Tech News Weekly 331 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

0:00:00 - Mikah Sargent
Coming up on Tech News Weekly. It's the first Thursday of the month. That means Abrar Al-Heeti of CNET is here. Abrar stops by to talk about how LinkedIn is getting a little TikTok-y. Yeah, it's short format video. On LinkedIn Plus, we talk about how they may launch gaming on the social media network. What is LinkedIn, what's it doing and what might this social media network look like going forward? After that, my story of the week is all about the EU and how the DMA is, of course, making Apple offer the ability to install third-party app stores what those might look like. After that, we've got our first interview. It's with Lindsay Ellis of the Wall Street Journal, who stops by to talk about how business schools are adding AI to the curriculum in a big way. And we round things out with a safety lesson from Rod Pyle, spaceman. It's all about the total solar eclipse. Stay tuned for this excellent episode of Tech News Weekly.

0:01:03 - VO
Podcasts you love. From people you trust. This. Is TWiT.

0:01:12 - Mikah Sargent
This is Tech News Weekly episode 331, with Abrar Al-Heeti and me, Mikah Sargent, recorded Thursday, april 4th 2024. Preparing For the Eclipse. Hello and welcome to Tech News Weekly, the show where every week, we talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news. I am your host, Mikah Sargent, and I am joined on this the first Monday of April by Abrar Al-Heeti of CNET. Welcome back, Abrar.

0:01:44 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Thank you so much for having me.

0:01:45 - Mikah Sargent
I'm excited to be back again, yeah good to have you here, good to chat. Our first month, I think, was a success, the first full month of the new way of TNW things, and so I appreciate all of your hard work thus far, and today you have another story of the week for us. Tell us about it.

0:02:05 - Abrar Al-Heeti
I do. So I've been really fascinated by all the changes that LinkedIn is supposedly rolling out. So first we heard about them bringing games to the platform, which I don't know if LinkedIn is the first place I think of when I think I want to have some fun, but that's something they're working on. But now they want to roll out TikTok style videos. So imagine you go to LinkedIn and there's a video tab at the bottom and you just scroll through all these videos that people are posting, you know, I would assume about work or career development. Um, the thing that fascinates me about this is that I go to TikTok to forget the world and to forget work, to forget about all the serious stuff. So I'm trying to envision in what reality will I go to LinkedIn to watch TikTok style videos where people talk about their successes and their work, and there's a place for that right. There is a place for career growth and learning how to move up professionally. But I'm just so fascinated by this. This is not something that has largely rolled out Only a few people have spotted it so far, but it's just really interesting to me what that algorithm is going to look like, because what makes TikTok TikTok is its algorithm right, so it taps into all my interest areas.

I get all the Taylor Swift TikToks. I get all the the just like ridiculous videos of people just talking about life and their everyday interactions things like that. It knows what I want to see, right. What does a LinkedIn algorithm look like for short form video? Because it's like your options are work, work or work surface all these videos. So I'm curious how you're feeling about this. Am I being overly skeptical? Maybe I'm wrong and maybe it'll end up being amazing, but I'm just like do I want that? Do we need that?

0:03:47 - Mikah Sargent
So I don't need, I don't know. Here's the thing I'm with you on, kind of pondering this and wondering what's going on here. I want to push back on one thing that you said about LinkedIn, about it being work, work and work. It has one little thing I'll sandwich in between, which is like it's work, and then it's this sort of what's the word that I want to use, this very it's sweet to the point of being unsatisfying and I can't think of the exact word for that, but there's a cloying, cloying optimism and inspiration and then work.

There's that little area in the middle where you see people talking about their hustle and you too can become as great as I am by doing this, that and the other, and so I'm already picturing dozens upon dozens of LinkedIn I almost said TikTok videos, but LinkedIn videos where you've got, like you know, the symphony playing in the background as this person talks about how they went from rags to riches story, and I can very easily see that.

But I also thought about how it would be an opportunity for, unfortunately, the kind of the crypto bros who have now become the AI bros, who are always talking about new ways to use AI for this, that or the other to make money and to do this. I think it's going to be rife with that kind of content. How I use ChatGPT to make $100,000 a month. You know what I mean, and I wondered. I wanted to ask you, as a person who you know does have TikTok and uses TikTok pretty regularly Is there a section of TikTok I don't know if you would call it that Is there a category of TikTok whatever you want to call it that is more business focused, and if so, could you see that making its way over to LinkedIn?

0:05:58 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Yeah, absolutely. You bring up a great point about kind of that aspirational type content that a lot of people will post across all social media platforms, including on TikTok. I do actually encounter a decent amount of kind of work-related content. That's not necessarily, you know. It helps you through any challenges that you're facing at work, how to kind of navigate that. I think that could be really useful on a platform like LinkedIn.

So it's not just I'm a huge success. Let me tell you how to be like me and retire at the age of 35. But I think there is a lot of practical information that I have come across on TikTok and I think that could be really helpful on LinkedIn, especially if there was a way to introduce more content. That's like you don't have to be a superstar all the time, like you know, just because I feel like the thing about LinkedIn is there is that that tone of like you need to sell your soul to the corporate world and you just need to like grind, grind, grind. And so if there was a way to kind of reach a level where you know it's not TikTok style, like screw everything, you know, but it's you know, this middle ground of like.

I'm like work hard but also remember that you're a human being and that, like you need to find balance. So maybe if, if that was something that I saw more of on LinkedIn, then I'd be like, oh, this could be really good because it could be helpful. It could, um, kind of make you feel, uh, just like like seen in that, in that community, in that space.

0:07:24 - Mikah Sargent
Well, especially because I think, when I think about LinkedIn, a huge part of LinkedIn and the part of LinkedIn that actually matters to me is the LinkedIn learning part. We know LinkedIn many a year ago acquired lyndacom and rolled that into the platform and rebranded it LinkedIn Learning, and so there's lots and lots of helpful tutorials and stuff like that, and I think about the videos that I have seen fly by on TikTok where someone's quickly showing, look, what you can do with your iPhone, kind of a thing. To see the same thing applied on LinkedIn, I think would be helpful. Um, to give little brief, you know how to how to pump up that? That? I, when I think of the people who are on LinkedIn, I think of a lot of people who are in marketing and so and they're all marketing to each other about marketing and so to have those. It's like, oh, how to pump up that, that, uh, social media posts you're about to put out kind of a thing, and while I don't care about that, I could see how the people who do regularly use excuse me, use LinkedIn and use it with such gusto, uh, could, could find that helpful.

