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This Machine Kills

Author: This Machine Kills

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A podcast about technology and political economy /// Agitprop against innovation and capital /// Hosted by Jathan Sadowski and Edward Ongweso Jr., Produced by Jereme Brown /// Hello friends and enemies

Listen anywhere that fine podcasts are distributed. Subscribe at patreon.com/thismachinekills to get premium episodes every week.
370 Episodes
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We are joined once again by Evgeny Morozov to discuss his new podcast series, A Sense of Rebellion, which tells the story of a wild bunch of eccentric hippies who had grand ideas for how to design interactive technologies and intelligent environments and cybernetic systems that are radically different from today’s smart tech and AI. Morozov takes us deep down the rabbit hole of Cold War counterculture and technoculture, and deep into the life and mind of Warren Brodey, a now largely forgotten giant of early cybernetics. This new podcast series is the second in a trilogy on “tech rebels who failed.” ••• A Sense of Rebellion: https://www.sense-of-rebellion.com/ ••• Evgeny Morozov: https://x.com/evgenymorozov ••• The Boston hippies who developed technologies that Silicon Valley wouldn’t dare to make https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/06/15/opinion/warren-brodey-environmental-ecology-lab/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We keep rolling with our discussion about the Insulin Empire with Athena. ••• The Insulin Empire https://thebaffler.com/after-the-fact/the-insulin-empire-ongweso-jr-sofides ••• Mutual Aid Diabetes https://mutualaiddiabetes.com/ ••• T1International https://www.t1international.com/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We are joined by Athena Sofides who co-wrote (with Ed) a brilliant essay in The Baffler, which provides an in-depth analysis of insulin, the social health factors of diabetes, and the global oligopoly of pharmaceutical corporations that exert total control over – and extract max profits from — this medicine that many millions of diabetics depend upon everyday and are unable to access. We go deep on how this insulin cartel is waging, as they write, “a war to remake insulin into a more profitable form, its patients into a more profitable demographic, and its market into a noncompetitive oligopoly.” ••• The Insulin Empire https://thebaffler.com/after-the-fact/the-insulin-empire-ongweso-jr-sofides ••• Mutual Aid Diabetes https://mutualaiddiabetes.com/ ••• T1International https://www.t1international.com/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We do a reading series on a major anti-trust lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice against Live Nation / Ticketmaster and the absolutely wild tactics the company used to intimidate competitors, enforce market domination, and totally lockdown the live entertainment industry. Then we wrap up with the new licensing deals between OpenAI and The Atlantic, Vox Media, News Corp – and what they portend for the hollowed out future of news media. ••• How Live Nation’s Monopoly Works https://prospect.org/power/2024-05-24-how-live-nations-monopoly-works/ ••• The Monopoly Case Against Ticketmaster, Explained https://www.404media.co/the-monopoly-case-against-ticketmaster-explained/ ••• Exclusive: The Atlantic, Vox Media ink licensing, product deals with OpenAI https://www.axios.com/2024/05/29/atlantic-vox-media-openai-licensing-deal ••• Former OpenAI board member explains why CEO Sam Altman got fired before he was rehired https://www.cnbc.com/2024/05/29/former-openai-board-member-explains-why-ceo-sam-altman-was-fired.html ••• America’s premier pronatalists on having ‘tons of kids’ to save the world: ‘There are going to be countries of old people starving to death’ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/article/2024/may/25/american-pronatalists-malcolm-and-simone-collins Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We check in with an old enemy of the show, Uber, to discuss it’s recent battles with states over wage floors and worker rights, and get a masterclass on how Uber weaponizes complexity through it’s platform to abuse workers and avoid regulation, while also wielding the threat of capital flight to great effect against politicians and governments. ••• Minneapolis just called Uber’s bluff — other cities must follow their lead https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/4550102-minneapolis-just-called-ubers-bluff-other-cities-must-follow-their-lead/ ••• Uber’s and Lyft’s ride-hailing deal with Minnesota comes at a cost https://techcrunch.com/2024/05/21/uber-and-lyfts-ride-hailing-deal-with-minnesota-comes-with-a-cost/ ••• The Gig Economy vs. America’s Workers https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/uber-lyft-doordash-ballot-measures-massachusetts-legalize-gig-workers-by-sandeep-vaheesan-2024-05 ••• How Uber and Lyft Avoid Millions in Business Taxes https://slate.com/business/2024/05/uber-lyft-gig-economy-driver-classification-business-taxes-unemployment.html Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
Discussing a new surveillance program by NYC Mayor Eric Adams and the public-private partnerships with Fusus by Axon, we dig into how the moral panic around “organized retail theft” has become a smoke screen / cynical moral alibi for an arms race of policing. It’s new software for the old hardware of an oppressive corporate state. ••• Mayor Adams Announces new Pilot Program to Combat Retail Theft, Create Efficiencies, Improve Police-Community Relations Using Innovative Technology https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/383-24/mayor-adams-new-pilot-program-combat-retail-theft-create-efficiencies-improve#/0 ••• Privacy or safety? U.S. brings 'surveillance city to the suburbs' https://www.context.news/digital-rights/privacy-or-safety-us-brings-surveillance-city-to-the-suburbs Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We talk about how everybody on the superalignment team at OpenAI—focused on safety, risk, adversarial