What Next: TBD | Tech, power, and the future

What Next: TBD | Tech, power, and the future

slate.com
Slate’s Tech Show


How Google Search Sold Out
Aug 14 • 20 min
In the early days of internet search engines, Google set itself apart by providing a simple service. A list of links, inviting you to explore the websites that best matched your query. It was a portal to the rest of the internet. But over the last two…
How One Block Got Through It
Aug 7 • 22 min
Over the past five months, city blocks have been slipping away. Bars are closed; restaurants are half-empty; retail is shuttered. As the country returns to varying states of lockdown, how long can these blocks hold on? This week: how one commercial strip…
When America Can’t Pay the Rent
Jul 31 • 25 min
For the last four months, federal and state eviction moratoria have kept Americans in their apartments, even if they couldn’t pay rent. Now, with financial relief in question, and moratoria set to expire, the first of the month might look very different…
New Orleans Without Music
Jul 24 • 22 min
More than any other U.S. city, New Orleans banks on its culture. From music to restaurants to parades, the city relies on a steady stream of tourists to support its many artists and institutions. In March, those tourists stopped visiting. And without…
Cities Are Running Out of Money
Jul 17 • 23 min
After months of coronavirus lockdowns, cities are taking stock of their finances. The situation is bleak. With plummeting sales and property tax revenue, American cities of all sizes may be facing a budget crisis. What happens when local governments have…
Is “Covid Flight” a Thing?
Jul 10 • 20 min
Tens of thousands of people leave American cities every year. Normally, they’re replaced by new arrivals seeking jobs, education, and opportunity. But in a world transformed by the coronavirus, what happens if nobody arrives to replace them? Guests: Emily…
What’s a City Without the Office?
Jul 3 • 19 min
Since March, white-collar offices in major cities across the United States have stood empty. Now, with growing evidence that the workforce is equally effective at home, companies and designers are starting to rethink the office—what it looks like, what…
A Hidden Side of Police Abuse
Jun 26 • 18 min
Responding to protests around the country, the New York City Council passed the POST Act: Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology last week. The bill will require the NYPD to reveal the extent of their surveillance technology deployed within the city.…
Why Remote Learning Failed
Jun 19 • 23 min
In March, when schools across the country shut down, few people could have guessed that students wouldn’t return until the fall. Schools weren’t equipped to deploy remote-learning curricula, technology was in short supply, and most parents weren’t free to…
Is This the End of Facial Recognition?
Jun 12 • 22 min
This week, three of the leading developers of facial-recognition technology announced they would stop, or at least pause, selling this technology to police. The decision stems from evidence of racial bias inherent in these tools. For the researchers who…
Your Delivery Habit Isn’t Helping
Jun 5 • 19 min
In the midst of the pandemic, protests and police lockdowns, restaurants are turning increasingly to delivery apps like DoorDash and Grubhub to stay afloat. But with shady tactics, soaring fees, and deep-seated flaws with the business model of the entire…
Trump and Twitter Go to War
May 29 • 19 min
On Tuesday, after years of inaction, Twitter fact checked President Trump’s tweets for the first time. Six words were added below the original text, directing readers to outside articles refuting his claims. Two days later, the president signed an…
What Is Elon Musk Thinking?
May 22 • 18 min
As the coronavirus shut down manufacturing across California in March and April, Elon Musk only wanted one thing: to start making cars again. So when local government officials in Alameda County got in his way, Musk took the fight public, and won. Guest:…
Decoding the Flood of COVID Data
May 15 • 20 min
Every week, it feels like some new piece of coronavirus information dominates the headlines. Mysterious symptoms, changing government directives. This constant trickle of updates can quickly turn into a flood. How should normal people interpret this…
Should You Get an Antibody Test?
May 8 • 24 min
Yesterday, New York City announced that it would provide 140,000 free antibody tests to residents who want to know if they have been exposed to the coronavirus. And New York isn’t alone: large-scale antibody testing is ramping up around the country. But…
How the Crisis Could Embolden Big Tech
May 1 • 20 min
This week, the world’s largest tech companies posted their quarterly earnings. And—unlike most other companies in the world—things aren’t looking so bad. With the global economy reeling, and people sheltering indoors, the tech giants have an opportunity…
Can We Really Make a Safe Vaccine in 18 Months?
Apr 24 • 23 min
There are over 60 vaccines for the coronavirus currently in development. Four of them are already being tested in humans. As researchers move at breakneck speed to find a vaccine, they’re debating breaking (or at least bending) the rules that ensure the…
Can the U.S. Really Track the Coronavirus?
