This Week in Tech Episode 957 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

0:00:00 - Leo Laporte
It's time for twint this week and tech. Owen Thomas joins us from the San Francisco business times. My favorite internet lawyer, denise Howell, is here. Comic expert Glenn Fleischman's here as well. We're gonna talk about Google's big lie. Turns out that Gemini video was Entirely faked. How the Russians used cameo to create a propaganda video. And Elon Musk's grok Is it really just open AI's chat GPT All that more coming up next on twint.

0:00:35 - Glenn Fleishman
Podcasts you love from people you trust this is twit.

0:00:48 - Leo Laporte
This is twit this week in tech, episode 957, recorded Sunday, december 10th 2023. Put it in a red envelope. This week in tech is brought to you by Miro, the online workspace for innovation, where your team can dream, design and build the future together from any location. Tap into a way to map Processes, visualize content, run retrospectives and keep all your documents and data in one place. Get your first three boards for free at Miro comm slash podcast and by our friends at IT Pro TV. Now ACI learning ACI's new solution insights Assist in identifying and fixing skill gaps in your IT teams. Visit go dot ACI learning comm Slash twit. Twit listeners can receive discounts of up to 65 percent off an IT Pro Enterprise Solution plan. Discount depends on the size of your team. Go, fill out the form and find out how much you can save at go dot ACI learning comm slash twit.

It's time for twit this week at tech, the show we cover the weeks tech news. Hello everybody, leo Laporte back. Have I been gone for three freaking weeks? That's crazy. Don't let me do that again. I am back and I am so thrilled to have some of my best friends on the show, and Thomas is here from his new offices as Managing editor of the San Francisco business Times. Right business journals comm slash San Francisco, hi Owen.

0:02:29 - Owen Thomas
Hey Leo, that is correct, I am, I'm in San Francisco cover in business. I am, I'm downtown and you would be shocked, actually, how many people are here on a Sunday. I'm like, what are you people doing here?

0:02:44 - Leo Laporte
we all are. I know it's a trick of the photography, but it looks like it's snowing. I Don't think it's snowing in San Francisco. I'm if I be. If it is, that's this news.

0:02:54 - Owen Thomas
It's, I think, it's, I think it's just the the, the light and sleep. Blowing leaves behind.

0:02:59 - Leo Laporte
It's a very kind of wintry scene. I like it. Happy holidays, happy Hanukkah. Happy holidays. Yeah, denise howl is also here. Always welcome, long time host on twit with this week in law. She's now at hearsayculturecom.

0:03:17 - Denise Howell
Hi, good to be here.

0:03:18 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, nice to see you. Happy holidays to you.

0:03:21 - Denise Howell
Happy holidays.

0:03:22 - Leo Laporte
We are. This is not our holiday show. We are gonna have another show and then we will be back Christmas Eve with a special holiday show we call the old farts to it. It's you have to be over 60 to be on it, so don't feel bad, any of you, for not being there. But Steve Gibson and Doc Searle's Rod pile from our space show and who am I forgetting? Oh, paul wasn't there this time. Oh well, anyway, I mean I got Steve rod doc. Anyway, he's gonna kill me, whoever it is, but it's gonna be an amazing show and it's gonna be a lot of fun. And That'll be our Christmas Eve show. And then the best, jeff, jeff Jarvis I'm in deep trouble with Jeff. And then the following week will be our New Year's Eve Show. And that voice that's that beautiful singing voice, is that of Glenn Fleishman. Ah, is your new book out? How comics were made.

0:04:30 - Glenn Fleishman
No, it's. I'm in the the throws of research. It's coming out next year. I'm going to Kickstarter in February and then it'll be out late in the year. But I'm just back from a fun Research trip to the Billy Ireland cartoon library museum at the Ohio State University.

0:04:46 - Leo Laporte
Here are you making your way around all that? Because you're kind of. You're coming to Santa Rosa next month for the Charles Schulz Museum.

0:04:52 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, they have a lot of great materials there. I'm gonna go to Columbia where they have University has a great cartoons collection. Been talking to the folks at the by Niki library at Yale has Gary Trudeau Stuff emailing folks at Princeton and Harvard who have it's weird of the IVs. I don't know why they have it, but the IVC all seem to have a lot of comics. Graduates are collected things and OSU, the Billy Ireland, is the greatest collection of Comics archives in the United States, certainly probably the world, because once they got underway decades ago and then became there there a special collection, then became their own entity. Cartooners like well, where should I donate my life's work? And the Billy Ireland say us, us. And so they have I don't know 120 like the entire studio's worth of material are all like all the archives and everything are there Available for researchers like me and when you say comics, you're not talking about comic.

0:05:46 - Leo Laporte
Well, these are mostly newspaper comics, right?

0:05:48 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, I'm focusing on newspaper comics because of the the history, because they predate comic books and Because it's this kind of funny thing that newspaper cartoonists who did newspaper comics had so little control over the process. So part of the story I'm telling is how they drew, how materials were transformed into print through all these wacky Methods, even today, and then what the output looks like. You know, I've got I looked at a bunch of different peanuts newspaper Reproductions of the same strip and none of them look the same. Some were printed by a potato, obviously because they're so terrible, and others like oh, that's really, that's really fine print in there. And so the book is gonna try to tell that story of this weird art form we all love. That is the artist have this kind of separation from the way it actually looks, the way it appears, the size and I've interviewed almost 30 people for it so far, probably another 20 to go and it's a hoot.

0:06:45 - Leo Laporte
It's a hoot, I like it before we again to the news and there's quite a bit of news there's also gonna be a spanking. None of you guys, don't worry, none of you guys, but Google's gonna get a little bit of a spanking today, for me anyway. But before we do that, I do want to address something that is a sad State of affairs here at twit, and some of you may know, some of you may not know we have been going through financial difficulties all year. It's been very hard as a f as all all podcasting has been going through it. Podcasting, you know, radio got about a hundred years, podcasting got a decade. That's about it, and now it's there's so many podcasts.

But more more to the point, advertisers who loved podcasting briefly, have decided that YouTube influencers are much better or something. I don't know what's happening, but audiences have dwindled as the number of podcasts have grown. We're our audience has helped pretty well, we're not worried about that but also advertising dollars, and they've significantly dwindled. You know, youtube Advertising sales grew almost a trillion dollars last year and that's because that money came from TV, from Radio, from magazines for pockets and for every other medium, because advertisers said, hey, it would be really nice if we knew more about the people seeing these ads, and podcasting can't do that. It's not the way podcasting works. Spotify can do it because you have to listen in the Spotify app. So a lot of the ad dollars have dwindled, at least, and I sat down last week and did the math for next year Based on ad sales to date, and our projection is to lose about a million One point one million dollars next year. Now I am not Jeff Bezos, hi, I am not Elon Musk, I'm. I am. We can't lose a million dollars because we don't have it.

So we had to make cuts. This week we laid off three of our people we love dearly, hurt terribly to do so. Jason Howell, who produced this show, of course, was a host of all about Android Tech news weekly and had been with twit for 13 years since he came over from CNET and buzz out loud with Tom Merritt, and we had to lay him off. We laid off Aunt Pruitt who you know, glenn, from this week in Google, who is a gentle giant and a sweetheart and a beautiful man After five years here, and we laid off an editor, because, you know, cancelling shows doesn't save money unless we also Lay off the staff that produces those shows. So Victor Bogd not who you, whose name you may not know he produced our, our promos and edited a number of shows. You probably heard his name. He also produced some of our shows behind the scenes. All three Understood.

It hurt me and it hurt them, and I know, especially this time of year, but that's what it happens because, you know, when the calendar year ends, that's when we start to see what's gonna happen next year and we wanted to make sure we could. We could lay them off with severance and take care of them. If we had waited till next year, it might not have been the case. So there, all of them are gonna do fine. We're gonna help them all as best we can and they have use of our offices as long as they need it and so forth. So we've left on good terms.

But I know this will be a bit of a shock for some of you listening and it's certainly a loss for us. There will be some show cancellations as well, those that news will come out next week, and all I could say is you know we're doing the best we can to sell ads. That does not make up the 1.1 million loss by any means, in order to survive we're also gonna need increase the club. But we'd like to double the size of the club before you know this year so that we can Be financially solvent. We'll need to do that to be financially solvent. So if you're not yet a club member and you don't like what's happening but you want to support us going forward, we'd like to keep doing these shows. I could retire, I don't have to do them, but I want to keep doing them. It will take some cooperation from you. If you're not a member of Club twit, please twit that TV slash club twit seven bucks a month. But it really does make a difference and we give you some nice benefits.

Yeah, it's been a tough year for podcasting. Stitcher went out of business, gimlet went out of business, wnyc pulled back from podcasting. It's too bad because I think this is a great medium and I know people listen to podcasts, love it. So it's a little bit of a puzzlement to me. You know I was working in radio for my whole life, left the radio show last year because it was going through the same thing. You know radio is not exactly doing well, but I'd hoped the podcasting would anyway. Enough of that, but I did want to give you that news. Benito Gonzalez, who is a wonderful guy, has been TDing the show for some time. He's gonna take over as producer. He was in touch with all three of you and we'll be in touch with our casts going forwards. I think we have a very dedicated audience. Thank you for your support. I really would and I think we can, because we have a very dedicated Audience. Thank you for your support.

0:11:57 - Glenn Fleishman
The strengths of podcasting is that it's so open to so many people and it's also under the control. It's one of the last kinds of things you can do as a as a as a consumer of things that it's under your control. You can fast forward, you can rewind, you can do all kinds of stuff, and I think what makes the medium powerful also makes it hard to sell ads against it, because it's so hard to measure, it's so hard to know. People are locked into behavior.

0:12:21 - Leo Laporte
So yeah, I mean, if you listen to Spotify, you know. This is why Joe Rogan can charge a million dollars in ad and gets it, because they know exactly who you are, they know when you heard the ad, how many times you heard it, when you didn't hear it, when you rewound it, all that stuff. And Not only can we not do it, I don't want to, I don't want to do that. So, unless, of course, they offer me four hundred million dollars, in which case I would sell my soul, and I will Know that that's not gonna happen, unfortunately.

0:12:51 - Denise Howell
So some, some developer out there has to be working on an AI tool that will rapidly summarize a podcast once it's recorded. And we're using everything.

0:13:02 - Leo Laporte
Yeah you are, so we we are. I'm very you know AI, so actually this can launch into our first topic. I have been very mixed feelings about AI. At first for a long time I fact I thought it was a parlor trick. It's like it's Eliza on steroids, but not. It's not. It's clearly not thinking it.

0:13:21 - Owen Thomas
It's a throwback reference. I remember hand-coding Eliza in like elementary school, yeah, and basic right.

0:13:29 - Leo Laporte
So the so tell me if I'm wrong, but I, as I remember, eliza, you would actually give it a Set of possible answers, and the trick was it would take a word from the Conversation and reuse it and you'd have a some boilerplate around it. It was very primitive and you're very, and you're very effective.

It somehow worked. Well. We've gotten a lot better, haven't we? So I was a little Skeptical because of that. I think my tune has changed and, to your point, denise, there are now tools for podcasters, not just transcription. I look forward to I hope In the next year or so to having Spanish language versions of these shows, because they can do that. Now, spotify offers it to someone where it is my voice and my mouth moves appropriately, so it's indistinguishable for me doing the show in Spanish. I would like to do that for a variety of languages, which would really widen our base of audience and make it available to people who are interested. There are summarization tools. We already use those for show notes. There are, I mean, these are a lot of good uses for AI more and more feel it.

0:14:42 - Denise Howell
I feel like you could maximize the marketing by, you know, honing in on keywords. We are using.

0:14:49 - Leo Laporte
So topics and things, we are using it. There's a tool that cuts our shows and makes them vertical and cuts out highlights that we can then use on tiktok. So, yes, there's all sorts of stuff coming and it's actually surprisingly good. I was very negative about it at first because I don't want to put out Kind of generic content. You know, and a lot of the writing you see from LLMs is very generic. It's kind of not bad, but not brilliant, just kind of average. But this stuff is actually surprisingly good. So it is not, however, as good as Google's Gemini, at least as good as the Google Gemini demo. How many of you saw that demo this week? This thing was mind-boggling, did you see it? We've been testing the capabilities of Gemini, our new multimodal AI. We've been now Wait a minute, stop right here Capturing footage to test it on a wide range of challenges, showed a series of images asking it to reason about what it sees. They do mention below here the video highlights some of our favorite interactions.

Whoops, I clicked the wrong, but yeah, we go for the purposes of the demo latency has been reduced and outputs shortened on the table.

0:16:06 - Glenn Fleishman
So if you've written about how much they, well, he was reduced, but Bloomberg opinion, contacted them in football history and Google.

0:16:14 - Leo Laporte
Basically admitted, this is bogus. So what you're seeing is, for instance, a video. Now he's doing the cup game. I accept the challenge. And you know the cup to the left. Brilliant right. Then that's something you'd expect in AI to do. Well, but would you expect it to know? I know what you're doing.

You're playing rock paper scissors. What do you see now? So I got a point out. Now Google admitted Okay, this is not how it worked. First of all, these this voice was generated later from a text prompts that they wrote out that rock paper scissors. There was never a video of him doing rock paper scissors. They had stills which they showed Gemini and Then said because if you show me a hand, like you know, open or doing scissors, that could be a variety of things. And then said what game is this? They cut that part out. There was never a video. So this is basically a demo that's fake, 100% fake, showing kind of in a, you know, in a, I think, a misleading way, the capabilities of Gemini.

0:17:26 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, remind me of the AT&T, you will commercials.

0:17:29 - Owen Thomas

0:17:31 - Glenn Fleishman
So the 90s or something, when AT&T had those and it was all just. You know, I don't know if much of that has come to pass. Someone's probably compared it, but isn't the but. I thought the actual responses were Accurate. You know the what they're showing is almost a dramatization.

0:17:46 - Leo Laporte
It's a dramatization occurred. These were the responses, plus other stuff. They took out also information that was given to the AI before those responses happened. No, no, this is as fake as you can get, okay and I was interesting interacting with an AI Visually like this.

0:18:06 - Denise Howell
Yeah and they most of the time you're typing prompts, right?

