This Week in Tech 982 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.

00:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's time for Twitter. This week in tech. We have put together well, benito has put together a really good panel for you. Alex Kantrowitz is here from the Big Technology Podcast, from Consumer Reports, nicholas DeLeon, and for the first time, and I'm so glad to get her on you see her all the time on Tech News Weekly from PC Magazine, emily Drybelbis. There is lots to talk about, including Spotify changing its tune, as it should. Chaos is coming for startups, says Alex, and a new microprocessor made of brains. It's all coming up next on TWIT.

00:38 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Podcasts you love From people you trust.

00:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is TWIT. This is TWIT this Week in Tech, episode 982, recorded June 2nd 2024. International trash. It's time for TWIT this Week in Tech, the show show. We get together some of the best people in the world to talk about wow, the wild world of technology these days, and we have a good panel. I always like having alex canterwitz on. Last time you were here was for google's io talk. You've done some amazing things since he hosts the big technology podcast and newsletter.

Hello, alex hey, leo, great to see you again author of always day one, which is, as one might imagine, the amazon stories. Great to see you, alex. Thanks for coming in, and speaking of coming in, he's actually in studio. Came all the way up from tucson, arizonaleon. Yes, hello, so nice to see you. Thank you, leo. Senior electronics reporter for Consumer Reports. It's nice to see you and your partner in the studio today. That's wonderful. Thank you for coming up. Thank you, and for the first time ever, which is crazy because Emily's been on the network forever, emily Dry-Belvis is here. She is at PCMagazinecom and regularly appears on Tech News Weekly. Hi, emily, nice to meet you.

02:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Hello yeah, nice to meet you I can't believe.

02:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
well, it's about time. That's all I can say. Thank you for coming on, I appreciate it.

02:15 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Very excited about it.

02:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We have. There's no theme to the stories today. They're all over the place. They're crazy, From ultrasonic coffee to Spotify. Let's mention Spotify because I think this was a big story earlier this week. Spotify said we're going to kill the car thing, which is a device you add to your radio that lets you stream Spotify, Even though we only started selling it a year and a half ago. And oh, by the way, no refunds. Well, there was such a uproar over this that they are now saying okay, if you've got a receipt, or even an emailed invoice, we'll get you your money back. There's been lately some good stories that consumers have been able to stand up to big tech and get them to change their policies.

03:06 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Yeah, this one bothered me. I mean, we didn't cover it. Well, it happened so fast, you didn't have a chance. I mean, yeah, I was doing other stuff last week, but this is, I mean, spotify has all the money in the world and they were not going to refund the customers who bought the car thing which, from what I saw, I never owned one, but it got good reviews, people liked it. But they said, hey, we're basically breaking this device. Sorry, sorry about that is what they said. And then people were mad, as they should have been. It's like, hey, I bought this thing, like yesterday, basically, and you're just yeah they were still selling it right up to the end 90 bucks.

03:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Imagine if you bought it last month and then suddenly told it's going to stop working in December and you don't get your money back and I saw folks saying okay, just open source it.

03:47 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Like why do we have just making it e-waste overnight? It's like this is what's going on here. So, I'm glad to see the reverse course here.

03:55 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Can I just ask why it ever exists. Like, why does it exist, what does it do?

04:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Why wouldn't you just plug your phone in? You are obviously a millennial and don't remember the days when cars came with radios and that's all.

04:11 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I do.

04:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This allowed you to take one of these funky old cars and turn it into a modern streaming car. That's why you needed it.

04:22 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
What about like an aux cord?

04:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, this was basically an aux cord.

04:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I guess my iPhone doesn't even have that plug anymore.

04:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, there you go, right, you don't have a courage jack to plug into your aux cord.

04:34 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I think it was an alternative. If your car didn't have CarPlay or Android Auto and you still kind of wanted the bigger screen for like Album Art or whatever, you can hook your phone up to that and leave your phone for google maps, apple maps or whatever, whatever the case may be.

04:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So you could see, it is kind of a hodgepodge, though. Here's a picture from a gadget of, uh, an iphone plugged into a lightning to headphone jack adapter, plugged into I don't know what, and then the spotify thing plugged into the aux jack. Yeah, this was a kludge, but people wanted it, I guess for a subset of people. Well, they didn't, though that's why it failed right, oh, you think.

05:12 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
They didn't sell it. They built this at the height of the stock market stupidity, in the middle of zero interest rate policy, where you could get funding for things, that just kind of like seemed like a you know zany idea and it was worth building. I mean, this came out in april 2021, which was like just a few months before the height of the market, before the big correction. I mean, obviously we're back up right now, but it would never be greenlit in this era. It was built for a different era, I mean many decades back. We're now like your standard car is going to come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. Everybody knows how to work it. Now, oftentimes you have CarPlay, like whether it's Apple or Android, and the whole thing seems ill-advised. I look at this entire thing and it seems like a product of a financial era that was and just would never, ever, ever happen in today's market.

06:03 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I feel fully vindicated in asking why it exists. That was a very eloquent answer to that.

06:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, I gave you the mean answer and I apologize. I'll get you back. Yeah, that's all right, you can just kick me. Actually, this leads us into your really interesting uh piece. Uh in big technology. Alex vc says chaos is coming for startups, ads and online business as generative ai, eats web, but more even than that. It's just really. I think this whole era of everything is free on the web is is well didn't make financial sense, so the whole, absolutely the whole thing's falling apart.

06:47 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Exactly, and so the backstory here is that Joe Marchese, who's a VC at Human Ventures, who had an ad tech company called Truex that he sold for 20 to 21st Century Fox and he ran advanced advertising and advertising revenue at Fox Networks for years. He came on Big Technology Podcast with Ben Smith and A Maraza fora discussion about whether generative AI is going to kill publishers, whether news publishers can survive this generative AI era, and I think it was an appropriate conversation for the time. But afterwards he texted me and he goes by the way chaos is coming for everybody else as well, and I'm like well, what do you mean by that? So we got on the phone and I wrote it up in big technology and his big thing is that the web is basically an infrastructure.

The web today is an infrastructure built on paying for optimizing, for referred traffic. That's referred traffic that goes to site booking. Travel booking engines like Kayak, health websites like WebMD and even startups need that referred traffic to build user bases in the beginning, and the conversation around generative AI recently has been so focused on news publishers. Can news publishers survive this? We've almost sort of lost the plot on everything else. That's going to be thrown into chaos and like most of the things when it comes to digital business, the news publishers really are the canary in the coal mine. Publishers really are the canary in the coal mine. And if we do have the web in just even 10 or 20, sorry, if we have generative AI in just only 10 or 20% of the web, that could be chaos again for a large part of the ecosystem. Every business that's been built on the web is going to have to rethink the way that it operates.

08:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You know. I mean, we're suffering as a podcast too, from the same thing. I don't think it's just AI. I think it's a little minimizing it to say it's AI. I think it's much more than just AI.

You point out exactly the problem, which is that the web was built on this notion of referrals, of attention, being able to sell the eyeballs, and it doesn't hold up in the in the modern age. It's not just journalism, all of it. We got used to free stuff, but it isn't free. It never was free, and there's gotta be a way to monetize Facebook and Instagram and Google, uh and the, and the way is by selling your information, and people don't want that, uh.

Corey Doctorow says that ad blocking is the greatest consumer boycott in history and Pew recently said 52% of Americans run ad blocking technologies. That's why Google, by the way, this week is going to break your ad blocker with Manifest V3. Google, which is an ad business opposing as a search engine, doesn't like the fact that people are running so many people are running ad blockers. The whole thing is collapsing around our heads and I wonder if Chrome is going to survive. How many people are going to switch to Firefox because I can't use my ad blocker on Chrome anymore. This is going to happen next week, because I can't use my ad blocker on Chrome anymore.

09:46 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
This is going to happen next week. I've already switched to Firefox because I think Chrome has actually gotten worse as a browser and Firefox is cleaner and faster. And you're right, people have definitely been using ad blockers, but I think publishers have really mounted an effective defense. So if you're going to regularly visit a site, let's say YouTube or NBCNewscom, they do have this interstitial that will come up and ask you to turn off your ad blocker, make you turn off your ad blocker in order to continue consuming the content. So I think the publishers are going to be less hurt by this stuff than we initially thought at the outset. But yeah, maybe it does give consumers one more reason to move away from chrome marchese, because ads, of course, slow down websites and it just will become even slower compared to the others. Right marchese was right.

10:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's chaos, that's for sure.

10:33 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Go ahead, emily yeah, I've just been thinking about since chat gpt release, like we need a new business model, basically for the web, and like what could that be? Um, I do think that selling data and ads are two things people don't really like, so there is probably room to come up with something new. The only thing I've thought of, at least for the news case, is if this was possible. If, when an AI kind of scrapes its database, scrapes its content, if it pulls information from a certain website, it could just like pay that website upon crawling their page, like drop a coin and then they get paid. That's the new. Referral is when the AI scrapes and pulls from them. I feel like that's fair. They should. If they're quoting information from some other website that's not theirs, I feel like they should pay for it, and right now there's no way to do that.

11:23 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Micropayments. In fact, we've been talking about micro payments for as long as.

11:28 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I'm covering technology. Right, that's what it is. It needs to go upstream. Yeah, that's what.

11:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Brave was supposed to do right With their bat cryptocurrency, that you were supposed to pay a certain percentage out to the sites that you visited in order not to see the ads, so they could block the ads. I don't think that's really, uh, really taken off. You said the two things people don't like are uh, ads and um being spied on, but the thing they hate even worse than that is paying. So we're really stuck.

11:58 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I don't want to pay for that either other people paying. This would be like open ai. So, before the answer hits ChatGPT, openai is responsible for paying the source that contributed to that answer through a small payment during the process of generating the answer.

12:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Have you seen what Perplexity AI is proposing? They've just announced they're going to have a tool called Pages. They say it's for researchers. Pages they say it's for researchers. Perplexity pages. That, or or teachers, will let you generate your own web page composed of content from everybody else, right? Uh, they're kind of. That's kind of what the arc search does already. You have you have this button called browse for me that builds a page and doesn't ever send you to the original source page. I have a hot take on this one, yeah.

12:47 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, so I've spoken with Arvind Srinivas, the CEO of Perplexity, and he's on multiple podcasts including my own.

Talked about how he has had conversations with Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia, and Wales was obviously very interested in generative AI technology, because a lot of the things that you would do with a generative AI search engine, you would use Wikipedia for trying to find information about topics you're interested in. For instance, my understanding I think, wales just wanted to build some sort of generative AI tool on top of Wikipedia and from my understanding it hasn't gone anywhere. But what Srinivas I think is trying to do with this pages thing is trying to build a more personalized Wikipedia that can go into any topic that you want so effectively, instead of having to go to a website and hoping they have a page built for the topic you're interested in researching. What he wants to do is build a new Gen AI version of Wikipedia that can, yes, generate pages for different topics that are common and interesting to people, but also custom built pages for something that you might be specifically interested in but can't find that synthesis of information on the web.

13:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I should point out, wales has nothing to lose. He doesn't take advertising on Wikipedia and is already being completely abused by Google. Google's knowledge graph is Wikipedia, and you know I mean. Wikipedia is losing in both ways, so anything that's different would probably be something Jimmy Wales would be interested in, but if I were the New York Times, I'd be very nervous about this. Right, new York Times is already suing OpenAI because they use New York Times content or used to I imagine they've stopped by now use the content for generative AI. But OpenAI has just paid big money to Reddit. They're paying, I think, news Corp. That's right, because they need the content which is basically what I was talking about.

14:44 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
They have to pay for it. They need to pay for it. So they've chosen to do that through these content licensing deals, but I don't even know how you would value those deals. Are they paying these publishers the right amount? I don't know. So I really feel like this is all just going to have to be worked out, and I really hope that those companies didn't sign bad deals that ultimately tank them as well well reddit did a 60 million dollar deal right, but of course they're not selling their own content, they're just a platform.

15:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They're selling my content selling something. I wrote yeah, great they're selling the kid who said, put elmer's glue on pizza and uh, I don't know working out.

Great for everybody, yeah so, yeah, we have problems on both sides. One is garbage content generated by these AIs, because they can't distinguish between a joke and a genuine suggestion. The other is they're disintermediating the original source of all this content so that users don't have to click through, they can just read the generated page. Users don't have to click through, they can just read the generated page. And, by the way, these AI companies are burning money because the creation of these LLMs is so hideously expensive they can't possibly generate enough revenue to pay for it. So the whole thing is a house of cards. Is that what Marchese was saying, alex?

16:03 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
No, I think that we're going to see the cost come down for these models to run. That is a given, are they, though? We?

16:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
know the cost is coming down, Are they? Or is that just wishful thinking?

16:12 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
They are. We have infrastructure that's being built, whether it's by NVIDIA, which has more powerful GPUs coming out For 30,000. Or by startups like Grok yeah, they're expensive, but there are startups that are going to challenge them, like Grok, that is building purpose-built, and not Elon Musk's Grok G-R-O-Q, which is a. They just did a big raise.

16:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)

16:33 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Exactly so it's going to come down. The techniques are going to get better. There's going to be less loss in the model, so you'll be able to use the data more productively. It able to use the data more productively. It's still going to be expensive. It's not going to be cheaper than serving a Google search result, that's for sure, and I think we're going to see that Google is only going to fire these AI overviews, which they have at the top of pages, for a percentage of searches. It's not going to be for every search. In fact, it's not going to be for every search for perplexity, and it's not going to be for every search for Bing or even Yahoo.

Right Like this is a thing that's going to happen is search engines are going to try to figure out which answer deserves a generative response, which answer deserves 10 blue links, and then serve you the right one so they can keep the margins up. But you know, right now we do know that there's been a ton of money that's been spent on generative AI and not a lot of revenue coming in. We have, I think, $50 billion that have been invested in NVIDIA H100 chips over the past year and $3 billion that's been made from it. Now. Openai is on schedule to make $2 billion this year and they're probably going to make billions more from Apple once their deal is announced at WWDC and things go well, as I anticipated to happen. But we're at the very beginning of this and there is going to be some, you know, sort of froth in the system that's going to boil off, but ultimately there is going to be economics here for folks, and I think what Mark Casey's point is is broadly is that there's going to be a new system that's going to be built and the chaos that's going to come is that we might end up there before we're ready for it.

And, leo, I think you're spot on in saying that people don't like to pay and therefore we had. We built a system, the internet built a system that would allow companies to make money based off of them not paying, which is advertising. And now we start to see what happens when we move beyond that. And here's what he said. I'll just quote it. He says if you're not paying, then you are the product in a lot of cases, and consumers were never paying for the internet, so the internet found a way to make money off them.