Apr 17 • 23 min
Before the U.S. can start opening back up, states will need to put systems in place for “contact tracing,” or meticulous tracking of the disease within communities. South Korea’s extensive tracing program has all but eliminated the spread of the virus…
The Limits of Coronavirus Predictions
Apr 10 • 19 min
As governments around the world try to predict the toll and duration of the coronavirus, they’re turning increasingly to a handful of forecasting models for answers. But many of the leading models differ drastically in their approach and methods. What do…
Risking Your Life for $8.71
Apr 3 • 18 min
This week, workers at Amazon, Whole Foods, and Instacart have announced mass strikes across the country. Though demand for these services is high, pay and protection is low. What exactly do we owe to the delivery workers at the front lines of the…
Where Are All the Tests?
Mar 27 • 26 min
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. The United States failed to roll out widespread testing in the early days of the pandemic. Now it faces…
Big Tech Eyes the Pandemic
Mar 20 • 24 min
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Google has spent the last decade trying to find a foothold in the health care industry. Now they’re…
What If They Close All the Schools?
Mar 13 • 19 min
Last week, the superintendent of the Northshore school district near Seattle made a difficult decision. With the coronavirus spreading rapidly in the area, she closed all 34 schools in her district and moved all classes online. But for many schools,…
Did the Internet Doom a Pregnancy?
Mar 6 • 23 min
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. For pregnant women in the U.S., there are plenty of reasons to mistrust the medical establishment. Mortality…
Did Money Corrupt an A.I. Utopia?
Feb 28 • 20 min
OpenAI was founded in 2015 with a billion dollars and an idealistic mission: Create artificial intelligence that could address humanity’s biggest problems, and do it out in the open. Then came the money problems. Guest: Karen Hao, senior A.I. reporter at…
Inside Facebook’s Supreme Court
Feb 21 • 22 min
After years of controversial content moderation decisions, from deepfakes to deplatforming, Facebook is trying something new. In January, the social network announced that its new Oversight Board, which will act as a sort of supreme court for…
Coronavirus Tests China’s Surveillance State
Feb 14 • 19 min
Over the last month, as coronavirus spread across China, Xi Jinping’s vast surveillance and censorship infrastructure went into high gear. But with outrage growing over the death of a beloved doctor, and surveillance technology under strain, the virus is…
Iowa’s App-ocalypse
Feb 7 • 20 min
On Monday, the Iowa caucuses went off the rails. As the hours stretched into days, and still the results remained unclear, a new piece of election technology was identified as a central cause of the delay. An app designed to make the election process…
Why Is the U.S. Scared of Huawei?
Jan 31 • 20 min
Recently a special delegation of senior Trump administration officials arrived in the U.K. Their mission? To convince prime minister Boris Johnson to bar Huawei from their new 5G network. Why is the U.S. so keen to influence Britain’s decision on 5G? And…
Which Tech Companies Are Doing the Most Harm?
Jan 24 • 23 min
Last week, Slate published The Evil List, an expansive attempt to document the most concerning tech companies around the world, according to the experts. Some you’ve heard of, some you probably haven’t, and some you almost certainly use every day. Which…
The Silicon Valley Dream Was Always a Fantasy
Jan 17 • 23 min
In 2013, Anna Wiener moved from New York to San Francisco to join the city’s booming tech scene. Over the course of four years, she worked at three companies: an e-book startup, a data analytics company, and an open-source software platform. Then, her…
How Targeted Ads Started Watching Us All
Jan 10 • 20 min
In 2019, for the first time, more advertising money went toward targeted digital ads in the U.S. than on radio, television, cable, magazine, and newspaper ads combined. The moment was the culmination of a decadeslong journey that has completely…
Do Algorithms Make Sentencing Fairer?
Jan 3 • 19 min
Around the country, states are employing algorithms to help reduce prison populations and predict recidivism. This week, we hear from a Wisconsin judge with serious reservations about the algorithm used in his state. Also: a deep dive into Virginia’s…
A Landmark Privacy Law Takes Effect. Now What?
Dec 27, 2019 • 19 min
On January 1st, a new law will grant Californians the right to see, delete, and stop the sale of personal information collected by tech companies. But the impact of the bill may reach far beyond California. How does this landmark law affect the rest of…
Ring: Your Doorbell Is Watching
Dec 20, 2019 • 20 min
Back in 2013, an entrepreneur named Jamie Siminoff appeared on Shark Tank. He was seeking an investment in a new product he was calling Doorbot, a smart doorbell that would make answering the door more convenient and users’ lives “more connected.” Six…
Inside The Influence Economy
Dec 13, 2019 • 18 min
Over the past decade, the world of influencers has grown from a fringe marketing movement to a multibillion-dollar industry. Now, tactics and strategies originally developed by influencers can be found across industries, from health care to politics to…
What Is Google After Larry and Sergey?
