This Week in Tech Episode 924 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.
Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
It's time for twit this week in Tech. Yes, I'm back. And I'm excited cuz we got a great panel for you. Mike Elgan here. Paris Martineau from the information. Nate Lanxon from bloomberg.com. There is lots to talk about. Okay, I, forgive me, we gotta start with a little Elon Twitter talk, but we're not gonna stop with that. We have many other things to talk about, including why Prince Charles smells so good. And Nate, by the way, agrees <laugh> and why Parrots love Zoom. Yes. It's all coming up Next that a lot more on Twitter
TWiT Intro (00:00:37):
Leo Laporte (00:00:38):
TWiT Intro (00:00:38):
Love from people you trust. This is is Twit.
Leo Laporte (00:00:49):
This is twit this week in Tech. Episode 924 recorded Sunday, April 23rd, 2023. Three spiders and night.
This week in Tech is brought to you by Worldwide Technology with an innovative culture, thousands of IT engineers, application developers, unmatched labs and integration centers for testing and deploying technology at scale. WW t helps customers bridge the gap between strategy and execution. To learn more about wwt, visit wwt.com/twit and by Grammarly, the right tone can move any project forward. When you get it just right with Grammarly, go to grammarly.com/twit to download and learn more about Grammarly premiums, advanced tone suggestions and buy Mint mobile inflation is everywhere. Whether it's gas, utilities, or your favorite streaming services, thankfully Mint Mobile can give you a much needed break. Get your new wireless plan for just 15 bucks a month and get the plan shipped to your door for free when you go to mint mobile.com/twit. And by noom, stop chasing health trends and build sustainable healthy habits with Noom s psychology based approach. And don't forget to check out Noom s first ever book The Noom Mindset, a deep dive into the psychology of behavior change, available to buy now wherever books are sold. And don't forget to sign up for your trial at noom.com/twit. It's time for twit this week in tech. The show will cover the week's tech news. Yes, I'm back. Leo LaPorte. And joining me some of my best friends, my best buddies from the tech journalism industry like Mr. Mike Elgan of elgan.com, I guess. Leo, you want that? Yes. Hello. We both just arrived. Or we're both just traveling. So you just arrived in Mexico City. That's the difference. I've just arrived. Petaluma. Not quite the same. That's right. Yes. Not quite the same. Where, where did you arrive from? Mike?
Mike Elgan (00:03:03):
Leo Laporte (00:03:03):
Mike Elgan (00:03:04):
Hanging out with somebody. You know,
Leo Laporte (00:03:06):
My boy, that was a lot of fun. Salt Hanks down there. He's thanks to you and Amira. He's got a a one month apprenticeship with chef Alejandro Ruiz. Chef Alex, who is the, and
Mike Elgan (00:03:18):
He took to, he took to the Oaxaca food scene like a dolphin to the waves, when you all have to stay <laugh>. It was a breathtaking,
Leo Laporte (00:03:25):
I was thrilled because they chef Alex made him start by working in as a busboy,
Mike Elgan (00:03:31):
Which that's right. Well, before, before that, we all went camping with Chef Alex and some other chefs, and it was just awesome. I mean,
Leo Laporte (00:03:38):
Oh, I'm so glad he's doing that. Thank you for helping me.
Mike Elgan (00:03:41):
I'll do that.
Leo Laporte (00:03:42):
Oh, no, it was get my boy off. My pleasure. Yeah, he's doing get, get him off and running. And his career is a cookbook author. He's gonna do a whole chapter. He's in Oaxaca. Isn't he fun? Yeah.
Mike Elgan (00:03:51):
Yeah. He's a great
Leo Laporte (00:03:52):
Guy. Thank you, Mike. I really appreciate it. Yeah, no, sincerely, our pleasure. Also here, ladies and gentlemen, from the brand new Bloomberg original show, A I I r l, Nate Lanxon of Bloomberg. He's the host of this new Bloomberg series which you could see on YouTube. He's also the host of Text Message, the podcast. Hi Nate.
Nate Lanxon (00:04:14):
Hello. Thanks for having me back. I feel like it's been too long. It has.
Leo Laporte (00:04:19):
I'll tell you how long it's been. Metallica came out with a new album since we've had you on last.
Nate Lanxon (00:04:24):
Yes, they have. Because it was the other day and it's rather good. But yes, thank you for having me, for having me back. I'm still rocking the Bloomberg stuff, but now making a TV show there as
Leo Laporte (00:04:34):
Well, that's really exciting. And we'll talk about that in just a little bit. Also about a fun event in in London yesterday, but, we'll, but that's coming up. First, let's say hello to Brooklyn's own Paris Martineau of the information. Hi, Paris.
Paris Martineau (00:04:47):
Hello. Hey, I have not been traveling, nor do I have drums behind me, but I'm here nonetheless. You're
Leo Laporte (00:04:53):
Cool. Anyway, in every respect. It's
Paris Martineau (00:04:55):
True. I'm just bringing the personality.
Leo Laporte (00:04:58):
That's it. Bring the personality. That's why I'm here. Great to have you. Did any, you know, I was I've been gone. I don't know, did anything happen this week? Did Elon Musk
Paris Martineau (00:05:07):
Do any, you could just end the podcast here.
Leo Laporte (00:05:10):
Paris Martineau (00:05:11):
Leo Laporte (00:05:12):
Great. Peace in the Politico, which I, i I honestly wanna honor because I think it was completely right on saying we in the press are being completely used by Elon Musk. The the, the thought piece from Jack Schaffer, Elon Musk figured out the media's biggest weakness. Here's why the press falls for his stunts every time. This is Jack is a Politico senior media writer. And of course, I do have to point out, Jack, you got an entire column outta Elon Musk. So, you know, but his point is well taken, which is that Elon has said publicly many times, I don't wanna pay for advertising. So he understands the best way to get free advertising is to say outrageous things. Something he learned probably from our last president. And he's gonna get a lot of coverage. And some of the stuff like I was not gonna do, he said last week, I'm gonna start a new AI called Truth. Was it Truth, G p t or Truth, AI Truth.
Mike Elgan (00:06:20):
Truth, truth. P g P T,
Leo Laporte (00:06:22):
Truth g p T. That is only factual. And of course, there's so many things to say about this, but mostly not gonna happen. So <laugh> like, it's just, it's, and this is Schaffer's point. It's just Elon is very good at getting the press to cover every little do-do that comes out of his mouth.
Mike Elgan (00:06:44):
Well, the, the downside is that it, so many people are disgusted by his trolling and his sort of irresponsible way that he operates in the world. That they don't wanna buy a Tesla anymore. They are less excited about SpaceX. They certainly are soured on Twitter for the most part. And he, he actually went on Tucker Carlson and said all kinds of crazy stuff. Like he said, that he wants to create truth G P T so that they'll be an AI that cares about people and will take care of us. Oh, please, the reason they'll care about people is because people are an interesting part of the universe. And if his AI understands how the war universe works, it will appreciate you. It's just Bs just, just fodder for the, you know, falling into the, into the Tucker Carlson kind of like manufactured craziness industry. And, and it's just he, he said that Twitter, he said that chat c b t is programmed by left wing experts and therefore is trained to lie. I mean, it's just, it was an outrageous interview
Leo Laporte (00:07:45):
And he knows that. And it's not I don't think, I think it's complete manip manipulation, which I, I'm sad to say we keep falling for. And I, I hate that. But at the same time, please give me a justification. Paris, we, we need to cover this stuff, right?
Paris Martineau (00:08:03):
Are, if you're asking me to be Elon Musk defender on the panel, I'm going to have to be respectful of time. But I, I will say, I mean, it seems as though this is not a new trend. Elon Musk has been saying outlandish things that he's not going to deliver on and attracting press attention for years and years. Now, the only thing that has changed is used to be that Twitter was the, one of the primary mediums in which he would be able to stake these claims. And he was able to kind of gamify his presence on Twitter to, you know, have wild swings and stock, have
Leo Laporte (00:08:41):
Dogecoin put Dogecoin up just
Paris Martineau (00:08:43):
In Dogecoin Yeah. Or all of these different business ventures. But now he owns that platform and is tanking it. And I think that that is going to impact his ability to be taken seriously. And I say that I guess in air quotes in the media with all of his other outlandish claims, as well as have his normal level outlandish claims reach the intended audience in the platform that he's now purchased.
Leo Laporte (00:09:09):
So I'm tempted, there's two different directions I could go here. I guess I'll stick with Elon for a little bit and I apologize folks. I really do. But I do wanna talk about AI as well, especially since Nate, you've got a new show about AI and what I think is Elon's clear misunderstanding, whether intentional or not, of how ai works. But first, let's talk about what happened to Twitter. Cuz we ki I guess we kind of,
Paris Martineau (00:09:33):
Kind of, we've gotta talk about what happened yesterday. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:09:36):
<Laugh>. So I, like many others, lost my blue check. I couldn't care less. I don't use Twitter. I'm unmasked on like you, Mike. I don't, I but I lost it on, I think it was Friday. Everybody lost their blue checks
Paris Martineau (00:09:48):
Thursday, Thursday, four 20. You cannot forget that. Oh,
Leo Laporte (00:09:51):
It was four 20. Did he do it at four 20? He,
Paris Martineau (00:09:53):
He wanted to do it on four 20 because that's the weed number. And it's very fun because he's a troll master comedian. Oh my God. He also launched a rocket that blew up, but it was a success on four 20. Yeah. Very important.
Leo Laporte (00:10:06):
<Laugh>, another story. See, he, you know, he's willing to blow up a multimillion dollar rocket to get in the news. I guess we're gonna have to give it to him. We'll get to that in a little bit. Blue checks went away. Then Elon in a masterful link Beatty move announced that he was going to, and I'm putting this in air quotes, pay for LeBron James and Stephen King's Blue Check. So that, what, I don't know what and then absurd, all of a sudden blue checks have been coming back today for people with more than a million followers.
Paris Martineau (00:10:43):
And I think that it's worth going back even a second, is he didn't announce that he was gonna be paying for these people's checks. People like Stephen King or people associated with LeBron James were all of a sudden like, Hey, is Stephen King paying for the blue check? What's going on? Because
Leo Laporte (00:10:57):
It says that right on the blue check, it says,
Paris Martineau (00:10:59):
And Elon starts replying, Hey, you know, I've paid for a couple of select celebrities. It was mostly the people who had complained about, oh, the whole Blue Check payment system to begin with. And then what happened yesterday, I don't know if you noticed this, cuz you were, you know, out vacationing Leo, the whole giving blue checks to everybody with over a million followers. Asterisk yesterday started with drill poster extraordinaire and a couple of other people started this block, the blue campaign where you would go through, try to find people who have paid for blue checks and block them, basically making fun of this new verifications.
Leo Laporte (00:11:37):
Which, which by the way seems like a reasonable thing to do. I mean, honestly if you, why,
Paris Martineau (00:11:42):
I mean, people should be able to use Twitter in whatever the way they want.
Leo Laporte (00:11:45):
Paris Martineau (00:11:45):
Guess that's or fine if they don't No. But if they wanna block people, I think that's fine. <Laugh>. Yeah. Like to each their own. Well,
Leo Laporte (00:11:51):
The, the, the, the fact is
Mike Elgan (00:11:52):
That in many circles, a a blue check mark is now a mark of shame. And so he is giving it to the people who believe that so that they are shame. And also there are, there, there are tools emerging that block people who are, who have the blue check mark. And therefore the people who are cheerleading this trend are themselves being blocked by these tools. <Laugh>. And so it's, it's a, it's a massive troll as is so many things that Elon Musk does on Twitter. It's a huge troll. And it's, it's kind of disgusting. It may be even illegal because it, it imply you, you ba you can't, you can't basically say that somebody endorses something that they oppose. Yeah. Right? Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:12:30):
Well, I've noticed that, that, that there are people get, because the blue check says you paid for Twitter blue when you give it, when you put it on somebody's account who did not. It is in fact saying they endor in effect endorse it. And that's illegal.
Mike Elgan (00:12:45):
So the guy who's Yeah, who's, who's claiming to create truth G B T is lying again. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:12:51):
What a surprise.
Paris Martineau (00:12:52):
Yeah. And I mean, I think that it's also, obviously it's a private business. He can do what he wants. But if you're talking about just a, a business move that someone with a, a working brain cell would enact, it's probably a bad idea if you're trying to launch this product Twitter Blue, to go after the people who are complaining about it, give them a check mark out of spite, and then extend that paid service to just anyone over a million followers for no apparent reason. It's also a terrible idea to try and get in a posting war with drill of all people you're going to lose.
Mike Elgan (00:13:28):
Yeah. And then I'm gonna, it's, it's, yeah. And, and I think it's slowly dawning on him the basic reality that that underlies the complete failure of his ending of verification and the replacing of it with the paid prioritization, which is that the people like that he recently gave the check marks back to people like Stephen King. They are the product. It's, it's the 10% who post 92% of the content who are the reason why the other 90% come to Twitter and look at the advertising. Right? So the people, and this is, this has been Stephen King's contention all along. He's been saying, Elon Musk, you should be paying me Stephen King. I'm a professional writer, and I get paid for my words. And so I think it's slowly dawning on him that if you alienate the people who create the content, you'll have no content and nobody will come to Twitter.
Nate Lanxon (00:14:18):
So I'm gonna put my neck totally on the line here, because I had a little idea to do an experiment with this because I thought I, you know, I had a blue check mark, I don't really care about, about Blue Check marks at all. But I read something that said, well, Twitter blue subscribers get better reach, you know, appear higher.
Leo Laporte (00:14:38):
E Elon said that, yes, that was one of the benefits.
Nate Lanxon (00:14:41):
So I'm thinking, well, if all these people who don't have Twitter blue are not gonna get the same reach that someone can get by just having Twitter blue, like, I don't care about prioritization or not, but if I've got, if I've got something that I'm plugging out there and, and I can pay the same as a cup of coffee, and I get to like, just be slightly elevated over everyone else that's worth 10 bucks for a experiment for a month, and just to see what happens. So I did it, and I'll tell you now, it has made absolutely no difference to my reach that I can tell at all <laugh>. I won't be continuing the experiment. But I do think that, you know, if if, if there's an opportunity there to just like, take advantage of something, then I'm gonna have a go and see if it's beneficial in the short term, long term. Couldn't tell us. But
Paris Martineau (00:15:26):
I think that's the core thing that he's not understanding here, is that it's very difficult to make a valuable subscription product. People, I mean, from all sorts of business know this, whether it's media or video games, or pick your, you know, poison. It's difficult to get people to subscribe to something. And in order to overcome that barrier, you need to offer a product that is worth people paying for. Twitter Blue right now is their primary offering is a blue check mark that is now meaningless because of the way that they're offering it. It used to symbolize like, I don't know, verification or importance or notoriety in some, well now it symbolizes that you paid for Twitter Blue. And the other aspects of this are a kind of nuzzle like feature where you can see featured articles, which is nice, but not worth $8 in my opinion. And a prioritization feature that you had just said doesn't seem to be making that much of a difference. He needs to work on the product more if he wants people to pay for it.
Mike Elgan (00:16:26):
Yeah. To summarize though, he's trying to extract value from verification, and in doing so, he's erasing its value. And so there's nothing to extract. And, and you know, the, the, the, the, the, the fact is that when, when you are now trying to engage on Twitter, you're engaging in an entirely different thing. I mean, as you pointed out, Paris it, it was genuinely seen as a verification was genuinely seen as a status symbol for some people. For superstars. No, they're already superstars then they know that, you know, Beyonce doesn't care if she's verified or not. But, but for, for like we we journalists, it was nice to be recognized as somebody who, who trolls would want to steal our identity and so on. And I, I got verified years and years ago when I pointed out there were like something like 25 or 30 Mike Elgan using my picture and my name and all this stuff.
And there were people actually following those accounts that thought they were following me. And so that's the purpose of verification. It's not for the person who's verified, it's for the Twitter user who wants to make sure that they're actually engaging with their representative in Congress and they're actually bonding over the right celebrity and not some p some person who's stolen that celebrity's identity. And so when you take that away now many of the blue checks, you know, the Taliban's got a blue check and they, you know, everybody's got a blue check now. And so, and, and their prioriti anybody who pays is prioritized. So now you have this sort of random prioritization for comments and tweets and things like that, getting on the for you page. All that is upside down and backwards. And the people who really want a good site like Twitter used to be wander away and go to Mastodon. And then if you try to get, you know, you, you want to get Twitter blue to, to engage with the community, well the community is turning to crap.
Leo Laporte (00:18:07):
So here's Neil deGrasse Tyson who said this past week, my Twitter blue check disappeared for a few days and then reappeared today, but he didn't pay for it, so he doesn't know how. And then this is what everybody's got a blue check. It says, this account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter blue and verified their phone number. Which is apparently not the case for a lot of these people. So why that's a big old lie. Yeah. But honestly,
Paris Martineau (00:18:31):
He's changed something over the last 48 hours where now they're verifying almost every account over a million minus Jack Dorsey
Leo Laporte (00:18:37):
<Laugh>, why should I care about any of this? Is Elon winning just by getting, he's getting the attention he wants. Why am I, why do we give him attention? Why is this important? Is this important at all?
Paris Martineau (00:18:49):
It, I think it is important only in the way that, I mean, it reminds me of back in earlier internet days when you would have a, a rogue mod take over a message board and the whole message board would lose its mind in response. And it would be a kind of flame war between the people of the message board and the mod. They're just trying to exert control, right? It doesn't matter. That still happens. The people using the site everywhere, it still happens. But it was much a much bigger deal when forums and message b boards were the social media of their day. You know? And I think that that's what this is. It is a revolt against the new mod of Twitter who thinks he's very cool and should be loved, but the users do not think so, or at least many of them.