You might be paying for generative AI and that would allow it to deliver you the best recommendation, not to recommend who paid the most. That's good in theory, but we don't know if the models are taking sides and black boxes are hard and to me, that's the real problem that we might be running into. Is that these perplexity pages and open ai's, chat, gpt and whatever you might be searching in, they're total black boxes. We don't know how they come to the recommendations that they're making. They don't even know. That's what I was gonna say. They don't even know.

19:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, that is a problem it feels like we've replaced a a system that could never work the internet with a even more chaotic system that requires an interlocking payment system with you know money out but no money in. It feels like it's not making it better. It's making it could make it worse this feels very like.

19:23 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I feel like I'm going crazy listen exactly through all of this and, honestly, my reaction to this is like I'm just gonna go for a walk, like I don't like how many times you're gonna like ai generate an answer to, like a question that I have before. I'm just gonna do something else with my time, like I don't I don't have many, I don't have infinite number of years left on this planet and I don't need to customize AI generated perplexity plates to send to my friends. It's like how about I go to his house and have a? Beer.

There's other things to do. I hope that's the instinct, that's honestly, and obviously I'm in publishing. I see all these discussions and I'm like this seems so small. It's like how many like you can wax a car and like, at a certain point, it's like it's shiny enough. It's like I got the answer, I don't need it anymore. Like delivered in a shiny, different way. Like at a certain point, like I don't care anymore.

20:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's like it's just you're very exhausting you're very bullish, it sounds like you're very optimistic about all this, but it does feel like it's almost a ponzi scheme where we're just going to keep shifting the responsibility for payment and nothing ever really gets fixed. It's like Uber. It's just like it's going to eventually. It feels like it's going to collapse in on itself. You know I was watching a documentary on the American experience about the kerner commission in 1967.

Uh, the nation, america, was torn with riots. The ghettos were burning in, city after city after city. It was a terrifying time. The president at the time, lyndon johnson, said I'm going to form a commission. It's kind of all white men. But okay, we won't say anything. It was I'm a former commission. To get to the bottom of this, what's, why is this happening and how do we keep it from happening? The commission came back with a very controversial report. Number one recommendation was a guaranteed universal income. This is 1967. This is realizing that the fundamental structural problem was you have very poor people collected in ghettos and prevented from ever getting out of the ghetto. And eventually they revolt, they say we're not, we're not gonna take this anymore and they burn this thing to the ground. And the kerner commission in 1967 said, the way out, the only way out, is to guarantee income.

Uh that didn't happen, by the way.

21:43 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Can I just add one other wrinkle to this? Universal-based income is one, payment for content is another. Do we care at all? Is another one. A third one is, I think, the environmental resources for all of us.

21:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, it's a nightmare right.

21:58 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's very significant the amount of energy that's going into this, and a lot of it is not renewable, so you don't really have solar panels powering these servers that are doing all these complex computations. So, basically, I just wrote an article about Microsoft. Their emissions are just going up and up and up every year. So four years ago they set a zero emissions goal. They've only gotten further from it, and the big reasons for that are AI training, new models. I mean, these are just guzzling energy and resources and it's a good question Like how many resources do we want to burn to have Google tell us to eat rocks?

22:34 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
As much as we can, I'm kidding, do you think? Can I can I? No, no.

22:38 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Do you think it's worth it?

22:39 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
No, of course not. I mean that not to eat rocks, can I? I just want to address these points. So let's talk about energy first of all. This might be. I do agree that it's an energy problem. It's similar to the Bitcoin problem, where, like these, bitcoin mines were guzzling up energy and ultimately harming the planet. The one piece of hope that I have here and maybe I'm too optimistic for my own good is that this might push us closer to going to nuclear power right, and I think nuclear power is something that can help us contain our climate crisis. It's controversial, no doubt, but we've forsaken it and it's become unpopular politically.

23:14 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, you know why we've forsaken it. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, I mean, there were good reasons to turn our back on nuclear. I keep reading this and people say, oh, no, no, that nuclear power is safe and the waste problem is solved. But that's not the history of nuclear power. And in Ukraine right now there is a massive nuclear power plant that the Russians are at any moment could create a meltdown. They control it and they have acted very irresponsibly around it. I don't know, Are these plants safe?

23:48 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I would say they're. They're orders of magnitudes. They would be orders of magnitude safer now than they were back then.

23:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's better than burning dead dinosaurs. I agree, I mean I will buy that, imagine you would.

23:58 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
You could run a nuclear plant today on effectively I mean on a computer system right, we cover Moore's Law all the time on a computer system far more powerful than they were running on Chernobyl, which you would imagine would have the proper redundancies to stop a meltdown like that. I mean, if you used your iPhone, it would be powerful, way more powerful than the computer system running Three Mile Island. So we should have the technology that's able to bring us to nuclear in a way that we didn't previously.

24:27 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Well, I would say solar has been quite successful, like the amount of renewable energy from solar has really gone up. There's tons of solar projects in the pipeline. Really, what we need is better batteries to store that energy that comes from the sun, to hold it for longer, hold more of it and then we can use it. So that would be, I guess, my request. And in bringing this up, I just think it gets lost in the conversation, like Sam Altman is like oh, I need a trillion dollars to train to find AGI, and it's like well, we should just consider, like on the back end, what we're doing here, and I don't hear it discussed very much at least in the US.

25:06 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
There has been some discussion, like Mark Zuckerberg was on the Dvarkash Patel podcast a couple of months ago, weeks ago, talking about the energy needs here and I think that, look, we know tech and it isn't perfect, but I do think that when Silicon Valley gets on a problem, it tackles it creatively and oftentimes with solutions that the rest of the world is not prioritizing. And so, whether it's an investment in solar and whether it's an investment in nuclear, maybe, and safe nuclear maybe, this is how it happens. I'm not saying it's guaranteed, but think about the status quo today in climate it's not working. We need new solutions, and maybe this is one of among many solutions that we can use to help shake it up and send us in a different direction.

25:42 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I just don't think big tech's going to do it Like. I think that it's going to come from some regulations, esg being part of, you know, the stock market. I just don't see, I'm not seeing, at least in Microsoft's example, that they are solving. It's only getting worse. Well, government might solve it. The government has.

26:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The Chips and Science Act has been, I think, very successful or at least it looks to be very successful in investing in American chip foundries. All of a sudden, we're going to be competitive where we've just basically been offshoring everything, with billions of dollars pumped into the economy. I think that's very interesting yeah.

26:20 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)

26:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Act is great. Yeah, so it is possible for government to pour money into a solution, maybe nuclear, maybe nuclear, that's what it'd have to be right. It's not going to be Intel building nuclear power plants.

26:34 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I just don't think it's going to be either or right, like obviously private sector isn't going to solve these problems, but we've got to shake the status quo up and, whether that's government or whether that's private sector or some combination of both, there needs to be compelling events to get us off of what we're doing. And maybe it's the AI revolution, who knows? I mean, there's going to be, there's going to need to be a new approach to energy, no matter what, to power these models, but something has to do it. And I don't know, maybe the thing sitting in front of us is is what it does, I don't know. Again, I preface this by saying maybe I'm too optimistic, but, that being said, we need something to change. I like it. I see your point. He's the last optimist, isn't he?

27:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Alex, you're going to be the last optimist, but I do see Nicholas's point about this.

27:18 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
How shiny do we need it? And I think that we do have only three. Bing, which has offered generative search for more than a year, only has 3.6% of global search share, so it's not like everybody wants to go to this technology right away. That being said, this is the worst it's ever going to be, and we already see it being put into practice in enterprises, for instance, searching documents, querying company workflows, being able to be better at customer service. This stuff is happening today and it's actually having an ROI, so maybe that extends to consumer over time. But if you're a pessimist, there are definitely data points that you can point to with this generative AI moment and say wait, what the hell is happening, because it definitely is a moment of just unbelievable exuberance, and there's definitely some irrational exuberance. I can't help it.

28:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I go back and forth, back and forth. Emily, you actually, you chose the best beat. You got EVs and AI. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Are you an AI optimist?

28:18 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I'm interested in where it's going to go. I hope it brings up good discussions. I do think it's going to keep going. I don't think it's like crypto. A lot of people are like, oh, why is this different than crypto? That was supposed to change everything and it didn't. I do think it's more here to stay.

I just feel like there's some obvious solutions that would grease the wheels and give us all less anxiety about this, and I just wish we could talk more about them. Like just pay for the content, just mark what's AI generated on the web and what's not, so we don't feel like we're all getting made fools of because we're reading like garbage computer content. Just be transparent, you know. Make sure that the energy used for it comes from a good place, make sure it's ethical, like. I just don't feel like people are rallying around those things and I would feel more comfortable if we just had any solution from the past year that's really working well, so I think it can be done. I'm optimistic. I just I don't know. I don't think much has changed in a year on any of those issues, does anybody?

29:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And you have people like Sam Altman, who really seem to be full speed ahead at all costs. It doesn't matter, throw more bills into the furnace and let's, just because we're getting to AGI one way or the other. Then there's companies like Anthropic, who are very safety-focused, who seem to be completely tied up and hand-bound by their focus on safety. And then you have a company like google. That's, uh, just basically like crusty the clown. I don't know what the hell they're just like. Does this work?

29:50 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I don't know I think cindar pitch, eyes, face is just in a permanent state of like, like just shock like what is happening. I don't what, what yeah, yeah I'm open to it like I hear you, alex, like I'm I'm optimistic too. I I feel like time is passing and like we're still in the same spot, kind of just with a new yeah, krusty, the Clown of the month.

30:11 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I don't know. Look, ai is like again has a mind of its own, so it's like relatively uncontrollable.

30:16 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, that's a terrifying thought, and listen, sure you're going to get it well you get that with humans too, by the way, if I ask the random human on the street you know, uh is it yeah, is a vaccine good? Is it a good thing to get a vaccine? Half of them are gonna say, oh no, you'll kill you and they're wrong. They're just wrong, but that's. But that's the thing. Humans aren't are, just are. The reason ai is full of poop is because humans are full of poop, we're just right.

30:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I actually heard with the turing test that you know. The turing test is like the computer, sounding human. So I read um what's his name? Ray kersville's book that's coming out soon and he talks a lot about how, in order for ai to pass the turing test, it's going to have to be wrong sometimes, because that's human, so that's human, so it's going to have to not test. It's going to have to be wrong sometimes.

31:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Because that's human.

31:05 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So that's human. So it's going to have to not make sense, it's going to have to have flaws, it's going to have to get information inaccurate. So I don't know where that squares with this. We always want better, perfect information, but then we also want to achieve AGI.

31:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is what Emily Bender and Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gibber wrote in Stochastic Parrots which I think is really true is because it's coming out of the mouth of a machine, of a computer, we give it more trust than we do out of a human, and the problem is that AI isn't more trustworthy than humans, and I think it's a fool's errand to make it more trustworthy. I don't think that that's the solution either. Let's pause because we need to take a break. But to make it more trustworthy, I don't think that that's the solution either. Let's pause because we need to take a break. But this is a great conversation. It is, I apologize, a little chaotic, because Marchese was right Chaos, that's what's happening in the world around us, but thank goodness we have smart people to help us. I like getting together and just trying to figure it all out. Emily Dribulbis is here. She writes about EVs and AI and more at PC Magazine. She is an electric human. Are you one of the electric humans? Is it a band?

32:15 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I don't know. I'll have to think about it. You're going to have to help me, Brandon. You're going to have to workshop it.

32:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Electric underscore humans. No, I think that's good. I like it we do. We run on electricity.

32:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I guess the human part. I'm interested in the human effect of technology, not just the technology itself. So I was going for that with the humans.

32:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That makes sense. That makes sense Also here, Nicolas De Leon from Consumer Reports. He has the unenviable job of explaining all this to normals.

32:43 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
He has the unenviable job of explaining all this to normals. Well, I struggle with. I go back and forth with this AI stuff all the time because I try to find the actual kind of everyday person utility for a lot of this stuff and it's just like I should have a story published this week coming from that angle and it's like there's not. How many times can I use chat GPT to ask a trivial question? No, it's not useful. I understand you have a co-pilot chat GPT to ask a trivial question. I understand Co-Pilot. Obviously there are clear, useful uses for these things. But if I'm just a dad in Danbury, connecticut, I don't know yet. It still feels a little bit over the horizon of immediate. Are dads at Danbury interested?

33:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
If our readers are any indication, not super interested, that's going to be the name of my new yacht rock band Dads in Danbury.

33:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Are any dads from Danbury listening right now? Yes, they are.

33:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Phone in Let us know what you think. Danbury Danbury On the line.

33:34 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Please let us know what you think about AI. We are dying to hear it.

33:38 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Especially if your name is Dan.

33:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Dan, I'm a dad from Danbury, dan and Danbury. That is the wonderful Alex Kantorowitz. We always love having you on Big Technology Podcast. You talk to the biggest, most interesting people in the business, which means you often have some insight that I completely lack because I don't talk to anybody. So, thank you, I'll talk to you. So you talk to them and let me know what they think.

34:02 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Thank you, Leo. It's great to be here.

34:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, great to have all three of you trying to solve this conundrum that is the world, the modern world, our show today, brought to you by InTouchCX. I'll tell you one thing the customer experience is probably the most important part of your business. If you deal with customers and I bet you you have a customer service that is living in the 19th century in some way, and touch cx knows that a major goal of your company is to provide your customers with an excellent customer experience. But it's changed in the 21st century and there's technology now that can make you do so much better job in. Intouch CX works with brands around the world to apply things like AI and smart automation to optimize their customer experience for every touchpoint across the entire customer journey. I'm not talking about you know. Oh, let's make a phone tree so the customers don't get to talk to somebody. No, no, no. We're talking about making a better customer experience. To provide a great customer experience, of course, you have to depend on a combination of talented people, but you also need efficient processes and you need to use innovative technology. There's some new stuff out there that really can make a difference. Quality service only happens when you have the right mix of talented people, efficient processes and innovative technology working together.

Unfortunately, most companies are dealing with outdated, complex systems. You know who you are. You know what the pain points are. It makes it hard to meet customer needs, hard to retain your customer service agents. They're frustrated. Your customers are frustrated. There is a better way. Customer interactions have to feel smooth on both sides, for both your customers and your agents. Feel smooth on both sides, for both your customers and your agents. That's why InTouch CX improves the experience for both the agent and your customers at every touch point of their journey. They do it through innovative AI and automation. There are so many tools. If you go to the website, take a look at it InTouchCXcom, slash, twit. It's just a wide range of stuff, but in general it. It's just a wide range of stuff, but in general, the idea is to do triage to support the customer in the way that's going to be the most effective for them and for you to elevate your customer and agent experience, adding AI and automation at every touch point. Look, you just got to talk to them. Talk to the people in TouchCX. Whatever your company size, regardless of where your company is on its CX journey, intouchcx can help. They really are the industry leaders. Go to InTouchCXcom slash twit. You can talk to them. Sign up for a free, no obligation consultation. They will create a tailored customer support strategy for AI and smart automation customized for your business. They really know how to make this work. Intouchcxcom slash twit. Intouchcxcom slash twit. We thank them so much for their support of this week in tech. I'm just curious All three of you are young.

