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Better Offline

Author: Cool Zone Media and iHeartPodcasts

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Better Offline is a weekly show exploring the tech industry’s influence and manipulation of society - and interrogating the growth-at-all-costs future that tech’s elite wants to build. 

Combining narrative-form storytelling, one-on-one interviews and panel-based discussions, Better Offline cuts through the buzzwords and obfuscation of the tech industry, investigating and evaluating the schemes and scams of everyone from cryptocurrency scumbags to the greediest of the venture capital elite. Tech industry veteran Ed Zitron and a dynamic coterie of guests will help listeners understand the who, how and why of how tech’s most powerful players are changing the world - for better or for worse.
17 Episodes
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Earlier in the year, OpenAI debuted Sora, an AI that can generate videos that almost look realistic. In this episode, Ed walks through why generating video with AI is a near-impossible task, and speaks with Walter Woodman of Shy Kids, who made a movie called "Air Head" using the tool. LINKS: Shy Kids' Air Head - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4wJ4WeJrz4 Mira Murati Interview with Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/joanna-stern-personal-technology/openai-made-me-crazy-videosthen-the-cto-answered-most-of-my-questions/C2188768-D570-4456-8574-9941D4F9D7E2 See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
On April 26 2024, the NHTSA, the government body responsible for keeping roads safe, found Tesla's Autopilot and Full-Self-Driving software created a "critical safety gap" with drivers, killing and injuring people in the process, in the very same week that Elon Musk fired most of Tesla's team behind their Supercharger electric vehicle charging moment. Ed Zitron brings on E.W. Niedermeyer, author of Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors, to explain exactly what the hell is going on.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ed Zitron walks you through how career manager Adam Mosseri pushed out Instagram's original founders, turning it into an ultra-profitable app that barely works, and how Sam Altman, the so-called hero of the AI boom, is a lobbyist dressed as a technologist best-known for being an absent, self-obsessed demagogue.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In this episode, Ed Zitron tells you the disgraceful story of how Prabhakar Raghavan, Google's former head of ads - led a coup so that he could run Google Search, and how an email chain from 2019 began a cascade of events that would lead to the outright decay of the most important website on the internet. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The growth-at-all-costs management consultant mindset has turned most of the modern internet into a painful and profitable social experiment - and in this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how these disconnected, growth-hungry personalities have made Google and Meta abdicate any responsibility toward their users and products.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In the last few weeks TikTok and other social networks have been flooded with memes about a chinese glycine manufacturer called Donghua Jinlong, all thanks to one innocent promotional video. Ed Zitron is joined by journalist Louise Matsakis and writer/researcher Tianyu Fang to talk about why young people are talking about glycine. Read more of Louise's work at https://youmayalsolike.beehiiv.com/ and you can find Tianyu at https://twitter.com/tianyuf See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Every major tech firm is betting billions of dollars that the generative AI revolution will change society - yet when you look under the hood, the reality of generative AI might be far grimmer. Ed Zitron walks you through the many signs that we're on the verge of the AI bubble popping - and what the consequences might be if it does.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Are We At Peak AI?

Are We At Peak AI?

2024-04-1037:323

It’s been just under a year and a half since ChatGPT - an AI-powered chatbot launched by so-called non-profit OpenAI - ushered in a new era of investor and media hype around how artificial intelligence would change the world. But what if this we're actually at the peak of what generative AI can do? In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through the four intractable problems that are stopping Large Language Models like ChatGPT in their tracks - and why they're all-but-impossible to overcome.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Wikipedia, a non-profit encyclopedia that anybody can edit, remains one of the few trustworthy and reliable websites left online. Ed Zitron is joined by critic, researcher and 18-year veteran of the Wikipedia editing community Molly White to discuss how Wikipedia actually works, and why you should care about its future.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The media industry has laid off over 30,000 people in the last three years as a result of an executive sect that doesn't read, write, or meaningfully contribute to society. Ed Zitron walks you through how the startup mindset destroyed Sports Illustrated, VICE and The Messenger - and how journalism can turn the tide and survive.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ever wonder why Silicon Valley stopped making anything new or interesting? It's because of the same growth-at-all-costs mindset that's destroyed the rest of the tech ecosystem. Ed Zitron is joined by Robert Evans to discuss how venture capital demolished tech's ability to innovate by forcing the smartest people in the world to work on the dumbest things ever invented.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A New York Times investigation revealed this week that Musk's $7 billion "Musk Foundation" regularly fails to donate enough money to get its multi-billion dollar tax break. Ed brings on Pullitzer-prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold of the New York Times to walk through the extremely questionable world of Elon Musk's non-profit. Link to the New York Times story: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/10/us/elon-musk-charity.htmlSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook to Meta, claiming that it was now a "Metaverse company," throwing the entire tech industry into one of its most specious hype cycles. In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how the tech industry wasted nearly two years chasing a concept that nobody could define, burning billions of dollars on an idea that would cost thousands of people their jobs.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Though the Winklevoss brothers are best known for their role in the early days of Facebook, you'll be surprised to learn that they recently lost customers at their cryptocurrency exchange over a billion dollars through a shady loan scheme. In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how the two identical riverboat giants went from being conned by Mark Zuckerberg to conning over a hundred thousand people into putting their cryptocurrency in the hands of the world's worst investor.  Better Offline Theme Song Spotify Pre-Save Link - https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/mattosowski/better-offline-theme-song-2?utm_campaign=website&utm_medium=Email+&utm_source=SendGrid See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Ever wonder why Google results are getting worse, or why you aren't seeing your friends on Instagram? It's all because of the growth-at-all-costs economy that's swallowed the tech industry, where the user experience takes a back seat to monetizing every interaction with the platforms you used to love. Ed Zitron is joined by Cool Zone Media's Robert Evans to walk you through the economic theory that's destroying the tech industry from within.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Apple's $3500 face computer is here, and after spending far too many hours inside it, Ed Zitron has found Apple's vision of the future to be equal parts exciting and frustrating - and a dark omen for the future of tech. He also sits down with the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern to talk about her experience as one of the early reviewers of the Vision Pro.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Better Offline is a weekly show exploring the tech industry’s growing influence over society, and how startups, venture capitalists and big tech firms are looking to change the future - for better or for worse.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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