In this episode, we explore an inspiring journey from the factory floor to the forefront of AI technology with my guest, Manuj Aggarwal.
Manuj navigated a life filled with obstacles, beginning with his $2/day factory job in rural India.
Learn about his decision to invest a year’s salary in a computer course, discovering his immediate love for technology, and how it ignited a passion that would change his life forever.
He now holds 4 patents in AI, and created over $500 million in value for clients like Microsoft, IBM, Pearson Education, and more. His work has impacted over 10 million lives, and has been mentioned by leaders including President Obama and Bill Gates.
So press play and let’s chat… and hear a testament to the power of resilience, an unyielding spirit of curiosity, and the future of AI.
Join us in a live webinar for deeper training, career Q&A, and FREE stuff! HAPPY HOUR! Live with Zach
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The Happy Engineer Podcast
WATCH EPISODE 107: 1000% ADVANTAGE TO REACH YOUR DREAMS WITH MANUJ AGGARWAL | FOUNDER OF TETRANOODLE TECHNOLOGIES
[00:00:49] “From Manual Labor to Business Tycoon Dreamer”
[00:09:00] “The Power of Mindset in Engineering: Lessons Learned”
[00:14:32] “From Job Losses to Thought Leader: An AI Journey”
[00:18:08] “Artificial Intelligence: Uncovering Its Hidden History & Applications”
[00:26:48] “The Future of Work: Radical Changes Ahead”
[00:30:07] “Why Fear Around AI is Misinformed and Unnecessary”
[00:34:27] “Unlocking AI’s Potential: Asking Better Questions and Telling Compelling Stories”
[00:41:16] “Unlocking the transformative power of AI”
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Manuj Aggarwal (LinkedIn)
- Manuj’s Website
- Do you need help in transforming yourself to a successful career and a balanced life? Book a FREE Career Clarity Call now!
LISTEN TO EPISODE 107: 1000% ADVANTAGE TO REACH YOUR DREAMS INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF
1000% ADVANTAGE TO REACH YOUR DREAMS
Happy engineer! Let’s talk about Manuj’s inspiring journey and how it can motivate us to overcome obstacles.
His story reminds us that we have no excuses when it comes to pursuing our goals in business, life, and marriage. So let’s get out of our own way and make it happen!
Now, let’s address the question about money as a motivator.
For many people, money isn’t the sole driving force in life, and that’s okay.
Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, when the internet was booming, everyone was focused on using it to get rich.
One notable example is Tim Ferris, who wrote the controversial yet eye-opening book “The Four Hour Work Week.”
Ferris showed us that the internet could be used not just for wealth accumulation but also for creating a lifestyle of freedom.
Similarly, when we consider the possibilities of AI, it’s not just about becoming as rich as possible in the shortest time. It’s about leveraging a 100X advantage to create the life we truly desire.
It’s about using AI to align with our unique vision, dreams, and values.
However, it’s essential to have clarity in what we want to achieve. Defining our purpose, values, and a compelling vision is critical. If you need help with that, let’s connect and work on it together.
When you have a clear vision, think about the possibilities of having a 100X advantage over the next 20 years.
Imagine achieving your dreams a hundred times faster, easier, and with greater enjoyment.
Consider the tremendous impact you could have on something that truly matters to you. Don’t limit the potential of AI to just financial gains; think about how it can transform your life.
Now, let’s revisit a point from earlier in the conversation. Manuj invested a full year’s salary to enroll in his first computer class, even resorting to illegal means to obtain the funds.
While we don’t endorse such behavior, it highlights an important lesson. Personal finance is crucial, and investing in ourselves is just as important as investing in long-term financial growth.
Allocate a portion of your income to personal development, whether it’s books, conferences, or hiring coaches. Investing in yourself yields unlimited returns and creates lasting change.
So here’s an action for you. Check your budget and see what percentage of your income you’re setting aside for personal growth and development. If it’s zero, let’s change that.
Invest in yourself, whether through hiring a coach, taking an AI course, or joining a Mastermind group.
Don’t underestimate the power of self-investment—it’s where the greatest returns come from.
Now, go explore and expand your thinking about AI, your vision, and your dreams.
Let’s embrace the possibilities and make them a reality.
ABOUT MANUJ AGGARWAL
“To say I identify with the underdog would be an understatement. I went from a low-wage worker in India earning just $2 a day working for my father in warehouses to working with the top companies in the world.
I shook off my limiting beliefs and created my own path as a thought leader in Artificial Intelligence over the past two decades. Recently, I spoke alongside Nobel Prize Winner at the United Nations.
I’m the author of two best-selling books, and the host of Bootstrapping Your Dreams, where I help entrepreneurs live their dreams. Right now, the podcast is listed in the top 0.1% worldwide according to Listen to Notes for podcasts related to entrepreneurship.
If you want to finally rise above your past limiting beliefs, family philosophies, and upbringing, I can help.
I know what it takes to remove your poorly functioning operating system and replace it with a new mindset made to hold all your dreams and ambitions.