And you know, I also wonder, I'm really curious, how LinkedIn sees itself, because I feel like that's the thing that's missing from this conversation we so often get to, due to the people who are building the other platforms. Think of, you know, the, the people or the person who's building X, formerly known as Twitter, and the person slash people who are building meta Facebook and all of the others there, the, the way that they're built and the way that they build is a little bit more out in the open, and the kind of personalities that are there like to talk about it on threads what is it? Mosseri? Anyway, he's always talking about what they're thinking about with threads.

Instagram we heard a lot. So you felt like you knew what the goal was for the social media platform and you knew kind of what the culture was of the social media platform and you knew kind of what the culture was of the social media platform. But I really do feel like LinkedIn, it's such a quiet thing from the top right. What are they thinking, what do they want to do and who's in charge?

0:10:00 - Abrar Al-Heeti
I don't know.

0:10:02 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, who is it and what do they want? And I think that does kind of in my mind. Linkedin is already so business minded and sort of uncool in a lot of circles, and part of that uncoolness to me is that level of design by committee. But it does kind of feel like that's what LinkedIn's thing is it's designed by committee, let's try everything, and I don't know if there's anything wrong with that, but nothing really sticks, it seems, over the years, except for what LinkedIn did in the first place, which was make a platform where you could sort of socialize your own resume, and that feature, more than anything else, is stuck, other than, I don't know, testing your email services. Spam filters, I guess is the other reason that LinkedIn exists.

0:11:02 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Yeah, that's so true. I love this idea of like LinkedIn is still finding itself because it's very much what it feels like. But I think you bring up a good point, because this reminds me of this idea that, with X slash, twitter kind of becoming a shadow of itself, a lot of people have been turning to LinkedIn. Like I try to force myself to kind of share articles more on LinkedIn, whereas I used to only do that on Twitter, unless it was like a really big thing that I was working on. Then I would share it on LinkedIn.

I'm trying to like kind of build this sense of kind of authority on LinkedIn as well. It's been a slow process, it's really not that easy and people don't engage as much. And people don't really, again, like I'm not really pulling up LinkedIn myself very often as much as I'm pulling up X or Instagram or whatever. But I think LinkedIn sees this opportunity, sees this window of okay. Well, people are looking for an alternative to what Twitter was. Maybe that could be us, and so I think they're figuring out how to do that without being like threads, because threads wants to be that too. So there's all these different social media platforms that are trying to think, okay, how can we be the thing that people were looking for, but then add our own little special flair to it? And I think LinkedIn is thinking okay, let's add games or let's add, you know, tiktok style videos. Let's kind of incorporate all these things that you'll find on other platforms and take advantage of the fact that people are looking for another home now.

0:12:20 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, when I think of it like that, this starts to make more sense and the way that I was thinking about it before is simply LinkedIn in a vacuum, I guess, experimenting with what it could do. But when I think of it as we're taking an opportunity to encourage people to turn here, that's actually really interesting and that speaks to some of the changes that have been made or are, you know, being worked. Do we know anything about plans for monetization with that stuff? Is there any sort of creator encouragement that's going on, or is LinkedIn still, you know, mostly a place where you are doing everything that you're doing on the platform for free slash, paying LinkedIn a whole heck of a lot of money to get those extra features?

0:13:15 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Yeah, that is such a good question. I feel like that's probably something we won't find out about for a bit, because I would imagine that it's going to be something where everyone should just kind of come in, try to take advantage of this early time to make your mark in this new chapter, this new little corner of LinkedIn, and then perhaps from there they'll think okay, how do we monetize from here? I'm sure people would flock, I'm sure people would be like this is my opportunity. I make these kinds of videos and LinkedIn is a perfect platform for it to be kind of just focused on that, as opposed to trying to get attention on a platform like TikTok where there's all kinds of content. Maybe this is a good way to allow people in that niche to kind of really stand out and find some sort of opportunity for monetization.

0:13:55 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, yeah, that would be nice if some of I know some people work very hard on LinkedIn while also working very hard in what they do. Shout out to all those social media marketers out there who I know do a trillion jobs all at once. Let's take a quick break. Before we come back with my story of the week, I do want to tell you all about the Eufy Video Smart Lock E330, which is sponsoring this episode of Tech News Weekly. I was very excited to get to put this video doorbell to actual use, get to test it out here in our studio. It required just a screwdriver to install and a few minutes of your time, and it was very easy to do.

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All right, we are back from the break and that means it's time for my story of the week. I wanted to talk about what's going on in the EU now that the Digital Markets Act is well underway. We heard about you know everything that was involved with the DMA. We heard about Apple's kind of response to the DMA, and now it is time for the third party app stores to make their way to the platform, and there's a whole process that's involved in doing this. Apple has a lot of opportunities for control and sort of filtering, and so the process is ongoing.

The Verge's Callum Booth wrote about some of the third-party app stores that are available and ones that maybe are not not maybe, but are not available yet, but will be available soon. There's MobiVention, which is available, but there's also the Epic Games Store, which will be available at some point in the future MacPaul's Set app, which will be available at some point in the future, and then Alt Store, which is probably going to be one of the first to make its way to the EU for actual consumers to use. Now we should talk about the way that things are in the US and elsewhere and kind of how things have changed. So if you haven't been following along with the DMA, if you haven't been following along with what a third-party app store is, when you open up your iPhone and you want to get an app, you launch the app on your iPhone called App Store and you go into that App Store and you type in a search, or maybe it's just on the front page. You find an app, you tap to download it and then you either buy it in that moment, or perhaps you make a payment later through a subscription, or maybe it's just free and you're able to use the app. That is all a process that is controlled by Apple. A developer who wants to make an app for the iPhone, the iPad, whatever they will create their app, they will submit it to Apple. A developer who wants to make an app for the iPhone, the iPad, whatever they will create their app, they will submit it to Apple. It goes through a whole process where Apple tests the app. They look well, this is what they say they do. They test the app, they look for problems with it, they look to make sure that the app isn't going to do something nefarious, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Then, once the app is approved, it's available to users who can go into the app store and get it.

