This Week in Tech Episode 944 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
It's time for twit this Weekend Tech Bombshell show for you. We got a great show and it all starts with great panelists. Amy Webb. Our favorite futurist is back, Jill Duffy from PC Magazine and someone brand new I've been trying to get on the show for years. Taylor Lawrence from the Washington Post where she covers social. She's got a brand new book out. We'll talk about that. The bombshell revelations in the new Walter Isaacson biography of Elon Musk and its trial day for Amazon and Google, the F T [00:00:30] C and the Department of Justice respectively coming down on big tech and a trigger warning for the following show. There is mention of self-harm. If you or anyone in your family is suffering, there's no need to suffer in silence. Please get some help. There are great people waiting to hear from you at the Suicide Prevention Hotline. 9, 8 8 and now on with the show
TWiT Intro (00:00:59):
Podcasts [00:01:00] you love from people you trust. This, this is T Twit.
Leo Laporte (00:01:11):
This is twit this week in Tech. Episode 944 recorded Sunday, September 10th, 2023. Shilling Spawn. This episode of this Week in Tech is brought to you by Express vpn. Stop letting strangers invade your online privacy. [00:01:30] Protect firstname.lastname@example.org slash twi for three extra months free with a one year package. Express vpn.com/twits and by Duo protect against breaches with a leading access management suite, providing strong multilayered defenses to only allow legitimate users in. For any organization concerned about being breached and in need of a solution, fast Duo quickly enables strong security and improves user productivity. Visit css.co/twit [00:02:00] today for a free trial and by eva. It's a first Eva's new Pro series, the HDL three 10 for large rooms and HDL four 10 for extra large rooms gives you uncompromised audio and systems that are incredibly simple to set up, manage and deploy at scale. Learn more at narva.com/twit. And by ACI learning acis new cyber skills is training. [00:02:30] That's for everyone, not just the pros. Visit go dot aci learning.com/twit twit listeners will receive at least 20% off or as much as 65% off an IT Pro enterprise solution plan. The discount is based on the size of your team and when you fill out the form, you'll receive a proper quote tailored to your needs.
It's time for twit This week in the show where we cover the week's [00:03:00] tech news. I have a power panel for you today. I'm very excited from PC Magazine. Jill Duffy returns, she's also returned to the us Welcome back to our Shores Stranger.
Amy Webb (00:03:14):
Thank you very
Leo Laporte (00:03:15):
Much. She is still the author of the Everything Guide to Remote Work, however, because you never know Will work will take her. She's also a regular on PC magazine, both in software and her get organized column. It's good to see you again. Thank you. It's been way too [00:03:30] long. Nice to be here. Yeah,
Amy Webb (00:03:31):
Leo Laporte (00:03:32):
Also with us. I'm always thrilled to have her on Amy Webb futurist Sprint, bicyclist, c e o of Future Today Institute. And for you, Amy, I have brought the books.
Amy Webb (00:03:46):
Leo Laporte (00:03:47):
There is the signals are talking why today's fringe is tomorrow's mainstream. There is the big nine, how the tech titans in their fell off and the tech titans are warping humanity with their thinking machines, [00:04:00] which is really about ai. Now that I think about it,
Amy Webb (00:04:03):
It is, oh sorry, plug the third one and then I can turn.
Leo Laporte (00:04:05):
You're always ahead of the game a little bit. The new one is about biotech, the Genesis machine. Our quester rewrite life in the age of synthetic biology.
Amy Webb (00:04:14):
Yeah, so the scenarios in the second book, the Big nine, which I wrote now eight years ago, are all sort of coming true. As much as a scenario comes through, they're sort of happening. The way that I spelled a lot of it out. It
Leo Laporte (00:04:26):
Was a little prescient, which I guess for a futurist is just another [00:04:30] day's work, but
Amy Webb (00:04:31):
Well, the point was to get people aware of what the future might look like, alternative views and choose the best one. We just chose not to choose the best one, I guess. So here we are.
Leo Laporte (00:04:41):
That's pretty much given. It's always going to be that way. I think this was published in 2019. Artificial intelligence is poised to forever change the course of human history. If we had only read this,
Amy Webb (00:04:54):
Leo Laporte (00:04:57):
It's on my bedside table right now. You know what else is [00:05:00] on my bedside table and I would hold the book up, but I can't because all I have is a P D F Taylor. Lauren is here, her new book comes out October 19th.
Amy Webb (00:05:09):
No, October 3rd.
Leo Laporte (00:05:10):
October 3rd. Oh, yay. I still only have a P D F extremely online. Hello, Taylor.
Amy Webb (00:05:18):
I got to get you a hard copy. I have so many.
Leo Laporte (00:05:21):
That's okay. I read it on my iPad Mini and it was great. In fact, I underlined a bunch of stuff and then I found out that iBooks does not export those in any form or fashion [00:05:30] that I can use today. So I'm just going to have to cope from memory. But anyway, I'm thrilled to have you and it's a great book and I actually finished it last night. Oh, thank you. Yeah. Well, what's funny is it's recent history really. It's about the creator, the beginnings and the current status of the creator economy and the attention economy and every bit of it, I'm reading, I'm going, oh, I remember that. Oh, I remember that, but I'd forgotten so much of it. [00:06:00] It's the life of a may fly for most of these influencers. They rise, they're huge, they fall. And in fact, the thing I took away from it mostly was, and maybe this wasn't the conclusion you wanted me to take away, was don't depend on a platform. They're going to pull that rug right out from under you, whether it's Twitter, vine, God, the Vine story was amazing.
Taylor Lorenz (00:06:22):
Thank you. I am trying to get that one excerpted. It's my favorite story in the book, so,
Leo Laporte (00:06:27):
Well, of course we've covered all this, but I didn't [00:06:30] know the inside stuff that you knew. For instance, I didn't realize Twitter bought Vine before it went public. I thought they bought it after it was a hit. I knew they killed it, but they didn't really kill it because it was the creators that killed it. It was just a great story. It's a fascinating story kind of. There's a strong moral there that everyone who wants to be an influencer should follow closely because you live by the Yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (00:06:59):
Tech companies [00:07:00] should learn how to deal with their users. That's right. Vine and Twitter have famously been terrible at that.
Leo Laporte (00:07:05):
They couldn't have mismanaged it worse, to be honest. But I don't know what if they had, it's also interesting. I'm sorry guys, I'll get to you in a second. It's fresh in my mind. I want to ask Taylor a couple of questions. It's also interesting how sometimes companies, business models get in the way of doing the right thing. Snapchat's a good example where they really resisted, they wanted [00:07:30] to be a personal communication app, not a creator's app, an media app. And so they split it all and they just didn't handle it well.
Taylor Lorenz (00:07:40):
Yeah, I know. And I think that hindered their growth and now they're not.
Leo Laporte (00:07:45):
We often think that Instagram killed them, but I think it's just as much the case that they killed themselves. They're not dead, but injured themselves by their unwillingness to recognize what was going on. And yet at the same time, I kind of honored the fact that they said, well no, because we want [00:08:00] to be an app for people to communicate with each other, not to broadcast. And that's kind of cool too.
Amy Webb (00:08:06):
You see the Clubhouse is trying to make a comeback as of yesterday.
Leo Laporte (00:08:10):
Yeah. She talks about,
Amy Webb (00:08:10):
It's happening Leo, it's Taylor, Leo.
Leo Laporte (00:08:13):
They're pivoting. They're pivoting. So clubhouse, they're pivoting around, which was really big because of Covid, right? Was doing those audio.
Amy Webb (00:08:22):
Wait a minute, wait a minute. What do you mean by really big? Well,
Leo Laporte (00:08:27):
Weren't they huge?
Amy Webb (00:08:29):
I mean [00:08:30] depends on how you define huge.
Leo Laporte (00:08:33):
Everybody was on it, Elon, me.
Amy Webb (00:08:36):
Okay, well there you go. You
Leo Laporte (00:08:38):
Had it. The FY Festival. We were all there.
Taylor Lorenz (00:08:41):
No, they had a bunch of tech people there. They did and they had a bunch, and actually it's very funny because I was in Atlanta when they rolled out this suggested user list, which by the way was just half of their investors. They were force feeding their Andreessen Horowitz partners. And I was at this content house in Atlanta and they were all really hyped [00:09:00] on Clubhouse, but they were like, it's really annoying. You're forced to follow these. I think I included this in my book. You're forced to follow these old, weird white men. You just have to get past that and then you can find people. And I'm like, this app is so doomed.
Leo Laporte (00:09:14):
I do not want to follow Mark Andreessen. I do not. I do not. In fact, he did. You're right. I remember now he led a lot of the original clubhouses and they're doing it again. Andreesen Horowitz, that's their mo. When they invest [00:09:30] in a company, suddenly it's the Andreessen Horowitz company. It's very interesting. The
Amy Webb (00:09:35):
Content was really crappy too. It was awful. Listened into you and it was just like, I think the work that you do on all of your programming Leo and have been doing for so many years, I don't think people appreciate, you make it seem very easy, very conversational, but nobody has any idea what happens on the backend and all the prep. You can't just get a bunch of randos together and try to have a panel talk. It's like the worst possible.
Leo Laporte (00:09:58):
There was some interesting stuff, for instance, [00:10:00] and I bet you appreciated this. We were hearing from people in China were getting on clubhouse and talking freely in a way that you wouldn't normally hear them talk. So in the earliest days, I would join these Chinese chats where they were speaking in English sometimes, and sure, I mean
Amy Webb (00:10:17):
Those are edge cases. You got to hear voices you wouldn't normally hear, but it's just chat roulette didn't work out either because of all the reasons.
Leo Laporte (00:10:24):
That's kind of the story of social in a way. [00:10:30] As an old guy watching this, I was really excited in the early days of the internet, I think you even make a reference to this in the book Taylor, about how it was going to democratize things. You talk about gatekeepers getting out of the way and everybody would have a voice. We all thought this was going to be transformational revolution. 18 years ago, I started a podcast network, the idea, I don't need to be working on the radio or the TV anymore. I could do it myself. And I thought that it was transformational, but then people [00:11:00] arrived and people always mess it up. Really?
Taylor Lorenz (00:11:07):
Amy Webb (00:11:10):
Corporations are people. They're
Leo Laporte (00:11:12):
Made of people What? Oh my God. Mind blown. Yeah. If you want to read in a way that you can kind of put it all together instead of the glimpses that we get in the normal course of events, [00:11:30] how all of this has happened over the last 15 years. This is a great book to read, extremely online. It will be out October, you said third?
Taylor Lorenz (00:11:37):
Yes, but it's available for pre-order now. So you can pre-order it right now and it'll be on your doorstep October 3rd,
Leo Laporte (00:11:42):
Extremely online book.com. And it's a fast read because you go, oh yeah, I remember. Oh yeah. Oh, I remember that. So what is Clubhouse doing now, Amy? What is their pivot? They say friends, followers.
Amy Webb (00:11:56):
You know what, Leo? I can't.
Leo Laporte (00:11:59):
Do you care? This [00:12:00] is my answer. Question to your question. Question, yeah. Well, there's people's heads bouncing around on the webpage.
Amy Webb (00:12:05):
Okay, so it's like obnoxious pong. I don't know.
Leo Laporte (00:12:09):
Can I move them around? No, I can't interact with 'em. They just
Amy Webb (00:12:13):
Keep, I didn't get any insight or joy out of any clubhouse sessions I ever attended. Really? Okay. And I'm not sure, to your point about it's people, you have to be able to make good content. So the technology isn't enough. [00:12:30] You have to know what to do once you get there. And there's a whole bunch of people that are just, if it winds up being a mouthpiece for somebody's latest investment round or app or whatever it might be. I'll tell you, I was actually with Mark Andreessen two weekends ago in the Hamptons. He's a fascinating, very, very interesting guy.
Leo Laporte (00:12:47):
That is a great humble brag, by the way, when we were in the Hamptons, a couple, you
Amy Webb (00:12:53):
Know what I mean? Alright. I'm not that person,
Leo Laporte (00:12:56):
But I also, I know I'm slightly that person. I had to tease you a little bit.
Amy Webb (00:13:00):
[00:13:00] He's super, super interesting. He is super, super smart. So I'm confused as to why sometimes these decisions get made. I think probably it has more to do with a communications team than anything else. Well,
Taylor Lorenz (00:13:12):
Let's not forget though, that Mark Andreessen was co-hosting, hosting, pushing out to his millions of followers rooms with Holocaust and I or Chuck c Johnson, a room saying that I needed to be hanged a room. When
Leo Laporte (00:13:27):
You say I, you mean I, Taylor Lorenz need to be hanged? [00:13:30] Oh yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (00:13:30):
Taylor Lorenz and other journalists that should be hung. Let's not forget all the other rooms that Mark Andreessen participated in with Neo-Nazis with far right info wards to people with that. Alex, the God guy, I think I don't have as much. I think he's a very fascinating person. I agree, Amy. I would love to have a conversation with him one day, but I think he used Clubhouse to push a very specific ideology that I'm glad he doesn't have that audience anymore, to be
Amy Webb (00:13:59):
Honest. Yeah, [00:14:00] you're not wrong.
Leo Laporte (00:14:01):
I think a lot of these guys are fascinating. Very, very, very smart, but maybe a little, I don't know, sociopathic a little bit detached from the real experience of normal humans or something. And then a lot of the times, I'm thinking of Elon as well. They say, well, either I was just joking or it was just ironic, or, well, you got to let everybody talk, but I don't believe in this stuff. [00:14:30] Elon says, I'm not an antisemite.
Amy Webb (00:14:34):
I don't know if he is antisemitic or he's so desperate at this point to juice the traffic on the network. I really, honestly,
Leo Laporte (00:14:43):
It's fully cynical.
Amy Webb (00:14:45):
I mean, I don't know some of the stuff that's being said. I mean, I think people who listen to the show at this point know I'm Jewish and I just can't stomach what I've, oh, I
Leo Laporte (00:14:57):
Don't blame you.
Amy Webb (00:14:58):
What I've been seeing, I mean [00:15:00] even if it is just in the name of a last ditch desperation attempt to get advertising back.
Jill Duffy (00:15:05):
Well, Amy, as you were saying, to put together a podcast is hard. You have to organize it. You have to have topics. You have to have people who are booking guests on the show. You have to arrange it. You have to have people who know how to interrupt one another once they're on your show. Media is hard. And I think a lot of the people who are getting into it now because of the low barrier of entry, it's not television networks anymore, it's just everything is open. [00:15:30] They don't know that media is hard and nothing has ever been hard for them. They've had money, they've had privilege, they've had support, they've had a network of people who have helped them along, and they don't know that media is just as big as any other field where you have to know you're doing, you have to understand the ethics of it. You have to know how to work with people. You have to know what your messaging sounds like to the people who are receiving it. And they just kind of brush that aside and say, oh no, it's just a person, a platform with people talking. That's [00:16:00] all it is. It's fine. It's hard work to do.
Amy Webb (00:16:04):
Well, I think there's another piece of this, and that is I think this generation of tech archs represent sort of different pockets of monarchies we've seen throughout history who truly believe at some point that their message matters above everything else. And people are clamoring to hear the next few things. And I wonder if that's just the place that we've
Leo Laporte (00:16:24):
Arrived. As Louis said, [00:16:30] you actually talk a little bit about this, Taylor in the book about how one of the reasons Vine and maybe TikTok and others who succeeded is because it wasn't prepared polished media, it was authentic, musically worked because people weren't wearing makeup. They were just lip syncing to songs. So there is a hunger for authenticity.
Taylor Lorenz (00:16:59):
Yeah. I think that's [00:17:00] been sort the defining characteristic of online content. Even with bloggers too. It was like, oh, here's people speaking in this interesting tone and Voicey posting. And obviously that's been more and more the case,
Leo Laporte (00:17:14):
Which is I loved you start with blogs and mommy blogs and with Deuce Heather Armstrong who passed away just a few months ago, and it's kind of a tragic story, but I loved reading her stuff. And the reason
Amy Webb (00:17:29):
I don't know that story, what's [00:17:30] the who I'm not with the mommy blog.
Leo Laporte (00:17:32):
He was one of the first mommy blog. You're too young to remember this. In fact, you're all too young to remember this. But in the early days,
Amy Webb (00:17:38):
Keep saying that,
Leo Laporte (00:17:39):
Leo. That's good. In the early days of flogging women who were talented, smart people, but who got in the case of Heather Armstrong, married young, had a child young and had to stop working, were frustrated at home as a mommy, and [00:18:00] Armstrong started blogging about stuff that nobody had written about before because it was so unpolished cleaning up a spit up and finding a way to get out of bed before noon. And she liked her wine and it was brutally honest and was very authentic, and it happened to be hysterical. She was really a good writer. And there were a whole bunch of people like this who Mommy blog is a terrible [00:18:30] obviously phrase to use, but that's what it ended up being called. But what it really was was some very talented women who were underutilized in the regular world, and so found a way to find a voice in the new media and it worked and it was great. But her story was said she struggled with mental illness and depression. Did you get to talk to her at all before her death, Taylor, or,
Taylor Lorenz (00:18:54):
Yeah. Yeah. And I had met her years ago when I went to blog, her blog,
Leo Laporte (00:18:59):
Her [00:19:00] man, you must've been 12 at Blogger last
Amy Webb (00:19:03):
From the past. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:19:04):
You must've been.
Taylor Lorenz (00:19:05):
Oh no. Well, I was a blogger. That's how I got my start was what was her
Amy Webb (00:19:10):
Name? Lisa, who started Blogger? Lisa, remind me.
Taylor Lorenz (00:19:14):
There were two women or four women in,
Amy Webb (00:19:15):
They were both,
Taylor Lorenz (00:19:18):
Yeah, I can't remember.
