This Week in Tech Episode 950 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
0:00:00 - Leo Laporte
It's time for a twit. This weekend tech. We got a great panel for you. Alex Cantruiz is here from big technology Com, amanda Silverling, the culture editor for Tech Crunch, and Kashmir Hill to talk about her new book on face recognition and clear view. Ai Plus, we'll talk about the new glass holes. What did you say, john? They're on a quest, did it? Apple cancels John Stewart for his political beliefs. You, you telling me they didn't know what they were. And Mark Andreessen has a plan For all of us. It's all coming up next on twit Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is twit. This is twit. This weekend tech episode 950. Recorded Sunday, october 22nd 2023 happy sink day.
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It's time for twit this week at tech, the show week. Talk about the weeks tech news. There's a little bit, but good, we got a good panel for you. Amanda soberling is here. She called well, we'll get to that. Senior culture writer at Tech crunch, the one who wrote the headline. When was the last time Mark Andreessen talked to a poor person? Hello, amanda.
0:02:25 - Amanda Silberling
Hello, that was me. I did write that take full responsibility.
0:02:29 - Leo Laporte
I own it baby.
0:02:31 - Amanda Silberling
Oh, it's a good question.
0:02:33 - Leo Laporte
I want to know yeah, well, I obviously never. Great to have you, amanda. Thanks, perfect timing. We'll talk about Mark Andreessen's manifesto in a second. Oh boy, oh, they also with us from big technology, the big technology podcast and the big technology Newsletter, big technology comm.
Alex Cantrow, it's back again. Author of always. Day one about Amazon. Hi, alex, hey Leo, great to be back. Good to see you. We missed you. It's been a while. I'm glad to see you again and I'm thrilled to get cashmere Hill on. She's got limited time with us, unfortunately, but we'll, we'll, we'll, we'll get all the info about her new book. Your face belongs to us. You see cash Hills articles, of course, in the New York Times, and I quote you a lot because you wrote the definitive article about Gio IP address location when you actually went out to the middle of the country to see a discarded toilet. And I'm gonna, I'm just gonna leave it at that and you can look it up. It's on the internet. Lives forever Welcome. Thank you, it's good to be here. Good to have you. I guess we have to talk about Mark Andreessen. I don't know why. I mean we could easily just ignore this, pretend it never happened and we'd be fine. What happened, amanda?
0:03:57 - Amanda Silberling
So Mark Andreessen wrote a Manifesto called the techno optimist manifesto. It's like 5000 words. He makes a lot of very Landish proposals in it. Basically His dream is that he wants us to push tech at all costs, just keep building and like One day we'll have 50 billion people on earth and then we'll colonize Mars. And he literally wrote that. But it just felt very like Haven't we learned our lesson at this point that when you push tech to grow without thinking about the implications of that tech, that Bad things can happen. But I guess he hasn't learned his lesson.
0:04:47 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, it's, it's no, you cover big tech. Is this, alex? The? The? Is this manifesto reflect how people in big tech think?
0:05:01 - Alex Kantrowitz
Well, I think Mark Andreessen is very different from big tech. I mean, he's the VC that funds the small tech that's supposed to challenge the big tech. So in some way it's interesting because the big tech has had such a stranglehold on the economy for so long and made it difficult for startups outside of being acquired by big tech. Like, maybe coming up against that for forever Kind of does drive you a little bit bad, even though he does sit on the board of Metta. That being said, like I think it's a pretty interesting post. It's very difficult to read, it's not very well written, but when you look past that, what? And this is something that max read brought up in his sub stack newsletter over the past week.
It really is a story, a Manifesto that argues for tech accelerationism, basically saying that there's so much good the tech is gonna do for the world as it gets bigger and bigger and more embedded in our society that people should just get out of the way and let it do its thing and then everybody's gonna be better off. It makes some good points, right, like we have gone from you know being a you know a species that had no air conditioner, no heater, no internet, no computer, whatever it is, for many, many years, and we invented our way into very comfortable lives. And, yes, we have poverty, but we have less poverty than we did in the past. And we look at what's going on with AI right now and AI presents, you know, potential serious leap forward opportunity for us to really Say, okay, like now, technology is gonna, you know, take another leap forward, and I think his point is like, let's let it do it, as opposed to all this panic about what the technology can do and whose jobs it's gonna it will take and what the downsides are gonna be.
But that being said, I think that there is some valid criticism here, which is that, like you can't just let the thing you know go without the gas pedal, without the brake pedal I mean, it can't be all gas, no brakes. There has to be some responsible ways to reign the technology in when it goes too far. That's kind of how it always works in capitalist markets, I don't know. I mean there's gonna be a segment of the tech world that's gonna believe this and hone to it for sure, and a segment of the tech world that's gonna be like, this guy's an idiot. I don't know, maybe it's somewhere in the middle.
0:07:21 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I think another piece of this that there's just a lot in here. But the thing that sets off the most alarm bells for me is that he makes a list of enemies, and among those enemies are tech ethics, trust and safety and risk management. That's kind of a problem right now especially.
Yeah, and I just think we've seen so many times how, particularly like I cover social media and you see social media companies that will sort of put trust and safety on the back burner and hope that nothing goes wrong, and inevitably something always goes wrong.
0:07:59 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, his kind of. One of his points is that technology can get us out of every problem that technology has created. So the answer to problems in society is in problems with technologies. More tech, is that? Well, clearly that's. That's obviously the answer. If people are wondering, why should we pay any attention to this guy, mark Andreessen became famous. He wrote the very one of the very first browsers when he was at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at University of Illinois, urbana and CSA it was called Mosaic in the 90s and then he took, he wrote, worked he didn't write any of this by himself, so you know on a team but then created Netscape and took it public with Jim Clark and it was the first big tech IPO and started kind of the big tech boom in the mid 90s. He's worth is estimated about $1.7 billion and most recently he is partner at Andreessen Horowitz, which is one of the big investors and, as you say, alex invests not in Google, microsoft and Twitter, but in Web, a lot of Web 3 and crypto actually in little startups.
0:09:10 - Alex Kantrowitz
That's really the thing that's kind of caught up to him because, as you know, andreessen Horowitz was probably the number one pusher of all these Web 3 startups and exactly, and the genre ended up to be, I would say, 95% of scam. Maybe there's 5% good in there. They seem to have done quite well from it, but there was a lot of retail investors holding the bag and I think the response to this big manifesto from Mark Andreessen is kind of interesting, because there's been more criticism than usual from a typical Mark Andreessen post, and I think that's largely because his firm has lost a lot of credibility for how vocal and full-throated they were trying to push this crypto revolution forward when there really wasn't a third Web to be built on top of it. I mean, look around, you know there is none, and I think that's going to be something that people hold against them for a long time.
0:10:01 - Leo Laporte
As you said, max Reed writes techno optimism is a sign of VC crisis. It's not funny. Vcs only do this when they're extreme distress. He also asks why is it the original image with this looks so familiar? I'm not going to say, but anybody who's been around for more than a few years will recognize the original image, and it has been since changed. Somebody said Mark can't do that, maybe not maybe not.
0:10:33 - Alex Kantrowitz
We talked about this on big technology podcast on Friday and I have to say, leo, it was the toughest segment I've ever had to get through, just to try to describe what that was, but I won't do it here.
0:10:44 - Leo Laporte
Our audience knows, our audience goes. Oh god, cashmere, have you read this manifesto, and are you, or should we call this 95 theses? It's almost as if he hammered this on the door of the of the FTC.
0:11:02 - Kashmir Hill
I mean, I feel like Mark Andreessen has been feeling this way for a while now, just feeling very attacked by critics of technology. You know he's blocked most tech journalist that I know of, including myself. You know, I think there's just a certain segment of the kind of tech proponent community who thinks that there's too much criticism of technology, and I think it's fair to a certain extent. Technology is the platform for everything in the world. Now, you know the way we work, the way we live, the way we communicate, so all of this, all of society's ills, are kind of viewed through technology and technology comes, you know, is blame for many things that happen.
But yeah, the idea of just getting rid of tech ethics and getting rid of trust and safety that these are the problems is, it does seem ridiculous to me. I love, you know, I love my garage door opener. I love a lot of technologies that exist in my life, but I think we're still struggling to adapt to things like the smartphone and our addiction to it, not to mention all these seismic changes that are coming because of AI and the idea that we should just go full throttle and just yeah, you know, I just wrote this book about facial recognition technology. The idea of just going full throttle and not thinking about the implications is. It's certainly not not new. It's been going on for a long time. But I think it's important to think about the use cases and the society that we want to live in, and not just let technology remember what it looks like it does read a little bit like a jilted boyfriend.
0:12:38 - Leo Laporte
Like you used to love us, we used to really think technology was great. What happened? You know you should love us again. This is I also my first reaction when I read it and I had to read it quickly because I hadn't read it before I was like I'm going to be on the show or show on Wednesday and Jeff Jarvis brought it up and I said what? And so I scanned it. My immediate reaction is it's almost like saying you know, I just want to make more money. Would you mind getting out of the? Get out of the way I'm here. I'm here to make money, I think, if there is no material problem and you quit you quote this as well, man, in your article.
Whether created by nature or technology, that cannot be solved by more technology, and I feel like cashmere. You brought up your garage opener. You love it, but my garage opener is a big fat pain in the butt because one car can work with it and the other one can. I spent hours on a ladder pushing the red button trying to so in it. To me it's a cab. It's encapsulated exactly what technology was wrong with. It. Has this great promise until you really start using it, and then it's just it's.
0:13:43 - Alex Kantrowitz
It can be really annoying it's buggy but you guys both like your garage openers, right?
0:13:52 - Leo Laporte
so it's like, well, I wouldn't want to get out of the car and open the garage by hand about yeah, that's true, but I can only get in one side anyway. My what?
0:14:05 - Kashmir Hill
I remember when. I remember when hackers had like figured out how to hack everyone's garage doors and they were just opening them up and going into people's homes that way let's talk about your book.
0:14:15 - Leo Laporte
All your face belongs to us, is it?
0:14:18 - Kashmir Hill
this is your first cashmere yes, my first congratulations technology book. Thank you, that's what you'd written about other stuff before well, I, when I was at Forbes, they turned to my Bitcoin survival guide into like an ebook when I lived on Bitcoin back in 2013, back when Mark Andreessen was really excited about it oh, so you're a bit too good yeah.
Well, my takeaway after living on Bitcoin was wow, this is, you know, useful technology perhaps, but there is no utility at all to this as a payment method. This is purely speculative and we'll go away. This shows what shows what I know you actually tried to survive on it.
0:15:05 - Leo Laporte
This is I guess this is. If this is something that they make you do with the New York Times. This is this is my favorite one. I tried to live without the tech giants. You tried to literally get Apple, google, facebook and Amazon out of your life.
0:15:17 - Kashmir Hill
That was even worse than the Bitcoin problem yes, this is pre New York Times, but yes, I tried to cut the big tech giants to show how difficult it is, because I was always hearing from people, at a time when we are making these complaints about technology, that Google had done something wrong or Facebook was doing something that was annoying. People would say these are free products, you don't have to use them you know just don't use them if you're such a critic of them.
And so I tried and just showed how Google is woven into everything that you do on the web. It is literally impossible to avoid Amazon, because AWS is hosting most of the most of the tech out there.
0:15:58 - Leo Laporte
So, yes, I showed that it was held to try to live without them just block, as you tried, your AWS on your router and see how far you get on the internet these days not far at all. So your face belongs to us. Belongs to us a secretive startups quest to end privacy as we know it. Is it about clear view? I haven't read it. They didn't send me a copy. Is it about clear view?
0:16:21 - Kashmir Hill
well, I'll get you a copy. It is about clear view AI and about the rise of facial recognition technology. I kind of like went back to talk to all these early engineers who are working on it, you know, in the 80s and 90s and policy makers trying to pass laws getting ready for it some successful, most not. And yeah, and about Google and Facebook and all the all the different players that were trying to get computers to solve this incredible problem to recognize people's faces and thanks to I've gotten very good at it.
0:16:56 - Leo Laporte
Now we have to deal with the consequences your timing was almost as good as Michael Lewis is timing embedding himself with SBF. It was because clear view AI was hot, hot, hot, hot until it was not, not, not well, they're still around.
0:17:11 - Kashmir Hill
You know, just signed another year long contract with the Department of Homeland Security, still working with the police. Just just announced that. Well, they didn't. They didn't announce. I guess they done this for a while and I just noticed it.
0:17:26 - Leo Laporte
But they're not honoring requests from Europe anymore to delete Europeans under GDPR and they're just continuing to get away with that database 30 billion faces now in their database much of it scraped right from the internet, the public internet or no scraped and bought from contractors want on to add.
0:17:47 - Kashmir Hill
The technical co-founder basically says like I'll, I'll take faces wherever they come from and sometimes, as you used good old Bitcoin or ether to pay for it, yeah, I am.
0:18:00 - Leo Laporte
I remember when he was kind of nobody knew, he was kind of secretive right, and where you don't, you were the person who got the interview with him, aren't you?
0:18:09 - Kashmir Hill
yeah, you met him, like not in a parking garage, but practically yeah, so when I first heard about clear view AI, they had not been reported on yet and the company was not keen to be reported on. So they were doing all these things to try to get me to go away, including putting an alert on my face right yeah it's all coming back to me now.
0:18:31 - Leo Laporte
Oh, this is going to be a good book it is.
0:18:35 - Kashmir Hill
It is a little dramatic.
0:18:36 - Leo Laporte
So they kind of they retaliated by would know no, because they didn't want you to think they had your face in their database, right?
0:18:45 - Kashmir Hill
well, they put an alert on my face. They wouldn't talk to me. No one, no one affiliated would. Peter teal wouldn't return my calls. You know, paul Clement, this, this lawyer, had written this memo for them for the police to tell police it was perfectly legal to use this app, which wasn't totally true. So I started talking to police officers and they would be really excited to talk to me at first because they wanted to tell me about clear view AI and how well it worked and how it worked like nothing police had used before. And then they would offer to run a search of my face so that they could show me the results. And then every time they would stop talking to me. One of them told me I didn't have any results and it turned out that clear view had alert on my face when a police officer uploaded my face. They would call the police officer and tell them don't talk to her. You know like, we'll deactivate your app.
