C language was on the market. And here in Brazil, there were very few people who were able to teach to other programmers. Yeah. So at that time, I, I started teaching and also writing I published some technical books in the programming arena, the time also was invited to translate some of the of the American authors which were writing about those subjects at that time. So, I, I had a lot of involvement and then when, at the university, I went into the working my thesis then I started to develop a project about the development of user interfaces. Now that was at a time where not even Windows three was on the map. market. And that was the the keystone to set up my my first former business. Yeah. That was 1990. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 35:18
Yep, Windows was was around. I loved MS DOS. But I also understand the value of windows and graphic interfaces and all the other things that Windows brought. But for a while MS DOS was a much more accessible language or system operating system for me to use then windows that wasn’t really something that worked well with screen readers for blind people. And that evolved over time.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 35:50
Technology always, always evolves. Basically, companies reframe recycling what they do in the you have to reinvent yourself every couple of years to stay on the market. And you have at this time, no, no it product you can buy, which is on the market for more than 10 years.
Michael Hingson ** 36:18
If that long, but yeah, and you’re right. And and look, there are some things that although the products change, the basic concepts are things that have been around for a while, and it’s just that they evolve. I mean, look at integrated circuits, what are they, they’re, they’re made up in part of a lot of transistors that that came around first, and transistors came from tubes. And although the theory is a little bit different, basically what they do, ultimately is the same thing, but we’re getting faster and smaller and more efficient in everything that we do.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 36:56
Yeah, in fact, that happens on the electronic arena and happens also on the on the math Friday, if you look at the papers written by mathematicians like poster from Neumann in the 30s and 40s the structure of current computers still obeys the basic ideas they put on paper. And the thing the what we are now seeing being developed, which changes this is what is called the quantum computers that right that will change the the theoretical background, but they are still very, very limited and needs to use standard computers as an interface because they have no interface of their own up to this moment. Right. So maybe that in the future, they there will be just add ons with very capable processors to do something with standard computers do not. But there is no no clear way for them to to gain the the main market for us to have these kinds of computers at home or in standard business. Right?
Michael Hingson ** 38:13
Not yet. But it will happen, it will happen. No, no doubt that it will happen at some point. Well, so going on that same discussion point. What about artificial intelligence, I actually listened to an interview with someone recently who said that the time is going to definitely come and maybe not in the too distant future. But the time is going to come that computers will be able to truly create on their own and truly have the potential to overwhelming what we do you think that’s true?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 38:56
I don’t, I don’t either. I don’t artificial intelligence is a very old subject. I remember I was still a student at University. We were visited by a Japanese professors, which were coming down here to tell us about what other time was called the fifth generation computer project to develop artificial intelligence that’s 40 years ago. So and we had a lot of press coverage during the last 12 months due to this kind of generative AI, which Chad GPG provides. And in fact, the algorithms which are based inside these kinds of plugs are known in the computer science arena for decades. The main point is computing power available at the time wasn’t enough to build big enough models so that they can simulate being humans. That is the I think the main difference nowadays. But this doesn’t change the basic conceptual fact that they are just reproducing a combination of facts and knowledge which they collected from other humans. And creativity is very different from neural networks are from other AI, so called algorithms,
Michael Hingson ** 40:40
so do you. So you don’t think that with, let’s bring back into a quantum computers and so on, that take processing to a whole new level, you don’t think that will give computers the opportunity to become creative in their own right and compete for experiences?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 41:05
I think we won’t see this in our generation, I think the if you look at the human brain, in detail, science has still not explained how it works. how humans are, in fact, able to connect ideas which have been stored in your brain for decades. Like I’m using know my brain in order to answer your question. And what’s happening in my brain in order to module the words I’m saying to you, that’s not yet explained. So it would be very, very difficult to have something simulating something we don’t know how it works. Yeah, that’s about the, the number of neurons we have inside the brain of every human is still bigger than any computer ever built. The other point is economical, I think there’s another factor which people are not looking after that this very huge AI models need a lot of computing power. So they are restricted to very huge organizations. And, in fact, we are seeing that the capacity of data centers, which are being used for by these kinds of models, is restricted to what’s called by the President, the big tech companies. And smaller companies are just reminded to pay them to use their capacity. The other point is, the amount of electric power. And the impact on environment, this will all have could also be a limitation over time for the usage of this kind of computing. The same way. For example, it has been happening with some of these crypto currencies, which was also a church promise for big changes for humanity a couple of decades ago, and it still hasn’t happened. In fact, we have obviously, you have a range of people using this kind of stuff. But it has not got mainstream mainstream is still standard money. Banks continue to exist. International trade is still conducted using standard money.