Leo Laporte (00:19:18):
Lisa, Lisa Stone and Jo Deja now, right? Oh, and Elisa Kahar page who I know very well. Yeah. How could I forget Elisa? Yeah,
Taylor Lorenz (00:19:27):
They were like Silicon Valley. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:19:29):
This [00:19:30] is 15 years ago. This is
Amy Webb (00:19:32):
Early two thousands. Yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (00:19:35):
By the way, I went to blog her by the time I went to blog her, I think it was 2009 or 2010, but it was later. I was doing a bunch of blog stuff, but Heather, Amy, I mean it's worth rereading and I quote some of it in my book, but when Heather first put ads, she was one of the first mommy bloggers to really effectively monetize her personal brand. She put ads on her blog in 2004, and it was huge controversy. I actually remember [00:20:00] it when I was obviously still in school, but I remember the drama on the internet. Everyone was like, how dare you? You're writing about your life and your children and you want to monetize that, which is so funny. Of course, that's all anybody does online now is monetize every aspect of their life. And then she struggled with addiction and she passed away recently. She committed suicide.
Amy Webb (00:20:22):
It was very tragic,
Leo Laporte (00:20:24):
And I think we have to give a trigger warning at that point and tell people [00:20:30] that there is hope out there. And please don't do what Heather did, but call the suicide hotline, which now has a great new number. What is it? Is it 8 8 9 8 8 9 8 8? Please do that for us. Yeah, it broke my heart because she was so funny and so kind of snide, sarcastic and just, she was great. Anyway,
Amy Webb (00:20:57):
Isn't there a new mommy blogger that just [00:21:00] got arrested or something for,
Leo Laporte (00:21:01):
Oh Lord, there's a story. The Utah mommy blogger who was taping her children down with duct tape.
Amy Webb (00:21:10):
I sadly read this in page six, so that's my access to pathetic. But that's where I saw this and I,
Leo Laporte (00:21:16):
Her 12 year old escaped. This happened this week, escaped through a window. He had duct tape around his ankles, went to a neighbor and said, please call [00:21:30] the police. I'm being held. Upon arrival, the police said, notice the child had wounds, was malnourished. They took him to a hospital and then investigated. And
Amy Webb (00:21:43):
Was another kid, Ruby too or
Leo Laporte (00:21:44):
Something, right? Yeah, Ruby, the whole family, she was a daughter too. Sadly, she was doing a blog about being a great mommy. But that's, these things happen. I mean, well, she
Taylor Lorenz (00:21:56):
Was a YouTuber too. I mean, it's very sad. I [00:22:00] think there's so much vitriol right now towards moms on the internet already. And I think these stories are used to attack other moms that are not,
Leo Laporte (00:22:10):
Well, this wouldn't be the first time. That's the other absolute true threat in the book. And you've been the victim of misogyny and abuse online. And almost every time, especially if you're a woman, in fact, almost exclusively if you're a woman, if you stick your head up, there are assholes out there and evil men [00:22:30] who will really take shots at you. And we've had Brianna Wuhan regularly, she was one of the first victims of Gamergate. Ironically, as you point out, Gamergate isn't gone. They just became the alt-right.
Taylor Lorenz (00:22:45):
Leo Laporte (00:22:47):
Alright, now I made everybody sad. I'm sorry, but they're actually usually save a bit choice for the end of the show. So there's a couple more and we'll save them. But we are at that stage, I guess, [00:23:00] of technology where a lot of the early people are now leaving us sad to say, let's talk about something happy. How about this Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk is due to come out on Tuesday, but we've already seen a number of excerpts in one of them, by the way. One of them, which Isaacson is now sort of retracting Isaacson, says that Elon disconnected Starlink to [00:23:30] prevent the Ukraine drone strike on Russia because he was afraid of a nuclear war. This we never knew about. We knew that Elon was upset about the cost of starlink and so forth, but in this case, he was actually making us, in effect, making us policy. And there was a lot of outcry over this. Let me find the
Amy Webb (00:23:56):
Leo Laporte (00:23:57):
Yeah, Isaacson, [00:24:00] I'm a little concerned about this book, actually.
Amy Webb (00:24:03):
Wait, I just want to clarify the outcry. The rightfully so outcry should be the entire planet being very concerned that Elon Musk is negotiating geopolitical agreements. Yes, that's the outcry. Perfect. And by the way, my friends at state did not share Elon's ridiculous concern. So this is financial, to be fair. We got ourselves into this situation, but the geopolitical grid is shifting [00:24:30] and technology plays a role in the future of how relationships are formed and wars are fought. And we should be asking ourselves a question, what does it mean when a corporation is making decisions in geopolitical space or geo-economic space? Intervening on behalf of maybe without even the permission of another country, should scare the absolute hell out of you. And we shouldn't be supporting that in any way.
Leo Laporte (00:24:57):
So by the way, Brianna Wu, who speak of the devil, [00:25:00] tweeted for all you Mansplainers who said I was wrong when I said the US government should not seed its responsibility with NASA to private industry told you. But that's what a lot of this comes from, is the government's letting stuff be privatized like space. And as a result you have, and New York Times had a very good piece on this a couple of weeks ago. We talked about it. Elon Musk wielding great geopolitical power just because he controls starlink. This is from C N B C Isan book claims [00:25:30] that Musk and SpaceX ordered engineers to shut off starlink satellite network over Crimea last year in order to disrupt a Ukrainian military initiative. Musk had of course initially provided starlink to the Ukraine military for free, and then soured on the deal it was costing him, he said 400 million a year. And then he also said, according to the book, starlink was not meant to be involved in wars. Now, Isaacson's backed down [00:26:00] a bit on this.
Amy Webb (00:26:02):
Ronan Pharaoh also has something in the New Yorker, brilliant a couple of weeks ago, which has a very different viewpoint on all of this. And I tend to believe what I read in the New Yorker over and a reference to having just a private ass conversation with Putin, which is terrifying
Leo Laporte (00:26:17):
More than one. In fact, Pharaoh intimate said, Musk might've been talking to Putin weekly. That is terrifying. Isaacson on Friday, exed, I'm [00:26:30] not going to call it Twitter to clarify in the starlink issues. See, he's really backpedaling on this. It was very clear in the book, the Ukrainians thought the coverage was enabled all the way to crime area, but it was not. They asked Musk to enable for their drone sub attack on the Russian fleet. Musk did not enable it because he thought probably correctly this would cause a major war. Remember, Isaacson is writing an authorized biography of Elon Musk. So I feel like there were bad channels involved in this retraction. [00:27:00] What do we say about this? I think, I guess you said it all really, Amy, we should not, our policy
Amy Webb (00:27:13):
Leo Laporte (00:27:13):
Not be's determined by some crazy billionaire.
Amy Webb (00:27:16):
So there's several things happening at once. The way that first of all, everybody thought that Putin would win and nobody expected [00:27:30] Ukraine to sort of push forward and keep things going as long as they have. So munitions weren't prepared intelligence system. Nobody was really prepared for what wound up happening. And this is delicate. There are geopolitical alliances and the world being sort of reordered in ways that could be precarious going forward. So the United States can't just send, or at that point couldn't just send a bunch of stuff. Not to mention procurement takes a long time. [00:28:00] So keeping the internet on was important, but it looks like Elon kind of went it alone. And again, we should be asking ourselves what role either individuals or technology companies should be playing in the future of strategic relationships between countries. Because these are not public utilities, these are companies that are public, so [00:28:30] they have a fiduciary responsive, there's a fiduciary responsibility there that has to be observed. So it just changes the nature of what's happening.
Leo Laporte (00:28:41):
But Elon knows that he can skate, but he's gotten away with murder figuratively in the past, maybe literally.
Amy Webb (00:28:49):
Well, depending on whose story you believe, those satellites went offline for a while and left a bunch of people stranded and a lot of people died.
Leo Laporte (00:28:56):
Ukrainian advisor to Zelensky PO [00:29:00] wrote by not allowing Ukrainian drawings to drones to destroy part of the Russian military fleet via starlink interference. Elon Musk allowed this fleet to fire caliber missiles at Ukrainian cities. As a result, civilians, children are being killed. This is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and big ego. It's understandable.
Amy Webb (00:29:18):
Jill probably knows this better than I would assume anybody here, but diplomats and people working in intelligence and people working in geopolitics, you have to be a highly [00:29:30] trained person and you have to have incredible experience. Some schmo who fashions himself as a modern day iron man does not. He may have all the money in the world, but he doesn't have the actual experience and he doesn't have the chops to get into that
Leo Laporte (00:29:48):
Of course. But what do you do about it? He owns the satellites. You privatize. I mean, what is the opposite?
Amy Webb (00:29:56):
Leo Laporte (00:29:56):
Is not the first take him over
Amy Webb (00:29:58):
When it comes to satellites. This was not [00:30:00] the first time this happened. There was a company that tried to launch, so the starlink network is, these are low earth orbit networked tiny little satellites that Amazon is also trying to launch. So they've got their own version of those called Kuper that we're talking about thousands of.
Leo Laporte (00:30:16):
They even close to launching those. I've heard Bezos talking about it.
Amy Webb (00:30:21):
So they were tracking pretty close together and the government and Amazon don't get along as the contracts keep getting [00:30:30] jettison and there's all kinds of problems. But there was a company that tried to launch and they didn't get clearance from the US government, so hopped on, they got payload access from an Indian vehicle that went up. So what does it mean if your country says no, for whatever reason, we don't want we your satellites up there and they pay off in other countries ship that's going up [00:31:00] where there's payload access. These are really complicated questions and we just haven't, the challenge with policy and regulation is that they are inherently reactive, not proactive. So we just, we're in this moment in time where so much is unprecedented that we don't really have a way to think through how do we make these decisions? And in the absence of a decision, you become vulnerable and while everybody's waiting around, some rich guy can come on in and [00:31:30] send things up.
Leo Laporte (00:31:31):
Yeah, you've said this before, we don't think strategically. I mean obviously it would be nice if NASA had launched its own satellites and provided connectivity to Ukraine, but that horse sailed. If horses could sail would've sailed years ago. It doesn't seem like there's anything we can do about it now. And Elon often just flaunts. I mean he's flaunted the S e c, [00:32:00] he flaunted the F A A and launched Starship, now he's on hold. He's got Starship stacked and made a big deal
Amy Webb (00:32:08):
About that. Starship is going up again the next launch this week without people in it, right?
Leo Laporte (00:32:12):
No, because the F A A is still holding it. But you know what? I don't think Elon Caress and I could easily see him launching without f a approval. That's kind of my point is Elon doesn't seem to care. One more story from that Isaacson book, and we'll talk more about it when it comes out, and I have a chance to read it, [00:32:30] but excerpts have been published. C N B C published an excerpt in which Isaacson says Elon decided to change full self-driving, worked late last year. Isaacson says that the autopilot on Tesla was rules-based. You see a stoplight stop, you read the speed sign, you say what the speed limit is, but that Elon's was convinced by full self-driving team that they could do it with neural [00:33:00] networks. They could train neural networks on the millions, tens of millions of videos from existing Teslas that they already have, and they could build a much better full self-driving.
Isaacson says that was the full self-driving. You saw Elon a couple of months ago when he took it out on the street and it almost ran into a car and he's intervention and grabbed it. Apparently they think it's doing a lot better. Plus they have an advantage because no one else has those videos. We talked earlier today with Sam Bull Salmon, [00:33:30] who many of you know is our car experts, a researcher for guide house insights, and he says, Elon has always said that they were using neural networks for the autopilot, that this isn't actually something new, but he says it is fraught with peril if you turn off the rules because among other things, ISIS talks about the fact and Elon got in trouble with the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency. They were doing rolling stops because the neural network [00:34:00] said 95% of drivers don't come to a full stop at a stop sign. So why should I? I'm trained on existing drivers, so we're just slow down and roll through it. And of course, NITSA said, yeah, there's a actual law here that you need to follow. But see, self-driving does know about laws. Neural network only knows about behavior.
Again, Sam said, this doesn't smell right. This is not what Elon has been saying all along. So he [00:34:30] says, either Elon's been lying or Isaacson misunderstood and got it wrong. So already in my mind, there are some real question marks about this biography that's coming in on Tuesday.
Amy Webb (00:34:43):
You want to talk about AI for two seconds? Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:34:45):
You wrote a book about it. I got it right here.
Amy Webb (00:34:49):
So you can think of AI in many different ways, but there are two general rules of thought. One is rules-based AI systems. The other [00:35:00] is learning in real time. What would it take to have a completely self-driving system? You would have to have an inconceivable amount of data. There's a
Leo Laporte (00:35:11):
Lot of rules
Amy Webb (00:35:14):
Leo Laporte (00:35:14):
There's a lot of edge cases that you can't even write a rule for because you never saw this before. That's right.
Amy Webb (00:35:19):
So that was never entirely going to work, but it works in closed conditions where you can limit the variables. So if you're on a closed course and you can limit the variables, [00:35:30] then that or
Leo Laporte (00:35:30):
Maybe the highway,
Amy Webb (00:35:33):
Yes and no. I mean stuff falls off of people's cars all the time.
Leo Laporte (00:35:38):
I hit rates all the time.
Amy Webb (00:35:40):
But what would it take to have a full neural network system? You would have to have compute that doesn't currently exist in our cars. The types of data and the way that the car is connecting that technology as far as I know, doesn't exist yet. You
Leo Laporte (00:35:55):
Train it. In fact, Elon says they're spending a lot of money on compute time [00:36:00] to train it on the existing videos and then some get some like chat G P T does or stable diffusion, get a model, a smaller model that you can put in the car. Couldn't you do it that way or
Amy Webb (00:36:11):
No, that's fine. But how are the cars getting the models is my question? Oh,
Leo Laporte (00:36:16):
Amy Webb (00:36:16):
Of our, you know what I mean? There are some pieces here that unless it's some kind of over the air update where you're,
Leo Laporte (00:36:23):
It's a big update. The stable effusions models are 1.6 gigabytes.
Amy Webb (00:36:28):
So there are pieces here that don't make [00:36:30] sense and I'll just end with the same person who's telling everybody that neural the cars have always been doing this is the same guy that's like, Neuralink is here, we have done it, which is complete bullshit.
Leo Laporte (00:36:43):
Neuralink is Elon's plan to embed a man machine interface into your brain and didn't he get f D a approval to do it? And I just don't feel like it would be a good idea to volunteer for that. [00:37:00] I will
Amy Webb (00:37:00):
Also say, listen, I'm not going to spend the whole night harping on this guy, but I'm just sick of it. So Neuralink is also not some kind of brand new conceptual interesting idea. There's a Brazilian researcher whose name I'm going to butcher because while I've tried desperately to speak Portuguese, I can't make the words come out of my mouth. It's nicolet. Anyhow, he was a Duke for a while. He's Brazilian for years. He has been figuring out [00:37:30] how to wire mammals to computers to make them, there's a wonderful series of chimpanzees driving vehicles without using any parts of their body. So just using thought, why are we doing this? The whole point is to help people who have suffered from stroke to regain because the mind is
Leo Laporte (00:37:49):
Still and he has some real success with that, right? He
Amy Webb (00:37:52):
Leo Laporte (00:37:53):
Amy Webb (00:37:53):
Leo Laporte (00:37:53):
This is not Nico. Miguel and I got along
Amy Webb (00:37:59):
And his research [00:38:00] is much older and it's incredible. But he's not going around like, Hey everybody, you can think to the internet now. I crack the code. He's
Leo Laporte (00:38:09):
A promoter. He is our PT Barnum. Is that safe to say? Elon Musk is our PT Barnum. I think that's fair. Never give a sucker an even break. Elon Musk wind's F D a approval for human study of brain implants in May of this year. I'm not volunteering.
Amy Webb (00:38:25):
I like to refer to him as car salesman. Elon
Leo Laporte (00:38:28):
Musk. Yeah. Well [00:38:30] he is a good car salesman. It
Amy Webb (00:38:32):
Leo Laporte (00:38:33):
Doesn't it? I bought a Tesla. Amy, you drive a Tesla.
Amy Webb (00:38:37):
Bite your tongue, sir, I do not drive a
Leo Laporte (00:38:38):
Tesla. Oh, I'm sorry. Nevermind.
Amy Webb (00:38:40):
I am one of the seven Americans that bought an Audi Sportback.
Leo Laporte (00:38:45):
Oh, nice. E-tron. E-tron baby. I literally,
Amy Webb (00:38:49):
I think that there are less than 20 of those cars in the United States. It's very glitchy.
Leo Laporte (00:38:54):
Jill, are you driving a gas vehicle still or have you gone a smart
Jill Duffy (00:38:59):
Car? E M [00:39:00] C bicycle.
Leo Laporte (00:39:01):
Oh, nice. Very nice. We've got two cyclists here. Taylor,
Jill Duffy (00:39:06):
I'm not a racer though. I'm a get around town going to the library kind of rider. I
Leo Laporte (00:39:10):
Love my e-bike, but I'm too terrified to ride it on the streets.
Jill Duffy (00:39:13):
Oh, it's not an e-bike.
Leo Laporte (00:39:15):
It's pedal. Yeah, same thing. I won't ride a bicycle on the streets. I know I'll get clean.
Jill Duffy (00:39:20):
You got to get over that. More people have to do it in order for it to get better
Leo Laporte (00:39:24):
If we all did it.
Jill Duffy (00:39:27):
I'll say the innovation on the bike that I bought that I really like [00:39:30] is it has a belt drive train instead of a chain.
Leo Laporte (00:39:33):
Ooh, that's cool. So
Jill Duffy (00:39:33):
There's no grease, there's no maintenance. It never falls off. And the guy at the bike shop was telling me that the very first bicycles had a belt drive train. I don't know why they got away from 'em, but it's clean and it's quiet and it just never needs any maintenance and it's great.
Amy Webb (00:39:51):
What brand of bicycle is
Jill Duffy (00:39:52):
This? B M C. It's a Swiss brand and it's like this uber commuter bicycle. So it's [00:40:00] made to be
Leo Laporte (00:40:01):
Banged around. Drive the open challenge.
