February 2, 2017
Cancel the Future, because for some mysterious and slightly ironic reason, the process of Making America Great Again isn’t going to include America’s Greatest Makers. Intel just announced to myself and 23 other disappointed teams of inventors and makers in an impersonal and unconciliatory email that they have canceled their plans to proceed with Season 2 of America’s Greatest Makers, just a few weeks before filming was about to begin and days after the Inauguration and first wave of Executive Orders were signed. So far there has been no announcement via public press release, their general mailing list or either of the AGM or Intel websites have been updated with this information.
In May of 2016 we were participating as an invited exhibitor at the San Francisco Bay Area Maker Faire where myself and a small team exhibited an interactive work of art which is a brain wave entrainment meditation chamber featuring experimental quantum computing technology which causes most participants to experience a state of extreme relaxation. It was here that Intel agents saw a line of people waiting up to an hour for our five-minute entertrainment experience and recruited us to apply to appear and compete on the show.
The design is what I call a Biodynamic Quantum Computing Platform and our proposal was to create a table-top version with EEG interface that also levitates and spins in response to human consciousness.
Could it be that we are the first casualties from the shots fired in a domestic political war against the thinkers and doers of America by signing executive orders that may include the defunding of Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)?
The producer of America’s Greatest Makers is Mark Burnett, who also produced The Apprentice and has had a long and close relationship with the now President. Needless to say, Mark Burnett is part of the Trump Camp regardless of the nature of their relationship. Burnett has even distanced himself from President Trump’s political campaign with public statements such as “Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points. I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division, and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.” Despite these comments, he was involved as a producer in the Presidential Inauguration ceremony and is co-producing Celebrity Apprentice along with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
At the end of the day, the success of any television program is largely determined by the viewership ratings. I could easily imagine someone from the Trump administration whispering inside information into the ear of Mark Burnett and/or Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, that starting a big expensive TV show research project right now would probably not be a good idea. If filming had started on time, the initial two-week Intel training tech camp would have been completed by April and 24 camera crews would have been deployed throughout the country to follow and film the teams as they bring their dreams into fruition. 24 camera crews receiving pay and travel expenses as well as coordinated support and editing from the studio makes for a large production budget. This is not the kind of money any production company would risk knowing there was an eminent threat to their ratings.
Here are the last email communications between myself and the casting producer of the show.
Intel and MGM have spent the past few months making tweaks to the show and it sounds as if they are about ready to set film dates. This is extremely common in the second season of a new show, as they are always working to keep everything fresh and exciting. I will let you know the information soon. Thanks!
This was seemingly good news with no indication at all that Intel is even considering not going through with production. A few weeks later we receive the below message notifying us that Intel has selected us to participate in the show. During previous conversations with the casting producers I was told that Intel’s approval was the final step in the process, but to potentially be prepared for last minute casting decisions.
I wanted to let you know that we are finally gearing back up to begin production on America’s Greatest Makers S2! In the time that we have been on hiatus, Intel made another round of cuts, and you have made it through to the next round of casting. Congrats! The next steps could move quickly, in the form of filling out some paperwork and final casting decisions being made by the network.
As of now, filming is set to take place around the end of February to the first week of April. We will not be filming with all teams at the same time, so you would not be required to be on location that entire time. We will lock in individual shoot dates once all casting decisions have been finalized.
Please let me know if anything has come up in this time that may conflict with filming and we will do our best to work with you. We’re very excited to have you still in consideration for the show.
Thanks so much!
If there were internal reasons why the show was going to not happen it would have been well understood by this time. Expecting the next message from them to be details of our filming dates and travel plans, imagine my surprise when we discovered that not only will we not be participating, but nobody will.
This weak explanation offered from Intel to explain their show cancellation is little more than a pat on the head, or slap in the face, to all of us who worked so hard to participate. This leads me to believe that whatever the real reasons the show was canceled, they only became clear during or after the inauguration which means that the show was canceled for political reasons. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying it. They unexpectedly drop a multi-million dollar research effort weeks before production just to continue to focus on their own research and do what they are already doing? With success, my invention alone would cover all of their production costs for the entire show in just a few years and I doubt they would walk away from that for no reason.
This leads me to believe that whatever the real reasons the show was canceled only became clear during or after the inauguration which means that the show was canceled for political reasons and the weak explanation offered from Intel is little more than a pat on the head to all of us who worked so hard to participate. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying it. They unexpectedly drop a multi-million dollar research effort weeks before production just to continue to focus on their own research and do what they are already doing? With success, my invention alone would cover all of their production costs for the entire show in just a few years and I doubt they would walk away from that for no reason.
Having served in the Navy as an engineer, my spidey senses are tingling like never before and with former generals being appointed to key positions with an active effort to build up the military being publicly stated, another major war seems to be in all of our near futures. I know from experience that the government does not go through the time and expense of training and equipping a military force unless they plan to utilize them. With Iran dropping the U.S. Dollar as its primary trading currency beginning on March 21, a battle line has been drawn with a date that would have been right in the middle of the first round of teams being filmed for the television program. Nothing gets better ratings than a good war on TV.
The situation could also be less preemptive and more noble than nefarious in that the administration could be working on actual real and true intelligence that some kind of attack on American soil was known to be eminent and the government is simply doing the smart thing and hoping for the best but preparing for the worst case scenario while not causing the public to experience unnecessary duress and panic. Were something like this to be the case, the canceling of the show might be the best thing to happen to the studio and the 24 teams because a national catastrophe occurring during the show would most likely disrupt production and cause the show to be canceled anyway. Maybe we’re all soon to be recruited by the CIA or drafted into the military and just don’t know it yet.
Or was this a possibly a scam from the beginning to steal the intellectual property from hundreds of inventors? Could it be that after analyzing the ideas that they realized they could reap the benefits without actually having to go through with the expense of the show? Would a giant corporation with nearly unlimited resources ever stoop so low as to steal the ideas of independent inventors under false pretenses? Probably, but if Intel wanted to simply take our ideas and run with them it doesn’t make sense that they would wait until just before showtime and waste the hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost them to review the applications and conduct hundreds of video interviews with casting producers.
Ask yourself this ‘How do we make America great without great makers?’ Whatever the reasons for canceling the competition, like it or not, our entire existence has become a reality show and we’re all getting the business now.
Leo E. Madrid
1960 Mandela Parkway
Oakland, CA 94607