Michael Hingson ** 43:48
Well, and cryptocurrency took some big hits over the last year or two as well. And it is not the panacea that everyone said it was going to be.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 43:58
Yeah, exactly. That’s called culminate in it. Right. We frequently have this kind of huge promises, which then do not deliver. Metaverse, for example, is another example that was very huge in hype in marketing a couple of years ago. And it seems also to have been these appearing just days behind AI.
Michael Hingson ** 44:26
Yeah, yeah, we are. We’re very fickle as a as a race. We just go by the latest thing or the thing that people start to publicize and we forget the other things and that that’s a problem. We don’t focus very well, especially over the long term.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 44:47
Yes, the that requires the capacity to at first to remember all what has happened. And most people prefer to do Forget, yes,
Michael Hingson ** 45:00
we do not learn from history nearly as well as we ought to.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 45:07
And so that we are condemned to repeat it.
Michael Hingson ** 45:11
Good point. Well,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 45:15
someone wrote this before me, I’m just repeating it. I don’t remember who wrote this.
Michael Hingson ** 45:19
No, I know what you’re saying though. I, I’ve heard that too. So what made you decide to, in addition to work, in addition to working and to being in school and being an academic, now, are you still doing things at South Paulo University?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 45:35
No, I left university at the end of the 90s. So you’re just do my involvement in the I trade associations. Plus, at the time, I had little children, two boys to care for. So that was too much to synchronize on to manage all of this even for me, so I had to step down from university. People they didn’t want me to live. It was a battle for almost two years to be be able to live better in the end i i left
Michael Hingson ** 46:17
children do take time, don’t they?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 46:19
Oh, yes. When they are small, especially. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 46:25
Well, but as they grow older, you have other challenges. Yeah.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 46:31
You need less time, but resources, you will will still have too
Michael Hingson ** 46:36
many some less time. But it’s got to be quality time. Yeah. Now, are you still married?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 46:44
Yes. But I’m in a second marriage. Marriage went,
Michael Hingson ** 46:52
went went a different way. But it’s good to have somebody to share with you as of course. Now, have you taught her to multitask and be as organized as you
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 47:05
think? Similar maybe not to the same level, but But I think when we get older we will learn to to see value in these kinds of abilities in other people’s.