I had my kids, my daughter's 32. My son's 28. I had my kids in an earlier time. It didn't feel like it. The internet was around, it wasn't completely the dark ages, but it was a very different time. And I look at them and I wonder if they're ever going to have kids. I have a feeling that they feel like maybe it's not a good time. This is a very personal question, but, nicholas, you're going to have kids, would? This is a very personal question, but Nicholas, you're going to have kids.

37:27 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Would you have kids in this world?

37:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I wouldn't be opposed to having kids in my. Would you not be nervous about bringing no, no?

37:32 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
All the stuff that we discussed.

37:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's all going to be fine.

37:35 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I live in basically the middle of nowhere in Arizona and the concerns that these people have is not this stuff, that's real life. It's like bills. It's like it's like bills, it's, it's, it's like it's. You know not to be too flip, but like all this stuff is like way outside of their like wheelhouse of, like it's funny because we I live in a bubble, so that's, I work in a bubble, so I kind of see both worlds like yeah, no, like they would have no how about you, emily?

38:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't know what your personal situation is, but you know, would you consider having children in this world? I guess the question I'm asking is you know, if you had a kid today, they would be my age at the turn of the century, like 2100 is going to be wild, right? I'm not sure I'd want to have a kid today. What about you, emily?

38:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
This is definitely a topic I'm thinking about, because I'm getting married in a month congratulations congratulations.

38:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Thank you, yeah oh god, what are you doing here? Don't you have a something to do like get your trousseau together or something, or?

38:38 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I know I have a list of like we printed out a list of all the tasks and it's, it's insane.

38:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Are you planning the the wedding or is it going to be a small affair?

38:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, it's like a hundred people. Oh geez, yeah, my fiance is helping a lot, my family is helping. How exciting, yeah, making room for me to be on this podcast for three hours on a Sunday. I definitely feel like I have tons of support, so it's no problem at all.

39:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Have you and your fiance talked about starting a family?

39:06 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
yeah, yeah, we're gonna try to to do that.

Oh good, so so your answer is yes my answer is yes, um, and I I think there's a lot of negativity around kids, though, like a lot of my tiktok feed is just like people who there's like the child free movement and there's a lot of people saying that you know, I'm child free by choice, a lot of women who are talking about you know not wanting to have children, and I do understand that. You know, 20, 30, 40 years ago, it was just very much assumed that you would have children and that would be all you were doing and, like you know, for example, I wouldn't be on this podcast right now and and I can be and have a professional future because I I can be and have a professional future because I can make a choice about having kids. So I get that, but I think it's a little overly negative.

39:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You're with Nicholas. This is just people in the bubble are worried, not real people.

39:57 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, I'm just going to live my life.

39:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We are heading towards a population crunch, though right it's. It is the case that, especially in developing, in the non-developing world, uh, people are not having kids at the same rate as they did, china's major crisis coming, and, I think, even the us. That's why elon is having so many kids. He talks about this a lot he wants to make up for the yeah, the deficit.

40:20 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
He's halfway there are you just baiting me?

40:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm baiting you. I'm going to keep on with kids, oh, my goodness I'm baiting you.

40:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, I'm going to take the bait. So I just don't think he's building a world that makes sense. He's basically just having a bunch of kids and not being able to be a father to any of them, and there is enough research to be like that's a bad idea.

40:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He's also missing out on a real experience, the leader on repopulation, so that makes sense to me 8.1 billion people in the world. That's a nice number. It's a lot of people. Do you want to add to that?

40:53 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Alex, yeah, definitely. I mean you know, I think that I've been married for less than a year. It's been awesome so far and we definitely would like to have little Cantrowitz's running around. But I think you know both from, like, a practical standpoint and from you know, at least from my perspective, a sustainability standpoint. Don't really want to have more than two. I feel like replacing at this point makes sense.

Right, Zero, no-transcript. The right number, um, replace and you know, don't want to add necessarily. You know more consumers here and I think we are like in living in the U S, we are in one of these developing societies that we're having less and less kids. So I think that, like you know, it does make sense to have a couple and I'm excited to do it, not immediately, and you know, like Emily said, there's definitely gonna be some professional choices that I'll have to make at that time and ready to do it like ready to sacrifice and be there for the children, and I'm excited.

42:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But yeah, I apologize to all three because it's a very personal question, but you see why I'm asking because, it's asking really the fundamental question is are you optimistic about the future or not, right I?

42:14 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
mean I've, I'm definitely optimistic, so I'm definitely happy to to bring kids.

42:18 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It will be a world that your children, if you had them today, would be, you know when they're your age would be glad to be a part of it.

42:25 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
We're an imperfect you know, we're an imperfect species. We've definitely made lots of mistakes. We continue to make them. We're making them right now, but we have improved the world for ourselves as we've gone on. Now we will have a resource crunch, there's no doubt about it, but I do think we'll be able to get to a place where we innovate ourselves to, you know a point where we're going to be in okay shape, because we have no choice, or we really just don't don't have a choice here, and we'll be able to figure it out, yeah I often wonder because I'm older and, uh, I think one of the things that happens as people get older is they start to look with a golden glow at the past and say the world today sucks, but my day it was.

43:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You know, it was good. It was good, and I want to know if it does seem like we are in a very bad pickle right now. Am I wrong? But I want to know. Is that just because I'm old and so it's actually encouraging to me that all three of you are optimistic about the future? I'm not so optimistic, I'll be honest with you.

43:25 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Of course it's different every day, I feel like we're not headed down a good road.

43:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I guess is what I'm saying.

43:31 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I feel like what is it? Life finds a way or something. It's like eh, we'll figure it out, yeah, we will. Yeah, we will.

43:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We always have right, I mean, if history tells us anything's or we won't and is such as life.

43:43 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
You know that's, it's god's will. I mean, I'm just a person, okay save that recording for your children.

43:49 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
In 20 years we're gonna play that for your kids that's fine, if you really want to get existential at things, just remember that one day the star will boil itself, send a supernova out, the universe will cease to exist and eventually our descendants or not, will evaporate. So you know, that's where we're heading. I know, but that's billions of years off.

44:12 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But that, in a way, is what's driving people like Elon and this whole test trail movement is we want to be an interplanetary species, so that we're not tied to this solar system 5 billion years from now.

44:29 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
We want to spread. Space travel seems great, but it also seems a little premature. If you want to do that, fine, but put equal or greater effort into making sure that this planet is habitable for the long time, because we are many, many years away from the sun's collapse. We are not as many years away from the sun's collapse. We are not as many years away from our climate collapse.

44:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We may be months away. It's going to be a rough summer.

44:53 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, it's kind of escapist, the bi-planetary species thing, both mentally and physically, you're like escaping to another planet. But I just think it would be such a huge loss if we lost, like all of our beautiful nature on this planet, like we just couldn't inhabit our own planet. It's hard for me to get excited about um being forced to inhabit another planet. Good, do you think we shouldn't have kids? I guess I'll put it back on you, like what?

45:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
oh, I'm glad I had kids, uh, but that was a long time ago, uh, that was a generation ago, I don't know. You know, what I'm, I guess, in a way, asking is should I have grandkids, right? Should my children have kids? And they sure don't seem inclined to at this point. Maybe I've poisoned their minds with fears of climate change and the collapse of our democracy and, you know, the AI apocalypse just around the corner. My daughter loves AI, though she's just crazy about it. Many of her best friends are AIs, so I don't know what the answer is. Not AI kids.

AI kids. You know it's funny. She was visiting. She lives in New York, but she was visiting last week and I said have you played with 4.0 lately? And she said no. I said, well, good, let me introduce you. And so we had a three-way conversation with the chat GPT 4.0 because I talk to it all the time and it was kind of an anodyne conversation. It was, you know, superficial, but at the same time in some ways it was a better conversation than three humans would have had. The AI was very stimulating, it was interesting. It took what we said and kind of chewed on it and gave us something different back. I thought it was quite good.

46:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So I don't know, she says see, I said okay, all right it is weird to think about bringing new humans into a world that's increasingly unsure how to value, like the physical body of a human. It's like if we can just create computers that are humans, then like why do we need these physical humans? And so it's definitely a weird, a weird moment in terms of defining, like, what it means to be human and is there, is there value in being a well human of the flesh?

47:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
one thing I I was definitely aware with my kids. I felt bad that they got out of college and grew up in a world where the jobs are harder and harder to get the expenses.

47:26 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
They probably never own a home, uh after we talk yeah, after we talk about climate, like the financial burden on young people today is crazy. First of all, millennia. I mean, look, every generation has dealt with their own hard stuff, but millennials and gen z well, really millennials have gotten the worst of it come out of college pretty much in the middle of a financial crisis. No jobs to begin with there, you know, live through COVID, have to basically sacrifice, you know, social to be able to, like, you know, make sure that we have limited deaths. I'm sure there've been other, you know, financial crises that have gone along, you know, over the course. I'm sure there have been other financial crises that have gone along over the course there, but it seems like every time this generation gets their feet underneath them, some other crisis hits and it's just a disaster. And now you have the cost of child care that's going through the roof. Housing you don't own a house. Now, good luck, you're in deep trouble. You're not going to be able to buy a house.

48:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
And then just financially, it's very difficult to live. I feel guilty, I feel like my generation has left your generation, nothing.

48:34 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
All I have to say, leo, is that please, whatever happens, the voters of the whoever's going to vote do not vote to raise the retirement age. We'll do whatever we can to get to what is it?

48:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
62, 65, 69, and then we're taking social security all right, you guys have to work longer to support my generation because we worked too and we were tired at the ages I'll gladly do that in france retirement age yeah, it's not a real thing in the US, but yeah very much in France.

49:06 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's like a real thing where you actually can stop working, and I mean it's always creepy they have a safety net. Uber drivers who are 80.

49:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, they have a safety net. Going to any Walmart to see how old the greeters are, I mean yeah, it's sad.

It's all right, I got my little vest ready. I'm gonna be I'll be a cheerful little uh greeter ticket master. What a week for ticket master. Huh, uh, we're gonna talk about that when we come. Now that we, now that we have really cheered you all up, uh, we'll talk about the troubles with ticket master in just a little bit with emilyreybelbis from PC Magazine Consumer Reports, nicholas DeLeon and the big technology, alex Kantrowitz.

Great to have all three of you on the show today, our show today, brought to you by Wix Studio. They're giving me one minute. I only have 60 seconds to tell you about Wix Studio, the web platform for agencies and enterprises. So, in a nutshell, here are a few things you can do from start to finish in a minute or less. On Studio. You can adapt your designs for every device with responsive AI. You can expand Wix Studio's pre-made solutions with back-end and front-end APIs. You can generate code and troubleshoot bugs with a built-in AI code assistant.

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I remember seeing an article by somebody who just bought tickets to the Eros Tour, the Taylor Swift Tour in the United States, who realized that for what they paid for those tickets, they could have flown to Florence, watched the show, paid for the tickets and flown back for less than it cost, just for the tickets alone in the US. And there's one reason, and one reason only for that it's a little company called Ticketmaster. The reason only for that it's a little little company called ticket master. The usdoj is finally deciding to do something about what is the, I think, the clearest example of a, of a massive monopoly that is just robbing peter to pay paul. Uh, any thoughts about?

51:52 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
did you write about ticket, master nicholas at all, we didn't cover that last week, uh, but it is. I mean, I feel like everyone has used Ticket. You know you've encountered Ticketmaster.

52:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm going to assume you have to if you go to see a show, because they own all the venues. So artists can't perform at the venues they want to perform at, unless they sell tickets through Ticketmaster.

52:10 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
And it's not just music. I watch a lot of wrestling shows. If you want to buy wrestling tickets, it's Ticketmaster, so you can't avoid this company if you want to go to a live event. And yeah, I don't know, I don't know that too many people are going to be broken up about. Well, maybe the breakup of Ticketmaster.

52:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They own the venues. They own Live Nation, which is the I guess you don't call it a label anymore, but effectively a label for big A promoter Like Madonna. She has a deal with Live Nation for albums, for concerts, for the whole thing. I'm sure she got a. She will show up at 12 pm, at midnight when she's ready to go on stage.

52:43 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
We went to see her, but we knew that she wouldn't show up. What time did she come on?

52:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
10.30, not so bad.

52:49 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, not bad.

52:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You got. There's a guy suing in Los Angeles because not only did she come out at 1030, but he says it was a porn show, which it wasn't. I've seen the show. It was a great show. If you go see Madonna, you shouldn't be surprised if there's a little bit of sexy going on. That's that guy's fault.

53:08 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
That's his fault. But the late thing is kind of ridiculous.

53:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, but at the same time, everybody. I've seen Madonna twice now and she was an hour and a half late both times.

53:20 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
You just know that's what's going to happen. Madonna always has the most technical difficulties. There was a great YouTube video out of Boston where on some local news report where Madonna came on at like 11, and there's a woman out of the theater like Madonna. You have no compassion.

53:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I got to sleep. What are you doing? I gotta pay a babysitter, so, anyway, shout out to that lady. Yeah, anyway, ticketmaster. There's another thing they do. I didn't know about this, but Alex Lindsay was on Ask the Tech Guys earlier. He said do you know that they also control the resale? So if you notice that all the seats are sold for your favorite artist within 30 seconds of them going on sale, that's because bots and scalpers immediately snap up all the tickets and Ticketmaster is still going to get. They get it coming and going. When they do the resale they go through Ticketmaster. Unless they're standing on the corner selling them, they go through Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster gets another cut. So they have no incentive to stop these bots in any event.

54:18 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I have a cautionary tale about that.

54:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)

54:22 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I went to Japan last summer it's actually where I got engaged and I was trying to fund this trip and I made a hard ethical decision to try to buy Beyonce tickets and resell them.

54:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, that's a little money-making scam. There you go.

54:37 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I try. You know the whole Taylor Swift hype was happening and you know it's definitely questionable, like driving up prices, so making it less and less accessible for other people.

54:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh yeah, real fans are stuck yeah but my parents were surprisingly supportive.

54:49 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So I was like, oh, okay, maybe it's fine if I try this. Mom, dad, I have a plan. I know like, is this okay? Um, and my parents are really great people and also very like kind of ethically sound, and I was like, oh, you guys are open to it, whatever, anyway, um, so, yeah, I bought tickets on ticketmaster I had to join like um just two oh okay, you didn't buy like I had to sign.