0:19:31 - Leo Laporte
You know for doing this and we will kick you out.
0:19:35 - Kashmir Hill
We will not allow your police department to use clear view if you talk to this reporter they did not anyone talk to me, so it's kind of chilling because it showed me clear view. I can see everyone law enforcement is searching for and control whether they're kind of mind-blowing, and then it's. You know it was. It was kind of an early warning of how facial recognition technology can get used to monitor, you know, investigative journalist or lawyers, like Madison Square Garden, the events venue in New York City that has started all lawyers yeah, james stolen.
He doesn't like lawyers, they're annoying, they cost him a lot of money. So when they anybody who works at a firm that sued him tries to get into MSG now or beacon theater or the Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes with their girl, their girl scouts, troop, girl scouts, troop they get kicked out at the door. Such kind of shows the power of facial recognition and yet you know so it's always good, yeah, text, great, call, let's get.
0:20:36 - Leo Laporte
Let's use more of it. No, thanks for this. Bad problem is to use more of it, isn't that obvious? So I I just figured, after reading your exposes of this and and what a terrifyingly bad company this was that they would be gone. They're not only are they not gone, they're bigger than ever there was no consequence right.
0:21:00 - Kashmir Hill
They did have investigations launched into them. They have spent a lot of money on lawyers, including Floyd, including Floyd Abrams, because they made the First Amendment defense that they have a First Amendment right to scrape all this public information from the internet and make it searchable.
0:21:17 - Leo Laporte
Just he was the citizens united by face advocate that won that case in the Supreme Court. Wow and. But where do they stand right now?
0:21:27 - Kashmir Hill
they're in the clear, so to speak so they were investigated by a lot of privacy regulators a lot around the world. He said that what they did was illegal. So they kind of pulled back and they're only working in the United States. They're dealing with a few lawsuits here in California and Illinois and Vermont, but for the most part they've just, you know, continued offering services to police and, and they're still there and you know they herald this change, this ability for pretty small actors to do something very powerful with this technology. And so now there's copycats, there's other public face search engines that are not restricted to the police, that are available to anybody, and so I feel like we're we're crossing that line where this could just get out there and be everywhere unless we pull it back, and I think it'd be kind of I mean, I don't really want to live in a world where you're identifiable all the time, everywhere we go, everything you do, you know. I think that would be a very chilling world to live in.
0:22:30 - Leo Laporte
Do we know who uses clear AI? For instance, when you now fly in many airports there, the ticket check in will be face recognition. Is that clear view?
0:22:42 - Kashmir Hill
clear view, ai so there's many different facial recognition technology companies. Clear view AI is not that one. What's different about clear view AI is a kind of brought to the table this huge database of 30 billion faces. Most of the other companies say, okay, here's an algorithm, you bring the database. So what's happening at the airport is either the airline you know it has your photo, or it's running through the, like the TSA.
And yeah, I mean I can be very convenient and I talk about going to London night because I went there to do some reporting for the book and when you I landed at Heathrow and instead of waiting for three hours in line at customs, I just walk up to like a kiosk, put my passport on the scanner. There's a biometric chip in your, in your passport. I look into a camera and it just matches you know me to my passport and I just walk in. There's conveniences to this, but I think that I'd like I like using the scanner, but that doesn't mean that once I get to the UK, I want to be tracked. You know, everywhere where I go by surveillance cameras that make it possible to follow me and see who I talk to, and UK is kind of on the brink of that it's convenient, unless you try to opt out if you say what you technically, legally allowed to do.
0:24:07 - Leo Laporte
If you say no, no, no, you know, do something else, good luck. They don't think you're going to go. They don't like that. I'm not. I mean honestly, I just do it. I think and I think I'm probably not alone at Disneyland, on the cruise ships, at the airport, everywhere they're starting to Amazon go stores, right, I mean, it's everywhere.
0:24:35 - Kashmir Hill
I mean, I think, yes, it's there in terms of here's this token to allow you to access the service, but I think that's very different from your easily identifiable when you're at a protest. So I've been thinking about it.
Yeah, that's a good point, yeah like I've been thinking about it with the all these students right now at campuses across the country who are protesting and you know being there and their faces are showing and they're saying whether they're for Israel, they're for Gaza. And you have these employers right now who are revoking some people's you know job offers because of their political activity and with these tools that exist now, you could take a photo of a bunch of student protesters and you can go, run their photo and know what their names and if there are these kinds of consequences for that political activity, it happens like that and I really do think that's. That is chilling and it will change our ability to express our opinions and, yeah, do things that are embarrassing in public, because it will so easily be able to be tracked back to you by either a government or a company or just normal people if we all have an app like this on our phones so I.
0:25:46 - Leo Laporte
It's a really important distinction. So when I use clear, for instance, the airport, I'm giving them I think I give them an iris scan, actually as well as face, but that's a private database that they're matching with my subsequent appearances there. Oh yeah, that's him. We've already verified that person. That's not a now public database. It can't, are we? Do we know that these private companies that are doing this kind of data collection are not sharing it with companies that do things like clear for you, where they have a massive database and they match pictures in the public with that database? In other words, should I worry about using, let's say, clear?
0:26:26 - Kashmir Hill
I'm sure you've read the terms of service, so you know, of course.
0:26:29 - Leo Laporte
I know exactly what they're doing. Yeah, yeah, maybe I should go back and look at that.
0:26:36 - Kashmir Hill
But yeah, I think there's a difference between facial recognition for your convenience to get a benefit versus it getting used against you like a biomass and square garden because you're a lawyer and they don't want you to go in there.
0:26:49 - Leo Laporte
I want to go to the MSG sphere in Vegas. But now I'm not think James Dolan may keep, keep, keep me out don't say anything bad about it.
0:26:57 - Kashmir Hill
Never want to get in there love the Dolan's.
0:26:59 - Leo Laporte
I think they are great stewards of the nation's concert and hockey venues.
0:27:05 - Kashmir Hill
Alex what do you do when faced?
0:27:06 - Leo Laporte
with face, go next. When faced with face recognition, do you decline?
0:27:14 - Alex Kantrowitz
No, I mean I'll use it. I think, at this point, like it's, you know, it's one tool in a handful that companies just have to track us. And you know, I don't know, I think that, like, I'm going to try to make decisions I don't know, this is kind of a crazy thing to say but I'm not going to make decisions that are going to get me on the wrong end of these tools and, honestly, like, if I mean, I think that, like, James Dillon has a right to prohibit lawyers who are suing him from coming into his van.
0:27:46 - Leo Laporte
Well, what about somebody who works for a firm but isn't suing him, like that mom and her girl scout troop, who had to stand outside where they went to watch the Rockettes? She wasn't suing him. I guess he has the right to.
0:27:57 - Alex Kantrowitz
He owns it Right, his bed and his business will face consequences for me because, he's never going to go to MSG Like he might lose his liquor license.
Yeah, if you're using it in this manner, then you, you know, I mean, maybe you'll you'll, you know, be fine when Taylor Swift comes to town, but there are going to be moments where you're going to need to get butts in the seats and you're not going to be able to do it.
I mean, I look at the popularity of the Nix it's just gone down the drain with him as the owner. So I think these strong arm tactics, they end up, you know, coming back to haunt you. And in terms of job loss, I think it's an important point to talk about for a moment, because, you know, my understanding is that no one's law, and maybe I could be wrong, so maybe cash can help me figure this one out. I don't think anyone's lost a job for a political stance that they've taken. I think the people that I've been fired over the past two weeks have lost their, their job offers and there's one that there's one that I'm sure of for explicit, supportive terrorism, which is a completely different than having like a different just how about the case of Patty Cosgrove, ceo of web summit?
0:28:56 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, let's talk about this, because this he says, or he wrote on X, which is first of all. First of all, can I just say people stopped, stopped tweeting, stop. There's no good ever came of that, no matter what you say.
0:29:13 - Amanda Silberling
Good life advice generally for everybody.
0:29:15 - Leo Laporte
He was shocked he says on X at the rhetoric of Western leaders and governments in response to Israel's bombardment of Gaza. Quote war crimes, or war crimes, even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are. By the way, that seems. That doesn't seem to be a false statement to me, nor does it even is it even saying I, I support, you know, hamas. It's not saying I support Hamas. Nevertheless, he had to resign and and he did because a lot of the people who were going to wed some dropped out. I don't want to get in trouble, but I think that what he said sounds completely reasonable A war crime is a war crime, regardless of who commits it. He says we condemn the attacks by Hamas, but we're devastated to see the terrible killings and the level of innocent civilian casualties in Israel and Gaza. In Israel and Gaza, it doesn't seem so bad.
0:30:19 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I think in a lot of the online discourse around this, it feels like people aren't totally leaving space for the nuance that Hamas is not the people who live in Gaza and the Israeli government is not the people who live in Israel or Jewish people, and there is a lot of nuance there and I think sometimes people the internet's been a weird place lately. Let's just say that.
0:30:51 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, my daughter's 31. And she says, because I ask her whenever social stuff comes up, because I'm an old man, I don't know. And she says there's so much subtlety and so much history. Everybody feels like they have to have a hot take, but very, very few people actually have the knowledge to have a take, any take at all on this. You know they don't have a dog in this hunt, but there's such butt and you see this everywhere. There's incredible social pressure and other kinds of pressure, economic pressure, to take a stand when we're the other.
0:31:25 - Alex Kantrowitz
So I have a perspective on this. I'm planning to go to Web Summit this year. I know Patty for years at this point and I would tend to agree. I do not think he should have had to step down or there should have been, you know, this level of reaction to what he did. Now, listen, I think that what he did in a few of the tweets like you're right, like you don't really need a tweet, especially on the day of the attack.
0:31:49 - Leo Laporte
It's this hot take thing is such is so it's some. It's a dumb thing to do. Sit back, listen and learn. You don't have to express your opinion. The first thing out of the gate.
0:32:01 - Alex Kantrowitz
And I think that, like commenting on, you know, the potential for war crimes or commenting on about the lives of innocent civilians, you know totally in bounds and nothing to the extent of what we've seen over the past year. I mean, I'm ashamed. Like Cornell, where I went to school, there was a professor who stood there in the middle of the rally talking about the October 7th attacks and talked about how he was exhilarated by them.
0:32:25 - Amanda Silberling
Well, that's sad and that's not an isolated.
0:32:27 - Leo Laporte
That's just nuts.
0:32:28 - Alex Kantrowitz
This stuff is happening all over the place.
0:32:30 - Leo Laporte
Nobody should be exhilarated by by commandos coming in and killing people at a music festival. That's exactly. That's appalling. That's as bad as right yeah.
0:32:40 - Alex Kantrowitz
So I think, I think, then I think, after those attacks happened, there's discussion to be had about the war, because it's not, it goes, attacks, war, like talk about. You know, to say there was a reason why the September 11th attacks happened, or to say you were exhilarated by the attacks, out of bounds to talk about the human cost of life when it comes to the response, totally in bounds, and I think that's what Patty was doing. Now, if you're in Israeli, you might say Patty responded in this way, so quickly, before the bodies were even cold, that you don't want to participate in Web Summit. I think that's that, you know that is a rational or that's an understandable response. But, like I said, like I, you know I'm planning to go. I don't think that you know weighing in on the conflict. You know the way he did is is cancelable offense, so to speak, and it has been interesting to kind of see it play out.
0:33:38 - Leo Laporte
I also feel like a lot of people, especially companies, respond not out of any strong philosophical point of view or moral or ethical point of view, but because they're worried about how people, they're worried about getting canceled themselves. And I'm like I'm not one of those people who talks about cancel culture because that's been a kind of a BS tagline for many years, but this definitely got canceled.
0:34:11 - Alex Kantrowitz
But he still owns 82 80 something percent of Web Summit, so he'll be okay.
0:34:17 - Leo Laporte
I, you know.
0:34:18 - Amanda Silberling
I think we were really seeing how social media changes the way that we talk about these global conflicts. Like already, like when Russia invaded Ukraine, elon Musk did not own Twitter. It's a completely different platform now, with completely different platform guidelines not completely different, but like substantially different. And even just in like a year and a half, the way that people are using social media to communicate about war is changing and that's really interesting and scary. Like I feel like TikTok, even like people posting from war zones, is not something that we saw before the Russia-Ukraine war started.
0:35:03 - Leo Laporte
Well, and there's, and then there's this issue of disinformation, and it's been very hard to disambiguate those real information from the disinformation even among well known media sources. I don't know what's true or what's not.
0:35:21 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I think I'm biased, but I think we just keep coming back to the fact of maybe growing technology as fast as you can with no regard for how it impacts people is maybe bad, and maybe releasing these really, really sophisticated generative AI models into the wild oh my God Is, it's just beginning. Maybe there should have been a little more regulation there. I don't know.
0:35:48 - Leo Laporte
Well, I'm not sure I'm a fan of regulation either. This is why it's so difficult. Should Clearview AI be going to jail Kashmir Hill? Should there's founders and the people behind it? Should they be in trouble?
0:36:03 - Kashmir Hill
I mean, I think they have evolved to using it in a somewhat responsible way, in terms of putting it in the hands only of law enforcement, to use it to solve crimes. Even then, though, do we want? Every time police are looking to solve a crime in some part of the United States, they're going through a lineup of 30 billion faces, including probably all of us. Is that appropriate? Is that an appropriate search to search everyone in the world to solve a shoplifting crime? Yeah, that might be disproportionate.
0:36:39 - Leo Laporte
0:36:40 - Kashmir Hill
And sometimes it's going to go wrong.
0:36:43 - Leo Laporte
You mentioned Taylor Swift. This is the example, the counter example, I always use. She has stalkers, of course. She has used face recognition at her concerts to keep people known who are problematic out. Now probably they're also extends to people who are innocent, but look the same, or but? Or maybe they're people of color, so face recognition doesn't work for them. But I think she has the right to do that and it may be the most effective way, short of having hundreds of people at every entrance scanning the audience. I mean, you do it with humans, why not do it with AI? Maybe, if it's even better? I don't know if she used Clearview or not, but that's the kind of thing that she's used for.