If you want to finally break through your glass ceilings, and achieve what’s possible for you and your life, I encourage you to click the button below and schedule a call. Together, we’ll make your dreams a reality.”
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:
Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.
[00:00:00] Zach White: Welcome to the Happy Engineer Podcast. Glad you’re here, man. Thank you so much.
[00:00:05] Manuj Aggarwal: Thank you. Excited to be here.
Expand to Read Full Transcript
[00:00:11] Zach White: No kidding. So, you know, your bio is extraordinary, but there’s so many parts of your life story that are equally extraordinary and what I’d love to do, To kick things off is actually go back to, you know, age 15.
[00:00:22] And you’ve told this in many podcasts, but the happy engineers may not know your story. And take us back to India, age 15, that first role in the factory. What were you doing? What’s going on in your life at that time?
[00:00:38] Manuj Aggarwal: uh, I grew up in a small town in India, and, uh, in order to Get on with my life, if you will.
[00:00:44] Like, it’s, it’s a very competitive environment there. I started working in the factory at 15 and I was doing all kinds of like, manual labor job, maintaining books, talking to people, anything and everything that needed to be done. I did it I learned a, quite a bit about business, about people, about, you know, manufacturing.
[00:01:04] but also it was a very tough life where hard 12 hours a day, six days a week, and getting $2 a day, and pay was very, very difficult. so I wanted to change my life and, um, I had a, a lot of influence from other people who were successful and I heard their stories.
[00:01:22] they were my neighbors. They were my, you know, friends, dads or parents or what have you. And I knew life can be bigger and I didn’t know, like, you know, what that meant for me. one day I was going through some business magazines and I read these stories of these business tycoons. Who had made empires like huge empires starting from nothing.
[00:01:42] I was like, okay, you know, if these guys can figure out, how to do it, then I should be, or anybody should be able to figure it out. I mean, after all their humans. Right.
[00:01:51] Zach White: let me ask you this cuz this is an interesting. awareness for that to enter your world. And I’m gonna be really honest, pish, when I think about the stereotypical, 15 year old in a rural town in India, far from any of the major metropolis areas like where you were at, that’s really unlikely that you would have those influences as neighbors or somebody giving you that magazine like.
[00:02:15] I’m kind of curious, do you feel the same? Like, I, I just got lucky, or does everyone have That opportunity, but maybe just not everybody recognizes it.
[00:02:25] Manuj Aggarwal: I think it’s, the latter. Everyone has the opportunity. So let me clarify. Like when I say successful people in my neighborhood, I come from a state called Punjab in India and there’s a lot of people, who have immigrated out of.
[00:02:38] That state, into different countries. they come back, during holidays visiting families, and they tell the tales of, develop countries where everybody drives a car. Everybody lives in a nice home. there’s, um, facilities available if you, you know, if you need help, free medical free education.
[00:02:57] None of these things are. Like even remotely possible in India, especially back then, I’m talking 30 years ago. So just listening to those stories, like, oh, that means life is so much bigger than what we are told to, uh, accept as as life is. And so to, to answer your question, I think. if we are so inclined we can find these stories everywhere.
[00:03:20] it’s on you. It’s, it’s in your personality to seek out what you want to seek out.
[00:03:25] Zach White: Yeah. What do you think? Gave you that personality? Did your parents teach you this? Or, or, or like, what, what was that moment where you started to get more curious about what’s possible for your future?
[00:03:38] Manuj Aggarwal: that’s a great question. It’s, it’s, it’s my curiosity to experience whatever I can experience. Like life is so colorful, so much variety in life, Most people, I’m not even talking, let alone India. Like I’ve met so thousands of people here in North America who have not stepped foot outside of their country or even their state.
[00:04:01] their point of view and their life experience is so narrow. I’m not like, Criticizing them for anything but just making an observation that if, if they realize how colorful life is and how many more experiences are out there, I just want to fill up my life with as many experiences as, as possible.
[00:04:23] And yeah, and, and in order to do that, you have to seek, unfamiliar territories. You have to step outside of your comfort zone because that is where a new experience lies, right? Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[00:04:35] Zach White: Okay. So before I start saying, how did you get from a factory in India to one of the world’s leading AI thought experts, let’s really quick.
[00:04:45] In the factory days, would you tell me, minoosh, what’s the hardest, most nasty moment? what’s your memory? Tell us a story, like the hardest thing you ever had to do in a factory at age 15. What was it?
[00:04:59] Manuj Aggarwal: So, um, this factory manufactured, industrial fasteners, steel, made of steel. And so in order to.
[00:05:07] Make that you have to almost, um, make the steel red hot almost to the melting point. Sure, absolutely. So there were large furnaces, in the factory and in India it gets really hot during summertime. So, I, I don’t know how much it is in Fahrenheit, but it’s 50 degrees centigrade, so it’s like, I believe it’s like 120 or so, in Fahrenheit.
[00:05:30] and the furnace is about, 1500 degrees or something along those lines. But you have to work in that environment with 120 degrees
[00:05:39] Zach White: outside. Yeah. Hundred and 22 Fahrenheit. Holy smokes. Yeah.