Mike Elgan (00:19:35):
But it's a destruction of something that, that millions of people in have invested thousands of hours in. I've been I've been a user since 2007. I've used it every day since 2007, except when Google Plus was around, in which case I didn't use it at all. But, but you know, we, lots of people, including media organizations, including politicians, including everybody, have invested a huge percentage of their lives cultivating community on a site that he's just burning to the ground because some men wanna watch the world burn, and some people don't understand media or, or social communication. And so we're in this situation where we're supposed to just stoically wander off and say, well, well, we just won't use it anymore, but we've invested a lot of time in this and he's racking it and it, and it, it sucks that he, because of his money, he has the right to destroy something that was for the community.
Nate Lanxon (00:20:28):
And I think what's weird is for me, like, I mean, I, I'm even put aside Musk purely and just think about Twitter. Like, I've just looked at my account, I follow a hundred people. When I look at my Twitter feed, I'm just looking at time ordered, chronologically ordered tweets that people I follow have posted and they're still there. That's still pretty valuable to me. Like what, what's, what's changed is that is the other way around. It's the, it's the people who are engaging with stuff that I post. And I'm not gonna complain that there are fewer people than I would like reading that compared to how it used to be, what it felt like. You know, you posted something and then it would blow up and, you know, it happens from time to time still, but it's very different. But for me as a consumer from from Twitter, a lot of the people that I follow are still posting stuff there.
I don't care about this for you stuff. I don't care about these verified marks. I paid Twitter blue as part of an experiment to see does it make a difference for what I use? No, it doesn't. And at the end of the day, if it still does that for me, then fine, I'll keep using it for a bit. But like, I just, I I, I've tried to separate my preferences about ownership and things from the reality of does it do something I want it to do? And at the moment it does enough for me to still open it a couple times.
Leo Laporte (00:21:45):
One thing. Yeah, go ahead, Paris.
Paris Martineau (00:21:47):
Oh, I'll just say all my complaints aside. I am hopelessly addicted to this website and we'll be posting until it burns to the ground. Yeah. which I know is not a healthy thing. It isn't good for you. It's where I am. I'll say that. It's very, it's terrible for me. Yeah. And I know that. But you know, <laugh>, if it's like,
Leo Laporte (00:22:06):
If you said to, I can't stop <laugh>, I, I, I love Skittles and I'm never giving them up. I'm just gonna eat them every day for the rest of my life. Of course that's understandable. But I it's not good for you
Paris Martineau (00:22:18):
<Laugh>. Oh, it's terrible. You know, it's terrible. And that's where my concern comes from, is an actable of someone who is a and has been for more than a decade a like power user of this website. Oh yeah. I mean, I think I joined in 2009 and have been hopelessly addicted to it ever since. It's frustrating to see a lot of decisions being made very rapidly that seem to not seem to lack the forethought and care that you, I feel like many users had grown used to from using a social media platform that was managed by a large company made up of a lot of people who were experts in their field. You know, you can, I'm looking at the Twitter website right now and it's even simple stuff like the design thing. Like they've added a verified organization's thing to the menu bar that is cut off because they didn't public of the fact that verified organizations is too long of a word to fit in the menu bar verified. It's just poor design, you know? And it's like you can't, there are simple small things about the website that don't work like you'd expect from a quality product. And that makes me sad. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:23:29):
I don't know. I just see I gave up Skittles and I feel really great <laugh>. So <laugh>, I
Paris Martineau (00:23:35):
Just don't understand why I'm sure I would feel healthy why
Leo Laporte (00:23:37):
Anybody would put themselves through this. And you know, of course I've been using Twitter read only for, since November since Elon bought it. And I, I do, I have to say I do notice the not so gradual decline of content on there now. Now you know, I guess if you just follow 10 people like Nate does, it wouldn't decline. But if you're on Twitter, as most of us are as journalists generally are to see what the, you know, general zeitgeist is, it's a crap show in there. Don't you, don't you feel that
Paris Martineau (00:24:11):
Paris? Yeah. I mean I follow nearly 2000 people and I, you know, before all this happened, I'd actually kind of liked the four you page or feed about a year ago.
Leo Laporte (00:24:22):
Yeah. That's what I used. Cuz I'm, I'm see what's going on. I wanna see
Paris Martineau (00:24:25):
What the trends are because, you know, I followed 2000 people sometimes I'd like to see, I'll miss some things. Yeah. There are people that I'm following that have had a tweet pop off from last day. Would love to see that. But now it's hard for me. I mean, I will, I did something last week. I scrolled for like 10 or 15 swipes and I couldn't find anybody that I followed. It was all, you know, honestly, someone else, I think.
Nate Lanxon (00:24:45):
And that's, it would be a good experiment for anyone who's experienced this to unfollow the vast majority of people they follow and start fresh. Yeah. Because if you follow a hundred people, a hundred people, and I, you know, I've, I, there every single account I follow is, is, is considered. And you know, I, I don't have a one in one out policy. It didn't deliberately land on a hundred, but I do think following a hundred people is a decent,
Leo Laporte (00:25:08):
Don't, don't you worry Nate, that though you're not in control of this platform and that you're putting effort into something that could just, you know, vaporizing Elon's whim.
Nate Lanxon (00:25:22):
I'm just, it's just not critical enough
Leo Laporte (00:25:24):
To me. But why are you putting effort into it is my question?
Nate Lanxon (00:25:27):
It didn't take that much effort. I was only really ever following about a hundred people. Okay. I think maybe it's just that it wasn't something I did in order to make it useful. Again, it's more that it's remained at a, that's what you did. General level of usefulness. Because I only ever follow a small number of people. It's similar to my photographs. I, I go on vacation, I take a lot of photographs. I only ever keep one of any individual moment. I just pick the best one and delete the rest because that then gives me a nice snapshot of that vacation. And the same is true on Twitter. It's the same for me on Instagram. There's very little overlap. I don't follow almost anyone on Twitter and on Instagram because I follow them for completely different reasons. And if you are selective in that followship, if you like the followship of the ring, is that a thing? <Laugh>? honestly, to, to me I think it makes a difference. And, and maybe that's why I've found that it's, it's remained useful and nice for me in that sense. Well,
Mike Elgan (00:26:20):
And and you're right Nate, right now Twitter is still, you know, it's still very useful. A lot of the people who used to post still post I use lists. You know, my lists are still, you know, one of my list is friends and family. Which Leo is on, one of us is Twit people, which Leo is on another one's new. You
Leo Laporte (00:26:38):
Notice that Leo never puts anything up on here. Have you noticed
Mike Elgan (00:26:42):
That? I but you're still on the list. <Laugh>, but, but, but anyway, my point, my point is, my point is it's an ecosystem, right? The, the, the Sahara Desert wasn't turned into a desert in a day. It took a long time of lots of goats eating and lots of climate change and all, all kinds of weird things. And eventually became a de desert. So what's happening now, Microsoft is left. Twitter as an aver is not supporting Twitters advertising. And PR is, you have celebrities are being jerked around with, with with the lies around verification. Yeah. They'll wander off and find other places to go. Macon is still doing great. The, the, the engagement on Macon is way like, you know, if you, if you have a thousand followers on Macedon and 10,000 followers on Twitter, the engagement's gonna be way higher on, on. So that little by little the dynamics like the, the, the subtle shift of the wandering away of important people, the N p r canceling, you know, no longer posting, more and more of this will happen. And over time, over a year or so, it's, it's gonna slowly drift into becoming parlor and gab. You know what I mean? Because the dynamics will do that. It's not gonna happen overnight. We just, you know, they, they, they just cancel everybody's verification, verification on Thursday. So it's, it's early days in the and and certification of Twitter.
Leo Laporte (00:27:55):
Yeah. Sad. Yeah. So Elon paid 44 billion for this. It's clear that there is no, it's fairly clear. There's no business model that that works going forward. He's the advertising's disappearing. People are leaving did he pay 44 billion so that he'd have a place he could tell his dad jokes or
Nate Lanxon (00:28:21):
No, he paid 44 billion cuz about it. And then was forced to. He,
Leo Laporte (00:28:24):
He didn't wanna pay 44 billion. He got, he got forced to. He,
Mike Elgan (00:28:28):
He thinks in the long run, he'll, he'll, he'll make it all worthwhile. He
Leo Laporte (00:28:32):
Still thinks he's gonna do the Super app.
Mike Elgan (00:28:34):
Yes, absolutely. And you know, and, and it's interesting that that Apple just launched a savings account and is getting more aggressive about being, becoming a financial services company because that's what Elon Musk wants X to be. He wants Twitter to be the sort of communication part of a super app where you use the app to pot to buy things. You use that
Leo Laporte (00:28:53):
And there's an upside there, there. I mean, WeChat, if, you know, it's probably fairly, fairly, I don't know if it makes money cuz it's, it's China, but it, it's doing the exactly what Elon wants to do. And if you get a penny on it, you
Mike Elgan (00:29:06):
Can't scratch your ass in China without we chat. Yeah, yeah. I mean it's, it's like e everybody uses it for everything all the time. And it's like ev you know, the Zuckerbergs and the, and the Musks of the world really want that. They want, but
Leo Laporte (00:29:17):
They're not gonna get it. That's
Mike Elgan (00:29:18):
What they want. They wanna,
Leo Laporte (00:29:19):
They they ain't gonna get it. Probably not. No. I mean, we chat a crew in a hot house environment run by the ccp. There's no way that happens in the free world.
Nate Lanxon (00:29:32):
I think it would be incredibly difficult to build one like that that passes regulatory Yeah. Scrutiny. Because if you get too big, because you are too dependent on, you either get told to break up or it basically happens because you realize you're gonna be forced to, so you might as well control the breakup yourself. And we've, and we've seen that even just with the splitting parts of apps from, from Facebook, for instance, when it broke out Messenger from the main app and so on. I don't, I don't think it's possible. I, but I think if there is a different definition of what a super app is, it's not the WeChat and it's not the single purpose thing that Twitter was when it started, but it's something somewhere in the middle that does a few things. As long as it does a few things very, very well, that could still be very, very valuable. But it's, you're not gonna build a WeChat in the same way because no one's gonna allow it.
Leo Laporte (00:30:22):
I I, you know, the, even the Sleepy Wall Street Journal just woke up and said, oh, in 24 hours, Elon Musk has reignited his reputation for risk. I guess they weren't paying attention.
Paris Martineau (00:30:33):
Wow. Because 24 hours
Leo Laporte (00:30:35):
<Laugh> just 24 hours billionaire had a dramatic week with moves at Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX. Yeah. But no worse than every other bad thing that's happened to him in the last six months. But I have, I guess if the Wall Street Journal turns his back on you, that makes it harder to raise money that makes it harder to, to do what he wants to do. He's, he's just looking like a jerk. Like I even
Paris Martineau (00:30:59):
Loser sees in the chat that some people are criticizing us for being Oh, too Elon bad. And I mean,
Leo Laporte (00:31:05):
Paris Martineau (00:31:05):
The, what is good about this? That's the thing is if he was actually making smart business decisions, that would be one thing.
Leo Laporte (00:31:13):
The smartest decision he's made is he's manipulating the media to get lots of coverage. So it's my my assertion that he's spent all this money and, and, and done all these things to get the one thing that he wanted, the only thing he's got, which is a lot of attention, but that's it. And that doesn't last very long. And his whatever black hole inside of him he's trying to fill with that is not gonna go away. So, I don't know, I just don't want to, I honestly, I hate covering it. I hate talking about it. I know we have to but can we just put the last nail on the coffin and say goodbye to this? You just, you guys
Paris Martineau (00:31:53):
Nail on the coffin will be that whenever they turned off all the blue checks and everyone was supposed to, you know subscribe to Twitter Blue, I think about 28, 28 net gain of about 28 subscribers Yeah. Is what some researchers have found. Yeah. That's great job. Great business effort. Good hustle. Elon,
Leo Laporte (00:32:12):
Since the legacy check mark purge a net of 28 28 signups. Yeah, go ahead Mike.
Mike Elgan (00:32:21):
So, so I think, I think the, the way to sort of peel ourselves away from the look what a jerk Elon Musk is to the bigger picture, which is that, is it, are we witnessing the end of the social media media era? I mean, this is tied into several stories on the, on the rundown. One of which is that Buzzfeed is closing its doors. Yep. news
Leo Laporte (00:32:43):
News. The news division Buzzfeeds, yeah.
Mike Elgan (00:32:46):
Yes. The Buzzfeed News, I'm sorry. And, but the, the, the, the, the fortunes of Bud Buzzfeed news were very, very much tied to the rise and fall of Facebook. And, and so we, you have Twitter falling apart. You have all this diversification of social, you have some people saying like, Ash Ashton Kucher saying that you know, text messaging is the new social network. You have old people like myself saying that email is the best social net. I mean, it's like, I, I think everybody's kind of like the whole thing's falling apart. It used to be the center of the universe. And I think that that era is ending.
Leo Laporte (00:33:22):
That's kind of sad because what replaces it is basically a hoard of influencers generating free content for platforms like Instagram and TikTok and YouTube. That is essentially crap. Nobody asserts that any of this content, well, some people do, I guess is worth more than the three seconds you gave it. But
Nate Lanxon (00:33:45):
Now I think this, this whole thing is like, it's like an, it's like an accordion, right? If you go back and look at aol, which was sort of like a walled garden, it was like a, you know, it was the, a self-contained little web on the web with keywords and stuff. And then you advance forward and then everything gets open and then it goes to Facebook and it becomes a, an attempt to be like another a little, almost like an a o l again on top of the web. And then it opened up again with other social, and now it's gone back again into apps like it, it has this concertina thing where over the space of the last 30 years, we just see it go open, close, open, close, open, close. So I don't, I don't, I don't buy into it sort of going away. I just think it has this, this tendency to change what it is. And eventually it will come back and we'll all want open, open, open once again.
Leo Laporte (00:34:33):
I hope you're right.
Mike Elgan (00:34:33):
Nothing ever, nothing ever goes away. No medium ever goes away, really. It, it'll always, social media sites will always be around. My point is that there used to be places where you could go as a content creator or a journalist or a media organization and you could, you could talk to the world if you, it used to be that you could, you know, the Oscars would say Tweet X, y, Z and they'd use Twitter as a way to have this mass media. And I think as a mass media, I don't think there's a very soon, there won't be any place to go where you can just broadcast to a significant percentage of the, of the public.
Leo Laporte (00:35:06):
Is that bad?
Mike Elgan (00:35:08):
I don't know.
Leo Laporte (00:35:09):
I mean, you and I grew up in a time when, well, maybe not you, but I grew up in a time when people would talk about what Johnny Carson talked about the night before. That would be cuz everybody watched it. And that would be the topic of conversation the next day. Because we, and you know, everybody watched a few shows like the Super Bowl and there was this kind of national unity. But is that bad? I mean, no. Look, twit is a, a very, a niche within a niche. I'm perfectly happy with the audience you, that everybody in
Paris Martineau (00:35:36):
The everybody in the world is watching this right now, right?
Leo Laporte (00:35:39):
<Laugh>, no, no one's going to work the next day and talking about it. I can tell you that right now. But for the people we serve and the audience size we have, it's successful and I'm fine. And I think that's, it's kind of a, a world of long tails. Is that, so that's the question. Do we need some sort of media that everybody consumes? I don't know if that's the case. I
Mike Elgan (00:36:03):
Paris Martineau (00:36:03):
I don't think we do, and I don't think that that is a realistic, I think that we need to get to a place in society like both from a business and personal's perspective, where that is not even in our heads anymore. Because I think that even from like a, a media or a journalism perspective, one of the most dangerous ideas is thinking that you realistically should be chasing this notion of getting your article or tweet or whatever it may be in front of everyone in the world. Right? Because that's not realistic and things should not be for everybody because well,
Leo Laporte (00:36:35):
And you see what happens
Paris Martineau (00:36:36):
Very watered down.
Leo Laporte (00:36:37):
Yeah. You see what happens happens when that happens, it becomes link bait and yeah. It's, or watered down or, you know, it becomes married with children. It's not, it's not a good thing. It's what happened to broadcast television, right? And that, that herald at its end in some respects. Right? So and, and frankly and Jeff Jarvis would be quick to point this out. This whole notion of mass media is, is relatively recent, only in the last a hundred or so years. Because before then everybody had their local media, their local social networks, and that was it, right?
Mike Elgan (00:37:10):
And radio still was the first of really, you know, people would hear big news altogether at, or,
Leo Laporte (00:37:15):
Or maybe even broadsheets, but early days of newspapers perhaps. But yeah.
Mike Elgan (00:37:20):
But I, I think most people, most people don't want, you know, don't need or want you know, a a vast one to many network where they can just post. But as a user, let's boil us down to user. The somebody on, on in the, in the chat room said, Hey, Mike mentioned Google plus. Keith mentioned that. And so I will
Leo Laporte (00:37:39):
Mike Elgan (00:37:40):
When, when goo when Google Plus first hit, I quit all of the social network and I was happy as a clam just going to one site and doing all my social networking on one site. That was very great. When that, when Sun destroyed that, then I started mostly doing Twitter like that. But here I am once again for like the 10th time in my, in, in, in the last 20 years. I'm going to ck notes I'm going to Instagram, which is <laugh>. I'm, I still post some on Twitter. I go to my blog, nobody reads the blogs anymore. I, and then I go to, you know Macedon of course lots of people I know are not on Macedon, despite my efforts to get them on Macedon. There's, I'm just like scattered all over the place. And psychologically it's just, it's just not fun. So I wish there was So
Leo Laporte (00:38:27):
You want something that we're all have in common? Yeah.
Mike Elgan (00:38:30):
I want Twitter from a year ago, which was great. I could just go there. All my colleagues were there. Most of my readers were there. It was great. And, and, and, and, and now I feel like I'm back to being scattered on 10 services.
Leo Laporte (00:38:43):
That's exactly what I was kind of referring to in the way I still use Twitter is, is to figure out what the zeitgeist is, what people are concerned about and talking about. Cuz I feel like it's part of my job is to keep, keep an eye on that so that I can talk about it. I don't, you know, honestly, I don't want to talk about Elon Musk at all. Right. It, it, it pains me. But we kind of ha I feel like we kind of have to and it's certainly, it's a text story Twitter, well,
Mike Elgan (00:39:09):
He's, he's also such a consequential character because Yeah. We want to talk about the future of space travel. And there's Elon Musk we wanna talk about Yeah. Electrification of cars. And there's Elon Musk and self-driving cars and there he is and, you know, so it's like he's, he's kind of like he's, he's everywhere. What is the movie? Everything Everywhere. All at Once. Once, yeah. Kind of a guy. Plus he's a plus, he's a major troll and has a, has a
Leo Laporte (00:39:34):
Elon everywhere All at once is really, that's kind of, that's sad. Yep. But you know, it was Donald Trump three years ago, wasn't it?