0:37:32 - Kashmir Hill
I mean, I do think that there are beneficial uses of facial recognition technology. Clearly, the Taylor Swift monitor for stalkers, monitor for security threats. This is exactly why Massin Square Garden first installed facial recognition technology. They installed it in 2018 around the Emmys and I'm sure part of it was looking for people who were there in a kind of stalkery context. They also look for people who are violent in the stadium. But you get function creep, you get surveillance creep. It starts out as let's use this for security threats and then it's like well, also, it would be great to keep the lawyers out. I think China is the greatest example of this. They have rolled out facial recognition technology far more widely than we have here in the United States to address security threats but also security threats are sometimes weaker Muslims and human rights abuses, or using it to monitor the protesters in Hong Kong who were opposed to kind of the expansion of mainland power or J walkers.
Right, and then they start using it for J walkers. They start using it. There's one city that didn't want people wearing pajamas in public, so they're using facial recognition technology to name and publicly shame on social media People who wear pajamas of facial recognition, by the way, they started using it.
0:38:53 - Leo Laporte
Everyone should play it where purple velvet tuxedos when they go out.
0:38:59 - Amanda Silberling
I think, yeah, let's do it.
0:39:01 - Kashmir Hill
Public public restroom. They're having a problem with toilet paper thieves so they install installed facial recognition cameras there. So you have to look at it, you get a little bit of toilet paper and if you want more you need to wait seven minutes. So it's just like once you start rolling this out, where do you stop.
And that is where I do think regulation or laws or policies or social norms need to be kind of put in place to keep this from just being everywhere all the time in a chilling and very, you know, authoritarian, creepy way, like I don't want to live in a world where I have to look at a facial recognition camera to get toilet paper.
0:39:43 - Leo Laporte
Cashmere Hill is here. Her book is your face belongs to us. A secretive startups quest to end privacy. As we know it, you know it's not just one company in that business, but yeah, they're, they're a big one. Clear, clear view AI, also from a big technology, the podcast and the sub stack, the great Alex Cantrow it's great to see you, alex and to beer tech crunch. She's in charge of culture, senior culture, right, amanda Silverling? Great to have you. Lots more to talk about in just a moment. But first word from our sponsor, nareva, and you are EVA.
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The HDL 410 covers up to 35 feet by 55 feet and it does it with just two mics and speaker bars. So it's like just like installing you know a little, you know one of those speaker bars under your TV. It's like installing that on the wall. You could do it yourself in about half an hour. The microphones are built into that, so you get the speakers and the microphone in one unit. In fact it's really cool because with the HDL 410, you get two, which means you get this extra large meeting room or lecture hall with just two of these devices. But if it's a divisible room, you can pull the you know the divider and you can use them separately individually. So it's very flexible. The HDL 410 also features a unified coverage map which processes mic pickup from the two devices simultaneously. So now you've got one giant single mic array. A little bit smaller room, say 30 feet by 30 feet, one speaker, a mic and speaker bar. I'll do it.
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Gallup poll just did a survey of 1500 teens adolescents they call them just over half. 51% say they spend at least four hours a day on YouTube, tiktok, instagram, facebook or X. Four hours a day, the. Among across age groups, the average time spent on social media ranges from as low as 4.1 hours a day for 13 year olds to 5.8 out 5.8 hours a day for 17 year olds, girls spend more than boys on social media 5.3 hours average versus 4.4 averages. You can see the whole breakdown here. This is from the familial and adolescent health survey Gallup conducted last summer. Actually, sometimes I think these numbers are low.
0:45:28 - Kashmir Hill
I think they're low too. They're self reported. I noticed it's not like access to the screen time reports for their device. I spend four hours.
0:45:36 - Leo Laporte
You know you get the screen time. It's not, it's more. I mean, even my screen time is more.
0:45:43 - Alex Kantrowitz
You have 2005. Go ahead, 2005, 2006, nielsen numbers had teens watching let's see four hours and 35 minutes a day television and in 2019, it was 62% sorry, four hours a day on screen media from teens. So this is sort of tracking like you have. You go to school and then you have a period of time that doesn't include eating dinner with your family assuming you do that and that's your screen time. Then you go to bed.
0:46:14 - Leo Laporte
I was shifted from TV to screens. I remember 15 years ago, my daughter doing her homework with a chatroom open on a O, l and and a group voice calls going on at the same time. So I guess you could be doing your homework and having some screen time.
0:46:31 - Alex Kantrowitz
Now the AI is doing the homework for them.
0:46:32 - Leo Laporte
Oh, yeah, that makes it a lot easier. Yeah, is it? I mean, is this a problem or not? You know, I don't want to be. There's so much. There's so many scare stories you know about. Oh, young girls and adolescents are having so so many social problems and mental health problems because of their extensive time on social media. I mean they honestly you don't know why it might be just because they're thinking climate change is going to ruin their lives. Maybe that's what's bothering them. You know, we don't know what it is, and maybe they're not even bothered. I don't know.
0:47:07 - Amanda Silberling
I think there's really benefits and drawbacks of social media, where there are a lot of cases when we have very much seen the documented impact of like is Facebook and Instagram making teen girls depressed or like. I don't think I need to make the argument that social media has its drawbacks, but I do think there are points in which social media can be used to bring people together and people form community on social media and that's something I think kind of gets under discussed, but it really kind of is a minefield, because, okay, maybe you form community on social media and then someone in the community turns out to be an unsavory person who you do not want to be talking to, and that's why we need trust and safety. Mark Andreessen.
0:48:02 - Leo Laporte
Oh yeah, he says we don't need that. We don't need, by the way, elon says we don't need it either. According to the Verge, blue checkmarks on X are superspreaders of misinformation about the war. The verified ones, the verified ones, actually. This is. They're quoting a study by NewsGuard at a for-profit organization that rates the trustworthiness of news sites. They analyzed the 250 most engaged posts on X between the 7th and the 14th. That promoted incorrect or unverified information, and verified X accounts were 74% of the misinformation. I'm not surprised at all, which kind of makes you wonder what Elon's plan the not-a-bot $1 charge $1 a year charge is going to do. If people are willing to spend $8 to spread disinformation a month, elon thinks them spending a dollar a year is going to stop the bots.
0:49:03 - Alex Kantrowitz
I've always been in favor of having you know people pay or get cut in on the revenue of a social media site. If you're a user and you're producing content for that site, you should get part of the reward when things go well and you create value for the site. But, leo, I think what you're talking about here, this spreading of misinformation from blue checks, is so important because what's happened is, once Elon has cut the users in on the revenue, they're doing whatever they can to get those views and it's sort of proven my entire thesis wrong, because what's happened is it's been an incentive to spread something incendiary, outrage-inducing, fake, as long as you get those sweet, sweet views, because those views lead to dollars. And when you think about the misinformation problem that Twitter has right now, it's largely due to the incentive. People respond to the incentives. The incentives are money and that's why you're seeing this headline.
0:49:59 - Leo Laporte
That's a great insight To engagement has always been the premium on Twitter, even before there was money to be made, and the way you get people to engage is by outraging them, and so that's always been a problem at Twitter. Now, by charging $8 and giving you a chance to make that money back, you're actually amplifying this trend and making it worse. Is that what you're saying? Yeah, absolutely.
0:50:27 - Kashmir Hill
I said exactly Are people actually getting those checks though?
0:50:31 - Leo Laporte
Oh, for eight bucks you can get one. Anybody can get one. Actually, wait a minute. The New York Times just lost this check.
0:50:38 - Kashmir Hill
I thought they were giving checks originally or they're giving money to people originally, but then it kind of came off. There were a lot of people who were actually getting paid.
0:50:49 - Leo Laporte
Promises were made, shall we say.
0:50:54 - Amanda Silberling
Alex makes a great point, though, because I do think I will criticize Elon Musk up the wazoo. Is that the phrase? I don't know, but I do think that the revenue share that he has been doing is actually like it's the wrong direction, really good practice.
But yeah, but then now, because of the thing where, if you have a blue check, you get promoted and replies, if you're someone who is like a spammer or a scammer and you're trying to make money off of Twitter, it's like you're incentivized to have more engagement. And then you see this even on the Twitter, like on. This is just an example, but on the Phillies Twitter they will post pictures of the players walking into the clubhouse and sometimes they're wearing like fun Phillies t-shirts and if you reply to that tweet saying anything, you get replied by like 10 blue check accounts that are like here's where you can buy the shirt, oh, and they're just kind of like going on, I don't know, like thread list, whatever those websites are, the like prints on demand red button and like this is how people are trying to make money.
So people do the same thing with misinformation Right.
0:52:11 - Kashmir Hill
And it's not unique to rev share. I mean, this has been happening on Facebook forever with disinformation, because it's how you get people to click and show them ads, and this is like the monetization of the internet is extremism, outrage and, apparently, misinformation. Disinformation works.
0:52:31 - Leo Laporte
The New York Times. Your publication had a gold verification badge until Thursday when Elon refoked it because he's pissed off. The Washington Post reported they have their gold check mark still, so I can trust them. The post wrote the move further extends musks attempts to use the social media company, bought with claims of defending free speech, to undercut news organizations he dislikes. Do you have any opinion about that? New York Times writer.
0:53:08 - Kashmir Hill
I can offer no special insight or comment on this. I will just say I think the New York Times is a great news source. I deserves all the gold checks and you should definitely subscribe, like and follow the New York Times.
0:53:21 - Leo Laporte
It's got a gold check in my book. I'll tell you.
0:53:24 - Kashmir Hill
I'm a subscriber before I work there. I'm a big fan of New York Times.
0:53:27 - Leo Laporte
I've been a subscriber forever. In fact it just my mom, who's just moved into assisted living, she's 90, loves the crossword puzzle. So I got her the Sunday Times because that keeps her busy all week and she gets the paper, which it's some there's a ritual of getting. If I didn't work every Sunday, I'd probably do it too, but getting the Sunday Times pouring through it takes you all day to read it and you do the crossword puzzle.
0:53:50 - Amanda Silberling
Now the rituals, waking up and doing the wordle, wordle, and there's connections.
0:53:54 - Leo Laporte
Weren't they smart? Weren't they smart to buy wordle? That was so smart. Yep, they were people still wordle.
0:54:03 - Amanda Silberling
Oh, they do, they do, but I feel like New York Times has actually made a lot of money off of that.
0:54:09 - Leo Laporte
Oh yeah, they didn't pay that much.
0:54:12 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, in past earnings reports they've said that the gaming section has had a big increase in revenue since buying wordle. So good for them.
0:54:22 - Kashmir Hill
I guess the New York Times. New York Times has been very smart when it comes to kind of diversifying beyond news, like the games, the cooking app. I pay for the cooking app. Why are you cutting Yep, yep, why are you?
0:54:37 - Leo Laporte
cutting too. No, in fact, everybody agrees this is the digital strategy to emulate. Very few newspapers have made it into the 21st century, let alone succeeded as well as the New York Times. The Washington Post just laid off 260 people. You'd think, with Jeff Bezos as the owner, either they would just keep paying them because he has infinite money, or B they'd figure out a good digital strategy. But no, the Times has it as the one that's figured it all out. That's how cashmere works there. Cashmere, I know you've got to get going because your kids are right at the limit I think the timer is going off right now on their screen time but I want to thank you so much for joining us. The book, your Face, belongs to Us. A secretive start-ups quest and privacy. As we know it, cashmere's been on this Clearview AI beat since day one. You're the one who revealed who they were and who this founder was, and the whole story I did.
0:55:38 - Kashmir Hill
They're a fascinating company. I mean the character is writing this book. I read a lot of Michael Lewis and David Grand to get ready to write this. They are just a fascinating group of strange characters. It felt like writing fiction sometimes, Just how they did this, how they put together this company and did what other companies weren't willing to do. It was quite a story and I was happy to tell it.
0:56:06 - Leo Laporte
And really they always say that newspapers are the first draft of history. This is, I think, a book that people will read in the future to see exactly how it all went to hell, when it all began Cashmere. Thank you so much for joining us. We rely on your reporting. We spend more time talking about Cashmere and Hill's stories here than almost anybody else. I really appreciate the work you do. Thank you for joining us, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for inviting me on.
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We thank them so much for supporting this week in tech. In fact, I'm just looking at the chat room. There are a lot of people who love Mintmobile and there's one guy saying why are you dressed like Willy Wonka? So you know, there's that too. Amanda Silverling is here. She writes about culture and tech at the wonderful Tech Crunch Colleague of our good friend, alex Wilhelm. Alex Cantrowitz is also here. He is big technology. Bigtechnologycom. Big technology also the big technology podcast. That's how you say it Big tech. You interview so many great people on that show. I'm always jealous, thinking why did you get them? How'd you interview the biggies? Good job, we have a good time. Yeah, thank you. Yeah, really good job. Your most recent podcast? You talk about John Stewart. Oh, yes.
1:00:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
Interesting story. He and Apple are parting ways, potentially over some content that he had that was China related, and Apple wasn't so happy about that. And that's happening as there's this Belt and Road summit that China's putting on, where they're trying to, you know, enhance this multi-pole world where Xi and Putin are hanking out and, of course, apple is stuck in the middle where, like they, you know, they are in the United States and they need China. 20% of the revenue comes from China and you know we've seen little bits and pieces of that relationship being kind of tugged apart as China and the United States are at odds, and so we discussed that, you know, on the show talking a little bit about where does Apple go if we really are in a multi-polar world, and it's not gonna be pretty for them, it's gonna be tough.
1:01:12 - Leo Laporte
I guess the Times had sources inside because he talked to members of his staff on Thursday. The Times says a Stewart and Apple executives had disagreements over some of the topos and guests on the show. The show is the problem with John Stewart. According to two people that they talked to, stewart told members of his staff on Thursday that it was topics related to China and artificial intelligence that were concerned. Now he has, I thought, creative control of his show. Right, he would never have signed this deal without it and the story is he has creative control, so can he just say well, thanks for the notes, I'm going right ahead.
1:01:53 - Alex Kantrowitz
I mean, I imagine that's what happened, where he's like no, I'm doing it the way that I want to, and then Apple's like we're done, and the show was rated low anyway.