Dec 6, 2019 • 19 min
On Tuesday, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page announced that they are stepping down from their respective roles as president and CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. The move will leave Sundar Pichai in charge of both Google and Alphabet.…
Is TikTok Really a National Security Threat?
Nov 22, 2019 • 21 min
TikTok now has over 1.5 billion downloads, putting it in the company of social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. While all of these companies have faced scrutiny from lawmakers in one form or another, TikTok is getting attention for its…
How WhatsApp Got Hacked
Nov 15, 2019 • 21 min
Recently, Facebook filed a lawsuit against a little-known Israeli spyware firm called NSO Group. Facebook is accusing NSO of supplying technology that enabled a hack of 1,400 WhatsApp accounts. But NSO’s reach goes far beyond a few thousand phones.…
The Uber Drivers Who Don’t Want to Be Employees
Nov 8, 2019 • 18 min
California recently passed a law that would classify rideshare drivers across the state as employees, rather than contractors. Among many other benefits, they’d be allowed to unionize, collect overtime pay, and take sick leave. So why are so many drivers…
The Price of Automating Aviation
Nov 1, 2019 • 17 min
This week, Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg appeared in front of Congress. He was there to answer questions about what his company knew, and when, before two 737 Max airplanes crashed and claimed the lives of 346 people. But beyond the planes’ technological…
Inside Facebook’s Political Ad Mess
Oct 25, 2019 • 20 min
Over the last week, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have been under fire for declining to fact-check political ads. But a former insider says this is the wrong debate to be having—and it misses a more fundamental problem: Facebook’s business model itself.…
Announcement: What Next: TBD
Oct 24, 2019 • 0 min
Hey If Then listeners! As of now, the new Slate podcast What Next: TBD will be taking over this feed. What Next: TBD is a weekly analysis with host Lizzie O’Leary of how technology is impacting our lives, and where we’re headed. From fake news to fake…
Smash Bros Side Hustlers
Oct 16, 2019 • 41 min
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The People Who Hold The Internet Together
Oct 9, 2019 • 43 min
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What it Takes to Study Online Harassment
Oct 2, 2019 • 41 min
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Surveillance Is Coming From Inside The (Smart) House
Sep 25, 2019 • 38 min
Host Shannon Palus talks to Roxanne Leitao, a UK-based designer researching ways to make the smart home gear safer for victims of domestic abuse. They’ll discuss the ways that smart thermostats can be used to gaslight victims, the security measures that…
Breaking Away From Google
Sep 18, 2019 • 42 min
Host Aaron Mak discusses with journalist Nithin Coca his attempt to abstain from using any Google products in his daily life. They discuss why he did it, the useful alternatives he found for specific apps, the quirks of using different tools abroad, and…
The Case For The Vape
Sep 11, 2019 • 37 min
Host Shannon Palus discusses how today’s vaping panic is connected to the rise of the cigarette with Jacob Grier, author of the new book The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette. Grier argues for a nuanced…
Inside Uber
Sep 4, 2019 • 36 min
New York Times technology reporter Mike Issac discusses his new book Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber, which traces Uber’s rapid rise and fall under co-founder Travis Kalanick. He and host Aaron Mak talk about Uber’s fraught relationship with the media,…
Cosmetic Gene Editing Gone Awry
Aug 28, 2019 • 40 min
Host Shannon Palus explores a future in which high school girls stay atop the social hierarchy by editing their genes, giving themselves purple eyes, and glittery skin. That’s what fiction author E. Lily Yu imagines 2060 is like in her short story, Zero…
When Your DNA is Public Information
Aug 21, 2019 • 38 min
Aaron Mak learns about how law enforcement is using public genealogy websites to crack cold cases. His guest is Nila Bala, Associate Director of Criminal Justice Policy at the R Street Institute, which is a think tank whose mission is to find solutions to…
The Allure of Smart Guns
Aug 14, 2019 • 35 min
In this episode Shannon Palus learns about personalized guns, sometimes referred to as “smart” guns. Her guest is Cassandra Crifasi, Deputy Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research. More specifically, Crifasi is an epidemiologist…
China’s Cyber War Against Hong Kong
Aug 7, 2019 • 32 min
In this episode Aaron Mak learns about all the ways China is using cyber warfare to disrupt the efforts of protesters in Hong Kong. His guest is Nick Frisch, a fellow at Yale’s Information Society Project and a scholar of media and technology in the…
Chemists Spill the Science of Skincare
Jul 31, 2019 • 35 min
In this episode Shannon Palus talks to Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, co-founders of Chemist Confessions. Their goal is to help us all cut through the marketing buzzwords of the skincare industry, and understand some of the actual chemistry behind the…