0:18:09 - Leo Laporte
but they didn't. These were. They did prompts and they had Stills that they would include with the prompt, because it is a multimodal AI, that is, it can read pictures that this is a lie. And the thing is I mean maybe I'm angry because on Wednesday I played this on this week in Google I said artificial general intelligence is here. Everybody, because this is far as I could was concerned, was indistinguishable from a human intelligence, better than some you know, maybe even mine, so I Mean, it seems like you should be able to pull this off with some sort of overhead, amra, like it looks like they're doing.

Well, that's what they want you to think. That's not how they did it.

0:18:50 - Denise Howell

0:18:51 - Leo Laporte
That would be, you know, I think okay to be fair to Google, maybe these capabilities are near, maybe they're in a year or less We'll be able to see this. You can go try Gemini and give it this stuff. In fact, people have tested it and they say Gemini is a little bit smarter than chat GPT-4. This much. I Think it's irresponsible of Google to do a video like this.

0:19:13 - Glenn Fleishman
To be honest, yeah, they're, but they have a history of this right. This is the. What was the assistant thing? Was that duplex? They were. They showed them calling up like a hair salon and a restaurant and they never really rolled that product out, but they they keep testing. I was in Boston a few months ago visiting my college age child and was trying to figure out. There's a restaurant, didn't take reservations and Go to Google and it says we called at 9 am To see how busy it was and I was like and I'm looking at that, like when it takes screen captures Look at the footnotes and I think they're using an AI to call and say, hey, are you busy right now? And I try to get Google's comment on it. They did not reply to me about what what they're doing and if you dig down, you can find some notes about it.

0:19:59 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, remember, at Google, I O say, five years ago, they showed simultaneously translation with the Google buds, which never happened. Demo though they're good at demos, I think they harm the brand incredibly by doing this.

0:20:16 - Glenn Fleishman
But yeah, companies like look at contrast to Apple, as we think Apple's doing nothing with AI because they reveal very little. A friend of mine, new Zealand, I was just asking in a slack I was in. She said I was just texting this to my girlfriend and there was a photo with it and she received a description of the photo which I did not send and it was from within messages, and all of us who are Mac people, like I don't think it does that yet. So maybe Apple enabled I don't, there's not even like in. There are some accessibility settings, but I think it's a capability Apple either it's testing or something. I mean it described accurately the contents of a photo. That was the picture. It did not have alt text or anything was extracted.

0:20:55 - Leo Laporte
So we know. We know they can do that. In fact, be my eyes, which is that wonderful app that blind people use. They use volunteers. So if you have be my eyes on your on your phone, it will. Somebody who's blind can say, hey, what is this package say? And you, as a human, will do this. Well, they have now gone to AI power and so they are actually now doing exactly what you just described Using AI, and I think that this is this is absolutely so.

This is why I'm saying I think my initial take that it was a parlor trick Was absolutely wrong. It is not yet Artificial. General intelligence, in other words, is not a human that can just take arbitrary stuff and get it. It's amazingly good and, used in the proper context, can do amazing things. I am I Been using chat GPT's GPT's, you know, those are the.

You can create your custom AI assistant. Hmm, and I do every year. I missed a little bit because of the retreat, but I got started on yesterday To solve coding challenges done every year. It's wonderful, called the advent of code. It's an advent calendar. Every day, from December 1st through 25th, they give you a problem, you solve it, and then they have a leaderboarder who solves it fastest and stuff. I'm not solving it fast because I missed the whole week and I wouldn't anyway because these people are way above me, but I've been doing it in common list for a couple of years. It's really fun for me.

I have created a GPT by putting all of the books. You know Lisp is a good choice for this because most of the stuff's in public domain now all the books, all the classics put all the books, all the everything I had into this and it's. I've been using it to help me and it is like having a guru over my shoulder, not just writing the code but helping me understand what it does, giving me examples. In fact, it's not. I wouldn't have it write the code, although you could see it does, but as a teacher, it's incredible. And the thing is it's not hallucinating, because I said very specifically in the instructions only Give me answers generated from the materials I gave you. I gave it about a dozen books and and no websites that describe the language and so forth, and it's brilliant. It's a good thing.

0:23:18 - Denise Howell
How can I ask what's the the technical process of, of feeding it that information? I'll show you, scanning the books or no?

0:23:27 - Leo Laporte
That's no no, that's kind of the amazing thing. So let me go into the configuration because I can continue to edit this GPT and show you so you can upload as I have. You can upload PDFs. It understands PDFs and and again, because Lisp is you know, hasn't changed since 1987. I think there's a lot. Paul Graham has some classic books, peter Norvig has some classic books, all of which they've put out in PDF. So I uploaded all of those. I also pointed it to some websites and then you can tell it. Do you have you know whether it has access to the web so it can update it? I didn't need dolly image generation for this and you can put a code interpreter and so you get to really call you know, teach it, in effect it's. I did the same thing for emacs, which is the editor I use, using again a bunch of Manuals, public domain stuff.

0:24:23 - Glenn Fleishman
This is. That's because emacs couldn't be used without the help of a computer.

0:24:27 - Leo Laporte
You need an AI to understand emacs. The emacs expert is quite good, by the way.

0:24:33 - Owen Thomas
I think that I, you know, I think back to my days as a webmaster in the 90s and the you know, kind of like repetitive work that it required in BB edit. You know, to the extent that we can take out busy work and kind of like copy pasting. I would love to see, instead of focusing AI on on Getting you know, like replacing humans, could AI replace copy paste, like if you never have to copy paste again, meaning that, meaning that, like you're the data that you're working with, the you know the files you're working with, stuff just moves from the context that you need automatically. Maybe there shouldn't be apps I guess is where I'm going with this Maybe you know, maybe an AI should just be an interface that kind of overlays all the apps. You know all the file formats, all the. You know all the wonky.

0:25:35 - Leo Laporte
Skies. I'll be honest, I think the sky's the limit, as long as you understand where the limit ends. So it's not gonna be a human, but given in a constraint. So, for instance, denise, yeah, you could give it your law books, you could give it your law library and just say, look, keep your answers to stuff that is in the law books. And that's where that lawyer who used chat TPT to write his breeze went wrong because it made up some references. But you can say to it, no, no, no, only stuff that's in these books that I gave you and it would be right.

0:26:10 - Denise Howell
That's kind of complicated because law books, quote-unquote, are not publicly available.

0:26:19 - Leo Laporte
That's a good problem, you're right. I mean yeah.

0:26:21 - Denise Howell
Law is you know, case law is, so you should be able to Find public resources, and I'm sure law firms are Hard at work.

0:26:33 - Leo Laporte
And what a feature for West. I mean, I mean West. I'm sure you spent a lot of time in your work in West law and other online. You know resources where you can type in a case and see this. But wouldn't it be great. Nexus, nexus.

0:26:47 - Denise Howell
Where you. There are a number of factors that go into that. You need the source material, then you also Then you need to know how the source material has been treated over time. You need to know what other cases have cited it, whether something's been overturned or negatively Discussed by another court. So and there are resources that you know you consult to do all that that Lexis and nexus and West law have and I'm sure they're hard at work at Creating, if they have the source for this.

0:27:18 - Leo Laporte
That's what an LLM is very good at is saying, well, here's all of the things, and synthesizing and yeah, that's what it happens to be very, very good at. I mean, this list documentation is all over the place. It's not you know, it's not Regurgitating the paragraph from that book, it's synthesizing a variety of sources together. I can tell because I've read all these, but I mean I know where it's, what the source material is. It's not giving me back the source material it's giving me a synthesis of it, which is really interesting.

0:27:49 - Glenn Fleishman
This is the thing that's interesting when you use it on a fixed corpus, which I've done for a bunch of things, including like interviews I've done with people. Or you know, I'll say from this book or whatever, is that you have to be a little bit of an expert In order to Interpret that the output is correct. So when folks are talking about, well, an AI will replace programming, that seems ludicrous to me, because the people who say that usually are Programmers who are demonstrating something that involves the expertise they had in order for the thing to be guided through to the end. So I just built my how comics were made website. I could not find I don't feel like there's a good whizzy wig tool out there anymore because of Squarespace and others. It's kind of eaten that into the market and all the tools that are designed for doing high-end web stuff Don't really fit my needs because they're not um, they don't work the way I work. They're not like a foot. There's no Photoshop anymore for web design, I don't think for web layout, and so I'm coding by hand, but I'm using some tools that help me visualize it interactively, get ready, use it.

So I've been using chat, gpt yes, to help me code where I'm like, yes, but I know a lot of JavaScript, I know a lot of CSS and all out of HTML. I've forgotten how to put it all together because I haven't coded by hand. So I'll say, okay, I want to have this spinning thing. I've got this on the side. I want to have a thing that spins and has text and it's at an angle and whatever. Give me the code. And it gives me the code. I'm like, oh, and it's, you know deriving that there's. I know there's ethical issues about the sourcing of that code, what the corpus is that's being used, but it gave me perfectly reasonable code that I could then understand, because I've Written code like that before install it and get it to work.

0:29:23 - Owen Thomas
I mean, that's, that's how we all did websites in the 90s. We would yeah at the source code of a website, study it and, you know, kind of tweak it.

0:29:31 - Glenn Fleishman
And it's so nice to have the short circuit where you're just like, okay, I don't want to do 500 Google searches and Google's HTML and other stuff is now it's, it's resources are polluted. I feel like when you're trying to find a simple answer, I'm trying to find a CSS property and I get all this nonsense. If I ask chat GPT, I get a no-nonsense Structured answer that has the demo code I need into it and the same thing. Oh, and I don't know if you're doing this now, but when I'm interviewing, sometimes I do a 30, you know, to two minutes of two hour review for these.

This book I'm researching, I see the output of the audio into into an AI transcription tool. It does some summarizing work, but now I've got a searchable Corpus and I'm not having it write things for me. But I feel like I've done a little bit of this where I could query, I could say did we talk about in this interview, blah, and I'll get a result out that'll say like, yeah, here's the quotes in it. Then I go and I look in the transcript for that. So it helps. It's an amplification of my reporter brain as opposed to replacing a reporter.

0:30:30 - Leo Laporte
Nope, notebook Lm came out this week. This is Google, see, this is thing. What makes me mad about the Gemini demo is you got some good stuff, google. You don't need to lie. You know this is. This is something that's been in the works for a while. Jeff Jarvis saw it in preview. We're gonna get the author of it on this week in Google, but it is the idea is.

It's a notebook that you provide the content to, very much like I did with that chat GPT, a custom GPT. You provide the content for it and Then it creates. So it has some examples. I've I tried to create a list advisor in it and it didn't. It's never worked. I can't I can't actually ask a question of it, so I don't know if it broke it or something by uploading too many things, but they have. They have. In other words, it's not as good yet as a, as chat GPT GPT's are, but this is the idea. If you're a researcher, for instance, you're writing a book and you put all of your research notes into notebook Lm, you can then query it. You can then my head.

0:31:31 - Glenn Fleishman
My head can't fit like a hundred hours of interviews, exactly what I was when I was younger. Maybe now I can't do that, and so I rely on search, rely on making extensive notes, having full, 99% or 98% accurate transcription is great. And then this is another layer for me as a writer, where it's giving me, it's enhancing me, it's giving me something I otherwise didn't have, as opposed to, you know, replacing, replacing my function. I I.

0:32:02 - Leo Laporte
Here's the mushroom wizard. I don't know why they did a mushroom wizard. This is their demo, but you can there's all sorts of things you can ask it about mushrooms. There are website builders. You can draw a sketch of a website I I mean, I've only seen demos and look pretty trivial with it, but it will make the buttons real, it'll make the website. I'll do the CSS and HTML for you, probably. You know, a little rudimentary but maybe a good starting point.

I think we are in a. I think now I've To me remember. Maybe you guys aren't old enough, but remember if you somebody asked you, hey, what was the name of that John Wayne movie where there's a patchy's and there's a fort, you would go to the library if you really wanted to know and have to find a book and search through it and there would be the listing of John Wayne movies and say, oh yeah, fort Apache, which you should have known. But anyway, that was a lot of work. Now there is nothing.

I really realized this when they took away my phone for a week. I'm looking at a tree and I'm thinking I would know what this tree is if I had my phone. That's the kind of revolution we're in. We now take it for granted that every Google searches at your fingertips and that no Information need, need never go to the library to get any information. It's all there. I think we're in a kind of a similar revolution with AI, and it's really much more sophisticated. I'm really interested to see how the app stores for these Services are going to develop.

0:33:31 - Denise Howell
You know what the signal to noise ratio is going to be because you know your average person is not going to put together Resources and make their own GPT right, they're gonna. They're gonna go. I need a mushroom resource, and they're gonna go to Mushroom resource and they're gonna go to.

0:33:52 - Leo Laporte
Some app store somewhere and find it. We won't buy mushroom guidebooks anymore. You'll buy the mushroom app right. I.

0:34:00 - Denise Howell
Think I'll think about how it could be used for travel. Yeah, so I think that we are in a revolution?

0:34:07 - Leo Laporte
I think for sure. Yeah, what we don't? You know, there's lots of question marks. It's very expensive right now to train these models. I use a lot of power. It's not environmentally friendly. That's an issue. Models get trained and then they get tuned to buy humans. That's a lot faster and a lot cheaper, but still requires effort. There's, and then there's new techniques and so forth. I mean, not everything's a GAN or an LLM. There's new ways of doing this neural networks but there's also new ways. I think we're in a really Exciting time. This is to me, what the beginning of the internet felt like and I. That's a complete 180 degree turn for me, because I really was skeptical.

0:34:51 - Denise Howell
It's exciting until the most compelling of these things is a Chinese company like tiktok, right? Because then your IT department, when they're putting all your corporate data into it so that you can Leverage and search and strategize and synthesize and everything else you know, are you also giving away all your trade secrets to the Chinese government?

0:35:15 - Leo Laporte
Right. There are many companies that won't let their employees use chat GPT because they're afraid of that. You know, it's interesting. That lesson Comes from something you and I and have learned from the internet. When we, when the internet began, we were, I was a An optimist. I was, I was like this thing is gonna democratize, it's all gonna be good. We didn't really consider the negative consequences. Now we know and there are quite a few. I mean, it's not, it's not neutral, it's. It's good, but it's also there's quite a few bad things. I think we've learned that lesson and now maybe we're approaching AI, remembering that there will be consequences. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think that's actually very good thing. We're take a break. We come back. The EU has actually taken you the European Union, not you have reached a deal on a landmark AI bill Regulating AI. This is something that the US has considered. There's a Biden executive order proposing, but we haven't done. The EU has done it. We'll talk about that and a lot more In just a little bit.