No, I had to sign up for a bunch of different cities so there's something called like the beehive for beyonce and I had to like join the beehive in like every city across the us and then that gave me early access to like maybe winning the lottery for any of these cities. So basically I got I think I got tickets actually in chicago, where I was living. I won that. I bought the tickets and then I tried to resell them. But I didn't realize. Ticketmaster just takes so many fees, first when you buy the tickets and then when you resell them, and I lost money on it, oh wow.

55:49 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But you know who made money.

55:51 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Ticketmaster yeah, not Beyonce, not Emily. Ticketmaster, not Beyonce.

55:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Not Emily, I know.

55:57 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I just was made a fool of. I compromised my morals, you're not alone. I tried to get in on the heist and I got rocked and she's number one Grammy winning artist of all time. Didn't work, so let be known. If you want to sell tickets on Ticketmaster, just be aware there are fees on every part of the transaction and it can screw you and then they often don't tell you do you buy the ticket?

56:19 - Leo Laporte (Host)
so, like you said, tickets face price, $150, okay, good, and then they don't tell you that it's going to be $48 fees on top of that at the end.

56:27 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's ridiculous it's awful you have to resell the ticket for so much higher than you bought it to overcome the hurdle of all those fees.

56:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So they're pushing the prices up the white house is going after these hidden fees.

56:41 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
That's right. I think it's one of the best things the biden administration has done and it's their way. That was listening to daily recently. It's their way of tackling inflation without like, basically, I don't know doing whatever they can because they have, like you, apparently they're fighting the hidden fees.

56:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Whatever the reason, they want to tell you up front if there's a fee that people have to tell you up front Think about that.

57:04 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
The Airbnb cleaning fees. I mean Airbnb book a room for $80, but the cleaning fee is $200.

57:11 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
This, is our hotels all day, baby, it's $300. I only do hotels for that reason.

57:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is good government. Fight the hidden fees I agree well and breakup ticket master. The us department of justice, along with 30 state and district uh district attorneys general, filed a civil antitrust suit against live nation entertainment and ticket master, its wholly owned subsidiary, for monopolization, uh and other other unlawful conduct that thwarts competition and markets across the live entertainment industry. Couldn't happen to a better company. The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York.

57:48 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
They want to break them up. Nothing ever happens in that district.

57:51 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, they want to break them up, which I think is probably the only solution. There's a historic precedent for this. Back in the 30s, the motion picture studios owned all the theaters in the United States, so, as a result, they totally controlled both the means of production and the means of distribution and they were split up. They were forced to break up because that was clearly a monopoly, and I don't I think that's exactly the situation you have now I I suspect this will take a while, but I think it will also succeed. Live nation would be a huge win for the people, for the people.

58:30 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think there's so many industries that are becoming monopolistic, and it's it's not good for competition, it's not good for the consumer and I'm just like, how do we get ahead of this? Like, is there a way we could have not created the situation with Ticketmaster earlier?

58:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, that's a good point, and I think one of the things that did happen is for a long time, starting under Reagan, there was a disinclination to pursue antitrust, and so companies were allowed to merge, they were allowed to get big very quickly and nobody did anything about it.

59:03 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, big tech were having the same conversation. I feel like it comes up often. Maybe it's a new wave of just discussing monopolies and just if that system of having competition is kind of weak right now.

59:16 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
But you can't really do it preemptively and in the United States having a monopoly is actually not illegal.

It's maintaining that monopoly with anti-competitive tactics that's illegal. And the reason why it's not illegal is because you would then create a disincentive for companies to get ahead of the field and outpace them, outpace the competition and therefore innovation would dry up. And I think NVIDIA is a great example of something that could be thought of as a legal monopoly at this point, where they built the GPUs, they built the software to train LLMs on. There are so many companies that are trying to catch up with them but they have not been able to yet. They will eventually. And if NVIDIA were to do things that were anti-competitive to maintain that monopoly, then all of a sudden you would have a case against them and similar like you have this case against Ticketmaster, right, but until then that's sort of where a lot of the economic value is and we want to encourage companies to be exceptional and to be difficult to catch up with, but not impossible. So that's sort of how the system works.

01:00:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So, as an example, you may remember, for a long time the government fought a merger of T-Mobile and Sprint because it was felt that it was better to have four big cell carriers rather than three. Well, eventually they gave in. T-mobile did acquire Sprint, and now it's about to acquire most of US Cellular. This is what happens. They are accretion disks that slowly add to themselves until they get so big that we have to do something about it. The government is able to stall these. I mean, they tried to stop Microsoft Activision Failed. All these. I mean they tried to stop microsoft activision, um, failed, um.

So it is possible to say, no, you're, you're already, uh, too big and and we don't want you to enter a new market, or we don't want to expand your existing market or eliminate competition. It's I, you know it's got to be done appropriately. I agree with you, alex, you need toize people, but there's a lot of incentive. You don't have to add too much to that. There's a lot of incentive to get big. And there's also the argument you know, for instance, the Vision Pro probably couldn't have been made by two guys in a garage. It had to have a giant company behind it to invest billions of dollars over many years to create something like that. So there is a balance. Go ahead, sorry, go ahead, leo. No, I was just gonna say there is a reason to have these big companies. But I think also it's very easy to see when these companies are so big that they start to uh, they start to own their, their, their customers, their customer base, to the point where they don't have to serve the customer base.

01:01:57 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, the balance thing is such a good point. For instance, like, think about acquisitions. Like we could all say like the US should not allow these acquisitions to happen, but that would disincentivize startups from building to get big enough so that they can use, let's say, a big tech acquisition as an exit, versus just having to go to IPO, like there would be less funding without acquisitions. But you do have these roll-ups, like the Ticketmaster Live Nation roll-up, that's just, they become disgusting and that's why this antitrust world really lends itself to nuance versus political slogans.

Yeah, where it's like ban acquisitions is, oh, it's kind of tough. It will actually cause economic harm over time. But be more vigilant around acquisitions and be more vigilant around, let's say, illegal maintenance of monopoly. This is good. And actually I think if again, looking at the bright side here, the United States is in a moment and the world is in a moment where a lot of this anti-competitive conduct that was looked at or kind of ignored up until now is starting to really become examined and really be pushed back against and we actually have a government that's moved beyond that Reagan era policy and is going to say listen, if you're going to use your position of bigness and power to hurt the people, then we're going to take the side of the people here and try to push back, and that's the great news about what's happening with the Ticketmaster Live Nation thing.

01:03:17 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think also what it means to be big today is very different than what it meant to be a big company in the past. Like with these technology companies, the reach and the valuations are so huge that a big company now I mean it's snowballed a little bit out of control.

01:03:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, although I mean the Sherman Antitrust Act came about more than a hundred years ago because in the Gilded Age these companies were getting so big and so powerful, like Standard Oil, that it became obvious they had to be broken up. I think we are in a new Gilded Age. It's a good point To add to Ticketmaster's no good, very bad week. They were also then hacked.

01:04:01 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It doesn't happen to a better guy.

01:04:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Good news. But did it happen to them or to?

01:04:05 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
us, its users.

01:04:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
More than half a billion users Information was leaked Emails, phone numbers, addresses, even financial details. I immediately changed my Ticketmaster password. I want the right people to gouge me, and it's yeah crazy, 500 million customers.

01:04:30 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
No, this sucks. I mean, it doesn't seem like they were using those convenience fees to build their cybersecurity.

01:04:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No no no, we don't want to invest in that.

01:04:37 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's again, it's the everyday users that end up getting hurt, and it's really. It's unfortunate Emily, you were saying something?

01:04:44 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, exactly, I just wonder why. So the way this happens is somebody hacks in the system. They get through all the controls, they get the information and then they list that information for sale on these online forums, I think one's called Breach Forum, and someone basically goes and says hey, I have this trove of information, do you want it?

01:05:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think they listed it for $500,000 for all of our Ticketmaster login 1.3 terabytes worth yeah.

01:05:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I feel like my information should be worth more than that, but it'd be just me. That seems like a low price, but that's a good point. That's 10 cents each. Come on man. Yeah, exactly. And then, um, I just wonder why that website breach form even exists. Why is it legal to have websites online where you can sell like hacked data?

01:05:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
that's a good question? I don't think it's. I don't think you could go to https colon slash slash. I don't know where it's reach forum, breachforumcom. I think it's on the dark web.

01:05:36 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's on the dark web, but obviously law enforcement knows about it.

01:05:41 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's in the news. They leave it open. Everyone knows about it. They leave it open because that's how you find out who got hacked, right, if you closed it.

01:05:50 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's just wild. I mean, it's like hey, we're just aware of all this cyber crime happening in this web. We're just going to let this website just live and breathe and just transact. I don't get it.

01:06:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, the funniest thing is, the group that did this claimed responsibility. Yeah, hey, we did this. Shiny hunters, they're called, they're hunting shiny dollars.

01:06:14 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Nicholas is right. It's shiny enough, no more right. It's shiny enough, no more shiny. No more shiny.

01:06:19 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Sometimes I write about these stories and I'm like, okay, we know the person, we know they committed five other cyber attacks All of those happened on this forum. I'm like, is someone I'm writing about it? Is somebody doing something about it? I don't, I don't get it. Maybe I just don't understand how it all works.

01:06:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, one of the things that happened was and I think this is very common shiny hunters approached Ticketmaster first and said it would be a shame if all of your information were to be leaked. And Ticketmasters apparently didn't want to give any of their filthy lucre to shiny hunters. So shiny hunters said fine, you'll be sorry, and they're selling it online.

01:06:57 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
But again, it's not ticket master that suffers from this no, and I want to add uh, maybe five years ago I was at cr, the cr office, just writing whatever I got. A remember that mint the budget management app I got a notification saying something along the lines of like, your paypal credit card offer has has been declined. I was like wait what? Wait a minute, wait a minute never mind.

I, you know. Whatever I work through the day, I go home I wake up in the middle of the night. I was like, wait a minute. I never checked the equifax website to see if I was hacked. So it's like 2 am. I log into the website and it says you know, I put in my social security number and it says according to our records, you may have been impacted by the Equifax hack. That was, without question, the most stressful period of my life. I went to the NYPD. I went to the Yonkers Police Department. I had to get affidavits. I had to get all this information and what did I get out of it? Basically, there was no real resolution. You were the victim of identity fraud. Yes, oh yeah, my credit report hadresses that I've never been to. I had an address in Newark. I'd never been to Newark. It had my address in Newark. I was like this is insane. This was me doing this. I didn't have An assistant to go do that. I had to go to the NYPD In Queens in the city.

I missed several days of work. I was obviously stressed Out of my mind and so I do Sympathize with folks who now are going to have to deal with this. Were you able to get it all cleaned up? I was able to remove the fraudulent credit card credit pulls or whatever it was. I was able to move. Basically what solved it was the passage of time. Honestly, time just went by and the credit report just kind of like you correct, but you correct and you fight and you send letter. It's like it was a real nightmare, to be honest with you, and like I was talking to the CR, like people in DC like how do I like protect myself? What do I do? Credit freeze.

So to the folks listening and watching, it's like freeze your credit. It is a minor inconvenience to not have your credit open, so you can't. I was going to get the t-mobile 5g uh wireless internet. The other day they tried to run a credit check and it failed. So I was like, okay, whatever, but like if I want to do that, I have to call experian or one of the credit agencies to unfreeze it for like a day, then go and transact and then they'll freeze it again. So it's like but now that it's frozen, no like, but now that it's frozen, no one can get it. No one can get it. So that feels like that should be the default. It's like why is it open anyway?

01:09:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
For a long time, these companies were charging you yes yes.

01:09:26 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Oh yeah, that's right.

01:09:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
First of all, they don't want you to do a freeze because they make money by selling your information. Yes, of course they can by selling your information.

Yes, of course, If you froze it they can't sell your name to credit card companies to give you offers. So they didn't want to do this, but they were forced to. Then they thought well, that's fine, we'll let you freeze it, but it's going to cost you 35 bucks to unfreeze it Ridiculous. Finally, a federal law was passed that says, no, you have, and unfreezing. But I have to tell you, offering it is a big difference between offering it and actually making it possible. I am logging in right now to my experience account to set up a credit freeze. Okay, welcome back, welcome back. So I logged in to the thing that says your credit freeze thing. Look what it says welcome back. Oh, get your free credit report. Now. I don't want a credit report. I'm oh, I don't want that where's the cancel box?

there's no cancel box. I don't want this. I want to do a freeze, please. So, maybe, maybe I misunderstood. Let's, let's go back and and see if I did the right thing. Manage your freeze. Go ahead, you can show the screen. Manage your freeze.

Good, okay, I'm gonna create, I'm gonna sign in to my experience account right here. Look, it even recognizes me. Oh say hi, leo, welcome back. Just fill in your password here. Great, now I'll be able to unfreeze my account, right, no, wait a minute. It says welcome back, get your. Well, maybe if I click this it'll do that. No, I still have to sign in. There is no way to get past this. So I said all right, fine, I want my credit report. I don't? Yeah, so I submit it. Don't show this briefly, I'm going to just fill in my. It asks you for your social. So, okay, yeah, yeah, going to fill that all in. It says is all that correct? Yeah, that's correct. Let's see if it's still working. Oh, hey, it worked this time. For three weeks I've been trying to freeze my credit and every time it said sorry, it's not working.

01:11:22 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
And they'll try to sell you other products that sound like freeze. It's horrible.

01:11:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
These companies are nightmares.

01:11:28 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Credit pause is like a fake product they sell. There is no credit pause. Credit freeze is like the one that has the law behind it.

01:11:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's what they're legally requiring. You is like the one that has the law behind it to freeze it, not like whatever else I ended up calling him. It was the only way to do it. And then you have to say representative, yeah, representative. It's just a nightmare.

01:11:43 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
And I'm sitting there feeling.

01:11:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It is unacceptable, it's illegal.

01:11:46 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, it's blatant. I'm so sorry that happened to you, nicholas.

01:11:49 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Oh, it was really, and I just felt thankful, thankful that like I had a job that was like okay, with me taking time off to like sort, what if I worked somewhere where they were not as as understanding or whatever were you at? Consumer?

01:12:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I was at cr, yeah, and my boss was like cr should allow you to do that.

01:12:03 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Well, I mean that's they did to be fair like what if I worked at, uh, you know, yeah, any another company I don't know, but yeah, it's a huge. I was like so like shaken by that, like I can't believe this is a lot Like this is insane. It's a nightmare. This is America. This is the America they tell me to.

01:12:21 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
That's a lot worse than losing money on Beyonce resale.

01:12:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's pretty bad too, though, and what did your parents say when you told them that you in fact lost money?