So, clearly this was a red line. They didn't want to step over criticizing China because that could have. I mean, I don't know, leo, if you recall, but a few weeks ago, china told government employees in some agencies that they should not be using iPhones in their offices, and that was a signal to people across China that if you have national pride, you use the phones made in China. And Huawei is now the most popular phone in China, not the iPhone, and that was Apple stock.
1:02:29 - Leo Laporte
This is just further intention Took a rare tumble when that news came out that the government employees weren't allowed to use the iPhone in China.
1:02:35 - Alex Kantrowitz
People saw how serious?
1:02:36 - Leo Laporte
that was, yeah, absolutely. First of all, a lot of people in China work for the government, I guess not surprising and so it was really a big hit on Apple's revenue because, frankly, the iPhone is kind of stagnated everywhere. But China, maybe India, is another big area where they could make gains. Apple needs that. But at the same time, if Apple this is, see, this is why I really don't. I don't like it that Google owns YouTube, that Apple owns a content arm. This is where it's problematic, right, because you're not going to get reliable news at a corporate media if they're in a bunch of different businesses.
1:03:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
Especially not about China. If you're watching Apple TV, that's for sure. I guess I have to cancel my vacation to Beijing now. But no, seriously, it's a real issue.
1:03:29 - Leo Laporte
Just use a VPN. Oh, never mind, I guess you won't be doing that either. Yeah, I mean you probably Apple has not been commented and probably if they were to comment they could say well, you should have seen the ratings, of course we canceled it.
1:03:46 - Alex Kantrowitz
Good ratings One way to insulate. If it was Ted Lasso, it would be something different. Yeah, exactly, that show has been bad. It doesn't pace very well. We talked about this on the show Friday, but it doesn't pace well. It doesn't seem very well thought out. It doesn't try to emulate some of the magic that John Stuart had in his first go around at the Daily Show. It seems like a show by someone who's out of touch, who's been given a lot of money by Apple and they say do whatever you want, and they ride that and don't respect what the audience wants.
1:04:16 - Leo Laporte
I loved the Daily Show. I loved him on the Daily Show. I have not watched one episode of the problem and I'm sure I'm not alone on that.
1:04:23 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, he did some good stuff. He had a great interview with Bob Iger, but overall it was underwhelming.
1:04:29 - Leo Laporte
Some critics found this is from CNN. Who's probably laughing. Some critics found Stuart's early guests boring, including former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and SEC Chair Gary Gensler. Others called it an angrier, less funny version of the Daily Show. That was accurate, for sure.
1:04:49 - Amanda Silberling
What does it say about me that I'm like? Oh, gary Gensler, that sounds like an interesting interview.
1:04:53 - Leo Laporte
I know, I thought those are good guests.
1:04:55 - Alex Kantrowitz
I'd be happy. That was a good interview actually, yeah.
1:04:58 - Leo Laporte
Oh, I have to go listen to it. It's not mainstream. That's the problem it's not mainstream. You also had Molly White on your show talking about SBF. She's great. She wrote the what is it? Web 3 is going just fine.
1:05:12 - Amanda Silberling
Website Right 3 is going great. It's going great. She is great.
1:05:16 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh, molly is a brilliant, brilliant analyst. And I spent two days downtown in Manhattan. It was just a few subways stops away In the courtroom. I was already in the courthouse, was in an overflow room watching the case the SBF case as it went down. So two days there. I watched Caroline Ellison testify against Yikes and then I was like this is an episode Like not only did I write about it for big technology, but I like DM Molly and I said please come on and speak with me about what I've seen, because I have a decent amount of knowledge. But to be able to riff on that with someone like Molly who is like so deep into it, was terrific. And we got into some really weird and interesting places, like the spot that the effective altruism movement is in now, because they put so much of their weight behind San Bagueman Freed and now it turns out he was there.
1:06:10 - Leo Laporte
It was a scammer. He was a man, a Bernie.
1:06:13 - Alex Kantrowitz
Madoff Exactly, and he even told Caroline Ellison that he's a utilitarian. And this was like she said I'm a utilitarian and that means I can lie or steal from someone else, I can see what I know.
But I can lie or steal as long as it serves my ends and my good world-improving ends. And it was interesting being in this room because there were things that Caroline Ellison said who she was, the CEO of Alameda, his ex-girlfriend that were just so astonishing. Like you hear her make this case OK, all this money is flowing out of FTX. And then it's clear that this thing is going down and Sam is running out of options. So what does he come to her and suggest they do? Raise money from Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. And when she said that MBS was the backup plan, this whole room started cracking up Really.
1:06:59 - Leo Laporte
Wow, that's the nice thing about being in the overflow room. You can't laugh in the overflow room, you can always laugh in the overflow room. There's no champagne in the overflow room, but you can always laugh.
1:07:09 - Alex Kantrowitz
No, you couldn't eat there. One of the best live shows I've seen in New York to date.
1:07:14 - Leo Laporte
Highly recommended Four stars, says Alex Cantrowitz. Jeff Jarvis hiped me to this. This is an acronym that Timnit Gebru and Emile Torres came up with, Tess Creal, which we were talking earlier about Mark Andreessen, who is also in this group. Tess Creal is a terrible acronym. It stands for transhumanism, extropianism, singulitarianism, cosmism, rationalism, effective altruism and long termisms. All these isms have one thing in common, and it's utilitarianism. I can do whatever I want right now because I'm thinking about the future, Right.
1:07:58 - Amanda Silberling
That's a terrible acronym.
1:08:01 - Leo Laporte
It doesn't roll off the tongue, I admit, but it's useful because there are all these different and, by the way, mark Andreessen is absolutely in this group. When he says there'll be 50 billion humans in the solar system, he's really thinking about them, not about the seven or eight billion here right now who are in a world of pain, a world of hurt. That's fine. That's fine because we're going to solve it and we're going to become a trans-Earth society. Their brains are mush from too much science fiction or something.
1:08:38 - Amanda Silberling
This stuff makes me feel crazy, like I'm living in a completely different world than them, where I think about a world with 50 billion people and I'm like we can't take care of the eight billion, or however many are currently in the world Right and I like Well it's worse than that because the point is that if we have more people, then we'll have the tech to deal with it, but that hasn't been true so far.
And also it's just insane to hear people talk about call and hyzing Mars, and I feel like I'm living on a different planet than Silicon Valley.
1:09:16 - Leo Laporte
Well, you are, and this is the worst thing about this test grill, which is a mosh of a bunch of things, but almost all of them is people. Today don't matter. We need to do something for the 50 billion down the road that we have to think about the future of the human race, which is fine, but it really allows a lot of bad behavior today. It's singulitarianism is one of them. That's the idea that the machines are going to become as smart as humans any day now with our AGI, and that's going to be a trend. It's a bunch of sci-fi, is what it is Now. I love sci-fi, but I don't think it's real and I don't think it's really a pointer to where we should be going. But people like Elon Musk and SPF and you know what's his name, I've cleverly forgotten his name and Dresen, Mark and Dresen they are living in this future. That isn't real.
1:10:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
And that's why we see these big AI statements like this call for a pause in AI development, or this statement that we must be careful about the harm that AI is going to lead to in the long term, signed by all these people. I don't think people fully understand that this is coming out of this test creole, which I love I never heard that term but coming out of this ideology, this singularityism and effective altruism. It is a belief again that we have to care more about the future than the present and in there. So it might not seem like there's this imminent threat of chat GPT coming into your kitchen and stabbing you with a knife, but this is the thing they care about the most.
1:10:58 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, and actually it's a little confusing because Dresen also argues against slowing down AI. One of his points is we believe any deceleration of AI will and get ready for this cost lives, deaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder. You know, only if you are worth $1.7 billion can you live in this world, in this crazy twisted world. He's insulated from any sense of reality. Just as you said, amanda, he never met a poor person, or if he has, he's forgotten it, he's put it out of his mind.
1:11:42 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I mean I said this in the article and I don't live in San Francisco, but when I visit San Francisco which only ever is for work it's like we have tech crunch, disrupt, and there is so much wealth in this building and then outside there's homeless people, and it's just when you go to San Francisco I mean there's a homelessness problem in a lot of places, but it just feels so like the juxtaposition of this immense wealth and then this immense poverty and the role that tech has played in that poverty. I'm on my soapbox.
No, it's true, san Francisco it's just hard to imagine walking around San Francisco and not seeing this.
1:12:29 - Leo Laporte
It's the personification of that, because there is such a wealth gap and I think you're right created by technology.
1:12:40 - Amanda Silberling
I don't know why it's just hard to convince these people to care about people that are suffering now. I think it's great if we care about people who are suffering in 100 years, but there's also a lot of issues.
1:12:51 - Leo Laporte
Now they explicitly say we should not worry about that because we're thinking down the road, so we don't need to worry about it. I don't think that makes sense. No, it makes no sense. It's a fantasy world. You say at one point Idrisa makes the case that free markets prevent monopolies because the market naturally disciplines. But just look around you, mark. That's not true. It's just not true. Although, as you also point out, there is a AI that can play Pokemon Red.
1:13:33 - Amanda Silberling
There is, and I think this is a great use of that guy. Now, this is the singularity baby. So what's the 50,000 hours of?
1:13:41 - Leo Laporte
training. What is this?
1:13:45 - Amanda Silberling
There's this software engineer, Peter Whitton, who just in his spare time had been working on this project where he used kind of like a Pavlovian reinforcement algorithm to train an AI to play Pokemon Red.
1:14:07 - Leo Laporte
By the way, this is an old game. This is the first Pokemon game, right?
1:14:10 - Amanda Silberling
Oh yeah, this one's from the 90s, but it's just really interesting to me, like, I think what really struck me about this is that. So the engineer, like made this 30 minute long video explaining the process and in it, like, the AI gets rewards and like loses the rewards based on certain things. Like you want to win a battle, that gives you a reward. You want to level up your Pokemon, that gives you a reward, and one of the rewards was exploration. But the exploration is based on, like, the pixels on the screen moving.
And there was one point where the AI just sits in a patch of grass and just watches the water move and the people are walking around him and the AI is just like this is great, like he's just enjoying nature, because the exploration thing was being triggered and I just thought that was very funny. And there was another case where the AI, like experienced something akin to trauma by depositing a Pokemon into the PC, which removes the Pokemon from his party, and then there was a reward based on leveling up the total level in your party. But if you put a Pokemon away, then the total level goes down and then the AI never wanted to go into the Pokemon Center again. This probably sounds all like gibberish if you're not familiar with Pokemon, but I just thought it was a really cool project and it's fun to just write about, like random engineer in Seattle does a cool thing.
1:15:43 - Leo Laporte
And and maybe this is human this is kind of a human trait. It does seem emergent, doesn't it? It seems like there's emergent qualities out of playing all this Pokemon, where it's starting to become kind of human.
1:15:59 - Amanda Silberling
No, yeah, I mean that's what I found interesting about. It is like obviously a computer isn't actually experiencing trauma, but to see these responses that are like weirdly similar to how humans react to things, it's just interesting to me.
1:16:16 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, Well, that's really one of the questions about a GI. We talk a lot about a GI. We have a show about AI now in our club, twit, with Jeff Jarvis and Jason Howlin, Of course. On twig we talk a lot about it.
One of the things that's kind of interesting about AI and the notion that AI could become human like is the question about our own intelligence. Like what is it that? I'm, you know, and I think I have an old fashioned belief that humans are somehow different than anything a machine could ever do. There's really no evidence for that, and when you start seeing emergent properties in a machine playing Pokemon red, where it's sitting and looking at the water, I mean we don't know what's going on in the head of that thing. But how do we know that? That's not how we got there. We don't right. Maybe we are just the emergent properties of a bunch of neurons mushed together in a bunch of gray matter. People who believe it were the computers. Maybe we are. I don't want to get too weird, but that's what makes me think of that's it's.
1:17:26 - Alex Kantrowitz
You wouldn't and Elon agree that we're in a simulation, so you found some common ground.
1:17:30 - Leo Laporte
I don't know that's different from being in a simulation. It's just that because for a long time I and I've even had this argument with Ray Kurzweil, who's one of the guys who came up with the notion of singularity that there's something that human beings have or do. You could call it a soul. I don't believe in the soul, but there's something unique about us that a machine can't duplicate we have consciousness. A machine can appear to be conscious. Kurzweil, by the way, said well, what's the difference? If we can't tell the difference between appearing to be conscious and being conscious, then what's the difference? What does it matter that there's a difference? But but I've talked about this with Steve Gibson. He says well, that's all our brains are, is advanced AI's, you know anyway, I don't want to get all philosophical, but it's a fascinating subject and I like this article. 50,000 hours and now. Does it play Pokemon red the same way a human would, or does it have a unique characteristics to it?
1:18:34 - Amanda Silberling
I mean it's probably it plays a lot worse than a human would. Okay, that's good news for humans. I think a six year old playing Pokemon is going to be better than this AI, but it is really hard to get it to do the things and even talking to the developer, he had to start the game from like maybe like 1% into the game instead of 0%, because the AI couldn't understand. Like you have to pick a certain Pokemon that makes it easier to beat the first gym and like that may also be winning on accident.
1:19:13 - Leo Laporte
That may also be how winning has trained it. Widen has trained it right it's. He may not be, he may have other goals. I mean he. I think this is almost an art project as much as anything else.
1:19:23 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, and I think also this is like a much less sophisticated AI than like a massive company could make, but this is just like a guy making a thing in his spare time. It raises fascinating issues, yeah.
1:19:35 - Leo Laporte
I've always been fascinated by the game of life and other automata. You know digital automatons because they can evolve, it seems, after a while, and you really wonder if there's a distinction between them and us. It's a fascinating field. Let's talk a little bit about Qualcomm. We've got a big event coming up. As you know, apple shocked the world with Apple Silicon. A lot of chip manufacturers looked at what Apple did with the M1 and M2 and soon M3 chips and said Wow, both in performance and, most importantly, performance per watt. They just scooped everybody. Intel has had a hard time coming up with something to compete.
