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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.
14 Episodes
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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: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-state-of-the-internet-2019-tickets-56137002285
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 voxmedia.com/podsurvey 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" reference Kara Swisher's 2010 interview with Mark ZuckerbergDJ Focus 
Social Media, 20 Years Ago

Social Media, 20 Years Ago

2019-01-1401:01:29

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 (archive.org)Who 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

2018-12-3100:42:241

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 Bellhelps 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 Mikelland Dr. Kortney Zieglerabout 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.
The 2018 midterm elections have wrapped up here in the U.S., and issues with voting machines are back in the news. It's not a hanging chad situation like the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, but malfunctions, outdated tech, and talk of interference from foreign powers has tanked voter confidence. With the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign season about to kickoff, how do you rock the vote when you're not even sure your vote is being properly counted? And how do you put trust in a voting system that's full of weak links?On Function this week, we're looking at voting machines and election security. Anil talks with Verified Voting data consultant Matt Bernhard about the history of voting machines and the broad social implications of technology and privacy. We also talk to Maurice Turner, a former poll worker and senior technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, who gives practical advice for individual voters who are worried about the trustworthiness of their local precincts.Show notes:Verified VotingCenter for Democracy and TechnologyAccuVote TSSerious Vulnerabilities in Georgia’s Online Voter Registration System(Matt Bernhard's Medium piece)Can Georgia’s electronic voting machines be trusted? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
On November 1, 2018, thousands of Google employees around the world staged a mass walkout in protest of how the company handled claims of sexual misconduct. While this is not the first time we have seen protests at this scale, it does signal to the larger community that workers at huge tech companies like these are at an inflection point. When is enough, enough?This week on Function, we take a look at the rising labor movement in tech by hearing from those whose advocacy was instrumental in setting the foundation for what we see today around the dissent from tech workers.Anil talks to Leigh Honeywell, CEO and founder of Tall Poppy and creator of the Never Again pledge, about how her early work, along with others, helped galvanize tech workers to connect the dots between different issues in tech.Next, Anil speaks to Former Facebook manager Mark S. Luckie about his recent memo that's swept the Internet, and Mark details steps that tech companies can do to make conditions better for employees of color.Lastly, Anil sits down with Matt Rivitz: one of the key people behind the grassroots campaign Sleeping Giants which caused thousands of advertisers to remove their ads from Breitbart News. According to Matt, there needs to be an awakening in the tech industry, and he illustrates that all of us can take small actions which can come together to make a massive change.References and other notes:Google employees worldwide staging walkout to protest response to sexual misconduct claims (USA Today)Liz Fong-Jones' talk "How to change tech company policy by organizing tech workers"Facebook is failing its black employees and its black users (Mark S. Luckie / Facebook)Revealed: The People Behind an Anti-Breitbart Twitter Account (The New York Times)
Squarespace, Mailchimp, Casper, Blue Apron; If you're a regular podcast listener, then there's no doubt you've heard ads from these companies. Podcasting's reach has grown exponentially over the past few years, and companies like these are spending millions of dollars to reach listeners whenever, wherever and however they tune in. But is this truly effective? What type of ads work best? And if you're not a podcast from a big media organization, how can you can get a piece of the pie?This week on Function, we examine the world of podcast advertising. Anil sits down with Francesco Baschieri, president of Voxnest, and talks about some of the trends and technology behind podcast ads. We also hear from New York City podcasting duo Jade + XD of  Jade + X.D: The Blackest show about nothing to pull back the curtain on advertising and monetization from an independent media perspective.Show notes and references:VoxnestDynamic Ad Insertion — What it is and Why You Should Be Utilising It (Voxnest)Jade + XD's Website
YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the Internet, and millions of users upload all kinds of videos to it every day. Some of these are original productions, but there are also song covers, clips from television or movies, and lots of other content that occupy a murky gray area with respect to copyright. Including a caption like "no copyright infringement intended" doesn't actually protect you from copyright violation claims and  YouTube's Content ID system could ensure that your video is demonetized or blocked from the platform completely.On this week's episode of Function, we look into YouTube and copyright infringement with entertainment lawyer Gordon Firemark and YouTuber and musician Paul Davids. Gordon specializes in theatre, film, television, and new media law. He breaks down how a work becomes copyrighted and the concept of fair use. He also explains why a copyright disclaimer could do more harm than good.Later, Anil speaks with Paul about how YouTube's Content ID system flagged him for violating the copyright on an original song he composed. Paul describes the incident and how it changed the way he shares content. Show notes and references:It's Over! Viacom and Google Settle YouTube Lawsuit. (Recode)Fair useDigital Millennium Copyright ActWhat is a YouTube Content ID claim?YouTuber in row over copyright infringement of his own song (BBC News)Gordon's Entertainment Law podcast where he often answers questions about copyright
If you're an active Twitter user, you've probably made a typo or a mistake in a tweet before that you wish you could correct. You could delete the tweet and just write another one, or Twitter could create a feature that users have adamantly requested for years -- an edit button. Even Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey has mulled over this feature, and according to recent news, it may just happen.Enabling a button to edit your tweets sounds like an easy thing to set up from a user standpoint, but like most technological features, implementing it comes with its own positives and negatives.We talk to Andy Carvin, author, professor, and former social media editor for NPR. Andy knows firsthand how one misinformed tweet can have a dangerous ripple effect. He talked about how an edit feature could be used to report the news more responsibly.Then we talk with Leslie Miley, chief technology officer for the Obama Foundation and former engineering manager at Twitter, about the technical and ethical considerations around creating an edit feature.Show notes and other references:NPR's Giffords Mistake: Re-Learning the Lesson of Checking SourcesCharles Johnson, one of the Internet’s most infamous trolls, has finally been banned from Twitter
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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." www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/3/29/11320386/turbotax-boycott-lobbying-tax-filing-season-tax-day-april-15

Jan 7th
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