Michael Hingson ** 47:21
Yeah. Which is great. Why did you start volunteering and doing some of that in the first place?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 47:31
Well, my, I had started volunteering, when I was still at the bank to organize user groups to foster the introduction of microcomputers here. And the time I was involved with the was called the Microsoft User Group, which
Michael Hingson ** 47:56
was, I remember that, yeah.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 47:58
And I even had the opportunity to, to interact in person with Bill Gates when he was just a couple of millions words, not billings,
Michael Hingson ** 48:12
you mean that guy who said we never need any more than what was it? 64k of memory? Yeah. Okay.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 48:19
She traveled here to Brazil for the first time in 1987. And at that time, due to my English, I was in charge to helping him out with the lectures, you was going to provide our meetings. And I also had a long conversation. One evening, in fact, one night, it was the, there was a huge meeting at the house of the guy who at the time was the president of the user group. And this guy had also commercial interests in representing Microsoft in Brazil, and he invited many politicians and other businessman and they were all on Bill Gates. sides the whole evening, and I remember it was always midnight, the owner of the house, called me in to decide and asked me if I was able to have a bit and bite conversation in English. I said, Yeah, of course. And then he said me it is. Bill Gates is already tired of speaking about economics, politics and business. He’s asking for someone to talk about technical subjects. So I had the privilege to sit before the on a sofa line in in a room during that big house with Bill Gates. For almost two hours, chatting about technical subjects at that time, Microsoft was developing what was called the Quick family of programming languages, which then became the visual family, which is still on the market today in Visual Basic, and maybe the most normal. So I think the that was a privileged situation. Getting back to what you were calling about the volunteering, and you all to all these experiences, I also started writing as a volunteer for some magazines, some newspapers, regular columns, and due to this publicity, then people were the time leaders for the IT trade associations came after me and invited me to participate. And I, in that arena have a very long, very, very long training in on the person on the state level, then on the national level. And then on the international level. I so much that about eight years ago, I wrote a book about all these experience.
Michael Hingson ** 51:25
What’s it called? Well,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 51:27
it’s written in Portuguese. Yes, the title translating into English, it will be something like, together, we are more, in fact doing. And you’ll gather, a basic idea is when you gather together people which are after the same course, then you have a lot of techniques you can apply in order to influence public opinion, governments and to create relations about the communities you are connecting. Because business is always between people. So when you want to do international trade, for example, you have to develop in first place relations in second place, trust with other people. Otherwise, you can travel a lot, spend a lot of money, but you want to be able to sell anything. Go
Michael Hingson ** 52:25
back to Bill Gates for just a quick second, would you? Would you say that Bill Gates is clearly one of the leading visionaries of our time.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 52:37
I don’t think so, at current time, but he was at that time. Here and Steve Jobs said up infrastructure for change in the IT arena, which we are still experiencing. They’re the consequences of what they set up.
Michael Hingson ** 52:58
What would you say are the leading visionaries today in in all of that?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 53:04
While I think we don’t have some someone we could call a very big visionary, some people, many people are trying to to be this person. But it doesn’t matter if you look at Elon Musk or not the guy from Oracle that they are not presenting anything, which in fact will bring in us huge changes. As these two guys we were talking before half.
Michael Hingson ** 53:33
My My thought is Elon Musk’s should have stayed with with the Tesla vehicles. He’s done more to change and bring about and could do more to bring about change regarding vehicles and electric vehicles and so on and going into the technology world. Yeah, I think there are some issues there.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 53:57
Yes, of course, but I but electric vehicles are not a new invention. In fact, electric vehicles existed before details which are powered on oil. So that is the first experiments done in German at the end of the 90s. In the late 19th century, were electrical vehicles. And then the oil based motors obviously showed much more power, so they replace them and that got into production. I think this is a an evolutionary process. What I think I’ve seen, yes, what is now called the traditional carmakers like Mr. Ford or Honda or the others. They have the capacity to produce similar products there is no invention and no patents and nothing which To avoid makes the Tesla production unique.