[00:05:43] Manuj Aggarwal: and the environment is smokey cuz of the furnace, like a lot of smoke, a lot of suit dust.
[00:05:49] it’s like, you know, you, you just become part of, That, uh, earth or, uh, the dust and the, and the dirt. You just become part of that. And, and when you come home, uh, you know, after your days shift, I kid you not like you’re completely black. you cannot wear a shirt.
[00:06:07] More than one day if you wear a white shirt, it’s gonna be pretty much gray or black, black shirt. Yeah.
[00:06:14] Zach White: Yeah. Wow. from a health perspective, uh, how do you stay hydrated or, I mean, it just sounds really challenging. It
[00:06:22] Manuj Aggarwal: is very challenging. Um, the surprising thing I found is that the body is very resilient, the more You are exposed to germs and un unclean environment, the more resilient and stronger it becomes.
[00:06:36] It’s a surprising thing, right? Like, our mind plays a big role in this. If our mind does not know there is something better out there, then it accepts. Our current situation as the, as the normal. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And then everything around us starts to adjust. Now that doesn’t mean that people don’t get sick.
[00:06:55] I used to get sick almost on monthly basis. but then, becomes normal. Like it’s, you normalize it and you say, Hey, this is, What life is. You know, everybody gets sick once a month and so be it like, you know and life just goes on until, and unless you realize, oh, there is a better way, there’s a yeah, better environment, you know, you shouldn’t be sick so often and all that stuff.
[00:07:20] Zach White: there’s this big engineering life lesson to paint from what you just said, and we could probably spend the whole episode just talking about this, but how we normalize our current reality, tell ourselves a story and how the mind controls so much of what’s possible for us today. And, Manu, I could say for every single client I’ve ever coached this.
[00:07:41] Idea,it’s not 122 Fahrenheit working in a factory and calling that normal, but they are calling their own painful situation, normal, their own lack of career progression or lack of happiness or lack of fill in the blank thing as normal. I think it’s so useful to just say what’s gonna be that.
[00:08:02] Conversation you overhear from your neighbor or that magazine where you read about the business tycoon that opens you up to new possibilities, so, exactly. Exactly. Super good. All right, so here we are. And then where did technology enter the scene? How did you get your first taste of technology?
[00:08:18] Manuj Aggarwal: Yes.
[00:08:18] So after reading those magazines, you know, I realized, okay, I need a valuable skill. I need something that can increase my value, and I can use that skill to increase my impact. Only then I will be able to get out of my situation. Financially. So, I enrolled in a computer, institute
[00:08:39] And this was a small town, uh, you know, there was only one, computer institute in that town, like, you know, and there were like 25 seats or so. the, the fee was more than my yearly salary, so I could not afford it. The first year around. So I, I sort of, saved some money for the next year and so I enrolled in the, the following year and I just fell in love with the computers and programming.
[00:09:04] Zach White: whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa up. Yeah. We gotta put a big exclamation plan on this finish. You invested one year worth of your salary. Into joining a technology course. Yeah. Not even like a full program, four year degree, we’re talking about Okay. How many people need to hear like the level of commitment to your future that I will do whatever it takes.
[00:09:31] Like most people don’t even wanna spend, 500 bucks to take a a course, you know, and that’s a small fraction of Yeah. You know, an engineering salary. Yeah. I just love that. So you, you saw the. This investment, you couldn’t do it now, and you just saved and sacrificed whatever it takes Yeah.
[00:09:49] To get
[00:09:49] Manuj Aggarwal: to. Yeah. And, and, and I, and I, I did a lot of, uh, bad things. I actually stole some money to, to, to cover up for some gap that I couldn’t make it. I mean, you know, I’m not proud of anything, uh, that I did in those days, but, I mean in terms of the, the wrongdoings, but, when you are driven, to do something, it’s like, okay, you know, I’m gonna do it, come hell or high water, it doesn’t matter,
[00:10:12] I’ll see what lies on the other side of the.
[00:10:16] Zach White: That energy of drive, that’s the unstoppable force of human nature. I just love it when somebody gets their head and their heart fully committed the way you’re talking about. So what a gift. All you, you get in, you take this first course.
[00:10:30] Was it love at first, you know, line of code or what, what
[00:10:34] Manuj Aggarwal: kinda habit? Yeah, absolutely. You know, I was, uh, I, I still, I’m an introvert, but back then I was an extreme introvert. I could not like communicate with, with people. Especially with the, you know, opposite sex. And I was like, okay, machines are so amazing.
[00:10:48] Like, they don’t talk back. They just obey your orders and, and how wonderful it is that I can write a piece of code, I can have fun while doing it, but moreover, I can take a copy of that code and then I can give it to somebody else and it’ll solve their problem. Like, how amazing is that? Right? So, there is win-win for everyone.
[00:11:09] Like I am enjoying it. I’m helping people. And you get paid for all this. Like, this is
[00:11:15] Zach White: amazing. This is amazing. What, what year would this be? Put us in context.
[00:11:19] Manuj Aggarwal: This is 1995.