Why Facebook Can’t Just Create a Currency
Jul 24, 2019 • 36 min
In this episode Aaron Mak looks into Facebook’s plan to create a global cryptocurrency called Libra. For an expert opinion, he turns to Chris Brummer, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the host of the podcast Fintech Beat. Brummer…
Prime Day Comes but Once a Year
Jul 17, 2019 • 28 min
In this episode, Shannon Palus talks about the journalistic ethics of Amazon affiliate links with Jacqui Cheng, former Editor-in-Chief of Wirecutter and current Editor-in-Chief of Music at WQXR in New York. As Cheng explains, it’s possible for news…
ICE’s Reckless Use of Facial Recognition Tech
Jul 10, 2019 • 34 min
In this episode, Aaron Mak talks about federal law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology with Jake Laperruque. He’s Senior Counsel at The Constitution Project, which is part of the Project on Government Oversight. According to The Washington…
Healthcare via Video Chat
Jul 3, 2019 • 37 min
In this episode, Shannon Palus explores the growing telehealth industry, where doctors and patients connect via video chat or sometimes just a secure message system. To figure out the benefits and potential drawbacks of telehealth, Shannon talks to Roy…
When Tech Journalism Took A Critical Turn
Jun 26, 2019 • 44 min
In this episode, April Glaser catches up with her former co-host Will Oremus. Then the two of them are joined by Future Tense editor Torie Bosch and New York Times opinion writer Farhad Manjoo to discuss why tech journalism has become far more critical in…
When a Scooter Makes More Sense Than a Car
Jun 19, 2019 • 34 min
In this episode, guest host Henry Grabar looks at how Zillow is trying to disrupt the real estate business—and why it might work in some cities but not others. Then Horace Dediu answers Henry’s questions about bikes, scooters, and other miniature…
How Driverless Cars Will Actually Work
Jun 13, 2019 • 27 min
In this episode April Glaser talks to Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora, a company that builds the technology for self-driving cars. Urmson offers a timeline for when we might see autonomous vehicles on the road and lists the different hurdles the industry…
Re-Up: Senator Mark Warner
Jun 5, 2019 • 27 min
In this episode, April Glaser revisits an interview with Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who released a policy paper proposing possible regulations for U.S. social media and technology companies. In the…
Luxury Bunkers for the End of the World
May 29, 2019 • 41 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined by Max Read, an editor and writer at New York Magazine who writes the column Life in Pixels. First, April and Max talk to Patri Friedman, founder of the Seasteading Institute, which he started in 2008 with seed…
Why It’s So Hard to Live in California
May 22, 2019 • 47 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined by co-host Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at Initialized Capital, an early-stage venture firm. She’s also a former full-time journalist at TechCrunch. First, April and Kim-Mai discuss the lack of affordable housing in…
Designing a Better Facebook
May 15, 2019 • 36 min
In this episode, April Glaser is joined by guest co-host Max Read, an editor at New York magazine who covers technology and the internet. First, April and Max talk about Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’ apostasy. Last week, Hughes wrote a long op-ed in…
Cyberspace Didn’t Stay Free
May 8, 2019 • 42 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined once again by guest co-host Meredith Broussard, a data journalism professor at NYU and author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. First, historian Mar Hicks joins the show to talk…
Public Education, Facebook-Style
May 1, 2019 • 35 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined by co-host Meredith Broussard, a data journalism professor at NYU and author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. First they talk about the history of Silicon Valley’s decades-long…
Unmasking The Russians Who Hacked The DNC
Apr 24, 2019 • 34 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined once again by co-host Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. They start by talking about the Sri Lankan government’s shutdown of Facebook and WhatsApp…
What Happened To WikiLeaks
Apr 17, 2019 • 42 min
In this episode April Glaser is joined by guest host Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia and author of several books about social media and the internet, including a recent one on Facebook,…
Fake Meat Designed for Carnivores
Apr 10, 2019 • 41 min
April Glaser is joined by Gizmodo investigative reporter, Kashmir Hill, to talk about an ambitious British proposal to regulate content on social media sites. Then they discuss Airbnb’s efforts to kick White Nationalists off its platform ahead of a…
Local News Brought to You by Big Tech
Apr 3, 2019 • 41 min
