This Week in Tech

Dec 24th 2023

This Week in Tech 959

The Old Farts Gather

Hosted by Leo Laporte

A Retrospective Journey through 2023 and Beyond

Records live every Sunday at 5:15pm Eastern / 2:15pm Pacific / 21:15 UTC.
Category: News

In this festive end-of-year episode, Leo gathers some of the veteran hosts of the TWiT network, dubbed “old farts,” to reflect on the major tech stories and trends of 2023 while looking ahead to 2024. They debate AI and tech’s impact on society, discuss the ups and downs of companies like Twitter, Apple, and SpaceX, reminisce about the early days of computing and the Internet, and more, all with good humor and insight gained from decades in tech.

Topics Discussed:

  • The explosion of AI in 2023, from chatbots like ChatGPT to powerful new AI demonstrations. Debate on whether we’re nearing AGI (artificial general intelligence) and the societal impacts.
  • The rise and struggles of companies like Facebook/Meta, Netflix, Twitter, Alibaba. Patterns of tech success, failure, and Corey Doctorow's concept of "ensh*tification."
  • Elon Musk: The good (SpaceX, Starlink), bad (Twitter), and unpredictable. Is he still an innovator or has wealth and power corrupted him?
  • Open source, Linux, and big tech’s relationship to open ecosystems. Concerns about commercialization diluting open ideals.
  • Looking back on early tech days. How the history of tech contextualizes what’s happening today. Nostalgia and optimism for the early Internet days.
  • The revival of space exploration, privatized today by SpaceX and others. What can we expect as we (hopefully) return to the Moon in 2024?
  • Chaos, unpredictability, and the feeling of societal flux as we head into 2024. An uncertain but interesting future awaits.

Memorable Quotes:

  • "AI is only dangerous to humans if you give it physical agency in the real world. Combine AI with a robotic dog, and now you got something." - Leo
  • "When are you getting your stupid thing that you wear that has the laser on your hand?" - Jeff to Leo 
  • "It's time to hand it over. We're effing up the world. We've done it for centuries. It's time to hand it over." - Jeff on tech leadership 
  • "So has anybody played with the Apple ones that have the weird eyeballs?" - Doc on Apple's augmented reality efforts
  • "Chaos is a weird thing. You could have your faucet dripping slowly and almost all of the drips go down and land and that's it, but somehow about a yard off to the one side is a drip" - Steve on increasing chaos

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