Jill Duffy (00:40:04):
Yeah, well yeah. So it's not that one, but that's the company.
Leo Laporte (00:40:07):
But it's still kind of a chain. It's just a belt with cogs on it.
Jill Duffy (00:40:11):
Leo Laporte (00:40:12):
Yeah. Is it smoother? Does it ride more
Jill Duffy (00:40:15):
Smoothly? Yeah. Well, I mean it's a bicycle. Let's
Leo Laporte (00:40:19):
Not overt. That's the only problem. It's all that peddling, it's over, shoot it, all that paddling.
Jill Duffy (00:40:23):
It's just sort of quiet and there's, there's no greasing, there's no tightening. The chain will never fall off the chain. You'll never have [00:40:30] to break it and shorten it. None of that stuff, which is just like the very most basic maintenance you can do on your bike is clean and grease your chain. Does it have a normal
Amy Webb (00:40:40):
Jill Duffy (00:40:41):
No, this one has one of those internal hubs. So that's also like zero maintenance. This was the big selling point for me.
Leo Laporte (00:40:48):
It's not for you Amy. And it
Jill Duffy (00:40:50):
Had really nice fenders built in.
Leo Laporte (00:40:52):
I like fenders. Taylor, how do you get around la? You don't have a choice. You have to own a car to get around la.
Taylor Lorenz (00:40:59):
Yes, [00:41:00] and I had a bike. I live on the east side where I can actually bike around a lot and it just got stolen last week. That sucks. I know. Every bike leaves. I was thinking this recently, I've never had a bike not get stolen. Every time a bike has left my life, it's been stolen, but I have a really shitty car. Yes. That I finally, I got because I moved here thinking I don't need a car. I didn't have a car for three months. I went to the used car a lot and I said, give me your cheapest [00:41:30] car. I need to walk out of here today with a car. And I have
Leo Laporte (00:41:32):
A very, very cheap car that gets me around.
Jill Duffy (00:41:36):
Leo Laporte (00:41:37):
To believer the bicycle block, it's not going to guess is a 1986 Saturn. No, that would be pretty cheap. That would be pretty bad. Rightly so.
Jill Duffy (00:41:48):
A decade old.
Leo Laporte (00:41:49):
But what were you saying, Jill,
Jill Duffy (00:41:51):
About the, so a little p s A for your listeners here. Yes. I'm going to bring you on a very short journey, but I had an incident today.
Leo Laporte (00:41:59):
Oh [00:42:00] no,
Jill Duffy (00:42:01):
I lost my bicycle key. So if you have a bicycle, take a picture of your bicycle key. It has a number on it and that way if you ever lose the key and you lose the backup, you can get a copy made. I believe Kryptonite actually has a program where they will send you a free key if you have saved that number. It's not on the lock itself, it's only on the key. So I move around a lot, things get put into storage and travel around and lost whatever. And I only had one bicycle key and it fell off my key chain and I was like, God, [00:42:30] I got to break this bike lock. So I went on a journey on YouTube and the internet to figure out the best way to break a U-lock and I successfully did it this morning, which was really exciting. Did freeze
Leo Laporte (00:42:43):
Freeze it? Did you freeze it to break it?
Jill Duffy (00:42:45):
You know what I did? I don't think that really helped. I think it was really like I read some Elon Musk tweets and then I turned in the incredible Hulk and I just brute force it.
Leo Laporte (00:42:53):
Wait, Elon Musk tweeted how to break a kryptonite? No. Okay. No, no, no, no.
Jill Duffy (00:42:57):
Okay. Wait, how did you freeze it though? [00:43:00] You take some compressed air. I didn't really work as well as I had seen it on the videos, but it worked a little bit and then you hit it with a hammer and you hope that nobody comes and asks you why you're breaking somebody's bike. So here's the tech angle table
Leo Laporte (00:43:17):
Many, many years ago, see that's by the way, the lesson learned is that not one person said, what are you doing?
Jill Duffy (00:43:22):
It was in a bike room. So it was a bike room in an apartment building on a Sunday morning. No, but I did tell the doorman, [00:43:30] I told him when I lost the key and I was like, I'm going to break this bike lock. So when you see
Leo Laporte (00:43:35):
Prepare yourself, the
Jill Duffy (00:43:37):
Shifting looking white lady in the bike room with a hammer,
Leo Laporte (00:43:39):
Jill Duffy (00:43:42):
So here's the tech twist to this. So in this journey of like, okay, now I got to replace my lock, I got to make sure I get a good one, blah, blah, blah. I had this memory from early 2010s of all of my bicycle friends telling me, here's the deal with bicycle locks, how people break 'em. [00:44:00] You never want to have a chain lock because you can just chop 'em with bolt cutters and that's the easiest way. If you have the U-lock, that's better. It's not undefeatable, but nobody wants to carry around the tools to break it. So the U-lock is always the best because nobody wants to bother. And I was like, where did that article come from? It was early wire cutter. It was back in the days when wire
Leo Laporte (00:44:23):
Jill Duffy (00:44:24):
Before it was New York Times before it was bought by New York Times and they would send people out [00:44:30] to do these long crazy investigative stories. So it was all, the first line is like you should buy the $49 kryptonite lock and then it goes on to interview bicycle thieves in New York City. Oh god. To talk about the different ways that they break the locks, how they do it, why they use this method, not that one, how they scope them out. And the author is this guy who used to write for Outdoor magazine. I think he does some outdoorsy stuff still, but he was like, I'm pretty sure I talked to the guy who stole my 5,000 bike a [00:45:00] few years ago.
Leo Laporte (00:45:01):
Amy Webb (00:45:02):
Wirecutter just does not do stories like that anymore. Not anymore. Wirecutter has forked into a different direction. There
Jill Duffy (00:45:10):
Was a great piece in the Atlantic saying whatever happened to Wirecutter a couple of weeks ago, and it was all about what is it that took sort of this nerdy investigative people? I'll tell you what, it away.
Well, I think it was trying to monetize on it, right? Like reviews, which is the bread and butter of PC [00:45:30] Mag. Having really good reviews is so worthwhile. You make so much money off those affiliate links, but if you want to be the best at it, you have to pay people by the hour to do really deep stuff. And that is what Early Wire Cutter was doing. And then New York Times wire cutter was like, let's try to cover everything and let's pay all of our freelancers a flat rate to do it, which is the norm in the industry, but it's a different model and yeah, lots of people have complained. It's like [00:46:00] it's not as good as it used to be.
Leo Laporte (00:46:01):
Boy, I searched, I was just searching for what happened to the wire cutter and I found there's a lot of people writing what happened to the wire cutter. It seems to be a common thread here. Wow.
Amy Webb (00:46:13):
I'm not even sure where to go to get reviews anymore. I kind of
Leo Laporte (00:46:17):
PC magazine because this very trusted person, Jill Duffy.
Amy Webb (00:46:22):
Jill, can you guys start covering bikes also?
Jill Duffy (00:46:25):
We've done a couple of E-bikes, but not that many. I feel like Tom's [00:46:30] guide is still pretty good.
Leo Laporte (00:46:32):
How about consumer reports? Is that not, I mean, I trust them for dishwashers and garbage disposals, but are they good for tech? Yeah, but
Amy Webb (00:46:41):
Leo Laporte (00:46:42):
By the way, I should mention that Nicholas de Leon, who is their tech guy, is a regular on this show and I love Nicholas and the Stacey Higginbotham, who used to host this week in Google is now an advocate at the Consumer Reports. So we have some friends over there. I think they
Jill Duffy (00:46:57):
Trust, I will tell you I know of
Leo Laporte (00:46:59):
They're trustworthy, right?
Jill Duffy (00:47:00):
[00:47:00] They're trustworthy. I know a lot of people who've worked there really good people and they all left because they didn't want to work in Yonkers anymore. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:47:07):
They have the beautiful facility.
Jill Duffy (00:47:08):
They mandated return to work. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:47:14):
I have a friend who said, don't trust Consumer Reports. Those lab guys all wash their hair with soap and that's probably true.
Amy Webb (00:47:22):
What? That's such a random,
Leo Laporte (00:47:25):
I know. Well, I think I was probably looking at shampoo on Concerned Reports [00:47:30] said they wash their hair with soap. Don't read, don't trust them.
Taylor Lorenz (00:47:33):
I always go on YouTube and TikTok because I like to see videos of whatever I'm going to buy.
Leo Laporte (00:47:39):
And I know this from a book I read called Extremely Online. You can't trust those TikTok or YouTubers at all.
Taylor Lorenz (00:47:46):
No. Well, everyone's chilling Spawn Con. So I'll look on a consumer reports or whatever, but then I want to watch the videos of the break.
Leo Laporte (00:47:54):
Wait minute. Did you say chilling spawn con
Taylor Lorenz (00:47:58):
Leo Laporte (00:47:59):
Schilling [00:48:00] Schilling. I'm sorry, I just have to decompose. Deconstruct Schilling sponsored content.
Taylor Lorenz (00:48:05):
Leo Laporte (00:48:06):
Which by the way, as you pointed out, when Heather Armstrong first did it was God, you're a terrible person and then suddenly everybody's making so much money then it was the thing to do. In fact, you even say people were faking that they had sponsorships because it was so prestigious. And then of course the FTC started away in and saying, you got to tell people that's an ad. Do they now can [00:48:30] I ask the Scon,
Amy Webb (00:48:32):
Can I ask a question about Spon Con? Yeah. So remember when the influencers slash investigative journalists, I love saying that went to China for sheen. Is it Sheen or Shine? I always say Sheen, but when they went on a paid tour and told everybody how amazing everything was, and then the universe was like, what the hell is wrong with you? What happened after that? What was the coda to that story?
Taylor Lorenz (00:48:59):
Literally [00:49:00] the main girl that got canceled the hardest deleted her video and cut her partnership, but all the other girls I think kept the partnership and were like, we don't care about what the haters say.
Leo Laporte (00:49:11):
And they're probably right. It didn't hurt them, did it?
Taylor Lorenz (00:49:15):
Leo Laporte (00:49:15):
Amy Webb (00:49:16):
Right. So are they aware that they are not in fact investigative journalists?
Taylor Lorenz (00:49:21):
I mean, to be honest, no. I think a lot of them are not. I think a lot of people on TikTok do. [00:49:30] I think people, it drives me crazy because all the YouTube drama channels also call themselves investigative journalists and they don't have any understanding of ethics.
Amy Webb (00:49:39):
Cool, cool, cool. Dennis Rodman went to North Korea and became,
Taylor Lorenz (00:49:43):
I forgot about that.
Amy Webb (00:49:44):
Great leader. Yeah, good work. So good. We got that settled. Leo, back to you.
Leo Laporte (00:49:51):
No, that was good. I enjoyed that. In fact, I'm going to take a break and let you guys take over the show because you're doing a much better job than I am. This is a powerhouse panel. I [00:50:00] want to spend hours with them, but Amy's got to get stretched, so we're going to move right along here. We've got a great panel. Amy Webb is here from The Signals are talking the Big nine, and her latest is the Genesis machine, the bio, the synthetic bio revolution, and the Big nine was so prescient. I imagine that we're very close to what she describes in the Genesis machine as well. Love having you on. Thank you. Amy. [00:50:30] Jill Duffy is here from PC Magazine. She's also an expert on remote work, wrote a good book. What's the name of that book? Everything Guide to Remote Work, which she interestingly enough wrote remotely,
Amy Webb (00:50:45):
Leo Laporte (00:50:45):
Guatemala and places like that. And for somebody I've been trying to get on this show forever, but first she had to shill extremely online. It's just kidding. Taylor. Lauren, you remember [00:51:00] her from of course, the Atlantic and then the New York Times and most recently at the Washington Post where she covers social and frankly translates it for us old men who don't understand a thing going on. And I appreciate it. You made me mad in the book though. I was really mad that the young black girl who created the phrase on Flee never got credit for it.
Taylor Lorenz (00:51:25):
Well, now she's gotten credit, but she never really shared in the profit. No, I mean that's sort [00:51:30] of the hallmark. One of the main problems with the internet is that so many times the creators of these viral things never get to see the financial upside. And that was particularly egregious.
Leo Laporte (00:51:42):
One, I'm talking about appropriation. She was 16 years old. She was a vier, right?
Taylor Lorenz (00:51:47):
Yeah. So who
Amy Webb (00:51:49):
Did profit from on? Did somebody try to trademark on Flee or
Taylor Lorenz (00:51:53):
Yeah, basically. So her name was Kayla, but she went by the handle's peaches. I think it was Peaches Monroe. [00:52:00] So all these companies were using it in their marketing,
Leo Laporte (00:52:05):
Including Denny's of all people.
Taylor Lorenz (00:52:07):
Denny's used it. A bunch of people started using it like brands. It was very quickly co-opted by brands, and those brands never compensated her in any way, and so she never,
Leo Laporte (00:52:17):
So ladies and gentlemen, just to write the record, here is Peaches Monroe from 2014. Oh, it won't play for me. She's on Flake. Oh, well. Oh, you know why it won't play. [00:52:30] Look at the little V in the upper right hand corner. It's Vine.
Taylor Lorenz (00:52:35):
It should still play on the web. Just click the play button in the middle.
Leo Laporte (00:52:38):
Yeah, it's just like you're talking to your grandpa. Come on
Amy Webb (00:52:41):
Leo, click the play button.
Leo Laporte (00:52:43):
Grandpa. What's the play button? That thing in the middle. Click it. It doesn't work. Oh man, I'm probably, I'm on Linux with Firefox. A Vine does not like me. I can tell you right now. We're going to take a little break. Maybe I can get it working with Express V P N Love this [00:53:00] panel. We're going to have lots more to talk about in just a bit. Our sponsor is Express V P N. The V P N I use the one I recommend. If you ever read the fine print, it's fine, but it pops up right when you go into incognito mode, it says, what do you think Incognito mode means private, right? Nobody can see what I'm doing. No, it says your activity might still be visible to your employer, your school, or your internet service provider. How can they even call it incognito?
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The server, when you press that big button on your Express V P N app fires up in Ram Sandboxed, it can't write to the hard drive. And then when you close that server, which you has only been, yours disappears from ram and there's no trace [00:54:30] of your presence. But even more, they use a custom Deion installation that when every morning they reboot the servers wipes, the drive starts from scratch. So you are really in incognito mode, but only when you're using Express V P N. You don't want your parents to see what you've been looking at. Do you kids? What's more, your home internet provider is often not only recording what you're doing, but selling it to marketers, to data brokers. They're legally allowed to in the us That's why you really [00:55:00] need Express V P N. It encrypts all your network traffic, which gives you security, but also gives you privacy, reroutes it through their secure servers.
And as I just told you, their servers do not log your visits. So you are completely private. It works on all your devices. You can even buy a router that runs Express V P N. They sell some very good ones at the site or you can install it on certain makes. They tell you what makes, you can install it on, you can run on your iOS, your Android, your Linux Windows, your Mac, everywhere you are, and it protects you with the push of a button. [00:55:30] You tap it to connect. Your browsing activity is secure. That's incognito mode. So stop letting strangers invade your online privacy. Protect email@example.com slash twit express vpn.com/twit. You'll get three extra months free with a one-year package, X P R E SS express vpn.com/twit. We thank them so much for their support of this week in Tech Peaches. Monroe, [00:56:00] have you been in touch with Peaches since, or
Taylor Lorenz (00:56:05):
I don't think I interviewed Kayla. I can't remember if I actually even talked to her at the time or not. I don't think I did
Leo Laporte (00:56:12):
53 million loops of this on Fleet video minus one because I can't
Taylor Lorenz (00:56:20):
Play. I'll say that kicked off a conversation about credit. She's definitely been sort of vindicated by the internet by now. But the point [00:56:30] is, this is sort of a hallmark of the internet is that a lot of people create these viral moments that are co-opted by brands and use for marketing and a lot of times it's very hard for them to capture that. Now it's getting easier, obviously now it would be a different situation now, but I also write about Jah Harmon who created the Renegade Dance. And until I wrote my story in the New York Times was never able to profit from it.
Leo Laporte (00:56:57):
It is the 20th anniversary of this. [00:57:00] Some people just don't want to be remembered.
Amy Webb (00:57:06):
Oh my god,
Leo Laporte (00:57:07):
You remember this?
Amy Webb (00:57:09):
Leo Laporte (00:57:11):
20 years ago.
Amy Webb (00:57:13):
I don't remember that. What is that? You don't remember that? Well, wait, I was extremely offline ish for a while because I was
Leo Laporte (00:57:20):
Oh, you're in Japan.
Amy Webb (00:57:20):
I was overseas.
Leo Laporte (00:57:23):
Or China. What
Amy Webb (00:57:23):
Leo Laporte (00:57:24):
That's all it is. It's a viral video. That's what it is. There's nothing more to say. That's what it is. Cool. Happy 20th [00:57:30] birthday.
Amy Webb (00:57:30):
Is that like a peanut butter jelly time situation? Very similar. Very much. Very similar.
Leo Laporte (00:57:36):
And I'm driving people crazy. I'm going to stop it now. I'm going to stop it. Stop it. Thank you.
Amy Webb (00:57:41):
Yeah. I missed out on pop culture for six straight years.
Leo Laporte (00:57:44):
I didn't miss anything, I don't think. Yeah. Hey, good news. We have an F C C commission. A sad story about Gigi. So who, president Biden nominated but was stalled by the Republican Congress for more than 18 months. [00:58:00] She backed down and now her replacement nomination has been passed through Congress. So we have a full F C C, which is probably a good thing. We need a full F C C running. We've got a great chairman, Jessica Rosen morsel, and two days ago the Senate confirmed the fifth Commissioner Anna Gomez, [00:58:30] 50 55 to 43. So Democrats have a majority as often as the case the President gets to nominate. And so the party of the President usually has a majority. It has been split for two years. I hope we will see some important and regulations from the F C C. And speaking of,
Amy Webb (00:58:53):
You think you're hoping for something, an alternative to Ajit?