A third-party app store is an app store that is not controlled by apple. It is an app store controlled by a third party. So the mac paul setup app store, the epic game store and the alt store are all app stores that you can, in the EU, download to your phone and then go into that app to access apps. Right, it is a store that has other apps included in it and there are kind of two categories, because developers can technically make their own apps available for distribution directly, or you can launch a marketplace, an app store, a third-party app store, as its own separate thing. But there's a lot that's involved here that gets a little complicated. First and foremost, the alt store, which will at some point soon be available to those in the EU. It does have to go through a whole process with Apple until it's available for use.

And, as Booth points out in the piece, there's a financial consideration that's involved with this. So right now, if a developer releases an app that's available kind of independently, then every annual app install of that app over 1 million so again, 1 million downloads of that app do not count against this, but over 1 million then a developer has to pay 50 euro cents for that for every app install over 1 million. So if it's a million and five, then those five will cost 50 euro cents annually. But this is different when it comes to the app marketplace, because there's no one million cap. Instead, for every first annual install of their app marketplace they have to pay 50 euro cents. That means that every single download of the Alt Store or MobiVention or the Epic Games Store or whatever, is going to cost the developer 50 euro cents.

Apple will charge that because you're using a third-party platform this is the argument, not Apple's first-party platform, etc. Etc. Etc. And that means that these companies that are releasing these third-party app stores, marketplaces, are maybe a little concerned about how much it's going to cost them and a lot of them are choosing to just launch a subscription service to go along with it. So it kind of puts the cost on the user and that actually makes much more sense. Much more sense.

If every single person who is costing the company 50 cents pays $5 a month, say, for access to the third-party app store, then that cost is covered by the individual user. But for a third-party app store to launch for free, that would cost that app store quite a bit of money potentially. Before I get into some of the kind of process of installing and everything that's involved with that, I kind of wanted to get your initial take on how you felt about this in general. Were you excited to hear that there were going to be third-party app stores? Were you hesitant? What's your general feel about all of this, as it's well underway?

0:23:07 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Yeah, I think this is obviously just such a big deal because it's opening up Apple's walled garden a bit and I think it's great for people to have these options. I also think I am not the target person for this, because I'm the kind of person who is like I'll stick to my basic apps that I get on the app store or whatever kind of bare minimum. I'm not like a huge gamer, I don't necessarily toy around with apps very much, but I think it is great that people have this option for something kind of outside of the app store. The other thing I think about is I you know Apple has to kind of vet everything that is available on these third-party app stores.

But there is kind of an element of this is outside of what you're used to. It's outside of the safety of whatever the app store has provided you in terms of kind of knowing that everything has been kind of thoroughly gone through that process to make it onto the app store, that in case there's any fraud or anything potentially sketchy, you know what the process is going to be like. Apple is going to make sure to crack down on anything. I'm sure those safety protocols will also exist on these third-party marketplaces because they want to succeed as well. So what I see it as is, this is a great win for these other developers, and I think I'm happy for people who will take advantage of it. I personally probably won't, to be fair, just because I'll kind of stick to whatever I do but I do think it is a really big step, and the DMA has been kind of opening up a lot of doors that people didn't think were possible. So it's just interesting to see where this will go from here.

0:24:39 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, the big thing for me is what you briefly touched on there when it comes to these third-party app stores, which is, let's think about the very. I mean, it's rare enough that every I'll explain what it is in a moment. It's rare enough that every time it's happened, it almost always raises a big stink in the coverage of Apple, always raises a big stink in the coverage of Apple. The rare thing that occurs is an app making it into the app store that does have some issue, that is scamming someone, that is fake in some way, that is trying to take somebody's money or trying to take their credentials or whatever. So when we think about the fact that this in theory more rigorous process results in, on a rare occasion, an app making it through that is nefarious, I do have concerns about what this is going to look like when it comes to these third-party app stores. And remember what I was saying earlier about how there are a lot of videos on TikTok that are like look what I can do with my iPhone if you do this, this, this, this that's what plays through my head is the number of videos that are going to be out there showing people how to do third-party app stores that then lead to installing apps that are not as locked down as they should be, and so I just yeah, I'm glad that all of the parties involved are taking it relatively slowly and that they're doing as much vetting as it seems they can, but I have my concerns. But I have my concerns. What I don't like is what the author Booth described when it came to installing. I'm actually going to read a bit of this verbatim because I want you to hear what is involved to make this happen.

You begin by clicking a browser-based link to load the alternative store. From there, you receive a pop-up informing you that your installation settings don't allow marketplaces from that developer. Then you head into settings, enable the marketplace, return to your browser, click the download link again and receive another prompt asking you to confirm the install. Finally, you can open the store and browse the available apps. That is already so many steps, and the fact that there seems to be a step where it doesn't go anywhere, the step where you have to like leave and go into the settings app and then allow the marketplace and then you can go back and then you can try again. That's already like half of the people gone who are trying this right Like that cuts it down already. That initial friction, I think, is arguably unreasonable. Now Apple will of course suggest and will argue that it is all about privacy, it is all about security, it is all about informing the user as much as possible no-transcript. But for a company who is able to design pretty slick interfaces, it does feel like the term we've used to describe, which is malicious compliance. Luckily, according to Booth, after you have went through that more difficult process, it's much simpler to just tap to install apps. It works kind of a lot, like you would expect.

But going back to my concern, listen to the way that the Alt Store specifically works, because it gets a little Hamlet-y. It's a play within a play within a play, an app within an app within an app. So AltStore has its own bundled apps, but to use other apps this is what's required. Altstore quote allows you to add sources, which are URLs developers share, that contain JSON files holding app metadata. Once these sources are added, the apps they point to can be downloaded from AltStore. So that's where I'm saying it's a little bit Hamlet-y because essentially, AltStore gets the permission from Apple to become an alternate store, an alternate app marketplace, but instead of they themselves kind of vetting the apps that end up in that app store. You as a user will go and find URLs from random people that you then plug into Alt Store, which already has the permission from Apple to exist, to then download the apps from those third party it's almost like fourth party at that point the third party third party to get those apps.

That also concerns me.