01:12:32 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think they were like disappointed. It was kind of like the horse that they bet on like didn't win the race.

01:12:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We violated our moral principles to allow our daughter to make some money. And when this is what we get, I tell you.

01:12:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I mean, at one point I was like I could buy you guys tickets, Like we can all do it together.

01:12:52 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I know my son does this all the time. He says I'm going to get you the best nursing home ever. You just watch.

01:12:58 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, exactly, thanks. Well, actually, one more thing on the Ticketmaster that came to mind is I think that breach was not just Ticketmaster, it was a more upstream company called Snowflake.

01:13:08 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yes, Well, they blame Snowflake for the breach, but it was Ticketmaster data snowflake for the breach, but it was Ticketmaster data.

01:13:18 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, so it's this problem where these companies rely on other companies for parts of their software supply chain, and so there are just multiple failure points that we're, as consumers, completely unaware of. I mean, every single software transaction they have has to have controls, and so these hackers basically just went through all these hoops, got to kind of like that mother load company, that vendor that's providing some software service to tons of companies, ticketmaster being one of them. So we'll see. Hopefully no other big companies also got hacked through this, but that scares me a little bit. It's like not only do I have to know what Ticketmaster is doing to make sure I'm safe, but it's every single vendor that they work with also has access to my data. So it's really tricky.

01:13:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You remember the Colonial Pipeline hack where the Colonial Pipeline, which is a big oil supply pipeline for the Eastern Seaboard, had to shut down because ransomware folks got in their operations computers? How'd they get in? Through the hvac contractor? The hvac contractor, who was putting in the and and colonial had apparently allowed them access. I think that was the, the one that was hvac or was colonial. The one maybe colonial was the one where they had a vpn and the employee left and they never changed the employee's password I feel like the downfall of humanity is going to be, for, like, the stupidest reason it's always stupid.

I can't remember. It was one or the other. The hvac was one, the uh, the employee vpn was another. Um, as long as we're talking, I guess we should mention that the internet archive has been under ddos for days. What kind of evil son of a gun would attack the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine? This started last week and since the attacks began last Sunday, tens of thousands of fake information requests per second were launched against it, which basically shut it down.

You know, brewster Kahle, who founded the Internet Archive, said if our patrons around the globe think this latest situation is upsetting, they should be very worried about what the publishing and recording industries have in mind. I think they're trying to destroy this library entirely and hobble all libraries everywhere. We're resisting the DDoS attack. We appreciate all the support and pushing back and if you're not yet a donor, I just use this as an excuse to tell people donate to the Internet Archive, because it is a great thing that they are doing. Well, so we got an ultrasonic coffee to talk about free income tax and how TikTok is being weaponized in the 2024 presidential election.

All of that coming up with our great panel, alex Kantrowitz, bigtechnologycom. So great to have you. Great to be here. Always love having you on. Same for you, nicholas DeLeon, representing the people, representing the people. He's a senior electronics reporter at Consumer Reports, right on, right on daddy-o. And, for the first time, but not the last, emily Drybulbous it's great to have you on from PC Magazine where she covers AI and EVs. Do you only cover things with two letters? Could you go to three, would it be?

01:16:29 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I only cover things that give you an identity crisis.

01:16:33 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Fair enough.

01:16:34 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
All tech, all tech. Yeah, I do cover other things you said.

01:16:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You liked e-bikes too. Right, you were at that conference. They had e-bikes as well. I love e-bikes, I love so fun yeah so much fun.

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The Eufy Video Lock, the Smart Lock E-330, three-in-one triple security super duper lock and go ahead. Just try to get into our engineering department, just try Ring the doorbell, see if Micah answers. Answers. That'd be kind of fun. So moving along here. Uh, what did I say? I was going to talk about ultrasonic coffee. I don't know why. I'm right, I brought this in because I figure you guys look like you drink a lot of coffee. Also because I like the headline it's like drinking a music festival this is exactly like the spotify uh thing that you insert you don't need it.

You don't need it.

01:19:41 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Australian scientists so many great ways to make coffee.

01:19:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Sorry, I'll turn to you, but I have in fact alex is just immediately like he's right I have at least seven ways to make coffee in my house, because everything that comes out, I buy another one. I have espresso. I was recently cleaning out cupboards and I found that I have like five AeroPresses. I don't know why I just keep buying them. Wow, they're cheap. You never use more than one at a time, but for some reason I have all these AeroPresses and then I have drip. I have a Bodum. I have all these AeroPresses and then I have drip. I have a Bodum. I have the Melita thing that you put on the stove. For a while I had a cold coffee making system with tubes and pipes and all of that stuff, but somebody said it looked like I had a meth lab in my apartment, so I had to get rid of it. I didn't want to come under undue suspicion, so I did get rid of that. Or a blue bottle yeah, blue bottles. That's all you need.

01:20:41 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Have you ever tried mushroom coffee?

01:20:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I have and I regretted it. Do you like?

01:20:45 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
mushroom. Oh, really Is that what you do?

01:20:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Do you drink that?

01:20:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Oh no, definitely not on a regular, and I didn't regret it.

01:20:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think we had somebody want to be an advertiser that kept sending me mushroom coffee and eventually I snuck it. You know Father Robert Balliser, john, our digital Jesuit, one of our contributors. He's at the Vatican. He was going home to the Vatican. I snuck it into his suitcase.

01:21:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think you're going to hell.

01:21:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think I'm going to hell.

01:21:17 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
he was not happy he the hell of all mushrooms, the hell where, everywhere you look, supposed to be good for you but I like coffee and my coffee.

01:21:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's all I can say. Uh, you can add this people go ahead.

01:21:28 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Look like they are coffee drinkers, leo. These australian faces and these guys are rocked they are, they're drinking a lot of coffee.

01:21:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They're australian scientists, chemical engineers. Uh, they took a australian uh espresso machine, ironically the same one we have here in the studio, oh yeah, and um, modified with a transducer to send sound, sound waves into the ground coffee. It vibrates. Okay, this is the explanation from the Guardian. In the regular coffee making process, water extracts flavor from the outside of the coffee grounds. You can't get inside, just the outside right. The hotter the water, the faster this happens. If you leave the coffee in for long enough, you might extract some of the flavors from the middle of the coffee grounds, but by that time you're going to have to do something. Baristas call over extraction and you get too many of the unfavorable bitter, acidic flavors and that ruins the coffee. So it's a fine balance. The ultrasonic method I don't know why I'm doing this story story sends lots of tiny bubbles into the water. When they implode they make a mini shock wave that can pierce the inside of the coffee grounds in a phenomenon called acoustic cavitation.

01:22:51 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Now, I want to try it now you now, how much would you pay?

01:22:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
um, nothing. The liquid is much darker than the caramel crema of an espresso. According to the guardian, it's extraordinarily powerful, aromatic, acidic, rich and viscous, but unlike an espresso, it's never bitter or harsh. All right, no worried about when you'll be able to buy this cr reviews coffee makers and maybe I think you need to review it.

01:23:16 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Yeah, at least commercially, tell the coffee guys.

01:23:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, they've now got it all fit into an espresso machine. They're trying to commercialize it, maybe someday coming soon. Have you ever been to a Starbucks for a while, had this weird thing where they would put the grounds that they had this machine?

01:23:36 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
oh yeah, that thing was pretty good, was like a leaf or something. Oh yeah, it was awesome. Do they still do that? I just, I think they still have that in their select, select locations locations okay for this one.

01:23:47 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I just keep imagining it. Can I put like some coffee beans in a nightclub and it's just gonna vibrate? Yes, effect.

01:23:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It turns out that's how they got the idea Right. Yeah, the new thing you've heard of debunking misinformation. Washington Post says the new thing is pre-bunking. It turns out it's being used effectively. Around the world, Election officials are adopting pre-bunking campaigns to kind of warn people. You're going to see this, Just be aware it's not real. In the run-up to next month's EU election, for example, Google and partner organizations are blanketing millions of voters, according to Washington Post, with colorful cartoon ads on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram that teach common tactics used to propagate lies and rumors. One 50-second animation features a fake news campaign in which visiting tourists are blamed for a litter crisis. What was that on the airplane?

International trash, International trash. We all know that that's true. Emily was delayed on the ground for five hours right Yesterday.

01:25:04 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)

01:25:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Tell the story.

01:25:07 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So I was delayed on United for five hours. We were on the terminal during that time but there were multiple issues with the plane for four of those hours. And the fifth hour was because once the plane arrived at the gate they found a bunch of trash on it and kept referring to it as international trash, because the plane came from Japan and so apparently there are rules on types of like flight attendants or cleanup crews that can touch international trash, so we all had to hear international trash coming through the airport. Speakers for that hour.

I'm sorry, it was just absurdity and people were just losing their minds. And then they were like oh, the beverage carts aren't stocked either. We were like we don't need beverages, just go.

01:25:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But do get rid of the international trash, please do. Well, that's what we're doing with pre-bunking we're getting rid of the international uh trash. That was actually a literally an example from google about uh, a fake news campaign where visiting tourists are blamed for a litter crisis. The idea is to educate voters about scapegoating, a disinformation technique that places unwarranted blame for a problem on a single person or group, like international travelers watch that video.

01:26:24 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I I clicked it and I was a little confused by it. It didn't it didn't the way the art describes it. No, it just was a very educational, appropriate video that I thought maybe could be shown in in school or something let's watch together. I love that they're modeling this after the campaign for vaccines, Like yeah, that pre-Bunking campaign worked, but that made it sound so strategic, and this, to me, is just an educational video.

01:26:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
The title of this video, which is unlisted, but somehow the Washington Post found it Scapegoating spot. It stop it. Let's watch together.

01:26:57 - Trash video (Announcement)
We're at risk of manipulation online right now. One tactic used to manipulate opinion is scapegoating. No wait a minute, no wait a minute.

01:27:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is going to be shown to the EU, right? So why is a woman We've got?

01:27:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
nine seconds in.

01:27:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Why is a woman speaking English with a Euro trash accent? Is that to make them feel more comfortable? I don't understand.

01:27:19 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
International trash is a very hard to understand concept. It's going to take more than nine years.

01:27:26 - Trash video (Announcement)
So many jokes about international trash this teacher is responsible for the litter crisis destroying our park. Here are the signs to watch out for An individual or group is blamed for a complex issue, they're held solely responsible for the whole problem and other possible causes are not explored. Today it's easier than ever to share misinformation online without knowing. But spotting the signs can help us stop it. Spread Scapegoating, spot it, stop it.

01:28:02 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This has got to be a parody. This comes from Google Jigsaw, moonshot. Jigsaw was one of their Moonshot companies, one of their ex-companies. What was Jigsaw? Oh yeah, that was to stop international scapegoating. I believe um in in conjunction with the bbc, libraries without borders and debating europe. That's just weird. All right, well, maybe, maybe pre-bunking weird pre-bunking, I don't know.

01:28:29 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I do think I wish people were more educated sometimes on the tactics that happen online and how what we see our opinions kind of being manipulated. So I kind of like that they're teaching people more how the internet works, and I think that's really important because the way algorithms feed information to people, it's like so confidently presented but who knows how that content got there and all of our opinions are like hardly even our own things that we see online because who knows where it comes from. And I feel like this type of campaign is trying to let people know about some of those tactics and I think that's good. Um, I just think it's a straightforward educational video. I don't really know about the new term, pre-bunking, but would.

01:29:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Would such a thing work in the us? Should we be doing this? Uh, right now we're headed into an election where there will be misinformation and disinformation.

01:29:15 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Well, I live in a swing state for the first time in my life.

01:29:17 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, you're seeing a lot so.

01:29:18 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I'm seeing ads on YouTube. It's all super PACs or whatever. It's not the campaign itself. It's like, well, this candidate's really good, this candidate's real. And I'm just sitting there. I'm like I want to get off this planet.

01:29:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Like it's so condescending, like all of this, like the idea that these pre-bunking experts like if it weren't for them, oh my goodness, democracy itself would collapse. I don't know if this is the intent, but I think the result of a lot of this is to alienate people so much. They just don't participate, they just don't vote.

01:29:50 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Or like making people cynical in the opposite way. It's like how dare you like like tell me like how to think?

01:29:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
it's like it solidifies your position, yeah, or annoys you so much you go screw them.

01:30:02 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I'm not gonna just whatever. Like I'm gonna go grill, like I don't have time, I'm gonna go grill yeah, which is always the right answer to anything.

01:30:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I I mean I'm increasingly landing on more barbecue less, but I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the people who are going to grill and also just talking about conspiracy theories the whole time, like, well, I don't know what that is, but I saw on twitter this oh, I've been to that barbecue people don't put that effort in and they just kind of take.

01:30:26 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I have been to that barbecue and it's rampant.

01:30:29 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I mean I don't see an end in sight don't is.

01:30:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
it feels like everybody you talk to is well, maybe it's just me. I feel like I am paying attention, but no one else is, and they have all sorts of crazy notions that could easily be pre-bunked or debunked.

01:30:45 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Well, a very key line in that article is that Google is not trying this in the United States. Google has no plans to launch such a campaign in the United States. So what do they really think about this whole pre-bunking thing if they won't try it?

01:30:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
here it only works with international trash.

01:31:00 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Or it doesn't work with. I'm with.

01:31:01 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Nicholas, I'm out there grilling. It doesn't work with domestic trash. Well, get ready, because the Trump campaign has now joined TikTok Jesus. What's really interesting to me about this is you may remember I think nobody remembers four years ago, but you may remember that President Trump was going to ban TikTok. That was very much like a full court press. We're going to get rid of TikTok. They scared TikTok so much they initiated the Texas plan, which was basically take American TikTok account information and store it in an Oracle database in Texas. So everybody should feel better about that.

Tiktok, by the way, says before the federal government banned them because they are, by the way, the clock is ticking. They have until the day before inauguration. Weirdly enough, TikTok will be either sold or out of business January 19th 2025, one day before inauguration or an appeal, and then, well, but then the president can give three more months if he feels like whoever the president is at the time if he feels like, well, they're working hard to do this, they're going to have a buyer in three months. Yes, of course, and they are. They went to court to try to stop it. I don't know if that'll work or not.

01:32:18 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Um, meanwhile, I think it kicked off enough litigation that they already delayed it they think, but just by litigating it they delayed it yeah, just by putting their thing on the table, being like we're fighting this now they have to process that, yeah well.

01:32:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So look, I say I should always disclaim upfront that my son is a TikTok star. His entire career is based on the two and a half million people who follow him on TikTok. As a chef, he's been smart. He took it to Instagram. He has a million and a half there. All of this, so I personally see very clearly the value of TikTok for American young American entrepreneurs.