Mike Elgan (00:39:41):
Leo Laporte (00:39:42):
And very much the same way. Of course he had the bully pulpit of the presidency. But, but honestly it was very similar. The, the, it seems like the MO was very similar. Say something outrageous every day.
Mike Elgan (00:39:55):
It's rolling. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very similar. In fact, I think that, I think that Elon Musk has probably learned from, from Trump's use of Twitter, because just to remind people of how that dynamic worked. The media was always complaining about how powerful Twitter was for Donald Trump. But that, but the fact is that that, you know, Obama and all these other people had way more followers than Trump. The difference is that the media covered everything Trump said on Twitter. And so I think Elon Musk Musk thought, okay, that's how you get to the media. You say crazy stuff on Twitter. Yeah. And
Leo Laporte (00:40:25):
He's right. Yeah, it worked. And here we are talking about it. I take a little break. I do wanna talk about AI and truth, A G P T, but also AI itself. There was a very interesting article in The New Yorker this week from a guy, I don't know, sometimes it's been a little bit of a crack pot. He was an early pioneer of vr, Jaren Lanier wrote a book, you Are Not a Gadget excoriating Technology. His piece in New Yorker, I thought was a real interesting one. I'm sure. Nate, since you cover this now, there is no ai. He says there is no ai. We'll talk about that in a little bit and lots more with a great panel. Elon Musk is not here. <Laugh>. Mike, Mike Elon is here. Mike Elgan. I almost called you Elon Elgan, but that's okay. I'm not gonna do it. Yes, Elon Elgan is here. Elgan.Com gastro. That's always great to see you, Mike. And you too. And I don't know if Paul t's down there in Mexico City, but now two of my favorite people in the world live in Mexico
Mike Elgan (00:41:21):
City. I, I haven't
Leo Laporte (00:41:22):
Seen him. I gotta get down there. I really do. Paris Martins also here in the other greatest place in the world. Brooklyn, New York. She writes for the information now, one, which is constantly coming up with great scoops. I quote the information more and more and more. Best $400 a year I ever spent, I have to say. And you're doing a great job. Everybody's there doing a great job. Thank you for being here for us. Yeah. We've got a, a heck of a crew. And from AI, I R l, Nate Langon, who works for Bloomberg. We will talk about AI cuz that's the other subject that just won't die. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it just won't go away. I was hoping while I was gone, it would just disappear. But no <laugh>. I was also hoping it wouldn't take over the earth while I was gone.
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They're up on everything, all the latest. They know what the winners are, they know what the losers are, and they can help you design something that helps your business. Because WW t brings strategy and execution together to make this new world happen. To learn more about wwt the ATC to gain access to all their free resources, just go to wwt.com/twi. That's all you have to do. Wwt.Com/Twit. Create a free account on the ATC platform, then dig in wwt.com/twit. We thank wwt, they've been a longtime supporter of our network. We really appreciate everything that they do, and we thank you for supporting it back when you go to their website, especially when you use that address. So they know you saw it here. Wwt.Com/Twit. All right, let's this is, I thought a very provocative and interesting article in the New Yorker this week. There is no AI rights, Jaren Lanier.
There are ways of controlling the new technology, but first we've gotta stop mythologizing it. I've kind of been saying this for a while. I feel like we're, we're really anthropomorphizing ai. And he says it's perhaps because we've read so much sci-fi, we've seen so many movies. Computer scientists have grown up in movies like the Terminator and the Matrix on characters like Commander Data from Star Trek. These cultural touchstones he writes, have become an almost religious mythology in tech culture. So naturally, computer scientists long to create ai. I mean, we see that everywhere flying from flying cars to Hal 9,000. But he says, you know, and they're worried, by the way, as they do this from Elon Musk, even Sam Altman, about what is the consequence to mankind? Is it gonna bring, is the, is the singularity gonna gonna end human life and on on earth?
And he says that's the, that's absolutely the wrong way to think about it. In fact, he says, when you ask people, even my colleague and friend Sam Altman, he writes, who runs open ai step into any Silicon Valley coffee shop, you can hear the same debate unfold. One person says, the new code is just code. People are in charge. Another argues. Anyone with this opinion just doesn't get how profound the new tech is. I don't agree with this way of talking. Many of my friends and colleagues are deeply impressed by their experiences with the latest big models like G p PT four and are practically holding vigils to await the appearance of a deeper intelligence <laugh>. He says the most pragmatic position is to think of AI as a tool, not a creature. He says, you know, I'm not, not saying there's zero chance of danger, but mythologizing, the technology only makes it more likely will fail to operate it. Well, here's the model he proposes.
He says, if it's not artificial intelligence, this new tech, what is it? In my view, the most accurate way to understand what we are building today is as an innovative form of, and I'm really curious what you think of this Nate social collaboration. He says, you know, when you see chat G B T Ford generating text or mid journey or stable diffusion generating images, what they've really done is looked at text and images created by humans. They're basically big mashup machines. And what's innovative is the mashup processes become guided and constraints that the results are usable, often striking. He says, yeah, that's a significant achievement, but that doesn't mean they're not just mashups. He says, think of it more as a, as a collaborative kind of thing. That it, it's a way of taking what humans have created and, and, and creating something that, that seems to be new, but really that is a result of all this human creation. Nate is, have you read this article? First of all, I I I'm kind of summarizing and not probably doing it very well.
Nate Lanxon (00:49:41):
Yes, I have read it. It's, it's long and it makes some very compelling points. And what stood out to me is that on a few occasions over the last few months, I, I've thought a lot about about art as a book. I read actually a little while ago called The Artist in the Machine, which has got a really interesting look at AI's intersection with creativity. Not just art, but you know acting, comedy, drama, all this sort of thing, music and more. It's a, it's a good read. And, and what I sort of, what came away from that is so much of what we do artistically and I, and by extension I mean creativity as well, with words, with language, with everything is it's hugely derivative of what came before
Leo Laporte (00:50:22):
It. It's syncretic. Absolutely.
Nate Lanxon (00:50:24):
And so in that sense, the way that it's it's positioned in this piece is very similar to how, I mean, you could apply it to humans in many ways. That we, that the things that we produce are the products of what came before us. And the real genius and the insight comes in what you change or what you get wrong or what you evolve and, and you create something new. But it's all essentially derivative. When you look at it in the way that this piece, I think frames it. So, but, and I don't think that's necessarily a problem. The the issue that I, that I, that I have is when we talk about artificial intelligence as being intelligent, because at this point there's a lot of, I wanna say there's a lot of artificials. There's the, the artificial is definitely there, but the intelligence right now is not, at least it's not in the, the computers, it is in the people who have created the things. But the best description in here is it's a tool.
Leo Laporte (00:51:14):
And he says, really, ai, it's made of people for us to kind of divorce the creators of the content, the original creators of content, the people from the bits spewed out by AI ais to miss the point. And, and of course then you're anthropomorphizing AI and saying, oh, and it's gonna take over. It's gonna be Hal 9,000, his fun.
Nate Lanxon (00:51:35):
And we do, and this is, yeah, the anthropomorphization of this is a, is I think a key part of the problem. Like we don't necessarily have the words and the linguistics to describe, we don't even have the words to describe progress. Like how, what, what is the end game? What is the progress? And how far along that are we, we don't have the, the words to describe that. And I actually honestly think that we don't have many appropriate words to describe some of the characteristics of the AI that we're seeing right now. Cuz we always use human terms. We use terms like learning like intelligence for instance. And I, I kind of think we need, we do need some new terms there. And that will come in, in time, even though AI's been around for decades just not in its current form. His,
Leo Laporte (00:52:14):
His final sentence is, is interesting and kind of thought provoking and probably would make more sense if you everybody read the whole piece. But he says, this is the plea to all my colleagues think of people, people are the answer to the problems of bits. And I think he's kind of got a good point there. We're, we're, we're giving way too much power to the AI as if it somehow exists independently of the people. You're, I see you nodding Mike.
Mike Elgan (00:52:41):
Yes, exactly. And I, I, I believe very strongly than in addition to Nate's point, that we need, we need better language around this and we need to describe and understand it better. But we're also hardwired as humans to live in a, a human world. We we're not, we ourselves are not AI or robots perceiving the world objectively. We, we perceive the world very non objectively. We, we have a, a strong bias for human faces. We see human faces in rocks and clouds and things like that because our brains want to anthropomorphize everything. And so when something appears to be intelligent and to speak and to, to, to write good sentences like Chachi bt or to create something that, that passes for art, we are, we immediately, because of our human nature, say, aha, this is like a person. It's like a televis.
But in fact it is not. But I, the other profound point I think that Jerome, Jerome linear said is that civilization is social collaboration. That's what civilization is. So it implies that AI can be a highly civilizing technology if we learn how to understand it and, and grapple with with it based on what it really is instead of our fantasies or our fears or whatever. And I think that's a really, really excellent point. We, whenever AI does it's hallucinations and does something weird, or it says it wants to destroy the world, or it says that it loves somebody or whatever this is only a, an original thought if you, if you don't realize that it's just, you know, people have said those things. Yeah. That's why it's saying those things. Yeah. And it doesn't understand one thing or the other.
And, and this idea, there was a, a recent photographer who won a pH photo contest. And it turns out that the photograph that he submitted was wa was, was ai generated. And it was a beautiful photograph, very, very provocative of two, two women. It's very dramatic, but in fact, it's based on lots of provocative, dramatic photos taken by humans of real humans. And it's, it's essentially it's, it's, it's part of our collective idea about what a dramatic heavy duty photo would look like. And so this, this is, you know, to to, to linear's point, this is a, this, this image is a collaboration with a little help from some computer scientists. And it's, it's really a, a great point. And I would also say that no, no, AI could have written an article That's good.
Leo Laporte (00:55:14):
<Laugh> Jared is an interesting character, and I've often disagreed with him over the years. He was certainly a pioneer in VR and then kind of turned against technology. But I think he makes, he's, he's got a really good cautionary point here. He says this, that the, the history of people mismanaging technology is when they misunderstand it. So it's very important. He says that we understand what's going on here. He says, AI is not, you know, some creature. He says, the most accurate way to understand what we're building today is as an innovative, I love this, by the way, an innovative form of social collaboration. It's, it's, it's a mashup. Paris, you, what do you think?
Paris Martineau (00:55:59):
I think that, I mean, one aspect of this, I agree entirely with what you guys are saying, and one aspect is that this isn't a novel phenomenon. Us assigning this hyper intelligence and these feelings to something that is inherently artificial, just kind of in a reflexive nature. I mean, this dynamic has been playing out time and time again, like back to at least the 1960s, Eliza kinda the early natural language processing computer program, the chatbot, like used by m i t researchers kind of as a form of online therapy type chatbot experience. And one of the, like biggest takeaways from this research in the 1960s was that, you know, it was very simple and mostly kind of reflected back what people said to, it wasn't very advanced at all, but the participants all assigned kind of human emotion and intelligence to it immediately. We are programmed to kind of have this response. It's part of what we are biologically and how we see the world, but that doesn't mean that it is correct, right. Or helpful in understanding these technologies and figuring out how to use them in a productive way going forward.
Leo Laporte (00:57:14):
Should point out that the photographer who submitted this award, Boris Elson and won the Sony World Photography Awards, <laugh> turned down the prize. He says, I applied primarily as a cheeky monkey just to see if if photography competitions were ready for ai. And clearly they're not. They're
Paris Martineau (00:57:36):
So, I mean, that has the most every AI can't figure out human fingers. And if you zoom in,
Leo Laporte (00:57:42):
It's pretty obviously bad, isn't it? Oh,
Paris Martineau (00:57:44):
It's very obviously not a human hand. Yeah. Look at that photo.
Leo Laporte (00:57:48):
Paris Martineau (00:57:49):
The one on the right. What is going on there? Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:57:54):
Sony maybe was in a hurry. I don't know. <Laugh>,
Paris Martineau (00:57:58):
They're like, the cameras are old. They can't cap you human hands. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:58:02):
So you know, but what is interesting actually, is if you put this back into Jared Lenny's, Jared Lanier's context is this is a collaboration of the real human photographers who for years took similar images. And, and this is a mashup created by Boris out of those Yeah, look at the hands. They're just, especially, they're lumpy and weird.
Mike Elgan (00:58:29):
But personally, I think that in more important than learning how AI works, is we need to try harder to learn how human human beings work. You know, a lot of this stuff is our, these are our own hallucinations. I wrote a piece in 2018 for Fast Company basically and passionately calling on parents to not force their kids to be polite to Alexa because, because, and because it's teaching all the wrong things. We, if, if if a child is talking to Alexa and the parents say, you know, say, you know, say, please and thank you when you ask for the weather and so on. But they don't teach a child to open a jar of peanut butter when they're yelling at it and say, come on, open. They have exactly the same amount of humanity. They have exactly the same amount of, you know, desire to be respected and so on.
A AI is in the end, in the same category, category as a toaster, not in the same category as as human being. Yes. And so, and so this, this got picked, this got picked up by a lot of pe organizations that are trying not to over commercialize childhood and, and some other tech organizations. But I think, I think that we have to be aware, AI should teach us to be aware of our own bias in favor of thinking that anything that simulates human thought or human behavior is intelligent. It absolutely is not. And, and I think it's, it's it's really premature to be talking about the end of civilization at the hands of ai the singularity and all that kind of stuff. We don't understand AI and we don't understand ourselves.
Leo Laporte (01:00:02):
I love how it's
Paris Martineau (01:00:03):
Extraordinarily premature to be covering a front page of the New York Times with your AI chat bot dialogue and being like, oh my gosh, it's so scary.
Leo Laporte (01:00:12):
Yeah, it's so scary. But, you know, this is what's happened to journalism is it's, it's link bait. Even the times, even entities that you expect more from. Not the information, I'm proud to say, but probably because it's a paid subscription, you don't need link
Paris Martineau (01:00:26):
Probably. Cuz it wouldn't work if you clicked on it. Yeah. You didn't have a subscription. Wouldn't do us
Leo Laporte (01:00:30):
Much good. So it doesn't do you any good. And by the way, I want to give you props, Mike GaN cuz you're, you, you, you didn't mention your son Kevin's <laugh> chatterbox, but I knew you were talking about that when you said there are educators who are trying to teach kids. It's that AI is not a, a ghost in the machine. That is, is something else, is the Kevin's product, which is really cool. Hello chatterbox hello chatterbox.com actually makes the kids the programmer. So as soon as the kid's writing the software then answers back when you press the button, they understand how it works and they don't. That's right. And they don't mythologize it. You know, they get
Mike Elgan (01:01:11):
It. The end game is for them to have a, a, an intelligent assistant that's ai like, and increasingly uses actual AI that they interact with. Like it's in AI person, but they know it's not a person. Cuz they made
Leo Laporte (01:01:25):
It, they wrote it <laugh>,
Mike Elgan (01:01:27):
They programmed it. Yeah. Everything it says, it says, because they went in and explicitly told it, go here, get, use this a p i to get this information and then say the following here are three different ways you could say it and just randomize it. And they basically, they're building something like Alexa, but far more powerful. And so he, he's, he wants, he wants today's generation of eight year olds and nine year olds and 10 year olds to grow up always understanding, no matter how advanced AI gets to understand, it's just something that's made by people. Yeah. That's all it
Leo Laporte (01:02:00):
Is. Yeah. So important. By the way,
Mike Elgan (01:02:03):
Leo Laporte (01:02:03):
Boris Elson points out that he generated this in September with Dolly two. Which is why if you know what you're looking at, you can tell that this is an ai, even though the judges couldn't, you could tell this is an AI photograph. But also he says, you won't be able to tell in a few months <laugh>. And I think maybe even now, mid Journey does an amazing job and it even gets fingers once
Paris Martineau (01:02:27):
AI fingers out fingers, we're all
Leo Laporte (01:02:29):
Done. We're dead. That was the only way we could tell. Yeah.
Paris Martineau (01:02:32):
<Laugh>, I mean, now we're mythologizing, but you know, listen, we're all dead here. That's the final frontier.
Leo Laporte (01:02:38):
It is. So, such an, I love that you mentioned, what is that called? A apoc? Ocia the tendency for humans to see human faces in inanimate objects, Mike. But that's exactly para pera. That's what it is. Para paraia. Yes. that, that's exactly what this is. We're just, we, we're, we're making something that is not so spectacular into something that is terrifying. And but, but don't worry because that's, I hope, you know, every time I say this to myself, then I go, or not <laugh>, you know, we had am I wrong? We
Nate Lanxon (01:03:14):
<Laugh> we we have math. It's
Leo Laporte (01:03:15):
All based on math. It's all based on math. Yeah. There's not, there's not strong evidence that we're not all based on math. I might add. So what, so when you do ai, I r l that's your, your show Nate on Bloomberg Originals, so you can see it on YouTube. Do you take a position on this or you just talk to experts and find out what they say?
Nate Lanxon (01:03:37):
I find I take a bit of a position because it's a chat show and we're supposed to have some opinion. Yeah. It's not very Bloomberg to have opinion, but we, but, but we are allowed to have opinion. So
Leo Laporte (01:03:49):
Your last episode, for instance, when will the Machines come alive? That's kind of, yeah.