April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss a recent report in Bloomberg that says executives at YouTube ignored employees who raised concerns about the spread of harmful videos. The company’s algorithm often recommends conspiracy videos, which lead viewers down…
Uber and Lyft Drivers Strike
Mar 27, 2019 • 45 min
Aprill Glaser and Will Oremus kick off the episode by talking about Apple’s plan to be the ultimate middleman—with new offerings announced this week of streaming video, games, and more. Then April offers an update on efforts in Congress to restore net…
Livestreaming A Massacre
Mar 20, 2019 • 34 min
On today’s show, April Glaser and Will Oremus first talk to two researchers who’ve uncovered new information about the way the U.S. government trains its facial recognition software. According to their findings, the government uses photos of immigrants,…
Your Social Media Photos Are Helping to Build the Surveillance State
Mar 13, 2019 • 28 min
On today’s show, April Glaser kicks things off by talking about Facebook’s long-overdue crackdown on anti-vaccination groups. The social media platform announced it will stop allowing advertisements that peddle misinformation about vaccines, and they’ll…
How To Trust A VPN
Mar 6, 2019 • 31 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus take a look at an increasingly popular online privacy tool—that has some serious trust issues of its own. We’re talking about VPNs, or virtual private networks, and why the average user might have a very…
Empathy at Scale
Feb 27, 2019 • 33 min
On today’s show, host April Glaser looks at the continuing battle between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commision. Earlier this week, the SEC asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for tweets he’s made about Tesla’s performance. The…
Can Palantir Be Used For Good?
Feb 20, 2019 • 32 min
On today’s show, host Will Oremus looks at the fallout from Amazon’s announcement last week that they’re abandoning plans for a new headquarters in New York City. Some celebrated it as a victory; others mourned a missed opportunity; still others were mad…
Jeff Bezos’s Privacy Complexifier
Feb 13, 2019 • 30 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about the implications from last week’s bizarre, but also serious, showdown between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and American Media INC, the owner of the Trump-friendly National Enquirer. Bezos claimed the…
The Court-Records Paywall Scam
Feb 6, 2019 • 44 min
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Media Layoffs Are Trending
Jan 30, 2019 • 36 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss a rather terrifying security flaw from Apple, a company that prides itself on keeping information well-protected. A bug was found in the video chat app Facetime that let snoops listen in on…
Juul Heist
Jan 23, 2019 • 41 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss news news that the french government has fined Google close to $57 million for violating the new European privacy laws that went into effect in 2018. This comes as news that the Federal Trade…
Social Media’s Weird Future
Jan 16, 2019 • 50 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss news that PG&E, California’s main power provider, plans to file for bankruptcy due to the billions in liability it faces stemming from the deadly wildfires last year. Allegations have been made…
At CES: Tech After Smartphones
Jan 9, 2019 • 42 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss startling new revelations about some of the major phone carriers. The story broke this week in Motherboard titled “I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone.” It details how…
Best of 2018
Jan 2, 2019 • 48 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus introduce some of their favorite interviews from 2018. We have highlights from our conversations with journalist Taylor Lorenz about teen YouTube stars, former head of Facebook’s Newsfeed Adam Mosseri…
Aftermath of a Data Breach
Dec 26, 2018 • 34 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus will talk reader mail! The hosts take a look at some of your questions and comments from the year, in particular about how your relationship to technology and social media has changed in a year that has…
The Information World War
Dec 19, 2018 • 34 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus will talk about how Taylor Swift used face recognition to surveil the crowd at a recent concert, and whether that’s smart, scary, or both. Then they’ll welcome Renée DiResta, an expert on cybersecurity…
Warehouse Workers Bring Amazon To The Table
Dec 12, 2018 • 48 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the latest round of “Tech CEO Goes to Washington.” On Tuesday morning, that CEO was Google’s Sundar Pichai, who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and was asked about data privacy,…
The Civil Rights Group Targeted By Facebook
Dec 5, 2018 • 44 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the news that Tumblr will soon be banning all adult content on its site — this in response to some instances of child pornography that got it suspended from Apple’s App Store. Hundreds of…
Tomorrow’s Children, Edited.
