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Hard Fork

Author: The New York Times

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“Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech.

Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp
272 Episodes
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Warning: This episode contains strong language.Google removed the ability to generate images of people from its Gemini chatbot. We talk about why, and about the brewing culture war over artificial intelligence. Then, did Kara Swisher start “Hard Fork”? We clear up some podcast drama and ask about her new book, “Burn Book.” And finally, the legal expert Daphne Keller tells us how the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on the most important First Amendment cases of the internet era, and what Star Trek and soy boys have to do with it.Today’s guests:Kara Swisher, tech journalist and Casey Newton’s former landlordDaphne Keller, director of the program on platform regulation at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy CenterAdditional Reading: Google CEO calls AI tool’s controversial responses ‘completely unacceptable’Kara Swisher Is Not Here to Make Friends in Her New MemoirBurn Book: A Tech Love Story by Kara SwisherDaphne Keller’s FAQs About the NetChoice Cases at the Supreme CourtWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
This week’s episode is a conversation with Demis Hassabis, the head of Google’s artificial intelligence division. We talk about Google’s latest A.I. models, Gemini and Gemma; the existential risks of artificial intelligence; his timelines for artificial general intelligence; and what he thinks the world will look like post-A.G.I.Additional listening and reading: A.I. Could Solve Some of Humanity’s Hardest Problems. It Already Has.This interview was recorded on Wednesday. Since then, Google has temporarily suspended Gemini’s ability to generate images of humans, following criticism of images the chatbot generated of people of color in Nazi-era uniforms.Google Is Giving Away Some of the A.I. That Powers ChatbotsWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
A year ago, a chatbot tried to break up Kevin Roose’s marriage. Ever since, chatbots haven’t been the same. We’ll tell you how. Then, we’ll talk through the latest ways the world is adapting to artificial intelligence. And finally, Aravind Srinivas, the chief executive of Perplexity, will discuss his company’s “answer engine,” a challenger to Google’s search engine that could reshape the web as we know it.Today’s guest:Aravind Srinivas, chief executive of Perplexity Additional Reading: The Year Chatbots Were TamedOpenAI Gives ChatGPT a Better ‘Memory’Google Releases Gemini, an A.I.-Driven Chatbot and Voice AssistantSam Altman Seeks Trillions of Dollars to Reshape Business of Chips and AILawmakers propose anti-nonconsensual AI porn bill after Taylor Swift controversySarah Silverman’s lawsuit against OpenAI partially dismissedCan This A.I.-Powered Search Engine Replace Google? It Has for Me.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok..
Bluesky, the Twitter spin-off, is now open for public sign-ups. Can its dreams of decentralization fix social media? We talk with CEO Jay Graber. Then, New York Times reporter Erin Griffith on how Adobe’s failed acquisition of Figma has spooked tech companies and upset Silicon Valley’s startup pipeline. And finally, updates on ancient scrolls and artificial intelligence, Google’s chatbots, and the fight between record companies and TikTok. Today’s guests: Jay Graber, CEO of BlueskyErin Griffith, reporter for The New York TimesAdditional Reading: What Is Bluesky and Why Are People Clamoring to Join It?After Its $20 Billion Windfall Evaporated, a Start-Up Picks Up the PiecesFirst passages of rolled-up Herculaneum scroll revealedGoogle Releases Gemini, an A.I.-Driven Chatbot and Voice AssistantUniversal Music Group Pulls Songs From TikTokWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
Apple’s Vision Pro headset is now for sale in stores. Will it live up to the hype? Kevin Roose and Casey Newton tried it out to see. Then, in a high-profile congressional hearing on child safety and social media, Mark Zuckerberg, the Meta chief executive, made an apology to families of victims of online child abuse. Is new legislation on the horizon? And finally, what the collapse of Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company, means for the future of self-driving cars.Additional Reading: Apple readies its Vision‘Your Product Is Killing People’: Tech Leaders Denounced Over Child SafetyCruise Says Hostility to Regulators Led to Grounding of Its Autonomous CarsWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
