DiscoverWhat Next: TBD | Tech, power, and the future
What Next: TBD | Tech, power, and the future
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What Next: TBD | Tech, power, and the future

Author: Slate Podcasts

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Every Friday, Slate’s popular daily news podcast What Next brings you TBD, a clear-eyed look into the future. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, Lizzie O’Leary is your guide to the tech industry and the world it’s creating for us to live in.

191 Episodes
Ever since police used a DNA platform called GEDmatch to crack the Golden State Killer case in 2018, police departments around the country have rushed to use genetic genealogy to crack their own cold cases. The result? Hundreds of violent cases solved.  So--why are some states passing new laws to limit this new technology? Guest: Nila Bala, senior staff attorney at the Policing Project at NYU Law.  Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over the last decade, billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson have come to embody the future of space travel and exploration. What does it mean when the ideas and ambitions of a few powerful men come to dominate the conversation so thoroughly? Guest: Lucianne Walkowicz, astronomer at the Adler Planetarium and founder of the Just Space Alliance Host Lizzie O’Leary This episode is sponsored by Teamistry. You can listen here Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Two weeks ago, as wildfires burned north of Los Angeles, the crime app Citizen offered $30,000 for information that would lead to the arrest of a suspected arsonist. They had the wrong guy.  Why is Citizen offering bounties in the first place? And what does this bounty debacle say about the app’s aspirations for the future? Guest: Joseph Cox, reporter at Motherboard  Host Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
After years of careful planning and public spats, Apple and Epic—the maker of Fortnite—have spent the last three weeks in court, fighting over the future of mobile gaming. What happens if, for once, Apple loses? Guest: Elizabeth Lopatto, deputy editor at the Verge  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Last week, a hacker group called DarkSide shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. Gas prices skyrocketed, people started hoarding gas, and DarkSide walked away with over $4 million in Bitcoin. How did they do it? And what makes this hack different from those we’ve seen before? Guest: David Uberti, cybersecurity reporter at the Wall Street Journal Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Serum Institute of India was supposed to supply vaccines not just to India, but to the entire Global South. Now, with cases surging, there aren’t nearly enough vaccines for India’s population, not to mention the many countries that are relying on it. How did such a successful institution come up so short? And what are the costs of that failure? Guest: Samanth Subramanian, senior reporter at Quartz Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The question of Donald Trump’s banned account--to keep it blocked, or reinstate it--is one of the toughest that Facebook has ever faced. But the social network had a plan: punt the decision to its newly minted Oversight Board, a semi-independent “Supreme Court” tasked with making hard decisions about what content stays up, and what comes down.  Did that plan just backfire? Guest: Kate Klonick, professor at St. John’s University School of Law  Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
There was a time—back when Steve Jobs ran Apple and Mark Zuckerberg was in his early days as Facebook’s CEO— that Apple and Facebook were friends.. Or, at worst, frenemies. But as the companies grew, so did two competing views of how the internet should work.  What led to the rift between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook? And will Apple’s new privacy rules undercut Facebook’s vision for the internet? Guest:    Mike Isaac, tech reporter at the New York Times  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Last week, a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree in a neighborhood north of Houston. Both men inside the car were killed. But according to police, neither of them was in the driver’s seat.  This is not the first crash in which Tesla’s “autopilot” feature has likely played a role. Should we really be trusting this technology? Guest:  Missy Cummings, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Seduced by Substack

Seduced by Substack


Like countless venture-funded start-ups before it, Substack is “disrupting” the media industry. The newsletter service is siphoning off high-profile talent with a promise of independence and bigger paychecks. But the platform’s influence might reach far beyond the media. Will Substack change the way we think about online creators and their audiences? Can it create a new kind of relationship between them? Guest:    Charlie Warzel, writer of Galaxy Brain  Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Since the start of the pandemic, usage of apps like BetterHelp and Talkspace has skyrocketed. These apps might make mental health care more accessible, but are the products they sell really the same as therapy? Guest:    Molly Fischer, features writer for the Cut at New York Magazine Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Introducing: ICYMI