There's a lot of news to, including the return of Alex Jones to X, which broke this morning. Oh, and Thomas is here from the San Francisco business times and it's so good to see you and in in your new office, your new digs. I love that Denise howl, our favorite internet lawyer, is here. She's an expert on IP and so forth. Here Say culture calm will be the home of her new podcast. She's been recording shows. Soon You'll be able to subscribe. Can't wait. There's her threads and mastodon address as well. And Glenn Fleishman, who's coming our way in next month. He's gonna be live in studio on a twig in june, in January, looking forward to that. Author of the soon well, not soon someday released how comics were made and how is shift? I still haven't gotten my shift happens. Is it shipping?

Here's the oh.

0:37:21 - Glenn Fleishman
The slip-case version. It's like a monolith. That should be. It should be coming through. So you know, every Kickstarter project has an unexpected thing and we were sailing through we're like, wow, we really crossed all these things off. We were so prepared, we should be less, just break our arm, patting ourselves in the back. And then it turned out each volume is so heavy there's four pounds on the two major volumes that when we did our shipping tests it was breaking the binding, was breaking the, because we, we did what everyone involved thought was the right way to ship it. People involved with with 20, 40 years of shipping experience, and this is just a unique item. So we had to go back to the, the drawing board, ask people for patience, and now we have a newly revised shipping method that does not seem to actually they can accomplish it. So we're gonna start shipping soon, but we have, you know, almost 20,000 volumes. It's a three-volume set sitting in a warehouse at our printers in Maine just waiting to go out.

0:38:25 - Leo Laporte
Well, I'm very soon, the first shipments will go out you got 4,278 backers, nearly a million dollars, three quarters of a million dollars raised. The book is coming out. I can't wait to get my copy and people's hands. The history of the keyboard Martianne wickery and, and this guy right here, glenn Fleischman, who edited it. I can't wait. I can't wait. I'm very excited. I Never really does look a somewhat heavy. So what are you gonna do? Is it gonna be an LTL?

0:38:59 - Glenn Fleishman
the Sun copies to Owen to do first. Yeah, and this will be your new lift. It'll be like she's Louise.

0:39:05 - Owen Thomas
Excellent, it's a workout, it's just it's Leo, there's a truck outside.

0:39:10 - Leo Laporte
They say they have a book for you. Do you have a dolly?

0:39:13 - Glenn Fleishman
Oh, I'm up to pick it up for you.

0:39:15 - Leo Laporte
Oh, my god, I can't wait. That's exciting Congratulations. That's that's real success. Our show today brought to you by Miro. Love these guys and I love this product.

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They've added now one of the things you that's really great for this is feedback right, or commenting or back and forth. They've added a new feature I really like. It's called talk track. It's a video recording feature. So you, instead of having another, you know the millionth meeting of the week. You just go on there, you pre-record your thoughts. You got video, so it's just like you're in person and you put it on the board and then people working in other time zones or different locations Can see your comments, can respond to it. That's a nice feature.

They keep adding more stuff all the time. Try it for yourself. You're. This is the deal. First three boards are free. I Know it seems too good to be just true, but but they realize that once you start using it, you will. It's a you, it's a must-have and you will love it. First three boards free. To start working better. Go to Miro Miro comm slash podcast. Miro Miro comm slash podcast. This is an amazing tool. You will love it and why not try it? It's free. Miro comm slash podcast. Denise Howell, owen Thomas and a Empty screen. That's Owen. He's signed off briefly Glenn Fleischman also here. So the EU has reached a deal. They worked.

0:43:03 - Owen Thomas
Sorry, I had to had to had to feed a hungry dog that we show us your dog.

0:43:09 - Leo Laporte
That was. He looks so cute. Is this a? Is he a rescue?

0:43:13 - Owen Thomas
he's a rescue from my field, senior rescue in San Francisco and and camera fits.

0:43:20 - Leo Laporte
You know, I like about getting a senior dog. He's relaxed, he's very oh, it's oh, what a sweetie. He's so happy to have you. Oh, my is a hat.

0:43:34 - Owen Thomas
He's a happy little boy, such a good, good boy. You're a good boy, he's 11.

0:43:40 - Leo Laporte
Oh, that's also nice, because I have to say the only thing about a dog is just sad, because you know they're gonna that, you're gonna outlive them. But if you get a senior dog, it's not you know, you know it's happening, it's fine. You're giving him a great. Like me, I'm a senior dog. You give me a last Right. That's a good thing.

0:44:01 - Owen Thomas
Maybe somebody'll adopt me muttville for Leah, but is that online? Muttville, muttville. Yeah, they're great. Great outfit in San Francisco, supported, like a lot of Bay area um canine, canine resources, by Dave Duffield, the people soft co-founder.

0:44:23 - Leo Laporte
Oh See, people say tech, tech, tech isn't good for San Francisco. I, I would say it is. I think there's some good people out there.

0:44:33 - Owen Thomas
It says. It says tech is delicious.

0:44:35 - Leo Laporte
Yes, muttvilleorg, if you want to know more or donate. Change in the world people changing the way the world thinks about and treats older dogs. Again, I Support this message. So the EU stayed up late Friday night and reached a deal on the world's most ambitious law I'm reading from the Washington Post to regulate artificial intelligence. Now it's interesting there the New York Times had an article about a new movement Maybe it's not that new, but a movement in AI to not regulate it. It's called effective accelerationism that wants to unshackle AI and says don't regulate it, man, bring it on, let it change the world. Regulation's just gonna screw it up.

And then there's, of course, the extremes the people like Elon Musk who wrote the famous letter that said stop, let's just stop for six months, because they think they said AI is an existential threat to humankind. I don't think the EU is on either end of that scale with this. They want a global standard to classify risk, enforce transparency and then require tech companies to comply. There's actually financial penalties for non-compliance. If you wanna do business in the 27 nation block of 450 million consumers it's the West single largest block you'll have to disclose data, do rigorous testing, especially for high risk applications, things like medical equipment yeah, you know, probably a good idea test it before you implant it. Self-driving vehicles not a bad idea, I mean, I guess Elon would say you don't learn stuff unless you put it out in the public, and that's true. But go ahead, glenn.

0:46:39 - Glenn Fleishman
Oh, it's just, yeah, it's gonna say you just hit Elon's two big things right, like human brain testing and self-driving cars. And I mean you're in the Bay Area-ish I know you're north of the Bay and when you're in San Francisco proper, and Washington State has not yet allowed, as far as I know, any self-driving tests like the taxi tests and all that stuff with crews, you're thinking well, these people have just given the best at least reportedly argument for these EU and similar rules by not disclosing, and selectively disclosing, information about known hazards they were encountering, because they wanted to move fast and break people. That's not a great look. And then they had to suspend operations. They lost their CEO and another senior person.

0:47:26 - Owen Thomas
And co-founder and chief product officer.

0:47:28 - Glenn Fleishman
yeah, so they're setting this instead of using something incremental that could have been where they could have proven safety or shown hey, something terrible happened. We're going to show we can self-regulate. They're all in such a hurry that I think they prove the necessity for regulations like this. Yeah.

0:47:47 - Leo Laporte
On the other hand, you can't. So here's a perfect example of self-driving vehicles. By the way, crews has pulled out of San Francisco, right right, they were forced to by regulators, but then they decided to pull out everywhere and rethink their whole process. That's GM self-driving taxi. But I got to point out yes, people might get run over by self-driving vehicles, but a million people lost their lives in traffic accidents globally last year. It was something like 57,000 or 55,000 in the US. What if? Yeah, there were some fatalities in some self-driving vehicles, but it saves 20,000 lives. Wouldn't that be a net positive?

0:48:38 - Owen Thomas
I mean human drivers kill a lot of people.

0:48:40 - Leo Laporte
We're terrible drivers.

0:48:43 - Jason Howell
I think you can argue that we're worse than any self-driving vehicle.

0:48:46 - Leo Laporte

0:48:48 - Glenn Fleishman
But it's going to take forever for that to happen, Like even if you were super aggressive today, we're talking about a 20-year rollout for something like that to actually have a noticeable impact.

0:48:57 - Leo Laporte
Well, shouldn't we be hurrying instead of slowing it down?

0:49:00 - Glenn Fleishman
Why it's going to take a long time, why not do it right? Why not not increase the risk and damage of what's going on? I mean, I'm not in the argument. I think this is where you get to the FDA. When you look at people who criticize the FDA for the speed of its approval of drugs and some people have often said they should be moving faster and they said look at the phyloidomide, look at some other medications that we have found problems with or you look at something like not CELibrex, what was the anti-inflammatory of Vioxx that turned out. They improved this drug.

After lots of review, it came into the market and, because of a lack of quality by the company and adverse reaction reporting, many people were injured. So I think we have that same. There's a tension that should be there. I think regulators should be demanding more and companies are always pushing back against it this whole last 20 years maybe Uber is the big start of it is we're just going to override the regulators because our unicorn companies will have enough money to deal with whatever fines come up if we're fine for this behavior and no one's really going to stop us.

0:50:06 - Leo Laporte
I don't think that's a great attitude. This is actually on a global scale. The trolley problem Is it. Right, and if you're looking down the road that there could be, there's so many deaths every year from vehicles. If you could cut that number by even a thousand, even if some people get run over by a self-driving vehicle, wouldn't that be a net goal?

0:50:29 - Denise Howell
I feel like we get there when either all of the cars on the road or vehicles on the road are self-driving, or most of them, the vast majority but in the meantime, when we have this mix, I feel like we're probably and this is just a guess on my part we're probably at a point where the accidents are worse because human drivers don't interact well with. It's a bad mix.

0:50:54 - Glenn Fleishman
Self-diet's a bad mix. I'm with you. I think you're right.

0:50:57 - Leo Laporte
JS. Jsynope, I should say, in our Discord has a good point. We regulated every game-changing technology, from railroads to cars, to radio to TV. The only time we ever decided to let a new innovation run free was the internet, and I think that was proven to be a bad idea. That's a good point. On the other hand, automobiles we didn't really regulate. No safety belts only came in 50 years into the automotive era. There's a balance between letting the dogs run free and making sure people aren't bit unnecessarily, but I think, boy, it's a tough one. I'm arguing a little bit on the devil's advocate side, I should point out.

0:51:47 - Owen Thomas
But I also think self-driving has been way oversold, overhyped and underdeveloped.

0:51:53 - Leo Laporte
It's not as good as we say.

0:51:57 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, I remember when I started at the San Francisco Chronicle as business editor. One of the big stories was the development of self-driving, and I remember all of these grand predictions in circa 2016 that no kids, no teenagers, would want a driver's license within five years. And that obviously hasn't come to pass. I guess my question is-.

0:52:26 - Leo Laporte
Lisa's looking forward to driving me around. I am not looking forward to sitting in the passenger seat. I would far prefer a car drive me than Lisa.

0:52:37 - Owen Thomas
So Lisa is opposed to self-driving Leo technology.

0:52:41 - Leo Laporte
Yes, that's an interesting choice.

0:52:44 - Denise Howell
There's a sociological component to this and an urban versus less urban or rural component as well. I mean, I think you're gonna see, as we've seen in San Francisco, which has been sort of ground zero for testing these systems, you probably will see them more in areas where people don't drive their own cars as much, right, and then are people going to want you know what is gonna be the rate at which we're gonna convince people. We can't convince people to stop driving their gas powered cars and switch to electric. It's an even bigger hurdle to convince them to switch to just not driving.

0:53:27 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, it would have been nicer had we put in, as Joe points out, had we put in public transportation and high speed trains and rail and so forth, but we didn't. So-.

0:53:39 - Glenn Fleishman
I'm looking forward to more enhancement, though, because I'm an old fart, which means my cars are not, you know, like 10, 20 years old or something at any given time, and I rented a car in July in Boston and had it for a couple of weeks and it had advanced features, and these are super basic to anyone who's bought a car in the last 10 or 15 years.

Well, right, it was the like if you're on cruise control and the car in front of you slows down, I will slow down automatically. And I was like, oh my God, I mean I definitely almost got in an accident If that feature hadn't been enabled. I was paying attention to someone, did something rapid. The car responded faster than I could. I was like this is great, I keep saying. And my wife has a eye condition. She can't drive at night anymore, so for her a self-driving car would be amazing. But also, she has visual acuity. She just doesn't have a good night vision and I'm like give me a heads up screen, a night vision windscreen that shows me everything that's going on in high contrast. Wouldn't everybody want that for night driving if it worked well Like that. I don't need a robot to drive for me, although I understand the benefits of that, but I want better information and better things that make me a better driver.

0:54:49 - Owen Thomas
So I'm hearing a theme here which ties into our earlier conversation, which is that it would be great if the focus of AI, you know, whether it's generating text or code or what have you, or driving cars for us, if it were assistive rather than you know, rather than replacing the human, like can AI make us better humans instead of AI becoming a better human?

0:55:15 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, I mean. You see this in warehouses, even where robotics has been so heavily pushed. In a lot of cases you see that robots are one of the big breakthroughs in automation or factory robotics. Is that having robots safe enough to work outside of a cage alongside human beings? People don't like to talk about it because it's not sexy at all. What's sexy is a robot that packages box autonomously, but a robot that does a ton of work for a human worker who is doing less repetitive tasks and more important human processing tasks. It puts demands on the worker, but it's also. It dramatically augments and it doesn't replace the worker. It gives them higher throughput, so they're even more productive and valuable.

0:55:55 - Leo Laporte
That is a through line Every time we talk about AI. It's not going to replace humans. It's an augmentation that is going to be very welcome, and I think that's a fair way to state it Now.

0:56:05 - Denise Howell
And it's an augmentation across the spectrum of human activity, which is why I'm a big fan or just glad, I guess, that the EU has done what it's done, that the Biden administration put out their executive order and that we're beginning to put signposts and guardrails in place for use of these tools, by it's sort of a good guys with guns versus bad guys with guns problem. You don't just not regulate guns right, you still do as much as you can, and I think that's what they're going about here, knowing full well that bad actors are going to get their hands on these tools and use them in ways that completely flaunt every sort of regulation and control.