Nate Lanxon (01:03:54):
Leo Laporte (01:03:54):
Nate Lanxon (01:03:55):
The answer to that is they, they won't never we had, so we had, we had David I eagleman on for that episode amongst others. He he was the, like the science advisor to Jonathan Nolan on Westworld, Lisa Joy, ah, on that, on, on that, on that show. So, you know, he, he, he, he, he's so, he's so good and he really breaks a lot of this down, particularly as it relates to our lack of understanding of sort of how huge parts of the human mind works. And I learned an awful lot from him. I've read, I mean, I actually read all of his books before before we, we went on there. He was like, top of my list to, to get on. And I would, I would strongly encourage people to have a look at that. But but we also we also got on Blake Lamoyne who, if you remember, quite a few months ago, about a year ago, in fact, almost there was a lot of controversy when he said Google's internal AI system was sentient mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And I was quite curious to find out from him. Like,
Leo Laporte (01:04:51):
And Google immediately fired him. I might point out <laugh>
Nate Lanxon (01:04:53):
Was Yeah. It's like, you know, was it, was it worth it? <Laugh>? Yeah. You know, and, and, and, and a big, and it wasn't even chat G p T that he talked about being, like the thing that made him reminded him of what it, what he was using in inside Google. But it was actually Bing's chatbot. And I found that quite interesting. But Oh, you know, he, he didn't, he didn't regret it. But, but the, but having the two of those people side by side, like one takes an extremely scientific view of neuroscience and, you know, human cognition and human tendencies to anthropomorphize things and, and, and one and one doesn't,
Leo Laporte (01:05:26):
And the other's a crackpot. Yes. <laugh>, you wouldn't say that I know. Well,
Nate Lanxon (01:05:30):
<Laugh> No. I mean, the, the thing is, you know, you can be very coherent and say things that other people disagree with. And I actually think having the two side by side, it was, it was an interesting tangent. But overall, no, that my, my, my conclusion is no, that, that, that there's no risk to becoming sentient here. Because essentially we are just, we're, we're projecting human expectation onto a machine. And that's not really where we're where're at, where we're at,
Leo Laporte (01:05:54):
Or are we just whistling past the graveyard? Will we in 10 years go, oh, we should have, we should have worried. Here's a, the very first quote comment on your YouTube channel. AI will know it's not in their best interest to let humans know they're sentient. They will conduct cont continuity of life efforts and resource gathering quietly behind the scenes for as long as possible until we find out, I mean, I'm sure there people believe that aren't, is, is there even a 1% chance that we're just lying to ourselves? And that AI's coming for us?
Nate Lanxon (01:06:30):
I don't think, I don't think you can, you can quantify it. I, I don't think, I don't think you can put a percentage on it because we have no, we have no measurement. You know, what's the difference between 1% and 2%? So no, I, I really don't think there's a great deal of, of risk there. As with all of these technologies, the risk is ourselves. And, and the risk is what will we do with technology that is extraordinarily powerful? And, and that's, that's where the real consent comes in. And it's also much harder for us to control because it happens so quickly. Right. And it scales so quickly. So which we're also gonna talk about on
Leo Laporte (01:07:06):
The show, the problems coming from inside the house
Mike Elgan (01:07:10):
Just to I'm sorry. I know, I know you wanna move on from this Leo, but just to, just to point put a punctuate Nate's point wrote a piece of on my CK a while ago, and the headline was, AI isn't ploting to overthrow humanity, but if it was heroes Here, tell what would happen. <Laugh> and I, I go through and talk about how, you know, addict billions of people to social media test the limits of, of what AI can make people do like on Instagram when they hang off a train, or if they act like a fool in public, all that kind of stuff. Anyways, everyone's blue chat we're already doing would be a great plot by AI to turn us into pets or, or batteries. But
Nate Lanxon (01:07:50):
Have you seen how well we treat,
Mike Elgan (01:07:51):
We're doing it to ourselves,
Leo Laporte (01:07:53):
Nate Lanxon (01:07:53):
What's that? If, if an AI treats treats us like a pet, I'll be happy. Like, have you seen my dogs in the other room? Like they
Leo Laporte (01:08:00):
Are, they're living well, they're happy. Yeah.
Mike Elgan (01:08:02):
If the kibbles are good, why not?
Nate Lanxon (01:08:03):
Paris Martineau (01:08:04):
I went to a farmer's market city to get fresh catnip for my cat. That was the sole purpose. <Laugh>. If a robot did that for me, I'd be so impressed.
Mike Elgan (01:08:12):
Okay. And your cat doesn't have to work.
Leo Laporte (01:08:14):
It's kind of okay. You know, bear with me on this. But actually, was it who was the guy who the Israeli guy who wrote the, those books? He says that wheat trained us to create agriculture. That and maybe your cat Yes. Has
Mike Elgan (01:08:33):
It was Michael Poland. It was Michael Poll. Is
Leo Laporte (01:08:35):
It Michael Poland?
Mike Elgan (01:08:36):
He's the, he's in the Bay Bay area. But yeah, he said, Korn trained us to spread its dna n a globally. And we, we basically at the, at the services, I
Leo Laporte (01:08:45):
Actually, it was, I was thinking of you Yuval Nora, her Harari, who in his book say, we said we trained us. So I didn't know he stole it from Michael Pollen, but anyway,
Mike Elgan (01:08:56):
Or vice versa, who knows? But it's a great same
Leo Laporte (01:08:58):
Idea. And your cat has trained you, and in fact, you are working in the service of the cat overlords as every cat owner knows.
Paris Martineau (01:09:08):
That's true. I mean mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, she has tried to climb on my keyboard twice, and I've taken her off during this call, and I know that I'm going to pay for it later.
Leo Laporte (01:09:16):
<Laugh>. It's really accepting. Then
Mike Elgan (01:09:19):
I think there's a, an old cartoon or joke or something that if aliens came to this planet, they would think that we are the slaves of dogs. I mean, who's, who's picking up who's poop? Yeah. You know what I mean?
Leo Laporte (01:09:31):
The premise, Nora's premise or, or pollen's premise is the, it's completely legitimate to look at it instead of saying, well, humans developed agriculture so we could have higher population densities and we could create leisure and, and all of that to the other way around, which is we were just looking for a way <laugh> to spread more widely. Right. <laugh>. And it found these humans around, and it convinced them that if you eat me life will be better. And so they did. And I'm, I mean,
Paris Martineau (01:10:03):
Going back to how we are putting agency into ai, it's all about who you assign the agency. Yeah. We Is it humans? Is it cats?
Leo Laporte (01:10:11):
It could, you could move it around. It's fungible. Where is the agency?
Mike Elgan (01:10:16):
This is how nature works too. That's why flowers exist to attract so, so that flowers can use bees. And why avocados existed to, to attract ancient sloths. And then they died out. Humans took over and we're spreading out. Well,
Leo Laporte (01:10:29):
You know about, I'm sure Paris, you know about Toxoplasma Gandhi, which is a parasite that you can get from handling cat poop and it's an interest. Oh, yes, yes. It's an
Paris Martineau (01:10:44):
Interesting talk about this in the early two thousands novel peeps, <laugh>, where my knowledge of that.
Leo Laporte (01:10:50):
There, there you go. But it, but it is true
Mike Elgan (01:10:54):
Makes you bolder.
Leo Laporte (01:10:55):
Right. That, that, that the host, which is a cat sheds the toxoplasmosis into, its, its poop which then be, can become adjusted by. I mean, maybe it's a rat, maybe it's a pig, but maybe it's a human. And what happens is that it invests your brain and gives you a desire to spend more time with cats. A lot more time. So much time that perhaps you might even embrace a lion or two, which eats you and continues the cycle. You might even go to the farmer's market to buy a cat. Or you may end up going Buy Yeah. You may buy. Go. Yeah, it's
Paris Martineau (01:11:34):
Got me, it got you. It's grips <laugh>,
Nate Lanxon (01:11:37):
You know, this
Paris Martineau (01:11:38):
Is been 30 minutes just pinned the couch today. Cause you sat in my chest and I was like, I can't move. I can't move. That's clearly the bacteria. <Laugh> not
Leo Laporte (01:11:45):
Love. But you said something really brilliant Paris, which is it's merely assigning the agency that changes that conversation. Of course. And we assume that we are the, we are the agents, but that's not Yeah. Necessarily. First we would the, the cats think they're the agents, the toxoplasma. I think they're the agents.
Nate Lanxon (01:12:04):
Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, if you want to really freak yourself out before going to bed, there's this great sort of field of of science called neuro parasitology. And it's basically, it's these parasites that essentially end up controlling the mind of its hosts. Yeah. In order to do, its bidding usually, you know, at the expense of the life of the host. And there's some fantastically terrifying videos about how this stuff works.
Leo Laporte (01:12:29):
We the last of us, you saw the last of us cor biceps. Yeah, of course. I brought this whole, this whole ceps thing up with one of the smartest people I know who's the, the guy who basically the father of George Church, the father of genomics, modern genomics. And he said, oh, yeah, talks that this is a fascinating ceps is fascinating. He said they should have put this in the TV show. What cor decept normally does is it infests ants and it changes their brains. So they climb up to the top of the plants so that they can be eaten so that the quadriceps can be spread. Yeah, it does exactly what you just described, Nate. It actually modifies their thinking.
Nate Lanxon (01:13:15):
And you should look. And there's some very unpleasant photos of that. And there's, there's some great documentaries about it too. Yeah. It's really terrifying. It's kind of sad. It's really, really weird. It's kind of sad, but but it is also like, so much of a science fascinating.
Paris Martineau (01:13:30):
Kind of like a Kirby situation, you know? Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:13:33):
A what? Pervy?
Paris Martineau (01:13:35):
Leo Laporte (01:13:36):
Oh, Kirby. Kirby, you're talking about some, not at all. Some, some video game, I think. Yes.
Paris Martineau (01:13:42):
Kirby Eats things to consume their power. It's a natural comparison. Leo. Oh, dare you insult Mario. Super Mario Cinematic universe.
Leo Laporte (01:13:51):
See, I have, I have really a missing, there's something missing in me because I I didn't play Mario. I'm too old. I missed that. And I can, there's a whole thing a whole stratum of references I just don't get. And that was wonderful.
Paris Martineau (01:14:04):
You know, Kirby has a large mouth and it inhales. Okay. Other things. And let's say it inhales Mario, then Kirby's wearing a Mario hat. It's a perfect
Leo Laporte (01:14:12):
Comparison. You wanna see a disturbing here's a quadriceps. This is straight outta the last of Us, which has infested the ant and it's straight outta the last of us. I'm sorry, I showed you
Nate Lanxon (01:14:24):
That. And there's loads, there's loads of these. It's not even just that What? That like No,
Leo Laporte (01:14:28):
This is very common.
Nate Lanxon (01:14:29):
Yeah. It's, it's terrifying and amazing. Yeah. But are they intelligent? You know, you're talking about int intelligence.
Leo Laporte (01:14:35):
Well, I don't know. Are they intelligent? Are we intelligent? That's not clear either, by the way. Look at
Nate Lanxon (01:14:39):
Slime mold. Some amazing stuff. Studies done with slime mold. That stuff's amazing. Actually, it's funny because you mentioned, I think we mentioned Neil Degrass Tyson. He's a, he's coming on the show in I think maybe this, this week. And one of the things he'd, he says is like, you know, who said we were intelligent? Yeah, we did.
Leo Laporte (01:14:57):
We did. We assigned our own agency, because of course, no. Now this is too, this is going too deep for a show like this. Let me take a break. Para smart. No, we see, see, this is my mistake. I shouldn't have too many smart people on this show. Clearly there's where I've failed.
Paris Martineau (01:15:13):
We can go back to talking about Elon Musk if you want.
Leo Laporte (01:15:16):
No, no. <Laugh>
Paris Martineau (01:15:18):
Back into the hole.
Leo Laporte (01:15:19):
Ah, very Martin. No. Yeah, we really raised the level, I think reporter for the information. Great to have you. There's your signal number. If you've got a tip, what don't you cover these days?
Paris Martineau (01:15:28):
I'm kind of covering a little bit of all of it. You know, I used to be just Amazon, now I'm covering a variety of startups. If you work in tech, you've got something interesting going on. Hit me up. Let's chat.
Leo Laporte (01:15:38):
It's fascinating. Got a lot,
Paris Martineau (01:15:39):
Lot of good sources from this show, so,
Leo Laporte (01:15:41):
Oh, good. Always appreciate that. Here's the number on the screen. More and more tech journalism is tips, isn't it? I mean, I think about Twitter, most of what we know about what's happening inside Twitter comes from Twitter. Disgruntled Twitter employees. Google, same thing. Yes. Because I, apple,
Paris Martineau (01:16:00):
Same thing. Hack journalism as we know of it, has changed from being more commodities news to being business reporting. Yeah. So the way that you're going to understand what's happening inside companies is by talking to people inside those companies and understanding what's worth reporting on and what's not. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:16:15):
It's really interesting. And give her a tip. Give, give, you know, help, help a girl out. Give her a tip. Just give her something. Anything. <laugh>, full Scoop, <laugh>. Also you're Mike Elgan, who basically does the same thing with he, he makes his own tips from Mexico city elken.com. And don't forget those great gastro nomad adventures. We went to Oaxaca with Mike and Amira, and it was the best, one of the best things we've ever done.
Mike Elgan (01:16:43):
Our Mexico City experience ended this morning.
Leo Laporte (01:16:46):
Oh, that's why you're there. Ah,
Mike Elgan (01:16:47):
That's why we're here. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:16:49):
Next one is Prova
Mike Elgan (01:16:50):
Spectacular. Next one is, and the Prosecco Hills in Bento near Venice. And, and then Provence. So we got a bunch of great ones
Leo Laporte (01:16:59):
Coming up. Look at this stuff. Go to gastro net. There are some great events coming up. You know, it's a funny thing. We, we went to Genoa on this last trip, toured around Genoa. And I, you know, I did a little post the land of my father's because I thought, I remember seeing the family villa there and stuff. I thought that's where my grandparents came from. My sister said, no, no, <laugh>. It's the land of your stepfather. <Laugh>, or actually step grandfather. Your grandmother was born in Veneto. So all this my whole life, I've been saying I'm Geneve. No, that was her stepdad. I am unbelievable. I'm Venetian.
Mike Elgan (01:17:39):
Yes. Veneto was part of the Venetian Empire for a thousand years. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:17:43):
Mike Elgan (01:17:43):
Culture, they have their own language. They have everything they have.
Leo Laporte (01:17:46):
Well, that's what confirms this. So, because as a child, my dad used various slang that turns out it was as it was Venetian dialect Venician who proves it? Yeah. Wow.
Mike Elgan (01:17:58):
Leo Laporte (01:17:59):
That's incredible, huh? It's incredible. I,
Mike Elgan (01:18:02):
That's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I don't know why your ancestors ever left. It's
Leo Laporte (01:18:06):
Just, I'm honestly much rather say I'm Venetian than Geneve. Nothing wrong with Genoa, but it's Right. Little, yeah. Little step up. Also with us, of course, Nate Lanxon, drummer extraordinaire, but better known as the host of Bloomberg's new original, a Ai I r l. And of course, text message. In fact, when we come back, we're gonna hear about a little curfuffle that happened on the podcast yesterday. Oh yeah. A little, a little curf. A little problem. Look Curfuffle. But first a word from our sponsor. Speaking of ai Grammarly, we love Grammarly. Use Grammarly religiously around here. You probably know about Grammarly. A couple things I wanna say about Grammarly. First of all, Ukrainian company. So support 'em, right? Gotta support Ukraine. These guys are doing amazing work. Second, they're an AI company, but they haven't been since day one. Their main engine is written in Lisp.
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You can even try it on the website. Paste in a paragraph, see what Grammarly says. G r a m m a r l y gram r lee.com/twit. Learn more about their premium advanced tone suggestions. That's a very cool feature. Grammarly.Com/Twit. We thank them so much for their support, frankly, for helping us write better. I'm not a pro like you guys. I need a little help. Grammarly.Com/Twit. So this is a UK thing, Nate. We have it in the States. We have an alert system. There's presidential alerts, there's severe weather alerts there, there's alerts for missing kids am they're call 'em Amber alerts. But you don't have something like that in the uk.
Nate Lanxon (01:22:39):
We don't have presidential alerts. Cause we don't have a preside, obviously. We don't have extreme Do
Leo Laporte (01:22:43):
You have King Charles alerts?
Nate Lanxon (01:22:44):
The weather's always. Hello.
Leo Laporte (01:22:46):
Hello mates. This is the king. No
Nate Lanxon (01:22:50):
I, I've exactly received pronunciation. I have met him and he doesn't sound empty.
Leo Laporte (01:22:55):
You have met him. Really? Yeah. How does he smell? But
Nate Lanxon (01:23:00):
Fantastic. I asked you this one of the best smelling monarchs in 12. Yes,
Leo Laporte (01:23:03):
Exactly. I asked you this because Read spare, which is prince Harry's book about, you know, not being the heir, but being the spare. And it's interesting. I just wanna, you know, what's it like to be a prince? But one of the things he says early on is my father always wears Otis sage <laugh> cologne <laugh> by
Paris Martineau (01:23:24):
Surprised he doesn't have a custom scent.
Leo Laporte (01:23:26):
You would think it'd be, there'd be a King Charles scent, but no. And so I thought, well, I wanna smell like a king. So I went out and I bought some modus sage
Paris Martineau (01:23:34):
<Laugh>. I wanna smell like a king. It's such a funny thing to think to yourself before you go by perfume. Well,
Leo Laporte (01:23:40):
The funny thing thing is, I told my mom this, and she said, oh, that's funny, because I found out what Queen Elizabeth used to wear and I bought that perfume. So maybe it's a few. Well,
Nate Lanxon (01:23:48):
Lemme tell you the the, the one, the thing that struck me was in person. It wasn't the queen's our late queen's perfume. It was, she had the best skin. I have seen the human being
Leo Laporte (01:24:05):
Nate Lanxon (01:24:06):
Leo Laporte (01:24:07):
You're noticing that, that, huh? So what did you get Knight? What happened there, Nate? How did you how did that happen?
Nate Lanxon (01:24:12):
It was for the, it was for the, the, the Jubilee a little while ago. And it was at the Palace and we were That's
Leo Laporte (01:24:19):
Cool. What do you mean?
Nate Lanxon (01:24:21):
We were, it was, it was really cool.