Introducing: ICYMI


ICYMI is Slate’s new podcast about internet culture. It’s a show for people who have a healthy relationship with the internet, made by people who really, really don’t. It’s hosted by Slate’s Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton. Twice a week they’ll explore what’s trending at the top of your feeds, investigate the ghosts of internet past, and help you sound like the smartest person in your group chat. In the episode you’re about to hear, they take you on an all-access tour of Clubhouse, the invite-only audio app that already has millions of users, including everyone from Elon Musk and Drake to Oprah and Joe Rogan. Madison somehow ends up taking a shower with hundreds of other users? The app also doesn’t allow people to record and publish audio, so this episode will probably get them banned. If you like what you hear, or you want to be the first to know whether Madison gets kicked off Clubhouse, subscribe to ICYMI wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
There are at least 17 different “vaccine passport” initiatives underway in the United States. And leaked documents reveal that the Biden administration fears that “a chaotic and ineffective vaccine credential approach could hamper our pandemic response by undercutting health safety measures, slowing economic recovery, and undermining public trust and confidence.”  Without coordination, a chaotic and ineffective approach seems likely. So, what can, and what should, the Biden administration do to avoid this outcome? And what are the risks and rewards of coordinating an effort that divides Americans along the lines of vaccination status? Guest:    Dan Diamond, health policy and politics reporter for the Washington Post Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The AstraZeneca Saga

The AstraZeneca Saga


Back in April 2020, AstraZeneca was hailed as a frontrunner in the race to get an effective vaccine to market. A year later, after a series of trial pauses, communication blunders, and PR problems, the vaccine is on the cusp of FDA approval.  By all accounts, the company succeeded in making a safe, effective vaccine. So why has there been so much confusion about its rollout? Guest:    Peter Aldhous, science reporter at Buzzfeed News Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Hate, Lies, and AI

Hate, Lies, and AI


Facebook’s failure to contain the spread of dangerous misinformation is no secret. For years, the company has pledged publicly to fix the problem. But in the wake of the Capitol riots, it’s clear that there’s more work to be done. So, why isn’t the social media giant using its powerful AI to contain hate and lies? Guest:  Karen Hao, senior AI reporter at MIT Technology Review Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Back in 2014, Google released in-depth diversity data for its workforce for the first time. 1.1 percent of its tech team identified as Black. Six years later, after millions of dollars spent and a much-hyped partnership program with historically Black colleges and universities across the country, that number is up to 2.4 percent.  How did such a promising effort yield such incremental change? Guest: Nitasha Tiku, tech culture reporter at the Washington Post Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The federal Lifeline program was intended to bridge the gap between Americans who could comfortably pay for phone and internet service, and those who couldn’t. But in the midst of the pandemic, Lifeline is falling woefully short. How did a program meant to help connect low-income Americans with phone and internet service ended up making them second-class digital citizens at the worst possible moment?  Guest:  Tony Romm, senior tech policy reporter at the Washington Post, author of “How the Federal Lifeline Program Failed Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic” Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over the last year, the Australian government has been waging a quiet war against Facebook and Google. Through a new law, it plans to force the big tech companies to pay news outlets in exchange for linking to their sites. Will this new law have the intended effect? Or will it set a dangerous precedent that cedes even more power over to the tech giants? Guest:  JR Hennessy, editor at Business Insider Australia Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Why Texas Went Dark

Why Texas Went Dark


Over the last week, millions of Texans have been forced to live without power or heat. At least 16 have died since Monday. In a state that’s no stranger to extreme weather and high power demand, how did it all go so wrong? Guest:  Josh Rhodes, research associate at the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin   Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
For most of the last year, Clubhouse—the audio-only social media app—has been dominated by conversations about business, branding, and Elon Musk. But as users picked up the app around the globe, something extraordinary happened.   Censors in mainland China overlooked it. And for two weeks in February, it hosted a series of unusual, unfiltered conversations. Han Chinese, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and Uighurs all flooded to the app to speak freely about authoritarianism, democracy, and propaganda.  Here’s what happened when the censors looked the other way.  Guest:  Melissa Chan, journalist with the Global Reporting Centre Host Lizzie O’Leary   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (2)

Lisa Lawson

10 NEON 20.18. GOD

Jan 18th

DRÉ (With Pants)

Not sure the Apple Watch is the first FDA approved ECG/EKG mobile device cleared by the FDA. AliveCor predates Apple's latest watch.

Sep 14th
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