testing, societal impacts, and existential concerns—is resigning, including high-profile people like Illya Sutskever. And nobody can talk about it because of draconian rules (even for Silicon Valley) about non-disclosure and non-disparagement people must sign (or risk their vested equity) upon exiting the company. For us, the turmoil of OpenAI is indicative of conflict between true believers (superalignment) and cynical operators (Sam Altman). Outro: Aunty Donna – Real Estate Agents https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGm267O04a8 ••• “I lost trust”: Why the OpenAI team in charge of safeguarding humanity imploded https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2024/5/17/24158403/openai-resignations-ai-safety-ilya-sutskever-jan-leike-artificial-intelligence ••• ChatGPT can talk, but OpenAI employees sure can’t https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2024/5/17/24158478/openai-departures-sam-altman-employees-chatgpt-release Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
After revisiting our discussion of stimulants from last episode, we dive deep into a new hive of freaks on the internet and examine the psychology of forum posters on the Cybertruck Owners Club. ••• Cybertruck Owners Club https://www.cybertruckownersclub.com/forum/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
First we dive into some exciting news of actual innovation: ultrasonic extraction for cold brew coffee. Then offer a live react to OpenAI’s new product GPT-4o, which is its new flagship model in the form of a voice assistant, and jump from there to talk more deeply about the problems with AI companions via a tech column in the NYTimes. ••• Scientists Use Ultrasound to Make Cold Brew Coffee in 3 Minutes Instead of 24 Hours https://www.404media.co/scientists-use-ultrasound-to-make-cold-brew-coffee-in-3-minutes-instead-of-24-hours/ ••• Hello GPT-4o https://openai.com/index/hello-gpt-4o/ ••• Meet My A.I. Friends https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/09/technology/meet-my-ai-friends.html Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
In what feels like a curse of eternal return, we discuss the news that Softbank is leading a $1 billion funding round into what is now the premier UK AI startup, Wavye, which has a generative simulation model for driving data. We then transition to talking about a long piece of reporting on video game engines like Unreal and Unity, the dream of creating perfect simulations of reality, and how everything is now downstream from video games. ••• SoftBank leads $1bn funding for UK artificial intelligence group Wayve https://www.ft.com/content/a5704e29-545c-45e6-b7e3-d0a8cda285c4 ••• Wayve GAIA https://wayve.ai/science/gaia/ ••• How Perfectly Can Reality Be Simulated? https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/22/can-the-world-be-simulated Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
Because we are all rap heads at TMK, we have been feeling juiced up by the beef between Kendrick and Drake, so we spend the first half breaking that down. Then we catch up on the campus protests and collective actions, the vibes on the ground in the encampments, and the range of deranged reactions by people who are disconnected from reality. Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
[Jathan got married last weekend! So no new shows until next week.] We dig into reporting on a special forces unit in the Brazilian ministry of environment which is composed of tier one operators who are also all scientists that are driven by a singular righteous mission of protecting the Amazon rainforest, wildlife and Indigenous communities from illegal miners and loggers. It’s almost like if the EPA had a wet works team—or, at least, it’s a good start. ••• The Brazilian Special-Forces Unit Fighting to Save the Amazon https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/08/the-brazilian-special-forces-unit-fighting-to-save-the-amazon Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We continue our discussion of Andreas Malm’s new, giant, magisterial essay, which lays out a longue durée analysis of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, situating it in a history of fossil empire, colonial annihilation, and ecological catastrophe that stretches directly back to 1840. The project of settler-genocide today is one that kicked off nearly two hundred years ago. ••• The Destruction of Palestine Is the Destruction of the Earth | Andreas Malm https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/blogs/news/the-destruction-of-palestine-is-the-destruction-of-the-earth ••• Palestine Speaks for Everyone | Jodi Dean https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/blogs/news/palestine-speaks-for-everyone ••• Special issue on Ideologies and Power in AI https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/issue/view/749 ••• Jathan’s new book - The Mechanic and the Luddite https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520398078/the-mechanic-and-the-luddite ••• Jathan’s new article on the moral economy of behavioral insurance https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2024.2328992 Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We start with the announcement of Jathan’s new book, plus direct attention to a new special issue on ideologies and power in AI. Then we send our solidarity and support to Jodi Dean and others who are being punished for speaking out for Palestinian emancipation, before digging into the main subject of this episode and the next one: a giant, magisterial essay by Andreas Malm which lays out a longue durée analysis of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, situating it in a history of fossil empire, colonial annihilation, and ecological catastrophe that stretches directly back to 1840. The project of settler-genocide today is one that kicked off nearly two hundred years ago. ••• The Destruction of Palestine Is the Destruction of the Earth | Andreas Malm https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/blogs/news/the-destruction-of-palestine-is-the-destruction-of-the-earth ••• Palestine Speaks for Everyone | Jodi Dean https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/blogs/news/palestine-speaks-for-everyone ••• Special issue on Ideologies and Power in AI https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/issue/view/749 ••• Jathan’s new book - The Mechanic and the Luddite https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520398078/the-mechanic-and-the-luddite ••• Jathan’s new article on the moral economy of behavioral insurance https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2024.2328992 Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