But then we have to go to the end of it, which is that I was actually kind of surprised to hear how the apps that are installed worked so well.

First and foremost, Delta, the one that's bundled in with Alt Test, is a Nintendo emulator, and so the author was able to play some Nintendo games on their phone, which is fun.

And then the other app is called Clip and, unlike other clipboard managers on iOS which require you to kind of have you have to basically go to the app every time you copy something and then it copies it to the clipboard. The way that this works is it can run in the background and actually pay attention to what you're doing, and that's just not something that you get from an app store app. This is something that you are only able to get as it stands because it's a third-party marketplace making available a third-party app, and that's kind of cool because it sort of bridges the gap between jailbreaking and not in a way that we haven't seen before. So I think there are some positives here, some stuff that makes me super excited. It kind of makes me hope that what's going on with the DOJ right now maybe makes Apple have to do some of this in the US, but then I'm also thinking about all of the support that I'm going to be doing for so many people when it comes to this.

0:31:03 - Abrar Al-Heeti
So it's a tough one. If LinkedIn decides to add TikTok videos and we do that LinkedIn learning TikTok style videos we'll just have tutorials that you can post on there and just to tie it all together Boom.

0:31:16 - Mikah Sargent
Exactly Problem solved. Yeah, we figured it out. We're going to teach people how to do it the right way, and it's all happening on LinkedIn.

0:31:24 - Abrar Al-Heeti
What year is this? Yeah, I don't know, but just go with it, yeah.

0:31:27 - Mikah Sargent
Just go with the flow. Avrar anything else that you want to say about alternative app stores and what's going on with the EU's DMA before I let you go.

0:31:40 - Abrar Al-Heeti
Yeah, I think, just to follow up with what you just mentioned, I'm really curious to see how these things and if these things spread to the rest of the world and to the US, which wouldn't be surprising given the precedent from other measures. So I'm staying tuned and we'll see how this all unfolds Beautiful Well.

0:31:56 - Mikah Sargent
Thank you so much for your time today and every first Thursday of the month. I appreciate you joining me. If folks want to follow along with what you're doing online, where can they find you? On LinkedIn, I mean on any social media sites.

0:32:10 - Abrar Al-Heeti
On normal social media sites, you can find me on Instagram and TikTok with my first name, last name, abar Al-Heeti, or on xalhiti, underscore three Wonderful Thank you.

0:32:21 - Mikah Sargent
Thank you for having me. All righty folks, we will be back with my first interview, but I do want to take a quick break to tell you about our friends at ITProTV, now called ACI Learning, who are sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. Now you already know the name ITProTV from our network. We've talked about them a lot. Now, as a part of ACI Learning, ITPro has expanded its capabilities, providing more support for IT teams.

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All righty, we are back from the break, and that means it's time for my first interview of the show we are going to start by talking about can you guess? It's AI artificial intelligence and how it's making its way into higher education. Joining us from the Wall Street Journal is Lindsay Ellis. Welcome to the show.

0:34:05 - Lindsay Ellis
Thank you so much for having me. It's so great to be here.

0:34:08 - Mikah Sargent
It is great to have you here Now. I would love to talk about your piece. In fact, I love how you started it off. It almost right away got to a really interesting quote from Professor Ethan Mullick of the Wharton School, who said quote you haven't used AI until you've had an existential crisis. You need three sleepless nights. I would love to hear kind of what Professor Mullick's meant whenever he said this.

0:34:37 - Lindsay Ellis
Sure. So the capabilities of AI, generative AI, especially in some of these tools that you have to pay for, are greater than many people realize, and so Professor Mullix was telling me that it can match many students' performance in writing and generating ideas. There was this idea, maybe a year or so ago, that one assignment students could do in class would be ask generative AI this question and you, the student, critique the answer. These days, that is basically obsolete because it is so on par with how many students generate ideas and write. And he said that there is a moment, kind of in grappling with this, that you have to think, okay, if the technology can do this, what is my role here? And that existential moment, he said, is something that many people will face.

0:35:41 - Mikah Sargent
Absolutely. I mean, I've faced it a number of times as someone who's quickly seen how a voice can be mimicked with AI and how those conversations can happen, I think many of us have had those existential moments for sure. So I have had my three sleepless nights and, yeah, I agree. Now there is one university that you mentioned early in your piece that's working AI into some 20 classes. I was curious to hear what subjects will get the AI treatment and how are the Specifically, how are the professors catching up with all of this? Because it's just happening so quickly and at one point it seemed very adversarial. It was like how to fight back against AI, and now it's like let's work it into the curriculum. It must feel like it's just left and right for them.

0:36:29 - Lindsay Ellis
It's a great question. Yes, so American University's business school is basically working AI instruction into the undergraduate core curriculum. So in every area that an undergraduate has to teach, there's going to be some integration with AI. So that means there are going to be hard skill classes like predictive analytics and text mining that a business student is going to learn before graduation, but also classes about using AI to prepare for negotiations or understanding how the technology is going to influence areas of business like entertainment. I mean, we were all following the writer's strike last year and so that shows how applicable developments in this technology can be to various areas of the business world.

Professors on campus this week actually just Tuesday started on the first of several training sessions that the business school is offering. I was there. You know this week's training Executives were explaining how they are incorporating AI into their workflow, into their spending, and professors were asking questions about job security among students and copyright issues through the spring and into the summer, so that by the next school year, you know, these 20 new or adapted classes will be ready for students. And yeah, absolutely. At the beginning of the session, one of the executives asked how many of you asking the faculty have used chat GPT. About half of the attendees raised their hands and you know, I think there was a willingness to engage there and engage in these topics among the professors who are going to be responsible for teaching students how to use this feel for those teachers who are those professors who are quickly kind of having to learn this themselves in order to work it in and teach it.

0:38:43 - Mikah Sargent
And you know that was you touched on it a little bit. The thing that stuck out to me is that it doesn't seem to just be the schools and the professors who are, you know, sort of pushing AI and university education. You also, in your piece, highlight statistics from student applicants who feel AI is crucial for a business degree. So I kind of wondered is it the new student's desire to learn about AI or is it higher education's decision to teach AI that you feel has kind of resulted in an increase in these AI classes and the supplemental additions to the current curricula?