[00:11:22] Zach White: 95, okay. Yeah, so. So, I mean, still pretty early and in some aspects, kind of beginning of the internet getting its real grip. Yes, yes. On
[00:11:32] Manuj Aggarwal: the world.
[00:11:32] Okay. We didn’t have internet, like our, uh, the machines in our lab were 3 86, with one hard drive, like I think 10. Hundred megabytes or something like that, and one floppy disc and no network, no nothing. so it was pretty, uh, primitive.
[00:11:51] Zach White: Um, you can geek out with me here. You know, the happy engineers we, you talk about.
[00:11:54] So, so are we talking three and a half inch f floppies or are we talking big F floppies? Exactly. Okay.
[00:11:58] Manuj Aggarwal: Three and a half. We started with 5.25, then three. Yeah. More than we, we got the modern version of it. Yeah. High high tech man.
[00:12:07] Zach White: Yeah. Okay. I, I would love to cover all the bases between there and here, but I also know we have a lot to talk about in, in current day and your expertise in ai.
[00:12:16] So give us the fast track. How did you get from first course writing code and, and falling in love with technology to where we are today?
[00:12:26] Manuj Aggarwal: uh, you know, I graduated from that course, I was actually seventh ranked seventh and all India. so I was like, what, uh, you know, I, I, couldn’t believe it.
[00:12:34] So I was like, okay, you know, uh, seems like I’m doing something right. And then, I moved to Canada and uh, this was.com boom time. I got a job. Then I lost the job, multiple jobs, like three or four jobs, um, because that was a, like a, you know, a period of, you know, a lot of, uh, unrest in the world, right?
[00:12:53] Uh, dot com last happened and September 11th, then Gulf four. So I started my consulting company after losing my job three, four times. Uh, it was basically the same concept, technology consulting, but now working with multiple clients. So I worked with hundreds of startups. I worked with Microsoft, uh, IBM Pearson Education, generated hundreds of millions of dollars working with them for them.
[00:13:19] building global systems. And then I had a lot of challenges in my personal life, so societal thoughts, depression. And that led me to sort of work on my own mind, my own understanding, my own, personality understanding neuroscience. that gave me a real good insight on how we create our own reality.
[00:13:43] So as I was getting deeper into myself, I was also getting deeper into artificial intelligence. So I did my first project on artificial intelligence in, uh, around 2006. you know, I was getting heavily into that. So as I was learning about the human psychology, neuroscience, and I was learning about ai, I saw the continuum between these two, paradigms.
[00:14:04] Our mind interacts with AI and vice versa. And how they change each other and they, they sort of influence each other. that was the journey. And, you know, during this process, I got four patterns in artificial intelligence. Wrote a couple of books on technology and just keep meeting like amazing people, like world class people.
[00:14:25] even to, to this day, I cannot believe I have had, you know, interactions with these kind of people. And the thing about becoming a thought leader is, see, influence and credibility is like a contagious disease, if you stand next to a, influential and, uh, credible person, You a little bit of that rubs off on you, like it’s like contagious disease and uh, all of a sudden you, you find yourself, oh, you know, I’m a thought leader.
[00:14:51] Now I’m an influencer. So it’s, it’s, it’s that kind of a thing that organically
[00:14:55] Zach White: happens. Yeah. I love that. Two things really quick, what you said your first AI sort of deep dives began around 2006. Is that what I heard you say? That’s, that’s right. That’s interesting to me because, Here we’re 2023 recording this, and we’re at what is the beginning of a complete revolution of technology around ai.
[00:15:18] Most people probably outside of science fiction didn’t even know or care about what AI was in 2006. Mm-hmm. So can you just describe really quickly what was happening in that world? What, like what were you actually working on in 2006 in relationship to AI versus what we’re thinking today? Yeah, what did that look
[00:15:37] Manuj Aggarwal: like?
[00:15:38] AI has been around since the seventies, so you know, in various forms, but a lot of people don’t, uh, don’t know, but it has been around for a long time. To answer your question, artificial intelligence is at, at a basic level. It is a technology that can find very minute detailed patterns in data and tell us what is actually happening.
[00:16:00] So during 2006, 2007, first I was, uh, working with Microsoft. Obviously huge system, tons and tons of data about their global customers, and then working with Pearson Education, and they had a large system supporting millions and millions of students. So Pearson Education is a educational technology company.
[00:16:21] And so when you have large amount of data, then you start to figure, uh, think, okay, what can we do with this data? What can I, how can I improve user experience? How can I help students? Get better education. And one of the ideas that we came up with was, uh, see every student in a classroom gets the same curriculum.
[00:16:41] So let’s say there’s a classroom of 30 students, every student gets the same curriculum, even though we know that some, some people are more proficient in a topic. Yes, yes. And some people are a little bit behind, so they all need a little bit of a personalized plan to get them to the standard of what education on that topic should be.
[00:16:59] So we created, this algorithm or platform which uses AI algorithms to, deploy in a classroom. whether that classroom is 30 kids, 60 kids, a hundred kids or whatever, every student will get a personalized education plan based on their, uh, level of understanding on that topic. So that was the first, uh, artificial intelligence, product that we worked on.