Michael Hingson ** 55:05
I guess I guess what I’m saying, though, is that I think he stood and stands a bigger chance of having a greater impact if he had stuck with that than going into to some of the computer stuff where he clearly does not. But, you know, everybody makes their own choices.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 55:28
Yeah, of course, I think if you look at his his work at Twitter, then exactly. You’re back. He’s been able to, at least that’s the way I see it. Yeah. But there has basically been destroyed by Yeah, he’s his policies inside the company. Yeah, I think that’s the people who have created the code or have left the company changing the name to make any good? No,
Michael Hingson ** 56:03
that makes no sense and doesn’t doesn’t help anything at all. Well, so you, you’ve been writing what are some of the more recent books that you’ve written?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 56:15
Well, after this, this book for the IT trade association experience, I started working on another book in a very different arena, I I got involved in multiple support groups, for people and families, which are involved with addiction due to a problem in my current family. And due to all this experience, I had previously in in other voluntary movements, I was telling you before, then, I was able to understand the significance of this and also to ask questions, which most participants had never made before. So I was led to get to get in touch with the founders, the leaders and I myself, decided to research subjects which had not been researched before. Maybe you are the audience have heard about the Serenity Prayer which aims in the surface due to Alcoholics Anonymous, which is used in most of mutual support groups are most people just repeat it in a very mechanical way. And don’t think about it at all. Think what it really means. Yeah. I had the that was another very interesting coincidence. One of the founders of the movement, I participated at the time, was an American priest, the father issues with Father, which was American, he was born in southern Texas near to the Mexican border and came here to Brazil at the end of the 60s, he lived pulled up 200 years and nine months in age. And during his last, let’s say, five or six years of life, in fact, I, I had a lot of interaction with him. And he is has written the foreword to this book I wrote about the Serenity Prayer. He even instigated me to publish this book in the United States, put me in contact with some Jesuits in America. But then the pandemic came in. So this is still on the my to do list.
Michael Hingson ** 59:03
I hope it does get published in the United States, I think it would be very beneficial to do it, what got you involved in the whole issue of religion and, you know, in spirituality and so on,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 59:17
but in fact, it’s not. Religion and Spirituality are mixed up with you two interests or by many people, but in fact, they in my vision, they are two very different concepts. I was born in a Jewish family so I, I have this this word view since a child but I’ve never been orthodox. So I’ve always been open to to understand other people and even over time, participated in many other cultures. But the main fact is, when you look at religions, they try to explain how you have to behave or what’s expected in order for you to get some kind of reward. Maybe in this world, or I suppose the next word, or will be after our, that’s us, physically, humans. And Spirituality, in my view is something very different that spirituality is, in fact, a couple of rules, which teach you how to behave, how to act, so that you can benefit from that, and others are not damaged, by the way you are acting. And it’s about interaction and action. And this is very different from religion, if you look at human history, doesn’t matter. If you look at Western civilization, like the crusades in the middle age, or what’s happening over the centuries in India, there are a lot of human wars, which have been fought just for religious differences. So that’s a very, very complicated subject, which we could be talking about for hours, hours. Yeah. Well, I have even a whole speech about the subject, telling you this history of religions and how spirituality is different, is a very interesting subject. And it’s, it is the subjects I touched in this last book. What
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:53
is so unfortunate is God is God, everywhere. But every religion thinks that it’s the only way to get to God. And it’s, it’s, and God just supports that religion. And neither of those is true.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:02:11
In fact, the most religious leaders tried tried to use this as a way of, in some way gaining power. Yeah. That’s what history has, has shown us.
Michael Hingson ** 1:02:28
Yeah, it’s it’s not that way at all.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:02:33
Of course, but the I think the this process of people understanding this and acting in a way, which is collectively positive for the whole of humanity, and it is, in fact, something which is still in its beginnings, we still have wars, for religious reasons.