Leo Laporte (00:58:57):
Yeah, well, Ajit Pi was a nightmare, right? And I think [00:59:00] Jessica Rosenworcel iss really good, but without a majority she's not going to be able to get as much done. So I think this is important her, I mean somebody also equally important in the world of regulation. Margarita Viser is stepping aside as the EU Commissioner for European Competition Commission. She wants to get a job as the president of a European investment bank. If she doesn't win the election, she'll come back. [00:59:30] But she was very active in pursuing Google and Microsoft and Facebook and others. In fact, she may be part of the reason meta is now considering allowing Instagram and Facebook users to pay in Europe. Don't get your hopes up because the EU is not thrilled about meta's data collection practices particularly, and this is interesting. I think [01:00:00] they don't like the fact that Meta, and I presume others like Google, use your personal information to determine what ads to show you. They think that's an invasion of privacy and that consumers should be able to turn that off. Of course, it is the entire business model for Facebook and Google. So Facebook's alternative, according to the New York Times and three people with knowledge of the company's plans, will be to offer an ad free version of Facebook in the EU that you pay for. Meta has not said,
Jill Duffy (01:00:30):
[01:00:30] Do you all have the opinion that the EU is the only entity with some teeth, or maybe it's just gumming, but kind of better than anything else we've seen. Maybe it's not what we want, but that the EU is at least trying to push for some regulation or reforms.
Amy Webb (01:00:50):
Well, so historically, Europe's sole contribution, not sole, Europe's primary area of innovation is in [01:01:00] policy and regulation. So they've always been way ahead of everybody else in the world on privacy regulation. They have comprehensive reforms on data. They just passed a brand new sweeping set of AI regulations. Ursula, who's the current president of the commission, is another supporter privacy and not super fond of big tech [01:01:30] In the absence of the United States, we have whiplash here because depending on who's in office, the pendulum swings drastically in either direction. It's really challenging here because we don't even really have a federated alignment. Every California is totally different from Illinois, totally different from New York. So you've got a single policy governing all of Europe. It's hard to enforce, [01:02:00] but what they don't have is policy uncertainty. So that makes the business environment much more certain. And we just opened up an office in Berlin, so I'm in Europe all the time and it does make things easier. You could argue that it hampers innovation to me. This thing with charging, trying to get users to pay as a way of skirting some of the current policies.
Leo Laporte (01:02:26):
Is it a trial balloon, much like Meta and Canada saying, [01:02:30] okay, no news for you. Is it kind of a threat to the commission that well, do you want to make people pay for their Facebook? By the way, is Europe is the second most lucrative region for meta after North America? Yeah.
Amy Webb (01:02:44):
Don't get me started on the cutting off the news years ago, 15 years ago, I had the editors of the top editors and publishers of the top news organizations in the US and UK in a room, and I said, listen, [01:03:00] there is no partnership with Facebook. The business model does not work in your favor. So if you continue along this pathway where all of the content is free and you're going to erode your base, what's the plan? The better thing to do is to append the U R L and prevent Facebook from publishing your content for free. And if everybody agrees to do that for some amount of time, it will challenge Facebook to the point where they have to make, have [01:03:30] to make you an actual partner. And they didn't do that. So I find it incredibly interesting that Facebook flipped and news organizations are suffering as a result.
Leo Laporte (01:03:42):
Anyhow, do you support C 18? Did you think that was a good idea? The Online News Act?
Amy Webb (01:03:47):
What the one,
Leo Laporte (01:03:48):
The Canadian law, because basically Canada said this was at the besst of publishers. When Australia did it, it was literally at the behest of Rupert Murdoch. Look, if you're going to put snippets from our publications in [01:04:00] your search results, you'd damn well better pay us to, which passed by the way. And meta rather than negotiate with publishers in Canada said, fine, no news. And it hasn't hurt them, by the way. They don't care.
Amy Webb (01:04:14):
It hasn't hurt meta. It has hurt the news publishers. It's
Leo Laporte (01:04:16):
Hurt the news publishers a lot and Pascal Sanj in Canada, who's the cultural minister and apparently is still responsible for this for some reason, said that when the fires hit yellow knife, [01:04:30] that this was a huge humanitarian problem because people couldn't get their news from Facebook, which I disagree with obviously. So you don't think this was a good idea on the part of the Canadian forum?
Amy Webb (01:04:43):
I haven't seen any policy. That's a good idea at the moment. Again, because the problem is it inherently looks backward and we just don't have an instrument in Western democracies that is more pliable. There is a way to be flexible without compromising core beliefs, [01:05:00] but that is just not the way that our politicians in the US or in Europe are used to operating Canada,
Leo Laporte (01:05:05):
I guess. Do you blame online entities for the collapse of print journalism in
Amy Webb (01:05:12):
No. I have publicly for the past 20 years, stubborn headed publishers and editors who have just refused to build long-term strategy for their organizations.
Leo Laporte (01:05:29):
They knew this [01:05:30] was coming and they didn't do anything about it, is what you're saying?
Amy Webb (01:05:33):
No, they didn't know that it was coming. That's the point
Leo Laporte (01:05:36):
They should have.
Amy Webb (01:05:38):
Do any of you remember the earliest days of Twitter when listening to N P R? The anchors made fun constantly. It's a torque, it's a tweak. They had to read things out loud and it was clear that they just didn't want to. Every other business evolves, and there are two industries that are consistently significantly far [01:06:00] behind the evolution of everything. That's insurance and news. They're very, very challenging business environments to operate in, but it's self-inflicted.
Leo Laporte (01:06:11):
You mean like this
Speaker 6 (01:06:14):
Twitter before Insta, before email, all of that, our anchors, Katie Couric, Brian Gumble, and Elizabeth Vargas had one question and it was, what is the internet?
Speaker 7 (01:06:24):
The A and then the ring around never gets old. See, that's what I said. Kay said [01:06:30] she thought it was about, yeah. Oh, I've never heard. I've never heard it said
Leo Laporte (01:06:35):
In their defense. This was 1994. I mean, this was quite a while ago.
Amy Webb (01:06:41):
I don't defend that. By 1994 there were plenty.
Leo Laporte (01:06:45):
Oh no, I know we were talking on the radio, I was talking about the internet a lot. People wanted to know how to get on it and how to use it and yeah, no, people know what the internet was, so they weren't thinking, I mean, [01:07:00] alright.
Amy Webb (01:07:01):
There was no, listen, my business is doing long range scenario planning. We almost exclusively work with large corporations. They should hired you. You work with some governments. No, this is why I left journalism because I was tired of watching poor decisions being made over and over and over again.
Leo Laporte (01:07:22):
Meanwhile, Tuesday, the first monopoly trial of the modern internet begins [01:07:30] Google. The Justice Department is bringing Google to court Judge in the US District court for the District of Columbia will begin considering arguments at trial about whether Google has illegally abused its power over online search to throttle competition. The US versus Google is the government's first monopoly trial of the modern internet era reminds us of us versus Microsoft in the late nineties. [01:08:00] Is this the kind of regulation that we should be pursuing? I mean, is this what EU has done? Is this a good thing? I have very mixed feelings. You were saying. I feel like on the one hand, thank goodness somebody's regulating the eu. On the other hand, and I know that big tech companies aren't going to self-regulate, that's a problem. But I always worry that government doesn't really [01:08:30] know. Government is a blunt instrument and doesn't really, are you going to break up Google? Is that the right way to do this? What's the solution? And I guess you can argue that what the D O J did in 1998 was very ended up being good. We wouldn't have probably Google if Microsoft been allowed to dominate the landscape in 1998.
Taylor, any thoughts? Is it time to go after [01:09:00] Google or is this a bad idea?
Taylor Lorenz (01:09:03):
I think it's time to go after all these companies. Why not? Why not? Why not?
Leo Laporte (01:09:09):
Google's very powerful. I mean, if you're not listed on Google, you don't exist. If it's extremely online book.com for some reason, raise the ire of Google. If you said something bad about Larry Page, which I might add did not, but let's say you did and they decided, oh, we're going to pull that one down. It takes it off the internet even though it's still there and technically nobody can find [01:09:30] it.
Taylor Lorenz (01:09:31):
Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I have issues with Google results. My Google results are deranged and people send traffic to weird websites that constantly
Leo Laporte (01:09:40):
Come. You mean if people search for your name? Oh yeah, yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (01:09:44):
I don't trust Google. I actually wrote a story recently about Google's failings and how they really have lost so much share in the, I think you're correct. Generally that's been true that if you don't exist on Google, Google has been the authority. But I think, I mean I'm not the only one to write about this. Charlie Worzel also [01:10:00] wrote a good piece too, but I think that Google's search functionality has been overrun. Google search has been overrun with so much spam and SS e o spam and garbage that it's getting less and less reliable.
Leo Laporte (01:10:12):
I would also submit that it is a self-inflicted wound, but you're right, my wife said, Lisa said yesterday, oh my Google search results are terrible. Now I don't mean searching for herself, just searching in general are terrible and the first half above the fold is all Google stuff.
Jill Duffy (01:10:30):
[01:10:30] So this case in particular, I just want to read one little piece from this New York Times article. So it says, the case centers on whether Google illegally cemented its dominance and squash competition by paying Apple and other companies to make its internet search engine the default on iPhone as well as on other devices and platforms. To me, that's too little too late on that one. I mean honestly, your default search engine is Google. If you didn't tackle that 15 years [01:11:00] ago, that ship has sailed. That is, I don't know. That to me sounds like how is that the center of this case? What's so much more interesting now, and this kind of goes back to the point about government is a slow and they can't react to things. They can only respond retroactively to things. The big shakeup that's happening now is chat, G B T and other AI chatbots that are changing the way that people may search and get the information that they want.
I'm still very skeptical [01:11:30] about it, but I see where it, and it will hurt media and publishers even more. So if you can scrape an answer and deliver to somebody the answer to whatever they were searching for, the answer to their question, you give it to them in the form that they already want so that they no longer have to open a webpage and scan the content, read the content, do a control F and find the word that they want. You're now getting rid of that hurdle of going to the webpage at all. [01:12:00] And I think there have been some publishers who are already working with organizations to cut off their content from being searched or to say, you have to compensate us because if people are not clicking through to the webpages, we need to be compensated for that taking our information, right? You're not telling anybody. You're not telling anybody that this is coming from my website, my blog, whatever my company's website. You're just spoonfeeding it to them without telling them where it's
Leo Laporte (01:12:28):
At least Google gives you a link back. [01:12:30] But
Jill Duffy (01:12:32):
PT doesn't even say that. If we had a more reactive legislation, that would be the issue that they should be looking at now. Whereas instead they're looking at your default search engine when you open Safari or your default search page when you open Safari on iPhone as Google search, who cares
Amy Webb (01:12:50):
About that? That may be true, but this is the other. So in Europe there is sort of a let's wait and see what the policy looks like. Then we will develop to the policy. [01:13:00] But that is not what historically happens in the us which means that there is some onus on businesses as well. The AP signed a ridiculously stupid agreement to license content to open ai. The problem is once you release your archive to a model and that model is trained, you only get to sell it once. So there's no way to take it back out. So how does this [01:13:30] impact the company's ability to make money over the very long term?
Jill Duffy (01:13:35):
You could license it going forward, you could license
Amy Webb (01:13:37):
Jill Duffy (01:13:38):
To your media publisher, you're going to be releasing new content every day. That's
Amy Webb (01:13:41):
Jill Duffy (01:13:42):
Ideally you want it to be up to date, right?
Amy Webb (01:13:45):
But this is different. Once the model has been trained, you can license new content, but this is about the archive. So it's a one and done situation. It's not like continue to pay to access the learning will have happened. [01:14:00] So the question is what is the APS business model going forward and how does it need to evolve? And the answer is nobody did that work, which was it was yet another case of let's get a short-term win because we've got a cashflow issue or we've got to pick your flavor of the month issue without simultaneously doing the long-term planning. It is the same story over and over and over again outside of media. C p G brands are about to face a gigantic headache. [01:14:30] So C P G are packaged goods ranging from makeup to chips, things like that. So one of the plugins coming for chat, G P T, it's launched, I dunno if everybody has access to it, allows you to automatically add things to Instacart. So you look for a recipe, you look for whatever, you get a recommendation, it'll give you the list and then just say add it all to Instacart and it will do that.
So I've done that and there's no choice in which brand shows up [01:15:00] where there's something analogous here to SS e o dying for media brands as well as for choice suddenly being limited when it comes to the stuff we buy. How is chat G P T or any other system deciding which product from which brand is listed where there's no transparency? So this is kind of the thing. There's a very different situation and for example, the u a e, so in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, two big cities within [01:15:30] the Emirates, but they kind of operate separately. They actually beta test policy before they release it. So as technology is evolving, somebody is also trying to sort out, okay, well what does our policy need to be regarding this? It's a different way of operating if the best that we can do right now is trying to argue and solve the problem of Google being a default browser on a phone.
Leo Laporte (01:15:58):
It's a little late is what you're
Amy Webb (01:15:59):
Sayings [01:16:00] a little. We're all a little late to this party.
Leo Laporte (01:16:05):
I mean, getting back to the Google thing. Is it wrong for Google to pay Apple eight to 12 billion a year so that they are the default search in Safari on an iPhone? I mean you can change it. It's not that they're saying you can't change it, they just want to be the default. They know most people just use the default. Is that wrong? I mean the D O J says it is. It doesn't seem to me like a terrible thing to do. [01:16:30] I mean Microsoft could incidentally, according to the New York Times, it's 14 to 21% of apple's annual profits is that money they get from Google?
Amy Webb (01:16:39):
Which profit? The profit before the 200 billion evaporation in the market That happened a couple of days ago because Chinese people are buying non,
Leo Laporte (01:16:47):
Yeah, that's just stocks. By the way. That's another interesting story, isn't it? The Chinese government has told the government officials they can no longer use iPhones reasonably. We probably don't use Chinese phones in the defense department either, do we? [01:17:00] But that's such a big market. There's so many people who work in the Chinese government that tanked Apple stock because Apple is getting a lot of its growth from China. I don't know what to say about that. Apple doesn't control that any more than Elon Musk controls. The fact that half of Teslas are made in Shanghai, we're quite intertwined our economies. There is a smoking gun in this D O J case. However, in 2018, [01:17:30] Tim Cook and Sundar Pcha of Google met to discuss how they could increase revenue from search. This is according to the New York Times after the meeting, a senior Apple employee wrote, oh, there's a mistake. Put it in writing to a Google counterpart. Our vision is that we work as if we are one company. Whoops. I think that is collusion, I think. Yeah, so they may have a smoking gun on this one. I don't think it's wrong though. I'm not sure [01:18:00] I understand why it would be wrong for Google or for Google to say to people who are using Android and they want the Googleize version of Android. Well, okay, but you got to make Google the default search. Is that wrong? Isn't that just business?
Amy Webb (01:18:18):
Well, we usually think in analogies, right? So is there another situation where you've got a walled garden and another company would pay,
Leo Laporte (01:18:27):
Well, I'll put it this way, and when you go to a grocery [01:18:30] store and you notice the cap crunch is on the end cap, that's because Cap Crunch paid the grocery store to be on the end cap, right? Kind of like that. Is that wrong?
Amy Webb (01:18:44):
I think the challenge is Captain Crunch is cereal and we're talking about information,
Leo Laporte (01:18:50):
Although I mean
Jill Duffy (01:18:51):
Amy Webb (01:18:51):
If it had been Count choa totally
Leo Laporte (01:18:53):
Different. Okay, different story. I feel like, I mean honestly, [01:19:00] grocery stores, most of their revenue comes from those deals, not from product placement in the store. And that certainly affects how we buy. I mean,
Jill Duffy (01:19:11):
Part of me is going, wait, isn't there maybe a problem that the iPhone is the one and only dominant phone in the United case? Hey, hey, doesn't that sort of make me think? What are we, it's the default search engines on iPhones and iPads and devices, [01:19:30] huh? Sounds like some other big company has a pretty big, that's an
Leo Laporte (01:19:35):
Jill Duffy (01:19:36):
Market share and not like you can't buy, and I'm sorry, Android people, you do exist. There are lots of great Android phones, but it is, it's like 86% or something in the United States. It's big. So yeah, I don't know this being the center of the case just doesn't sound like it's the right angle, but there's so many other problems with Google. If you all think [01:20:00] about what it's doing as a monopoly, like the Google search piece, not the rest of Alphabet, the Google search, it's that everybody online is building their content to be read by that company's algorithm. Pull the curtain back here. We do this at PC Mag, we look at search engine on optimization. Absolutely. We look at what keywords we're supposed to be using. Sure. So do we. The frequency of they're supposed to be, everybody does it. We don't do it for duck, duck Go. [01:20:30] We do it for Google because that's where everybody who's dominant is searching, right? So it's not just about it being installed on your phone and so you use it. It's that the whole ecosystem is now praying to this one God.
Leo Laporte (01:20:43):
Well really the larger issue, and I don't know what the legal basis is or anything, is that you have these handful of companies that are totally dominant. So it's not just that Apple's dominant with the iPhone or that Google's dominant search, it's that they collude and now the dominance takes over the whole market. [01:21:00] And I think that's kind of what you wrote about with the Big nine I think is that the real problem here, and I don't know if you can unwind this with the D O J or with the eu, but the real problem is there are just a handful of companies that are so vast and have such a huge cultural impact that they dominate. And if they work together, then we really have a problem. And maybe that's what the D O J is going after. Is this collusion between [01:21:30] Apple and Google as opposed to just Google or just Apple? It is the fact that you've got two massive monopolies working together. That's really scary. I don't know how you unwind it.