0:39:21 - Lindsay Ellis
That's a great question. You know, I don't think it's necessarily an either or. Here I think schools are sensing this interest from applicants and students who are aware that this technology is going to change how they work. I mean, some students who are applying for their MBAs have been in the workforce for years and probably have already seen this in their careers. They're also hearing it from executives and the companies that are going to hire these students and many of the professors who teach in these schools. They are researchers themselves. They're grappling with cutting edge issues. So I think schools are sensing that curricula and assignments need to change from you know, multiple parties, many corners of who they're hearing from.

0:40:11 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, that makes sense. Now I'd love to get into the details a little bit more, because you know we can think of this from a high level of AI being involved. But what does it actually mean? Can you tell us about some of the practical applications and exercises that maybe students have already seen when it comes to AI in business schools?

0:40:31 - Lindsay Ellis
This was what was totally fascinating for me too. So here are a few examples. So Ethan Malik at Wharton, who we talked about earlier, you assignment he gives is to ask students to automate away part of their job. So a student with experience in private equity, for example, used the technology to draft deal memos.

At Columbia Business School, students are asked in one class to use AI to develop a business plan, and they asked Generative AI tools. Hey, can you come up with business ideas in this area? But then also used those tools to make the ideas better? Hey, what are the pros and cons of each of these? How would each generate revenue? How would you market them? To sort of whittle this idea down from. You know the first thing a robot spits back to okay, maybe this is something I could work with. This is a sharper idea.

And at Kellogg, which is Northwestern's business school, one class there, you know, asks business schools or business students to code using generative AI. You know, basically saying you need to be able to use this technology to code like a programmer and compete with experts in that space. You know to. Basically, you could wear your business hat and then also use this technology. You know expertise using generative AI. Northwestern also has a whole separate degree program called the MBAI and it's sort of a. It's an AI focused business degree which is offered by both the engineering school and the business school, which shows just the extent to which you know this technology is making its way onto campus.

0:42:17 - Mikah Sargent
Wow, I that that last one is. I love a pun, so I'm all about it Now. Because Gen AI is new and exciting, it does, it seems, at times, receive a lot of positive attention, which had me wondering. You know now that we've kind of went from the adversarial way, with professors making sure students weren't using it, to all right, let's show how we can use this in class. Are students also learning about the places where generative AI fails as much as they're learning about where it succeeds as part of their teaching?

0:42:55 - Lindsay Ellis
Sure. So I think, from what I heard from both students and professors, part of these assignments and the goal of these assignments is to show students where this technology is not yet performing at a high level are basic math and citations. On the citations front, you know we've all heard the stories where you know you ask a generative AI tool for you know what is a research source that? Can you know? Tell me about X? And it spits out something that doesn't exist. There are also areas, sort of separate from those two, where students are realizing that they just need to work harder to get what they want from the technology.

I heard countless times that it's really not going to be great if you stick with the first answer that generative AI spits out. You know you need to coax the AI tools to get creative, to think outside the box, you know, to maybe give you one idea at a time. You know this makes a practical difference in the quality of the output that people get, and and so to sort of being more specific and more thoughtful with the prompt that that you put in, you put in. I think many people told me as I was reporting this story that it was important for humans to be able to review the output of these before it goes public, before it makes it to the prime time, you know, for accuracy questions, for you know viability of an idea, perspective, you know, and even just to make sure that some of what's being spit out here matches the quality of what you would expect from a colleague, from a classmate, that sort of thing.

0:44:48 - Mikah Sargent
I really like that.

I like that.

It's we have to, I think, reckon with the, have the realization, come to a conclusion that this stuff is going to be used, and so it's more important to teach how to use it, how to understand it and how to work with it and work it into what we're doing. And that idea of holding it up to a standard and holding yourself up to a standard while using it, I think is a really important thing. That shouldn't be just taught in business schools, but should be taught in general. Now I want to round things out, and I think we've kind of touched a little bit on this throughout the entire piece or throughout the entire interview. Your article does touch on kind of the ethical considerations, the importance of responsible AI use in education. So, with that in mind, is there anything kind of specific that the business schools are doing to address those concerns? And, I think, more importantly, how do you see the broader implications for any student that is kind of either going, thinking about going into business school or is graduating from business school and going into the workforce?

0:45:59 - Lindsay Ellis
Thinking about going into business school or graduating from business school and going into the workforce. It's a great question and I think bias in what these tools spit out is a key question here. You know, professors told me that they are absolutely instructing students about this space. You know on a theoretical level, but also a practical level. You know what are generative AI tools searching through to produce an output. Their bias is toward giving you a response that seems possible. So what are they ignoring by doing so?

One assignment that I heard about was, you know, one that asks students about bias in AI and how to recognize it and how to mitigate it. I think that's going to be a really important part of training. Here, you know, I think as well, there's there are concerns about copyrighted materials and how those are used and reused. What is this technology scraping from? What is it spitting out? How confident are you that this is material that you feel comfortable using and putting your name behind? So I think, coming back to what we were just talking about, this feeling that humans need to be reviewing this before it is spit out. And you know, a human using AI is sort of managing this technology, just as a manager might be managing an entry-level colleague right, kind of holding its hand, making sure that what it's producing is ready for public consumption and really training it to really draw out quality results. I think that came up a fair bit.

0:47:46 - Mikah Sargent
Wow, I want to thank you so much for your thorough research on this topic in general. Thank you for bringing this up, because I had no idea, kind of, where things were. Again, from my perspective, it is nice to see a shift where we are just coming to terms with the fact that this is technology that's going to be used, and so knowing that that's the case and that we're kind of pivoting, at least in this place, to let's see how we can use it and use it responsibly, is great. Of course, folks can head to the Wall Street Journal to check out your work, but if folks want to follow along with you to keep up with what you're doing, where should they go to do that?

0:48:23 - Lindsay Ellis
Sure, the Wall Street Journal's website has sort of all of our most recent stories. I also post my articles on LinkedIn so you can find me there, as you were talking about with LinkedIn as a social network, and I am also on X at Lindsay A Ellis.