Michael Hingson ** 1:03:01
Why Well, or we have wars and people, some of the people try to say it’s for religious reasons, but it’s not I mean, look at we’ve experienced over, you know, a little while the whole issue with Israel and Hamas and Israel, and and I’m not gonna say the Muslim world, because I think it isn’t. It doesn’t need to be that way. If you deal with the fact that in reality, that’s the same God. But some people try to use it again for their own purposes, rather than really being very spiritual about it at all.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:03:39
Yeah, the fact that the moment you fire doesn’t matter if it’s a rifle or a missile, or a bomb, you are damaging another human. So yeah, at that moment, you have stopped having a spiritual behavior, right, because you’re out there in one direction you are sending in a nation. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 1:04:02
You mentioned mutual support groups. Tell me more about that.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:04:08
Well, the this is what I mentioned, who wrote the foreword to my book. He was responsible, his name is was Harold ROM, and he brought to Brazil an American movement called the Townsville app to help families of people involved with addiction. That’s got some kind of adaptation here in Brazil. And after a couple of years, this is movement is still active, but I participated there also. But I had some, some problems with it after this. This book came out I At some very difficult problems there. I think this, they were very, very stuck at what they had made up and didn’t want to change anything. And I think the main reason behind is this, the contents I set up in this book that we’re showing something was really needed. Now over any, any human invention needs to be adapted over time, because we are not, God, now we are not perfect. Makeup up can always be entered. And so now for it’s now almost four years, we have set up a new organization called Conscious laughs translating it from Portuguese, which has the same purpose. But we have done a lot of updates to the methodology and having expanded it to cover not only addiction, but also other kinds of very difficult situations people can have in life, like, for example, people who have children with strong disabilities like autism, or, or others, which are really difficult to handle. So,
Michael Hingson ** 1:06:25
have you had any addiction issues in your family? Yeah. So that brings a personal and a little bit closer to home?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:06:35
Yes, of course, the the addiction in society is still kind of taboo. And you know, most people don’t know what’s happening. Most people don’t want to learn about it. And it’s very, very, at least here in Brazil, most people who are not informed about the subject tend to do some moral judgment, while in fact, it’s a disease. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 1:07:12
I know. And there are a lot of people who drink a lot of alcohol. I’ve never liked the taste of alcohol, I can drink wine, and I can occasionally have a drink. But I’ve seen people drunk. And I just don’t ever want to be in that position. It doesn’t help. I’ve seen how people behave. And some of the times it’s not been from a person who’s an alcoholic, they just overindulged once, when I was in college, there was one. One colleague, who just drank to excess one night, he wasn’t an alcoholic, he never did it again. But he got really sick from all the drinking. He never did that, again, least in the time that I knew him. But you know, it’s, it’s a problem. And we, we also try to use some of those things to cover up our own fears. And we don’t learn to deal with those either.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:08:13
In fact, for whatever it is, most people are in this situation you are mentioning, they get sequenced, they consider it very, very bad to be in that situation. And don’t repeat it. But that’s another arena where science is still in depth with humanity. And there is a small group of people, which go into addiction very easily that is the but stay saints after using alcohol or other substances is so important for them that they transform themselves in a kind of slaves. Repeat this experience, again and again and again. And medicine already knows that when you repeat this process, the amount of alcohol or other substances, you need to provoke the same result in in your body gets bigger and bigger. So that’s the reason why people who start to drink regularly then drink every time more as the in general, this brings huge health problems for people when they don’t stop and it beings from other other kinds of what’s called the more heavy drugs. In general, are people’s people stop earlier because the consequences come up rapidly and
Michael Hingson ** 1:09:52
for the people who don’t want to face the consequences, and it’s not only a problem for them, but it becomes more of a problem for all of us. Yes,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:09:58
and for people who We live with them. That’s the point. Yeah. Every single person who’s in addiction provokes problems for at least four other people around them. And that’s the reason why these support groups exist, because supporting these people is not as a standard public policy, up to this moment in any country in the world, I know. Yeah, governments are into what’s called the drug wars, and not about the process of healing families. Some health organizations around the world, help people who are in addiction, but the families around them have very little support. And
Michael Hingson ** 1:10:51
so they don’t know what to do about it. And when well
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:10:55
not really know what to do, but it’s so that the addiction changes people’s right, you’re very radically, right. This is it, this creates emotion, very strong emotions inside us when you live together with up to the point you think you are the worst person in the world, you’re having a church problems that nobody else have passed through this. And this is not true. In fact, everyone who goes through this process has the same kind of behavior, but at this is taboo, you have no access to this information, then you are put into this obviously, the first thing we say in support groups, when you come in as you are not alone. There are a lot of people who have gone through the same process.