Amy Webb (01:21:42):
Well, I think it's useful to think through context here. We're a year and a half away from an election, and the past couple of administrations have all gone after big tech unsuccessfully. So it could just be at this point somebody is desperately trying to get a win
Leo Laporte (01:21:59):
K at the [01:22:00] ftc perhaps. I was
Amy Webb (01:22:00):
Just going to say Lena has been incredibly unsuccessful, so that might be some of what's happening. But to the point about consolidation, it happens in every industry, but it seems to happen at a slightly higher rate in the US than it does in other places. I think as we're in America, you're in the grocery store, it feels like we have incredible abundance, which we do, but what we do not have is choice in this market. I just got back from Japan. Well, [01:22:30] I just got back from everywhere. I've been all over the place, but I was in Japan a couple of weeks ago and there's all different types of mobile phone devices. There's a lot there. There's much more to choose from than there is in the United States. Well, oftentimes when it comes to tech choosing between an apple and a banana, literally an apple and then something else.
Leo Laporte (01:22:55):
Alright. All right. I want to take a little break here. We've got a great panel. Taylor Loren is here from the Washington [01:23:00] Post. Your new book, extremely Online, is available for pre-order at extremely online book.com and it's so nice to have you on. I appreciate it. Taylor, thank you for taking the time to be with us. We're going to get Amy Webb out of here in about an hour and a half, a little less. She is at The Future Today Institute, the author of many great books, the latest, the Genesis Machine, and from PC Magazine. Jill Duffy, the author of The Everything Guide to Remote Work. [01:23:30] I have your book here somewhere. I'll find it. I got to hold up everybody's books. Our show today brought to you by Duo. Duo you probably know Duo I hope you do. Duo protects against Breaches with a leading access management suite.
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If you don't already. DUO helps you implement zero trust principles by verifying users and their devices. [01:25:00] Start your free trial. Sign up today, the address css.co/twit. That's CSS co slash tw. Secure user access without Breaking the Bank with Duo. We thank DUO for supporting us. We appreciate it. You almost should stop talking about government action against big tech. There's just nothing to say. It's like, yeah, okay, let's see what happens. In fact, the F T C [01:25:30] is going after Amazon. Now. I thought this was a funny story from the Wall Street Journal. Top members of Amazon legal team had a video call with F T C officials August 15th. They call these meetings the last rights meetings because it's the last step before we go to court, right? So you got the F T C lawyers, you got the Amazon lawyers, and the whole idea is now Amazon has a chance to make its case to head off a possible lawsuit.
[01:26:00] Amazon's lawyers said, no, go ahead. So US made no concessions. So the F T C says they're going to file a lawsuit against Amazon later this month. Similar issues, they're examining whether Amazon favorites its own products over competitors on its platform, how it treats outside sellers, the fulfillment by Amazon logistics program pricing [01:26:30] on amazon.com by third party sellers. The lawsuit will suggest Amazon makes structural remedies that could lead to a breakup of the company. We'll see if Khan has a win or a loss on this one. I will defend Le Khan though. Amy Cory doctor wrote a very, I think, convincing piece on his pluralistic blog saying they're all focused on one loss column, but there's a lot of things the t c has done and successfully [01:27:00] done under her tenure that everybody would support making it easier to cancel something that you've signed up for, things like that.
And so there are wins. Plus you can't ignore the fact that there is a chilling effect. Even if you win these cases you don't want to do, you don't go to court, and so there is a chilling effect and a number of people have said, yeah, I've been in companies where they've said, well, we can't really do that because we don't want to face the F T C. Even if they're going to lose, it's painful. [01:27:30] So I will defend the F T C and Lena Kahn. Alright, let's move on. Again, government, there's nothing to say. Well, there is a victory. The UK is sort of backed down on the Snoopers charter in particular. The part of the UK's, what do they call this? I can't remember the name of the [01:28:00] uk.
Amy Webb (01:28:00):
It's called the really dumb forest
Leo Laporte (01:28:03):
Surveillance bill. The one that says, Hey, you can have encryption, but if we ask for the clear text of that message, you'd damn well better provide it. I want to point out, this is the online safety bill. They did not take out the provisions that say you have to provide the clear text of the message, but they did say, but we won't enforce it, [01:28:30] so I don't know if it's a victory. Wired says, Britain admits defeat in controversial fight to break encryption. Except a number of people pointed out to me, they did not take that part of the law out. You remember that WhatsApp and Signal had threatened to pull out of the UK if the bill was passed, signal said it's a victory, but essentially what the UK said, well, we won't force them to send us clear text if there's no way to do that technologically.
Amy Webb (01:28:59):
Why is this even? [01:29:00] This was about child pornography and what they were trying to do was get some kind of backdoor access or some type of access into seeing if somebody had shared photos. Right? Right. Wasn't that the genesis of this whole thing? So what does it matter if you can see a text message, letters, you don't need O C R to
Leo Laporte (01:29:20):
Detect. I think this is a case of as the US government has also done using child pornography as a straw man, because what they really do want [01:29:30] is a way, a backdoor to all encryption, and if they insist that, yeah, you have to have some sort of css, a scanning technology, even if a device is encrypted, even if Signal or WhatsApp is encrypted, they're essentially saying there has to be a back door css. A is the paper tiger here. It's like, well, nobody's in favor of child pornography. Right? Well, we hate that. It's terrible. Well, then why wouldn't you let us see everything going on in your service?
Amy Webb (01:29:57):
I think the US tried to make the same argument just [01:30:00] after San Bernardino. Yeah, that case, I think there was an argument that if there had been a backdoor, if there had been backdoor access, that they would've been able to prevent the shooting that happened. Right.
Leo Laporte (01:30:14):
Anyway, Ofcom has said, okay, they did not take the clause out. The controversial clause still is in the legislation. It's still likely to pass into law, but they did acknowledge that. Well, [01:30:30] it's got to be when it's technically feasible. I am not convinced, despite the fact, I think that probably WhatsApp and Signal and a lot of other companies, including Apple, would like to stay in the uk, and so they're declaring mission accomplished, even though
Amy Webb (01:30:50):
We'll see. But this is kind of, if you start connecting some of these dots we've gone through tonight, we were talking about starlink access. We were talking about meta maybe [01:31:00] cutting off access or news publishers not having access or maybe having access, people having to pay in order to get access. Governments trying to get backdoor access to encrypted apps. I think the red thread here is sometime in the near future, there's probably going to be some more macro debate around pit pitting platforms and tech against government for control of our attention [01:31:30] and who gets access to what.
Leo Laporte (01:31:32):
But this is information. It is an interesting threat, isn't it? Because on the one hand we're saying we got to regulate big tech. On the other hand, we're saying, but you better not regulate encryption. Yeah. There's an interesting tension here. This is why I don't, and
Amy Webb (01:31:44):
It's different country by country. I'll tell you where there, there's no debate, and that's China.
Leo Laporte (01:31:48):
Yeah. We know who's in charge there, don't we?
Amy Webb (01:31:50):
Which already has figured it all out.
Leo Laporte (01:31:54):
I mean, you spend a lot of time in China. Do you favor the Chinese approach?
Amy Webb (01:31:57):
Actually, I have been invited to not time in China. [01:32:00] What? Yes.
Leo Laporte (01:32:02):
Are you persona non grata?
Amy Webb (01:32:04):
I am. I have been uninvited from China.
Leo Laporte (01:32:07):
Did that happen?
Amy Webb (01:32:08):
Yeah. When did that book come out? 2019.
Leo Laporte (01:32:12):
The FANG book?
Amy Webb (01:32:14):
Leo Laporte (01:32:15):
Or you'd call
Amy Webb (01:32:15):
It G mafiaa. G
Leo Laporte (01:32:17):
Mafiaa is what you call it. Yeah. They didn't like what you said about Alibaba or Tencent
Amy Webb (01:32:23):
Or buy. They did not like what I said about the scenarios where China does some really horrible stuff to the planet that [01:32:30] seems like maybe is happening. No, they didn't like, so
Leo Laporte (01:32:32):
How did they let you know about that? Did they send you a note?
Amy Webb (01:32:36):
They did not. I have some friends in high places in our government that asked me recommended that I don't, I used to live there. I don't need to go back. It's fine. I already know what the great one was.
Leo Laporte (01:32:48):
If you applied for a visa, it would be turned down. Is that what the upshot of it is? Kind of.
Amy Webb (01:32:52):
Probably. No. Did
Leo Laporte (01:32:55):
They arrest you at the border? I mean, what are we talking?
Amy Webb (01:32:57):
They're not going to arrest me. I mean, honestly, [01:33:00] I'm like small potatoes, but just
Leo Laporte (01:33:01):
Why they don't want to see you there. Yeah.
Amy Webb (01:33:03):
Why invite any potential problems, right.
Leo Laporte (01:33:06):
Yeah. No, I think you're smart. Now that the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals says that the border patrol can seize any device without a warrant. I may not want to leave the country again. Anyway, you saw that the courts have not settled this law, but the most recent ruling, the Fifth Circuit ruled [01:33:30] about an attorney who either the way had a global entry pass, who when he tried to get back to the United States, I think he was in Mexico, they seized his phone. He said, there's client privileged material on there. They said, fine, we'll send it off to the lab. He wouldn't give him the passcode. They said, fine, we'll send it off to the lab. Three months later, forensics cracks the phone. Then they send it off to a filter team that takes the so-called client privileged information out. Then they send it back to the border patrol so they can examine [01:34:00] it, and he gets his phone six months later, sues the fifth Circuit, said, no, you don't need a warrant for that.
Amy Webb (01:34:06):
Leo Laporte (01:34:08):
Yeah. This goes back and forth because some courts have said, no, no, you can't just take somebody's phone. Even the Supreme Court has said there's limits on what you can do, but the Fifth Circuit said, when you're crossing the border, all betts are off. They don't even need probable cause, and they certainly don't need a warrant. [01:34:30] So just a word of warning. If you're crossing the border, Amy, you probably don't want to bring your phone with you.
Amy Webb (01:34:39):
No, I just bring my bike.
Leo Laporte (01:34:42):
Yeah, they could search your bike. Sure.
Amy Webb (01:34:44):
Actually, my bike is full of electronics. There's a computer on the bike and Yeah, I've got data all over the place on that thing.
Leo Laporte (01:34:53):
Yeah. I think this is the case with mallek, the US Department of Homeland Security. I think at some [01:35:00] point we're going to need this
Amy Webb (01:35:01):
Circuit is New Orleans, right? That's in the South?
Leo Laporte (01:35:04):
Yeah. Well, let me see, so maybe it was crossing into where was
Amy Webb (01:35:07):
It? There's a lot of interesting things happening in the southern part of the United States. Weird little weird lawsuits that are, again, like Trojan
Leo Laporte (01:35:15):
Horses, three to nothing ruling.
Amy Webb (01:35:19):
Leo Laporte (01:35:21):
All right. Well, fifth Circuit also found that the Biden White House and the C D C violated the First Amendment when they told Twitter [01:35:30] and Facebook's take down those Covid denier posts three Judge Panel found that contacts with tech companies by officials from the White House, the Surgeon General's office, the C D C and the F B I amounted to coercion and violated the First Amendment. What was
Amy Webb (01:35:55):
The, would there have been a penalty if they would've said no?
Leo Laporte (01:36:00):
[01:36:00] Well, okay. I'll read from the Washington Post, the judges detail, multiple emails and statements from White House officials that they say, show escalating threats and pressure on social media companies to address covid misinformation. The judges say, the officials quote, we're not shy in their requests. Is that a threat? I don't know,
Amy Webb (01:36:22):
Leo. It is illegal to be shy,
Leo Laporte (01:36:25):
Not shy, calling for post to be removed ASAP and appearing, and this is [01:36:30] really where they went. A step of the line, persistent and angry judges detailed a particularly contentious period in July, 2021, which reached a boiling point when President Biden accused Facebook of killing people.
Taylor Lorenz (01:36:44):
That's ironic. The government, I mean also Facebook. I don't know. This whole thing is so silly to me. I also wrote a story that's not up yet. I think it's going up tomorrow, but right now Facebook is [01:37:00] blocking searches for the word vaccine on Facebook threads on Instagram threads in the middle of another, so
Leo Laporte (01:37:07):
It's their right to do that. Nobody's disputing that they private company. Right.
Taylor Lorenz (01:37:11):
I'm saying it's just so ridiculous. I just think both of these parties in this, I think the government and Facebook are neither one of their hands are clean, and for one to accuse the other person of assisting and killing people. I think they both, [01:37:30] both have problems.
Leo Laporte (01:37:31):
The judges said that the platforms did change their policies based on F B I briefings, but see, the F B I was briefing 'em not only about Covid misinformation, but about foreign election interference and misinformation. At that point, Facebook said, oh, and they changed their policies. Twitter said, oh, this was under Jack Dorsey. You changed your policies. It seems to me that of course, you could cross the line if the F B I says, you [01:38:00] take that down or else that's different, but if the F B I is giving you informational briefing saying, look, we found these are 23 Russian troll farm accounts that are posting deliberate misinformation.
You might want, I'm not going to tell you what to do, but you might want to think about that. That would be reasonable. Right. They're not allowed, by the way, now at all to talk to social networks. [01:38:30] Government institutions affected by the ruling include the surgeon General's office, the C D C and the F b. I may not speak to social networks. I don't know. I think information's important. I think the social networks probably were open to getting briefings like that. Did you have any reporting, Taylor, on what was going on? I mean, we know that conservatives think that [01:39:00] they were trying to suppress conservative voices. I don't know if that's what's really going on.
Taylor Lorenz (01:39:05):
I think they were earnestly trying to get vaccine misinformation taken down and to get Covid misinformation taken down. I think it was earnest, and I think it's great to have those lines of communication open, as you said, without threats. I just think neither one of those parties is necessarily, they both have their own interests at play, and we'll see. I don't know. [01:39:30] Kat's been covering more of the Kat, who I work with cover. I think she wrote that story, the one you're talking about. I mean, to me, the misinformation stuff is just really complicated and messy, and Facebook has a terrible track record on it, and again, with the threads, moderation, it's just been such a mess where they're just blocking terms wholesale, which is such a blunt form of moderation. I just,
Leo Laporte (01:39:56):
It's a challenge for them. I understand. I'm a little bit sympathetic. I mean, it's hard to moderate, [01:40:00] especially at that kind of scale,
Taylor Lorenz (01:40:02):
But we have all these, I was talking, I can't remember his name. Some guy from Berkeley who's a misinformation researcher. He's great, but he was making these points. We have large language models. We have all these technological advancements. I think these companies just don't like to invest in those things, and they just want to, don't want controversial stuff on there, so they just sort of block everything. There's no nuance, and I think they could be doing a lot more nuanced moderation, although I'm not a huge [01:40:30] fan of moderation in general. I prefer community moderation more than top down, but
Leo Laporte (01:40:36):
I run a Mastodon instance with about, it's about four or 5,000 people. It's part of our community. I just unilaterally, I ban people. If I don't like what they're saying, I just kick 'em off. I want to keep it friendly and nice. I don't ban people for most things, but if they say something that is over the top, I just kick 'em off. I think
Taylor Lorenz (01:40:59):
That's the best.
Leo Laporte (01:41:00):
[01:41:00] That works.
Taylor Lorenz (01:41:01):
Something I love about masks on, and something I love about Discord is the mods are empowered to just create their own little,
Leo Laporte (01:41:09):
Yeah, or where are you these days? Are you, I mean, obviously you're not on Twitter, or are you
Taylor Lorenz (01:41:16):
Yeah. I don't use it for tech news anymore. I don't use it to grow my brand. I only use it to keep, I'm really immunocompromised and it's the only place to get realtime updates about covid, so I Isn't
Leo Laporte (01:41:26):
That sad that there are things that happen [01:41:30] on Twitter that don't happen anywhere else, and we still need it for, actually,
Taylor Lorenz (01:41:34):
I hate to see it. Yeah. I was actually watching college football yesterday, too. I was watching the CU Nebraska game, and I was like, man, I want to talk about this with someone and Twitter. I wish another one.
Leo Laporte (01:41:44):
It's the last place you can do that, though. Yep. Are you a buff?
Taylor Lorenz (01:41:49):
Yes. Oh, my whole family is a cu buff. My parents met at University of Colorado, so
Leo Laporte (01:41:56):
My son is a buff. He studied broadcast [01:42:00] journalism at CU Boulder, graduated about five, six years ago. Now. He's a TikTok influencer, so
Taylor Lorenz (01:42:09):
That's the best path you can have in media right now. Honestly.
Leo Laporte (01:42:13):
He would say, oh, I got to take these news courses. He would go out with a package and interview people on the street. They're so old fashioned and the way they edit, and they're teaching him AB editing and stuff, and you're learning the old way of doing it so that [01:42:30] you can do the new way, and now his real claim to fame is his editing, where he's very good. He's a TikTok chef. It's interesting. I'm going to send him your book because one of the stories in your book that's very clear is you live by the platform. You die by the platform, and so I keep saying at some point, TikTok, who knows, Trump almost killed it. Maybe it'll go away. You need to kind of, so he's built his following. He had about two and a half million on TikTok. He's now built his following on Instagram. [01:43:00] He's starting to do YouTube shorts, and I said, that's right. Diversify two and
Taylor Lorenz (01:43:05):
A half million. He's thriving.
Leo Laporte (01:43:08):
You probably know who he is. I don't want to say his name because I don't like to ride on his No freak out. I don't like to ride on his coattails or anything like that.
Amy Webb (01:43:17):
What's the Nepo baby in media, but now on Twitter. What is that called?
Leo Laporte (01:43:20):
Old Nothing. He is not an nepo baby. He doesn't use my name. He doesn't use my last name, so he's done it all on his own, which I'm [01:43:30] very proud of him. He is Salt Hank, and he does stuff like this.