0:48:42 - Mikah Sargent
Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

Thank you for having me All righty folks Coming up. We've got another interview with a familiar face, but I want to take a quick second to remind you about Club TWiT at Second, to remind you about Club TWiT at Consider joining the club $7 a month, $84 a year and you get some great stuff. Every single Twit show with no ads, just the content. The Twit Plus bonus fee that has extra content you won't find anywhere else, including behind the scenes, before the show. After the show, special Club TWiT events get published there, including our recent escape room in a box, which was a really fun experience. So when you join the club, you're going to get a huge back catalog of lots of great content that you wouldn't otherwise have, as well as access to the members only discord server, a fun place to go to chat with your fellow club members and also those of us here at Twit Also. I just remembered it is seven dollars a month. That is how you can join Club TWiT for $7 a month. I should also mention that along with that, you get access to the video versions of all of our Club TWiT shows. That's the Untitled Linux Show, hands on Mac Hands on Windows Home Theater. Geeks iOS Today. If you would like to see the video, then you will need to join the club, so head to to sign up, and we thank you for considering that.

All right, we are back from the break and that means it's time for me to stare at the sun until it burns away my eyes. No, no, no, I actually bring on somebody who's going to help me not do that. It's Rod Pyle Spaceman. Hello, rod.

0:50:22 - Rod Pyle
What? What no Space Force theme? How are you doing?

0:50:26 - Mikah Sargent
I'm doing. Well. I am, one of these days, going to convince someone to let that have a reverb on the end of it, because it just Spaceman, which just sounds so cool. How are you friend? It just sounds so cool. How are you friend?

0:50:39 - Rod Pyle
I'm okay. I'm actually getting ready tomorrow midday to head off to Austin, texas, from which I will drive west to hopefully, if the traffic isn't overwhelming and the clouds don't roll in see the totality of the eclipse.

0:50:52 - Mikah Sargent
Wow, okay. So yes, we are here to talk about the eclipse, and here's the thing that I like to do I like to make sure that everyone who listens to the show, who may have different levels of interest in understanding of, and whatever else might be involved of, the science behind an eclipse, that everybody gets a little something out of this. So I want to start with something that many of us may have learned in, perhaps elementary or middle school Tell us about what a solar eclipse is and what a lunar eclipse is, and what we can expect from the upcoming eclipse. Which one is it and what does it mean?

0:51:39 - Rod Pyle
okay. So lunar eclipse is more common. It's seen across a much wider, wider region and it is a lot less exciting. So in a lunar eclipse the sun, uh, the earth moves between the sun and the moon and the moon is covered by the earth shadow. So it goes from being the usual white moon we're used to seeing to being kind of a ruddy brownish red and then getting a dark gray never goes completely black, because the sun's light kind of gets warped around the earth by the atmosphere. So you still have this kind of light gray surface and it's interesting, but it's kind of anticlimactic really. It takes hours and totality for that can range I don't remember, I think an hour, 15 minutes or something like that, but they're still very cool.

A solar eclipse is much rarer and that's when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and because the moon's orbit is inclined in relation to that of the Earth and the sun, it doesn't happen very often. Everything's got to line up just right. What blows my mind about it, being kind of a moderately lifelong atheist, is the fact that somehow our moon is exactly exactly the right size, you know, within a matter of a quarter mile or something, to block out the sun ever. I mean, that's not something. If you're on Mars and the and one of its moons gets to you in the sun, you just see something looks like a lumpy potato transiting along. So so this is pretty, pretty amazing.

So this eclipse, um and, by the way, eclipses are like some other activities in life, where it's it's a binary thing. It's either is or it isn't. So if you're not within the shadow itself, you just see the sun getting dimmer, got it and that's it. You got to be within that shadow and it's uh, how wide is it? This time, I, I maybe 20 miles or something. If you're just a mile the wrong direction, you're not going to see a total eclipse, you know. So it's really a very critical thing, which is why, of course, so many of us are going to be heading off to Texas. So in your area up in the Bay, it'll start about 1015 on Monday morning. Maxim Shadows about 1130. It ends about 1220. Unfortunately, from there, you're only going to see about 35% of the sun being covered.

0:54:06 - Mikah Sargent
Wow, that's not very much at all.

0:54:09 - Rod Pyle
It's not, it's about a third and you may notice it get a little dimmer, but it's not a jaw-dropping experience by any means. So I just want to make sure I get to the important part for run at a time, which is how to watch this, because the last eclipse is so many people had problems because they jumped on Amazon or Walmartcom or one of these marketplaces and bought glasses that were usually made in China Most of them are and some of them were okay and some of them weren't okay, and some people got retinal damage. And I can tell you because when I was a kid, I had a small telescope and I had a little solar filter that you could screw into the bottom of the eyepiece. It was just basically a piece of welding glass and no parental supervision with this thing. So I stared at the sun for a long time because it was cool. You saw sunspots and all that, and I had severe cataracts by the time I was in my late 40s because of that.

I mean to the point that I went into the surgeon's office and you know how they look in your eye a little thing. He's like mm-hmm, mm-hmm, fussing around. He says hey, kelly, get the whole staff in here.

0:55:18 - Mikah Sargent
No way, you were one of those.

0:55:20 - Rod Pyle
He says we've never seen it this bad on somebody as young as you. And I said, gee, thanks. Actually I think that was the last time somebody called me young too, anyway time somebody called me young too, anyway. So I had surgery in my early 50s and all as well, but it's not something you want. So the way to avoid that is to make sure you get good eclipse glasses. Now it's getting pretty late in the day to order from amazon. The two companies I would trust right up front are called lunt l-u-n-t and uh celestron, who most people have heard of. But I don't think you'll get them in time. So I'm told they're selling them at walmart and target uh warby parker.

Yeah, giving them away I think, and most county libraries and some city libraries. Now, of course you're trusting them to know what to get right. So you want. If you see nasa approved on them, that doesn't't mean anything because NASA is not in the business of approving sunglasses. If it says American Astronomical Society approved and ISO compliant, they're probably okay. But there are some forgeries that still have that printed.

So the best thing to do, we're told by our good friend Tarek Malik, is to grab those things, take them to the brightest point source of light in your house you can and make sure you don't see it. Ah, that's, nothing in your house is going to be as bright as the sun. Welding glasses don't work. Stacking sunglasses doesn't work. The two coolest things I remember doing if you can get to a local planetarium, you know they'll. If they're open, they'll have telescopes set up on the lawn doing projection systems and stuff and that works great.

