Episodes
Over the last decade, billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson have come to embody the future of space travel and exploration. What does it mean when the ideas and ambitions of a few powerful men come to dominate the conversation so thoroughly? Guest: Lucianne Walkowicz, astronomer at the Adler Planetarium and founder of the Just Space Alliance Host Lizzie O’Leary This episode is sponsored by Teamistry. You can listen here Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
Published 06/11/21
Two weeks ago, as wildfires burned north of Los Angeles, the crime app Citizen offered $30,000 for information that would lead to the arrest of a suspected arsonist. They had the wrong guy.  Why is Citizen offering bounties in the first place? And what does this bounty debacle say about the app’s aspirations for the future? Guest: Joseph Cox, reporter at Motherboard  Host Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 06/04/21
After years of careful planning and public spats, Apple and Epic—the maker of Fortnite—have spent the last three weeks in court, fighting over the future of mobile gaming. What happens if, for once, Apple loses? Guest: Elizabeth Lopatto, deputy editor at the Verge  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 05/28/21
Last week, a hacker group called DarkSide shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. Gas prices skyrocketed, people started hoarding gas, and DarkSide walked away with over $4 million in Bitcoin. How did they do it? And what makes this hack different from those we’ve seen before? Guest: David Uberti, cybersecurity reporter at the Wall Street Journal Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 05/21/21
The Serum Institute of India was supposed to supply vaccines not just to India, but to the entire Global South. Now, with cases surging, there aren’t nearly enough vaccines for India’s population, not to mention the many countries that are relying on it. How did such a successful institution come up so short? And what are the costs of that failure? Guest: Samanth Subramanian, senior reporter at Quartz Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 05/14/21
The question of Donald Trump’s banned account--to keep it blocked, or reinstate it--is one of the toughest that Facebook has ever faced. But the social network had a plan: punt the decision to its newly minted Oversight Board, a semi-independent “Supreme Court” tasked with making hard decisions about what content stays up, and what comes down.  Did that plan just backfire? Guest: Kate Klonick, professor at St. John’s University School of Law  Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad...
Published 05/07/21
There was a time—back when Steve Jobs ran Apple and Mark Zuckerberg was in his early days as Facebook’s CEO— that Apple and Facebook were friends.. Or, at worst, frenemies. But as the companies grew, so did two competing views of how the internet should work.  What led to the rift between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook? And will Apple’s new privacy rules undercut Facebook’s vision for the internet? Guest:    Mike Isaac, tech reporter at the New York Times  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more...
Published 04/30/21
Last week, a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree in a neighborhood north of Houston. Both men inside the car were killed. But according to police, neither of them was in the driver’s seat.  This is not the first crash in which Tesla’s “autopilot” feature has likely played a role. Should we really be trusting this technology? Guest:  Missy Cummings, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
Published 04/23/21
Like countless venture-funded start-ups before it, Substack is “disrupting” the media industry. The newsletter service is siphoning off high-profile talent with a promise of independence and bigger paychecks. But the platform’s influence might reach far beyond the media. Will Substack change the way we think about online creators and their audiences? Can it create a new kind of relationship between them? Guest:    Charlie Warzel, writer of Galaxy Brain  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more...
Published 04/16/21
Since the start of the pandemic, usage of apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace has skyrocketed. These apps might make mental health care more accessible, but are the products they sell really the same as therapy? Guest:    Molly Fischer, features writer for the Cut at New York Magazine Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 04/09/21
ICYMI is Slate’s new podcast about internet culture. It’s a show for people who have a healthy relationship with the internet, made by people who really, really don’t. It’s hosted by Slate’s Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton. Twice a week they’ll explore what’s trending at the top of your feeds, investigate the ghosts of internet past, and help you sound like the smartest person in your group chat. In the episode you’re about to hear, they take you on an all-access tour of...
Published 04/04/21
There are at least 17 different “vaccine passport” initiatives underway in the United States. And leaked documents reveal that the Biden administration fears that “a chaotic and ineffective vaccine credential approach could hamper our pandemic response by undercutting health safety measures, slowing economic recovery, and undermining public trust and confidence.”  Without coordination, a chaotic and ineffective approach seems likely. So, what can, and what should, the Biden administration do...
Published 04/02/21
Back in April 2020, AstraZeneca was hailed as a frontrunner in the race to get an effective vaccine to market. A year later, after a series of trial pauses, communication blunders, and PR problems, the vaccine is on the cusp of FDA approval.  By all accounts, the company succeeded in making a safe, effective vaccine. So why has there been so much confusion about its rollout? Guest:    Peter Aldhous, science reporter at Buzzfeed News Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices....