Taylor Lorenz (01:43:41):
Oh, wow. He's a good
Leo Laporte (01:43:43):
Editor. Oh, he's a really good editor. Yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (01:43:46):
Wait, that's amazing. Where's he? That kitchen looks nice.
Leo Laporte (01:43:50):
I think that's his mom's kitchen. Let me see. He lives in la. He's in Venice, but he ends up coming up here to Petaluma [01:44:00] once a month. He likes how mom's kitchen looks on camera. He's got a pretty nice kitchen himself. Dude, it, there's all the things you're supposed to do. The collabs, he was presenting it outside lands on, they have a food stage where people cook and they were going to cook the Shaq burger or whatever. Shaquille O'Neal had some burger, and Shaq bailed like 15 minutes before. He said, I got a toothache.
Taylor Lorenz (01:44:28):
Wait a minute. [01:44:30] He's got his own seasoning wine.
Leo Laporte (01:44:32):
Oh, yeah. Salt Hank. Yeah. Yeah. Good. All right. Mission accomplished. We can end the show now and everybody can go home. I just wanted to get Taylor Lorenz up on the salt, Hank. Anyway, he's a buff, so that's what made me think of that.
Amy Webb (01:44:47):
What is a
Leo Laporte (01:44:48):
Buff? He's a CU Boulder. Buffalo. Buffalo,
Amy Webb (01:44:51):
Taylor Lorenz (01:44:51):
University of Colorado. We're the buffaloes. We're the buffaloes. I was
Amy Webb (01:44:54):
Feeling left out. I didn't know what a buffalo is.
Leo Laporte (01:44:56):
Well, I'm glad you asked because you probably were not probably the whole [01:45:00] audience. I said, what are they talking about now when you go to the Buffalo Games, they run with a wild bull,
Taylor Lorenz (01:45:10):
Leo Laporte (01:45:11):
Ralphie buffalo. Right. Of course it's, it's not a bull. It's a buffalo. What am I thinking? They run with him onto the field and it's crazy. They're going like a hundred miles an hour running onto the field with this thing.
Taylor Lorenz (01:45:27):
Yeah. This is how they start the game. [01:45:30] They run a buffalo and
Leo Laporte (01:45:31):
It's wild. This is not a trained buffalo.
Taylor Lorenz (01:45:34):
No. They have to rail him
Leo Laporte (01:45:36):
In to keep up with him.
Taylor Lorenz (01:45:38):
I honestly feel like he's a little bit terrified, I guess, but he does it every game, so can
Leo Laporte (01:45:42):
You imagine how he feels? He was just wandering around the planes, eating some tumbleweed, and all of a sudden they're making him run around a football field. Anyway, I don't know how we got off into that. Sorry.
Taylor Lorenz (01:45:59):
I could [01:46:00] put some work, some Colorado propaganda into this show.
Leo Laporte (01:46:04):
Thank you. Yes. Well, you mentioned Buffalo, Nebraska, I mean Nebraska. I thought, oh no. She's either a corn husker or a buff, so I'm glad we got that settled. What about NFTs? How are y'all feeling about NFTs these days? You're bullish. I'm
Amy Webb (01:46:23):
Feeling bison ish for, what was Buffalo ish?
Leo Laporte (01:46:26):
Oh, that would've been a good idea. Little cartoon buffaloes. [01:46:30] They've done apes. They've done crypto punks. They've done owls.
Amy Webb (01:46:37):
Yeah. I'm feeling buff about it.
Leo Laporte (01:46:39):
Buffs. Buffs. Maybe we could even buff go cryptocurrency too, with a buff NFTs not doing well. Monthly training for NFTs between January, 2022 and a couple of months ago plummeted 81% NFT sales figures dropped 61% [01:47:00] floor prices for the board apes and the crypto punks two year lows. What that means is a lot of people who bought these
Jill Duffy (01:47:09):
Thinking got scammed.
Leo Laporte (01:47:10):
I'm going to make some money on my crypto punk. 37 are sitting there upside down. They
Jill Duffy (01:47:18):
Got scammed. I don't, I'm shocked. Yeah, insert eye roll. They got scammed, and that sucks, and it sucks. When people are taken advantage [01:47:30] of.
Leo Laporte (01:47:30):
I feel bad because that's the sad thing. We had a contractor come in and fix a door at the house, and I asked him, are you in crypto? He said, yeah, I bought a little bit. It's like, dude, no. I tried to tell 'em, don't please do
Jill Duffy (01:47:46):
Yourself crypto. It's a sad, confusing story too, because you have a whole lot of people in the United States who don't trust banks because banks have never been good to them.
Leo Laporte (01:47:56):
Banks have I understand. Yes.
Jill Duffy (01:47:58):
Not given them loans. They have not given them [01:48:00] bank accounts. They have not allowed them to buy property. People have been disenfranchised from the financial industry for generations, and so when a new form of money comes along that is sort of marketed on this belief that anybody can get into it. I mean, it's lotto. All you need is a dollar in a dream. All you need to do is get in and hold on. Right. Get in at the right time and hold on. Don't let go, hold the line, whatever, but it's still taking advantage of the [01:48:30] same people. But I also understand that desire to say, I'm not dealing with the national banks anymore. I'm not doing that because all they have done is keep my generational family in poverty. I understand why people went into it. I understand how people got scammed, and I understand how it's so easy for everybody else to laugh at 'em and be like, ha, ha, ha, you got scammed. [01:49:00] But it's really devastating, and I think it's probably good that it's not as hyped up in the media anymore and that a lot of people who, a lot of the celebrities who endorsed crypto are paying some consequences for that now, but it's really sad, and I feel like that's the angle that's not talked about very much.
Leo Laporte (01:49:23):
Justin Bieber, Paris, Hilton, Madonna, Chris Rock, all promoted NFTs. [01:49:30] So you're
Amy Webb (01:49:31):
Saying that I'm the dummy for listening to Paris Hilton for investment advice. Leo, you're making me feel very bad
Leo Laporte (01:49:38):
About myself. You should never, no. Paris is what is, I learned from Taylor that she makes a million dollars a night as a dj. She's doing all right, Paris. I agree with you though, Jill. You made a very good point because it's also true with vaccines in the health industry. There are people who quite rightly, especially black people, don't trust the [01:50:00] medical industry. There are people because of
Amy Webb (01:50:03):
Leo Laporte (01:50:04):
Of history, quite things
Amy Webb (01:50:05):
That happened in history. Yes.
Leo Laporte (01:50:08):
There are people who don't trust the government who are working in the Rust Belt, who have just been let down by the economy. Unfortunately, those groups are vulnerable because they don't trust the institutions. They're vulnerable to scammers, which is even worse, who come along and say, oh, you can trust us. We'll take care [01:50:30] of you. And then it's just a big grift. It's sad. I don't know what the answer is to that, but it is sad. I think it's wrong. Anyway, I hope you didn't buy NFTs, and I feel bad if you did.
Taylor Lorenz (01:50:45):
I have one N F T. Can I show it to you guys? Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:50:50):
How can you show us? Is it on your phone? I know you don't have a physical object.
Taylor Lorenz (01:50:56):
I can't figure out how to sell it. So it's the only one.
Leo Laporte (01:51:00):
[01:51:00] Yeah. Opens Sea is not open for business right now. What did you buy?
Taylor Lorenz (01:51:07):
Okay, hold on. It's so
Amy Webb (01:51:09):
Ugly. Please tell me, you were the one who bought the $650,000 yacht, or was that called a super
Leo Laporte (01:51:15):
Mega, a digital yacht, or was it a real yacht?
Taylor Lorenz (01:51:21):
My N F T looks like the avatar for a five nine-year-olds Xbox controller.
Leo Laporte (01:51:27):
Oh, God, that's awful. It's like a triangle with sneakers. [01:51:30] Was that a collection that you bought that from?
Taylor Lorenz (01:51:35):
It's my Friend's N F T project.
Amy Webb (01:51:38):
Leo Laporte (01:51:38):
Well, it's different. See, that's different. And I know many artists who actually used NFTs, and it was a way of supporting the artist. I think people who did that like you to support a friend, that's different. You didn't buy that triangle with sneakers because you thought you were going to make a million dollars on it down the road, did you?
Taylor Lorenz (01:51:56):
No. I don't think that it's going to be worth a million dollars. I just think [01:52:00] it's so hilariously bad. No,
Leo Laporte (01:52:02):
I'm sad that you're trying to sell your friend's N F T though.
Taylor Lorenz (01:52:06):
Oh, no. I'm holding. I'm ho. I'm good.
Leo Laporte (01:52:07):
Hold, hold. No, I'm not.
Amy Webb (01:52:13):
Wasn't the same thing. Remember when you could buy a pixel or you could buy 10 pixels? Oh, yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:52:17):
That worked really well. The Million Pixel Project, remember that,
Amy Webb (01:52:20):
Right? Wasn't there a return promised?
Leo Laporte (01:52:23):
No, it was an ad. Right? The million dollar homepage. Remember that? And then people, I guess
Amy Webb (01:52:29):
The point that I [01:52:30] was making is we keep, I feel like sometimes I'm in Westworld season two. No Westworld season one. Season two got bad. We shouldn't want, but the point being or we're like in sieve or something, but we just keep living out the same storylines over and over again
Leo Laporte (01:52:49):
Slightly. Well, you did see that the Fyre Festival's coming back, fire two.
Amy Webb (01:52:55):
Leo Laporte (01:52:58):
That was actually, you talk about that [01:53:00] in your book, extremely online, Taylor, about people like The Kardashians, who was, it was, it was promoting the Fyre Festival made a quarter of a million dollars to promote the Fyre Festival.
Taylor Lorenz (01:53:12):
A lot of influencers. Yeah. Haley Bieber, I think promoted it. Kendall Jenner.
Leo Laporte (01:53:18):
Oh, Kendall Jenner. That's who it was. Yeah. Quarter of a million dollars. Well, I just would like to tell everybody about Fyre Festival two, because it's coming and Billy's going to put it together, [01:53:30] and we're very, very excited. Tickets are already selling out, says Billy McFarland.
Amy Webb (01:53:36):
So can I ask a question? Yes. So maybe Jill Taylor, both you guys are both in media still. So if a traditional publication were to post the Fyre Festival's coming, it's awesome. Everybody should go to this and there's a disaster. There's some liability there, right? There's some level
Leo Laporte (01:53:57):
Of I think he went to jail
Amy Webb (01:53:58):
Or they're not.
Leo Laporte (01:53:59):
No, he went to James
Amy Webb (01:53:59):
Versus, [01:54:00] I mean, if an influencer, my question is what's the difference in accountability for promoting something, whether it's a crypto or an N F T or a Fyre Festival, is the accountability the same for a traditional media org and an influencer, or is it different? I don't know.
Taylor Lorenz (01:54:16):
There is no real established. I mean, sometimes the FTC has gone after people for misleading advertising, but it's almost never, and I think that became a big question after Fyre Festival was like, who's liable? [01:54:30] And it's kind of the same thing that a lot of these crypto celebrities are saying now, which is like, well, look, I don't endorse every product that I'm just paid to do an advertise. I'm just paid talent. I'll do it. And so they've sort of avoided liability themselves for promoting it.
Amy Webb (01:54:49):
Well, but if it had been the Post or PC Mag or something, what would that have been like? Right. If it had,
Jill Duffy (01:54:56):
I mean, I'm trying to imagine what kind of article would be [01:55:00] in that vein. The kinds of articles we run. We do news. I mean, the closest thing would be like an op-ed, but then it would be labeled as this person's opinion. Everything else we do is going to be, here's a fact, here's the evidence. Supporting the fact. I mean, so it's not going to be the writer saying, we think this is great and you should go. It's going to be maybe an argument to say, here are the reasons, here's the evidence we have for why we think it's great. But I feel like in the kind of [01:55:30] publication that PC Mag is, we wouldn't have an article like that
Taylor Lorenz (01:55:34):
PC Mag Pumping Fire Festival.
Amy Webb (01:55:38):
Well, I was just trying to think of something analogous like a gaming computer or something, or in the post maybe. I don't know. The question I'm asking is where does accountability lie, if at all? And if it doesn't
Leo Laporte (01:55:50):
Lie, there's a question.
Jill Duffy (01:55:51):
We get threatened with lawsuit plenty, but really? Wow. That's when companies will come to us and they'll say, you made an assertion in your [01:56:00] article, though is factually wrong. And so typically
Leo Laporte (01:56:03):
You editorials protected.
Jill Duffy (01:56:06):
We're pretty well protected. Yeah. So if something is wrong, I mean, the best case scenario is the company approaches and say, Hey, you got this wrong. And we say, can you show me why it's wrong? We want to have that conversation that we're not just taking them on face value. If it's wrong, we'll fix it. If we stand by what we said, then there might be a little bit of back and forth, but it very quickly leaves the editorial chain and goes to some other [01:56:30] legal entity in our corporation that will handle that for us. But it does happen from time to time. I wouldn't say it happens regularly, but it does happen from time to time where companies will come to us and the personalities behind the people who really push, they're not understanding the relationship and how it's them trying to bully us into having a certain opinion about their product. It is not going to end well for them.
Leo Laporte (01:56:57):
Did you ever, that's not,
Jill Duffy (01:56:58):
I'm going to do it,
Leo Laporte (01:56:59):
Hear of [01:57:00] a pimple cream called Acne Statin?
Jill Duffy (01:57:05):
Leo Laporte (01:57:06):
In 1978, pat Boone said, my daughter used Acne statin, and it cleared up her acne. F T C fined him, and he agreed, by the way, to make refunds to customers because he endorsed this product. It was the first time in 1978, first time the government ever held a celebrity [01:57:30] responsible for an endorsement of a product's, quite a famous case. The F T C said, pat Boone received 25 cents for every bottle sold. The company set up $175,000 fund for restitution, and Pat Boone apologized. Wow. So
Jill Duffy (01:57:51):
Was the issue that he didn't disclose that he was getting a kickback from the company, or was it false tion, or both
Leo Laporte (01:57:56):
Ads? I mean, when you do an ad, do people [01:58:00] not assume that you're getting paid for the ad? He did radio, TV and print ads in 1977 for the mail order project. Were they
Jill Duffy (01:58:08):
Declared his ads? Yeah, that's what I'm not really understanding. If it's, I mean, an ad is an ad, right, but if you're not saying it's an ad like it's advertorial. No,
Leo Laporte (01:58:19):
No. That's not what they got in trouble for. They said the F T C says the product does not really keep skin frame of blemishes. Duh. And [01:58:30] Pap boon said, no, no. My daughter really did use it. He signed a consent order in which he promised not only to stop appearing in the ads, but to pay about 2.5% of any money that the F T C or the courts might eventually have ordered the company to refund to consumers. He said through a lawyer. His daughters actually did use acne statin, and he was dismayed. Dismayed. I tell you to learn that the product's efficacy had not been scientifically established as he believed, but they still held him responsible.
Amy Webb (01:58:58):
So what's the deal with Matt? [01:59:00] Not Matt Damon, which Matt is with the crypto.
Leo Laporte (01:59:03):
Oh yeah, I think it is Matt Damon. Fortune favors the brave.
Amy Webb (01:59:09):
So are they expecting, I mean, Jennifer Aniston endorses collagen peptides and they had some manufacturing defects. There was some plastic in the powder. Admit
Leo Laporte (01:59:19):
It. You use goop. Come on, admit it. What's that? Nothing. I'm just
Amy Webb (01:59:22):
Kidding. No, actually that's one of the protein powders that I can tolerate, so I actually use that, but the headlines when it came out were Jennifer [01:59:30] Aniston's Fancy Protein. You know what I mean? That was the story versus like there's a recall, there was some plastic that got into this
Leo Laporte (01:59:40):
Damon's kind of thing. Defense was that he has that water charity that he was doing it for the water charity, and so he did the Super Bowl commercial for crypto.com and I think, yeah, I think there are people, there's a suit against him and the others who do those ads. Damon [02:00:00] said he gave his whole salary to water.org and that crypto.com gave another million dollars to the nonprofit. So maybe they did some good,
Amy Webb (02:00:12):
So wouldn't a tech influencer, I'm not going to say his name, but you know who I'm talking about. Shouldn't very well known tech people who get everybody excited about something like NFTs or a crypto be held to a higher standard than just like Larry David [02:00:30] of Kirby or enthusiasm.
Leo Laporte (02:00:32):
Amy Webb (02:00:32):
The way, who makes that joke Commercial. I just
Leo Laporte (02:00:34):
Want to point out Larry David in that commercial said, do not buy crypto. I just want to find that out. He's cleared. We talked about crypto when it came out as a technological. Blocking is technologically interesting. It's
Amy Webb (02:00:47):
Infrastructure as infrastructure. Yes. Very long-term infrastructure, which it should continue to be
Leo Laporte (02:00:53):
Looked at. I have always said, don't buy NFTs and don't invest in crypto. I've always said that, by [02:01:00] the way, there's still people right now in our chat room saying, Lee, oh, you should get off of that. They're great. Usually that's people who are holding upside down investments in crypto and NFTs, but Okay.
Amy Webb (02:01:12):
Or outright gamblers.
Leo Laporte (02:01:13):
Or gamblers. Yeah, if you like to gamble, nothing wrong with that. Alright, I need to take another break. We got to keep this moving along, but I am so glad to have the three of you here. What a fun show. Our show today brought to you by Eva. Oh, I haven't talked about Eva in a while [02:01:30] as people come back to work, but some people are still remote. It becomes really important that you have good sound in your meeting room. Eva does meeting room audio better than anyone. They have a history of wowing it pros. I'll give you an example. Du Kane University, they've installed a hundred EVA devices. One of their senior technologists recently said, I cannot say enough about how impressed I am. [02:02:00] Audio has been my life's work for 30 years. I'm amazed at what an arva mic and speaker bar will do.