Nov 28, 2018 • 40 min
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the ongoing fallout at Facebook over the company’s decision to hire a conservative PR firm to surface opposition research in order to attack Facebook’s nonprofit critics by highlighting their…
Facebook’s Former Security Chief on What Went Wrong
Nov 21, 2018 • 47 min
On today’s show, host Will Oremus will discuss the fallout from last week’s New York Times expose about Facebook with the company’s former Security Chief Alex Stamos. The Times story was headlined “Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Leaned…
Amazon’s Prime Real Estate
Nov 14, 2018 • 44 min
On today’s show, host Will Oremus will talk about the employee uprising at Google, and the changes that it and other tech companies have made to their sexual harassment policies in response. Joining him is Caroline O’Donovan, senior technology reporter…
The Meme Midterms
Nov 5, 2018 • 60 min
Will Oremus and April Glaser are bringing you a special episode of If Then, all about the midterm elections and the role of Silicon Valley and online media in our beloved democratic process. We’re going to start with a roundtable with two extra tech…
The Internet of Hate
Oct 31, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser look further into the presidential election in Brazil and how tech has played a role. On Sunday, the far right candidate Jair Bolsanaro was elected President, and many have attributed his victory to…
Who Owns Your DNA Data?
Oct 24, 2018 • 36 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss Elon Musk’s other, other project with their Slate colleague Henry Grabar. Not space travel, not electric cars, but the Boring Company, which is working on a tunneling project in Los Angeles that…
How Senator Mark Warner Wants to Crack Down on Tech
Oct 17, 2018 • 41 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the continuing saga that is Facebook’s effort to fix itself—ideally, without breaking everything else. On Friday, the company finally released more information about the huge hack that it…
Is Privacy A Right?
Oct 10, 2018 • 44 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the latest data spill in Silicon Valley: It’s Google this time. And it’s time to talk gadgets again. This week Facebook announced its second foray into the hardware space with the Portal and…
Fact And Fiction on Wikipedia
Oct 3, 2018 • 56 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the announcement that Amazon would raise the minimum wage for its US workers to 15 dollars an hour. While Jeff Bezos may be receiving praise for the move this week, another enigmatic tech CEO…
Reshuffling the Podcasting Deck
Sep 26, 2018 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the recent announcement that Instagram’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, would be leaving the company - at least in part due to clashes with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the…
Tech Barons Are the New Media Barons
Sep 19, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about a literal moonshot. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced the first private customer who is signed up for a trip around earth’s moon, possibly as early as 2023—and he’ll be bringing some…
If Then Presents: The Secret History of The Future
Sep 16, 2018 • 44 min
Technology continues to change the way we live and work. Which is why The Secret History of The Future—the new technology show from Slate and The Economists—is digging through the past to find lessons for our future. Subscribe to Secret History of the…
Special Report: Apple’s New (Old) Gizmos
Sep 13, 2018 • 24 min
We have a special bonus If Then! On Wednesday afternoon Apple held its big annual event full of new and expensive gadgets. We wanted to help you make sense of what happened, and what it means. Host Will Oremus is joined by journalist and Slate contributor…
Google’s Real Biases
Sep 12, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss California’s landmark decision to eliminate cash bail for defendants in criminal cases—and the controversial algorithmic “risk assessment” system that will partially replace it. They also hash…
How The Future Of Music Streaming Will Sound
Sep 5, 2018 • 43 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser are joined once again by their Slate colleague Mark Joseph Stern to make sense of a what a Kavanaugh-court might mean for the internet going forward. They are also joined by music and technology writer…
Twitter Without the Nazis
Aug 29, 2018 • 40 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss reports that big tech companies are lobbying in favor of a national privacy law. They’ll talk about what their motivations are. (Hint: It’s not just altruism or civic duty.) The hosts are also…
Google’s Secret Censorship Project
Aug 22, 2018 • 48 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about a new Russian hacking report—this time, targeting conservatives. And it’s been a busy news week (as always) for Facebook, with reports on massive changes to its ad targeting and a heretofore…
Making Sense of Elon Musk
Aug 15, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about how Google has been tracking and storing your location—even after you’ve asked it not to. Then they review some of the disturbing security news out of DEF CON, the annual hacker conference in…
Embracing Deplorable Status
Aug 8, 2018 • 45 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss why a bunch of the big tech platforms—Facebook, YouTube, Apple—are suddenly banning the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his media empire Infowars. They also talk about the latest…
Flying Cars Are Only A Few Years Away
Aug 1, 2018 • 41 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk talk about a new study that suggests the internet might not have played the crucial role in Trump’s election victory that we tend to assume. And then: flying cars! And self-driving cars. The hosts…
This Is How Fake News Spreads
Jul 25, 2018 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about what’s happening new with the proposed $3.9 billion dollar merger between Sinclair, the largest television station owner in the country and also happens to have an overt tilt in favor of…
How a Top Twitter Exec Tackles Trolls
Jul 18, 2018 • 48 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the latest Congressional dog and pony show involving the big social media platforms. They’ll get into a controversy over whether Facebook should ban…
The Surveillance State’s Eyes at the U.S. Border
Jul 11, 2018 • 32 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk to Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of political science and policy at George Mason University and an expert on immigration and security at the U.S.-Mexico border. They discuss how…
The Supreme Court in the Cyber Age
Jul 4, 2018 • 39 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the Facebook privacy scandal that won’t go away. They’ll also touch on some new data from our employer, Slate, that illustrates how Facebook is pulling back from the news business. Then, the…
Tech Workers Fight Back
Jun 27, 2018 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the midterm elections coming up in November — and whether Silicon Valley companies are ready for the deluge of disinformation — whether from Russia, Macedonia, or right here in the U.S. The…
Should Tech Companies Take a Stand Against Family Separation?