[00:17:26] Zach White: Cool. I love it. Yeah. And, and, I appreciate the reminder that the ideas that drove what the AI revolution we’re experiencing today began in the seventies. Yeah. Yeah. Manu, I wasn’t alive in the seventies, so it’s, that’s, that is a really good perspective, though. This isn’t like a, a thing that just happened here since 2020.
[00:17:45] It’s something that’s been in the works for decades and we’re just now experiencing that inflection point where all the, the forces are colliding, so, I wanna come back to one other thing before I talk about modern day. You mentioned this contagious of being a thought leader and you know, the, the data is out there in all sorts of ways.
[00:18:04] You know, whether it’s health conditions, you know, obesity, intelligence, in this case, thought leadership or influence maybe as a personal brand, et cetera, where the proximity of who we’re around creates. A shift, a change, and and power in our lives in some cases. Yeah. So I’m curious for you, who are the people that had the biggest impact on pulling you and rubbing off on you to become the incredible global thought leader that you are today?
[00:18:31] I’m wondering if there’s any names you might specifically point to and say like, these people changed my trajectory.
[00:18:37] Manuj Aggarwal: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, there are countless people, but I, I’ll mention one name. His name is Steve Sims. if you don’t know him, like look him up on, uh, on the internet, uh, very colorful personality.
[00:18:48] his story is that he used to be a brick player in, uh, in London. And now he’s one of the most well connected people on the planet, knows everybody in the Hollywood, knows every billionaire. he even got a couple they got married and he facilitated it by the Pope. By the pop in the Vatican.
[00:19:10] Zach White: Okay. That is awesome. Steve Sims, um, I know the name, but I can’t picture his face right now. I will definitely look him up after this. But, uh, so Steve, if you listen to this episode, thank you for supporting Minoosh and becoming the amazing leader that, that he is. Did, did you have any signature story or moment with Steve when you guys met or were hanging out, or how did you get connected?
[00:19:33] Manuj Aggarwal: Yeah, I mean, it was, uh, surprisingly enough, it was through a podcast interview. So he basically, uh, you know, his, um, way of life is how to build relationships and how to nurture those relationships. So I learned so much from him about how to build relationships, how to approach influential people, how to talk to them.
[00:19:54] And the way that my journey started with him, he, he told me in my podcast interview, I was like, how did you, how did you get in touch with the Pope? How did you convince him to, marry off this couple? And he told me that, see, everybody wants something. Even the Pope wants something. So if you can figure out a way what he wants and give it to him, then he will be give, willing to give it, give whatever you want, give something.
[00:20:20] So I said, okay, you know, so what is it that you want? What do you like? And he’s told me that, well, you are Indian. So I like, uh, you know, I’ll tell you like I, I, I’m obsessed about Indian food. So I said, okay, fine. So I, um, sent him a, a bunch of, Indian spices that, um, that I really like and, that started my journey off with him.
[00:20:40] And then, uh, you know, one thing led to another and, um, and he put me in touch with a lot of people. I put him in touch, uh, like I also. Awesome. Yeah, so I, I sort of, uh, started using his method. He has got some really good books, so I will highly recommend, uh, people
[00:20:58] Zach White: read it. Okay, awesome. Well, uh, I love that.
[00:21:01] And again, back to the. Extrapolating, but it’s not just about Steve Sims. Like this is a lesson for every engineer. You know, someone who you wanna influence or you wanna, you know, get help from, or you would like to learn from them or whatever. Do the, the lifting, the heavy lift, go figure out what they want.
[00:21:20] Let’s go like, put in the effort. Go find that out. And it’s amazing what doors can be opened. So here you are today. At the beginning or or in the middle, I guess, of this incredible transition in technology. And I’d love to hear you frame how you see this stretch of history that we’re living right now.
[00:21:42] And you made a couple comments to me before we hit record. I thought were really compelling, but just kind of lay it out. How do you see the impact of AI on technology and really what’s happening in the world that we’re living in today?
[00:21:54] Manuj Aggarwal: I believe we are living in a transformative, era right now. I think we will for generations to come.
[00:21:59] We’ll remember this, period as when humanity sort of went from, uh, 1.0 version to 2.0 version. I think we are upgrading into a total new, uh, version of ourselves because AI is so transformative because it will actually help us, Sort of focus on What are the important actions that humans need to do for everything that we do?
[00:22:24] There are 10 other things that we generally do, which are something that we don’t really like. You know, if you are running a business, you may not like accounting, you may not like finance, you may not like you know sales, but in order to run the business, You have to do all of that, or you have to hire a good team of people around you.
[00:22:44] Yes. But with ai, all of that will change. Now. I don’t want to, Increase the fear that they will lose their job because of ai. I can address it in a separate, uh, question. But, but the idea is that new jobs will be created. Uh, you can expect that there will be one man companies going public in few years because everything else will be done by ai, in my opinion.
[00:23:09] Just like, you know, again, uh, Uh, no, no offense to anybody who’s religious, but I believe, just like we say, there was a period before Christ and there was period after Christ. I think, uh, humans will say, you know, there was a period before AI and there’s a period after ai, and that’s how powerful this is.