Qualcomm says it's going to have its Apple Silicon moment with the new Snapdragon X. Tuesday will be Snapdragon Day, the Snapdragon Summit, and at noon Qualcomm's keynote and we are going to cover that live on the network. So we're going to start iOS today a little bit early 8 30 on Tuesday. Mac break weekly. We're going to start now early 10 am these are all Pacific times and at noon Pacific we will cover the Snapdragon keynote. This could be very important because Windows runs on PCs right, windows on arm. Microsoft's been kind of betting on Windows and arm, but Windows and arm has always run like a dog, partly because of the hardware, so the promise that a Snapdragon X might be something better than we've seen so far is very intriguing.
Qualcomm acquired a company called Nuvia in 2021. Nuvia was founded by former Apple chip makers and, in fact, apple, I think, sued them as I remember. So Qualcomm got some very powerful technology. Yeah, apple sued Gerard Williams, who is current Qualcomm engineering SVP, for poaching Apple employees and for some reason, apple dropped the suit earlier this year. Maybe they felt there was no merit, but Qualcomm is going to release something interesting and we will talk about it on on Tuesday at noon Pacific, if you want to tune in for that. Any thoughts on that? I don't know if that's really not in either of your field, but go ahead, alex.
1:21:58 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, I just have one thought on that, which is that the market is not buying that Qualcomm is going to release anything interesting here. The S&P 500 is up about 13% in the year. Qualcomm's up 1% is down 6% in the past year and it's dead money since August 2020.
1:22:15 - Leo Laporte
And the market has the wisdom of the crowds right.
1:22:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, analysts are like checking in. You know, they are checking with suppliers and they they will do whatever they can to get any bit of information on whether Qualcomm is going to make this great leap forward. And obviously it's not resonating and maybe that's why Apple dropped the suit. I mean, why bother? Why bother?
1:22:36 - Leo Laporte
There's also the problem that people aren't buying PCs we.
1:22:43 - Alex Kantrowitz
It was a very hot market during COVID because people were working from home and as soon as quarantine ended, PC market went through the floor and has not it was like a one year span, correct, it was a one year span where everybody upgraded, right, I mean, everybody upgraded, and now we got it Sort of yeah, you can that thing last for five years? So it's going to be it's going to be a bit of time before we're starting to see regular upgrade cycles again. Good then, it was a sugar high.
1:23:15 - Leo Laporte
Amanda, I was saying earlier in the show that there was a story of yours I bookmarked and we thought maybe it was the Mark Andreson story. No, I remember now it was Homer Simpson. Singing. Smells like teen spirit.
1:23:27 - Amanda Silberling
We're really getting the full breath of my journalistic output here, from from criticizing billionaires to talking about AI, homer Simpson.
1:23:40 - Leo Laporte
I, immediately after, after reading this article, went to me music 117 and started watching all. I watched way too many of these. They're on YouTube.
1:23:52 - Amanda Silberling
It's really funny and basically just I saw this video of Homer Simpson singing Starlight by Muse. Also smells like teen spirit. That's what I did for the headline, because that kind of is You're playing it.
1:24:08 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, he's a. It's highway to hell by pipes that Homer sounds great.
1:24:13 - Alex Kantrowitz
I mean, he can belt it.
1:24:16 - Leo Laporte
This is actually one of his better ones. Let me, let me, yeah, let's see which one, which one is teams Teen spirit here I'm trying to know there's there's a lot of the sun. He does a good weasel Listen. So what's the story is this? This is obviously AI. Homer Simpson, right?
1:24:37 - Amanda Silberling
1:24:39 - Leo Laporte
So if I were Dan Castellanata, or whoever does his voice, I'd be pissed.
1:24:43 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I mean, one of the great things about writing for TechCrunch is that they will. Let me just write random things like this, because I saw this video and it just like fascinated me, like it made me so happy.
1:24:58 - Leo Laporte
I lost an afternoon. I blame you.
1:25:02 - Amanda Silberling
And then so I wanted to write about it just as like, why not throw up a quick blog post about like here's a funny thing on the Internet and it's tech related and I don't know. But then the more I start thinking about it, the more it kind of started making me sad, because I don't know if, at me, music 117 is actually just an innocent meme account. Like I'm wondering, is this sponsored by voiceify AI?
1:25:28 - Leo Laporte
It's all with this company called voiceify AI.
1:25:31 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, and I did try it out. This is the music.
1:25:38 - Leo Laporte
I have the Tigers sung by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's not as good. That's not as good. I think Homer's better. Yeah, yeah.
1:25:47 - Amanda Silberling
And it just sort of made me think like, on one hand, I don't really care when I see like here's what John Lennon would have sounded like singing Taylor's.
1:25:56 - Leo Laporte
1:25:57 - Amanda Silberling
It's just like yeah, whatever, but for some reason with fictional characters it's like funnier. It is when you start thinking about it, like then you think about how we get taken.
1:26:08 - Kashmir Hill
Yeah, like there's a little bit taken.
1:26:11 - Amanda Silberling
There's an artist behind this and like I don't know, and then I also I mentioned this in the article, but like another one of my like favorite videos on the Internet ever is this guy like pro ZD on YouTube Singing Evanescence. Bring me to life as goofy.
1:26:29 - Leo Laporte
But this is really old. This was nine years ago.
1:26:32 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, but this guy just does like that was terrible, that sounded awful, I mean but it was a real it wasn't an. Ai say you like that goofy video.
1:26:43 - Leo Laporte
It was a real person singing that, though. That's the point.
1:26:46 - Alex Kantrowitz
Right, it wasn't. A person should be ashamed. I mean, that was bad.
1:26:49 - Amanda Silberling
I think they did a great movie. I don't know why.
1:26:51 - Alex Kantrowitz
I have an essence, but the goofy was not working for me.
1:26:54 - Leo Laporte
Let's just listen to a little bit.
1:26:56 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh no, you know I need to take a break myself. Take that long.
1:27:05 - Leo Laporte
Okay, that's enough. That's all. See just the first few notes.
1:27:10 - Amanda Silberling
My ears. This person, essentially like with the talent of voice acting, did what there was a talent is doing now.
1:27:17 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, that was really talented person.
1:27:19 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, that person's a great voice actor, but I don't know, I mean I think just the whole thing just said something. I don't know if I really came to a conclusion. It was just kind of like a quick blog post. But there's something weird happening with how we think about AI generation and art and how sometimes it's fun, but then the longer you think about it, the more it becomes like less fun.
1:27:44 - Leo Laporte
Honestly, this is the AI I like. I like Dolly, I like you know, we were on Ask the Tech guys earlier. We had a question. It was actually an interesting question. The guys got an old remote control that only works if he puts it in the fridge for half an hour, but it won't work at room temperature and we weren't sure what was going on. So I asked chat GPT and it came up with an answer could be right, could be wrong, that's the problem, I don't know, but it was fascinating and it didn't scarlett Johansson's voice. So that made me happy and that's all it needs to be. It doesn't need to be any more than that. Just let's make it an amusement. Okay, all right, I don't know. I don't want to lose you there, alex. So we're not losing me, we're forgetting. We heard that.
1:28:31 - Alex Kantrowitz
I mean I've definitely processed all the emotions. I've gone through the five stages. Now, after I heard the goofy song, yeah, I can be fun. I mean I'm good.
1:28:41 - Amanda Silberling
Five minutes. It's just going to be me and Leo Alex is going to be like I'm out of here. They made me listen to this.
1:28:48 - Leo Laporte
The lies out here, All right from the big technology substack, exclusive data. Twitter this shouldn't be too much of a surprise is shrinking under Elon Musk, except that Elon Musk and his CEO, Linda Yaccarino, keep saying it's growing. More engagement, more daily active users, more monthly active users. Where does this? Where is this data from?
1:29:10 - Alex Kantrowitz
Alex. It's from Aptopia, which has, you know, data from more than 100 million apps and public sources, other sources. So, you know, I think it's pretty credible. It's a drop of 13%, which isn't huge. Actually, this is a momentous week, leo, because on October 26, 2022, we're going to be quick to forget, but Elon walked into Twitter HQ with a sync, let that sink in and that's coming up.
1:29:39 - Leo Laporte
So, oh, that's what it should be called Sink day from now on. Oh my God.
1:29:45 - Alex Kantrowitz
And the well or shrink day, because there's Twitter is down 13% in terms of daily active users since then. So it is interesting because a lot of the things have stayed consistent. Average session per day is about 15 minutes For those daily active users. There's just fewer of them. Happy sync day. Happy sync day to everybody who celebrates. Yeah, it's obviously been a rough acquisition for Elon and the thing one more piece of data towards the bottom of the story that might be worth talking about is threads, which you know some people still view as a Twitter killer had about 20 minutes of usage a day. So actually the people who are daily active users of threads, who are also using Twitter, were spending more time on threads. Now those same users of both platforms are down to underneath five minutes of usage on threads and more than 15 on Twitter. Is there an app topio Go ahead?
1:30:40 - Leo Laporte
Go ahead. Is there somebody that topia as nominated as a replacement, or that is everybody losing? What about blue sky?
1:30:48 - Alex Kantrowitz
or something like that. Right, so here's my thing. So, also, only 10% of Twitter users have used threads, according to app topia, interesting, and so the indication is that that use of this type of social media is down across the board. Yes, I didn't ask for blue sky or mastodon data. Mastodon is a little bit more difficult to measure because it's distributed, and blue sky, I just felt, was so small that it's not even registering. Apparently, it's big in Germany right now. So well, shout out to every all the German blue sky users.
But long story short is, I think that this is a mode of technology that we use because we thought it was interesting and people used it in somewhat good faith and then less good faith for a while, but their struggle is always appealing to casual users and new users. They could never do it and it's become even harder for those you know, early users to get in and the existing users are leaving. And the thing that I mean, the rebrand, really hurt Twitter bad. You had more than 5% month over month decline, according to App Topia, in August and September. More than 5% of the user base shrinking.
1:31:52 - Leo Laporte
I'm thinking maybe that part of the problem was we overestimated the importance of Twitter, because most of the people on Twitter were journalists and broadcasters and personalities, absolutely. And so we, because we command the microphones and cameras of the world. You know, we thought this was the biggest thing, but most normal people couldn't care less.
1:32:15 - Alex Kantrowitz
And that's why there are people who are like yeah, and that's why people who are like, oh, threads is just as good as Twitter. Now it's like well, there's a lot more journalists on threads, they're trying to behave in from there, and it's okay. So at what point does it become a useful social platform? And at what point does it just become a chat room for journalists, which is what it started us and yet there is some real value, or was some real value to Twitter.
I would say there, yeah, there still is. I mean, it's, it's. I'm on it every day, less than I was, but I'm still on it. I think it's. It's a platform where you could get a tremendous amount of value if you're looking for information about news events or if you're following sports. I mean it is amazing for sports, although I've also moved. I mean, you have a discord, I've moved into discord for some of my sports stuff also. The problem with the discord.
1:32:59 - Amanda Silberling
Okay, this is a good idea for me.
1:33:01 - Leo Laporte
I love discord, but the problem with it is is, you know it will be the San Francisco 49ers discord. It won't be a general Correct.
1:33:10 - Alex Kantrowitz
And that's like it's narrower. Yeah, exactly so discord. The platform is good, but it's not these big rip roaring communities, it's these more niche communities, Wait so like.
1:33:22 - Leo Laporte
I feel like there needs to be discord. Doesn't there need to be a centralized place where we can go and put our fingers on the pulse of what's what people are talking about? Wouldn't it be nice to have that? I felt like Twitter was that. Maybe it was an illusion, but I feel like that's what Twitter was.
1:33:39 - Alex Kantrowitz
It'll still exist for those who there will be a market for it. It's just like the market never turned out to be as strong as so many people anticipated. Right, and maybe the new way this evolves is people listen to you know twit, and then they're in the twit discord, the club twit discord, or on their.
1:33:54 - Leo Laporte
Well, that's what it is, but it's narrow cast and yeah, it's narrow casting but it's.
1:33:58 - Alex Kantrowitz
Maybe those communities are healthier. I've like been in your you're the chat rooms. Let me tell you an example that's happened to me just today. I've been in your chat rooms and you know I've seen a lot of great feedback. You know they're not all of it positive, but people having a very constructive discussion in the chats. Then I log on to Twitter in my mentions and someone's like you're an oh, john Stewart, getting canned by Apple right before production. That's not happening. That's BS. It's like okay.
1:34:27 - Amanda Silberling
That's the difference between public and private.
1:34:29 - Alex Kantrowitz
I'd much rather be in the private, yeah, and that's. And, by the way, you're gonna get higher quality, you know, participation in those, because people are gonna gravitate to those communities do we need?
1:34:38 - Leo Laporte
I mean one thing that certainly has happened with uh over in my lifetime, mass media has gone from a few channels that were widely distributed and, and you know, kind of represented the, the Voice of the country, to a thousand channels and a whole bunch of fragmentation. Do we need One place, or maybe a handful of places, where you hear from everybody, where there's a national discourse about a topic?
1:35:08 - Alex Kantrowitz
I don't know.
1:35:09 - Leo Laporte
It did well without that, for you know, many, many years with Jeff Jarvis will say mass media is is really a relatively new phenomenon In the past. You know there was, you know there wasn't any national media.
1:35:23 - Alex Kantrowitz
To speak now. We have the media and so if social media, like if twitter, becomes less relevant, are we gonna lose that much like we're gonna really lose what's going on? I mean, all those journalists at the time so used to be on twitter now probably gonna be spending more time On the times products making better stories for us. And you go to the web page there, or you go to the wall street journal dot com, or you come to big technology.
We got stuff for you. Yeah, and you can have a, you know, very rich information diet with the sources that exist today, without participating. It's and leo, it's gone from a national conversation to a national, a national yelling match. It's, it is partisans and influence operations. Yeah, yeah, and and so like, who needs that?
1:36:05 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I wonder if me, is it healthier if the internet is more like tiny little communities where, like I deleted twitter for my phone just this week, it's a big week for me, um, finally after all this time, and I really want to see people tweeting about the fillies.
1:36:28 - Leo Laporte
But that's like the one thing I really miss. You could go to the fillies discord. I'm sure there's a fillies discord.
1:36:34 - Amanda Silberling
I go to like my group chat with my friends. Yeah, but like, well, I go to read it.
1:36:38 - Leo Laporte
I'm sure there's a filly sub reddit. I go to read it for the 49ers news.