Layoffs are hitting newsrooms and publishers again, as tech platforms, ad markets and artificial intelligence reshape the internet. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton have ideas for solutions. Then, one of the most influential investors in crypto companies lays out where the industry went wrong, and why he still thinks blockchains are the future. And finally, a round of HatGPT with the week’s tech headlines, including a spicy LinkedIn post and an A.I. test that disturbs Kevin and Casey’s sense of reality.Today’s guest:Chris Dixon, partner at Andreessen HorowitzAdditional Reading:Layoffs hit publishers including The Los Angeles Times and Sports Illustrated, while Pitchfork is being wrapped into GQ.“Read Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet,” by Chris DixonTest Yourself: Which Faces Were Made by A.I.?We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
OpenAI has released its plan to fight disinformation in elections in 2024, but will its policies be consequential compared to those of other generative A.I. companies? Then, a watershed moment had crypto fans celebrating for the first time in maybe more than a year. And finally, what one writer’s attempt to sell a used mechanical pencil on TikTok says about how the platform is changing.Today’s guests:David Yaffe-Bellany covers the crypto industry for The New York TimesJohn Herrman covers technology for New York MagazineAdditional Reading: How OpenAI is approaching 2024 worldwide elections$4 Billion of New Bitcoin Funds Change Hands in First Trading DayWhat I Learned Selling a Used Pencil on TikTok ShopWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
Casey is taking his newsletter Platformer off Substack, as criticism over the company’s handling of pro-Nazi content grows. Then, The Wall Street Journal spoke with witnesses who said that Elon Musk had used LSD, cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms, worrying some directors and board members of his companies. And finally, how researchers found a new class of antibiotics with the help of an artificial intelligence algorithm used to win the board game Go.Today’s guests:Kirsten Grind, enterprise reporter for The Wall Street JournalFelix Wong, postdoctoral fellow at M.I.T. and co-founder of Integrated BiosciencesAdditional Reading: Why Platformer is leaving Substack.Elon Musk has used illegal drugs, worrying leaders at Tesla and SpaceX.Researchers have discovered a new class of antibiotics using A.I.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft last week for copyright infringement. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton walk through the lawsuit and discuss the stakes for news publishers. Then, they talk about Apple’s “walled garden,” which is facing threats from both regulators and 16-year-olds. Finally, we set our tech resolutions for the new year.Today’s guest: Eric Migicovsky, co-founder of BeeperAdditional Reading:The New York Times sued OpenAI.Apple’s latest headache in the debate over blue vs. green bubbles.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
Last year, we predicted what 2023 in tech would look like. This week, we take a look back at those predictions, see what we got right and wrong, and make new ones for 2024. Then, the actor, comedian and writer Jenny Slate joins us to answer your Hard Questions.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
A jury decided the Google Play store unfairly stifles competition and maintains a monopoly. Kevin and Casey discuss how the ruling could reshape the digital economy. Then, a growing movement of developers and enthusiasts of artificial intelligence want the technology developed as quickly as possible, even if it has negative consequences for humanity. And finally, why the internet of the future could look totally different. Today’s guest: Cloudflare CEO and co-founder Matthew Prince. Additional Reading: Epic Games won its lawsuit against Google.‘Effective Accelerationism’ is Silicon Valley’s latest, and maybe weirdest, counterculture.Cloudflare tracked the biggest changes to the internet in 2023.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com.Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.
Warning: This episode contains some explicit language. Google’s new artificial intelligence model ‘Gemini’ is out. It’s advertised as America’s next top A.I. model. Kevin and Casey ask, is it really better than OpenAI’s GPT-4? Then, by some estimates millions of people pre-ordered Tesla’s Cybertruck, but has Elon Musk’s recent behavior soured people on the brand? And finally, more A.I. news you may have missed. Additional Reading: Google is chasing ChatGPT with the launch of Gemini.Even if people cancel their Cybertruck pre-orders, it could still be massively successful.A new A.I. development may help fight wine fraud.Amazon’s new enterprise chatbot had a “severe hallucinations” problem.OpenAI blocked a prompt that would cause ChatGPT to regurgitate its training data.Mountain Dew’s latest marketing stunt had an A.I. watching Twitch streams.
Warning: This episode contains some explicit language. The drama at OpenAI is not over. Kevin and Casey take stock of new information they’ve gathered since last week, and look at how other artificial intelligence companies are trying to capitalize on the debacle. Then, why people are still buying cryptocurrency even after Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its founder pleaded guilty to money laundering violations. And finally, three ways A.I. is ruining web search. Or is it?Today’s guest: David Yaffe-Bellany covers crypto for The New York Times.Additional Reading:Casey has new details from the OpenAI board fight.Changpeng Zhao, the Binance founder, agreed to pay a $50 million fine and step down from his role as chief executive.