There's an interesting story about a book, a self-published book, the Shadow Work Journal. This is from the New York Times. It became a bestseller because of TikTok and even the author. It wasn't because of the author, it was because somebody else on TikTok started to push it. He made a video that got 58 million views. So much he began teaching classes, talked about the journal. So much People thought he wrote it. He said no, no, I didn't write it, I just, I just like it. He's turned it into a huge bestseller.

The author is a 25-year-old from Texas with a background in marketing. She self-published in 2021. She's now the self-help queen of TikTok, sold more than a million copies, more than 700,000 of them through the TikTok shop, which means that the influencers, like the guy who first brought this to people's attention, got a commission. Tiktok got a commission. But believe me, the author is not unhappy. She sold a million copies. This is a self-published book that TikTok put on the map, showing the power of TikTok, and so I'm very much pro-TikTok, against the ban. Except, I'm now really worried because Biden has a TikTok account. Trump has a TikTok account and here's the interesting thing TikTok Biden signed the bill to put TikTok out of business. So TikTok approached the Trump campaign and said you know, two to one, there were more pro-Trump TikTok accounts than pro-Biden TikTok accounts by two to one. So they said you ought to have a TikTok account. So they made one. Now I'm worried that it's not the Chinese influence. The TikTok, acting in their own self-interest, is now creating a propaganda platform for Trump.

01:35:06 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Well, I feel like Trump is very so. I read about EVs, as we've talked about, and Trump rails against them.

01:35:11 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yeah, he now doesn't want any EVs in the US.

01:35:13 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, he says oh, evs are just making China, china, rich. And I'm not sure why tiktok is any different. I find him selective in his policy.

01:35:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
He's turned around because jeff yass, one of the big republican donors, owns 15 of bite dance and and now yass has not given any money to trump, but yass has a lot of money to give to trump and I think trump is is courting yes by saying oh, no, no, tiktok's great TikTok's courting Trump in November. According to TikTok officials, since November, there have been twice as much pro-Trump content as pro-Biden content on the platform. According to internal, this is all from tagged trump 2024 have generated 427 million likes and 6.5 billion views, compared to a tenth of that for biden 2024 well, because they went to the just, but they went to the trump campaign and said look, and all of a sudden trump loves tikt, tiktok and the campaign's on TikTok.

I'm not worried about the Chinese influence, I'm worried about ByteDance influence. It's wild. But here's the thing They've convinced me TikTok is a massive propaganda platform, isn't it? Really it can't be used?

01:36:30 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Oh, isn't all social media? Yeah, I mean, that is how social media is used. And Trump is, like their match, their only ally, because Biden signed a bill requiring them to divest, so they have to go to Trump, right. And now, you know, despite the fact that Biden has his own account there and their campaign isn't shutting it down, which is hilarious, isn't that hysterical?

Well, and furthermore this idea like Trump is like the natural he's. He's on twitter everywhere. He's a much more memeable uh person than biden is. I mean there's no doubt about no matter how you feel about the candidates. He's just content with trump. You know he'll say whatever, like he's sort of a meant for tiktok yeah candidate, whereas, like you saw biden's first uh tiktok. It was lame right so there you go.

01:37:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Social media thrives on controversy, so if your video has more comments, for example, like, the algorithm knows that it's a debatable subject and promotes it. So that's. Tiktok and Trump are like the perfect match. For that reason, you know, the more inflammatory the content, the better for the platform, the more engagement, and you just keep feeding it and feeding it. Then you get people grilling outside saying crazy stuff because the TikTok algorithm is just feeding them as most inflammatory as possible.

01:37:42 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So really there is a lot of power in TikTok. Absolutely, I mean banning it's not going to change that, because it'll just be Instagram or something else, but YouTube, a TikTok account called Under the Desk News, a news influencer with more than 3.3 million TikTok followers. They've been invited to the White House five times for briefings on policy, including one on the State of the Union, because they understand the power of TikTok of the union. Because they understand the power of tiktok. Uh, the creator of under the desk news, v spahar, told puck news the reason behind biden's team is failing to keep up with conservative creators on tiktok is because they don't understand how to connect with gen z voters. They said where the campaign falls short is that they think tiktok is like instagram and that dark brandon will win him the election. We've moved from the meme-ification of the news. That's very millennial, by the way. In this context, millennial are old. It's boomers and zoomers.

01:38:45 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
It's boomers and zoomers.

01:38:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Gen Z moves through new memes the way millennials did so. In other words, a meme that lasts three seconds. Big deal, dark Brandon, it's over, it's yesterday's news. So, in other words, a meme that lasts three seconds, big deal, dark Brandon, it's over, it's yesterday's news. I mean there's. I mean I don't think you should ban TikTok because of this, but I think it is very clear that there is a battle now for the minds of young people in America, and TikTok is the battlefield.

01:39:09 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
To me what's so silly about like who could possibly be undecided? Like let's just have the election today? Like who's going to? I want to hear what this guy has to say. What's his, it doesn't matter, let's just do it now.

01:39:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
CNN has a roundtable of undecided voters.

01:39:23 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
I don't believe it, I'm screaming at them I said who is undecided?

01:39:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's the last person you want to talk to at this point.

01:39:31 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I don't know, they both seem good, they're fine.

01:39:34 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't know. I don't know who to vote for.

01:39:37 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Especially because we've already had a full term for both presidents. How much information do you need?

01:39:43 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm going to vote for RFK. He's the unknown. He's the unknown in here. He's the wild card.

01:39:48 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I like wild cards. He's got a worm in his brain. I like worms.

01:39:56 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
What's wrong with worms? Worms are cute, worms are cute. Worms are not cute. And they're especially not cute in the brain, in your brain.

01:39:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, the worm's still there. It's dead, but it's still there.

01:40:04 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
But it's had its fill.

01:40:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's eaten enough of his brain that it was happy, it lived a good life. Look at all the good things it's done.

01:40:10 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Well, actually, have you seen that thing on TikTok where it's like girlfriends secretly film, like they're on the couch with their boyfriend and they secretly film him? They go would you love me if I was a worm? And like see he has to answer yes, basically that's a whole TikTok thing.

01:40:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I somehow missed that. This is why we should ban TikTok.

01:40:28 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)

01:40:30 - Trash video (Announcement)
Someone filmed me asking if I'd love them if they were a worm and I answered no, and that's bad.

01:40:35 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)

01:40:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't get it.

01:40:38 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Why is that bad? Because you're supposed to like. I mean it's stupid, obviously, but you're supposed to like. You don't love them unconditionally.

01:40:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm going to TikTok right now to see would you love me if I'm a worm meme in accounts.

01:40:53 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
The couples that Emily sees on TikTok are people who swear off kids, and their partner must love them if they're a worm.

01:41:02 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's hard out here.

01:41:05 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Don't take relationship advice from TikTok.

01:41:07 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Emily, what's your favorite? Is it fair to say you have a favorite social media, or is it all bad or is it all good? What's your favorite?

01:41:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I'm actually pro tiktok band just because I think it would be interesting and uh, you know, keep it interesting, so I'm fine with that. I mean, I mostly use tiktok and twitter and reddit here is um.

01:41:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Here is from tiktok, the only correct way to answer. Would you still love me if I'm yeah?

01:41:34 - Trash video (Announcement)
Would you still love me if I was a worm? Well, what do you mean? You already?

01:41:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
are. Oh yeah, I forgot. Okay, see, I'm glad I watched that and now I understand.

01:41:51 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, a lot of the things happening on TikTok are really stupid.

01:41:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's entertaining, though. That's the point.

01:41:56 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, I mean, why is it so different than early internet? No I mean, I think that one's pretty dumb.

01:42:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's not worse than peanut butter. Jelly time, oh yeah. Right and I think it's a self-help Mushroom. Badger badger, badger, badger, badger. That's a classic. That is a classic. We watch that frequently.

01:42:19 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Here Are you too, young Emily for Badger Badger.

01:42:21 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I don't know about Badger Badger. Are we going to get a play of Badger Mushroom here on Twit? That would really make my weekend.

01:42:25 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think this is for Emily, just so she knows what us old folks are talking about.

01:42:31 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
This is what the internet used to be Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger.

01:42:37 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Badger, mushroom, mushroom. This is what the internet used to be. That's good stuff. This is much better. Look at Emily's doing the badger dance.

01:42:45 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Oh my God, here it comes, the snake.

01:42:54 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Everyone do it Endless, endless endless entertainment.

01:43:01 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
The internet used to be good.

01:43:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I don't think you've made the case. Let's take a break. More to come. You're watching this Week in Tech. It's the weirdest show ever, I think. Officially now our show today, brought to you by mint mobile. Now this I can get behind.

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To get your new customer offer and your new three-month unlimited wireless plan, unlimited for just 15 bucks a month, go to mintmobilecom slash twit. Mintmobilecom slash twit. Cut your wireless bill to 15 bucks a month. Mintmobilecom slash twit. You pay it up front. $45 upfront payment required. That's $15 a month for three months. New customers on the first three-month plan only Speed slower, above 40 gigabytes on an unlimited plan. Additional taxes, fees and restrictions apply. See Mint Mobile for details. That's one thing. Inflation has hit Mint Mobile, but not inflation in the cost, just in the amount of data you get for the same price. It's amazing. Mintmobilecom slash twit, anything else. You're crazy. You're just overpaying. Mintmobilecom slash twit. Bed, your bed, your bed, your bed, your bed, your. I can't believe you got me to play that.

01:46:36 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I love that we played that. That's my favorite twit moment I've been a part of, since we've been doing this, leo, that was amazing.

01:46:45 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
And we're still doing the dance. I feel like actually that movement's nice, it is.

01:46:51 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's very therapeutic.

01:46:52 - Leo Laporte (Host)
So I think we do this in Tai Chi. It's called grasping the bird's tail or something.

01:46:58 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Are you out in the backyard? I do Tai Chi.

01:47:00 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I do, and you do it really slowly. I love Tai Chi because I'm an old man, I'm an, and you do it really slowly. I love Tai Chi because I'm an old man, I'm an old Chinese man. I stand in the park and I do Tai Chi. It's great, I'm wonderful.

01:47:13 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I'm going to do Tai Chi when I'm older you should.

01:47:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's wonderful, I'll do it now. Do it now. You already have the badger, badger, badger, badger, badger. You, you got the moves. The best thing about Tai Chi is every move has a crazy name, crazy Chinese name. Like grasping the swallow's tail, playing the lute. I love it. It's very romantic, it's fun. Twitch is also becoming a big political platform. Twitch streamers just raised a huge amount of money in a fundraiser a pro-palestine fundraiser. They were, uh, they did a 24-hour stream. The content creators, as a washington post, range from a-list youtube stars to gen z, tiktokers to first generation internet personalities. Held a top chef style competition, played charades, did improv with costumes, auctioned off goods by. That's the power of these platforms. Meanwhile, twitter and Instagram and threads are restricting any political or social content. Youtube is downranked. Political content Steal people, steer people away from extremist figures. So TikTok has picked up the slack. I mean sorry, twitch has picked up the slack. Yeah, don't know what to say about it up the slack.

01:48:50 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, don't know what to say about it. I'm not on Twitch, but I just it seems incredibly powerful platform and it's like a whole world that I'm. I'm not watching, you know, the video game streams, but it actually sounds like there's a lot more than that.

01:48:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
There's a lot more. There is, there is, there is. I think we're, in a way, as as powerful as social media is. I feel it's a little bit. We're a little bit insulated from how bad it could be because it's not uniform. There are, there are there. It's just there's so many different, there's no. It's not like if they all got together and all said the same thing, that would be worrisome. But it isn't like that.

01:49:31 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
There's every, every kind of point of view, in a way I think that that insulates us from the worst effects of it. Yes, or it just makes it like you never know what someone thinks, because if someone's in a different internet rabbit hole than you, it's like you're two different people yeah, but it tends to amplify news, especially politics, based off of emotion and not thoughtfulness, and just the way that like virality.

01:49:50 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You think the 24 hour news channels don't?

01:49:54 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
No, of course they do as well.

01:49:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I think all the discourse in the United States.

01:49:58 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's also sort of like based off of like what people want, right, people want this stuff. But it is interesting. It's sort of like we do not have a thoughtful approach to news or politics in our world right now. I don't think social media makes it better, I think social media makes it worse. And, yes, everybody is involved in this, for sure.

01:50:18 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's really scary that politicians are getting so involved with social media, because social media is clearly kind of influencing our elections and you're totally right, it is kind of thoughtless often. I mean, it's whatever's. Like I said, the most inflammatory or just instantly entertaining is what people will watch. And I've actually started seeing some TikTok videos where people are kind of coming clean like oh, I did this for a year because I saw it on TikTok and this was really trending and I really thought this was the right information. And I was totally wrong. And now I'm having to backtrack and everyone in the comments is like thank you so much for raising this issue, like we're getting way too influenced by this platform and like it's not the right information. So it's a very sticky situation and with the election, I feel like it's highlighting that our world's kind of running on it right now.

01:51:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Should we worry about that?

01:51:09 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yes, yes, we should, Because, Because it's so algorithm driven. So I mean, there are the quality of the content doesn't depend on how many views you get. So people are watching a bunch of stupid stuff like worms and badgers and they're voting off of it. I mean, don't you think that's concerning?

01:51:29 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Badger worm 2024.

01:51:30 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is the same thing that people were saying when I was a kid about TV right, oh, you shouldn't get your news from TV, it's just dumb.

01:51:44 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Maybe that was right.

01:51:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Newton Minow, the chairman of the FCC, called it a vast wasteland in testimony before Congress. But in hindsight it was a lot better than today. At least then the news organizations felt obligated to have newscasts. Now news is really just another ratings driver. They used to lose money in the news division. Now it's all about how can we drive ratings with the news division.

01:52:12 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think on social media it's a lot of people who don't read the article themselves. They don't look at any primary sources, anything they just see like how this and that person retweeted it with a quote like how everyone else is packaging things and they think that's the news.

01:52:28 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I don't know.

I I read the article about, uh, this twitch fundraiser and I'm glad they raised the money, uh, for the people in gaza, like that's needed and um, but it was interesting to hear the creators talk about it.

So there was one creator, uh, and this is what the article he said the situation in gaza marked a turning point in the content creator world, where creators who previously never spoke up about politics and stayed within their niche, were becoming more comfortable being outwardly political and voicing their opinion. And it just strikes me that, like in August 2023, the United Nations put out this report about the war in Yemen, which is a multi-sided war, and we didn't hear anything about that, really, from influencers on social media, and this is creators talking about it himself. And in that war there's, you know, hundreds of thousands of deaths and a child under five this is according to the UN report in 2023, a child under five died every 12 minutes. So the algorithm is interesting, right, right, it does sort of focus, in ways that are hard to explain sometimes, why this one and not that one.