So let me explain what it is. It is as easy to install as a speaker bar. In fact, it kind of looks like that, but it's got microphones and patented technology that puts thousands of virtual microphones throughout your meeting room so that people can comfortably have meetings but be heard by everybody including remote people on the conference call. Reba has just made another leap forward to the introduction [02:02:30] of this new pro series featuring the H D L three 10. That's for large rooms and if you've got a really big huddle room, HDL four 10 for the first time, you can get pro audio performance and plug and play simplicity in the same system before the EVA Pro series, multi-component pro AV systems, were the only way to get pro audio performance in large and extra large rooms, and I'm sure you've all been in those big meeting rooms where they've got the 1,000 thousand dollars systems installed [02:03:00] with his microphones and all of that.
The problem is, of course, it not only is expensive, it has to be tuned constantly and adjusted. It's a lot of work. Eva does it all so easily, so simply and it pros love it. Just go get an online demo. It highlights the EVA audio expert being heard clearly. Even at one point he's under the table. Can you hear me now? He's behind a pillar. It's a remarkable and patented technology. [02:03:30] The HDL four 10 covers rooms up to 35 feet by 55 feet and all it takes is two mics and speaker bars, which you can install yourself. I mean, they're easy. Imagine, I mean an extra large meeting room or a lecture hall even with two discrete wall-mounted devices and you can hear him Clear is a bell by the way. You can even use him if you've got a divisible room and you've got two set up, pull the curtain and you've got now two rooms going.
The HDL four [02:04:00] 10 also features a unified coverage map, which processes mic pickup from both devices simultaneously so it becomes like one giant single mic array. The three 10, the baby brother, oh, it's only 30 feet by 30 feet and that's just one mic and speaker bar. It ain't no baby. It takes about 30 minutes to install. With the continuous auto calibration, Reeva audio automatically and continuously adapts to changes in the room's acoustic profile. See there it is right there. [02:04:30] And with Narva Console, which is a cloud-based device management platform, you can manage your rooms. Even if you've got like Duquesne University, hundreds of them, you can manage them without leaving your desk right from the console. Bottom line with the Pro Series narva makes it simple to quickly and cost-effectively equip more of your spaces for remote collaboration. It loves it too. They get firmware updates. You can check the device status, you can change the settings all from your computer. [02:05:00] Learn more at reva.com/twi, N U R E V A reeva.com/twit. When I got the demo at the website, I was blown away. You will see it's amazing. reva.com/twit and we thank him so much for supporting this week in tech.
Who is Elon Musk not suing? He [02:05:30] says he's going to sue the Jewish Defense League. It's the A D l. Is that
Amy Webb (02:05:35):
The Anti-Defamation League?
Leo Laporte (02:05:36):
Anti-Defamation League. Okay. It's not the J D L. Alright. Ironically for defamation, he says that those ads that they said, which they did, I mean we saw 'em. He said, don't buy ads on Twitter guys in anti-Semite. He says that was such a chill on their advertising that they cost him millions of dollars and he wants it back. I'm sorry,
Amy Webb (02:05:59):
So this was [02:06:00] a dog whistle to get a whole bunch of super right wing folks. Did it work
Leo Laporte (02:06:06):
Amy Webb (02:06:07):
Yeah, I mean I will Depends on if by working you mean riled up that entire fee was
Leo Laporte (02:06:16):
That his intent was to do that rather than actually Sue, you're saying or do you think he intends
Amy Webb (02:06:23):
To sue? My understanding is that wants he will refuse to settle and [02:06:30] that he wants things to go to trial hoping that somebody else will drop out, whereas when others might settle. Jonathan Greenblatt, by the way, is a very smart, he's a smart guy and he's picked, Musk has picked a formidable foe because Greenblatt's not backing down and he's going to run circles around Musk, I think.
Leo Laporte (02:06:54):
Is he the c e o of a d l or Yeah. Yeah.
Amy Webb (02:06:57):
Okay. Yeah. Wait to see it to be honest. [02:07:00] What's that? I can't wait to see it to be honest. I think, yeah, that is a cage match. I would show up for, put the two of them in chairs and let them debate. It would be a KO within like a minute
Leo Laporte (02:07:16):
And now X has filed a lawsuit against California for AB 5 87 alleging that the California bill infringes on ex's free speech rights because it forces companies [02:07:30] to define the terms it's using. He says that it forces them to engage in speech against their will because they have to define racism and hate Speech. X's complaint says it's difficult to reliably define hate speech, misinformation, political interference, and other content categories and defining them as often fraught with political bias. I actually kind of agree with 'em on this one. This to me strikes [02:08:00] me as another kind of hamfisted attempt by legislators to get social media companies to do their job, so to speak. Gavin Newsom says it's a nation leading social media transparency measure. He signed into law last September. Can you legislate moderation? I don't think you should.
Taylor Lorenz (02:08:24):
I agree. I don't think you should. That's my personal opinion. I just think that it's so [02:08:30] highly nuanced and the modes of expression on each platform are so different and I think it's not something that can come from the government or should
Leo Laporte (02:08:44):
Mike Masnick, who we trust on these subjects says Elon Musk files really strong First Amendment challenge to California's terrible social media transparency law.
Taylor Lorenz (02:08:57):
I always agree with Mike on almost everything I have to say. He's
Leo Laporte (02:09:00):
[02:09:00] Super smart. Yeah,
Taylor Lorenz (02:09:01):
Yeah. Always on the That's it.
Leo Laporte (02:09:04):
By the way. I made up my mind before I saw that headline, so we're in agreement 25 years old, Google is 25. They just made up their birthday, so you could be any age you want when you make up your birthday. Sundar Phai with a message to all Googlers questions shrugs and what's comes next to quarter century of change. Remember this 1998, the Google [02:09:30] homepage, it was so much simpler. It was a simpler time back then. Expect we're not going to do any more stories about this, but expect lots of them everywhere else. Are you going to do a story on Google's 25th, Taylor?
Taylor Lorenz (02:09:45):
No. I just wrote a story about how Google's over,
Leo Laporte (02:09:49):
That's about right. 25 years in out.
Taylor Lorenz (02:09:53):
I just meant in terms of how people find information, kind of back to what we're talking about.
Leo Laporte (02:09:57):
Yeah. Google [02:10:00] isn't over in the sense that every time I try to use Duck Go or binging, I just go back to Google,
Taylor Lorenz (02:10:07):
But people go on Reddit and I don't think Google is the portal to the internet because we have such an app-based online experience now. I don't think we need to
Leo Laporte (02:10:18):
A court has ruled that YouTube is not under any obligation to carry Dr. Mercola's anti-vaccine videos. Joseph Mercola yesterday [02:10:30] lost a lawsuit. He was trying to force YouTube to provide access to videos that were removed after YouTube banned his channels. He's a prominent anti-vaccine guy. Cola said, you owe me $75,000 in damages for breaching your user contract and denying me access to my videos. The judge said, YouTube is under no obligation to host your content. The court found no breach. She wrote, because [02:11:00] there is no provision on the terms of service that requires YouTube to maintain particular content or be a storage site for users content. If there's a threat here, it's confusing. That's the threat. I don't know what
Amy Webb (02:11:15):
Well, what would be interesting the way that Florida is going with all of its various interpretations of laws, and it would be interesting if Florida, it'd be interesting [02:11:30] if state, I mean we have a little bit of this now, but it'd be interesting if different content is shown in different states based on different laws because it's already started to happen a little bit. I guess
Leo Laporte (02:11:42):
We could do that technologically
Amy Webb (02:11:44):
Mean. Can you imagine, I want to watch Anti, I'm geofenced out of watching my anti-VAX content unless I cross the border into Florida where I get all I can mainline it. Didn't
Jill Duffy (02:11:55):
That happen with porn? PornHub,
Amy Webb (02:11:57):
PornHub, [02:12:00] but that would've been hard to implement fully, so they just shut it down. I'm talking about Yeah, yeah. This would be different. This would be YouTube saying, no, no, we'll take your content, but we can only show it once you cross state lines. I mean, I could see that happening. They already do it that way overseas.
Taylor Lorenz (02:12:17):
That would be so interesting and have such big effects on the creator world.
Leo Laporte (02:12:23):
We really would. We talk about the splinter net, the idea of having different Internets in different jurisdictions. [02:12:30] I mean, I guess that's where we're headed, right?
Jill Duffy (02:12:35):
What's fascinating to me is when G D P R came out, this speaks to the power of how much money companies are making. By tracking you online and knowing everything that you do, you could have seen companies say, well, we're going to make G D P R sort of like least common denominator. We're just going to change our policies so that this is what we do everywhere. But instead they said, we're going to build these [02:13:00] complex backend systems that make sure that we follow the rules of G D P R only in the EU and everywhere else. We're not going to do that, and to have that kind of money to build that and test it and roll it out on a reasonably short timeline too that really says to me they can't afford to lose or they don't want to lose any of the money that they're making anywhere else by not following those rules. That's what we sort of assumed is like, well, [02:13:30] California will lead the way in the United States and then they'll pass laws and then all the companies will say, well, we'll just follow California's rules and roll it out the same everywhere because cheaper and easier to do.
Leo Laporte (02:13:42):
They're saying that that's what the right to repair legislation in California will do that. It'll change it for the whole country because we can't have, but that's a little different. That's a physical process. I mean the internet, you probably could geofence the internet, right? It's
Jill Duffy (02:13:57):
Still expensive though. It's [02:14:00] not a cheap solution.
Leo Laporte (02:14:02):
Well, you just look at somebody's IP address, match it up to a database of where they are and say, well, sorry, you're in Florida, you can't see this. Sorry, you're in California.
Jill Duffy (02:14:12):
Right, so this is the difference is are you going to just cut them off wholesale or are you going to have a very complicated rule set for what they can and cannot see, so you cut them off wholesale. That's fine.
Leo Laporte (02:14:26):
What if Casey Magazine, I mean this is highly hypothetical, but [02:14:30] what if for some reason some of your articles were legal in California, some weren't. You would just show the ones that were legal and have, I dunno, a blank hole where the legal ones are. You could wouldn't
Jill Duffy (02:14:40):
Tell. Everybody use the V P N. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (02:14:42):
I think technically it wouldn't be impossible to implement, but it seems like it would be undesirable. On the other hand, it
Jill Duffy (02:14:50):
Would be undesirable. I still think it would be very expensive because ideally you would want to make sure that you're following the law as precisely as you can and getting through as much content [02:15:00] as you can. Right, right. So I think it would not be so simple as saying yes, no. Yes, no.
Leo Laporte (02:15:06):
What's going to happen to TikTok Taylor? There's a company that's in the meat grinder with government one way or the other. Donald Trump tried to shut 'em down. They're using Oracle servers now. They've got a US C E o, but they're still a Chinese owned company.
Taylor Lorenz (02:15:29):
A lot of [02:15:30] apps. It's not even remotely the only Chinese owned app, and there's so much entanglement between Chinese interests in American business. It just seems absolutely ridiculous to target TikTok instead of some sort of comprehensive data privacy reform. If you don't
Leo Laporte (02:15:49):
Have, yes, thank you. Yes, just stop selling to the data brokers. Put the data brokers out of business because frankly you shut down TikTok. China just goes to the data brokers and gets [02:16:00] the same information from them. They don't need TikTok for that stuff,
Taylor Lorenz (02:16:04):
But it's just Facebook lobbying. I mean, so much of this anti TikTok stuff is just, it's Facebook and Google lobbying,
Leo Laporte (02:16:11):
So I never got an answer. I want to know from all three of you what social networks are going to survive. What ones are you using? I think we agreed there's not going to be anything that can replace Twitter, right? There's never going to be another Twitter or is there?
Taylor Lorenz (02:16:29):
I don't [02:16:30] think so. I don't think it's going to be a one-to-one replacement. I wrote actually recently, a couple months ago about how TikTok had already sort of cleaved off a lot of the core functions of Twitter, especially keeping up with news. I think although TikTok is not real time news, the war in Ukraine or the Maui fires or all these big news events, people go to TikTok because you see real-time footage of people. It's sort of the place that you go for news and information and pop culture
Leo Laporte (02:16:58):
News. My daughter convinced [02:17:00] me that she's 31 and she said, I said, I've been reading the people use TikTok instead of Google for search. That makes no sense. She said, yeah, it works. Try it. I said, all right. I want to know how long the Golden Gate Bridge is. She said, search on TikTok. I found a TikTok that said, how long the Golden Gate Bridge is
Taylor Lorenz (02:17:17):
This part of, I put that, I put exactly that related to this in my article about how Google searches is
Leo Laporte (02:17:23):
You can actually search, you can get everything from TikTok.
Taylor Lorenz (02:17:27):
Yeah, and other platforms.
Leo Laporte (02:17:29):
What about [02:17:30] threads? What about Blue Sky? What about T two? What about Masto? Is
Amy Webb (02:17:34):
Anybody actually on Blue Sky? Didn't it not happen? Bluesky,
Leo Laporte (02:17:39):
Taylor Lorenz (02:17:42):
There's somebody do
Leo Laporte (02:17:43):
Blue. Do you even skeet? You were on Blue Sky a lot. I think originally Taylor, weren't you or I still am. You still are. Yeah.
Taylor Lorenz (02:17:54):
I post everywhere except Twitter for news. I totally stop you, but [02:18:00] I think Blue Sky for me, I find it useful as a journalist still for sourcing. There's like 10 people on it and it's decreasing every day. It's basically
Leo Laporte (02:18:08):
Taylor Lorenz (02:18:10):
Posters, Andon. I mean, I'm a Mastodon defender. I mean, I know it doesn't, probably never going to be a never mainstream social platform, but I do find it useful for a certain conversation.
Leo Laporte (02:18:21):
I like the community on it. It's pretty geeky.
Taylor Lorenz (02:18:24):
Yeah, that's probably why we're all, we all use it. I don't know that normal people
Leo Laporte (02:18:29):
Want to, I know what [02:18:30] normal people do ever. To be honest with you, I'm not an expert. Threads for a while was like the thing, it went crazy. It was so easy to go over from Instagram and now I keep seeing stories that the threads people are disappearing and it's Is it getting quiet?
Amy Webb (02:18:46):
That's an example of you couldn't post really what you, I mean, they really restricted what content
Leo Laporte (02:18:50):
Could get posted. Oh, did you run up against Barriers?
Taylor Lorenz (02:18:54):
Huge content moderation problem. I said this the minute it launched. [02:19:00] If journalists used Instagram more, they would realize how incredibly restrictive the content policies on there, and I get why I'm not totally against it, but it's a very restrictive platform. Oh,
Leo Laporte (02:19:11):
Well, it's meta. Of course it is.
Taylor Lorenz (02:19:14):
But if they want to have this real-time social network, again, they cannot just wholesale ban the word vaccine. That is the type of blunt moderation that they have. It's really hard to talk about newsworthy issues.
Leo Laporte (02:19:27):
Interesting. And T two does [02:19:30] not do that. I
Amy Webb (02:19:33):
Haven't used T two in a while.
Leo Laporte (02:19:38):
Blue Sky. How does it, can you post anything you want on Blue Sky? Yeah. How actively moderated is that they got in trouble actually for a while, for being a little too friendly to bad people.
Amy Webb (02:19:55):
They were letting people put slurs in their usernames.
Leo Laporte (02:19:58):
Yeah. That's [02:20:00] fixed though, right?
Amy Webb (02:20:01):
Leo Laporte (02:20:04):
I think this has all been an attempt to recreate Twitter and A, there's too many people doing it, and B, maybe we don't need another Twitter. Have we moved on?
Amy Webb (02:20:17):
I'm a Twitter og. I was on the platform just after it launched at South By, and it's left a hole. I mean, the whole thing started tanking during the [02:20:30] 2016 election, so I think it really hasn't been the same since then, but I had all of these lists set up and damn was Nuzzle. I had them all connected Nuzzle,
Leo Laporte (02:20:45):
Amy Webb (02:20:46):
Jonathan Abrams' always slightly a little bit too early on just about everything, but it was a wonderful little app. It would scrape and deliver me news content. I mean, it was terrific. Plus all my friends were there. It has [02:21:00] been the same since. I don't use Facebook and haven't for a long time. I'll tell you, I have one tiny Keybase group. You
Leo Laporte (02:21:08):
Still got the Keybase going. Good
Amy Webb (02:21:10):
For you. And then a lot of my people that I know have switched over to texting.
Leo Laporte (02:21:17):
It's the new social network. Ssm texting
Amy Webb (02:21:20):
Is the new. Yeah, so a lot of texting now I've I've been dragged into WhatsApping. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (02:21:28):
Amy Webb (02:21:30):
[02:21:30] All the stuff that used to be sort of public, we're all talking and discovering together has completely gone private. So all my social groups and social network interactions are totally private now.
Leo Laporte (02:21:40):
That's what's really going on is you're using these and I see people doing that with Discord. Aunt Pruitt's got a slack for his whole family. I see people doing that as well. Yeah, and that's private, so you don't have to worry, but you lose. No,
Amy Webb (02:21:54):
No, I still worried.
Leo Laporte (02:21:56):
Yeah. Well, you must have weird friends, but you lose [02:22:00] that feeling that you've got your thumb on the pulse that you're tuned into the Zeke. Some of that
Amy Webb (02:22:06):
Serendipity is gone. Right. The serendipity and the discoverability is kind of gone, which I do miss
Leo Laporte (02:22:13):
Now. See, fortunately because I just checked Twitter, I know that Elon Musk has confirmed he has a third child with grime named techno.
Amy Webb (02:22:21):
Leo Laporte (02:22:22):
Good. See, if it weren't for Twitter, I never know that.
Jill Duffy (02:22:27):
I saw it on tech
Amy Webb (02:22:28):
Meme, I think.