Jun 20, 2018 • 29 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the horrifying story that’s on everyone’s minds this week: the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families crossing the US Mexico border. They focus on how tech’s big players…
The Failed Promise of the Gig Economy
Jun 13, 2018 • 38 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the electric scooters that are suddenly wreaking havoc on city streets—and why Silicon Valley venture capitalists are swooning over them. They also…
Naomi Klein on Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico.
Jun 6, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about how Microsoft is buying GitHub, Google is ending its Pentagon contract, and all the news from Apple’s developer conference on Monday—including the company’s effort to engineer a less…
Bloody Money and Blind Investors
May 30, 2018 • 41 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about GDPR, Europe’s sweeping new online privacy legislation that took effect last Friday. They explain why it triggered an avalanche of emails to your inbox, and what it means for the tech…
Google’s Chokehold on the Web
May 23, 2018 • 41 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about about a privacy invasion that’s arguably scarier than Cambridge Analytica, and why it’s not getting nearly the same amount of attention. It involves your cellphone, and its ability to track…
Welcome to the Swamp
May 16, 2018 • 52 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about about an unexpected move by President Trump that could save the Chinese electronics maker ZTE. Also in the news is Project Maven, a Pentagon project to build AI for drones, which Google has…
Baby, You Can Self-Drive My Car
May 9, 2018 • 41 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the hedge fund that’s gutting the newsrooms of local newspapers across the country—and racking up huge profits. They also discuss the futuristic news out of Google’s annual developer…
Why an E-Waste Recycler Is Going to Prison
May 2, 2018 • 47 min
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about Facebook’s big privacy changes and its foray into online dating, as Glaser reports from the company’s annual developer conference in San Jose. Oremus takes a listener’s question about the…
The Cost of Online Immunity
Apr 25, 2018 • 52 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a somewhat surprising speech from the antitrust chief of Trump’s DOJ. They bring you up to date on a big new data privacy bill in Congress, and Mike Nuñez, a journalist for Mashable,…
What If Facebook Used Data For Black Lives?
Apr 18, 2018 • 44 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about trouble at Tesla: the company has suspended production of the Model 3, the car that will make or break its business. The hosts also dig into the news about the real estate site…
What Mark Zuckerberg Didn’t Share
Apr 12, 2018 • 32 min
Will Congress let Mark Zuckerberg get away with under-sharing? On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus break down the Facebook chief’s trip to Washington to testify before Congress on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They review the…
Congress Called. They Want Our Data Back.
Apr 10, 2018 • 30 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus bring us an early-week show in anticipation of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress Tuesday and Wednesday (which also means we will have a show recapping the hearings later this…
Alexa, How Do You Really Work?