0:56:56 - Leo Laporte
Well, but of course bad actors aren't going to be slowed down by any EU regulations or anything else. That's what I'm saying.

0:57:01 - Denise Howell

0:57:02 - Leo Laporte
There are people in the EU not happy Andreas. The Washington Post quotes Andreas Liebel, who's a managing director of the Applied AI Initiative, a German Center for the Promotion of AI Development, who says there will be a couple of innovations that are just not possible or economically feasible anymore thanks to this regulation. It just slows you down in terms of global competition, and I think that's the argument of the acceleration cult, which is don't slow it down. You don't know what's going to be important or big, and any attempt by a government to say, well, don't do that is inevitably going to cost us in the long run.

0:57:46 - Glenn Fleishman
I just don't want to listen to anybody whose area of dogmatism starts with effective, just like I don't want to read a tweet for someone whose bio says free thinker as their first slide. It's like effective. I hope Sam Bank been free to produce the effective word. Effective means override all reason in the favor of a thing we're calling reason, because we will talk louder than you can about it.

0:58:10 - Leo Laporte
The New York Times had an article of the AI subcultures motto go, go, go. They talk about a party on Monday night. Last night, a few hours after the open AI developers event in San Francisco, under colorful lights and screens showing anime images, the mostly young, mostly male crowd dance to a DJ set by Grimes. A big banner on the wall red accelerate or die. Another sign showed a diagram of an AI neural network emblazoned with a motto come and take it. And AI startup handed out promotional flyers that read the messenger to the gods is available to you.

0:58:53 - Owen Thomas
Which, leo, that reminds me Anthony Lewandowski, the former Google self-driving engineer who went to Uber generally a huge lawsuit, faced criminal penalties, was pardoned by Trump. He founded a church of AI called Way of the Future, and it went defunct a couple years ago. But according to Bloomberg, just last month or so he announced he had relaunched it and they're basically looking to worship AI as a god.

0:59:31 - Leo Laporte
That might be proactive, probably a smart thing to do, just in case I, I for one welcome our AI overlords Great minds, great minds.

A very long piece in the New York. There have been two really good pieces on AI in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and in the New York Times piece they talk a little bit about how this kind of movement got started in 2015, with Larry Page and Elon Musk at an exclusive Napa resort. I think I know the resort. I think it's where Lisa and I got married. They're sitting around the campfire all night discussion and Larry Page ended up and, by the way, this was the break that caused Elon Musk never to talk to Larry Page, the founder of Google.

Again, larry is proposing that let AI rise to the occasion, let it become the next species. Elon said you're crazy, we're humans, we've got to protect ourselves. To which Larry said to Elon you're a species, racist, a species, and Elon was so offended he's never talked to him again. But the idea that you apparently is you know, o'corron with this group that this is a new species that we are kind of creating to replace us, I can understand people being a little nervous about that. I think that may also be overselling the value of AI.

1:01:02 - Denise Howell
Well, for now right, maybe not yeah, I don't know.

1:01:05 - Leo Laporte
I don't know, I'm excited. I'm kind of I think I'm falling in the camp where let's see where this goes. I don't think AI is going to exterminate. I don't think it's going to be the Terminator. It's not Skynet, or is it? Should we be worried about that?

1:01:22 - Denise Howell
All I know is back to my bad actor's point. People are going to be doing really bad things, but that's going to happen no matter what we do. It's going to happen, no matter what, and if we're not ready to address it with countermeasures that are capable of addressing it, then things are going to not go well. So I definitely feel like call it an arms race, call it cat and mouse. We have to be able to respond to what negative things are going to be done with these technologies.

1:01:54 - Leo Laporte
I think that's fair and we know that'll happen. Steve Gibson has been saying that it's only a matter of time before hackers start using AI to create more and better attacks, and it's maybe not even that they're better, that there are just so many of them that you can't fight them right.

1:02:09 - Glenn Fleishman
I just wonder why they aren't using AI now to write better scripts. I still get terrible images and… there should be no ungrammatical phishing scams anymore right.

I know there's an argument that sometimes it not sounding fluent or accurate is more just make it more susceptible, who are maybe not as informed on the internet. I don't know. Although, Apple just sent me a thing about an AppleCare renewal that I swore to God was a phishing message. I showed it to my wife, I posted it and I mess it on and I'm like maybe Apple needs to use AI to write their legitimate messages better. It looked so close to phishing I could not…. But it was real, it was real.

1:02:48 - Leo Laporte
It was real, oh my God.

1:02:49 - Glenn Fleishman
It just looked, everything about it seemed like, and so I'm pointing out. Apple is still running their back end from launch.

1:02:55 - Leo Laporte
And I apologize to Jay, sign up again in our Discord. But what if we are the Neanderthals and here's Homo sapiens coming along? We say, oh, don't let them take over, they have fire. I mean, what if we are the Neanderthals? What if it's time for the next thing? Yeah, we have, I guess every right thing to better ourselves.

1:03:20 - Denise Howell
Hundreds of years in the future, when they're looking under the hood of whatever AI and they'll say, oh, here's a remnant of human code, like we have remnants of Neanderthal.

1:03:29 - Leo Laporte
DNA. You had some human code in your DNA. Wow, let's take a little break, I will get. We're going to get off the AI subject and move on. To me, it's…. You know, they made Time Magazine, made Taylor Swift the person of the year. It was AI. And we're going to look back, as wonderful as Tay Tay is, and all that five years from now. You're not going to look back and say, look at how the world has changed, thank to Taylor Swift, but you absolutely will be saying, oh my God, look how things have changed in the last five years because of AI. I think there's no doubt in my mind. This is to me the equivalent of the invention of the computer, the invention of the internet. This is that important, Am I wrong? Is that oversupply?

1:04:13 - Owen Thomas
What if we find out Taylor Swift was AI all?

1:04:15 - Leo Laporte
along Now there, you got something she's very effective yeah.

1:04:19 - Glenn Fleishman
I don't know. It is important. There's something really exciting about it, but it's all been negatively exciting because it's been introduced in such a bad and unsafe way. I feel like if it had been, there's a time I don't think we're at a point in history where it could have been introduced gradually, but there is something mind-blowing about being able to take a trillion words of text and produce. Even if it's essentially the world's best autocorrect, it's still extraordinary.

1:04:43 - Leo Laporte
It's amazing.

1:04:44 - Glenn Fleishman
It's just overhyped. It's so extraordinary and it's so overhyped If you just take it for what it is incredibly development.

1:04:52 - Leo Laporte
Honestly, I feel very fortunate that I have been able to live through the personal computer revolution and to be directly in part of it and infected by it. Infected, no, affected by the internet revolution, I mean. It's clear that that has been a mind-boggling shift in humanity, and I think I'm going to get to see a third. How many people in the history of humans have gotten to see more than one Three? I'm excited, and you know what? It could all go really wrong, but so what? I think that this is a chance to see what can happen. I'm willing to take that chance, it's certain.

Let's put it this way it's not going really right with humans so far.

1:05:42 - Denise Howell
Right, and even if you were to say I'm not willing to take that chance, I'm sorry. What are you going to do about it at this point? Yeah, I know.

1:05:51 - Leo Laporte
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1:07:54 - Glenn Fleishman
Oh, I'd love to talk Beeper, so Tuesday on Mac.

1:07:57 - Leo Laporte
Break Weekly. So, first of all, beepercom, which was started by the founder of Pebble Watch, andrew Michikowski. Originally, the plan and I signed up, I got on the waiting list and I eventually got in Beepercom is they're going to run Mac Minis in their network center and you'll be able to log into the Mac Mini with your Apple ID using their Beeper app on Android or Windows and then be able to get legitimately Apple messages on your Android device. Okay, fine, there are other companies doing this. Remember the one that nothing phone used that had to actually go out of business Because it was so insecure. Honestly, it's hard for me to recommend something where you give your Apple credentials to a third party. It just seems like a bad idea, right, glenn? Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

1:08:47 - Glenn Fleishman
The Beeper Mini thing was interesting because they were taking advantage sounds like they were taking advantage of Apple's notifications API or notification system, yeah and because I wondered, I did a deep dive Apple's got this feature coming.

It's coming out with iOS 17.2 and it'll allow kind of a whisper scale secure conversation because it no longer makes Apple the weak point, and I mean Apple's basically said a kind of advanced announcement. It removes them from being the weak point in the cryptographic chain of trust. So I was just diving deeply into the iMessage protocol not that long ago and when these guys got to the point where they were trying to get the message they were trying to get the message that long ago. When these guys came out, I'm like there is no way that they can insert themselves into Apple's chain of trust without Apple's permission, because Apple runs the key servers that maintain a list of all of the keys that are assigned to iMessage accounts and without access to that there's nothing they could be doing that would be secure enough to meet the level of protection that Apple offers within its system.

1:09:56 - Leo Laporte
So it's a really interesting story. It all starts with a kid, a high school kid named JJ Tech. You can read his blog at JJtechdev. It says high school student learning many different languages and technologies. Yeah, so this kid's gonna have definitely a full ride at Harvard because or MIT because he figured out he wrote a Python program that impersonated Apple's, basically got you onto Apple's server from a non-Apple device using Apple's Push Notification Service APN. It's bi-directional. He figured it out. He hacked it. It's been around. This Python repository has been around for some time.

The folks at Beeper, I guess, figured it out, talked to JJ Tech, who lives in Bethlehem, pennsylvania, and said you know, you know this might be really. He only published a proof of concept. This might be a way that we can eliminate that Mac Mini in the server room and have people log in directly to their Apple accounts on an Android device, allowing them to be blue bubbles on messages. So they put this out. Tuesday morning. They had a seven-day, one-week-long free trial and then it was gonna be $2 a month fairly reasonable for it.

I installed it immediately, started sending messages and, yeah, it looked just like I was on an iPhone. In fact, it even had my iPhone phone number, although I wasn't able to get it to work, but there was a way to have your Google phone or your Android phone number as the phone number originating. All my Apple devices said another device is logged on. Another Apple device is logged on to the network. Just so you know, it worked just like I got a new iPhone, except it didn't. Then I sent a message to Micah yesterday and it said no, you know, when we were talking about this on Tuesday on Mac Break Weekly, the question came up immediately. Well, can Apple stop this? It was Beeper, said. Medjikowski said in fact he was on Tech News Weekly. You can listen to the interview on Thursday. He was a little cagey. But basically their position is Apple can't stop us without breaking their system for real users. So there's nothing Apple can do about this Wrong.

1:12:37 - Glenn Fleishman
I didn't buy that when they said that, I thought that was the hubris that leads the downfall of people doing things.

1:12:43 - Leo Laporte
They didn't even operate for as long as a seven-week free trial, seven-day free trial. It took them three days before Apple just went and it's gone, it's broken. Now they say they're working really hard to get it working again.

1:12:56 - Glenn Fleishman
It's fundamentally a bad idea, sadly. I wish Apple would support something like Whisper or some kind of end-to-end encryption algorithm. I mean, you look at the rest of the industry is I've seen a few people point out like this is an American problem. The rest of the world uses WhatsApp. You can enable the features in WhatsApp that give you end-to-end encryption. There's a few things you have to do to make sure that's how you're set up, but you could do that. In America. We rely much more on text messaging. Every time I go to Europe, I can't reach people and they're like why are you sending me texts? What are you doing? What's your WhatsApp? Oh yeah, I'm sorry I'm on the wrong system, but I think Apple has engineered this thing in such a way that and they're improving it this new, as I say, contact key verification will be even better, but we do need a more generic, industry-wide solution. So kind of trying to expand Apple's is probably a worse method than having an industry-wide system.

1:13:53 - Leo Laporte
We on Mac break weekly. We said A okay, we'll see. I bet Apple can turn it off. B Apple may look at how many people download it and use it and decide it's the minimus big deal, although we know Apple hates the idea of somebody making $2 a month off of their technology. And three I thought maybe they wouldn't disable it because maybe it would look monopolistic, or look monopolistic to do so, because, of course, they're under a lot of scrutiny. Right now. It looks like they're gonna be able to skate on the Digital Markets Act in the EU and not have to introduce interoperability. But they did announce they were gonna support Google's RCS, rich Communication Service, which would allow you to communicate effectively with Google phones.

There were a few problems with Beeper Mini. It wasn't really any better than using WhatsApp, and that's part of the problem. You couldn't make it your default messenger on Android, so it didn't replace Android messages. You still had to use those, so you had to open another app and send a message, just as you would with Telegram or WhatsApp or anything else. So that really didn't get you anywhere. All it really got you was being a blue bubble.

1:15:09 - Denise Howell
Maybe this guy just gave Apple an idea. He had the Pebble Watch before the Apple Watch and then Apple had its watch and maybe Apple just start charging Android users. Hey, he was gonna charge you two bucks, we'll charge you one.

1:15:23 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, poor Andrew.

1:15:25 - Glenn Fleishman
I should like Joe and the Discord channel in the ClubTwit Discord channel, should she point it out, apple has said they're trying to work with the GSM Association that maintain standards to audit encrypted level for RCS, which, even though it's been around for years now and Google's been pushing it there, still isn't one. So maybe Apple, putting its finger on the scale, maybe the Google and they can actually finally make that happen.

1:15:47 - Leo Laporte
I think they will put RCS in, whether the DMA requires them to or not. It looks like, by the way, that the DMA is not going to consider iMessage one of the systems that they regulate, because they say they're not big enough in business, so they're not dominant enough in the EU for them to be liable to the DMA, which would require interoperability. So Apple probably doesn't have to do anything like this. I did point out or somebody pointed out on a Mac break that maybe it was Justin Snow that the only thing that, if Apple decides to kill it, the thing that they will say is well, we have to for security reasons.

1:16:23 - Glenn Fleishman
It is a security hole, the guys. I mean this is absolutely a flaw, not a feature, and Apple should plug the hole because imagine someone exploiting it nefariously. They could register a zillion numbers and perpetuate a blue bubble identity fraud of a level that we have not seen yet, because it requires one to one registration. So I actually think it is a legitimate security concern. It also shows I don't know, yeah, imessage is kind of an old standard. That's kind of the problem. This new thing they're coming out with is updating it a bit, but Apple has Apple really kind of has hooked itself to a star that's a little burnous. What's the word? Not burnished? It's a frayed, tarnished Tarnished that's the word Tarnished star.