1:36:43 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I guess I wonder if, like, having the ability to instantly say anything and have it have the potential to go viral is maybe not a good thing, but that's also not a twitter problem, if anything. That's more of like a tiktok problem, because you could be like someone with 20 followers on tiktok and post something and it could go viral and I don't know if we're meant to be this connected.
1:37:09 - Leo Laporte
No, it's clearly been bad for us. It's been bad for our national discourse. It's been bad for us as individuals.
1:37:16 - Amanda Silberling
But now we're just so used to it.
1:37:18 - Leo Laporte
Yeah Well, we're sucked, we're stuck. It's like fentanyl we can't get, we can't get off of it, oh jeez but now I'm like, I'm like guys.
1:37:25 - Amanda Silberling
It's been one week since I've had twitter on my phone.
1:37:27 - Leo Laporte
Are you shaking yet? I mean, are you?
1:37:30 - Amanda Silberling
There's been a couple of times when I'm like I really want to check, but it's mostly been fillies related.
1:37:37 - Alex Kantrowitz
I want you logged in with the with the web browser on mobile, yet.
1:37:40 - Amanda Silberling
I haven't yet Um honestly, I was a little worried that, like the two factor, authentication wasn't gonna work. Um Now that, like without the phone, huh, yeah.
Well, I mean I have like the app based two factor which you can get without having twitter blue, but I just kind of don't trust any of their stuff to not be broken. So I was like, is deleting the app from my phone gonna lock me out forever? I don't know. But then I did. Uh, I logged back in on a computer because I like switched the computer and I was able to log in. So here to report that the app based two factor authentication still works at x one year in.
1:38:22 - Leo Laporte
You know, I, when I quit facebook, it really had to be cold turkey, because there's no way to go on facebook if without an account, you can't see what's going on on facebook, twitter, you can. I mean, I still have an account on twitter, but you but you can, I guess. Actually, I don't know if you can read it without an account. I think he's gonna block to that.
1:38:40 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, yeah, you go to someone's account if you're logged out and you're just gonna see like tweets from uh you know, you know they. They interspersed the years like high engagement tweets over the past three years, so nothing current which is annoying and then you're lit. You can't even browse lists, logged out anymore. It's completely been destroyed.
1:39:00 - Amanda Silberling
My highest engagement tweets are like memes, like they're like nothing to do with. Like me as a professional persona. It's like me. I'm not gonna be shit posting, which I'm very good at.
1:39:12 - Leo Laporte
Oh, that's nice to know. Actually, I I stopped posting on all of these things years ago. I don't even post on reddit, I'm a read only guy, but I do, and maybe it's just selfish, but I feel like there needs to be places and maybe it's just a professional thing where I can go and see what people are talking about. I mean, I have a you know. I mean because I have these shows, I have an interest in knowing what people are interested in, what they're talking about and what the hot topics are. I kind of need somewhere, like that Twitter used to be, that there's also. You can make the argument. How are we ever going to get together as a nation if we can't, if there is not some place we can talk to each other? But there isn't anymore. There's nowhere we can all talk to each other, right?
1:39:58 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh we were able to get together as a nation before twitter existed, maybe even better than we did, you know, after it did.
1:40:04 - Leo Laporte
So maybe it's in the opposite case it's polarized, it's a lot of solidate baby. Well how do we do it before how way man, how did we talk as a nation before Through mass media, through mainstream media, right? Well we?
1:40:17 - Alex Kantrowitz
also used that. We had media and we also had communities. Right Like, we got together, we try to solve problems collectively. We went into a community. We said this is an important issue, how do we solve it? And now what's happened is we've been divided. You know, we don't do that anymore, and so I think about.
1:40:36 - Leo Laporte
I read I've said it many times and I'm sorry to bore everybody but it was a very interesting book for me the Robert Carroll book about Bob Moses, the power broker.
And there's a story you know New York in the 40s had tenements where really shameful conditions for people and and and Moses Was so corrupt at that point that he was taking redevelopment money from the federal government and giving it to cronies who were not tearing down the tenements and building new buildings as they were supposed to, but instead were Doing all sorts of shell games to make money off rents from these tenements. And the way it got fixed was there was a group of um He'd call them matrons, us women who, you know, at the time weren't working, because in those days the husband worked, the women stayed at home, and ladies clubs basically who took the time to go around, interview people, find out what was really going on there. And then the way they got changed was they would then go to the newspapers With the story and get the newspapers to publish it. I I don't know if Is that mechanism still there. I don't know how we do that now.
1:41:52 - Alex Kantrowitz
I know maybe we need cash back, because I how do?
1:41:54 - Leo Laporte
you do that nowadays.
1:41:56 - Alex Kantrowitz
Your local papers are gone, and so are the local groups, so that whole cycle is.
1:42:00 - Leo Laporte
that cycle has been diminished, so I imagine, after reading that, that there are all sorts of horrific Uh you know scams going on that nobody knows about Because nobody's trying to uncover it and nobody has the will to publish those stories, and I feel like we've lost a that.
We've lost something very important, one of the stories this week is, uh, about how all the big tech companies have basically moved away from news. News is just bad news. This is from the new york times. Silicon valley ditches news, shaking an unstable industry. It makes sense. Facebook was one of the first to stop doing news. News just polarizes. Yes, it maybe generates engagement, but also creates trouble. Now people are complaining and you've got to have moderation and truth, trust and safety. So but the problem is, if, if, if our new mass media doesn't do news, who's gonna do news?
1:43:06 - Amanda Silberling
Campbell journalists somewhere.
1:43:09 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, I mean, you're writing, you're writing amanda for tech crunch, you're doing journalism, right.
1:43:14 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I'm writing about Homer Simpson singing muse. Well, all right, but you're the culture reporter I am doing journalism.
1:43:20 - Leo Laporte
That's journalism. And, alex, you actually did something, I think very modern, which is you created your own newsletter and your own podcast and you've built a big audience with that right.
1:43:31 - Alex Kantrowitz
That's correct. Yeah, you have 145,000, that's incredible. Thank you, leo. And big news coming up this week oh, what's that shirt? So I'm starting membership at big technology and I have a bunch of new features that I'm introducing. So this is live now. Actually, I turned it on right before the show, so I'm actually introducing it here.
1:43:51 - Leo Laporte
So if I go to big technology, calm Dot com.
1:43:54 - Alex Kantrowitz
Actually, the best way to do it for your listeners is is bitly, bitly dot l y, slash big technology. Because they'll get Um, they will get an extra 25% off annual membership. So it's 50% off the monthly price if you go annual, and there's a bunch of really cool new features that we're introducing. So, in addition to the current posts that I'm doing, what people will get is this new feature called the panel, where I have about. You know already, uh, uh. You know close to 20 Uh technologists analyst vcs, including nick Thompson, who's the CEO of the Atlantic, and Sarah Fisher, who is a media columnist at axios. You know jahdeen, who is a partner at index ventures. And when some, when big news breaks, like, let's say, silicon valley's bank is going down or instacart Is ipoing, I'm going to email the panel and be like One sentence or two how do we read what's happening here? Imagine in the middle of silicon valley bank, if you had, so you know, 20, 30 experts weighing in on what it meant and whether people should keep their money in or whether they should be out and whether it would spill over. I'm going to take that and email it out to people. So that's the panel.
I'm also starting this new podcast, monthly podcast. It's going to be available to the premium subscribers, called big tech war stories, and it's going to be interviews with people who've been on the front lines inside big tech companies building projects. So warf nemeday, who was the first product manager on lambda Um, which was google's chat gpt precursor, is going to come in and he's going to be the first interview for that. It's going to be a once a month podcast and then, lastly, column with tech insiders. So christie colter, who spent 11 years at amazon and then just wrote this great book about amazon, is going to do a monthly column, uh for big technology, looking at what's happening with amazon in the news today and then bringing her insider perspective about how to Interpret that. So I've been doing this for three and a half years. Obviously, do the podcast as well, but finally launching membership Um with big technology and I'm stoked about it. I'd be thrilled if anybody uh gave it a try.
1:45:53 - Leo Laporte
This is see. To me, this is really interesting because it's clear there's a gap. We need something, and there are new ways to do this the newsletters and so forth. These are new ways to do. This is very interesting. I wish you luck. I think this is. I'm subscribing right now, by the way, that's amazing.
1:46:11 - Alex Kantrowitz
You're gonna be our first subscriber man.
1:46:12 - Leo Laporte
No, oh okay, that's so cool. Now you may not know it's me because I am using a service called omnivore. Are you aware of what omnivore is? I'd love to hear more. So one of the problems I have, and one of the reasons I'm not in the newsletters, is because they all I can't keep trying, I can't control it, I can't keep, I can't keep track of it. It all ends up in my mail inbox and there is nothing good ever came out of my mail inbox. It's just out of control. I've tried for years to filter and find ways to do this. So this is a open source product called omnivore that lets me Subscribe to newsletters. See, I have a subscription to your newsletter and organize it and filter it.
1:47:02 - Alex Kantrowitz
1:47:03 - Leo Laporte
so oh, leo, I appreciate it man, thank you, yeah, I guess I'm your first. I'm your first member. Number one, leo, but instead, the address I used was not one of my addresses, it was an omnivore address, a unique omnivore address. So instead of going into my mailbox, it goes into what is like a newsletter, but it's a news, in this case a news reader for Well, for you, for for newsletters, but it can be for any kind of articles and so forth. It's for I have an omnivore, save this article, kind of thing.
1:47:33 - Amanda Silberling
Um, I don't know if that was an ad. But if that was an ad, that was the smoothest product place. It wasn't an ad Not sponsored.
1:47:42 - Leo Laporte
But well, see, by the way, I always have some conflict over this kind of thing because, well, of course, we have paid advertising. That's what keeps us alive, that and our club members. But I always have, always on my life, recommended products and I know it's kind of unclear Is he getting paid to do this? So I will always say our sponsor. I will always say something that implies that is an ad or a sponsor. In this case, it's just something I found and I'm trying to find some way to read newsletters.
There are other news readers that can do this. You can. Many news readers will have an email address you can use and then newsletters go into the news reader. This one's interesting because it's open source. You can host it yourself if you wanted to. I just think it's kind of an interesting Product. So, and I don't think anybody's making money, I don't pay for it. I don't think. I don't remember, I don't think I they. If anything, I pay them. No, I think it's open source. Um, so it's kind and there's a browser extension and so forth, and they have an app for iOS. But this is a. This is how I'm gonna subs, I'm gonna consume big technology from now on.
1:48:47 - Alex Kantrowitz
That's awesome. And yeah, on Tuesday I'm gonna send, like the this is our official launch, but on Tuesday I'm gonna send a broader launch email with a recap of some of the things I just said and the coupon will be in there again. So if people want to try the free list and then make a decision, that would be sweet too good.
1:49:01 - Leo Laporte
This, by the way, to talk about it. So notice that it automatically gets the newsletter tag in omnivore and then when I look at it looks just like sub stack, except it's not. It's in my. Oh yeah, that's exact same format. Yeah, they keep, they preserve the formatting, but it but, but it's inside of the omnivore reader, which is kind of interesting.
1:49:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh, that's cool, I'm gonna try this out.
1:49:21 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, I'd be really curious, as a newsletter publisher, what you think of this. I don't want to. I don't want to do anything that's hostile to newsletter publishers, because I think newsletters are very important. I think, going back to this story, silicon Valley ditches the news industry. We need news, we need journalism, we need people to do investigative reporting. We need you know if, even if it's just mother's groups going around to tenements to figure out why people are, you know, being so mistreated. We need this kind of stuff and it doesn't seem to be economically tenable, so anything that can come up with a way to make this More tenable. Clearly, relying on twitter and facebook For engagement was a big mistake, and companies that have done that are suffering right now.
1:50:07 - Alex Kantrowitz
Right, yeah, and it also broke a lot of journalists brains where they would like do stories for engagement on twitter and facebook and then eventually they like what are you laughing at a man?
1:50:18 - Leo Laporte
and not like that. You know that that the pokemon red story, that wasn't an engagement focused story, that was just you know I no, I'm always laughing at something.
1:50:32 - Amanda Silberling
No, I mean, it makes sense.
1:50:33 - Leo Laporte
That's why I like you, amanda, because you know that's a humor.
1:50:37 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, as much as I don't want to Fan the flames of the like ah media don't trust them people, but like yeah, I mean, I think it did significantly harm the public's trust in journalists when there's articles like you will never believe what this celebrity said and then you click them and like it.
1:51:00 - Leo Laporte
Did it harm? That didn't have an effect? Yes, absolutely. The Times writes. Many news companies have struggled to survive after tech companies, through the industry's business model and to upheaval. More than a decade ago, one lifeline was the traffic that came from sites like Facebook and Twitter, but now that traffic is disappearing. In September 2020, top news sites got about 11.5% of their traffic from social networks. It's now half that 6.5% and heading down. It isn't going to go up again. Instagram, remember, maseri said yeah. Adam Maseri said hosting news is more trouble than it's worth. We're not going to put news on Instagram. Google's getting out of the news business. Facebook and Canada said no, all right, you don't. You don't like us. No more news, we're not paying for it. That's for sure.
1:51:55 - Alex Kantrowitz
We're going to be good for the news industry overall because it's going to show the difference between what traffic and audiences Ah, good point. Like you can get traffic. There's cheap ways to get traffic. I think you know the talking about. You'll never believe like this, like Amanda brought up, or you know plain outrage playing to like you know why you should be mad today. That does great on social media. But I think that, like, if you respect your audience and you write to write for them and you know you don't play tricks to try to get them to click, that's where you end up building an audience. You end up building people who are going to come back week after week. Yeah, and so I think maybe getting away from social media is actually healthier for the news industry as well.
1:52:36 - Leo Laporte
You can make a strong case that it's been bad for the news industry. You made that case, amanda, with a. You know you won't believe what happened next. I mean, it's just been awful. Wall Street this is also from the New York Times. Wall Street Journal noticed a decline starting about 18 months ago. According to a recording of a September staff meeting obtained by the Times, emma Tucker, the Journal's editor-in-chief, said quote we are at the mercy of social algorithms and tech giants for much of our distribution. That's that's got to be. If you're the Wall Street Journal and you know that that is the most important channel for you, you've got to be terrified.