Leo Laporte (02:22:29):
Oh, okay. [02:22:30] There you go. Techno mechanic is,
Jill Duffy (02:22:33):
Are they going to do a gender reveal with a rocket launch?
Leo Laporte (02:22:39):
Maybe I'm describing
Amy Webb (02:22:39):
Blues of yellow or pink smoke filling the sky beneath the rocket.
Leo Laporte (02:22:46):
If you own a rocket ship, why not
Amy Webb (02:22:50):
Jill Duffy (02:22:50):
Oh, I can think of reasons.
Leo Laporte (02:22:52):
F A may not like it. I think I'm going to give Elon some credit. Elon and Grime some credit. What [02:23:00] they realize is that nobody wants their name to be dictated for them by their parents, so they give them a stupid ass name so that the kid, when they're old enough to realize their name, techno mechanics will name themselves, will come up something, just call me and then they will own their own name, and that's really what they're doing. They're saying there's no good name. A parent can give a child. How about that? Okay, how about
Jill Duffy (02:23:24):
That? Don't defend it. Don't defend it.
Leo Laporte (02:23:27):
When you named your child after a Jordanian [02:23:30] landmark, did you think that they would continue to be using that name into their adulthood?
Amy Webb (02:23:38):
Yes. Actually, it's a great name
Leo Laporte (02:23:39):
Amy Webb (02:23:40):
Dad in my circumstance. So my mom had died just before my daughter was born, and in our tradition you usually name the name the child that's born after the person. So there was a lot of pressure on me to name my daughter after my mom. My mom died a terrible death. She was very, very sick and I just didn't want that reminder all the time. [02:24:00] So we went with the other name and it's a good name. It's very common in Europe, is it?
Leo Laporte (02:24:04):
So it is a great name and it could be whatever you want it to be, so that's nice too. It doesn't have a specific gender or anything. It's a good name.
Amy Webb (02:24:15):
Listen, I don't have a problem as much with the name as I do this sort of spreading the seed situation, which again seems to be happening a lot among a certain set.
Leo Laporte (02:24:26):
You mean like Elon having how many kids? We don't even know we've lost track. [02:24:30] Is that what you're talking about? 11 now? I guess. 11,
Amy Webb (02:24:33):
Yeah, but he's not the only one. There's a lot of men who wind up with a certain level of success, and by the way, this is not a modern day thing. This goes back pretty far. If you look at extremely, extremely, a lot of extremely successful businessmen at some, and sadly those in my own field foresight, those early, very successful futurists including HG Wells, wind [02:25:00] up tiptoeing or rushing full on into eugenics and believing, oh, that's not good. Yeah, so there is quite a bit of, well,
Leo Laporte (02:25:08):
That's kind of what Elon's saying is we smart people ought to have more children.
Jill Duffy (02:25:12):
Yeah, it's the effective altruism stuff is like the movement of the moment.
Leo Laporte (02:25:17):
This is what Jeff Jarvis calls Tere. Have you heard that acronym? T e s as in testicle. Sounds like it. It's short for get this Transhumanism, [02:25:30] Arianism commas, COism Cosmism, rationalism, effective Altruism and long-termism.
Speaker 8 (02:25:38):
I think it's Narcissism.
Leo Laporte (02:25:40):
Narcissism. There you go. Taylor's got the better. Yes. Who needs an acronym? It's n I want to take a little break, final break and then we're going to say goodbye to a couple people, not you guys and wrap this up. Our show today brought to you by our friends at a [02:26:00] C I Learning. You probably see the signage around the studio. They've been a great support this year to us in today's IT talent shortage. Whether you operate as your own department or a part of a larger team, you got to keep those skills up to date. In fact, in a survey of a CIOs and CISOs, 94% agreed that the number one job is attracting and retaining talent. Now that's good news for you. If you want to be in it, get that job, [02:26:30] keep that job, get a better job, get promoted with it.
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Leo Laporte (02:30:59):
Yeah, [02:31:00] a lot of fun. That interview John Scalzi joins us next month in our club. If you're not a club member, TTT tv slash club twit, there's a lot of exclusive content. You get ad free versions of all of our shows and you get an Pruitt and who wouldn't pay $7 a month just for ant alone, of course access to our great discord twit tv slash club twit. Jill, I thought at first this was you. I tried it working aboard an Amtrak train, but no, that's
Jill Duffy (02:31:29):
My [02:31:30] friend Kim Key. She wrote a great piece and I got to say the Washington Post also promoted her piece and wrote a couple of stories related to it. Nice. I thought it was really fun. I am slowly becoming a transit nerd where I care very much about the development of trains and having infrastructure for people to get around easily, and it's frustrating when you start to really dig into it. How far behind the US is nothing new here. I'm just getting more into it lately. So Kim [02:32:00] is a colleague of mine. She lives in Georgia and she took the overnight Amtrak train from Atlanta to New York City
Leo Laporte (02:32:06):
To see. She took the midnight train from Georgia,
Jill Duffy (02:32:10):
That midnight train from Georgia, and she decided to write all about could you work on the train? And I haven't taken Amtrak train in a couple of years, but I definitely remember having frustrating experience with the wifi and this is on the Northeast corridor where you have lots of people
Leo Laporte (02:32:27):
Jill Duffy (02:32:27):
The first [02:32:30] of all, lemme tell you the ela, it's only like 40 minutes faster.
Leo Laporte (02:32:33):
I know. You know why my are in such crap condition that it goes really fast and then it goes really slow. You ride the couple
Amy Webb (02:32:41):
Things. I'm on the ELA and I have been for 15 years, twice a week, so it is my mute. I
Leo Laporte (02:32:49):
Do you love it or no?
Amy Webb (02:32:51):
No, but it's a necessary evil. The reason it slows down is actually because there are parts of the track that it doesn't own. So there's a different [02:33:00] company that has the right of place. It's terrible cockamamie,
Leo Laporte (02:33:03):
Amy Webb (02:33:04):
Right? Technically you can work, there are tables if you get into the Acela in the right spot, and I really wish people wouldn't because I've overheard conversations. I heard the HR director of a major bank, I was sitting at a table with him and his colleague talking about a woman who had an executive who had just taken maternity leave. They were incensed [02:33:30] that she would take three weeks off and we're talking about how she could never possibly catch up when she gets back. Don't you hate it when women blame, use pregnancy as a way to get a free vacation? This is the head of hr. How do I know that? It was one of the cool things you can do on am. Well, you could, at the time, they used to print everybody's names on the tickets. So when I would get in a car, I would walk up and down the aisle, memorize everybody's names, go look up everybody in private mode on LinkedIn, and then I would know everybody and [02:34:00] all the, they were saying about their colleagues and coworkers and everybody else. Oh my. Yeah, I was so, and I'm like, dude, I'm literally sitting next to you. Do you think I'm not hearing this conversation and how illegal everything that you're talking about Case.
Jill Duffy (02:34:14):
In the case of Kim, what she did was she got a private car, she was in a sleeper car and she had some privacy. I do love, it's a different story, but she talks a lot about what kind of gear she had to pack with her for an overnight trip. So she realized smartly that she needed to bring an extension cord with some extra [02:34:30] outlets on it. You don't get very many. And then she tracks the wifi hotspot that she brought with her versus Amtrak's wifi to see which ones are holding Amtrak.
Amy Webb (02:34:38):
Wifi is horrifically bad
Jill Duffy (02:34:41):
Even. Yeah, it's very slow. It's very slow. So yeah, she talks about what she provisioned. She
Leo Laporte (02:34:45):
It's also insecure. She points out, which is great.
Jill Duffy (02:34:48):
Yeah, you should
Amy Webb (02:34:49):
Never hop on that network.
Jill Duffy (02:34:50):
She's a security writer. She's a security writer. She talks a lot about that in the story too. It's a really fun story. She wrote a couple of different pieces related. She has some videos [02:35:00] embedded in there. I thought it was a fun story too, just because it really is important to people to be able to get around and be connected even if they're not working, you still want to be connected.
Leo Laporte (02:35:11):
Well, as you guys both know, the train systems elsewhere are amazing. The bullet train in Japan, the T G V in France, they're quiet, they're comfortable, they're fast, there are lots of them. It's much easier to get around. It breaks my heart that we have such lousy options. [02:35:30] I'm just finishing now the Robert Moses biography Power Broker by Robert Caro.
Amy Webb (02:35:37):
We had to read that at Columbia Taylor. Did you go to J School at Columbia? I don't remember. We didn't go to journalism school. No, in journalism school, that book, they make you read that as
Leo Laporte (02:35:45):
You should greatest biography ever the first week. But it's a long book. It's 60 hours on Audible. I can't imagine. And I bought the book. I thought, well, I just want to see the paper and it's this. And the truth is there was a great documentary just came out, which you should see [02:36:00] turn every page about Robert Carroll and Bob Gottlieb, his editor working on that book, and they had to cut out hundreds of thousands of words because you couldn't bind a book any thicker than it already is. It is as thick as it can be. But the reason I bring it up is this guy, Moses was a bad man and one of the things that he built all of the New York freeways, a trans Bronx expressway, the Henry Hudson Parkway, [02:36:30] everything, all the bridges, he built it all. He wanted to be Caesar, I think he wanted to be Augustus and have his name everywhere, but he hated Mass Transit to the point that they built the bridges on the parkways 11 feet high, too low for a bus.
He didn't want anybody on, would ride a bus like black people to come to their beaches. And then they had a study, New York City did a study in the sixties. He said, since you're building the parkway, you could put a train line right in the middle there. It cost you [02:37:00] just a few pennies more per mile. And Moses said, absolutely not. He hated mass transit. So New York is saddled with basically permanent traffic jams because of this guy. And of course he racistly plowed through city after city. It's a brilliant book. It is so good. And I'm sorry it's so long. I think that probably puts off some people.
Amy Webb (02:37:25):
The audio book is, oh, go ahead. I did the audio book version of that. I listened and [02:37:30] it's
Leo Laporte (02:37:30):
Great, isn't it? Yeah. And the guy who's reading is such your deep voice. You can listen at one and a half and it's pretty good. Then it's only 40 hours. Isn't that nice?
Amy Webb (02:37:40):
If you're interested in the future of transit, there's an awesome woman at N Y U. Her name is Sarah Kaufman and she writes about future of transit, current transit issues. She's super, super
Leo Laporte (02:37:50):
Interesting. Could been so much farther ahead because not only did he ruin New York, but he influenced Los Angeles and every other city. They all thought, this guy's the city [02:38:00] planner par excellence. Let's just do it like Moses is doing it. And it is so sad. It is so sad. What we lost and I wish Amtrak were better. Better.
Amy Webb (02:38:11):
I do too. It could be,
Leo Laporte (02:38:13):
Still can be. It's not over. Biden put a lot of money in the Amtrak. I remember. I hope we see the results of that. I know you want to get stretching, so let me just wrap up with a couple of r ipss. We like to do these at the end so as not to bring people [02:38:30] down. The guy who created PowerPoint, Dennis Austin passed away at the age of 76. He retired at Microsoft in 1996, created PowerPoint for his own company. Microsoft bought them. And whether you like PowerPoint or not, you can blame him. I think there was a lot that PowerPoint did that was quite amazing. Dennis Austin passed at 76, a real pioneer. And then [02:39:00] because we've got Taylor on here, I also wanted to mention another legend in the internet space who just passed away and is much, much mourned. Molly hla, who was as some say the godmother, the fairy godmother of the web, died very young. She was a pioneer of online design and accessibility [02:39:30] and a proponent of open web standards who was really important in promoting the open web. She had health issues, a series of illnesses over the last decade passed away on Tuesday. So a couple of names I think deserve to be remembered. And now you go and you stretch your hamstrings young lady.
Amy Webb (02:39:53):
Thanks. It's my T F L, which is like
Leo Laporte (02:39:56):
My T F L. So you go [02:40:00] to the same stretch place I go to.
Amy Webb (02:40:02):
Probably not the exact same one, Leo. I'm on a different coast. But spiritually, yes, I
Leo Laporte (02:40:06):
Love it. I go in there and I just lie back and they stretch you. You don't have to do anything.
Amy Webb (02:40:13):
Yeah, I can't see PT prescriptions are too challenging to get at this point, so I got a guy at this other place. I
Leo Laporte (02:40:19):
Got a guy. It's fantastic. Anyway, I want you to get stretching everybody. Thank you. Amy Webb, the Future Today firstname.lastname@example.org. [02:40:30] Do you do a podcast? Anything else you want to plug?
Amy Webb (02:40:38):
I will just say by the books, Phoebe Waller Bridge, whoever's listening, if you have the ability, just give her all the money and let her make
Leo Laporte (02:40:45):
All the stuff. I love her. She'll
Amy Webb (02:40:47):
Plug Phoebe Waller Bridge
Leo Laporte (02:40:49):
My, she was discovered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Fleabag, which was a wonderful series, but she's also did Killing Eve [02:41:00] and she was in, she did James Bond. She does the new James Bond. She wrote what is right.
Amy Webb (02:41:05):
She's What's the latest. She's a brilliant, she was in Indiana Jones. She's got a bunch of stuff in development once the writer strike is done, so she's just
Leo Laporte (02:41:13):
Brilliant. Oh, that's right. Brilliant. We won't see anything from her for a while, but that's good. She's writing crazy.
Amy Webb (02:41:16):
Leo Laporte (02:41:18):
Amy Webb (02:41:20):
I plug that. And blueberries for antioxidants.
Leo Laporte (02:41:24):
I love your plugs and I'll plug your book The Genesis machine, which is not only a fun [02:41:30] read, it's an eyeopening. See, there's even an eye on the front, an eye opening. It is an eye, an eyeopening read. A must read. Thank you, Amy. It's great to see you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Jill Duffy, PC Magazine, her book, the Everything Guide to Remote Work, her email@example.com. Her reportage. Do you do a podcast?
Jill Duffy (02:41:53):
No, I'm off the social media. I'm off the extra work. I'm shedding. [02:42:00] I'm shedding it all. Well, let
Leo Laporte (02:42:01):
Me ask you,
Jill Duffy (02:42:02):
Can I do a crazy plug? My plug is going to be take a picture of your bike key. Take that picture. Good point. It's as important as backing up your computer. Take that bike key picture.
Leo Laporte (02:42:10):
If you ever need to get your bike off the rack and you lose
Jill Duffy (02:42:14):
Your key me and I'll come over with a hammer. She has a hammer and a can. A compressed air.
Leo Laporte (02:42:21):
It's a pleasure, Jill. Anytime you want a podcast, you come here. We love having you on. Thank you so much for being here. You got
Jill Duffy (02:42:26):
Leo Laporte (02:42:27):
Taylor. Lawrence's new book is extremely [02:42:30] good. It's called Extremely Online, and it is so fun to read this history. People I've forgotten about stories. I never knew the story of Vine. I do hope somebody excerpts that. Although what I really hope is people will just buy your firstname.lastname@example.org and read it and the whole thing. Was it hard to write or fun to write?
Taylor Lorenz (02:42:52):
Well, I've never written a book before, so I made every mistake I could make and I think the next one will be probably more fun to write.
Leo Laporte (02:42:59):
Yeah, [02:43:00] I've written, well, I have 13 books with my name on them. I only wrote the first few and then I finally, I figured I had to palm 'em off on other people. It was the worst. It never got better. The worst experience in my life. And the sad thing is nobody buys books anymore, especially technology books. I know, I know. Because it gives you credibility. It gives you street cred. Right.
Taylor Lorenz (02:43:26):
Speaking of that, they were like, maybe we position your book as more like pop [02:43:30] culture because those are the books that are selling and I'm like, maybe
Leo Laporte (02:43:33):
It's pop culture. It's the history of our modern culture. Are you going on book tour?
Taylor Lorenz (02:43:39):
I am, yeah. Just a few places. I'm putting the dates on extremely online book.com. I'll be in New York, dc, San Francisco, Boston, a few other places.
Leo Laporte (02:43:48):
Where are you going to be when you come to San Francisco so I can go see you?
Taylor Lorenz (02:43:52):
T B D. Actually, they've been talking to a bunch of places and they have to work it out.
Leo Laporte (02:43:57):
I'm telling you, you book passage. Book Passage is [02:44:00] the best. That's where the best people go to Book Passage. I'm just telling. I know you have an agent's going to figure it all out for you, but you can see here at The Strand, October 2nd in New York City politics and Prose in DC on October 7th and book soup in LA on October 13th. Extremely online. Are they making you do interviews too?
Taylor Lorenz (02:44:20):
I'm doing. I want to do interviews. I am very excited to talk about my book. It took me two years, so,
Leo Laporte (02:44:25):
Oh man. The untold story of fame, influence and power [02:44:30] on the internet. Taylor, I've been trying to get you on this show forever. I read you religiously. I read you in the New York Times. I read you in the Washington Post. You do the best job. If I want to know what's going on with the Youngs, I read Taylor Lorenz, I thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it. Thanks to all of you for joining us. We do twit every Sunday afternoon about 2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern, 2100 utc. If you want to watch us do it, you can. We leave all [02:45:00] the bad words in. If you watch live twit tv, that's where the live audio and video streams are. If you're watching Live Chat Live, our IRC is open to all, just use your web browser, point it to IRC twit tv.
If you're in the club, of course you can just go to our club twit Discord, which is a great hang, not just during the shows, but all the time. If you're not a member, please join. Go to TWI tv slash club twit. Your support makes a big difference to keeping the [02:45:30] show on the air. 18 years we've been doing this thing 18 plus and I want to keep doing it for another 18 years. Thank you for joining us. Go to the website if you want episodes at twit tv. You can also see a YouTube channel dedicated to this week in tech, and of course, you can always search for twit in your favorite podcast client and subscribe won't cost you anything and you'll get it the minute it's available, so you'll have a nice Monday morning commute. Thanks for joining us, everybody. We'll see you next time. Another [02:46:00] twit is in the can.