Published 03/26/21
Facebook’s failure to contain the spread of dangerous misinformation is no secret. For years, the company has pledged publicly to fix the problem. But in the wake of the Capitol riots, it’s clear that there’s more work to be done. So, why isn’t the social media giant using its powerful AI to contain hate and lies? Guest:  Karen Hao, senior AI reporter at MIT Technology Review Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 03/19/21
Back in 2014, Google released in-depth diversity data for its workforce for the first time. 1.1 percent of its tech team identified as Black. Six years later, after millions of dollars spent and a much-hyped partnership program with historically Black colleges and universities across the country, that number is up to 2.4 percent.  How did such a promising effort yield such incremental change? Guest: Nitasha Tiku, tech culture reporter at the Washington Post Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more...
Published 03/12/21
The federal Lifeline program was intended to bridge the gap between Americans who could comfortably pay for phone and internet service, and those who couldn’t. But in the midst of the pandemic, Lifeline is falling woefully short. How did a program meant to help connect low-income Americans with phone and internet service ended up making them second-class digital citizens at the worst possible moment?  Guest:  Tony Romm, senior tech policy reporter at the Washington Post, author of “How the...
Published 03/05/21
Over the last year, the Australian government has been waging a quiet war against Facebook and Google. Through a new law, it plans to force the big tech companies to pay news outlets in exchange for linking to their sites. Will this new law have the intended effect? Or will it set a dangerous precedent that cedes even more power over to the tech giants? Guest:  JR Hennessy, editor at Business Insider Australia Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
Published 02/26/21
Over the last week, millions of Texans have been forced to live without power or heat. At least 16 have died since Monday. In a state that’s no stranger to extreme weather and high power demand, how did it all go so wrong? Guest:  Josh Rhodes, research associate at the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin   Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 02/19/21
For most of the last year, Clubhouse—the audio-only social media app—has been dominated by conversations about business, branding, and Elon Musk. But as users picked up the app around the globe, something extraordinary happened.   Censors in mainland China overlooked it. And for two weeks in February, it hosted a series of unusual, unfiltered conversations. Han Chinese, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and Uighurs all flooded to the app to speak freely about authoritarianism, democracy, and...
Published 02/12/21
Last week, in response to protests by farmers outside New Delhi, India, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi restricted access to the mobile web in areas where the protests were unfolding. The move is the latest in the Indian government’s long history of throttling internet access and censoring speech online.  Why is the Modi government increasingly shutting down the internet and stifling digital dissent? And what does the party’s history of internet shutdowns tell us about India’s...
Published 02/05/21
The story of how GameStop went from the verge of a bankruptcy to a $15 billion market value isn’t an easy one to wrap your head around. But it helps to go back to the beginning; almost three years ago, in a subreddit called r/wallstreetbets. Guests:  Brandon Kochkodin, reporter at Bloomberg Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Published 01/29/21
Most people thought developing the vaccine in record time would be the hard part. That, or shipping millions of doses at subzero temperatures to every corner of the country. But nobody--or, almost nobody--guessed that the biggest barrier between U.S. citizens and vaccination would be … online scheduling.  What went wrong with the vaccine websites? And what will it take to get them right? Guests:  Raphael Lee, director of USDR’s Health Program  Hana Schank, director of Strategy for Public...
Published 01/22/21
After Facebook and Twitter banned thousands of accounts in the wake of the Capitol riots, fringe groups are flocking to platforms like Signal and Telegram. With the inauguration just days away, and government officials warning of violence, QAnon believers and Stop the Steal protesters are now communicating in encrypted spaces. What, if anything, is being planned?  Guest:  Will Sommer, politics reporter at the Daily Beast Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...
Published 01/15/21
This week, in the wake of violent protests at the Capitol, the social media platforms took unprecedented steps to rein in the president. Facebook banned his account at least through Inauguration Day. Twitter removed tweets and locked his account for 12 hours. Will these measures really make a difference? And how is it that two CEOs came to have so much power over the president’s reach? Guest:  Danielle Citron, professor at UVA Law School and vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights...
Published 01/08/21
Recently, one of the world’s leading AI ethics researchers, Timnit Gebru, left Google. Google says she resigned. Timnit says she was fired. In the days since, Timnit’s departure has turned into a public relations crisis for the search giant, prompting its CEO to issue a public apology.  What happened behind the scenes at Google that led to Timnit’s dismissal?  Guest: Timnit Gebru, AI ethics researcher, and the co-founder of Black in AI.  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad...
Published 12/15/20