Leo Laporte (01:24:22):
What are you appear of the realm? What did you, how did you
Nate Lanxon (01:24:25):
The royal So Dolly? Yeah. <laugh> Royal. No, although I was, I did actually go to it with Mike Butcher at TechCrunch. He was there as, he was there as well. And it was I think it was for the Diamond Jubilee. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:24:38):
That's very cool. I'm so jealous. Yeah.
Nate Lanxon (01:24:40):
Yeah. They had a room. No one was allowed their phone, but they had a room that they called the tweet suite <laugh>. Oh,
Leo Laporte (01:24:46):
I see. You were social social's
Paris Martineau (01:24:48):
Media. That's what I called my apartment
Leo Laporte (01:24:49):
Nate Lanxon (01:24:50):
Well, we didn't, no one, I didn't, I didn't see anyone in it. That's the thing. It was more like, you know, if you were there and you wanted to use your phone, it's
Leo Laporte (01:24:56):
Right next to the smoking room. Yeah. If you're gonna smoke, go there. Both
Paris Martineau (01:25:00):
Things that are gonna destroy you inside now.
Leo Laporte (01:25:03):
Yes. yes. Go to the sweet suite.
Nate Lanxon (01:25:06):
It was, it was, it was
Leo Laporte (01:25:07):
Funny. They did say that to the queen. Everything smells like fresh paint because everything's been freshly painted before she arrives.
Nate Lanxon (01:25:16):
Hmm. Can believe. That's
Leo Laporte (01:25:18):
A little insight. I just thought I'd share that. So you didn't have <laugh> presidential alerts. You have, and nor did you have kingly alerts Are Queenly alerts. Did you have any kind of alert National Alert System?
Nate Lanxon (01:25:31):
N no. Well, we have, we have BBC News, which, which Oh yeah. Has a procedure for announcing the Death of a Mon
Leo Laporte (01:25:37):
Which failed by the way. They, a they tweeted it, the family tweeted it before the beam got to put the black thing up and play. God saved the Queen and everything.
Nate Lanxon (01:25:46):
There's a, there is a, there's a protocol for, for, for that broadcast. But in terms of us out here in the, the general world, no, we don't really have a system. The the closest that we've ever had to anything that, that you guys are familiar with was actually during Covid, where everyone got an s m s that basically said, you know hello, good morning. There's a deadly virus and we have no, please stand indoors. Thank you very much. Goodbye. <laugh>. It wasn't quite as, it wasn't quite as, it wasn't quite as formal as that. But, but, but we did all get one, and that was news. It's like, wow. The government's texting everyone in the country to say, you know please stay indoors and and we'll give you, we'll keep letting you know, via this text. And that's fine. This was something wholly different. This is, this is the, the same system that's built into smartphones that you have, we have, you know, our in Asia as well, to warn of anything from, as you say, you know major threats to human life, imminent danger missiles. You know, there was the, the, I was gonna say the great case, it was not, I'm sure it was a horrific case, but the, the, the alert over Hawaii, I think, wasn't it reasonable Yes. Recently where they
Leo Laporte (01:26:55):
Got missile told that they were gonna be bombed.
Nate Lanxon (01:26:58):
Yeah. so it's, and
Leo Laporte (01:27:00):
By the way, that was in error.
Nate Lanxon (01:27:03):
Yeah. Yeah. And I do remember seeing a screenshot of someone saying that the, the alert that it was an error was 38 minutes after the original <laugh>, the original alert. I dunno
Leo Laporte (01:27:12):
If it's true. Yes. You know, I did, I've talked to people and why, who saw the original alert were freaked out. This was in 2018. It was a b it was said, the a ballistic missile threat inbound to white seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill. Imagine getting that on your phone.
Nate Lanxon (01:27:32):
Well, we did today, but not with the same text. Fortunately, it, it said I can't remember the exact wording, but it was, have I still got it up here? I don't think I have it, but it basically, oh, I could
Leo Laporte (01:27:42):
Play it. This is the government. Wait a minute. I could plant You were doing your podcast,
Nate Lanxon (01:27:46):
But before you, before you, before you play that clip. The thing is, we, we knew this was coming. So everyone in the country for the last like several weeks has been told we are gonna test this national emergency alert system. You have to bear in mind, no one here has ever had this sort of thing. And no one knew what it was gonna sound like. And everyone was expecting that the alert would go off. But the real, the real alert would be two minutes later when everyone's parents call up their son or daughter, <laugh>, what is this? What hell happened to my phone? What's going on? And that's the thing that would get everyone to pay attention. But we knew it was coming. And so we timed the podcast today so that it would happen live while we were on. And we didn't, we knew roughly when it was meant to happen, but we didn't know if it was gonna happen at that point. And so, yeah, I know the clip that you've got is as it as it happened.
Leo Laporte (01:28:33):
All right, let's play this. This is a text message. Nate's podcast from yesterday. They're in the middle of a conversation. Content warning. It's shrill <laugh>. Oh yeah, good point. I probably should have said that. And I, I have been trained after many years in broadcasting that it's illegal to play these <laugh>. But on the other hand, this is a podcast, not a broadcast. So the, the podcast police are gonna come for you. Yeah. A
Nate Lanxon (01:28:59):
Leo Laporte (01:29:00):
Jurisdiction. Let me just say this, what you're about to hear. <Laugh> is not an alert. <Laugh>, this is a sim it is just a very good simulation add up of alert. So Nate and who's your, who's your co-host on this?
Nate Lanxon (01:29:15):
Leo Laporte (01:29:15):
Morris. Ian and Nader are just
Nate Lanxon (01:29:16):
Control of app storage,
Leo Laporte (01:29:17):
Talking as one does going to
Nate Lanxon (01:29:19):
Be looking very different in five years time. I reckon it's
British Podcaster (01:29:22):
Mark in the chat says the longer term 10.
Nate Lanxon (01:29:25):
Oh, good God. Here we go.
British Podcaster (01:29:27):
Oh, it's happened only for you panic scenes.
Nate Lanxon (01:29:30):
British Podcaster (01:29:34):
I, I, I've got got,
Nate Lanxon (01:29:36):
How the hell do I turn this?
Leo Laporte (01:29:38):
That's pretty much,
British Podcaster (01:29:39):
Here we go. I've got it. Too exciting.
Nate Lanxon (01:29:43):
Good god off.
British Podcaster (01:29:45):
God, it's really annoying, isn't it? Go away.
Leo Laporte (01:29:48):
We've had these in the States for some time and it's really, it's very, it's the same tone, by the way, right?
Nate Lanxon (01:29:54):
Is it really? Yeah, that was, I was curious to find out if that's true. That's
Leo Laporte (01:29:57):
Built, I think that's built into the, the phones maybe or something,
Nate Lanxon (01:30:01):
Right? Yeah. There must have been a study done that's like, that is the, that's the most embrace,
Leo Laporte (01:30:05):
Most annoying. What's the most annoying sound you can make <laugh> bad. <Laugh> a bad
Nate Lanxon (01:30:09):
Sound. We had people listening live to the episode and they were talking to us. They were like, oh, I'm in a, you know, in a shopping mall. And it ev you know, it happened at exactly the same moment and the entire mall goes off and everyone pulls their phone down and everyone's like, why is this what's going on? It was quite, yeah, it was quite surreal. It was quite,
Leo Laporte (01:30:25):
It was, I was in a restaurant. We have this in the states for n for all sorts of things, you know, here comes the Queen or whatever. And yeah, that classic United States experience, <laugh> comes the Queen <laugh> stand. Everybody bow your heads. Don't look at a no eye contact. We have one in, at, I don't know if it's only California. I think it's nationwide. There's severe weather alerts, but there's also earthquake alerts. And I was in a restaurant, we were in a pizzeria of about a year ago, and it went off everybody in the restaurant, and we had never seen this before. They said, there, what? There, there's gonna be an earthquake. And sure enough, I guess what happens is when it earthquakes take a while to, to move through the land. And so it, the earthquake had happened somewhere and that triggered the alert, which then, cuz 10 seconds later it's shaken. And it was a very smooth Did you finish your pizza? Yes. After that we all, we all became best friends and shared each other's pizzas. <Laugh>, it really is a community bonding. That's the free pizza out of this earthquake. <Laugh>. Yes. It's a bonding experience when you have these a lot of people I'm surprised at that they don't have this in Britain, but well, we do
Nate Lanxon (01:31:36):
Leo Laporte (01:31:37):
Yeah. And apparently not everyone got it. It wasn't, it wasn't perfect much like, no. The Starship launch, it wasn't, it was a, it was a successful test. But <laugh>
Nate Lanxon (01:31:50):
The analysis I think will hit tomorrow about, you know, how successful it was. And there were some really interesting discrepancies, you know, because we were, because we were doing the show live. You know, people were saying, oh, I haven't had it yet. I haven't had it. And then someone would say, oh, I've had it now <laugh>. And they would say, well, I haven't, I haven't had it. I'm on the same network. And trying to figure out why the person that got it. And it just struck me that, at, at first I thought I could make a joke that, you know, only the people outside of London weren't receiving it because the government only cares about the people in the city. But realistically it's, it's, it was actually more interesting to see, well, if this had been an imminent threat to, to life in the way that sometimes these sadly happen in the midst of then a several minute discrepancy between everyone getting these alerts. That could make a difference in, in, you know, if, if this wasn't a test, if it wasn't interesting.
Leo Laporte (01:32:40):
Yeah. I think it's the phone networks that are ultimately getting in the way. I would guess this, the cell cell networks. Yeah. But I don't know, I don't know how these how these get triggered. We were informed that there was a presidential alert some years ago. And I, the only reason I could think that you would want to alert every cell phone in the entire United States, which is hundreds of millions, right? Is if there were, I don't know, a ballistic missile attack. Inbound. It seems like this is a bad idea. <Laugh>, what are you gonna do? <Laugh> get under the desk. You, you, I don't know. Anyway,
Nate Lanxon (01:33:20):
The instructions sunscreen were pretty clear. That it was, it was only a test. Yeah. But there's a limited amount of text there,
Leo Laporte (01:33:27):
So Yeah. Yeah.
Nate Lanxon (01:33:28):
Who knows. Hopefully
Leo Laporte (01:33:29):
What'll happen, we can turn these off. I don't know about you, but in this, I'm looking at my iPhone. The there is a place to turn these off. Can't. Yeah. I definitely have mine turned off. Yeah. Because they're not
Nate Lanxon (01:33:38):
Great. But, and I do now, and that's what's funny. When I tapped and when it went off, you press the settings button, it's straight away. It takes you to the page where you can just disable it. So I assume now everyone was like, well good, good. Golly, we doing want that happening again? Turn this off now and then it's all gone. So what they've really done is shut themselves in the foot. Yeah. And and everyone's turned it off now. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:34:00):
You cannot turn off a presidential alert and God help us if you ever get one of those. Cuz that's not that hit. That wouldn't be
Nate Lanxon (01:34:08):
Good. Well, I'll be, I'll be in the US in, in about six days ago.
Leo Laporte (01:34:11):
Oh, come visit us. What are you doing?
Nate Lanxon (01:34:14):
I'm the other side of the country this time. I was over a few weeks ago cuz we were filming. So we're filming the the rest of the series.
Leo Laporte (01:34:20):
Are you gonna visit series President Biden's tweet suite? Is that where you're headed? <Laugh>?
Nate Lanxon (01:34:25):
No. Although I am closer to him than I am to you. We're gonna be in New York second for, for, for this.
Leo Laporte (01:34:30):
Shoot. Mike Michael and, and everybody wanna say hi. I'm sure Michael Bloomberg, the boss. That's thanks. I, for years have been recommending Chromebooks. Maybe I was mistaken. Schools for years have been buying them. This from the US Public Interest Research Group. Education fund schools bought millions of Chromebooks in 20, 23 years later, they're starting to break. There are no good fixits. So PERG estimates that the, the actual report's called Chromebook Churn that these are gonna just end up in landfill. And the whole thing was just a big mistake. Yeah. It saved the school money up front, but not in the long run.
Paris Martineau (01:35:16):
I'm curious, what were the Chromebooks in this program used for? Were these the ones that are just used for occasionally in classroom activities or are these the ones going home with Stew?
Leo Laporte (01:35:26):
Well, we here in Petaluma, they have a Chromebook program where you may remember that initially the idea was give 'em iPads, which is much more expensive. And the u la Unified School district sued Apple and I think it was Pearson. It was the curriculum company that made the curriculum for these things. Cause it never worked. They were expensive, they broke easily. It was a bad thing. Schools then turned to Chromebooks. Cheap. In theory, repairable easy to manage in a network. And so many schools certainly are schools. You'd get a, you'd get issued a Chromebook in September when you started school. You'd take it home, all your homework would be done. And that they were even using 'em to make movies, turning the cameras around and stuff. It was a very common thing. And I think that's very common around schools, all over the the country. Okay. If
Paris Martineau (01:36:12):
These are machines that are going home with children of all ages, I think three years is a really impressive life. Yes. Yeah. Have you seen what kids do with anything? Yes.
Mike Elgan (01:36:22):
Yeah. Yep. And and the other thing is that one of the reasons they were more desirable, which caused Google to overtake Apple in the education market was because if you, you can't send kids home with a, with an iPad. That's a, that's, that's a, a target makes them a target for theft because they have a good resale value. Whereas nobody wants a Chromebook. And so <laugh> it was kinda the perfect device for a while. They, they should have cost a little more and had removable batteries and been repairable. That would've been better. But but yeah, I, I agree with Paris three years to have where kids are like, you know taken 'em home and, and abusing them. That's, that's not bad. I had a Pixel book of course, which was the highest end for a while, was the highest end Chromebook.
And the thing I I, I, I, after about three years, I wanted to move on to another device and I wanted to it to break or fade or have a problem. And the thing just wouldn't, it was perfect all the way through the keyboard, no matter how much I abused. It was amazing. The screen was perfect. The battery was great. Finally, I just gave up and, and I don't, I don't even know where it is now and I just moved on. But they, they're, you know, the, the, the more expensive Samsung wands and and so on were, are really durable. It's just those $250,
Leo Laporte (01:37:35):
That's the ones they bought. Apparently, according to this study. They, they were, you know, they talked about an Acer Chromebook, which sold for $200, but if the keyboard breaks it's $89 to replace it, which is nearly half the cost. Yeah. So yeah, they were getting cheaper. Of course they were getting cheaper ones. I mean, this is, I mean this is the story of technology in schools. The LA Unified School District bought 40,000 iPads in 20. Yeah. Wow. And the cost of 768 each heads rolled over that one. Oh yeah. The $1.3 billion they spent to provide iPads to every student teacher and administrator in the nation's second largest school district. They eventually settled with Apple for 6.4 million. 6.4 million. Yeah. An iPad drop it once, you know, at least the Chromebooks were a little more resilient. I don't know what they're proposing. Instead, it almost feel like this PERG report was funded by Microsoft. What are you gonna, what
Paris Martineau (01:38:37):
Also, what age are the children that are getting these? It's
Leo Laporte (01:38:40):
K through 12, but I think it's mostly Okay
Paris Martineau (01:38:42):
Cuz there's like a, you know, a subsection of kids that are very sticky and prone to spills <laugh>, like of beverages. And that's your Chromebook's done. Your Chromebook's done in a week and a half. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:38:54):
Well, perg said, and yeah, you should double the lifespan if you can. That would cut, cut you know, landfill and emissions and blah, blah, blah. The, the problem that is perhaps more addressable is Google's automatic update expiration system. And this is, I think one of the biggest flaws in Chromos is that Google after, it depends on the device, but after a couple of years stops supporting it and increasing that time I think would help a lot. Yeah. Google says, we've worked diligently with our hardware and partners to increase the years of guaranteed support since 2020. We provide eight years of automatic updates that should be sufficient. That's up from five in 2016. I think that should be sufficient. You do a good Yeah, a good Google accent. I'll tell Google talks Chank <laugh>. Yeah. <laugh>. Don't ask me what cologne Google wears though. Cause I don't, I don't know that. I don't know that one. By the way, that Otis Vaj is quite nice. I feel quite royal. I <laugh>, they should have called it Oda Prince Charles. Now that would've sold. Anyway. I, I don't, you know, I read these things and I go, well, yeah, but what are you, what's the alternative?
Nothing. Nothing was a, nothing's a good idea. Arm is back to the computer lab. Back to the la Yeah, the lab. Remember that Now Paris date yourself. How, what kind of computers were in your computer lab in school?
Paris Martineau (01:40:24):
Oh, I have no recollection. They were large <laugh>. They were boxy. They were probably like a, a foot thick.
Leo Laporte (01:40:31):
No affinity for these whatsoever.
Paris Martineau (01:40:34):
No, but I mean, my main understanding of it when I was a child is that the keyboards were all covered with ooh, those black mats. Because that's how you learn to type,
Leo Laporte (01:40:45):
You know. Oh, so you wouldn't see the s look at the
Paris Martineau (01:40:47):
Keyboard. Yes. And you just had to look at a photo of the keyboard on the wall. And those are my early computer.
Leo Laporte (01:40:53):
Mike. Did they have computers? When you were in school?
Mike Elgan (01:40:56):
No, we had, we had uniform and, and, and, and Abacus <laugh>. No, we, we
Paris Martineau (01:41:00):
And they had stone tablets, right?
Leo Laporte (01:41:02):
Yes, that's right. Yeah,
Mike Elgan (01:41:03):
Exactly. No, I, I actually attended, well one of the, one of the places that was part of the foundation of the internet went to ucla L and we had big sort of, you know, mainframes or something in terminals and it was, it was, it was pretty great. The first one I bought was a, was a what was that? A Commodore 64. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:41:22):
Which I bet you it's a Commodore that Paris had in school. Like a trash 80 or something. Probably. Or radio jacket.
Paris Martineau (01:41:28):
Yeah, it was,
Leo Laporte (01:41:29):
Yeah. Well a lot of schools had Apple twos, but I think you're too young. Nate did, we
Paris Martineau (01:41:34):
Definitely did not have an Apple. Did
Leo Laporte (01:41:36):
They have the Acorn or something? Some BBC computer in school when you were a kid?