1:17:10 - Owen Thomas
It makes me think too of the time that Apple had iChat, which was really the predecessor to iMessage, and iChat supported AIM, it supported Yahoo Messenger, it supported MSN Messenger. It was more or less an open client and Apple's kind of moved as far away from that position as possible. Of course, apple back then was only on the Mac desktop, an upstart. This was a way to get its hooks in. But now that it's got its hooks in, it's kind of pulled up the castle door behind it. Apple, in a statement, what's?

1:17:50 - Denise Howell
the difference. Sorry, can I ask one question what's the difference in the ecosystem development between the US, where the majority of people I think that's right, the majority of people use iMessage, and Android is sort of a second If?

1:18:09 - Leo Laporte
you look at the history of text messaging, SMS was huge in Europe long before it took over here in the US. They started messaging early, but in Europe it was prohibitively expensive to use SMS right, you were paying 10 cents a message and so people quickly found database ways to message, like WhatsApp, which is the dominant one in Asia, it's line in Japan, it's WeChat in China. They found messaging apps that worked and didn't use, that didn't cost 10 cents a message, and so I think Europe was just early adopters on this. With SMS. They had this cost structure that what we had. It cost us money to send SMS messages here, but not as much as it did in Europe.

1:19:00 - Owen Thomas
So I think there was a lot more. Typically, you would get an all you can send unlimited here in the US. Yeah right. So we were just strange, because iMessage eliminates that cost, but it's like it's not a real cost for us people. Of course not.

1:19:17 - Leo Laporte
So I think we were late to SMS and then, because of this cost structure, we're late to digital, to internet based messaging. And then Apple comes along. I don't think Apple's only about 50% of the market, I think in the US, so there's still plenty of people using other messaging apps.

1:19:32 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, what the big thing was.

I think, as Apple, this is part of how they were trying to make iMessage a winner was they added.

They have increasingly added more sophisticated features that require use of their proprietary iMessage, where SMS like SMS evolved into MMS multimedia service and you could start sending photos and other things.

But it's still a weird melange of features and every carrier and phone seemed to have operating system release had different support. So Apple was like, hey, we're just going to make that all, just drag stuff in and now you can unsend your messages and you can edit them. And every release that goes by recently they've added more features to distinguish themselves from the best SMS and even the best that RCS can currently offer. So that, I think, is how the reason everyone has that blue bubble complaint is that Apple made iMessage so attractive. When you're in a mixed conversation, like a mixed marriage, you have MMS and Apple users like, oh, we just had a downgrade from the great experience of iMessage because one of you can't support whatever feature we all like, and look at the message that Apple is trying to sell phones, but Look at the messaging at beepercom the whole point full size photos and videos plus replies and reactions.

1:20:44 - Leo Laporte
Join iPhone only group chats. Turn your Android phone number blue, get a blue bubble. I mean, that's really. And let's not forget that in the discovery in Apple versus Epic we found out there were the smoking guns that Apple you know. We saw the emails from Eddie Q to Craig Federighi that you know. Eddie wanted to put iMessage on Android and Craig Federighi at Apple said we can't do that. If we did that, every parent would buy a cheap Android phone for their kids. They knew it was lock in and not to the messaging system but to the Apple ecosystem. It was important.

1:21:20 - Glenn Fleishman
Although it's swinging back around, is the latest. The iOS 17 release added more features to MMS support within messages, so it's actually they've improved the parity and I don't know if that was to assuage EU concerns. You know, to kind of push it off and an Apple. It's like you know they now have iCloud key chain support and Windows. Apple TV plus works on every single platform and in every browser, so they could do whatever they want. It feels like there is a little bit at this point of Apple just saying, like you know, exactly, that's a marketing issue. It's peak. They can implement an Android iMessage app without any real trouble.

1:21:56 - Leo Laporte
So Apple's a response which is sort of predictable. This is from the Verge. Apple senior PR manager, nadine Higest said we took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. These techniques pose significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam and fishing attacks. We continue to make updates in the future to protect our users. So they have. Frankly, they have a pretty good excuse for doing this and it was only a matter of time. We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials. I mean, you can't argue with that right. It was a great saga for about three days, apparently. Beepers think still they're going to get this working. They have extended their free trial offer. I just have to remember to unsubscribe before I go home tonight.

1:23:01 - Owen Thomas
And anyone wants to take bets that Eric Majjikowski ends up selling beeper to Apple and working on the messages team? Well, really, JJ.

1:23:09 - Leo Laporte
Tech should just get a job at Apple. First he should go to MIT in a full ride and then he should get a job at Apple. I'm sure that that's really going to be the outcome, and I don't see a future for beeper. I'm sorry. I mean, even if it's secure and I have no reason to think it's not it's just a bad idea to give your Apple credentials to a third party. Don't do it. That's just a bad idea, and I really think we should have interoperability. I mean, I think that that's a big deal and I don't. I think Apple is acting in their interest, not in their customers' interest, by keeping iMessage only on iPhones.

1:23:45 - Denise Howell
This is from the guy who gave his DNA to 23andMe.

1:23:48 - Leo Laporte
Oh God what a mistake, that was.

1:23:52 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, I've got a sample of it right here. I just ordered it. Yeah, you probably do.

1:23:55 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, the hackers are selling it. So this one is another one of those slow brewing stories. You know, when they first talked about it, it sounded like it was just a small number. It was a credential stuffing attack. This week we learned that the data breach at 23andMe, the genetic testing company, affects 6.9 million profiles. I don't what percentage of the total customer base is that, I don't know, but it's got to be significant, right? It looks like no, no, they have more users than Do they?

1:24:32 - Glenn Fleishman
Well, they said well, here we go. We got the data. They said 0.1% of users was about 14,000 people. So if you multiply that by 1,000, is that 140 million. Am I doing the right math? They?

1:24:44 - Leo Laporte
can't possibly have 140 million profiles that can't be right.

1:24:47 - Glenn Fleishman
Am I doing the math wrong? No, no, it's 14 million.

1:24:49 - Leo Laporte
I'm sorry, 14 million, so more. Ok, so we're talking half, we're talking half, which means I'm 50, 50. I'm in that bunch. Now, what did they get? It doesn't sound like they got. You know, they didn't get credit card numbers or anything. The hackers would be able to access anything on those profiles, ancestry information, you know. I mean 23andMe isn't exactly like. Here's your genome. It's more like well, you know, you probably have wet earwax. I mean, it's not. I don't think it's the. I'm not too worried about that.

1:25:25 - Glenn Fleishman
I do Well as a Jewish person. I don't really love to know that. Who knows about my genetic heritage? Because I also did the spit in the tube for 23andMe. I mean, you could, just you know. I just said what I am, but it's also you know there's a fear among ethnic folks with ethnicities.

1:25:39 - Leo Laporte
That's a real excellent point. You know the Nazis when they, when they came into Holland, looked for the registries, because for years civic fathers in Dutch cities would record your religion and and they were all in a big book everybody who lived in Holland, so they knew exactly who were Jews and who weren't. Many of the cities tried to burn those books before the Nazis came in but but in many cases the Nazis were able to use them. So I completely understand your reluctance to have that be a public record. It's just, you know it's bad. It was apparently a credential stuffing attack that started with 14,000 and then spread to everybody else 6.9 million. It's just another breach. What are you going to do? I figure everything there is out there is too late.

1:26:31 - Denise Howell
What scares me about this is that the entire I mean this is 23 and me a commercial operation that was offering some information and data to people who were interested, and two very smart people on our panel today decided it was worthwhile to them to to go ahead and share that information. But we're getting to a point in the medical field in general where so much is going to be done with scans and predictive kinds of technology to tell you you know things you should do or shouldn't do or might look out for later in life, and that every one of those technologies is a potential leak point.

1:27:16 - Leo Laporte
Like 23 and me, this is another example of something that has a hazard but also has a potential public benefit. 23 and me was selling that information to Pharma for development of new drugs. I mean, I think that was more their business model than getting me to spit in a tube. And it wasn't my personal information, it was aggregate information, but it was useful to them we had. I did an interview with a guy known as the father of genomics, george Church, about a year ago. He had the personal genome project which at the time the whole idea was we don't promise to keep this private.

The whole point of you giving us your genome is so that it could be used by scientists and researchers in general and generally. The value of this is tying your genome to your phenotype, to your history, medical history, your illnesses and stuff so same. With 23 and me, you'd fill out all these questionnaires about yourself which they would then use to tie to. That's how they would figure out is there a marker here that indicates a history of autism or whatever? Eric convinced me to sign up for his nebula genomics, which was considerably more expensive. But unlike 23 and me, it wasn't a sample, it's the full genome. I can't remember what I would spend. It might have been $1,000. It was probably cheaper now, but it was expensive. But again, I did it, not because I wanted to know, but because I thought it would be valuable to give this information to science. Now people have pointed out, when I did 23 and me, and it's even more so with nebula that I'm not only giving my genomic information away, I'm giving my kids genomic information away.

1:29:06 - Denise Howell
All right, all right, and your relatives.

1:29:08 - Glenn Fleishman
And my relatives, yeah, so I'm going to find out. This is how you find out you have a serial killer in your family. As you sign up for 23 and me.

1:29:15 - Leo Laporte
Well, that's what happened right A bunch of times now. Yeah, was it the Zodiac killer they caught? I can't remember which one.

1:29:22 - Glenn Fleishman
No, it was Golden State killer, Golden State killer, but it's been happening so much. Denise, you probably know more about this because it's such a legal topic, but it feels like I read a story every week that's like well, they found so-and-so because they figured out there's the second cousin of whatever and they got a DNA sample by grabbing a discarded cup from the person they were surveilling, et cetera.

1:29:44 - Denise Howell
Right, and the scary thing is the police showing up at your house and calling you a suspect when you have absolutely no involvement whatsoever. Well yeah, and that's true with face. Just happen to share genetic material.

1:29:58 - Leo Laporte
That's true with face recognition too, I mean. The problem is, these things can be misused and false positives are a big problem, obviously, but I do think there's also a public benefit to having and George Church thought so. Esther Dyson was the first person to sign up for the Personal Genome Project. I tried to sign up and I couldn't get into it. But the idea was, this is a public benefit. You're giving up your genotype and your phenotype so that people can do research, so maybe we can find the BRCA, the BRCA gene, so that we can then say to women you have a severe risk for breast cancer, and that could be a value, right, anyway?

1:30:41 - Denise Howell
They do that now.

1:30:42 - Leo Laporte
They do that. I know they do BRCA testing. I know which is a great thing. That's a lifesaver.

1:30:49 - Glenn Fleishman
But back in the day I registered for the company that discovered the genes. This is like a 90. Wow, and I was like I wonder what those are. All right, we'll just register them for you, because I had a company that you could actually register domains through. Yeah, anyway, it's funny.

1:31:07 - Leo Laporte
You know, I admit there's some risk. This is like the AI risk. I guess I'm more of a technology optimist or willing to take the risk. I don't know.

1:31:22 - Owen Thomas
This is a bit of a left turn, but on the same theory of risk from technology, it seems like San Francisco and Oakland, which were among the first cities really to regulate privacy-related technologies, specifically cameras, are now really embracing. Cameras, oh god, as a surveillance and crime fighting device.

1:31:46 - Leo Laporte
We have. I was just driving down the main street in Petaluma yesterday. They're putting a camera up at the intersection and sure, I'm sure they're going to say, well, that's just to get scoff laws. But you know, they're recording every person who comes and goes into Petaluma.

1:32:00 - Owen Thomas
now Well, what the police are saying is that they need these cameras and also the license plate scanning OCR technology To solve crimes and that you know like some of the smash and grab retail thefts are being solved through.

1:32:20 - Leo Laporte
So I have a solution Regulate the police use of this technology instead of regulating the technology Right. The misuse of it is the problem.

1:32:32 - Owen Thomas
And Oakland, for example, I believe, kind of came to a compromise where footage that was not actually being used in an investigation is, I believe, going to be deleted after 30 days. So you know, they're kind of finding those like common sense, middle ground compromises. Instead of saying cannot use, you know you cannot use cameras because they're too invasive of privacy.

1:32:54 - Leo Laporte
Let me take a little break. We'll come back with more. Our esteemed panel on the. It is the second day of Hanukkah, Glenn, is that right? Fourth night. Fourth night. It started Friday right, so this is Saturday.

1:33:07 - Glenn Fleishman
Started on Thursday. Ok, I'm such a good Jew.

1:33:10 - Leo Laporte
Where's your menorah? Didn't you light the candles for panel?

1:33:13 - Glenn Fleishman
I'm using my great-grandma Dora's menorah. Oh, family story is that she was struck by lightning what? Once? And survived as a child. And my grandfather got this story because of a traveling salesman in the 50s, I can't remember. He came by the furniture store that we ran and told him. It's like, oh, I was a Yashiva booker, which was like a student, like a Torah student, who lived with my great-grandmother's family when she was a child and he was there when she was struck by lightning. Wow, I've told my children this story so it'll survive five generations that is wild I don't even know if it's true.

I don't remember if it was ever turned out to be true, but he remembered.

1:33:51 - Leo Laporte
Well, I have my Google coloring book and my menorah here and I'm going to light that it was Thursday night. We'll light that candle, not Friday, thursday, thursday and then Friday night and Saturday night.

1:34:00 - Glenn Fleishman
So this is the second day we're at San guess. All right, guess. I don't know if anyone else is Jewish, but guess when Hanukkah starts. Next year it could be anywhere from sometime in November to late December, you guess. When do you think it starts? Christmas Day? Oh you're. Wow, that's good, am I right? I thought it was going to be like November 29th and next year it's December 25th. Is this the first time in Hanukkah?

1:34:23 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, Isn't Hanukkah like a parable of, you know, the triumph of technology? Like you know they?

1:34:28 - Leo Laporte
well, if you consider an oil lamp technology right I mean it was cutting it Oil lamp lasts for seven days.

1:34:37 - Owen Thomas
It's a conservation efforts.

1:34:39 - Glenn Fleishman
It's a well. It's, you know, lunar month, solar year. It's very confusing, even in the faith.