[00:23:30] Zach White: I liked how you said earlier too, if, if you imagined the internet itself as a technology led to. X in terms of transformation. W would you finish that statement again?
[00:23:42] Manuj Aggarwal: What was it? You said it, it is going to be at least a hundred x or it’s not thousand x. It’s, it’s, it’s a complete trans the way that we think about life is going to change.
[00:23:51] Because right now we think, oh, life is about, you know, getting a job, uh, uh, wake up in the morning, uh, you know, work, till evening and you get, uh, two days off and you get your money and you know, you, you spend your life. But in my opinion, I think work hours will shift radically, in my opinion. Maybe we won’t even have to work eight hours a day, maybe one hour.
[00:24:14] Mm-hmm. Two hours a day. Mm-hmm. Um, uh, the abundance, uh, that we will experience will be, it, it’ll be astonished as astonishing how much we will be able to enjoy life, in my opinion, because, 80% of the world economy. G D P I think is based on service-based industries and service-based industries are nothing else but like banking, infrastructure, insurance and things like that.
[00:24:38] Sure, yeah. And that, and that is only to. Protect ourselves from ourselves, like humans are fickle, creatures. Right? Like the, the, the, you know, we are weird in many ways. We cannot trust each other and, you know, we do funny things sometimes. So in order to have a, a normal society, we have come up with these checks and balances where we can, function.
[00:24:59] But with AI taking over all of that infrastructure will be pretty much automated. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So, so you can see like, okay. You know, this microphone that we are using, it costs, let’s say a hundred dollars $80. in that cost is generally just services that we added due to our own activities.
[00:25:16] So if that is automated, you will be able to buy this microphone for $20. so those kind of shifts, you can start to expect, you can start to expect, you know, driving, for example. Driving will be for luxury generally, otherwise, you know, The machines will do the work. if you want to interact with a, a business, mostly it’ll be just talking to your AI and say, Hey, you know, I want to get this done.
[00:25:40] Just talk to Yeah. Uh, the business and get it done. So these
[00:25:43] Zach White: kind of things, or even more fun minu, it’s like my AI will talk to their AI and I won’t even have to be involved to initiate the command. Right? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I love this and we’re starting to paint the picture of a whole new world and I want to come back.
[00:25:58] You, you used two words. That I think are worthy of spending some time on for, for anyone who’s in this world. And of course my work. And a lot of what you do is interacting with engineers. And it’s interesting because they’re the ones building these tools. They’re creating the AI technology, but also then they’re on the receiving end of the impact of these technologies as well.
[00:26:20] So they’re kind of living in both worlds, so to speak. But the words were misinformation and fear. You know, and we kind of talked before, we hit record today, about how one of the things that’s important to you is to address this and help people understand. So maybe starting with this idea of misinformation about ai, where are we hearing the wrong things or maybe taking the wrong mindset?
[00:26:44] Yeah. What, what is in that category? So the
[00:26:46] Manuj Aggarwal: biggest thing is that, you know, um, misinformation from Hollywood, like. AI is going to take over the world and kill humanity. That’s one. The second one is, People like Elon Mascar saying AI is dangerous please put a stop on it. So, to the first one, I say, do you know there are millions of species on this planet and there’s only one species that wages organized war against each other, and that’s human beings.
[00:27:12] And if another species like ai, ai in my mind is another species, it were to evolve into something that can wage war, we’ll have to infuse it with centuries of, trauma, generational trauma, jealousy, insecurity, because that is what war is. a person becomes so jealous and insecure that they wage war against each other.
[00:27:38] So in order for that to happen, somebody will need to sit down, understand, okay, what are these emotions? How do I, create an algorithm for this emotion and plant it into an AI so that it can destroy the world? So that’s seems absurd to me. Second thing, Elon Musk and other people are saying, put a end to ai or Stop it on the flip side, Elon Musk.
[00:28:00] Probably out of everyone on this planet has invested the most in ai. Tesla is an AI company and the self-driving cars is a product of ai. And those self-driving cars, by the way, literally killed people. when they were testing the self-driving car. Yeah. Technology and everybody on the list pretty much.
[00:28:22] Um, that said, okay, stop ai. They have vested interest in developing even more powerful ai. They’re actually doing that, right? So, so you have to read between the lines to really understand what is going on. the second thing about fear is, you know, this, this fear of taking over humanity or losing our jobs.
[00:28:41] Yeah. So to that, I say there is not the first time, a technological revolution has. Has begun many times it has happened in history, you know, starting from the discovery of fire or when the caveman walked out and said, okay, I want to kill an elephant, and feed on that meat for a couple of weeks rather than hunting every day.
[00:29:04] So that we had to figure out, you know, how to push a boulder down the hill and kill a big animal. the idea is that. If you are able to, be, stay curious and upskill yourself, there’s, there’s gonna be better jobs created. So a good example could be, you know, before the internet came along, there was no such thing as a search engine optimization engineer.