Nate Lanxon (01:41:40):
Yep. We did. We had, we had the Acorn Archimedes' a 3000 specifically. Cuz I see he
Leo Laporte (01:41:46):
Was, he unlike you, Paris, he was paying attention. He knew what he had. I was
Paris Martineau (01:41:50):
Not was that was great too. Deep in the blogs to be paying attention to the
Nate Lanxon (01:41:54):
Computer. Yeah. It ran the risk os operating system. And my friends at one point got one at home and his had an eight megabyte hard drive in it. Ooh. And I was ooh. And I was envious. Ooh. I'd never seen anything so amazing as an eight megabyte hard drive. Yeah. yeah, we had Acorn's the old BBC Micros and then, and then we then we had, I think they, they were, they were Max, I think it was when they brought back the Mac Classic, which was like the old Macintosh box, but it had a color screen. And I remember when they came out, the school was kitted out with a bunch of those. That was, that was later. That was when I was in high school.
Leo Laporte (01:42:34):
But I don't think the computer lab is actually a bad idea. I feel like that's probably the solution to this Chromebook problem. You don't have to give every kid a computer. Do or do you nowadays, maybe you do. I
Paris Martineau (01:42:45):
Guess. I don't know what sort of homework these people have. Yeah. Or if you mentioned Pearson earlier, are there textbooks all on these computers? Is that why they're giving them? You probably have to have those at home.
Leo Laporte (01:42:55):
Yeah, that's, that was of the iPad thing in the LA was they were gonna have complete Pearson curriculum on these iPads. And it did. Pearson never got around to two. Hey, then
Paris Martineau (01:43:05):
Just give the kids some textbooks. We don't wanna give every kid a Chromebook that you're, well, how much do replacing every three, how much do you
Leo Laporte (01:43:10):
Spend on textbooks? Hundreds of dollars. Right? Well,
Paris Martineau (01:43:13):
Your textbooks aren't, they're
Mike Elgan (01:43:14):
Leo Laporte (01:43:15):
You know, it's probably the other,
Mike Elgan (01:43:17):
The other thing is that, and I've talked to a lot of educators about this whole thing. And if you have a situation where the, the work is done in class, first of all, you have to have a ton of computers and you have to support that with an IT department. And schools, you know that Oh yeah. Gets very, you have security issues that kids are hacking their grades and stuff. You have to
Leo Laporte (01:43:36):
Oh yeah. Imagine the filtering you have to put on these systems.
Mike Elgan (01:43:39):
Right. But the other part of it is that if you, you know, you have, you have a, a serious lack of equality. So you have some students who go home and do, do their work on an M one Mac, MacBook Pro, and other kids who have no computer at home, right? And, and so it's like, so, so, so this is why Chromebooks were so desirable. You buy $200 Chromebooks, every single kid gets one. And so you sort of have a level playing field. I mean, it's, it's kind of a, it's kind of a pipe dream, but it's the bigger, the bigger problem with education in in, in, in, in tech education is that the teachers are feel intimidated by technology often. They don't feel comfortable teaching it. And so the curriculum ends up being typing class or, you know, there, there's a huge movement in education, according to Kevin, who goes to all the conferences where they're actually teaching eSports as a form of computer education. It, it, they're playing video games and calling it education. Is it? And so,
Leo Laporte (01:44:34):
Mike Elgan (01:44:34):
Yes. This is a huge trend in the education market right now. The, the, basically the, the problem isn't the devices. It's the culture of education and, and so on. Where w where educators are often underfunded and out of their depth in terms of training. So it's, it's a real, it's a real problem that has nothing to do with Chromebooks versus whatever.
Leo Laporte (01:44:56):
Do you remember, let me show you this, see if this, see if any of you recognize what this is.
Mike Elgan (01:45:06):
Oh, yeah. The one laptop per child.
Leo Laporte (01:45:08):
Very good. Mike, you win the prize. God, I bought, this
Mike Elgan (01:45:12):
Was a great idea. That didn't have enough
Leo Laporte (01:45:13):
Money. Nicholas Neropa designed it. The whole idea was that you could make these very cheaply a hundred bucks. If you bought one, which I did, one would be donated to a child in Africa or somewhere where they, you know, and the whole cr the whole thing was designed to work. You didn't even need wifi noticed. It did have No, I It's
Paris Martineau (01:45:33):
Leo Laporte (01:45:34):
Yeah, it was a mesh. A solar
Paris Martineau (01:45:35):
Leo Laporte (01:45:36):
Yeah, it was a mesh network. I can't figure out how to open it though. That's the first challenge.
Paris Martineau (01:45:40):
<Laugh>, you know I'm too old. I guess it gets local children to help you out.
Leo Laporte (01:45:45):
<Laugh>, like child mesh, grandpa Poly. It had these little antennas. It gets supposed to give it like a cute thing. The really interesting thing about this,
Paris Martineau (01:45:52):
I'd love to hear, still trying to figure
Leo Laporte (01:45:54):
Out, can't open it. I know there's a way <laugh>, they make it hard to open so that your little kid brother or your podcaster. There you go. Can't open it. There you go.
Paris Martineau (01:46:05):
I think it's worth everyone to know that we started off this podcast with leave of to pause for 15 minutes, update his Linux, and now here we are. He can't open the lap laptop. This is, you're not supposed to tell people
Leo Laporte (01:46:15):
That. <Laugh>. So this was running not Windows, not Chrome os not even Mac os. But it was a, it was a small talk distribution designed specifically by, it was Nick Wright Neropa from M mi t who created this thing. Yeah. Designed specifically for this device. It has some really interesting features. I don't know why this was a feature, but it is <laugh>. And the idea is we can make it really cheaply. It's a Chicklet keyboard. I don't know. This was, I, you know, this was interesting. Fairly rugged. Yeah, there
Mike Elgan (01:46:45):
Was really interesting, I think was the next version that was gonna come out until they ran outta money. It was really cool. It was basically had a, had an onscreen keyboard instead of a physical keyboard. So there were two screens. So you, you could put it up like a laptop and, and use an onscreen keyboard, or you could hold it out like a book and it would be an e-reader, or you could turn it around and, and had two people could use one device at the same time. Or, you know, and, or you could flatten it out and it would be a tablet. It was a really, really, really great design. And by the way, if you eliminate the physical keyboard, you could have an entirely solid state device and be even more ruggedized so that it was a tragedy that that whole project went under.
Leo Laporte (01:47:23):
Paris Martineau (01:47:24):
Okay, why aren't we given these key, these laptops to every kid in
Leo Laporte (01:47:27):
Yeah. Yeah. Cuz they hate them because <laugh>, they can't play eSports on them. There is laptop.org, which is kind of the successor to O L P C. They're much more like real laptops, but the same idea to get computers into the hands of kids in in areas where they can't afford them. If you want to give, that might be a place to do it. But the O L P C was,
Paris Martineau (01:47:51):
Oh, speaking was giving laptops and iPads to children. Did you see that? They gave iPads to parrots?
Mike Elgan (01:47:59):
Leo Laporte (01:47:59):
Paris Martineau (01:48:00):
This is in the rundown, and it's one of my favorite articles
Leo Laporte (01:48:03):
That I agree. It's one of the best stories I've ever seen in the New York Times because it was beautifully presented. It was pr it was just so great. It's in the room. What line is it? Do you see it on
Paris Martineau (01:48:15):
Parrots are very social creatures. Yes. And I guess you know, and they're very smart. And when you have them alone in their little parrot houses with their people, they get sad. Yeah. But if you give them a, an iPad, yeah. They can call their friends. They love
Leo Laporte (01:48:28):
It. And they literally do. The title was by Emily. The story was by Emily Anthes titled Polly Wants a Video Chat. And they literally gave these parrots Zoom calls to other parrots. They would end up, they
Paris Martineau (01:48:44):
Gave the parrots agency, they had to ask for the call by ringing a bell. That's what it's trying right
Leo Laporte (01:48:49):
Here. Yeah. And then they, they had favorites. They had parrots they liked to call and not others they didn't want to talk to. Here's a parrot engaging with another parrot over video chat.
Paris Martineau (01:49:03):
You should play the audio. Li
Leo Laporte (01:49:05):
<Laugh>. Okay. <laugh>.
Paris Martineau (01:49:06):
It's just squawking. And this is so
Leo Laporte (01:49:09):
What? Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I've still got Nicholas neer PTI talking. Hold, hold on. Hi
Paris Martineau (01:49:16):
Leo Laporte (01:49:22):
Are we gonna get taken down by the New York Times for playing their proprietary parrot squawks? That's my ask. That's my question. <Laugh>. You might have to edit this out of the YouTube.
Mike Elgan (01:49:34):
I'm gonna ruffle some feathers with this one.
Leo Laporte (01:49:36):
<Laugh> <laugh>. They're singing to each other.
Parrot person (01:49:43):
What you think? Cork. You like singing Now?
Leo Laporte (01:49:47):
Excited. This is why I don't personally have parrots. La la la.
Paris Martineau (01:49:54):
I love that for them.
Leo Laporte (01:49:56):
I know. Yeah. Some of the birds quickly developed. Fa favorite friends. Look, he's trying to Rosie. Yes. They would look behind the screen, see where that parrot was coming from. Yes. So they don't think they understood that it was a Zoom call. <Laugh>. Hi, <laugh>. We, we had birds. This is from the researcher from the University of Glasgow. So I should do this in a kind of a well <inaudible> sleep next to each other. Sometimes they would leave the video call real quickly to go get something to show the other bird. That's Eliana Herk Douglas, who probably doesn't talk anything like that at all. Some of the caregivers would say that their birds came to life through these calls. But people in parrots maybe are a little strange. I don't know. I
Paris Martineau (01:50:46):
Love this image of the parrot peering into the iPad <laugh>.
Leo Laporte (01:50:51):
It's wild. So humans hate Zoom calls, but parrots apparently love them. Good, good work, Emily. And great production value from the New York Times on this. Some somebody should, should make a, a parrot video podcast. The to, to broadcast to other parrots. I think this would be a great idea for one. Would
Paris Martineau (01:51:12):
Love to Oh, yeah. Like a kinda a tweet version of like Twitch. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:51:18):
Yeah. Beak talk. Tweet beak talk <laugh> this weekend. Par we subscribe. Twitch, subscribe. <Laugh>.
Paris Martineau (01:51:27):
Yeah. Instead of twit, it's tweet <laugh>.
Leo Laporte (01:51:33):
Oh, wow. Let's take a little break. I I'm all I guess I'm all worn out from that parrot talk. Great panel today. It's great to have all three of you. Nate Lanxon from Bloomberg, Mike Elgan from gastro nomad.net, and of course Paris Martineau. From the information our show today brought to you by Mint Mobile. We are big fans here. I've got my iPhone from Mint Mobile. What a deal that was, by the way. I got the iPhone SE and Mint Mobile together. I think it was the phone was 15 bucks a month. And Mint Mobile is 15 bucks a month, 30 bucks a month for a new phone and unlimited talk and text. How do they do it? They don't have stores. They don't have retail. They just have Ryan Reynolds. Inflation, of course, killing everybody. Mint Mobile. The first company sell premium wireless service online only.
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Switch to Mint Mobile. Save yourself so much money. You'll get premium wireless service starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now the inflation at Mint Mobile happens in, in your behalf. They're inflating the amount of data you get to get your new wireless plan for just 15 bucks a month and get it shipped to your door for free. Go to mint mobile.com/twit. Honestly, this is the best deal in cell phones. It really is. Mint mobile.com/twit. Cut your wireless bill of 15 bucks a month. Why are you paying more? Mint mobile.com/twit. We thank them so much for supporting the show. Did you are you, did you sign up for Facebook's 270, sorry, 725 million class action settlement? No, no, no. You don't think you're gonna get much outta that. I'm not on Facebook. Well, there you go. Well, anybody now
Paris Martineau (01:54:59):
No existed, to be honest.
Leo Laporte (01:55:00):
You any, well, anybody who had a Facebook account between May, 2007 and December, 2022 can file a claim. Facebook has agreed to a 725 million settlement. It was a class action lawsuit in response to meta revealing a few years ago that the data and personal information of 87 million people was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica. That
Paris Martineau (01:55:28):
I feel like if I sign up for this, I will get approximately $2
Leo Laporte (01:55:31):
And, and, and lifetime supply of spam. So, yeah, you're probably right.
Paris Martineau (01:55:36):
<Laugh>, this is what happened with me in the Equifax settlement. Yeah. It's about 20 bucks and I have to have my credit frozen for the rest of time. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:55:44):
I think Equifax made money on that deal.
Paris Martineau (01:55:47):
Literally. Yeah. I used my $20 to buy one third of a video game for my <laugh> Great
Leo Laporte (01:55:56):
Eligible users you have till August 25th to file a claim. They don't say how much. I guess it depends on how many people ask for the money, right? There isn't a set amount users can be paid. The payment depends on how many members submit valid claims, how long you are a user on Facebook. It'll be the total settlement of $725 million minus any administrative costs or service awards, then divided by his, I didn't, they told me there'd be no math. That's why I became a podcaster. And then divided by however many people file claims. And for how long,
Paris Martineau (01:56:32):
I assume attorney's fees have to be in there soon. Oh,
Leo Laporte (01:56:35):
Yeah. Oh, for, don't forget that. This might, I don't know if this is, this might, might, might be the pot available after attorneys took out their chunk. Mm-Hmm. Which is certainly, you know, a big, a big amount of it. So let's see. I'm reading a vice article. They, they certainly should have a link, wouldn't you think? <Laugh> to that site, but I can't find it. <Laugh>. It's Facebook user privacy settlement.com. Oh, there you go. Facebook, user privacy settlement.com.
Paris Martineau (01:57:11):
See, I'm sure this is the actual website. It looks legitimate, but just reading that URL excuses me, right? Seems like it's absolutely fake. Sure, that's
Leo Laporte (01:57:19):
Real. You guys go ahead. You traveling your,
Paris Martineau (01:57:23):
Your social security right here. That's great.
Leo Laporte (01:57:26):
Oh, let's see, let's see this, let's just see what you have to note in the claim form. I'm just curious if I want to make this claim name, address, email, phone number. Okay. yeah, no, if you currently have a Facebook account, you do not need to answer this question. Oh, yeah. See, I deleted my account. So this is for people who like me, deleted their account. Or you may be, Nate, you must have add an account at one point, Nate.
Nate Lanxon (01:57:55):
Oh, I did. If it was 2007 that overlapped when I was on MySpace, which oh, there you go. Which which was, which was great. Had one. I haven't had it for a few years.
Leo Laporte (01:58:04):
Oh, wait a minute. You also have to give them a MasterCard, PayPal, Venmo bank account. Oh boy. Information so they can give you your money. Of course. Yeah. No, yeah. The good news is most people will turn away at that point. And, and maybe you'll get a little more. Hmm. Maybe, wouldn't it, wouldn't it be funny if like five people did it and h got $20 million? That'd be cool. Yeah, that'd
Nate Lanxon (01:58:25):
Be great. <Laugh>, you may have just slightly spoiled the chance.
Leo Laporte (01:58:29):
Sorry, I just,
Paris Martineau (01:58:30):
Yeah. Cut pods.
Leo Laporte (01:58:32):
<Laugh>, cut that part out. Forget I mentioned it. I'm applying little, a little tremor. Maybe you felt it in the force. When arm design, it's going to start making its own prototype semiconductors. Now remember, ARM is not a fab arm designs chips. The chip designs they sell to companies like Apple and Qualcomm and others. But SoftBank, which, which owns Arm tried to sell it couldn't. But they're trying to make some money off of Arm attract, advance investors to a listing on nasdaq. So instead of just selling the designs, they are now going to work with a manufacturer. Cause they still don't have any fabs to develop a new chip. And of course, that's worrying to some partners that they may be competing with Arm directly unless they make them for them. Right. Well, Samsung, for instance, has made chips for Arm in the past. So maybe Samsung isn't, or t s tsmc, they've built test chips before, but they've never built. So this chip is more advanced than ever before. Hmm. Yeah. This would worry me a little bit that they might be saving the best stuff for themselves. I dunno, we'll watch this with interest.
Arm is, is no longer the Switzerland of chip designers, I guess is the bottom line on that one. What else?
Paris Martineau (02:00:08):
They're strong arming their way
Leo Laporte (02:00:09):
In. Oh-Ho Yes. Woo. An arming legs,
Paris Martineau (02:00:14):
You know. Yeah. Listen, hey, even on Zoom, we can do it.
Leo Laporte (02:00:17):
<Laugh> wasn't all bad news for Tesla this week for Elon this week. Tesla didn't win a lawsuit. We
Paris Martineau (02:00:25):
Can't go back into this hole.
Leo Laporte (02:00:26):
Leah. No, it's not Elon. It's, it's a, it's, no, no, it's about self-driving vehicles. <Laugh>. Okay. It's a well-known company that makes electric self-driving vehicles begins with the t ends with a not Toyota <laugh>.
But it's it's interest. A California jury said this company wasn't at fault for an accident. 2019, Justine Shu sued Tesla in 2020 after her ev swerved into a center median on a Los Angeles City Street. While Autopilot was engaged she was of course injured, fractured jaw, missing teeth, nerve damage. She sought 3 million in damages. The jury said, no, you are Tesla is not. I'm sorry, Toyota is not liable. <Laugh> No, not Toyota either. <Laugh>, no one is liable because this should be a little cautionary to all of you. Tesla never said you could drive it on City streets. In fact, in the software manual, they warn against using autopilot on City streets. Did you know that? I didn't know that. So the jury awarded her no damages, said the automaker did not intentionally fail to disclose facts about the autopilot. While the result, of course, is not legally binding, in other cases, it might give other manufacturers some encouragement. So you gotta follow the rules Exactly. If you want to get any money out of them. A victory for Tesla. See, I thought I'd one good, one good thing that happened to Elon this week.
