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.
129 Episodes
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. The United States failed to roll out widespread testing in the early days of the pandemic. Now it faces critical shortages of supplies as it scrambles to track the disease around the country. Until testing is available at scale, Americans won’t be able to return to their normal lives. So: what will it take to solve the country’s testing shortage? Guest: Robert P. Baird, contributor to the New Yorker Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. Google has spent the last decade trying to find a foothold in the health care industry. Now they’re partnering with the federal government to build a website that will seek to address the crisis. Can Google be trusted with our medical data? Guest: Mason Marks, law professor at Gonzaga University School of Law and an affiliated fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Last week, the superintendent of the Northshore school district near Seattle made a difficult decision. With the coronavirus spreading rapidly in the area, she closed all 34 schools in her district and moved all classes online. But for many schools, remote learning at this scale simply isn’t an option.  With new cases appearing around the country, how will schools respond? And what happens when you send millions of students home for weeks on end? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence. Sign up now to listen and support our work. For pregnant women in the U.S., there are plenty of reasons to mistrust the medical establishment. Mortality rates are high compared to other western countries, and one-third of women in the U.S. give birth by C-section. It’s no wonder that many women turn to the internet for alternatives. This week, the story of one woman who was drawn into a network of private Facebook groups dedicated to the idea of ‘freebirth,’ or unassisted birth. And what happens when the misinformation shared in these private groups has real-life consequences. Guest: Brandy Zadrozny, reporter for NBC News. You can read her reporting on ‘freebirth’ here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
OpenAI was founded in 2015 with a billion dollars and an idealistic mission: Create artificial intelligence that could address humanity’s biggest problems, and do it out in the open. Then came the money problems. Guest: Karen Hao, senior A.I. reporter at MIT Tech Review   Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
After years of controversial content moderation decisions, from deepfakes to deplatforming, Facebook is trying something new. In January, the social network announced that its new Oversight Board, which will act as a sort of supreme court for controversial content, will begin hearing cases this summer. Could this independent board change the way we govern speech online? Guest: Kate Klonick, assistant professor at St. John’s University School of Law, and fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over the last month, as coronavirus spread across China, Xi Jinping’s vast surveillance and censorship infrastructure went into high gear. But with outrage growing over the death of a beloved doctor, and surveillance technology under strain, the virus is exposing the limits of the Chinese Communist Party’s techno-authoritarian network. Guest: Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal reporter covering Chinese politics and tech Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Iowa’s App-ocalypse

Iowa’s App-ocalypse


On Monday, the Iowa caucuses went off the rails. As the hours stretched into days, and still the results remained unclear, a new piece of election technology was identified as a central cause of the delay. An app designed to make the election process speedier and more secure had the opposite effect. And its failure is symptomatic of deep-rooted issues in the way the Democratic Party develops and deploys election technology. So, what exactly went wrong on Monday? And what does it say about the party’s effort to regain its digital edge in 2020? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Recently a special delegation of senior Trump administration officials arrived in the U.K. Their mission? To convince prime minister Boris Johnson to bar Huawei from their new 5G network. Why is the U.S. so keen to influence Britain’s decision on 5G? And now that the U.K is officially withdrawing from the European Union, how will they manage competing pressures from the U.S. and China? Guest: Dan Sabbagh, defense and security editor at the Guardian.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Last week, Slate published The Evil List, an expansive attempt to document the most concerning tech companies around the world, according to the experts. Some you’ve heard of, some you probably haven’t, and some you almost certainly use every day. Which of these deserve our attention? And why? Guests: Mutale Nkonde, public interest technologist and fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Felix Salmon, chief financial correspondent at Axios and host of Slate Money Lindsey Barrett, staff attorney and teaching fellow at the Institute for Public Representation Communications & Technology Clinic.    Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2013, Anna Wiener moved from New York to San Francisco to join the city’s booming tech scene. Over the course of four years, she worked at three companies: an e-book startup, a data analytics company, and an open-source software platform. Then, her infatuation with the tech industry took a turn. On this week’s show, an insider’s perspective on the intoxicating promise and disappointment of Silicon Valley during the mid-decade boom. Guest: Anna Wiener: author of Uncanny Valley and contributing writer for the New Yorker.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2019, for the first time, more advertising money went toward targeted digital ads in the U.S. than on radio, television, cable, magazine, and newspaper ads combined. The moment was the culmination of a decadeslong journey that has completely transformed media, politics, and privacy. How did the targeted ad come to hold so much power? And what did we lose along the way? Guest: Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Around the country, states are employing algorithms to help reduce prison populations and predict recidivism. This week, we hear from a Wisconsin judge with serious reservations about the algorithm used in his state. Also: a deep dive into Virginia's risk-assessment algorithm and the surprising results of its implementation. Guests: Nicholas McNamara, judge on the circuit court of Dane County, Wisconsin. Jennifer Doleac, associate professor of economics at Texas A&M and director of the Justice Tech Lab.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On January 1st, a new law will grant Californians the right to see, delete, and stop the sale of personal information collected by tech companies. But the impact of the bill may reach far beyond California. How does this landmark law affect the rest of the country? And will it set the stage for national privacy legislation?   Guest: Hayley Tsukayama, Legislative Activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Back in 2013, an entrepreneur named Jamie Siminoff appeared on Shark Tank. He was seeking an investment in a new product he was calling Doorbot, a smart doorbell that would make answering the door more convenient and users’ lives “more connected.” Six years later, Doorbot is now Ring, an Amazon-owned home-security system that partners with more than 600 police departments around the country. How did Doorbot become Ring? And what are the consequences of placing surveillance cameras on front doors around the country? Guest: Caroline Haskins, technology reporter at Buzzfeed.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over the past decade, the world of influencers has grown from a fringe marketing movement to a multibillion-dollar industry. Now, tactics and strategies originally developed by influencers can be found across industries, from health care to politics to higher ed.    What’s behind this meteoric rise? And why do we misunderstand a movement that Taylor Lorenz calls “a fundamental shift in society”?   Guest: Taylor Lorenz, internet culture reporter for the New York Times  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Tuesday, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page announced that they are stepping down from their respective roles as president and CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. The move will leave Sundar Pichai in charge of both Google and Alphabet.    With pressure mounting from unhappy employees, antitrust regulators in Europe, and the Trump administration, Pichai takes the helm at a crucial moment in the company’s history. Will he be up to the task?   Guest: Mark Bergen, technology reporter at Bloomberg Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
TikTok now has over 1.5 billion downloads, putting it in the company of social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. While all of these companies have faced scrutiny from lawmakers in one form or another, TikTok is getting attention for its Chinese ownership as some fear that Beijing could use data uploaded to the platform for counterintelligence purposes. Is there a real reason to be concerned? Or is this just fearmongering about a geopolitical rival?   Guest: Drew Harwell, technology reporter for the Washington Post.    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Recently, Facebook filed a lawsuit against a little-known Israeli spyware firm called NSO Group. Facebook is accusing NSO of supplying technology that enabled a hack of 1,400 WhatsApp accounts.    But NSO’s reach goes far beyond a few thousand phones. Governments around the world purchase its powerful technology. Some use it to “lawfully hack” the devices of criminals and terrorists. But others use it more broadly, tracking the communications of activists, journalists, lawyers, and dissidents.   What does the WhatsApp lawsuit mean for the spyware industry? And why are governments lining up to buy these products? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
California recently passed a law that would classify rideshare drivers across the state as employees, rather than contractors. Among many other benefits, they’d be allowed to unionize, collect overtime pay, and take sick leave.   So why are so many drivers against it?   Guest: Harry Campbell, former Uber driver and founder of The Rideshare Guy 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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