In yet another head-spinning twist at OpenAI, Sam Altman was reinstated as the company’s chief executive on Tuesday night, a mere five days after the OpenAI board had fired him. The board will be overhauled and a new set of directors, including Bret Taylor and Lawrence Summers, will join.Today, we discuss how Altman returned to the top seat — and whether the OpenAI news will ever slow down.Additional Reading:Late Tuesday night, Sam Altman was reinstated as OpenAI’s chief executive. 
Last week, we interviewed Sam Altman. Since then, well, everything has changed. The board of OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT, fired Altman as chief executive on Friday. Over the weekend, it looked as if he might return. On Sunday night, Microsoft hired Altman to lead a new A.I. venture. Who knows what will happen next.Today, an update on a crazy weekend in tech, and our interview with Sam Altman.Today’s Guest:Sam Altman is the former chief executive of OpenAI.Additional Reading:On Sunday, Microsoft hired Sam Altman after OpenAI had fired him.Kevin breaks down the winners and losers from the OpenAI rift.
Sam Altman, the chief executive of Open AI, was pushed out of the company by its board of directors on Friday. The news was a complete shock to much of the company’s employee base and to its largest corporate partner, Microsoft. Silicon Valley insiders are scrambling to get answers on exactly what happened and why the board’s decision seemed so abrupt. We rundown what we know and the many things we still don’t.
The tech start-up Humane launched a new device, an A.I. pin meant to be worn on our clothing. Might this be the device that replaces the iPhone? It’s the question on Silicon Valley’s mind. The pin allows users to take phone calls, catch up on messages and get answers to questions, all without ever looking at a screen.Then, why YouTube is bucking the trend on deepfakes.Plus: We eat a Thanksgiving meal made with meat that was grown in a lab.Today’s Guest:Joshua March is the chief executive of SCiFi Foods, the lab-grown meat company.Additional Reading:Humane says it’s artificial intelligence pin can replace screens. Is the pin the start of the next generation of hardware?Casey on YouTube’s latest approach to deepfakes. 
Warning: this episode contains some explicit language.OpenAI has unveiled a new way to build custom chatbots. Kevin shows off a few that he’s built – including a custom Hard Fork bot, and a bot that gives investment advice inspired by his late grandpa. Then, we talk to Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, about the agency’s approach to regulating A.I., and whether the tactics she’s used to regulate big tech companies are working.And finally, a Bored Ape Yacht Club event left some attendees' eyes burning, literally. That, and Sam Bankman-Fried’s recent fraud conviction has us asking, how much damage hath the crypto world wrought? Today’s guest:Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade CommissionAdditional reading: OpenAI’s new tools allow users to customize their own GPTs.Lina Khan believes A.I. disruption demands regulators take a different approach than that of the Web 2.0 era.More than 20 people reported burning eye pain after a Bored Ape Yacht Club party in Hong Kong.
President Biden’s new executive order on artificial intelligence has a little bit of everything for everyone concerned about A.I. Casey takes us inside the White House as the order was signed.Then, Rebecca Tushnet, a copyright law expert, walks us through the latest developments in a lawsuit against the creators of A.I.-image generation tools. She explains why artists may have trouble making the case that these tools infringe on their copyrights.And finally, it’s time again for HatGPT. We get a taste of the tech headlines you may have missed from the week.Today’s guest:Rebecca Tushnet, professor of law at Harvard Law School.Additional reading:Casey’s debrief on his trip to the White House.Kevin’s breakdown of the executive order.A judge found many of the claims in a lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney and DeviantArt to be “defective.” 
Dozens of state attorneys general has sued Meta, alleging the company knowingly created features that induce “extended, addictive, and compulsive social media use” among teenagers and children. In a country without wide-reaching internet regulations, are lawsuits the way to reign tech companies in? Then, for our first episode on YouTube, we talk with YouTuber and tech reviewer Marques Brownlee about how the platform has changed, and the future tech he’s excited about. And finally, A.I. image generators are getting scary good. Casey tells us what he’s been using them for. Today’s guest:Marques Brownlee is a YouTuber who covers tech.Additional reading: Meta is accused of using features to lure children to Instagram and Facebook.Subscribe to Hard Fork on YouTube.The latest A.I. image generators show how quickly the tech is advancing.
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Comments (85)