1:34:45 - Leo Laporte
It is a tech, You're right though it's. Oh, and that's a very good point, we're celebrating technology. The lamp that lasted a week, that's. I love that.

1:34:52 - Denise Howell
Thank God no one was trying to trade crypto back then. Our blockchain is, it would have burned up all the oil in the

1:35:00 - Leo Laporte
first time. Anyway, happy Hanukkah. Here in Petaluma I mentioned this earlier the, the Chabad group, which is one of the local Jewish groups, hires a helicopter and they fly over the fairgrounds and all the little children they gather and they drop the gelt you know, the chocolate coins out of the helicopter and it reminds me of Les Nesman. For some reason God is my witness I thought the gelt could fly. Anyway, don't get under, the gelt is, but do get some. I hope you get some and spin the dreidel and have you know. Definitely got to have some Sufgani and and maybe a little Latke and enjoy your Hanukkah. And, of course, a festivist is coming up in a couple of weeks. So get that. We have our festivist poll, john. Right, we haven't gotten rid of it. We got the festivist poll. Errants of grief, erring of grievances is coming up. We, the uh Twitter will not be. Two weeks from now is Christmas Eve, so we won't do a live Twitter. I I didn't want to subject our, our, our panelists to that, so we're going to do our holiday episode, which is previously recorded, the old farts episode. That's going to be a lot of fun with Jeff Jarvis and Steve Gibson and Doc Searls and Rod Pyle. What I've asked each of them to do is talk about the area of expertise. So Jeff's going to do AI the year in AI, steve's going to do the year in security, rod the year in space, that and doc the year in open source. That'll be kind of fun. And then new year's Eve, december 31st no show. Then. That's when we'll have our best of episodes. So there's another show next week, we'll take a couple of weeks off and then we'll be back on January 7th for the beginning of 2024.

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Wall Street Journal story Actors recorded videos on cameo. It turned out the videos were intended for Russian propaganda. Did you see this story? They asked Priscilla Presley, frodo Baggins, elijah Woods. They asked John C McGinley. He was in was a Grey's Anatomy ER. They asked Hank Hank from Breaking Bad, dean Norris, to record videos for somebody named Vladimir who was having trouble with drugs and was really trying to get his life together and was going into rehab. Well, it turns out it was a Russian disinformation campaign. They took the videos they commissioned on cameo and edited them. In one of the videos, elijah Wood was talking to somebody named Vladimir, referring to drugs and alcohol, saying, quote I just want to make sure you're getting help. Well, it turns out the Vladimir was supposed to be Vladimir Zelensky, the president of the Ukraine.

Mike Tyson recorded one scrubs. That's what John C McGinley's in. Kate Flannery of the office Looks like she had a bottle of booze on her video. So they got him to record these videos because you know, you go to cameo, you pay a hundred bucks or whatever and you get the video recorded and then they would chop it up to make it look like all these celebrities were worried about Vladimir Zelensky. I don't know if it fooled anybody. Cameo had nothing to say, although there's good news. You can get former House of Representatives George Santos on cameo to make a message for you and your loved ones for just $200.

1:42:23 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, but I'll turn out. Your card was charged for 50,000 dollars later. Cameo, did you see? There was a?

1:42:28 - Denise Howell
I was going to say it's interesting, they decided to fork over the money and not make deep fakes of these people.

1:42:35 - Leo Laporte
Oh yeah, oh, good point, maybe they are, maybe that's. You know, that was just the beginning. The market's working.

1:42:40 - Glenn Fleishman
I just there's a great story that came out weeks ago about Cameo and like what a dysfunctional company they reportedly are, and I just think it's such what a weird time to live when it's like, oh yeah, well, I'll just pay $60 to get this actor to. There's so many people on it.

1:42:55 - Leo Laporte
I mean, priscilla Presley is 200 bucks, george Santos 200 bucks. You could get you know. Anyway, I thought about it for a while, but I'm glad I'm not doing it.

1:43:04 - Glenn Fleishman
It's why people go to Comic Cons. You know the folks who go to do photos. They get minimums, guaranteed minimums, and they can make a small fortune and people are so happy they get to see and have this interaction with someone they admire. It's kind of it's a neat thing, but it's risky.

1:43:18 - Leo Laporte
I have seen risky. A lot of people say they don't like comment on William Shatner who does this but will refuse to engage because he's trying to do as many as possible. And I've seen a lot of people say oh he's a jerk because he won't talk to you. That's sad.

Yeah, I only know that because I follow a follow bill on an Xcom and some good news. I don't know what that is. I never heard of X, nope, x I, ttr, which is pronounced well, you pronounce it anyway. You want Apparently Russian X X, x. Apparently, jeter has invited Alex Jones back, which I think is pretty appalling. Now this, in the face of there all the trouble they're having with advertisers, bring the biggest disseminator of misinformation, disinformation and pure lies. A guy has been banned from every social site for years. Why bring him back?

1:44:25 - Owen Thomas
And you know, and a reminder that you know, alex Jones's lies were. You know, weren't just speculative misinformation. He actively directed people to harass and hound the these poor parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook shooting. It's shocking Really it was. It was conduct, not speech.

1:44:47 - Leo Laporte
And, by the way, he owes a billion dollars to those families of money they'll probably never see, but he oh well, maybe, maybe, maybe Musk will let him monetize and he can make some of that money.

So this is the worst part of this. Yesterday, elon put a poll on Twitter saying should I reinstate Alex Jones? The result of the poll, guess what? 70% in favor. So this morning, elon tweets the people have spoken and so it shall be All the all the posts were visible again. He retweeted a post about his video game info wars and, of course, his personal kind of advance since 2018, and rightly so. I just don't understand what Elon is up to.

1:45:37 - Glenn Fleishman
I really don't Does he understand what he's up to, though I mean he this is. I think the very first Twitter I was on was about a year and a half ago and, denise, you might have, I might have been on, I think we were, yeah, oh, that's good.

1:45:51 - Denise Howell
And we talked about Elon the whole time. Oh my God.

1:45:54 - Glenn Fleishman
He just made the offer, but it's true. It's like I think, you know, never has anyone been seen by so many people, rightly or wrongly, as a genius, and now by so many people has has that such a fall, where most people, I think, think he's a tool with a very small you know, he's just a creature of pure ego driven activity and I guess this is he's just, he's just flailing. It's just a terrible thing.

1:46:19 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, I mean it's free speech, but he's not exactly a free speech advocate. Go ahead and criticize him or Tesla and see what happens. Speaking of Tesla, there's a Tesla whistleblower who has been a former Tesla employee who's been talking about their self-driving. Lukasz Krupski leaked data, including customer complaints, and you might have heard about this earlier about Tesla breaking and self-driving software. He leaked it to a German newspaper in May. He was on with a BBC saying he believes the technology powering this firm's self-driving vehicles is not ready, is not safe. He says I don't think the hardware is ready. And the software is ready. It affects all of us because we are essentially experiments in public roads. So even if you don't have a Tesla, your children still walk the footpath and you know anyway. You know the bad news for Elon continues to come. There was a story about Linda Jacarino in the New York Times. It turns out maybe she wasn't the best person in the world at NBC either.

1:47:34 - Glenn Fleishman
So also, the strike in is a strike that started in Sweden against Tesla and now it's spread to Denmark and Norway so that they won't unload the cars, because Tesla was trying to divert them from Sweden into other countries to unload and it's a kind of a union issue. I think I'm not exactly sure. It's actually a very small thing, because Tesla can't do anything that is pro-union, or even tacitly, so they've now turned to something that's probably affecting a really huge issue for them for being able to bring cars into Northern Europe.

1:48:14 - Leo Laporte
So he also has his own AI right on Twitter called Grock, which is pretty much just a rude dad joke. I don't know if you noticed, but Grock has been maybe saying some things it shouldn't. In response to one query, grock said I'm afraid I cannot fulfill that request as it goes against open AI's use case policy. Apparently, grock is just open AI with dad jokes.

1:48:49 - Owen Thomas
Is that because they ripped off? Ripped off chat? Gpt answers. That's a good question. It sounds like something Microsoft did with Bing and Google, with Bing imitating Google in the early days.

1:49:02 - Leo Laporte
Open AI engineer said the issue is the web is full of chat GPT outputs so we accidentally picked some of them up when we trained Grock. That was a huge surprise. They say that don't worry, no open AI code was used to make Grock. Okay, fine.

1:49:28 - Glenn Fleishman
Don't worry until the lawsuit yeah okay, fine. Isn't Grock woke? Though this is like, this is the 10 years ago. Would you lose your mind? Isn't Grock woke? Question mark.

1:49:41 - Leo Laporte
Grock is not. Grock is anti-woke, isn't it?

1:49:43 - Glenn Fleishman
Grock is the no but people I think there's a bunch of. There was a big explosion because people are claiming the right wing folks are claiming that Grock is woke.

1:49:53 - Leo Laporte
Oh my God, of course my kids texted me this story.

1:49:55 - Glenn Fleishman
They said literally I'm going to give a thing for my teens, did you see? Did you see that this is from Mashable?

1:50:01 - Leo Laporte
Grock is a woke crypto loving incelt comic. Grock and Musk don't agree on everything, but they both love a good roast. Well, a lot of the. By the way, notice all these tweets are deleted, so I don't know. I don't know if the word went out don't roast Grock.

1:50:25 - Denise Howell
My biggest problem with it is Elon calls it that some sort of hit checkers guide to the galaxy, but that's not the sci-fi reference for Grock.

1:50:34 - Leo Laporte
It's pissed me off. Thank you for your nerdy, you're welcome. The Grock press release mentioned his hit checkers guide. It's from Stranger in a Strange Land. What the hell is he thinking?

1:50:45 - Glenn Fleishman
Yes, Well, we need a butlery in Jihad. That's what we need, obviously. If I could be even ner-.

1:50:53 - Leo Laporte
This is the xai announcement. Grock is an AI modeled after the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. That's why we named it Grock. No, no, I don't understand.

1:51:06 - Glenn Fleishman
Also the AI and the deep thought, deep thought. Deep thought wasn't didn't answer generalized questions. It answered one question, 42. Yeah, it only had one question and it gave one answer. You're really not going to like it.

1:51:22 - Leo Laporte
Now, is it a spoiler to say that the entire earth was a computer built? Never mind, I won't say it. I didn't know what.

1:51:31 - Glenn Fleishman
Sorry, elon, I think you can't spoil spoil books that are 30 or 50 years old.

1:51:36 - Owen Thomas
I don't know. There are those who think Beware of the mice.

1:51:38 - Leo Laporte
Beware of the mice. Remember the mice. That's all you need to know. If no, but if there's a single person in this audience who has not either listened to the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy the original BBC, by the way, that's the one the original BBC radio play I think there's a dozen of them or read the books, I guess, watch the movie or TV show.

1:51:59 - Denise Howell
No, not the movie, not the movie. Fear the movie.

1:52:02 - Glenn Fleishman
I have a soft spot for the movie you like, zay.

1:52:05 - Leo Laporte
Fod to people rocks, don't you? That's a yeah, I like the acting, maybe more than the script. The actor who plays Zay Fod is quite good.

1:52:12 - Glenn Fleishman
Zoe Deschanel in it. It's got Martin Smith, Most of the most of the. Somebody is breathing.

1:52:16 - Leo Laporte
I think it's you, owen. Get the move the either. Stop breathing. I hope all of us are breathing. Move the microphone, all right.

1:52:24 - Owen Thomas
Do you want to replace me with AI? Yes, ai does not breathe.

1:52:29 - Leo Laporte
Elon's AI startup, xai, has filed to raise one billion. Who would lend Elon a penny at this point? To raise $1 billion in capital, they filed with the SEC for an equity offer. Would you buy stock in X AI?

1:52:46 - Owen Thomas
So here's the problem. Here's what's really going on. Elon has been borrowing, and every other rich, rich person in tech does this. In zero interest rate land they would just borrow against their shares for almost nothing. So they didn't have to sell their stock, which is part of the reason why the stock kept going up, because there wasn't selling price. So Elon's already sold a bunch of Tesla to finance the purchase of Twitter. Now XAI, you know, is probably worried about selling more because that would send the price down even more. And yet he can't borrow against it nearly as cheaply. So he's kind of feeling a double pinch Can't sell, can't borrow, or at least not at a price he might find attractive.

1:53:39 - Leo Laporte
That might be a bigger story than anybody has admitted in technology to date, which is that we were running for years on free money, which has disappeared. What is the impact of that, owen? Obviously it's something you cover at the San Francisco business times.

1:54:00 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, I mean it's wide ranging. In some ways, it's hard to know because sometimes there will be, sometimes you'll have a loan that was struck in 2018, 2019, and it's still running under those terms that were struck and the rate doesn't adjust. The real kind of terrifying thing is what happens when all of those deals have to go out and get refinanced. Oh yeah.

1:54:26 - Glenn Fleishman
This is coming too right. I was reading something recently about just how many things the next few years will wind up at the corporate level where they've had the zombie. It's the zombie. Am I saying this right? It's like the zombie unicorn problem or something is that the businesses. They can't raise more money. They aren't profitable yet, but they kind of have a business that sort of works. They may kind of tool along, but when the debt becomes due they won't be able to renew that or get new backers, new private equity in, or investors or what have you. Is that what's about to happen?

1:55:00 - Owen Thomas
The other thing is just that is that like pouring more money into a startup in that kind of like about to be a zombie situation is risky, right, and so the risk adjusted return when you can put money in a bank and get four or five percent on a certificate of deposit is just that much less attractive. So it's definitely we're already seeing it hit venture capital funds. They're not able to raise. Venture capital firms are not able to raise big new funds in the multiple billions of dollars like they were. A handful are like the big names are. The second tier of VC firms are really getting hit. You're even seeing layoffs. I saw, I think, openview partners, if I recall correctly, had to reduce the size of its firm after it didn't raise as much money as it wanted to.

1:55:57 - Denise Howell
So part of what you're saying, if I'm understanding, is investors would rather just park their money somewhere safe and interest earning rather than bet on a risky startup.

1:56:10 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, I mean, if you're going to get 0.5% or 0% for your money, you might as well throw it at, you know, at a venture capital fund, like why not, yeah? But yeah, if you're, if you're getting that much, you know that much for your cash, why bother with the risk?