Michael Hingson ** 1:11:49
And that’s the real point. And that’s the value of support groups is that there are people who have been there they’ve been they’ve done that. And if you let them into your lives, and you learn a lot more about how to deal with it, and how to address it. Well, what kind of activities and initiatives do you have coming up? What’s next for you?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:12:11
Well, I, I’m I told you at the beginning of our conversation, I am into transforming my abilities in time management and discipline into a methodology is become probably another book will become, obviously, a lot of teachings. And structuring this kind of thing is very, it’s a very, has to be done very carefully. Because you are you are involved directly with people’s life. So the idea is helping people to live more significantly to balance all areas of life. It’s customary that people say I don’t have time to do that, and that, but it’s just a matter of choices. No, every day, every moment we can choose what we want to do.
Michael Hingson ** 1:13:14
Always a bad choice.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:13:15
Yeah, exactly. And choice. So this has to be done very carefully. And I think this this many experiences I’ve been telling you about has put me into a situation where I can understand the impact of this is it’s very different when you talk about something like this with people like us in American scenario or if you look at people in other cultures. So this has to be in respected, but at the same time, humans are although there are differences, we have also similarities which can be explored if we are carefully to to deliver this, I believe worldwide. But this is a huge pretension and I am doing it carefully. So that it really goes through it. I’m not in a hurry to to produce this publicly. But I’m already developed some speeches with some parts of this. I think people are liking it. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 1:14:35
I hope it gets translated into English as it gets done and I can I would love to read it.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:14:42
In fact, we’ll do the work we are doing in the cultures of movement. We are already developing many things in various languages. And while you were asking me the previous question, I was remembering a phrase from Elizabeth Gilbert now, he wrote that about their share experience traveling in the Middle East and then to the Far East. He was into the film, maybe you heard about her. And she was also a person which addiction problems. And there’s a phrase I remember too, when you were talking about religion and spirituality, and he, she says that religions are the way they promise you to save you from hell. And spirituality is for those who have already been in hell.
Michael Hingson ** 1:15:42
That point? Well, I want to thank you for being with us. We, we’ve done well over an hour. And that’s fine. That means we’ve, we’ve enjoyed it. And I hope everyone listening has enjoyed it. And I really appreciate you being here. And I hope that you listening, enjoyed this and found it useful and inspiring and helpful as well. Love to hear your thoughts. So how can people reach out to you learn about what you do as a consultant and so on? And if they’d like to reach out how do they do that?
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:16:19
Well, the easiest way is, I have a website. That personal my personal website is ROberto C. Meyer, my name.com.br is spelled out that I have a QR code projected here in my background where people can access this directly.
Michael Hingson ** 1:16:38
Could you go ahead and spell the website? Yes,
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:16:42
it’s the domain name is. My name is Roberto our R O B E R, T. O. C, which is the initial of my middle name. Mayer my surname M q y e r.com.br. From Brazil, Brazil, right.
Michael Hingson ** 1:17:06
Okay. Well, I hope people will reach out. I very much enjoyed this and also want to keep in touch, we can certainly explore that. But I want to thank you. And I also want to thank you for listening. If you’d like to reach out to me any one you’re welcome to do that. I’d love to get your thoughts and comments. Feel free to email me at Michaelhi m i c h a e l h i at accessibe A c c e s s i b e.com. Or go to our website, www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And hingson is h i n g s o n So www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. Wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We love those ratings. And we really value them and appreciate them and all of the comments that you want to make. So please give us a five star rating and review the podcast and hope you’ll listen to other episodes if you haven’t if you just discovered us. Welcome I hope to see you on more of these. And Roberto one last time I want to thank you for being with us and spending all your time.
Roberto Carlos Mayer ** 1:18:10
Thanks to you, Michael for your invitation.
Michael Hingson ** 1:18:23
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com . AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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