But honestly, if you go find a tree with moderately sized leaves, that leaf canopy acts like a whole bunch of pinholes. You can do the same thing with a salad colander actually. Just hold it out and you'll see a hundred little eclipsed suns all over the ground. It's the wildest thing and it never occurred to me before I I saw this happen during a partial eclipse that when you're walking past a tree and you see all those little dappled circles kind of moving around the sidewalk, those little projections of the sun, because the tree is acting like this big pinhole source. So either do that or you can, of course, create a pinhole a little piece of cardboard and hold a piece of paper below it and project it, or, barring anything else, if you've completely forgotten, you can make a fist and hold it, you know, over a piece of shaded sidewalk or something, and project it that way, but do not look directly at the sun, as you discussed, because that's that's bad for your face.

0:57:53 - Mikah Sargent
Yeah, I can and I want to. I want to talk about that for a second, because if I start to look even anywhere near close to the sun, my eyes start to hurt, right I? It actually physically hurts, and so I know to look away from this light source. How, why is it that people does it not hurt when there's a moon in the way and so it's just doing damage without you realizing it? Is that what happens? Or is there still damage and people are just like I don't care, I have to keep looking, I want to see it eclipse. What's going on there? That people or am I weird? And other people don't experience pain when a bright light is shining in their eyes?

0:58:34 - Rod Pyle
so when you're, if you're in the path of totality, which is that shadow um, in this case it's going to last about four minutes and 20 seconds, I think, right up till the last moment when they completely overlap and align perfectly, you'll see bright what they they call Bailey's beads, or diamonds around the perimeter, and it's still too bright to look at and, thank God, you know, our monkey brain is smart enough to say hey, stupid, don't look at the sun, it's bad for you, right? So you, you can't, you know, you just end up looking away. But once it's in totality, all you're seeing is the corona, or this, this big, uh atmosphere of gas that's around the sun. That's bright, but it's not the star itself. So you see a really it's fascinating. It's like there's a hole punched in the sky.

So the the one I saw back in 2017, oregon this the sky gets kind of a silvery, brown, pearlescent, and then there's this hole punched in the sky with this kind of bright, yellowish, red perimeter around it. So at that point, once the bright part of the sun is blocked, it's okay to look at it, but the second you start seeing those little bright beads appearing on the other side as the shadow begins to move away, because obviously the moon's moving in our orbit, then you have to. You have to put your eclipse glasses back on. It's a hard moment because it's such a magical, compelling experience. As it starts to leave, you're still sort of amazed at this, this wonder of nature, and seeing these little little white spots get to appear. But then it's over.

1:00:12 - Mikah Sargent
Oh, oh man, can you imagine, before we had any understanding of what was going on, how many people probably ended up with horrible damage to their eyes, you know, ages and ages ago, and didn't realize where it came from? And just suddenly they couldn't see anymore? And it was because this horrible thing happened where the sun went away. And I have no reason to understand why that's happening. It must be by God punishing me. And then suddenly, like 40 years later, you have this curse of not being able to see anymore. And it's all because they didn't know they weren't supposed to look at the sun. And apparently some people still don't know that they're not supposed to look at the sun.

1:00:50 - Rod Pyle
Well, and some people get bad advice or, you know, buy inadequate optics for it and end up hurting their eyes. Yeah, it had to have been, really. I mean there are people that would throw themselves down wells and of course you know they sacrifice small animals and God knows what else. It had to. Pretty scary, like you say, because you know, suddenly this thing you count on all the time to be there just disappears. And it'd be like today for us if suddenly you're looking at the moon and just winks off, or if you saw three body problem.

1:01:22 - Mikah Sargent
I have not yet.

1:01:23 - Rod Pyle
Okay, it's on my list, so I tried to read the book and, as I think Leo mentioned, on one of the weekend shows, the translation just was kind of flat. But yeah, seeing the show, which was a you know, co-production in china and here in the us, um, the stars just wink off one day oh that's so scary like wait, that's not supposed to happen. So this is kind of the modern equivalent of the of seeing eclipses when you didn't know what they were.

Yeah, it's just like yeah, I mean you really want to stare at it and and you can imagine, you know, say you're in an area you're just off the center line, so it's like 97 covered, so it's markably dimmer, it's getting gray, things are looking weird and creepy around you and you want to look up and see what's going on. But you still can't because even at that you're just gonna roast the heck out of your retinas. So it'll enter the U? S through Southwest Texas, go through the central States leading Northeast from there, and end up exiting through Vermont, new York state, new Hampshire, and then exit North America through Newfoundland. So you gotta be somewhere along that path to see the total eclipse, total eclipse of the heart.

1:02:27 - Mikah Sargent
Oh, I didn't prepare you for this, so you will be forgiven if you don't have the quick answer. You mentioned that solar eclipses are rarer, and you mentioned, though, 2017 was the last time that you saw one, which is rare, but not super rare. What's the rarest astronomical occurrence that people like regularly know about?

1:02:57 - Rod Pyle
Regularly know about. Well, I was going to say the rarest thing I know of is a supernova, okay, and we keep waiting for one of those. They happen every now and then, but they're telescopic events. But something like the crab nebula, nebula back in I don't know, 1420 or whenever it was, was something people actually could see with the naked eye, and that's just a star kind of going into a phase where it starts eating itself and suddenly getting very bright for a while. Hmm, what is the rarest?

1:03:26 - Mikah Sargent
Cause our, our meteor are not meteor showers, but comet are comets rarer than eclipses.

1:03:35 - Rod Pyle
I guess probably a good comet is. You know there's a lot of comets that come around. In 1984, when you were personally but a theory, yes, halley's Comet came back around, and so I took a group of people from griffith observatory. We went down to the border of guatemala, to this horrible little town in south mexico it was. They had tried to make it a resort town and failed, so we were kind of there remnants of that, but we had a great view to the south and it was supposed to be spectacular.

The problem with comets is, although we haven't, you can calculate a general idea of their track around the sun. You just don't know how the comet and the sun are going to interact exactly. So we know. You know the reason comets form tails is because they're made of ice and gas and as that ice sublimes or evaporates and it is streaming behind the thing, the sun lights it up, but you're never quite sure exactly how much ice it's going to hit and how much you're going to see. So this was a real non-event. I mean, it looked like a Q-tip held at arm's length, which was not what we expected, that's so frustrating.