1:53:14 - Alex Kantrowitz
But there's a case that they screwed it up. I mean, how can you rely so much on this stuff? That's wild. And there's a great quote, by the way, at the end. I think we shouldn't ignore this one at the end of that New York Times article from Adrienne LaFrance at the Atlantic, who said in a way, this decline of the social web, it's extraordinary. Liberating that direct connections to your readership is obviously important.
1:53:36 - Leo Laporte
This is a Mike, by the way. A Mike Isaac piece Mike's very good, along with Katie Robertson and Nico Granth at the New York Times. She also said direct connections to your readership are obviously important.
Oh, yes, I think you nailed it, I think that that's, maybe that's what this is, God, I hope you're right. That's the optimistic take on this is that they made a huge mistake. It's been a disaster and they're going to get back to what really matters. You know, it's all that ever has worked for us in podcasting Nobody. I, you know. We have a marketing department. They post on Instagram and Twitter and everywhere. That's not how we get traffic. We get traffic by engaging with our audience and by building a community. That's in our mission statement. I've known that for 15 years.
1:54:24 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, I think that even I mean you have simultaneously advertisements but also paid membership, and it's wild to me that a lot of mainstream publications solely operate. I mean not solely, but ad revenue was such a big part in what keeps media products alive. And if you're only relying on ad revenue, without other major sources of revenue, then in times like right now, when advertising across the board is not great for like any media property, like at TechCrunch, we have events and the events can make money. If advertisements aren't making money, this is above my pay grade. I don't deal with any of that stuff.
1:55:10 - Leo Laporte
You know, I know this from running this business For years. We did, you know, rely on advertising. We've had to start. Two years ago, we started the club and you know, from day one, my dream was to be listener supported. But what happened in 2008 was we just couldn't make enough money just from listener support to build what I wanted to build, so we turned to advertising. Maybe we made a mistake. I think we did it with integrity. We really tried to make it not, you know, not chasing numbers and picking advertisers that we believe in and so forth. But even so, it's going to be more and more listener supported and I hope that we can in fact make that listener support enough to sufficient to keep the network going. If we can't, we can't, but I'm hoping we can.
1:56:02 - Amanda Silberling
And these things are connected because the advertisements that you choose impacts your relationships with your listeners, so you have to be thinking about how is the listener going to be affected.
1:56:14 - Leo Laporte
That's right. Yeah, I mean I've turned down. You know, investments in gold and Bitcoin and vaping, and you know there's a lot of advertisers. We won't do because, yeah, I don't want to break our trust.
This episode is sponsored by the tobacco company, by the way stay tuned because, you know, four out of five doctors recommend Marlboro. No, they don't. Kids Don't smoke. Yeah, it's, it's an. I mean, I'm, look, I'm such a small player, we're such a small company that it's. You know. We're on the sidelines watching this, but I can only imagine what's going through the minds of the Wall Street Journal at this point. It's $175 a year to subscribe and they're not me. You know, the Times, as I said earlier, has done a good job of monetizing, but they're. They're the exception. That almost proves the rule.
1:57:05 - Amanda Silberling
All right, I want to take a break, yeah.
1:57:06 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, I do want to talk about net neutrality. It's back, baby, better than before. It's great to have you both. Amanda Silverling is here. She covers culture and makes us laugh at Tech Crunch. It's always great to have you on. Thank you for being here, amanda, I really appreciate it. And from the Big Technology show and and and newsletter sub stack, and now soon from the club, I like the panel idea. That's a great idea. Big technology dot com. I wish I were more imaginative, because if I'd been more imaginative I could have come up with stuff like that. But no, I just sit here talking. But also.
1:57:45 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yes, it's also just like a product of the moment. We're like. I used to hear from all these people, right. So, by the way, to go back to our theme of the segment, I used to hear from all these people on Twitter and then on threads, right, and then some of them I have like post, you know, moved from one to the other, and some of them have just left completely and at this point I'm just like, well, now I'm just going to email them and then hopefully provide a service to the people who are subscribing, where they can now get these thoughts, you know, on their own Some years ago I created a experimental podcast, which I never did anything with, called Leo on the Line, and that was kind of the idea was I wanted to do something I could do, just sitting in my house in my jammies, call people and say, hey, Alex, did you see this story?
1:58:27 - Leo Laporte
What do you think about that? And just do that. And it would be hey, it's Leo on the line, what do you think about that? And like do 20 of those and that would be the show.
1:58:35 - Alex Kantrowitz
Maybe I should do that, so you did have the panel idea yeah, I did, I didn't do it.
1:58:40 - Leo Laporte
I didn't do it.
1:58:42 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh, fingers crossed, let's see if it works. I'm just I hope so.
1:58:48 - Leo Laporte
I think it says you're not lazy, you're a fish Look you're running a massive podcast operation.
1:58:53 - Alex Kantrowitz
What a mistake. That was the right word.
1:58:57 - Leo Laporte
And I look like Jerry Lewis. All right, we're going to take a little break. Got a great panel. I want to talk about the, the FCC, and that neutrality may be back. We'll talk about that in a sec.
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Galea says in our Discord Netflix probably doesn't want a circumvent location because that's what the movie companies. They don't care. They want you to watch everything that you want, as long as it's not their fault. That makes sense. That makes sense. All right, let's talk about net neutrality.
The FCC under Jessica Rosenwarsle, the new chairman of the FCC, and now with a three to two Democratic majority. They voted, interestingly, three to two in a meeting on October 19th so I guess Friday to put the notice of proposed rulemaking up for public comment on net neutrality. Now you remember, under the Republican administration and FCC, they decided no one needs net neutrality. What would you want that for? So safeguarding and securing the open internet based on 2015's open internet order, which classified broadband kind of nuttily as a Title II communication service. Just all I can say is comment right. Jessica Rosenwarsle, the chairman, says as long as I've served on the FCC, I've supported net neutrality.
In 2017, despite overwhelming opposition, the FCC repealed net neutrality oh yes, that's right and stepped away from the Title II authority. So Title II was a good thing. Over broadband, the decision put the agency on the wrong side of history. She said, the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of the American public. Today, we begin a process to make this right. We were. We fought this. As you may remember, the comment period was completely tainted by what was admitted by the telecommunications industry fake, phony comments that they had generated by the thousands to justify the repeal of net neutrality. This is huge, so let's cross our fingers and this one's gonna get through. By the way, after the FCC did that, about a dozen states created their own net neutrality rules, but you need to have a nationwide regulation on this. So any thoughts, anything you wanna say, amanda, I presume I'm not crazy. Net neutrality is a good thing, right?
2:06:51 - Alex Kantrowitz
Well, let me ask you a question, amanda. You go ahead, and then I'll ask.
2:06:56 - Amanda Silberling
Oh no, I was just saying yeah, I think net neutrality good.
2:07:00 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah it's good, Okay. So here's my question when net neutrality was repealed, what have we seen since then that has lived up to some of the warnings that people have made. I'm not saying that repealing it was the right thing to do. I'm just personally curious if either we have seen.
2:07:21 - Leo Laporte
No, that's the test. That's the test. Did the telecommunications industry lobbied for this? They posted millions of fake comments in favor of repealing it. What did they do? Did it change the world Cause? If it did, then we know that they claimed no, no, no, no. You don't need net neutrality, you don't need these regulations. We're always going to do the right thing. Have you looked at your cable bill lately? Have you looked at your cell phone bill lately?
2:07:52 - Amanda Silberling
Well, my cable bill is split between three households because YouTube TV is easy to exploit. Oh, don't say that out loud?
2:08:03 - Leo Laporte
Why do I have-. Oh, good job, amanda. Did you do thumbs up? Do it again, do it again, again, again, two thumbs up. Does that really work? Yeah, you're on a Mac, I know why.
2:08:15 - Amanda Silberling
Oh, oh no that's.
2:08:17 - Leo Laporte
I didn't know that was a thing. Just don't flip us off. You won't like the results. Okay, I'm just saying oh no, wait, is that that's a thing, and I'll tell you how to turn it off if you wish. I feel like a boomer no, I'm the boomer, but I know this one. Here's a little green button up in your menu bar on the right there right Click it and you'll see that you have turned on reactions, which is on by default. You can click that and turn them off.
2:08:43 - Amanda Silberling
Oh no. That's part of I just got a new work computer this week. It's part of Mac, or?
2:08:48 - Leo Laporte
Sonoma Apple did this and by default they're turned on. And they're not only just, they're turned on system wide. So, no matter what software you're using, every time you do two thumbs up. That's not even a zoom thing. Oh my God no. And we were talking about this on Mac break weekly. See you fit? Oh no, it's back. What's the? What are the other ones?
2:09:06 - Amanda Silberling
Oh, I didn't do anything. I was just making it happen again for fun.
2:09:09 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, there's other gestures too. Let me see if I can. I can't remember. That's the only one I remember. So one thumb up will do a thumbs up emoji. Do one thumb up. Oh, you turned it off. No, there it is. There it is.
2:09:24 - Alex Kantrowitz
Two thumbs up is fireworks. I haven't turned it off.
2:09:26 - Amanda Silberling
Do a thumbs down.
2:09:27 - Leo Laporte
Do a thumbs down. And now, if you really want to make it rain, do two thumbs down.
2:09:40 - Alex Kantrowitz
Oh no, this is amazing. Do a one's going to do this in a meeting and just completely ruin their career? This is turned on with Sonoma by default.
2:09:48 - Leo Laporte
No one knows and no one knows how to turn off and, more importantly, just as you pointed out, alex, no one knows who's doing it.
2:09:54 - Amanda Silberling
Where the hell is it Now? I don't know how to.
2:09:58 - Leo Laporte
Peace sign. Amanda, give us a peace sign.
2:10:01 - Alex Kantrowitz
Well, that was one peace, sign One peace sign, I'll give you balloons.
2:10:04 - Leo Laporte
2:10:05 - Alex Kantrowitz
This reminds me of the lawyer that showed up to the hearing and had the cat filter on. Yes, you're on it. I was like. I assure you I'm not a cat. I'm a lawyer and the judge is like should we resume when you're no longer a cat?
2:10:16 - Amanda Silberling
Like I'm supposed to know how to use to the point.
2:10:18 - Leo Laporte
Well, no, you're learning. This is all we're all together, so do one more for me. You're a millennial. I can never do the heart thing. Will you do the heart thing for me? Well, that's a weird way to do it.
2:10:30 - Amanda Silberling
Well, you can do it like this. You can do it like this.
2:10:32 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, there you go.
2:10:33 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, oh, nice you can also do this kind of heart.
2:10:40 - Leo Laporte
I don't think. Oh, that's from the ASL, right? Yeah, no, don't do that.
2:10:44 - Amanda Silberling
No, I don't know.
2:10:47 - Leo Laporte
There's actually a story.
2:10:49 - Amanda Silberling
Oh no, is that not a heart?
2:10:51 - Leo Laporte
No, no, no, that's a heart, no, that's a heart, okay, okay. Apple live reactions can interfere with telehealth. This is from therapy notes. Can you imagine you're?
2:10:59 - Alex Kantrowitz
in therapy and you're just like you put, like the thumbs up, I'm okay, doc, I'm doing great.
2:11:08 - Amanda Silberling
I'm completely Tell me about your breakup.
2:11:10 - Alex Kantrowitz
You're like well, you accidentally thumbs up and it fireworks off in your center.
2:11:14 - Leo Laporte
This is also in your iOS.
2:11:16 - Amanda Silberling
I've completely derailed our conversation about that neutrality.
2:11:19 - Leo Laporte
Open the control center in iOS, click video. This is why we need that neutrality. I don't know why. Open the control center, click video effects, click the reactions. It's in the green button, is where you look, and the green button has some other things. I was playing with this when I was at my mom's house this week. There's a studio effects and you can do the blurred background too. But don't do those. Those look terrible. There's studio lighting. Amanda. Show us, amanda, do studio lighting. It's under the green button again.
Wait, which green button Up in the upper right-hand corner in the menu bar there's a green thing that shows your online of your Mac.
2:11:57 - Amanda Silberling
Oh, I see it now.
2:11:58 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, you are like there's a studio lighting it's dark, it's beautiful, and then you can turn all that off, if you would please.
2:12:06 - Amanda Silberling
Okay, I'm gonna turn off reactions now, before I like do a thumbs up in therapy.
2:12:10 - Leo Laporte
We've all learned something here. Anyway, I think you can probably make a long list of direct consequences to the repeal of net neutrality Zero rating. You know how much does Netflix cost. It's gonna go up again. But Netflix is the incumbent because so many cell phone companies don't charge you for Netflix bandwidth. That's another form of breaking net neutrality, favoring a particular streaming network over another and thereby letting T-Mobile or whoever pick incumbents to pick winners in the streaming wars. That's a little more subtle, because consumers say, well, I don't mind, I don't wanna pay for a bandwidth on Disney Plus, I should be free. I think you can point to a lot of consequences. I should. We should get Corey Dr O'Wan because I'm sure he has a lot of them. But I just gotta ask I mean, has your cell phone bill gone down? Has your cable bill gone down? No, absolutely no, no. So I think in hindsight it was a bad idea, which you'll see.
Fcc has green-lighted. This is kind of interesting Super fast Wi-Fi tethering. For whom? For the Vision Pro and other VR and AR headsets. This is the six gigahertz band. It has to be approved by the FCC. They unanimously approved this. It is short, very short throw. Okay, it's very. It's VLP very low power Signal can't go very far and the reason they want this is it's a way for devices like VR helmets to communicate with other, with your computer, with the hand-do-hickeys. Microsoft, google, apple and Meta all petitioned the FCC. They did so in 2019. Both Apple and Google have been working on AR, as you know, as has Meta, so I can't see any reason not to approve this, and the FCC has now, after three years, four years, finally said yes, you can go ahead and use this super fast. Six gigahertz Wi-Fi tethering.
2:14:35 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, and that will help for latency, I imagine.
Yes, exactly, I mean, I just was yeah, I was just in went into Meta last week and got a chance to play around with the Oculus 3 and the new Ray-Ban glasses. What do you think? And I thought it was terrific. I have to say I thought the number one thing first of all with the Oculus 3 is that it has full color pass through. So you're like in this VR goggles and you're like looking around the room kind of like how the Vision Pro sold it with Apple and it really feels like you're there.