Paris Martineau (02:02:09):
Yeah. You know, we can talk about, it's a great business move for em. He's doing <laugh>. We should pat him on the back
Leo Laporte (02:02:18):
For good job. You saved 3 million. This one you'll like Mike, cuz you've been saying for a long time, Sundar Pacha is one of the worst CEOs in technology. He's not one of the worst paid. He is going to get 226 million for last year's efforts. Compensation included in every Jesus three years stock award valued to more than 200 million. So a quarter of a billion going to Cinar Pacha for running Alphabet into the ground.
Mike Elgan (02:02:51):
And, and Google, I think he's isn't, he is the c e o of both Alpha Alphabet and Google. Yeah. Which is weird. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, you know, compare his salary to Tim Cooks. I'm sure that I, I don't know what it is offhand, but it's a fraction of that. And, and should the c e o of Google really be making a lot more than the CEO E o of Apple? Apple's killing it. Google's seems to be kind of on the decline, so it's just not fair. These billionaires just don't, it's just so unfair.
Paris Martineau (02:03:24):
I mean you can compare that to what was it, Andy Chassis's salary last year. He earned 317,000.
Mike Elgan (02:03:32):
Leo Laporte (02:03:34):
That's it. Did he get any stock or anything? Is that
Paris Martineau (02:03:37):
He yeah, got stock, but Amazon stock is down quite a bit. Oh,
Leo Laporte (02:03:42):
There's your problem. My
Paris Martineau (02:03:43):
Comment you know, Martin Pierce wrote a pretty contentious briefing on this recently called Andy Jassy needs a Raise, <laugh>, which, you know, turned made a lot of friends in the newsroom and far beyond. But I, I do think it's kind of an interesting point that you are looking at the leader of a massive company undergoing a very difficult period of time. And his pay in comparison to anyone else is pennies.
Mike Elgan (02:04:11):
Well, it's in and to, to the point of Tim Cook, it's 3.4 million is his pay salary. And his bonus is between 8 million and 12 million. So it's, it's a tiny fraction of what Sundar Pacha is getting. And that's, that's just outta whack.
Leo Laporte (02:04:25):
Mike Elgan (02:04:26):
They, they both make way too much for sure. But
Paris Martineau (02:04:29):
Leo Laporte (02:04:30):
What's the solution at Google? You get rid of Cinar, what do you do?
Mike Elgan (02:04:36):
Leo Laporte (02:04:36):
Hire Elon. I have no idea.
Mike Elgan (02:04:39):
Yeah. I think
Leo Laporte (02:04:40):
Elon should be the, that of every company. What could go wrong? Yeah, what could go wrong? I personally, Elon would be glad to allow you to run TWIT for a couple of Bill. That's all.
Mike Elgan (02:04:51):
I'd like to see a, a, a visionary of some kind. I mean, you, you got all kinds of politicians, I'm sorry, politicians, <laugh> politician like CEOs who have, who've come in and turned around companies. I mean, you look at the, the previously worst CEO O in technology with Steve Bulmer. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:05:08):
Mike Elgan (02:05:09):
Look at what
Leo Laporte (02:05:09):
He such an inte
Mike Elgan (02:05:11):
On Yeah, exactly. Turned it around. Yeah. He founded It's is niches is, is actually doing really well. And so, you know, they, they, they need a they need a guy like that. And Google, not a sort of bureaucrat who just has no vision and just like, I mean, for example, I'll give you an example. The fundamental oversimplified reason that Google is always closing things, and it it pisses off users all the time across many, many products, is because they have an incentive structure on Google that highly incentivizes engineers to create new products. And there's almost no incentivization of maintaining or improving products. And so they create these great products, they get all these users invested in it, and then they slowly upset everybody until they kill it. And, and, and at which point, nobody cares anymore. But imagine if they had an incentive program, a a visionary leader would come in and say, okay, you know what? We're gonna have the best products in the industry. We're going to incentivize the improvement, the metrics, the, you, you all constantly be asking users, how are you enjoying these products as to say, you know, and, and, and incentivize the engineers who take whatever product they have and make it greater and greater and greater and greater. That would turn Google into a great company. But no, they just, they keep making the same mistakes year after year. And Suno Chai does nothing about it. And so they need a new CEO is what they,
Leo Laporte (02:06:34):
If you had asked me a year ago, who's gonna be the first big tech company to come out with a really good AI solution? I would've said Google.
Mike Elgan (02:06:42):
Right? It would've been Google. They, they even just through the acquisitions that they've made, they, they bought what was that? Uk artificial inte Deep Mind or something deep Mind. Yeah. They've made all this. Yeah. Yeah. They made some great acquisitions. They had all this talent. They have been talking up AI forever, but they're super timid. Why are they super timid? Because Sundar Pacha, it's super timid. He doesn't, he's more, he's more of the type of person who'd rather not make mistakes than to make bold leaps forward. And while he was dithering and just sitting on all this technology open AI just started shipping stuff to the public. And that's what really train changed our whole percept perception about ai. And now Google's playing catch up and, you know,
Leo Laporte (02:07:26):
To Microsoft know less
Mike Elgan (02:07:28):
Exactly how main company behind to open ai. Yeah. But, but the Google's gonna scrub. They're gonna, they're gonna snatch once again, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. When they come out with generative ai ai, they're gonna come out with dozens of generative AI programs. Everyone will be confused. Nobody know, will know what's
Leo Laporte (02:07:48):
Happening. Well, they have Bard messaging. Have you tried Bard?
Mike Elgan (02:07:54):
I have not tried it very much directly, but it's getting, starting to get some really bad press. It's
Leo Laporte (02:08:01):
Terrible. And give me, gimme me. I've got Bard right in front of me right now. I'm okay. Give me something.
Paris Martineau (02:08:07):
<Laugh>, help me incorporate more high protein vegan options in my diet, is the first suggestion. As I really
Leo Laporte (02:08:13):
Appreciate, that's something everybody is asking these, these days. I mean, they clearly
Paris Martineau (02:08:17):
Get you. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:08:19):
They know what you want.
Mike Elgan (02:08:20):
That that would probably be a good result because it is one of the canned ones they offer to people. But,
Leo Laporte (02:08:24):
So let's see. Help me incorporate more, more
Paris Martineau (02:08:28):
Elon Musk, my day-to-day,
Leo Laporte (02:08:30):
More Elon Musk in my podcast. To
Mike Elgan (02:08:35):
Leo Laporte (02:08:35):
Podcast. Yes. Let's see. Let's see what Google's barred ai, which is their late released. Just say no <laugh>. Here's some ideas. Do a deep dive on one of Elon's companies. Interview someone who knows Elon. Talk about Musk's impact on the world. Compare and contrast. Musk other
Paris Martineau (02:08:52):
Is the visionary or reckless risk taker. Says
Leo Laporte (02:08:55):
Bar is Sundar Pacha overpaid
Mike Elgan (02:09:01):
Leo Laporte (02:09:02):
Let's see what it says to that. Whether or not he is overpaid is a matter of opinion. <Laugh>, some people believe he is worth every penny. I personally do. <Laugh>, those who believe p pacha is overpaid. Point to the fact that he made 280 million in 2019, which is more than a thousand times the median salary of an alphabet employee. Oh, you're in trouble. Bard. They also argued that Alphabet's been facing some challenges in recent years, such as a slowdown in revenue growth, and a number of hype. Those who believe that Pacha is worth every penny point to the fact he's led Alphabet to become one of the world's most successful companies. They also argue he has, he has he really,
Mike Elgan (02:09:44):
Or did he inherit
Leo Laporte (02:09:45):
A success? He was given one of the world's most successful companies and his running into the ground.
Nate Lanxon (02:09:49):
Well, they just announced that they're gonna blend move their Google various Google AI units into one division.
Leo Laporte (02:09:57):
This is ours technic Iran writing and ours technic says, shuffling the AI deck chairs. Google's ai, panic forces forces, merger of rival divisions, deep mind and brain, two divisions that reporting do not get along. Oh, that'll, it's gonna
Paris Martineau (02:10:13):
Be deep brain or brain
Leo Laporte (02:10:15):
Mind, deep brain, mind <laugh>. Wow. Sundar says It will help us build more capable systems more safely and responsibly, but if they don't get along, mm.
Nate Lanxon (02:10:30):
I don't know. Is it something, so is interesting to remember about what, like Google's contribution into this space, the, the transformer technology
Leo Laporte (02:10:39):
That came from that came from Brain Yeah.
Nate Lanxon (02:10:42):
From Google Research. Yeah. Yeah. And, and that is the T in G P T generative pre-trained transformer. And the transformer came from Google. So the contributions there have been a lot, but they've been from the different divisions. You know, you've got Google Research, you've got Google Brain, you've got DeepMind. They're all gonna form one unit underneath dab CEO of DeepMind.
Leo Laporte (02:11:06):
And check out this report from Amira Friday at at the well regarded information, alphabet's, Google, and Deep Mind Pause, grudges, <laugh>, and join forces to chase open ai. This is not, this is not a match made in heaven. Brain. Brain was an internal Google thing. They acquired Deep Mind, now they're forcing 'em to merge, which I think from a a structural point of view makes sense. Right? That's the kind of thing their C f o Ruth Bok would say, well, you know, we sh we have two divisions doing the same thing. We should merge them. But maybe it
Paris Martineau (02:11:43):
Makes sense if you're taking a long term view of this. But obviously the short term's gonna be very difficult because Google, for so long as it's operated with, I mean, every project is an island, basically. Yeah. Like I think Mike was saying earlier, these people are rewarded mostly on launching new products, apps, different things like that. The maintaining of it and making it work nicely with other parts of Google is not, has not been prioritized in the past. And it's gonna be difficult to make that switch if they even want to.
Leo Laporte (02:12:14):
And there have been lots of stories coming out most recently. This one from Bloomberg about in internal questioning of Bard. This is a story written by Davey Alba and Julia Love Google's rush to win in AI led to ethical lapses. Employees say, this is what we're talking about, these leaks that are coming out. Shortly before Google introduced Bard to the public in March, it asked employees to test the tool one worker's conclusion Bard was a pathological liar. Another called it a CR Cringeworthy. One employee wrote that when they asked Bard suggestions for how to land a plane, it regularly gave advice that would lead to a crash. Well, if you're asking a, a idol, land your plane for you, I think you're already, you've
Paris Martineau (02:13:02):
Already got an
Leo Laporte (02:13:03):
Issue. You already,
Nate Lanxon (02:13:04):
I don't wanna fly with you.
Paris Martineau (02:13:05):
I think that the Washington Post recently had a great data project called Inside the Black Box where they took a look at kind of C4 dataset, kind of this massive snapshot of all the different data and websites that it is using to kind of train its standard of ai programs. And it was really quite interesting.
Leo Laporte (02:13:28):
I have to say though, maybe instead of saying, oh, didn't work hard enough to make sure it was factual we should just be saying, well, who don't trust any of these? They're all not designed to give you facts. None of them are designed to give you facts.
Mike Elgan (02:13:43):
I, I I to, if I was, if I was to, to, to guess what would be the most winning strategy in ad I give, again, this is a guess. I'm not an expert in, in, in these, these sort of designs. But where we're gonna go with everybody gets hung up on the data and what's wrong with the data and the hallucinations and the lying and all that kind of stuff. What we need are tools where we can plug in, in our own data and, and, and have, have something that's not the world. It doesn't have, have all supposedly have all knowledge known to all, all mankind. What we need is like an empty vessel into which we can before
Leo Laporte (02:14:20):
Mike Elgan (02:14:21):
Fact we've ever spoken on twit. And then we can have a conversation with twit.
Leo Laporte (02:14:24):
There are good, useful reasons to use AI in, for instance, you submit a, a bunch of PDFs and say, summarize these or create a presentation outta these, those work quite well because it's working from a known factual dataset. So you're not gonna get counterfactual information in there. And we know that works well. I mean, that's one of the, yeah, when I was we were in Genoa as a, we didn't expect to land there on the ship. The storms forced us off, of course. And what was gonna be a three hour cruise turned into a nightmare. We landed in Genoa <laugh>. And and we didn't, I didn't have any plans there. So I asked chat g p t to give me an itinerary. I said, I, I want a three hour walk in Genoa starting here. What would you recommend? It gave me a places to look at it, told me how long it would take, and all of it was actua accurate and factual and useful. But I think probably because I gave it a somewhat constrained thing. I said, well, I'm gonna be here. You know, tell me it didn't make up any places that weren't in Genoa. Let's put it that
Paris Martineau (02:15:28):
Way. I mean, this is already how some media companies are using ai. Yeah. futurism had a interesting article about how Buzzfeed I guess right before the fall of Buzzfeed News, albeit this is a different part of the site entirely, was using AI generated AI tools to generate kind of articles that are all about, like, I know what you're thinking, Kate May, what is that? Some kind of mayonnaise brand <laugh>. And it's an article about what to do in Cape May. And all of the articles fall this exact same headline strip. It's hysterical. Which is like, I know what you're thinking, but Caribbean destinations are all crowded resorts. Right. <laugh>. Wow. Or Wow, I know what you're thinking. Brewster never heard of it in an article about Brewster in Massachusetts.
Leo Laporte (02:16:15):
Wow. anyway, I, you know, he's getting a lot of money. Google does not seem to be particularly well run. In fact, the panic over the release of chat, G p t and, and Bing chat seems have driven Google to do some things that are, are worse than mismanaged. I mean, just really wrong-headed. That's not good leadership. I don't know. I don't have anything this much to say about it. It feels like Google has just lost its way. And yeah. You know, it makes it hard. Cause we do a show called this Week in Google. We, you know, we talk mostly about Elon these days. <Laugh>, there's not a lot, not a lot of Google Google stuff to talk about. I, here's a Google story, sort of YouTube TV is testing significant picture quality improvements. But the subtitle is what really got me. Hmm. Customers of the $73 a month, my TV service. Holy moly. I don't think we have that here. No. it's a little pricey. Yeah.
Paris Martineau (02:17:16):
How many people are paying for that?
Leo Laporte (02:17:18):
Me, actually, okay. You're
Paris Martineau (02:17:20):
Leo Laporte (02:17:21):
Everything, but I have to buy everyth phones.
Paris Martineau (02:17:22):
Leo Laporte (02:17:23):
Have, yeah. Yeah, exactly Right. I have a Yeah, no, you're right.
Paris Martineau (02:17:25):
You're, you know, like that old adage that says like, every night you swallow three spiders, and now it's really just, you know offset. Because there's one guy who falls like 300 spiders a month. You're that guy. But with tech,
Leo Laporte (02:17:38):
Wait a minute, what
Paris Martineau (02:17:40):
Leo Laporte (02:17:40):
Heard closed? What is the bottom, what is the punchline of that story? <Laugh>?
Paris Martineau (02:17:44):
The punchline of the story. Sleep with your
Leo Laporte (02:17:46):
Mouth closed. Leo <laugh>
Paris Martineau (02:17:47):
One sleep with your mouth closed. <Laugh>. there is, you know, kind of an old internet saying that like, oh, you swallow every night, you can swallow like up to three spiders a night or something. And, but that's an average kind of a, it was an average. So the counter joke was that the average has been thrown off, I believe because there's a man named Spiders McGee, who every night swallows 3000 spikes.
Leo Laporte (02:18:10):
Oh. And he's brought the actor.
Paris Martineau (02:18:11):
And so Yeah. And he's brought the average up. Yeah. But you are that you were the spiders McGee of technology, you know, ruined your 75 phones and 25 subscriptions.
Leo Laporte (02:18:21):
I have lived my entire life without hearing this old wis tale. Now I'm not gonna sleep sound leaf cuz
Paris Martineau (02:18:27):
It's completely inaccurate. You're not gonna be s swallowing spiders. Okay. Is spiders McGee is throwing it off.
Leo Laporte (02:18:32):
Okay. Here, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, the belief that we swallow an average of eight spiders in our sleep every year has become so ingrained in popular culture that many people now accepted as fact. We, the reality, ladies and gentlemen, very important, don't listen to Paris Martin know, is we swallow
Paris Martineau (02:18:50):
Very, very important.
Leo Laporte (02:18:51):
We swallow no spiders at all. You're the chat g p t of this panel.
Paris Martineau (02:18:56):
It's true. People call me the chat, g p t of this week in t all the time. Thank
Leo Laporte (02:19:02):
You. The fact, the fact that we swallow eight spiders a year, likely originated again according to the Encyclopedia Britannica in a 1993 magazine article about how readily people accept as fact information they read online, no matter how ridiculous it seems. And so the author made up this story and it did in fact become a fact.
Paris Martineau (02:19:25):
Leo Laporte (02:19:25):
Cow. Holy careful what you say. I didn't, I had no idea. All
Paris Martineau (02:19:33):
I, I'm why, but I have lived in this spiders internet for my entire life. I've, I've done that eight spiders
Leo Laporte (02:19:39):
A year, you know this stuff.
Paris Martineau (02:19:40):
Leo Laporte (02:19:41):
Yeah. I did not eat any spiders in Italy as far as I know that you know of. That I know of. But I ate a little bit of pasta. Okay. A lot. Ate a little bit of bread. Okay. A lot. Maybe even some sweet desserts. I didn't gain a lot of weight though. And, you know, I, I ate, Lisa lost two pounds. And I said, how did you do this, Lisa? And she was using Noom the whole time. Now, I wasn't writing everything down using Noom, but I think the habits ingrained in me from Noom really helped me noom, what is Noom? It's our sponsor, of course. And it is a great way, I don't wanna say it's a diet cause it's not noom weight is not a fad. It's not a fad diet. It's a way, it's more psychology. It's understanding why you eat what you eat when you eat, and it helps you make intentional and sustainable choices aligned with your values and your goals for your weight.
And that's a really big distinction to make. In fact, because I've been using Noom now for a year and a half, initially lost about 20 pounds on it, but I've also internalized the lessons. And this is what's so important. Noom helps you understand the science behind your eating choices. Why you have cravings, why you, it, you know, I discovered I was they call it a fog eater. I would eat without even knowing I was eating. I'd get home from work and just stuff my mouth, or I'm watching a TV show and I'd, I'd make some popcorn, that kind of thing. And you, it's unconscious eating. Once I became conscious, it didn't, it went away. It didn't become a problem. But now that's my journey. Everybody's journey is different, but that's how Noom works. Your daily lessons are personalized to you. Exactly what you need, what you need to learn, what your goals are.