[00:29:24] You know, there was no such thing as, a website designer before the smartphone came. There was no such thing as an app developer, right? Yes. So, the idea here is that technology, Creates new opportunities for those who are enterprising enough, but. If people want to stay where they are, no harm in that, but then they don’t get to complain when they see other people making the progress.
[00:29:50] Zach White: Yeah, I really appreciate that. You know, the creative destruction of technology, to your point, it’s not just computers, it dates back As long as mankind has been growing and developing, I agree with that. So Minoosh two things then, and I think this might end up being the first of multiple conversations for us on the podcast, cuz there’s a lot of things I’d love to go deeper with you.
[00:30:12] But first would be the question for someone even like myself, I’m just asking. Well, where do I need to begin to catch the wave? Yeah, how? How do I upskill in the right way? Does it mean I need to go learn how to write code and develop these tools? Is it learning just how to apply them in my business? what do I need to do?
[00:30:32] Especially if I’m in engineering. Maybe I’m a mechanical engineer in automotive and I have a very technical job already. What does it look like for me to begin being a part of this AI revolution? Absolutely.
[00:30:45] Manuj Aggarwal: two things, and these are very basic things, okay? Uh, you don’t need to learn coding, you don’t need to do anything.
[00:30:52] I think we mentioned during our conversation here as well for every good, answer, you need a good question first, right? So we have been taught in our education system to answer the questions, but I believe we should be getting better at asking better questions. So use ai. To get better at asking good questions.
[00:31:12] Mm-hmm. So you asked me a question, how do I use AI to help me? Now AI is a thousand or a million times smarter than I am. Why not just go a sign up for a free account, absolutely free and tell ai, oh, I’m a mechanical engineer. I work in an automotive industry. I’m based in Detroit. You know, I’ve 10 years of experience, blah, blah, blah, everything.
[00:31:39] Can you help me figure out how I can use AI in my life and profession? And you’ll be surprised at how accurate the answers are. And then the light bulbs start to go off and you, you can ask follow up question and, okay, this is interesting. Give me a specific strategy on how I can get there. Okay, that’s great.
[00:31:59] Now give me a daily routine or a tactic that I can do to achieve this strategy and, and get my. goal that I have put in front of me. that’s one way to get started, like start asking questions and get better at asking questions. Because when you interact with ai, you will start to experience your mind expand like you have never experienced before, because every, every other mode of education is research and arduous and hard, hard work.
[00:32:28] In this case. It’s like literally you ask the question, answer is given to you. It’s like, you know, yes. I love that. And then, and then the second thing is start using AI to tell better stories. Because as human beings, again, we are not taught how to communicate with each other, we are not taught how to build relationships, how to empathize with people.
[00:32:55] And that’s the strangest thing to me. we are taught physics, maths, phy, you know, all of these things, but never anything about how to treat a person sitting next to you. and stories telling stories are a fundamental way to build that connection because stories make an emotional connection with the, with between us, we, we started our conversation by asking, okay, you know, tell me your story, right?
[00:33:22] Because that makes me more relatable. That makes me like, okay, this person is not just putting himself on the pedestal, but they have gone through some. Ups and downs to be able to understand what this is all about. So if you use AI to say, Hey, I went on a, I went on a trip with my son and you know, I had lots of fun, but I don’t know how to express it.
[00:33:46] Like, because generally most people, when you ask them, you know, what happened on on that trip? They’ll just say two or three sentences, but you ask, AI to give you a detailed 2000 word story, and then you tell that story full of details and full of emotions and, and, you know, uh, memories. And share that with, uh, with, uh, your friends family.
[00:34:05] And you’ll see immediately, you’ll feel a deeper connection with other human beings. In fact, I’ll take it one step further, if something that you desire, that you want to achieve in the next one month. Go to ai, describe it in detail, what that experience will be like for you or whoever you are with, and ask it to write a detailed 2000 word story about that experience, which hasn’t even happened yet.
[00:34:30] Okay? Write it in past tense. as if it has already happened. Read it to yourself for seven days. 10 days, and you will be amazed. Most likely you will actually experience that. In real life.
[00:34:45] Zach White: Manus, this is fun that you would use that example because one of the exercises that I’ve done with every client is exactly that.
[00:34:54] practice of taking our vision and not just putting engineering style of, metrics and goals to it. I wanna make X dollars or achieve y promotion. Yeah. To paint a beautiful picture in a long form and in written word of, this is what it looks like and feels like and what I’m experiencing and these things, and, and then writing it.
[00:35:14] As if it’s already done and to start priming and conditioning the mind that way. So I love the idea of using a tool like this to help you if that’s not a modality that you’ve operated in, and maybe personal development work is new to you to just go say, Hey, help me with this. Because yeah, to your point, it has the world’s information at its fingertips to support you in creating that.
[00:35:35] So cool. oh, I have a thousand questions for you now, and we don’t have the time to do all of them, but here’s the one thing I wanna. Maybe in a way I’ll play devil’s advocate here and frame it from that lens. Yes. Earlier you made the statement that I think is very, uh, it’s a really important one for us to emphasize that AI and these technologies has the potential to free humanity from some of the work that we really don’t enjoy, and it’s gonna open up this opportunity to really find out.