So I played one of these games where I'm looking around the room and I can see everything going on in the room and the wall starts coming down and little space puffs start infiltrating from space into the room that I'm in and I have to shoot them and collect them into this container or something like that, and this whole experience is happening inside the room. I mean it is some pretty cool stuff. I don't know. I use the second generation and the leap that they made from the second generation of the third generation is fantastic.
2:15:41 - Leo Laporte
Well, imagine how I feel, having paid $1400 for the MetaQuest Pro. No, it's not as good as the $400 Quest 3s. Sean Hollister has pointed out, though, that the problem with having these really good cameras and this really good view of the outside world is that people are now taking them out of the house. Sean writes on the verge oh my God, this clip is amazing. The Meta Glassholes have arrived. People are walking to public places wearing a video recording face computer on their heads, although only this time it's sold by Meta, not Google. What's the video? Is this Carrot Survivors video you're talking about?
2:16:28 - Alex Kantrowitz
The one where the guy walks into the cafe and he's got the Oculus on. Sorry. You go into the cafe as if he's like a normal person and then orders. I don't know if it's this one Let me see he's deeper in but he orders the coffee as if he's like a normal person.
He's like can I have like a latte please? And he's like, got the full Oculus on his face and what was the reaction? He's like, oh my God, people laugh at him as he walked in and the cashier was like, are you kidding me? But they're also just like they couldn't see the fact that, like you know, he was in, he was able to see pastors. So a lot of them are just like how is this person walking and not crashing into walls? Now we're not anywhere close to where we need to be. I mean, the big drawback with this technology is it looks like you're wearing a brick on your face, right, right, and nobody wants that.
I think that over time, like, we're going to end up having the form factor come down and then people are actually going to walk through mixed reality goggles and just like, do daily life things. And I think you know the pranksters and the influencers are starting it now. But you know, do you think we'll get used to that? No, I mean, it depends what it looks like. Right, the Ray Bands look fine, but there's nothing on the screen. What are we going to start to look like? You know, jordy from Star Trek and you know, is that going to be normal?
2:17:56 - Amanda Silberling
I mean how much did people freak out about wearing face masks? Because then you can't see people's faces and then imagine people's eyes covered with a meta quest three. I also just feel like that can't be comfortable, like I haven't used the quest three, I've used the quest two, but to have something so heavy on your face is a lot.
2:18:21 - Leo Laporte
Here is a CIX LIV's video of walking into a coffee bar. This is what he's seeing in the coffee bar and this is what the coffee bar is seeing. He's not holding up that screen, by the way, that was a virtual screen. He just looks like a normal guy wearing a helmet.
2:18:44 - Alex Kantrowitz
Just a normal guy with the VR goggles going into a local cafe.
2:18:47 - Leo Laporte
Hey, if you're in San Francisco, you're used to this, right.
2:18:51 - Amanda Silberling
See once again. I think Mark Andreessen is wrong when he says that we need to accelerate tech at all costs. Hello, I would like your bar latte with whole milk.
2:19:07 - Leo Laporte
She's just completely non-plus by this. She's not doing anything. She's just like yeah, what are you wearing? She's trying to sell coffee. Must live in San Francisco. Oh, another one I would say in Philadelphia.
2:19:20 - Amanda Silberling
I have never seen this, so we're safe for now. Say what you want about our sports fans, but at least no one is ordering coffee wearing a virtual reality headset.
2:19:33 - Leo Laporte
How are the Phillies doing?
2:19:36 - Amanda Silberling
They had a little bit of a scary moment, losing two games in a row to the Diamondbacks, but then they won. Last night it is three to two in the NLCS. They just have to win one more of the next two games, which will both be at home, and the Phillies do very well at home because their fans are crazy.
2:19:55 - Leo Laporte
They went from two down to one up. They went from 0-2 to 3-2.
2:20:01 - Amanda Silberling
Yeah, it was three games in a row.
2:20:04 - Leo Laporte
Oh my God, how exciting.
2:20:05 - Amanda Silberling
No they, oh no, no, no they. They were up two to zero. Oh, okay, and then they went down and they went two to two, and now it's three to two.
2:20:15 - Leo Laporte
This is this. Yeah, fifth you're. You're obviously from Philadelphia, right?
2:20:21 - Amanda Silberling
Well, I live there. I'm not from there, but I've lived here for a while.
2:20:24 - Leo Laporte
Hard not to get the fever when you live in a town. Oh, yeah, yeah.
2:20:28 - Amanda Silberling
Like I don't really care that much about football, but I'm probably going to watch the Eagles game after this, just because, like that's what people do. Like I'm not even a big football fan.
2:20:37 - Leo Laporte
But there are the new rivals there, they're crazy. They're the ones we're worried about. All right, well, you know what? Where your metago goes to the game and see what happens. See what happens.
2:20:50 - Amanda Silberling
Well, I don't have ones with the pass through, so that'd be bad. You just bump it.
2:20:57 - Leo Laporte
All right, let's take our final break and we'll wrap things up with a wonderful panel. I'm sorry that cashmere couldn't stick around. I guess she just didn't want her kids to get that much screen time. But I thank you for having some screen time. Alex Cantor, with big technology, comm and BIT, dot L Y slash big technology. If you want to sign up.
2:21:20 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, this, that's the, that's the discounted subscription. So annual price there is 50, 50 percent off the monthly. And then, if you just want to like, go to big technology. If the bitly stuff is too complicated, go to big technology, calm, and and I'm gonna email everything about the paid offering on Tuesday. But okay, this is exclusive news here, breaking it first.
2:21:40 - Leo Laporte
So well, I subscribed to the the $90 a year plan because I want to get that panel, I want to get the emails, I want to get all of that Whoop. Don't show my credit card number, though, because you can get to and free, free Well, not free, it's part the sorry.
2:21:58 - Alex Kantrowitz
Included in that is this monthly big tech war stories podcast that I'm starting. I will be listening. I'm pumped about that. I'll be listening.
2:22:04 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, I can't wait. Thanks, Leo. Do you know who your first guest is gonna be?
2:22:09 - Alex Kantrowitz
Yeah, yeah, it's the, the first product manager of Lambda inside Google which was their chat GPT for runner. Llm never gets shipped, yeah. And so he talks about like how they found the technology when they realized it was as good as it was gonna be, all the different use cases they dreamed up, including the Really weird ones inside Google, and then why it never got out the door and what it means for the company's leadership and strategy. Super fun interview can't wait.
2:22:37 - Leo Laporte
Amanda Silverling writes about culture, tech culture at tech. Crunch. Dot calm and plays a pink base. I do is that yours?
2:22:49 - Amanda Silberling
All right. Other side yeah, oh, no, okay, I don't know which way I'm pointing. There we go. It's like mirrored.
2:22:56 - Leo Laporte
2:22:57 - Amanda Silberling
That is my base.
2:22:58 - Leo Laporte
Oh, how funky, how funky and fresh. It's great to have you both Our show brought to you by. Well, whoever the hell buys this next ad slot, that's who it's brought to you by. If you missed anything this week on twit, you missed a lot, including me Broadcasting from mom's house. Watch On this episode of this week in space.
We're talking to Jose Hernandez, former NASA astronaut and the subject of the great new bio pic on Amazon Prime, a Million miles away. When you think NASA, you think the latest and greatest, but then when you look at flight hardware, it's not the latest and greatest. I said I was the portable onboard computer guy. I mean, we're using the IBM think pads, right yeah, the original thick, bad, heavy ones, you know previously on twit.
Hands on Mac. Coming up on a hands-on Mac, it's time to talk about pass keys and show you how easy it is to set up a pass key on your Mac. Home theater geeks.
2:24:00 - Amanda Silberling
I talked with several members of the value electronics TV shootout team and reveal the king of 4k TVs.
2:24:10 - Leo Laporte
Mac break weekly no, apple pencil is here. The new Apple pencil is here and everybody was so excited about. Oh, we've got inside information about a big, big release this week. We've we're pretty sure it's gonna be new iPads like oh, you know it's a pencil folks.
2:24:24 - Amanda Silberling
This is Apple pencil 2 minus point 5.
2:24:29 - Kashmir Hill
To it, now also available in several colors of unapologetic plastic.
2:24:37 - Leo Laporte
Oh, I'm in the recording now. Yeah, that happens to KFI every day. What mom I'll take out the trash when I'm done. The stuff never gets on. This on the Sunday reel, those guys is crazy. This week in space, every week on twit. By the way, if you're not a club member that we were talking about Having memberships that show this week in space wouldn't exist without club twit. If you're not yet a club to a member, I invite you to go to twittv slash club twit. Join us. Seven bucks a month Gets you add free versions of all the shows. Gets shows we don't put out in public, like hands-on Macintosh, hands-on Windows, the gizfiz, scott Wilkinson's home theater geeks, and originally this week in space. But it did so well we, we start putting that in public. Twittv slash club twit. It's not as expensive, is it? It is as expensive as a big technology, almost, but it's worth it. Do both To both do both do both.
You can afford both seven dollars a month, eighty four dollars a year. We also have family plans and business plans. It's cheaper than Well, it's not. Actually, x is now a bucket a bucket here than not a bought price. Although Elon says he's gonna have some other tiers, two new premium tiers. It is cheaper than the eight dollar a month Tier. There will be an even more expensive tier on X that will remove all ads and then there'll be a lower cost one with all the funds, the lower cost one with all the features, but no reductions in ads.
He tweeted that yesterday or day before yesterday. Well, I want to thank you. I don't. I don't have anything else to say. I guess is there any other stories that we had that we didn't get to? Google lost a gender bias lawsuit Ocu Rovet, which, who was a female Google cloud executive, said that the guys got higher pay even though they had less experience. The court agreed. A jury found her I'm sorry, found guilty. Google guilty of sexual discrimination, awarded Ocu Rovet $1.1 million. The jury ruled that Google owes Rovet for both punitive damages and pain and suffering. But the jury found that while Google treated Rovet differently than other employees because of her gender. She hadn't proven that Google violated New York law by paying her less than two of her male counterparts. What else? So make sure we got everything in here. I think I think we, I think we did, I Think we did. I feel I feel a. The energy from you guys is we got everything done. Leo, let's go home.
2:27:43 - Amanda Silberling
Alex, just like there's a lot of news, I don't know.
2:27:46 - Leo Laporte
You know there's so many stories in here. I'll tell you what we it's. It was a big week, alex Cantrowitz, congratulations on the launch of your pay. What is it how? What do you get? You had it was already paid, right, wasn't?
2:28:00 - Alex Kantrowitz
this is a job and free the whole time. It's been free the whole time. I've been waiting for the right moment and the right offering and took me a long time, but I think I figured it out Congratulations.
2:28:10 - Leo Laporte
That's a big deal then. Thank you, I didn't realize yeah, I'm pumped and you could still listen to big technology podcast and read the big technology sub stack, but just go to big technology comment. Subscribe because you should. It's the right thing to do. Support the good stuff. Amanda silverling is at TechCrunch, so come on. What do you give us a tip, give us a hint? What are you writing about this week? Anything, any new twitch, ai weirdness.
2:28:35 - Amanda Silberling
I don't know, but my colleague Morgan song was just a twitch con in Las Vegas. So who knows? Who knows she's cooking up? How do you find?
2:28:43 - Leo Laporte
how do you get your inspiration to what to write about?
2:28:48 - Amanda Silberling
Oh god, yeah, um, sometimes it's like things I see on the internet, but I think an underrated way to get story ideas is just like talking to people that I know in real life, who might not be like Super techie people, but if they're like, hey, I'm seeing this weird thing happen on my phone, or like there's this trend on tick tock that's happening, that is like interesting. Um, I don't know. I'm trying to think of an example, do you?
2:29:18 - Leo Laporte
live. How much time I got one for you. How much time yeah, a day you spent on tick tock.
2:29:25 - Amanda Silberling
Honestly, not that much. I actually only started using tick tock once I started writing about it. But I have tried to like make some tick tocks. But I don't know, I mean my tick tock is so boring like I get videos of like moms sharing cleaning tips and I never find anything good. And then other writers are like oh yeah, my tick tock is insane and I'm like I need to stop watching the cleaning videos.
2:29:56 - Leo Laporte
I appreciate you both. Thank you so much for being with us. I love doing the show with you. Amanda Silverling from tech crunch, alex Cantrowitz, now the brand new big technologycom, we, uh, we, uh. We love doing it and I hope you come back soon. Appreciate it. I hope all of you will come back soon.
We do this week in tech sunday afternoons right after ask the tech guys 2 pm Pacific, 5 pm Eastern. We stream it. If you want to watch it live, we stream it live at livetwittv. There's audio and video there after the fact, on demand versions of the show available not only from the website, but there's a dedicated youtube channel. Of course you can subscribe and your favorite podcast client, one of the oldest, longest running Podcasts in the world, should be easy to find on any podcast platform. Just look for twit or this week in tech. Hey, last week we had uh will, uh Harrison and he was talking about unboundcom and he had said I thought I sent you a copy of 42. He did so. I just got it 42.
This is the Douglas Adams book that they did this. I've been looking through it. It is Unbelievable. If you're a fan of the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy or any of Douglas Adams stuff this, oh you could, oh you could, you could look over my shoulder. This was all material found in his office and then further curated by a fan and it's just incredible. Look at there's the uh, there's the script, the original script. The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy nice, wow.
2:31:27 - Alex Kantrowitz
That's a beautifully laid out book. Oh wow, is that?
2:31:30 - Leo Laporte
nice, unbound is such great stuff and I will will. Was on last week and mentioned we talked about this and how great it was. There's this report card, but, uh, I didn't have it to show and so I just wanted people who would listen last week to see it. Yeah, really neat Must have if you're a fan of the hitchhiker's guide. It's called 42 the wildly improbable ideas of Douglas Adams. Kevin John Davies edited this From a material he found in his, in his desk, on his house and other places, and it's from unbound at unboundcom. Uh, okay, thank you everybody. I hope you had a good time. We'll be back next week. In the meantime, it's always nice for me to say another twit is in the can. Bye, bye