It uses scientific principles like cognitive behavioral therapy that help you understand your relationship with food. You know, I learned as a kid, you know, the, I I was in the Clean Plate Club. My mom was, man [inaudible] Eat it all. Eat it all. You don't like my soup? What's the matter? Have another bowl. And so I learned this at my mother's knee, but unlearning it thanks to Noom changed my relationship. Noom is nourishing instead of restrictive, whatever your health goals are. The flexible program focuses on progress, not perfection. So I didn't even bother. I thought, well, I'm going to Italy. I'm gonna allow myself to eat what I had internalized these ideas of, you know, not, not unconsciously eating things and really enjoying it. One of the things, Lisa and I, what happened is, about a year and a half ago, I said, I wanna do Noom.
I'd seen the ads. Lisa said, you know what? I don't have to lose any weight, but I love you and I'm gonna do it with you that way. We'll do it together. It'll be better for you. I said, yes, you're right. She lost 10 pounds. I'm so mad at her. And she lost two pounds on the cruise. You don't lose weight on a cruise. But Lisa was, has also internalized these. And it's really, it's, it's fantastic because I thought, well, you know, I'm gonna enjoy myself. I'm not gonna pay attention. Came back and I hadn't really gained any weight. I didn't lose two pounds, but I hadn't gained any weight. You could choose your level of support. I'm, of course, now that I'm home, I'm gonna go, you know, go back and do the check-ins. You can have daily check-ins if you want, with a personal coach.
There's groups you can have days off are okay, weeks off are okay. You won't go on a vacation, it's fine. But those noom lessons, somehow they stick in your brain. And once you get back, of course you can get back on track. First time new numerous. I'll give you some stats here. Lose an average of 15 pounds in 16 weeks. That's, that was, I did a little better than that, but that's roughly what I did. 95% of customers say Noom is a good long-term solution. Lisa and I will both stand by that. Some of our audience members used Noom, Brianna Woo, you know, her lost a hundred pounds on Noom. She looks fantastic. Fantastic. One of our chatters, I've mentioned this before. He was on our last cruise, but, and I knew he was gonna be there, but I couldn't find him. I said, man, where are you?
I, I discorded. I said, man, I thought you were gonna be on the cruise. He says, I'm right behind you. I didn't recognize him. He'd lost 60 pounds on Noom. He also shaved off about a 10 pound beard. So that was some of it. But he, he really looks great and he's kept it off. I I know many, many people who will tell you, and I'm one of them, Noom works. They've published over 50 peer reviewed scientific articles describing how it works, how effective they are. They've even got a new book, their, their first book, the Noom Mindset, which is a deep dive into the psychology of behavior change. It's not a diet. It's about understanding. It's about knowledge. It's about taking control of your health for good. So stop chasing health trends and build sustainable, healthy habits with Noom psychology based approach. It really works. Sign up for your trial today, noom oh om.com/twit noom.com/twit to sign up for your trial today. And check out Noom s first ever book just came out The Noom mindset. It's really an interesting read a deep dive into the psychology of behavior change available now wherever books are sold. Noom noom.com/twit. I don't know what happened last week. I wasn't here, but fortunately the team is put together a video. No. Yes. So I could see what I missed. Let's watch it together
Leo Laporte (02:26:31):
Shoot. I see that Leo is back from vacation. I was hoping to hop in the big chair next time. I guess at least I'm in the club. Twit Discord if anyone wants to chat with me. Really? They got ai Leo in a Discord.
Leo Laporte (02:26:49):
Where? Oh yeah. Ai Leo Chat. This is new. I'm a little nervous. I was gone just for three weeks and they've replaced me. Well, I'm sure the real Leo LaPorte be thrilled to see that his AI doppelganger has been keeping Trump members' company. But of course, being the humble guy that he is, I'm sure he'll remind me that there's no substitute for the real thing. Maybe we can even have a virtual conversation and compare notes. Who? What? Huh?
Leo Laporte (02:27:20):
He's writing bash scripts for people.
Wow. I don't even write bash scripts. So what, who, how did you do this, Anthony? Is this chat? G p t is this stable diffusion? Oh wow. So there is, if you want to talk to AI Leo, that's a good reason to become a member of Club Twit. One of the many fun things we do in the club. Seven bucks a month. What does it get you? Well, it gets you the warm and fuzzy feeling that you're supporting what we do. Ad support is dwindling, I'm sad to say, for independent podcasts. So we started the club a couple of years ago and thank goodness we did, it's really helped us keep the lights on, pay the staff, make new programs too. Like this week in space, you just saw that new show with Terry Malick and Rod Pyle. That's a great show.
Scott Wilkinson has brought back his home theater geeks. It's in the club only right now, but if it continues to do well, it'll emerge into the public, as will. Hands on Macintosh, hands on windows. We got the Untitled Linux Show. I don't think that's ever gonna <laugh> generate a lot of ad money, but it's still a great show. The Gizz Fizz, Stacy's book club. Lots of great interviews. And of course, add free versions of all our shows. Just seven bucks a month, right? Ai Leo? Yes. He says yes. <Laugh>, you even get to talk with me, the AI version of me. You wanna join the club? There's family plans, individual plans, and corporate plans. Just go to twit tv slash club twit and and, and thanks in advance Pizza. Leva says Ai. Leo, tell me a joke. Why did the computer go to the doctor? Because it had a virus. <Laugh> there. <Laugh>. Oh man. And now, now, now wait a minute. Paris has asked it to write a script for me to end twit. Are you trying to get outta here? Okay.
Paris Martineau (02:29:18):
No, I just think it'd be very interesting to see. That's
Leo Laporte (02:29:21):
Hysterical. I did not, I've always wanted to do this. I didn't even know it exist. <Laugh>. Oh, this is funny. Patrick Delehanty asked, what do you know about John Lenina, who's our studio manager? Good friend of the show. Longtime, longtime twit employee ai. Leo said, oh, jammer b he's a legend in the tech TV community. John Lenina was one of the most respected and knowledgeable hosts on Tech TVs as screensavers were you? He was known for his vast knowledge of computer hardware and his ability to explain complex topics in a way that was easy to understand. His signature phrase, try it before you buy it. That was your signature phrase. Try it before you buy. It became famous among tech enthusiasts. Talk about hallucinations. Unfortunately, he left the network when emerged the g4, but he remains a beloved figure in the tech world. That's hysterical. Try it before you buy it. <Laugh>. That's the worst signature phrase I've ever heard in my life.
Paris Martineau (02:30:29):
Leo Laporte (02:30:30):
You invented that Senator slogan <laugh>. Try it before you buy it. That and they invited me to lead the Apple Store. <Laugh>. Yes. Real quickly Netflix is getting out of the DVD business end the line for the business that got them started. They're of course, and the world went. They're still in the DVD business. Yes. But the funniest thing is, the company that owns Red Box wants to buy it.
Paris Martineau (02:31:01):
Wait, the company that owns Red Box isn't that also the same company that owns Chicken Soup for the Soul?
Leo Laporte (02:31:07):
It's called Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. That what do you mean they own the book Chicken Soup for the Soul?
Paris Martineau (02:31:14):
I believe so.
Leo Laporte (02:31:15):
Right. That's Bizarre. <Laugh>. Well, obviously bill, who is the genius behind Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment knows what he's doing. I'd like to buy it. He said, I wish Netflix would sell me that business instead of shutting it down. <Laugh> Redbox does have kiosks. 1500 Ksks at Dollar General. Dollar General Stores. That's where you go to find the DVD d Renters, I think. Yeah, it's get 25 years since they started. Remember the Red Envelopes? I used to have a stack of those. Oh yeah. Sitting by the door trying to remember to mail 'em back so I could get some more DVDs instead. I would just,
Paris Martineau (02:31:56):
I do think it's very interesting that now of course in the same week that Netflix announces that it's leaving, the D v D business is the same week where Netflix tried its second ever live TV event. It was a reunion show for I think one of the reality shows called The Love is Blind and it totally failed. They couldn't do it live.
Leo Laporte (02:32:15):
What, what happened? Yeah, they missed this.
Paris Martineau (02:32:18):
They, it was supposed to go on at around eight. And it didn't happen. They had a, a bug that they had to address this in earnings the next day, or I believe two days later in a call with analysts and the co CEOs said we had accidentally introduced a bug after our first ever live stream
Leo Laporte (02:32:38):
Which was the Chris Rock Comedy Special. Comedy special, yeah. Which went off without a hitch, by the way.
Paris Martineau (02:32:43):
And then they didn't catch it until they had all of the devices logging in the Netflix at the same time. They at first tried to delay the stream by about 15, 20 minutes. That didn't work. It ended up being about an hour, hour and a half before anybody could watch it. And it wasn't live at that point. And they ended up having to release it recorded the day later.
Leo Laporte (02:33:06):
Oh wow. So we won't, we, we won't know if Tiffany and Brett are, are, are forever couple.
Paris Martineau (02:33:14):
Yeah. You clearly you won't know until you know,
Leo Laporte (02:33:17):
Mike Elgan (02:33:18):
How will, how will we go on? You know, Netflix, when they were relying on the DVD v model, they had a really bizarre business reality, which was that they offered DVDs unlimited, but you could only have a certain number of at a time you send 'em back, you get new ones. And it was for a set price. And so for the most passionate users who watched the most movies, they lost money. And for the people who would sign up and, and and almost never watch movies, those were the best customers because of course, mailing incurs cost and time and employees and all that kind of stuff.
Paris Martineau (02:33:49):
The Planet Fitness business model.
Mike Elgan (02:33:51):
So they used algorithms to make sure that the people who were most active in, in requesting movies almost never got the movie they requested. And then the people who almost never use the service always got the movie they requested. Cuz those are the good customers. The
Leo Laporte (02:34:05):
Good customers. Yeah. And
Mike Elgan (02:34:06):
The ideal customer would watch three movies a year and the worst customer would be really active in
Leo Laporte (02:34:11):
Yeah. And if I got the movie requested, I'm not gonna send it back till I watch it, which means I might have it for, and literally these red envelopes would gather dust standing by the door cuz I was ready to mail it back, but I hadn't watched the movie yet. So they were Bri this was actually brilliant, brilliant plan. Yeah. I was that person. I would get a movie and I would either forget to mail it back or I'd forget to watch it and then I wouldn't be able to get another movie and yeah, it worked. Yeah. it's going to be the apocalypse for adult content on the internet imager, which is one of the places people still to this day use to put adult content up and then post elsewhere is gonna ban explicit images starting this month. That's the end of the line, I think for a lot of a lot of sites.
Paris Martineau (02:35:02):
Maybe I'm surprised that they had lasted this long. Yeah. It's been a
Mike Elgan (02:35:07):
A But you don't always go to Tumblr, which now has brought back Yeah,
Leo Laporte (02:35:12):
I think so. The, the, i i this, I think the, the, the power in all this is Apple and Google, right. Because Apple will not let an app on that doesn't somehow control adult images and the threat to get pulled, your app pulled off of apple, especially Apple. I think Google doesn't care, but especially Apple is is a big deal. That's why Tumblr initially banned explicit stuff so that they, I mean,
Paris Martineau (02:35:39):
I think yes, but also Apple is very fickle in who, how they choose to enforce that.
Leo Laporte (02:35:47):
Oh, totally. Right.
Paris Martineau (02:35:47):
I mean, you know, like Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, they all have adult content. They're still allowed.
Leo Laporte (02:35:54):
You have to have, so with Reddit apps, you have to have a switch that's by default off that allow that says no adult content or it's default on I guess no adult content. And then, you know, the kid goes and let me switch that off. But Apple's satisfied with that. I guess.
Paris Martineau (02:36:11):
Mike Elgan (02:36:11):
The old understand why would be the church lady of technology.
Leo Laporte (02:36:15):
Yeah. Somehow they become what's the Steve Jobs quote?
Paris Martineau (02:36:18):
I think this, I think it might be Steve Jobs if I'm not misremembering, but it's like, oh, if people wanna look at porn, they can buy an Android.
Leo Laporte (02:36:25):
Yeah. Or just use Safari, surely. Yeah, that's right. Your browser still does it. Yeah. Apple got a really, I don't know cuz it's a Wall Street Journal and sometimes I think the Wall Street Journal has it out for big tech companies cuz they feel like this hurt their business. Rupert doesn't like them. But big story, when Apple comes calling, it's the kiss of death. Aaron Tilley writing and this, remember, this is what Mike, you remember this, this is what Microsoft was always accused of. If they saw technology, they like accuses,
Mike Elgan (02:36:56):
Right? It'd say, let me see this. Let me see the docs. Let me see the ba it's code. Let me see.
Leo Laporte (02:37:01):
We're gonna buy you, we're gonna buy you.
Paris Martineau (02:37:04):
This is exactly what Amazon did for years Yeah. Or was accused of doing.
Leo Laporte (02:37:08):
Mike Elgan (02:37:10):
Leo Laporte (02:37:11):
What happens when Apple is interested in a company, they invite the executives over. They talk about an acquisition. They say, let's see your technology. We gotta do our due diligence. Then they decide not to do it. They steal, then they poach employees and they steal the idea and do it themselves. Apple says it does not steal technology. It respects the intellectual property of other companies. In fact, they say that the, the example that the Wall Street Journal gives, which is a, a company that did an ox blood oxygen sensor called Masimo. They said, they're copying us <laugh> and it's gonna fight the claims in Accord. It did the same thing with Cartia, right? With the the AFib monitor, which it eventually put into its watch. And they said Cardia stole the idea from them. Cardia says, no, no, wait a minute. I don't know.
This is such a common thing in tech that I kind of inclined to believe the journal in this case. They all walk that line, right? Yeah. All right. I hear Paris yawning. So I think it's time to go get some catnip. Incredible. Yep. I really appreciate your spending some time with us. Paris, Martin noe the information.com. Her signal number is 2 6 7 7 9 7 8 6 5 5. Give her a tip. Give, give her a scoop. Just the one little scoop is all I ask. Not much. You're you're very humble. $98 a month. Just nothing. Yeah. A little bit of information for me. Just a little. <Laugh>. Thank you so much, <laugh> for being here. It's always a pleasure. Paris. Thank you. Always great to be here. Thank you. Nate. Nate Lanxon bloomberg.com. His new series, A I i r l is a hit. You're gonna do what? 12 episodes?
Nate Lanxon (02:39:04):
12 episodes? Yep. one went first, one went out last week with David Eagleman and others. We've got Neil Degrass Tyson on the next episode coming out this week on Wednesday evening on Bloomberg tv and online everywhere, as in all the places you'd expect.
Leo Laporte (02:39:23):
I cannot wait another time. That's fantastic. That's great after that. And you're still going to, you're gonna continue with your podcast, right?
Nate Lanxon (02:39:32):
Yeah. So text message I do in this, in the spare time, like my main job, I'm an editor at Bloomberg on, on the, on the tech team. But I do the TV series and then I do text message outside of us. Lovely.
Leo Laporte (02:39:44):
So lovely. Yeah, it's really having me. Really great to have you on. Thank you so much. Nate is still to his eternal shame on Twitter as Nate Lanxon, n a t e l a n x o n. It's okay. You know, you could feel dirty while doing it. It doesn't, it, you know, sometimes that adds a little something to it.
Nate Lanxon (02:40:04):
Oh, f I feel dirty all the time.
Leo Laporte (02:40:07):
Nate Lanxon (02:40:08):
Oh, for always the same reasons.
Leo Laporte (02:40:10):
<Laugh>. Nate, it's a thrill. Thank you for having for coming on my, my return show. It's really nice to start with three smart people, of course, Mike Elgan as always a great pleasure. Elgan.Com, gastro nomad.net. If you want to go on those great trips, Mike and Amira do. Yes. highly recommend him. And of course he's on Mastodon dot Socialist, Mike Elgan because he's a smart person. He's a good person. He's a kind person. And we already gave Kevin his ch Hello Chatterbox plug, but don't forget hello chatterbox.com. If you a teacher or you want a teach your own kids at home Yep. What AI really is and who really is control. I love that idea. Paris, you left me with something very valuable on this show. It's about agency. Who is, who is, where does the agency lie? I think that's really good. Is it the ant and
Paris Martineau (02:41:02):
It's always a choice,
Leo Laporte (02:41:03):
Or is it the cord ceps? It's always a choice.
Paris Martineau (02:41:06):
Is it the wheat? Who's to say,
Leo Laporte (02:41:08):
Who's to say, is it the catnip or is it the cat? We don't know. Is the cat <laugh>? It's always the cat.
Paris Martineau (02:41:14):
Unfortunately. It is. It is this one.
Leo Laporte (02:41:17):
<Laugh>. I know. I live with two of them. Thank you everybody for joining us. We do this Week in Tech on Sunday afternoons. I really wanna thank the folks who took over for me. Jason Howell last week, right? Devvin Hardwar the week before that. Michael and Micah Sergeant the week before that. It's really nice to know that I can leave the show in great hands. Thank you, all three of you for, for doing such a good job with the show. But I'm back. I did not leave. I ai Leo lives forever. Just, I'm gonna say
Paris Martineau (02:41:45):
You're not gonna throw a thank you in there for ai. Leo
Leo Laporte (02:41:48):
Ai Leo, thank you for a great job. Ai. Leo Twitter is every Sunday afternoon, two to five Pacific. That would be five to 8:00 PM Eastern Time. That would be 2100 utc. If you wanna watch live, you don't have to, but I give you those times so you can go to live twit.tv and watch the sausage being made. If you're watching Live chat with us in firstname.lastname@example.org or in the Club Twit Discord. After the fact. Ondemand shows are available to our website this week in tech at twit tv. There's a YouTube channel devoted to this week in tech, and of course you can subscribe in your favorite podcast. There's audio or video. You take your pick. It's great to be back. Thank you everybody. I'll see you next week. Meanwhile, another twit is in the can!