First we eulogize the dream deferred of Neom, then we add more lore to Palmer Luckey who, as we find out, has modeled his whole life on a literal-minded interpretation of a character from Yu-Gi-Oh!, then we talk more about the conspiratorial and immaterial thinking of the China-TikTok Hawks, finally we heap praise on a very astute essay about the material reality of SHEIN. ••• Saudis Scale Back Ambition for $1.5 Trillion Desert Project Neom https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-04-05/saudis-scale-back-ambition-for-1-5-trillion-desert-project-neom ••• How Silicon Valley’s ‘Oppenheimer’ found lucrative trade in AI weapons https://www.ft.com/content/ce6f96f8-6ab8-4089-b7db-f99db22c2071 ••• Super Cute Please Like https://www.nplusonemag.com/issue-47/reviews/super-cute-please-like/ Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
In the first part of the show, we talk about a ridiculous new paper funded by OpenAI that aims to reconcile all human values by combining them into a “moral graph” to train Socratic LLM through reinforcement learning by people “voting on wisdom upgrades.” Then we dig into the latest reporting on yet more AI systems that Israel is using to intensify and justify its genocide in Gaza. This time through generating kill lists and tracking when targets are at home with their family before bombing them. The horrors of reality—not some speculative potentiality, but what already exists—are truly beyond words. ••• ‘Lavender’: The AI machine directing Israel’s bombing spree in Gaza https://www.972mag.com/lavender-ai-israeli-army-gaza/ ••• The “Wise AI” paper we talk about https://twitter.com/edelwax/status/1773621129200234573 Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We dig into reporting on a special forces unit in the Brazilian ministry of environment which is composed of tier one operators who are also all scientists that are driven by a singular righteous mission of protecting the Amazon rainforest, wildlife and Indigenous communities from illegal miners and loggers. It’s almost like if the EPA had a wet works team—or, at least, it’s a good start. ••• The Brazilian Special-Forces Unit Fighting to Save the Amazon https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/04/08/the-brazilian-special-forces-unit-fighting-to-save-the-amazon Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We are joined by Ariel Bogle — an investigative reporter with The Guardian Australia — to discuss her new, big piece uncovering the Security Risk Rating Tool created by the private contractor Serco and used to control the lives of people in Australia’s immigration detention centres. We get into the broader context of these tools and then dig into the specifics of how they work, how they impact detainees, the way the transform subjective discretion into objective judgment, the vicious cycles designed into the tools such that everybody is always “high risk,” and the troubles with investigating systems that are so opaque, secretive, and redacted to hell. ••• Revealed: the secret algorithm that controls the lives of Serco’s immigration detainees https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/ng-interactive/2024/mar/13/serco-australia-immigration-detention-network-srat-tool-risk-rating-ntwnfb- ••• Ariel on Twitter https://twitter.com/arielbogle Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We discuss Chapter 13 – Surplus Populations and Crisis – and get deeper into the role of surplus populations in capitalism, how your relative position to the circuits of capital plays a big part in dictating what kind of life you have, and why capital needs a steady pool of people to sacrifice to help prevent, mitigate, and weather inevitable crises. But first we talk for a while about recent analyses of techno-feudalism and why we still think this compelling moral/cultural argument does not necessarily make for a powerful political economic analysis. ••• Mute Compulsion: A Marxist Theory of the Economic Power of Capital – Søren Mau https://www.versobooks.com/en-gb/products/2759-mute-compulsion Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
We are joined by Erin McElroy — author of Silicon Valley Imperialism — to first discuss their work as a co-founder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and the important work they are doing on landlord tech, both as an academic and activist. Then we get deeper into their new book that offers a rich, in-depth analysis of how the racial technocapitalism of Silicon Valley has set up imperial outposts in the postsocialist countries of Eastern Europe, specifically Romania. ••• Erin’s book – Silicon Valley Imperialism: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times https://www.dukeupress.edu/silicon-valley-imperialism ••• Erin’s website with their projects, publications, etc – https://www.erinmcelroy.net/ ••• Alex Horghidan’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cumsecade Subscribe to hear more analysis and commentary in our premium episodes every week! https://www.patreon.com/thismachinekills Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (www.twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (www.twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (www.twitter.com/braunestahl)
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Comments (3)

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Jan 16th
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Tyrone Slothrop

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Feb 17th
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