1:56:29 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, it's funny to see high interest, high yield savings accounts again too is I try to explain to my kids at some point yeah, you know, I was a kid, I got 5% on a savings account and they're like, well, I thought, savings account, they're getting like 0.1%. Our credit union gives like a booster, so they give a few percentage points for the first 500 dollars to encourage young savers and so forth. But it is strange that we're back at that time. I mean high inflation caused it, but it felt like we were in this long bubble in which money was, you know, free. Everything was financed at 0%. All the credit, you know, personal credit, all those companies that do the I can't remember all of them they do the four installment at 0%, apple's 0%.

1:57:10 - Leo Laporte
The buy now, pay later.

1:57:12 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, everything, and it's like I'm like Apple's giving me our Goldman Sachs through Apple's giving me 4.17%, whatever. I'm just throwing my money, throw my free cash in there. Well, I don't have something to do with that.

1:57:24 - Leo Laporte
Exactly, I got locked into CDs for six months at a lower rate last year. You know which. I just put it all on my Apple savings account.

1:57:35 - Owen Thomas
The funny thing is big banks are, you know, generally like they're. You know it gets very wonky, but they're limited in how much capital they want to hold, so they're not, they're generally not offering very attractive rates because they don't want to soak up more money that they then have to find, you know, find uses, or yeah because they have to make it productive right, and if they can't loan it out in a safe way, they're not going off to invest in tech companies and startups and whatever.

1:58:03 - Glenn Fleishman
But they also, yeah, it's risky because the economy about to contract. Who knows? I don't know. I think we got a soft landing, but we'll see. We will all find out, won't we? If the landing was a soft, is it fierce to pay?

1:58:14 - Leo Laporte
Wasn't soft for podcasts.

1:58:16 - Glenn Fleishman
I think it was kind of well there's a giant vacuum out there called Google and Facebook and a few other companies that have. I mean, that's the thing, is the advertising.

1:58:26 - Leo Laporte
I remember it was all the advertising, all of it, I mean I remember this very well.

1:58:31 - Glenn Fleishman
I remember when all the technology magazines were so full you couldn't pick them up and then overnight all the money disappeared and they're all gone and the ad dollars sort of took a dip at that point. But then this time around it doesn't feel I mean the pandemic there was a period there but it doesn't feel like ad dollars disappeared from the overall market. If you measure overall advertising across newspaper podcasts, videos, youtube, online sites, whatever the overall market keeps growing. It's just getting sucked out from everywhere. That was at least you know briefly an option like podcasts, but also TV and newspapers. Newspapers continue to have a decline If they're not a specialized publication like a business publication.

1:59:13 - Leo Laporte
This is the graph through 2022 of YouTube's advertising revenue as a percentage of their global revenues, and I'm just going to just go up and up and up, and up and up. It's just eating it up, you know, yeah.

1:59:28 - Owen Thomas
Amazon is the craziest story in advertising, like the growth of their advertising business is really something to watch. And you know, the next big advertising growth story is probably going to be Netflix, which wasn't even in the ad business a couple of years ago.

1:59:44 - Glenn Fleishman
Could we sell a podcast as a product that gets delivered to your house in two days and then, advertise it on Amazon. Somehow there's a loop there on this thing.

1:59:55 - Owen Thomas
Put it in a red envelope. Is that what you're saying?

1:59:58 - Leo Laporte
Oh yeah, there's a thought.

2:00:00 - Glenn Fleishman
We could have movies by name no-transcript.

2:00:05 - Denise Howell
We've talked about AI so much on the show today, but I am really interested to see what AI is going to do to advertising yeah, yeah and whether it actually what do you think it would do?

Well, I mean, does it become actually this thing where it's not unwelcome and invasive and it actually knows you well enough that the people advertising are using tools that actually provide you with useful suggestions instead of unwelcome and oh, I already bought that. Or all the bad things about advertising? And, on the other end of the spectrum, if it's not useful and a more pleasant experience, is it just a freaking nightmare because it knows everything about you?

2:00:51 - Owen Thomas
I think that that is a scenario we need to be cautious about, but I think that in the short term, what you're going to see is a tremendous productivity gain, because there's a lot of grunt work in advertising, especially digital advertising. You have to create the creative, you know the artwork in different sizes for different social networks. So AI can take one piece of art, resize it horizontal, vertical, this many pixels, 600 pixels, 300 pixels, etc. They can subtly change the wording and generate 500 versions and then AB test it and then report back to you like, hey, from our, you know, from our ABCDEF, whatever multivariate test, this one was the most effective. So I think, you know, I think we'll see it kind of taking cost and complexity out, making advertising more productive and effective, the hyper personalization thing. The problem is that there aren't really buyers for that stuff. So you know it's like, yeah, we've long had this dream, you know that will kind of hyper target advertising, but it turns out it's not really cost effective.

2:02:03 - Leo Laporte
You know who did it, though to great effect in 2016, donald J Trump. They would buy. They did hundreds and hundreds of hundred dollar ad buys on Facebook, each ad, each ad very carefully targeted to a specific political group, and and it was extremely effective.

2:02:25 - Glenn Fleishman
Well, I presume we've all seen Joan is awful the Black Mirror episode on Netflix, yeah, and I'm like I'm predicting that for advertising we'll have the Joan is awful ads is that? I talked to a company a few years ago now I think a couple years ago. That was that where they were ahead of the curve I'm forgetting the name of the company. I was going to write an article about them but they couldn't demonstrate exactly what they were saying yet. But they were talking about what, what Owens was saying, but was able to be able to generate, or said they'd be able to generate interactive video, creative advertising on the fly and do the AB testing and all the rest as kind of a process. So it was. It was guided, it wasn't just like hit a button, but it was.

Even their demo was pretty amazing and I thought, wow, a few videos compelling. It's extremely hard to produce, it's expensive to produce it. Well, see the format issue, but also the personalization issue. So there may be a new product, that is, the Joan is awful, interesting, where every single person gets their own unique video ad. The computational part might be too high, maybe only parts are personalized, but I think there may be ways to speak to people more directly and almost impersonally, where the advertisers don't even know how much data they have to slice, because the system is so personalized that no human being would ever be able to see the breadth of different information being delivered to individuals as ads.

2:03:46 - Leo Laporte
Well, it's kind of terrifying too. In Blade Runner 2049, you'd walk by an ad and it would be your name, right, it would talk to you. I think that's probably just around the corner.

2:03:58 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, I do like the AB testing as somebody who has always tries to figure out as an independent creator. Having a tool available that would let me reach more people effectively without having to devote most of my time to it would be incredible, because I you know enough to get back to this. We can take too much. But honestly, it's like you don't have a shortage of people who want to watch the show. You have a problem finding all the people who could watch the show because there's an attention gap. So you know the books I sell.

If I could find, actually reach more people who I know actually want the book, I would sell more books a classic marketing problem. So maybe AI will be a. It won't be a leveling influence by any means, but maybe it'll provide more tools to help us reach audiences that actually are interested in our stuff or it'll sell more soap One of the two Of course, if I could have Anna DeArmes talk to me specifically, as I would be, I wouldn't turn it down, I wouldn't, I think there's sites that you can do that with right now.

2:04:54 - Leo Laporte
I think you know there's now two record stores in that Petaluma like vinyl. There's one big one downtown. I'll take you there, Glenn, because you seem like a vinyl aficionado. But I'm just thinking, the nostalgia for records, maybe red envelope, podcasts and DVD maybe. Maybe there'd be some nostalgia for that. Oh yeah, I a hipster, I get my podcasts by mail.

2:05:21 - Glenn Fleishman
I know a podcast they're releasing. A special member benefit is the releasing an LP. A special episode the bugle Andy Zaltzman. I love the vinyl. It's kind of it's like a big member premium thing because they're totally member supported. They show that started under Rupert Murdoch at the times of London hilarious but it had John Oliver.

2:05:39 - Leo Laporte
When it was John and Andy, that was the funniest show anywhere ever.

2:05:44 - Glenn Fleishman
Before John became famous. It's true, andy is a pretty. They equally matched, but not in in prominence. But anyway, that was that's kind of the member premium. It's like, hey, we're going to press a special limited edition vinyl album, so why not? That's kind of fun to throw on the old, you know okay, leo, here here's my pitch for club twit.

2:06:03 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, Every member is like inserted into a show by AI, but then they only get that via a DVD that's mailed to them. I like it. There's only one copy of the DVD and you deleted from the server after, after you send it.

2:06:26 - Leo Laporte
Oh we could make it an NFT. I think I hear those are coming on strong.

2:06:29 - Glenn Fleishman
Yeah, just make that on the old Hanukkah blockchain.

2:06:33 - Leo Laporte
There you go. Hey, let me take one more break before we wrap it up with our wonderful panel. You guys are great. Glenn Fleishman, I can't wait to see in January. It's going to be so much fun when he comes up to the Charles Schultz museum. Oh, and Thomas, someday you'll be able to come in studio and hang with me. I would love that. And Denise, how we love her. And I have to thank you, denise, because you gave me an idea for the best Christmas present ever. I think it was last year. You recommended that L'Oreal steam curling iron.

2:07:06 - Denise Howell
Steam pod, it's called it's. It does the opposite of curling it's for straightening. Yes.

2:07:11 - Leo Laporte
And every day Lisa thanks me and I say well, thank Denise, because it was her idea, she loves it.

2:07:18 - Denise Howell
All right, I got another one for you. I need another one right now.

2:07:22 - Leo Laporte
It is that time of year, yep Our show today, brought to you by Wix. Love these guys and web agencies. You're really going to like this one. Let me tell you about Wix studio. It's a platform that gives agencies total creative freedom to deliver really complex, deep client sites and still smash deadlines. How about that? Well, first, let's talk about the advanced design, that capabilities, because that really makes a big difference.

With Wix studio, you can build unique layouts with a revolutionary grid experience. Elements scale proportionally automatically by default. I mean, it's one of those things clients go wow. No code animations. That adds sparks of delight. Custom CSS, of course, gives you total design control. And it doesn't stop there. You can bring ambitious client projects to life in any industry with a fully integrated suite of business solutions, from e-commerce to events to bookings. It's all built in and more. And you can even extend the capabilities even further with hundreds of APIs and integrations. And you know what else? The workflows they just make sense. There's the built in AI tools, the centralized workspace on canvas, collaboration, the reuse of assets across sites, the seamless client handover and on and on and on. There's so much more. You've got to go to wixcom Studio. Find out more. Wixcom Studio. We thank them for their support. We had a great week this week on on Twitter. We've made a nice little movie for you Enjoy.

2:09:01 - Owen Thomas
Previously on Twitter.

2:09:04 - Leo Laporte
Windows Weekly.

2:09:05 - Paul Thurrott
Microsoft pulled a pin on this grenade and they announced, a lot earlier than I would have expected, that they are going to indeed support Windows 10. As expected, here's the twist they're going to offer this to consumers as well not just businesses for the first time.

2:09:19 - Leo Laporte
Well, how much Did they say?

2:09:20 - Paul Thurrott
a price? No, Leo, because that would be good information that people would want this week in Google.

2:09:25 - Leo Laporte
So, bard was Google's response to chat GPT, and they now have a new AI model just came out today called Gemini. Tell me what you see. It looks like a bird to me. What if I had this? The bird is swimming in the water. Wow, it has a long neck and beak. Oh, that's cool. I have to tell you. I don't know how you would distinguish that from AGI, to be honest, oh my God, we can't, we can't open the box again. It knows a duck it can take over the world.

Oh, come on, Leo Tech News.

2:09:51 - Mikah Sargent
Weekly. Joining us today is Beeper co-founder Eric Mijikovsky. We met a 16-year-old security researcher who had reverse engineered iMessage the entire protocol. We started working with him and over the last three months we built Beeper Mini, which is a dedicated iMessage app for Android. If you missed, Twit this week.

2:10:16 - Owen Thomas
You missed a lot.

2:10:17 - Jason Howell
Well, I'll just cut to the chase. This is my last episode at Twit. I got to tell you I'm in a really great place about it. You might see me tear up a little bit, but that would probably primarily be because I've been here for 13 years and I've known and worked with a lot of really great people and really enjoyed my time here. Y'all are amazing and I really do truly love you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for such a wonderful time working here. Thank you, micah. Thank you for watching and listening each and every week and, micah, we'll see you next time on Tech News Weekly. Bye, everybody.

2:11:03 - Leo Laporte
The great Jason Howell got a chance to say goodbye. We offered that as well to Victor and I don't know they may or may not, we don't know. But yeah, it was a great, great moment. And you saw, I didn't realize it was preserved in amber my reaction to the Gemini video, which at the time I didn't know was completely fake. But that's why it's such a, you know, bad thing to do to lie to people like that and get poor Leo so gullibly fell for it. Sai, hey, what's this about 1000 Van Ness, I wonder. This is in your, is this in your publication, owen?

2:11:40 - Owen Thomas
Yeah, that's. Our reporter, alex Borer, wrote up the sale of this building. It just sparked a lot of memories for me. My friend and former coworker, o Malik, also wrote about it. Oh we love Owen.

Yeah, this was the building. 1000 Van Ness was a long time AMC movie theater, but it had this quirky little restaurant in the lobby and it turned out the restaurant was actually an outgrowth of an incubator that this, this quirky founder named Tony Shay had established, called venture frogs. Tony had sold one company during the dot com boom to Microsoft for hundreds of millions of dollars, started this, started this incubator, but there weren't many restaurants around there, so he had his mom start a restaurant.

2:12:31 - Leo Laporte
What is actually? It actually had a deal before he was Zappos. This is like yeah exactly Zappos.

2:12:38 - Owen Thomas
Zappos actually came out of venture frogs and that's how it is. Yeah, real billion, you know multi-billion dollar fortune, the you know, the funny thing is like I remember there was like a dinner in a movie special you could go to. The restaurant was called venture frogs. To say we'd go to venture frogs, get this really great Asian, you know Asian dinner and noodles, or you know noodles or something, and and then go see your movie.

2:13:05 - Leo Laporte
Wow, yeah, of course it's a story with a very, very tragic.

2:13:11 - Owen Thomas
Yes, shay, you know, I believe ended up. Ended up kind of self-immolating. He died in a fire that he may have started.