ncooty

The guest came across to me as having quite a bit of artificial intelligence himself. The answers were generally pseudo-precise, mealy-mouthed, meandering, off-topic, non-committal, optimistic, and uninformative. E.g., when asked about tge best business models for commercial AI development, he blathered about how great science is. It's an indictment of our culture and society that we reliably select for bullshitters.

Feb 23rd
Reply

Vivek Kumar

nice

Feb 18th
Reply

Andre D'Elena

Loooove that journalists should get paid with "exposure" according to this guy, LMAO

Feb 17th
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ncooty

Chris Dixon is just a bullshitter. He doesn't know anything and he talks nonsense. You asked him to explain why crypto failed and talked about the promise of the Internet, and at the very end, he stapled on a claim that crypto will make it possible. It is absolute nonsense and trash. You guys should be ashamed to continue to platform charlatans, hucksters, and mountebanks. They make you seem like ignorant, gullible, obsequious twits.

Jan 26th
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ncooty

It's an indictment of our collective idiocy that people can talk about cryptocurrency so much while avoiding mention of the fact that it's all hype and froth. There's no substance, no value in use, no link between the value and a currency function, etc. It's also drastically under-regulated. It's a marketplace of wolves and sheep. It's gambling on the predicted efficacy of hype amongst morons.

Jan 19th
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Jan 12th
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ncooty

As usual, Casey is sloppy with language. He fails to distinguish between platforms he would not use and platforms he thinks should be illegal.

Jan 12th
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Matt Elpers

Apple is to cell phones what Donald Trump is to American politics... antidemocratic and shameless. F 'em both.

Jan 8th
Reply (1)

ncooty

@52:59: It seems like the cheating issue is two-fold. First, the university and professor shouldn't give exams in a format that is conducive to cheating. In my courses--especially for graduate degrees--responses were either oral or hand-written, and gadgets weren't allowed in the exams. Second, it sounds like the university abandoned the professor and the students, essentially incentivizing cheating while punishing integrity. Another awful sign of universities' cowardice (mirrored by Kevin).

Dec 22nd
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ncooty

@4:48: Ugh, Casey has little regard for diction. He's bragging that he correctly predicted that news media would *extricate* themselves from *inextricable* relationships with Twitter.

Dec 22nd
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ncooty

By invoking various philosophers, the guest displayed he had never read them at all. Suggesting that Musk's Twitter polls are Aristotelian is laughably stupid.

Dec 15th
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Michael Brodie

The Tesla truck looks like it was designed by Homer Simpson.

Dec 8th
Reply

Carlos Barron

The "Hard Fork" podcast provides a compelling exploration of the ever-evolving world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Hosted with a perfect blend of technical expertise and approachable language, the podcast delves into the latest trends, technological developments, and regulatory shifts within the blockchain space. The in-depth discussions with industry experts and thought leaders offer listeners valuable insights into the potential impact of these emerging technologies on various sectors. https://www.finduslocal.com/book-printing-servicesmisc/new-york/brooklyn/kraft-paper-studio_415-evergreen-ave/ One of the podcast's strengths lies in its ability to break down complex concepts, making them accessible to both seasoned professionals and newcomers to the blockchain scene. http://connect.releasewire.com/company/kraft-paper-studio-322910.htm

Nov 26th
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Ruth Andrade

so sad that they have sold their podcast space to pure green washing ads.

Nov 23rd
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ncooty

Another person who grumbles and groans rather than speaks.

Nov 22nd
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Ricardo Martins

Very good episode.

Oct 5th
Reply

ncooty

@1:01:26: This argument makes no sense. Unused cars aren't on the road. Self-driving cars might reduce the number of cars in existence, but not necessarily the number of cars on the road, the number of miles driven, etc. (I don't consider parked cars part of the problem you mentioned.)

Aug 26th
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