DiscoverFunction with Anil Dash
Function with Anil Dash

Function with Anil Dash

Author: Vox Media

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Our culture is shaped by technology, and the people building that technology determine how it’s changing our lives. But who are they? And how do they think about their responsibility to the rest of us? From mental health to algorithmic bias, entrepreneur Anil Dash talks to developers, designers, and culture experts to understand the ways tech is changing culture, and what it means for us. Produced by Glitch and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

19 Episodes
Anil speaks with Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of Race After Technology, about design discrimination. They discuss how systemic racism is replicated in the technology we use and how tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning and software used in the criminal justice system are shaped by racial bias.Then he speaks with James Cadogan, VP of Criminal Justice, and Kristin Bechtel, Director of Criminal Justice Research, for Arnold Ventures, a non-profit that funds the Public Safety Assessment, a tool used by judges that predicts a person's likelihood to reoffend or return to court if released.
GIFs as Blackface

GIFs as Blackface


It seems like every month a new cringe worthy picture of a public official in Blackface is shared on social media. The pictures usually surface decades after they were taken but they are born out of a long tradition of Blackface and racial mockery in America. But that tradition isn't just a part of our history, it's being replicated online through our use of GIFs.Anil talks with Dr. Lauren Michelle Jackson, author of White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue & and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation and Kenyatta Cheese, digital enthusiast, cofounder of Everybody at Once, and founder of Know Your Meme, about digital blackface. They discuss how we can examine our online persona's and how algorithmic choices reflect systemic bias.
Are we making sure the tech we create is usable for the people we say we want to help?Accessibility is more than a buzzword. Anil speaks with Emily Ladau, co- host of The Accessible Stall podcast; Alex Haagaard, Director of Communications at the Disabled List, and Vilissa Thompson, founder of Ramp Your Voice, about accessibility bias in tech and what abled designers can unlearn in order to create more inclusive apps. These activists are dedicated to making sure disabled people are represented in the design processes within tech and all facets of society.
Does the internet help or harm our mental health?In this season two premiere of Function, Anil explores how the web made an impact on his mental health and talks to experts like Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, Stanford University psychiatrist and author; and web creators Desi Rottman and Angelo Stavrow about the how the internet is changing the way we see ourselves and interact with others.Together, they explore the consequences of our love affair with the internet and discuss ways to use the internet to manage our mental health.Guest Links:Dr. Elias Aboujaoude Rottman Stavrow
Function S2 Trailer

Function S2 Trailer


Function with Anil Dash is back with all new episodes on October 2.
Join Function host Anil Dash for the The State of the Internet 2019 on February 28, 2019. This first Forum at Civic Hall is in partnership with Facebook and Glitch. Join Anil and Matt Mitchell of CryptoHarlem / Tactical Tech as they talk about some of the challenges facing the Internet, and offer solutions for making the Internet a better place, not just top-down, but from the bottom up.  Get tickets here:
On our season finale of Function, Anil sits down with Alex Kleinco-founder and CEO of Kano Computing live from the Google Assistant Playground at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.Coding education for kids is wildly popular, from books and toys to after school programs from non-profit organizations, companies are putting lots of money and resources behind helping create the next generation of programmers. But is that enough? A few years ago, Anil wrote about his skepticism behind these efforts, wondering if perhaps they are missing the mark on teaching proficiency over literacy.Alex's company Kano creates kits for all ages that help make coding and computing skills as simple and fun as putting together LEGO bricks. He shares what motivated him to empower kids and beginners to create technology.Thank you for listening to the first season of Function! As we take a break and prep for season two, we want to learn more about you. What do you like about Function? What would you change? Tell us everything in our audience survey! Visit and let us know what you think.References and other notes:Harry Potter Coding KitGlitch user Samarth Jajoo"It's more than just 'teach kids to code'" (Anil Dash)Steve Jobs "bicycle for the mind" referenceKara Swisher's 2010 interview with Mark ZuckerbergDJ Focus
Social Media, 20 Years Ago

Social Media, 20 Years Ago


On Function, our focus is about how technology has influenced culture and communications, and nothing encompasses the intersection of these concepts more than social media. It's allowed us to express our innermost feelings, meet people that share our interests, and find community with others from all over the world.This week, we're doing something a little different. Anil sits down with some of the pioneers of the social web — Bruce Ableson (founder of Open Diary), Lisa Phillips (former senior system administrator at LiveJournal), and Andrew Smales (founder of Diaryland) — for an oral history about social media 20 years ago. What was the Web like in 1999? How did these websites begin, and what did the media think about them? How have the features of these networks influenced the Web that we know today, and can we get that old feeling back of the early social web?Show notes and references:Brad Pitt parody site on Diaryland ( is the Real JT LeRoy? (New York Magazine)George R.R. Martin's LiveJournal page
Saving money is at the top of a lot of people's lists of new year's resolutions. According to Fidelity Investments, nearly one-third of Americans want to make some type of money resolution for 2019. Maybe you want to pay down debt, or maybe you just want to save more of your hard-earned cash. Regardless of the goal, there are a number of mobile apps to help you make it happen. But are they worth the download or do they just make you feel bad about your spending routines?We're kicking off 2019 here on Function with a look at personal finance apps. Anil sits down with Varun Krishna, VP of Product at Intuit Consumer Group, the company behind the apps Mint and Turbo. Varun says money can be the primary source of stress for most people, and personal finance apps can help transform the nature of finances for households and individuals. Anil also talks to author and personal finance coach Tarra Jackson, better known as "Madam Money". Tarra shares the apps she uses for her own spending habits and discusses how personal finance apps help her clients re-evaluate where their money goes.Other Personal Finance Apps MentionedAcornsDigitCash AppRobinhoodQapitalYou Need A Budget (YNAB)Other Links"Financial Fornication" by Tarra Jackson52 Week Saving Challenge
Digital Giving for Good

Digital Giving for Good


It's the end of 2018, and charities and nonprofit organizations are gearing up for their most important fundraising campaign of the year. Over 30% of all annual giving occurs in December, with approximately 12% of giving happening in these final three days of the month. Whether it's SMS, mobile apps, social media, email newsletters, or a simple donation button on your website, technology has now made donating to your favorite cause easier than ever.We're looking at digital giving this week on Function, and Anil talks with the creators of two of the most influential and innovative new nonprofits in the country. The Human Utility, co-founded by Tiffani Bell helps citizens in Detroit and Baltimore pay their water bills. Anil speaks with Tiffani about what inspired her to start this initiative, and we learn more about the impact its had on communities in both cities. Anil also talks to the duo behind Appolition, Tiffany Mikell and Dr. Kortney Ziegler about how their app helps people donate their spare change to help with community bail funds. You'll learn how even small actions in tech can enable us to be more generous, more giving and more charitable.
Comments (1)

Josh Blanchette

I expected the host to do something other than fawn given that the guest works for Intuit. The folks at Vox clearly know that this is no benign tech company. I thought this podcast was supposed to be about calling out these tech-based social issues. Such a missed opportunity! "TurboTax is an evil, parasitic product that exists entirely because taxes are confusing and hard to file. Worse than that, Intuit is one of the loudest voices on Capitol Hill arguing against measures that make it easier to pay taxes."

Jan 7th
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