Apr 4, 2018 • 43 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the outrage at the largest television station owner in the country—Sinclair Broadcasting—after the media conglomerate forced its local news anchors read a script that echoes Trumpian…
Facebook’s Deepwater Horizon
Mar 28, 2018 • 51 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus dissect the latest fallout from the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein the profile data of over 50 million Facebook users was obtained and allegedly used by Trump’s online voter…
The Tech That Draws Your District
Mar 21, 2018 • 26 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus take a deep look into gerrymandering and the highly specialized mapping technology that has allowed for political parties - especially the GOP since 2010 - to drastically change the way…
What Keeps Facebook Up at Night
Mar 14, 2018 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss Elon Musk’s plan to… colonize Mars? They explain how sanctuary cities may unwittingly be sharing data with ICE through police surveillance tech. And Facebook VP Adam Mosseri, head of the…
Nietzsche with a 3D Printer
Mar 7, 2018 • 48 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus try to make sense of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s rare honest assessment of his company’s shortfalls, and what new state regulations mean for self-driving cars and trucks. Cody Wilson, the man…
“You Have to Be Heard”
Feb 28, 2018 • 46 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus take a look at Vero, the new social network that has people fleeing Instagram and Facebook, how conspiracy theories after the Parkland massacre have bubbled to the top of YouTube’s search…
How Russian Trolls Went Local
Feb 21, 2018 • 38 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus dig into special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian companies for their role in tampering with the 2016 election. Jonathan Albright from the Tow…
“Like” Is Too Simple an Emotion
Feb 14, 2018 • 45 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus lamentthe anticlimactic end to Waymo and Uber’s court drama, explain why teens are pissed at Snapchat, and examine John Perry Barlow’s contributions to the internet we know today. The hosts are…
FISA and Fury
Feb 7, 2018 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a new anti-tech lobbying group formed by ex-employees of Facebook and Google, the big trial that’s happening this week in San Francisco that involves Waymo accusing Uber of stealing…
Through The Revolving Door Between Facebook and Democrats
Jan 31, 2018 • 37 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about about a clever effort to restore net neutrality in Montana and New York. They also discuss Facebook’s latest news feed tweaks: this time it’s trying to resuscitate the local news…
Dudebros Everyday
Jan 24, 2018 • 33 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about Facebook’s fraught plan to rate the media and the cool yet creepy Amazon store that automatically bills you for your purchases. The hosts are joined by Daily Beast technology and…
The Problem With Facebook Is Facebook
Jan 17, 2018 • 36 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about the Senate’s stand on net neutrality and why Congress is set to renew a major piece of internet government mass surveillance legislation. The hosts are joined by Siva Vaidhyanathan, a…
Live from CES: Our Dumb “Smart” Future
Jan 10, 2018 • 34 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus are at CES, the huge trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas. They talk about all the weird, wonderful, and unnecessary gadgets and tech they seen so far the…
Science Fiction by ABBA
Jan 3, 2018 • 35 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a key detail in the new tax plan that could have a huge effect on gig workers in the tech sector—and maybe even robots. They also discuss Apple’s “batterygate” iPhone situation, what…
What’s a Firefox?
Dec 20, 2017 • 40 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk with the executive director of Mozilla about how Firefox competes with Chrome and the biggest threats to the Open Web. They break down the fallout from the FCC’s 3-2 vote to kill net…
Beanie Babies for Geeks
Dec 13, 2017 • 32 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk a little about why everyone is freaking out about Bitcoin. And in the run up to Thursday’s critical net neutrality decision from the FCC, the hosts speak with Columbia law professor Tim Wu…
The Ellen Pao Effect
Dec 6, 2017 • 27 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser talks with Ellen Pao about sexism in Silicon Valley and why the tech industry hasn’t experienced the same fallout over accusations of sexual harassment and assault as the media and entertainment business. Pao…
Antitrust Superstar
Nov 29, 2017 • 37 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss how bots messed up the net neutrality comment process and whether that gives advocates a last chance to preserve an open Internet. They also examine YouTube’s ongoing problems airing…
Hack Friday
Nov 22, 2017 • 42 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about changes to net neutrality that were announced this week. They also talk a little about the digital media bubble and if it’s real, and April will also tell us about how living with a…
Leaving Zen on the Table
Nov 15, 2017 • 48 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss some recent tech news, like the head-scratching revelation that WikiLeaks actually sent Donald Trump, Jr. Direct Messages on Twitter before and after the election, and a speech by…
You Can’t Hardcode Community
Nov 8, 2017 • 38 min
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the news that YouTube has been showing disturbing videos to kids and why this might be a symptom of a much deeper problem for Internet companies. They also talk about the recent…
Trash Moths to the Trash Flame
Nov 2, 2017 • 44 min
Hosts and Slate journalists April Glaser and Will Oremus are excited to bring you this new weekly podcast: If Then. The hosts start by talking through some of the most interesting tech news of the week (we promise it’s not just tech geeks fawning over…
Coming Nov. 2, Slate’s New Tech Show IF THEN
Oct 27, 2017 • 8 min
If Then: a podcast about technology, society, and power. Each week, Slate‘s April Glaser and Will Oremus take you on a lively tour of the tech news that actually matters, from fake news in your Facebook feed to the algorithms that want your job to the…