I don't know if that investigation ever came to a definitive conclusion, but he died without a will and oh, my God eight is, you know when that happens, the your estate is essentially ends up managed by the courts probate right, yeah, probate court and there have been all all sorts of lawsuits over it. One guy got got a settlement I believe in the you know in the millions of dollars based on a post-it note that he claimed Tony had had written him promising him something. And you know there was a, you know there were there were some questionable real estate deals that that Tony Shay had executed like very, very close to his untimely death. But yeah, it's very, very sad, very sad story, but some some happy memories at 1000 Van Desk yeah, definitely times for for Tony Shay and the people who know, is it still a movie theater or what is?

2:14:31 - Leo Laporte
what is there?

2:14:32 - Owen Thomas
So AMC. Amc closed that theater. Another company, cgv, you made a go of it. I think it is tough times for movie theaters. There's only one multiplex left in San Francisco, in the, in the Metrion, if you know. If you're counting on like you know, say, half a dozen screens are up as your, as your metric, you'd have to go across the Bay or down to Daly City. I don't know it would be. It would be great if someone made another, made another run at it. But you know, barbie and Oppenheim are aside. I'm not sure if movies are really as back as much as Hollywood might hope.

2:15:12 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, it's interesting. Well, why should they? I mean, look at, I was at the Flowers of the Killer Moon, the Martin Scorsese feature which Apple co-produced with Paramount, open in theaters, but it's three hours plus long and I just am not motivated to go see something in the theater. I went to see Oppenheimer on IMAX because I wanted to see an IMAX but frankly, it was a better experience watching at home. I didn't have to go. Oh wow, he's big, he's really big. You could watch the movie, you could, you could follow the movie, and most people now have decent TVs, decent sound. I'm not surprised that movies are suffering. I really not.

2:15:58 - Owen Thomas
But you know, I feel like the movie industry is also missing some obvious opportunities, like why didn't Barbie premiere at the Castro Theater, like the gaze practically had to get a screening of Barbie at the Castro.

2:16:12 - Leo Laporte
Theater. And, by the way, I should point out, all in his gaze. He's not, he's not, he's not, you know, disparaging in a particular group. You would have gotten in line for Barbie at the Castro.

2:16:24 - Owen Thomas
Yes, I, yeah, I, I. I try to remember I had actually I was, I was adopting this little guy that day and that's why I couldn't go to go to Barbie.

2:16:36 - Leo Laporte
Oh, I have a good Barbie. I haven't seen it yet. Should I see it?

2:16:41 - Denise Howell
It's deeper than you think.

2:16:43 - Leo Laporte
Right, that's what. That's the impression I got.

2:16:45 - Denise Howell
Yeah, yes, and I, you know, as a woman, I I enjoyed a lot of its themes.

2:16:52 - Owen Thomas
I did like a timer, so and, like Hanukkah, it's a parable of technology right.

2:16:56 - Leo Laporte
There you go. Like the oil, like the oil in the lamp.

2:17:00 - Glenn Fleishman
I think movie theater is the one thing that got right. I don't think it's all the chains is they're doing, you know, like live and rebroadcast opera and plays, yeah, which is which is smart.

There are experiences where, like God you know, I mean you can't all go to see the mat in New York. I liked even seeing when they had the Hamilton, when the Hamilton show with the original cast that they showed on Disney plus I think it's still up there, right, yeah, that was even great as a home experience and I was like, oh man, I would have. I think that was right in the heart of the pandemic. They released it as a like a year early because we all were like, please it was something.

2:17:36 - Owen Thomas
It was a timing right Like that would have done great in theaters Right.

2:17:39 - Glenn Fleishman
Oh my God, I would have gone because it was. It wasn't the real thing, but even on the small screen I felt like they did an incredible job of capturing a theatrical experience.

2:17:47 - Owen Thomas
And the Beyonce and Taylor concert concert show. Yeah, yeah, well, taylor's done all right. The.

2:17:53 - Leo Laporte
Euras movies done very well. Has it not the Euras concert, or no?

2:17:58 - Glenn Fleishman
I don't know. I think it did very well. Yeah, and it's 100. Lost track of the amount of, like I know these numbers are 200 million at the global box office.

2:18:07 - Owen Thomas
And Hollywood actually moved. Some moved some movies like away from the release weekend because they were like we are not competing with Taylor.

2:18:16 - Leo Laporte
Isn't that amazing? So maybe she should have been the person of the year. I mean she has. It's fascinating that she's a powerhouse the power. Is it just Denise? Answer this for me. Is it just millennial women? Are you a Tay Tay fan?

2:18:31 - Denise Howell
Oh, I'm not and I didn't. I didn't have a female child, so I don't have it sort of by osmosis through their generation. I respect her, I like her music, but I'm not a huge stan.

2:18:43 - Leo Laporte
Oh, and thank you, by the way, here's my gift idea, oh oh no, there you go, you're going to share. You said, the more it's the Moroccan oil, which is an interesting name for a piece of hardware. Oh, that's the company. Smooth style ceramic heated brush.

2:19:03 - Denise Howell
No, I'm definitely going to get that for that they are very shampoo and conditioner companies so they have branched out into more tool based things here but, by the way, I don't know why I would want to subscribe and save to that, but apparently I can.

2:19:18 - Leo Laporte
When I want a new brush every two months most common that seems a mistake. Don't do that. Does it wear? Out every two months. No, amazon, you're, you're, you're, you're not. You're messing with me, aren't you? All right, ordered it. I'm going to get it Tuesday, okay, thank you. Oh, I hope Lisa's not listening.

2:19:39 - Glenn Fleishman
Tyler not to watch the show.

2:19:40 - Leo Laporte
This is one of those Christmases where she said no gifts, which means more gifts. At least that's my interpretation. I may be wrong.

2:19:50 - Owen Thomas
I may be wrong on that one.

2:19:51 - Leo Laporte
That's great. I, when we were in Morocco, we got taken to a store where they did Argan oil, which I had never heard of.

2:19:59 - Denise Howell
Yes, it's in this company's products, I bet it is.

2:20:02 - Leo Laporte
It's a Moroccan oil and it's the best stuff ever I don't treat. Yeah, it's a nut, the Argan tree, which is indigenous to Morocco and Southwestern Algeria, all right.

2:20:16 - Owen Thomas
It's used. You should be able to get it. Order it from nutscom, cause it is used.

2:20:22 - Leo Laporte
It says Argan. It also used to dip bread in at breakfast or drizzle on couscous or pasta, but I used it on my on my hands and it was lovely. It was my, it was my favorite oil. So, anyway, now you've you didn't think you'd learn that on Twitter, Speaking of oil in the lamps, maybe they used Argan oil in the lamps. Maybe that was the secret.

2:20:44 - Glenn Fleishman
I don't know what oil it was. A lot of things, a lot of things burn, as we know. Is that?

2:20:49 - Leo Laporte
your motto.

2:20:52 - Denise Howell
That's a lot of things burn.

2:20:54 - Glenn Fleishman
Ask again and you'll find out.

2:20:58 - Leo Laporte
Glenn, I can't wait to see you. I know you're coming to the Charles Schultz Museum. That'll be awesome. I look forward to having you in studio in January on twig Very exciting.

2:21:08 - Glenn Fleishman
Three. I'll be in three dimensions. It'll be weird. We've never met, right? I don't think we've met in person. Is that possible?

2:21:14 - Leo Laporte
If it's, if we had, it would have been in a Mac world, at a Mac world years ago. I don't think we've ever met.

2:21:19 - Glenn Fleishman
Well, that's exciting, excellent, so that'll be forward to it. Thank you for the invitation.

2:21:23 - Leo Laporte
Denise, how we have met. I remember sitting behind you at a at a blog, blog world or something it was the podcast and new media expo in Ontario, California. Oh my God Thinking I should get this woman on our shows and I did, and it was this week in law. It was an amazing thing. Here's say culture is the home of your new show and I can't wait. It's apparently just having trouble with the RSS. Believe me, I know, I understand.

2:21:56 - Denise Howell
I'm told we have a good intern.

2:21:58 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, the interns working on it. You're going to have a couple of shows there.

2:22:04 - Denise Howell
I'm just telling you You're going to have a couple. I can't give you a feed.

2:22:08 - Leo Laporte
What are your shows going to be?

2:22:11 - Denise Howell
I do a show called uneven distribution, which is a callback to that William Gibson quote the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed. Yes, so I'm trying to feature people who are living in the future. Now, I just interviewed Dave Sifri. Do you remember him? Oh yeah, dave, I love.

2:22:29 - Glenn Fleishman
Dave's an old friend I haven't seen forever. He's started Technoradi. He's the sweetest person, one of the sweetest people in tech. I don't want to say he's the only sweet person, but he is one of about 20.

2:22:41 - Denise Howell
He's awesome. Yeah, he did a great podcast with Doc Searles on Floss Weekly I think it was back July, august, something like that and hopefully I'll get his show out on our network sooner rather than later, because it is, of course, about AI and things change so rapidly. I'd love to get that one out. That's what he's working on these days. He has a tool called a cool tool People should check it out called questiai, and it's a GPT I think. Don't quote me on that, I'm not the technologist here, but it delivers results that are verified, so it's trying to cut down on the whole hallucination problem.

2:23:29 - Leo Laporte
I think I should sign up for this right away. This is great.

2:23:31 - Denise Howell
You should definitely kick the tires on it. Of course Dave knows what he's doing.

2:23:35 - Glenn Fleishman
So that was always ahead of his time. I was listening to a podcast a week or so ago and the two hosts I think it was actually John Gruber and the folk behind the guy, the fellow behind Gabe Techmeme, gabe Rivera- I think it was David.

And they were struggling I'm listening to it, not live and they were struggling to remember Technoradi's name. And I was shouting at my podcasting device and they were like, oh yeah, Technoradi, Dave Sifri. Like yeah, he came up with the term I still use. I think he's the coiner. We knew the big head in the long tail were Chris Anderson from WIRE. That was his concept, right, I think. He coined it, defined it and then later had a lot of revision. Dave came up with the term the magic middle, which was that area in which you weren't the biggest but you weren't so small in that long tail that you had enough traffic or enough mojo, whatever, that you could actually run a business, be independent or, or you know, be sustainable. And I've always strove it striven for the magic middle, because I'm never going to be, I'm never going to have a big head, but I might be in the magic middle.

2:24:37 - Leo Laporte
This is a sample question from Questy. What is the most passive, aggressive dish you can bring to a potluck dinner?

2:24:46 - Denise Howell
This was my favorite. I emailed Dave that I thought SNL should use this.

2:24:51 - Leo Laporte
So great. Ingredients. Number one just bring the raw ingredients. A bag of raw potatoes instead of the mashed potatoes. This may be seen as an illustration of a carefree attitude or perhaps a flippant disregard for the efforts of others. I've actually had that happen. We used to have a dinner group where we would do a different country every month and it'd be your responsibility to bring in, and everybody brings something. One woman once brought a box of frozen peas to the dinner, so I know this. Was she a performance artist?

2:25:24 - Glenn Fleishman
No, she was just annoying.

2:25:25 - Leo Laporte
Number two fair minimum contributions unprepared items like store bought cookies with a visible discount sticker.

2:25:33 - Glenn Fleishman
There's an item on there about like non-inclusive ingredients and I'm picturing like one giant peanut Like just.

2:25:39 - Jason Howell
it's just just just sorry if you're allergic, if you're like nuts too bad, 12 inch long peanut.

2:25:44 - Leo Laporte
Alarmingly small quantities. Just four deviled eggs for a large gathering. That's good. This is a good sketch.

2:25:55 - Owen Thomas
The New Yorker has a real has the best version of this. Serve rustic country bread with a smear of goat cheese to everyone except Jeff.

2:26:15 - Glenn Fleishman
Jeff doesn't know what he did, even.

2:26:18 - Denise Howell
It's sad, I'm aggressive, that's right, I'm sorry. Related meme on Instagram today. That was a woman arriving to the potluck and she has a big foil tray and it has a cover and she brings it in and she says it's claw casserole. And you peel back the cover and it's just a bunch of white claws in a tray.

2:26:39 - Leo Laporte
But if you like white claw, that's a good thing, that's not a bad thing. Thank you, denise, it's great to see you and we look forward to more from here. Say culturecom and the great Owen Thomas from the San Francisco business times bizjournalscom slash San Francisco. So anything else to plug my friend?

2:27:05 - Owen Thomas
Just bizjournalscom slash San Francisco. We we keep reporting on this amazing economy here in the Bay Area.

2:27:12 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, you know, increasingly I like having people like you with financial background on, because I mean that story, for instance, about zero interest. I completely didn't it, didn't think about it till you mentioned it. That's huge and that really does change the landscape. If you go from free money to expensive money, everything changes.

2:27:30 - Owen Thomas
Interest rates are almost like the weather Like you never notice it until it changes.

2:27:34 - Leo Laporte
Yeah, yeah, thank you, owen, thank you, denise, thank you, mr Fleischman, it's always great to have you. Happy Hanukkah, glenn, and to all of you, and happy holidays to everybody. We will be back next week with our final episode of the year. I hope you will join us. We do Twitter on Sundays around 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern, 2200 UTC, and we have changed our policy a little bit. We had we're cutting off the live streams because they cost us, but we figured out we could do it for free on YouTube. So we will turn on the live streams whenever a show begins. No more reruns. We can't afford that. That's a rerun box that we use, but we will do them live. So if you go to youtubecom, slash twit, you'll see when a show's in process. You'll see the live stream is open and you can watch, which is great.

After the fact, of course, the best thing to do is to subscribe and your favorite podcast player we like pocket casts, but you pick the one you like and subscribe, so you get it automatically. If you search for Twitter, all of our shows are there. There's also a website, twittv, with all of our shows. I do encourage you to join Club Twit. It helps us immensely. $7 a month, $84 a year. Of course, the main reason to do it is to help us keep going and keep this wonderful staff employed, but you also get ad free versions of all the shows, access to the discord, which is a great social network, and stuff that you don't get otherwise because it's a club specials, twittertv, slash, club twit, and thank you very much for your support. We really appreciate it. We will be back next week. I hope you will too, but for now I must say it is another twit is in the can. Goodbye, take care. 

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