[00:36:06] What is meaningful and purposeful and, and what do we, how do we wanna live? And in a way it’s, you could almost say, well, I’m gonna work less in the future because AI’s gonna take care of all this stuff that I don’t wanna do. Well, there’s some really funny. Corollaries to backing up even to like the 1930s and 1940s mm-hmm.
[00:36:26] Where you read some of these advertisements for, even like home appliances. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And I’ve seen some, cuz I worked at Whirlpool Corporation and mm-hmm. These old ads where they’re talking about, when you get this new oven and this new dishwasher and, with all these technological revolutions, you’re not gonna have anything to do anymore and humans are just gonna be sitting around on the beaches, not, you know.
[00:36:48] And yet we have more technology than ever today. And none of that sort of prophetic picture of what the future would look like from those decades in the past has really come true for very many people. We’re working more than ever, you know, we’re working two jobs just to keep up or whatever. So what would be the thing that would stop AI from having that intended effect, that positive effect in the future?
[00:37:13] And we end up with just an even faster rat race than the one we’re in today.
[00:37:19] Manuj Aggarwal: That’s a great question. the things that will, prevent that from happening will be if we underestimate the power of AI and keep doing the things like treat AI as just a catalyst to do the same thing faster.
[00:37:34] Do more of that, do more of that. Like right now, charge G P D is being used to create so much more content, write more emails, write more blogs. And we think that’s the extent of what the power of AI is, right? And, and we are just doing it more and more, not realizing that the other end of. Ai, which is Google or social media platform where we want to get attention.
[00:37:57] That’s also AI algorithm by the way. So if I just keep pumping out more stuff, you know that AI is going to learn that this, person, you know, is just pumping out more stuff. So I don’t want to give them more exposure. So if you understand how this is working, then you can start to think, okay.
[00:38:13] You know, just like we said, okay, how can I improve my life using ai? How can I find cure for cancer, for using ai? How can I solve climate change for ai? So if we start to really understand the power of this technology and solve some real problems and even use it in policy making, the thing is that humans are all biased.
[00:38:37] You know, we, we talk about AI being biased, humans are. Immensely biased. and that is because of our limited sort of understanding of what our world, is all about. But if we collect data, And then we rely on that data to, to make our policies, to make our rules and regulations. That is a much more objective reality, and we, we, we are not able to see that.
[00:38:59] Our mind is not able to see that. So if we use AI in those transformative ways, then yes, society is going to change. But if we keep using it to do the same thing. Again and again, it’s, it’s gonna get even more
[00:39:13] Zach White: complicated. Yeah. That’s a really good point. And, and how many times in our lives already have we used a technology, um, in, in a way that’s still limited by our own thinking?
[00:39:24] It just, I, I just do more of what I was gonna do anyway faster and create more problems, or, people often ask me in coaching, you know, like, Zack, what’s your favorite app for X, Y, or Z? And it’s like, well, hold on. I, like, before we start, Technologically enabling all these new processes in your life, like w.
[00:39:41] Does it even work for you? Is this even important for you? Like Exactly. So I love that. Um hmm. Okay. We could keep going all day, Manish, but I know, let’s leave it there for the moment. I know this is gonna spark interest in the happy engineer out there to wanna learn more and follow you. So how can people get connected with your thought leadership in this space and just everything that you’re up to in AI and tech?
[00:40:03] Manuj Aggarwal: Yeah, you can visit my website, manal.com or you can find me on LinkedIn manal. I have another site where I list all my social connections. It’s man.ca so my first name.ca. And feel free to connect with me and tell me you heard me on this,
[00:40:19] Zach White: Brilliant. We’ll put the links in the show notes.
[00:40:22] Please do go follow Manu in his content and, just so much to learn and discover and let him know you heard him on the Happy Engineer Podcast. Manu, let’s lay on the plane here and excited to hear your thoughts, but what came up in this chat multiple times, how important questions are and questions lead answers follow.
[00:40:41] So if the happy engineer listening wants better answers in their life, What would be the question you would lead them with today?
[00:40:51] Manuj Aggarwal: So I will, uh, ask them to ask this question to themselves. If using the power of internet, Jeff Bezos became the richest person on the planet in 20 years, now that you have a hundred x opportunity in front of you, what can you achieve in the next 20 years to transform your life with ai?
[00:41:14] Zach White: Ooh, I, I, I’m feeling the chills. I love that. Yeah. What a cool parallel too. if Bezos could do it with only the internet at his disposal in 20 years, what is possible for you in the next 20 with a 100 x advantage? Yes. So powerful. Man. Thank you again for your generosity to be here, share your story and your wisdom with us.
[00:41:41] I do hope we can continue pulling this thread at some point in the future and Absolutely. Absolutely. Just a pleasure. Wanna acknowledge you, man, for your leadership in this space and
[00:41:50] Manuj Aggarwal: thank you so much for, thank you for your kind word. Thank you.
[00:41:52] Zach White: Absolutely. Let’s do it again sometime.