I think the US's connection to this one has really raised, a lot of United States weapons were dropped and killed many, many people within Yemen.

01:53:41 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So you think it was the same thing? Or do think it's more, a deeper connection with this one than that one uh, look, I think it's us weapons.

01:53:50 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I mean, I don't have the count of how many us weapons killed, how many people in each, in each conflict, but like the us was definitely involved in both it's interesting you're saying that for some reason, that was happening in palestine grabbed people's attention, where what happened the same thing happened in Yemen did not.

01:54:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Do you have a theory as to?

01:54:06 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
why I wouldn't say the same Similar, I think that we have. I don't have a theory as to why. I mean, I have some guesses, but I just think that we have these moments that our media I mean I wouldn't call it a media creation, but you know, there's a moment where the algorithm can latch onto a thing and then it snowballs and becomes much bigger can latch onto thing and then it snowballs and becomes much bigger, um, and so we've kind of lost a sense of scale and uh, scale, I think, in the way that and uh, yeah, in the way that we consume news in uh in our discord.

01:54:35 - Leo Laporte (Host)
One of our uh club members, james carr, says actually the twit creators were talking about yemen as well as palestine, but of course they weren't talking about it when it happened. But they are talking about it now, retrospectively. I think that's what happens in the world is that sometimes some people pick up on stuff and it gains power as people go wake. They almost wake up and say, oh, wait a minute, this is a bridge too far. I think that's happened many times in our history in my memory, certainly with vietnam, uh, civil uh rights. Um, you know, 1968, some, for some reason, people really woke up to what was going on in the world and and young people were very, very upset. Now with social media that that is snowballed, that is so much more powerful and it has so much more impact. It's always going to be emotional and non-rational, but I don't think it's necessarily bad if people's heart gets touched and they say you know, this is too much, we've got to do something about this. I think that's probably a good thing.

01:55:46 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Interesting. You brought up Vietnam because I think a lot of the anti-war kind of movement there was fueled a lot by the media like photos from the battlefield videos, exactly We'd never, seen it before yes, Never seen it and, yeah, like Napalm Girl, it was horrific, horrific images that really activated people and I think we're seeing a lot of the same thing now.

01:56:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Exactly the same. Yeah, it's the first time we saw a war. It was on live TV every night, I remember, and there would be a body count every week and you'd know how many people died on their side and on our side. And it was very much present in the American psyche and it really did lead to the unrest in the late 60s and early 70s because we were seeing it. We couldn't hide it, and I think that it's normal. Humans hide from terrible things as long as they can, but when they finally are forced to see it and this is the power of television in the 60s and the power now of social media today they start to act with their heart. I don't think that's a bad thing.

It may not be fully rational or fully informed, but I think that's important.

01:56:53 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, the only thing that's difficult in this case is you don't know anymore if the video is real. You don't know if the image is real, whereas in the Vietnam War case, I think there was very much an understanding that a journalist went to the battlefield or went to a village and they captured that image Right and now. If you see some horrific video, it could be very easily AI generated.

It could be generated by a terrorist to target you to change your opinion. So it's kind of a different beast, and that was what we were talking about earlier is are your opinions your own or like? What is this content?

01:57:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
you're looking at.

It's impossible to know yeah it's funny that we look back. At the time, we thought tv was too powerful. People were very concerned about its impact on the nation's youth. My parents had only let we watch half an hour a night. Uh, now, I mean that there was nothing compared to the power of social media TikTok, instagram Reels and fake news. The difference, I guess, in the 60s, where there was a handful of people who controlled all the news. It was the nation's networks and a few big newspapers. Admittedly, they controlled it and they steered it, but it was just a handful of people. Now anybody can do it, including people from russia and china and, you know, overseas, and so, yeah, it's a very powerful tool.

01:58:15 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's incredibly powerful it's a great era to live in because you're going to hear from viewpoints you might not have heard of them before, because, ultimately, you know, top-down control of the media is bad and I think maybe, like the downside is that, yeah, we have a lot of misinformation and disinformation and, um, and the most click, like we've talked about through the segment, the most clicky and the most emotion inspiring thing will will sort of uh, be the thing that tastes, takes the day and oftentimes big, important stories we should be paying attention to are left, are left behind.

01:58:47 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No one cares about them but you have an opportunity everybody, every one of us, has an opportunity to try to tell those stories uh well, I think it should be starting to be taught in in school how to identify what's real and not online oh, I bet that should be absolutely taught debunked. Yes, pre-bunked it should be pre-bunked.

01:59:06 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It should be pre-bunked, yeah, which again, I think is just educational videos Right.

01:59:10 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
What we really need is ultrasonic coffee. So we're all on our toes here and we're able to figure out All right.

01:59:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm going to have some ultrasonic coffee I hope you will, bill, as well while we take a little time out to thank our final sponsor of the show today. And it's a company you probably know and you should know if you don't Lookout Today. Every company, it's every story we cover these days. Every company is a data company and every company is at risk, like Ticketmaster. Cyber threats, breaches, leaks these are the new norm, and cyber criminals are getting better by the minute. They're using AI to get smarter. And, of course, your data is now everywhere. There are no longer any boundaries, so what it means for your data to be secured has completely changed. That's why you need Lookout From the first phishing text to the final data grab.

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Visit lookoutcom today to learn how to safeguard data, secure hybrid work and reduce IT complexity. Lookoutcom, we thank them so much for their support of this week in tech, our show. Hey, I should end with some good news. The IRS says it was a success. Their free tax filing alternative was a success the direct file pilot program. They're going to roll it out in all 50 states, Much to the dismay of TurboTax.

For years, the tax preparation software lobby kept IRS from doing this. I don't know what happened, but the digital tool that the IRS tried last year is now permanent. A direct file pilot program saved last year 140,000 individuals, an estimated $5.6 million in filing costs. Of course, turbotax is going. That was our money. Not only is the program here to stay, but its access is expanding. Uh, this year was 12 states, next year all 50 states and the district of columbia for the 2025 filing season. Uh, that is really, really, I think, good news. It's funny, though, and gadget calls it a free TurboTax alternative. Oh, no, they're talking about the. Okay, right now, the TurboTax free plan only works for taxpayers with the simple 1040EZ. Treasury wants to expand the reach and tax scope it offers in coming years. So, if you have a more complicated. I still have to go to a CPA. I need people with big degrees to figure out what the hell I owe, which is crazy. I'm with you Leo.

02:02:31 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
That's crazy.

02:02:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This whole system is. That's crazy. In Scandinavia. They marry you a postcard saying we think you owe this much. Does that sound right? Yep, and then they take it. No, Americans wouldn't like that. But at the same time, I think we've got a system that's way too complicated.

02:02:46 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
This is a step in the right direction, like that whole month. The fact that the government didn't have this before, it's ridiculous.

02:02:52 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well, and I really think you can blame Intuit and H&R Block and the other tax prep software companies which went to great expense, brought lots of money to members of Congress. I am optimistic today, yeah.

02:03:04 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Think about it Today we talked about taking Ticketmaster and Live Nation to task and making it easier to file taxes. This is progress, folks? Yeah, not only that.

02:03:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
This is a big one. It's hard to think anyone would disagree with this one. Obviously, hopefully the software works is really the big question. I haven't used it?

02:03:21 - Leo Laporte (Host)
did any of you uh file with the, with the federal thing, not this free thing.

02:03:26 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
No, no, no so I use a really budget one called tax slayer, because it was the cheapest one and the math was mostly right right.

It's been right. I've been using it for a while but I mean I think this software is so overdue. I went to a public library around tax season last year with my nieces and the public library was having a workshop a free workshop on how to file your taxes and it was intensive and it felt almost criminal. I was like I can't believe that our tax system is so convoluted that all these people have come to this library for a free workshop on how to file your taxes. I mean it's ridiculous.

02:04:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
My mom is 91. And for the last six or seven years I've been doing her taxes because she, you know it doesn't make, she can't do it and they're not complicated. So it doesn't make sense for her to spend $300 on a tax preparer to do something that takes me literally 10 minutes. But it shouldn't be that way, and so I think this is good.

02:04:25 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Well, that raises an important issue Can older people use this new system?

02:04:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I am so proud because for the first time this year I got my tax form was the 1040 SR. Did you know there was a 1040 SR? It's the 1040 for seniors.

02:04:44 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Wow, is the font huge?

02:04:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Yes, that's exactly the difference. The 1040 SR has bigger check boxes and bigger text.

02:04:56 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Wait, I want that version.

02:04:57 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
That's when you know you're old, I feel like I've paid enough. Just let me alone like I paid it.

02:05:01 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Right, it's my yeah well they didn't use to tax social security. They do now. Thank you, ronald reagan. Of course, um, they used to be. That was tax-free income. Now I have to pay income tax on my social security. It's all right, I can't. I can't afford rent on what they pay me in Social Security anyway, so might as well take it all.

02:05:20 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
At least you're going to have Social Security, Leo.

02:05:22 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You might not. You guys, you young people, us olders, we're not going to fight for you. So you have Social Security, even if it takes every penny you make. Here's some good news the Tribeca Film Festival has decided to have an AI-generated short film festival, OpenAI's Sora, which apparently can do clips as long as a minute. Now the Tribeca Film Festival announced Friday it will host Sora shorts five original short films, all made using OpenAI's text-to-video AI model, Sora.

02:06:06 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Nobody tells Scarlett Johansson, how do you?

02:06:10 - Leo Laporte (Host)
you know I'm, by the way, I'm sad because I really liked having Scar Jo in my phone to answer my questions and now I don't like the voice. It's not good. You want to hear my? Did I do it already? Did I do it for you? I don't think so. Tell me a question to ask.

02:06:32 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
How much money Find international trash.

02:06:36 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Oh, that's good. Hey, I got a question for you. Uh, what is international trash?

02:06:45 - AI voice (Other)
international trash usually refers to waste materials that are transported across international borders. This can include various types of waste, such as household garbage, industrial waste, electronic waste, e-waste and hazardous materials. Countries may export waste to other nations for recycling or disposal.

02:07:03 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No, no, no, Wait a minute. No, I'm talking about international trash on a flight, like on an airplane. Is there something special that has to be done if the trash is international on the airplane? This is a good test.

02:07:17 - AI voice (Other)
I got it. Yes, there are special procedures for handling international trash on flights. Trash from international flights is often subject to strict regulations to prevent the spread of diseases and pests.

02:07:29 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Well there you go, you see that five hour delay was definitely necessary. But now, oh my God, what do you think of that voice? Didn't like that voice.

02:07:38 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Not as good.

02:07:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
No, I want Scar Jo. Yeah, yeah, I was very sad.

02:07:43 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I can't believe we've talked about international trash this entire show, and we haven't talked about how North Korea is sending balloons hot air balloons with trash on the bottom into South Korea, hundreds of them. You guys know about this. No, I'm familiar with this. Oh yes, oh yes, they are sending balloons with trash to.

02:07:59 - Leo Laporte (Host)
South Korea. Is it like launching cows on a catapult across the river into the town?

02:08:05 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Effectively, yes it's the same. South Korea is like what the hell? And North Korea has the most hilarious response. Its response is basically shut up, loser. It's not like we're shooting bullets at you.

02:08:20 - Leo Laporte (Host)
This is the world we live in, is it?

02:08:22 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
is it they want to get rid of the?

02:08:23 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
trash, or is it like somebody in the okay, it's included as well human waste doesn't the us send like nuclear waste to china or something, because we don't want to process it?

02:08:31 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
no, this is. This is not asked for. Uh, balloons filled with trash and sewage.

02:08:37 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So it's like sending an email repeatedly to someone who doesn't want to clean? Up.

02:08:40 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's to be an annoyance Landing on people's windshields and breaking them.

02:08:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, Earlier Sunday this is from the Associated Press. South Korea's military said that more than 700 balloons flown from North Korea were discovered in various parts of the southern country, in addition to about 260 balloons found a few days earlier. Tied to the balloons were manure, cigarette butts, scraps of cloth, waste paper and vinyl, but no dangerous substances.

02:09:12 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
That is international trash.

02:09:15 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They said they flew 3,500 balloons carrying 15 tons of waste paper. They said that they decided to take unbearable measures.

02:09:27 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I think it's hilarious that we're talking about this instead of Sora at the Tribeca Film Festival. Yeah, that's true.

02:09:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That speaks volumes of how interesting that is, in a way, maybe you could do a movie about international traffic, international trash well, you could do a silent film, because apparently it's 60 seconds but there's no audio.

02:09:46 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So you could do a silent film about an airplane?

02:09:49 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
yeah, it's no good are you gonna have an ai voice narrate it?

02:09:53 - Leo Laporte (Host)
swiss. A swiss company now this actually scares the hell out of me has developed a CPU from lab grown human brains. What do you think a computer that uses? Now, they aren't dead people, but they've been growing brain cells. This is a Tom's hardware story. It uses 16 human brain organoids for a million times less power consumption. This is how, by the way, we're going to get AI without a lot of power consumption than a digital chip. The Swiss biocomputing startup has launched an online platform that provides remote access to 16 human brain organoids. The company's called FinalSpark. They say it's the world's first cloud platform delivering access to biological neurons. Yeah, I think so.

02:10:47 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Looking up organoid.

02:10:48 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Organoids. Don't let Ron DeSantis know about this, because lab-grown meat is going to get banned in Florida. Why is? He banning lab-grown meat. I think he's just a true Americans believe in real meat from animals type of guy. That's so bizarre.

02:11:03 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Our meat is so far from real. Anyway, I know.

02:11:06 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Okay, so it's called a MEA, a multi-electroid array which houses the living tissue organoids, 3d cell masses of brain tissue. Each MIA holds four organoids. Sounds like I'm talking nonsense. Each MIA holds four organoids interfaced by eight electrodes used for both stimulation and recording. Data goes to and fro via digital analog converters, the Intan RHS-32 controller, with what seems like something Elon would do with a 30 kilohertz sampling frequency and a 16-bit resolution. See, it's better than a CD. These key architectural design features are supported by a microfluidic life support system for the Mias and monitoring cameras. Last but not least, a software stack allows researchers to input data variables, then read and interpret the processor output. I don't know whether to be terrified or to laugh is it like a lab-grown chip?

02:12:13 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I guess, it's the chip shortage, then that could be good yeah.

02:12:19 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I think this thing will like. We're going to hear about so many different ways of like trying to continue to advance artificial intelligence. We're going to hear about the synthetic ways. We're going to hear about biological a combination of biological and chips Like they're almost all going to end up being nothing, but if one works, that's going to be cool.

02:12:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They say it's one six thousandth of the energy drain of AI microprocessors.

02:12:46 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
What did I say at the beginning? One Silicon Valley has a problem that gets creative and tries to figure out ways to do it. So forget nuclear, forget solar. It's that organoid, lab-grown brain that's going to get us there.