This horizon to horizon thing right. So good comets are really rare. There was one in 2021. I think it was during the pandemic. That was green, that was pretty cool. But again, here's the problem, though you know and again this is something because of your age, you probably you may not have experienced it when I was a kid, you could drive two hours out of the city and it was dark. It was really really dark. Now I drive out of LA and I go east and by the time it starts to get dark, from LA, I'm seeing the lights from Phoenix. By the time it starts getting dark, driving north, I'm seeing the lights of Las Vegas, because these cities are so overlit. So really to get dark, you've got to go somewhere really remote and rural and that's when you see these amazing things in the sky.

By the way, you sort of mentioned meteor showers. They're pretty common. Oh, I've got it. Here's the rare one, okay, oh, I've got it. Oh, thank you. That was a great question In 1960, so meteor showers happen when we pass through the tail of a defunct comet.

Okay, so in the Earth's orbit, these kind of trails, they're just long trails of gravel, basically, and the Earth passes through them different times of the year so they repeat year to year. So we have the Perseids in the summer and the Orinans in the winter, and if you go to a dark area you can see maybe one every few seconds, every two or three seconds there little most of them, you could easily miss them. There are some big ones. In 1966, I think it's in april, there's a shower called the leonids, and about every 30 years it can do something kind of wild.

So I was, uh, 10 years old and I was spending a late fall evening out, or spring evening out, in our backyard in Pasadena, california, where it was still darker than it is now anyway, and suddenly the sky just opened up and it was like God was dumping a salt shaker. I mean, there were thousands of them happening and I was terrified. So I ran in and woke up my parents and said the sky's falling. And they said that's nice, honey, go back to sleep. So I ran outside and I think it was one in the morning, because after midnight the earth is turning, it turns into the shower and it becomes more aggressive and we haven't had something like that since. So that was one of those once in a lifetime things. So that's pretty darn rare, because I'm old, right, I'm Leo's age within a month and I've only seen it once.

1:07:12 - Mikah Sargent
So yeah, oh man, I wonder when the next big one is going to be.

1:07:16 - Rod Pyle
Well, the problem is, you know they can predict well this. You know it's the Leonids and it's been 32 and a half years, so maybe this year it'll be really good, but the last time was not anything like what I saw.

1:07:31 - Mikah Sargent
So, yeah, yeah, it'll be a while. You'll see it hopefully. Yeah, I'll be sure to pay it because, I'll be honest with you, I I just look at people's photos of some of these that are more regular occurrences. They don't really, but now the leonids I'm gonna have to, I'm gonna be paying more attention to because that seems like a really cool thing to see.

Uh well, but you're, so I'm gonna open a lit place, right, I, I was thinking about, um, uh, bodega bay. Uh, I've been out there late at night and it's still it's still, you know, being lit by nearby cities, but not as much as a lot of the stuff in the area. And it does remind me of being back home in missouri, where, out of my grandparents house in the country country, it was so dark, yeah, and it was amazing, it's amazing to see truly dark skies, especially, uh, cause we also had fireflies around, so you just have these stars literally surrounded.

1:08:22 - Rod Pyle
Other than pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, I've never seen a firefly. Or those are fake Um yeah, so that's one of those, those life experiences I haven't gotten yet. I you know for you, I would think, heading Northeast, okay, cause you get out of the Bay area and it gets pretty dark. But you'd have to go well East of the five, I would think. And then, of course, you're fighting trees, but if you can get some altitude to that, that doesn't hurt.

1:08:52 - Mikah Sargent

1:08:53 - Rod Pyle
Okay. Well, I will have to scope out a location to really pick up on it. Well, so let me just say, if you hop on spacecom ever, you'll be apprised of these things, because Tarek's very good about making sure he's such an astronomical geek it's great and he makes sure they run really complete stories on these things. So you'll know well in advance where the next big meteor shower is going to be. You'll know advance when the next eclipse will be, and they always give you viewing tips. And there's a site called I think it's dark skies. Um, if you type dark skies to google, you'll find it there's. There's a non-profit group whose sole reason for being is to tell people where dark skies are nice. And there aren't. There aren't a lot, and at least in this part of the woods, and so then you can uh, you know make a good plan of where to go and what to do. If you can get offshore, that's probably the best thing, because you get a few miles offshore and it gets really dark nice.

1:09:45 - Mikah Sargent
Oh well, I will uh definitely check that out, and so should all of our listeners rod pile. Thank you so much for your time today. Thank you, uh. Of course folks can head well, they can uh head over to twittv to check out this week in space, uh but where are some other places folks should go to keep up with what you're doing?

1:10:06 - Rod Pyle
well, I have an increasingly creaky website called pilebookscom that I haven't updated in a while, but all the good stuff is there, and nssorg is the website for the National Space Society, and although my name is not most of that stuff, I'm the wizard behind the curtain pulling the levers for the website, so it's as good a place as any. Awesome.

1:10:28 - Mikah Sargent
Well, thank you, rod Pyle, for giving us plenty of information to make sure we stay safe for the eclipse. I hope you enjoy your safe viewing experience and we'll see you again soon.

1:10:40 - Rod Pyle
Thank you, take care, buddy.

1:10:42 - Mikah Sargent
All righty folks. Tech News Weekly publishes every Thursday at twittv slash TNW. That's where you can go to subscribe to the show in audio and video formats. I mentioned Club TWiT, so I'll just do a brief one here. $7 per month will get you every single show with no ads, plus loads of other great stuff twittv slash Club TWiT to learn more. If you'd like to follow me online, I'm at Micah Sargent on many a social media network, or you can head to chihuahuacoffee that's C-H-I-H-U-A-H-U-Acoffee, where I've got links to the places I'm most active online. Check out Hands on Mac and iOS today, which we'll publish later today, and check out on Sunday Ask the Tech Guys. And also on this particular Sunday, I will also be on this Week in Tech later in the day, as we are having an all-in-person episode of TWIT. Thank you all for tuning in and I'll catch you again next week for another episode of Tech News Weekly. Bye-bye.

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