02:12:58 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Last story. Former OpenAI director, Helen Toner, who was one of the directors who fired Sam Altman in a brief coup d'etat, finally has come clean as to why she was talking on the TED AI show. She said when ChatGPT came out in November 2022, the board was not informed in advance. We learned about chat gpt on twitter. Um, she also said uh, that sam altman said he, you know, he's famously always said I don't have a stake, I don't have any financial gain from OpenAI. But she also said he didn't disclose his involvement with OpenAI's startup fund. He had a big stake in that. He also, on multiple occasions, she said, gave us inaccurate information about the formal safety processes that the company had in place, meaning it was basically impossible for the board to know how well those safety processes were working or what might need to change.

All four of us came to the conclusion we just couldn't believe things that Sam was telling us. Of course, they attempted to fire Sam until Microsoft, their big funder, and Satya Nadella screamed bloody murder. Sam said I'm going to bring the entire OpenAI team to Microsoft. So screw you. The board's gone. Sam's got a much better at least from his point of view board that he appointed and all is right again with OpenAI. But now we know why that happened. Do we care? Does it say anything about OpenAI?

02:14:37 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, I listened to the episode, the podcast, where she's talking about it and of course it's always hard when it's a single source of information. So it's just this one woman, but I do feel like she references a couple other people. Like she says multiple executives came forth and had concerns about him. She also talks about two previous positions that he held at Y Combinator and then the startup looped before that and he was fired from both for similar reasons.

So she kind of tries to draw on examples outside of herself and I think for me there's just I'm kind of a believer in like, where there's smoke there's fire, and I feel like there's been enough that's come out about Sam Altman, from his sister even, who has come out against him, and there's just so many little things here and there. The ScarJo thing I'm just not sure if he's a good guy Right now. It certainly has in a negative PR moment and so people have concerns apparently at the company if he is of the right character to go towards things called AGI and to be building these, these systems that are supposed to represent humanity.

02:15:40 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, said oh, to be clear, he tweeted this I didn't fire, we didn't fire Sam, we just said you, you can't work for two companies. You have to choose. And he chose to work for open AI instead of Y Combinator. You don't buy that. That sounds like a firing to me?

02:15:58 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
No, that's definitely a firing.

You have to choose, you can either work here or you can work there. And he's like I'm going to work here and then the next step is you're not fired, okay, so I can stay. No, no, you're fired, right. Like it's a firing. Yeah, I guess to parts of this podcast and I read Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley also had an op-ed in the Economist and to me this seems honestly like the structure of a revolutionary new technology be expected to operate in the interest of both their shareholders and the wider world.

And they answer with AI's enormous potential for both positive and negative impact. It's not sufficient to assume that such incentives will always be in line with the public good. And they basically say we need government to step in and regulate. I just feel like this whole setup, this whole structure, this whole belief that OpenAI would be a nonprofit but needed $13 billion from Microsoft to actually operate and that the board would eventually have the discretion and at the very right time when something was going wrong, fire Sam Altman or fire the CEOo the whole setup is kind of ridiculous, like it's just like a 90 perception of the way these things work. Yeah, it was doomed.

I, I hear what helen toner is saying, but it also is like it's a clear, like it was a power struggle, like the mandate was not like if the board feels slighted by the ceo, fire him. It's if, you know, feels like he's like taking this and you know they're going to reach AGI and it's unsafe, fire him. It just wasn't, you know. It wasn't like the fact that you found out from ChatGPT. I'm sorry, like I don't really feel like that's like living up to the mission and, once again, I feel like the entire setup here was a little bit ridiculous to begin with. So maybe it's good for everybody that, like there's a much more straightforward or those although still flawed structure to open AI's board now.

02:18:04 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It's a good point. I think it's hard to know if it's the structure or if it's Sam Allman's personality and she's saying there's an element to this that was his personality and that it's unacceptable that the board heard about ChatGPT on Twitter and he should have been more communicative, and I think that's probably true.

02:18:20 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, but they also had like 95% of the employees wanted him to stay and Ilyas Setskever, who was like one of the biggest leaders of this, decided to go back on what his word was there. He's gone now, by the way, sort of left. Yeah, now he's left.

02:18:42 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I mean he's sort of hard to stay after all that. She says that basically there's a culture of a lot of people who are afraid to come out against him because he has retaliated against a lot of people, including Helen Toner, which is maybe one red flag on her perspective, that maybe she has a bone to pick with him and we shouldn't believe her totally.

02:18:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
But I don't know, do we?

02:18:56 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
dismiss all this or not.

02:18:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
She wrote a paper that he was unhappy about, right.

02:19:01 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
He was unhappy about a paper and he tried to get her off the board, so maybe she got him back. I don't know.

02:19:07 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's a pretty weak argument to be like you know they were afraid of him when they had fired him, like if they were actually afraid of him.

02:19:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
No, the employees that you're saying, who supported him, I'm saying the employees.

02:19:17 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
He was a fired CEO. He was not the CEO, Like you know. I don't.

02:19:20 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
She says they were presented with internally the perception that OpenAI became if he's not reinstated, then the company disbands.

02:19:29 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Well, I mean, and that became how people yeah, and her action could have led to that, led that to have happened.

02:19:37 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
So it was not. They could have installed a new CEO. They did.

02:19:42 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
They put Miriam Marotti in. No, they put Miriam Marotti in and they said they were looking for somebody new. They actually then put somebody else in. It was a complete bungling. But I think that she's trying to rewrite history now and like an episode, I think for everybody that will always be looked at as somewhat embarrassing yeah I just see the makings of another completely megalomaniac tech leader and I'm just like at what point do we stop creating these humans?

02:20:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
and I agree 100 ridiculous yeah so we're just going to dismiss helen toner and it's going to keep going and going and there'll be more people like him. It's just never ending.

02:20:16 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, I mean at the end of the day. Well, anyway, I mean, look, I think that open AI that's assuming open AI will continue to build on its strength, and we now know that, after this episode, Microsoft has started to build within its company its own AI capabilities, that it will try not to not be as reliant on open AI as it was previously. And now OpenAI is going to make this deal with Apple, but we know that Apple is going to try to develop internally as well. So I feel like the book is not finished yet in terms of what's going to happen here with OpenAI and SAM.

02:20:48 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That is on the calendar A week from tomorrow, a week from Monday, june 10th. Apple's WWDC keynote Widely rumored that not only will they talk about AI in iOS 18 and Mac OS 15, but they will announce a partnership with OpenAI. Mark Gurman says that's a done deal. They continue to negotiate with Google that they will add a I don't know add AI to Siri. Not immediately, gurman's now saying next year. But AI will come to the iPhone and, as many have pointed out, it doesn't have to be the best, it just has to be the most, because there's so many installed basic users, which is close to 2 billion people, is enough to take whatever Apple does and make it the most important AI going.

02:21:36 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I can't wait. I'm flying out to California, are you? Coming out for it. I don't know if I'm going to get in or not I'm still waiting to hear but I'll be out in California and I'm stoked for it.

02:21:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I should just go one day, go up to the door and just knock and say I'm here, Just see what they do.

02:21:53 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It's a pretty impressive campus.

02:21:54 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I bet it is.

02:21:55 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I've been inside their cafeteria area and the Steve Jobs theater, and they really did a nice job with that campus, so hopefully we see it well, let us know, go out.

02:22:09 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Knock on the door.

02:22:11 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I wish you luck getting in nobody gets to see the wizard nobody, no how sounds like he's important and he got an official invite. Did you get an?

02:22:20 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
invite. No, I'm speaking with their PR team. If they're listening now and want to let me in.

02:22:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
They don't listen to this show. They don't like me at all. I haven't had an invite in years.

02:22:32 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
If I'm not invited, I definitely will have to stand outside Apple headquarters with a big poster board, a big technology podcast.

02:22:39 - Leo Laporte (Host)
QR code.

02:22:40 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
And be, like you know, for analysis after the show scan here.

02:22:45 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Do not tell them you know me. I would recommend just pretending you've never heard of me.

02:22:50 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I'll be rooting for you. If you actually do that, I'll come by and give you a sandwich or something.

02:22:55 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
That'll be my next. I'll have a couple of cardboards and then, if I'm not in, I'll be like scan, for you know the big technology podcast analysis. And my next one will be like, by the way, I know Leo.

02:23:05 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's going to throw in trash, international trash out the windows towards you. That is Alex Cantor. He hosts the big technology podcast, writes the big technology newsletter.

02:23:14 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
It was great to see louise mitsakis on there the other day oh yes, yes, she wrote a great story for big technology and then came on the podcast afterward to discuss it. So kidding she's awesome.

02:23:24 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We love her and uh, I'm glad to see her doing some stuff. She wrote about shein and timu and uh, amazon I worked with her at a motherboard. She's great yeah, yeah, yeah, she's so talented yeah so talented.

02:23:36 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Yeah, the story she sent in was just like a perfect story and I was like I'm basically running this as is, which hasn't happened before Nice.

02:23:44 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Did she provide the AI illustration or did you? I did that. I like that. Is that, jeff Bezos? That's cool, right, that's?

02:23:51 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Jeff Bezos looking at some sort of casino-like shopping experience.

02:23:57 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Actually it turned out nice. Are you using exclusively AI-generated thumbnails now? Yeah, it looks like it. I like this one, Well, not 100% exclusive.

02:24:06 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Oh yeah, I like to do it kind of like the black and white sketches, but I actually had an email exchange with Elon about one of their products that they were building within X and just kind of posted grok. And I was like I don't really know how to illustrate this. So I just had two screenshots and put Elon's photo in the middle and was like this is going to be our art.

02:24:27 - Leo Laporte (Host)
That's better. It worked, that's good. That's good, he's no longer I'm glad to say thank you. Subscribe, I subscribe, you should all subscribe. Alex is really wired into what's happening in Silicon Valley Bigtechnologycom. Of course I've been a member of Consumers Union, now Consumers Report. I know it's so long I've called it Consumers Union, since the 80s, I think.

02:24:52 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
It's been around for almost 100 years. Yeah Well, I've been subscribing that long Well.

02:24:55 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's been around for almost 100 years. Yeah Well, I've been describing that long, well, ever since I had to buy my own furniture and weapons and things. That's where Nicholas DeLeon hangs his hat. Senior electronics reporter there at Consumer Reports, explaining to the normies, trying to.

02:25:11 - Nicholas de Leon (Guest)
Yeah, good luck. I see all this stuff all day, every day, and I'm like how do I explain this to just a mom with kids and a job Does? She care, that's actually where most of my CPU power goes. Does this even rise to their level of you know?

02:25:32 - Leo Laporte (Host)
It's such an important job. I really appreciate that you do it and I'm so glad you came up. Flew up here from Tucson, yes, yes, to see us. We're all going to go. You and I and Ashley are going to go out to dinner after this, I believe, so It'll be fun. Lisa's coming too. Emily, you'd be invited if you were anywhere near here, but I guess the international trash kept you from visiting PCMagcom. And, of course, every month you're a co-host of Tech News Weekly with Micah, and the new Twitter handle is electric underscore humans.

02:26:08 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yes, yeah, this was really fun. I would love to come be in the studio sometime, oh please do.

02:26:13 - Leo Laporte (Host)
We would love to have you?

02:26:14 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
It would be great. Yeah, alex, I also want to talk to you after this, because I used to work at Amazon for five and a half years, so I'm curious what you got in your book. I got a lot of information too.

02:26:26 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
Excellent. Yes, tip box is open, thank you.

02:26:31 - Leo Laporte (Host)
You let me know.

02:26:32 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
If you want to know how that company works I was a star when I worked there. I know how that company works. I was a star when I worked there.

02:26:38 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I know how it goes. Really, what did you do at Amazon Product management?

02:26:42 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
Yeah, I was product management, technical product management. But, there's just a way that you kind of behave and you progress projects through Amazon when you're a high performer, and I knew how to do that and I just knew how projects move there.

02:26:56 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I'm kind of an expert in did you cry at your desk every day, emily? No, okay.

02:27:03 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
I cried one time.

02:27:04 - Leo Laporte (Host)
I cried one time in front of my manager, um, but I think that was the only time remember I'm not being sexist here that was the report from inside Amazon, was that that was the culture and that you really weren't an Amazon executive if you didn't cry at your desk at least once? A day, I guess that's not, no one was crying.

02:27:23 - Emily Dreibelbis (Guest)
No one was crying but you did have a door desk right with the sawhorses in the door yeah, yeah, and you had to make them, uh, electronic now, so they're not like actually doors, just like a blonde, a blonde colored desk, oh pretty cool, yeah, yeah, okay, I hope you two, uh, you you two talk.

02:27:40 - Alex Kantrowitz (Guest)
I just add you on linkedin. I have some questions for you all right, let's do it great to have you, emily, great to meet you.

02:27:46 - Leo Laporte (Host)
Finally, uh, nicholas, so nice to have you in studio sitting right next to me. That's fantastic, alex, thank you, as always, thanks. Thanks to our.

Club Twit members who make this show possible. And that sounds like you know that's kind of the usual statement, but really, it really is sincerely true. We have almost 12,000 members now in our club and that just about covers half of our payroll. So thank you, I appreciate it. Without you we'd have half as many people working here. How about that? Times are tough right now for podcasts and podcast networks. We started the club two years ago. I'm so glad we did. Lisa was prescient. She understood that we needed to do that. Now we've kept it affordable $7 a month.

We give you some benefits, including ad-free versions of all of our shows. You get video for shows that we only put out in audio, like Hands on Macintosh with Micah. Hands on Windows with Paul Theriot, the Untitled Linux Show, home Theater Geeks. You also get access to the Discord, where not all 12,000 club members are in there. You don't have to be in there, but it's a great place to hang to talk about the shows while they're going on. But talk about everything geeks are interested in all the time. And then what else do you get? You get special events that we don't put out in public.

Lisa made spaghetti sauce a couple of months ago. That was fun, our famous bolognese. We had a watch party. We all watched the Fritz Lang movie Metropolis together. Last month, stacey's Book Club is coming up in just a little bit. It's a club of people you would love talking about stuff you care about, and it helps us stay on the air. I mean, come on, why aren't you a member? Twittv slash club twit. We thank all of our Club Twit members for making this show possible, thanks to our producer, benito Gonzalez, behind the board and making the calls and putting the notes together. Thank you, benito, for the job you do. Our studio manager, john Slonina, burke McQuinn, who keeps things from breaking and, when they break, fixes them. Thanks to all of you for being here. We will. This is we are now our 20th year of doing this show. Wow, and as I have said at the end of every show for the last 20 years, thanks for being here. We'll see you next time. Another twit is in the can.

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