Technology

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New Tech City

Putting heart and the human experience into tech coverage, WNYC's New Tech City with Manoush Zomorodi investigates what all the data, constant connectivity, and perpetual "upgrades" really mean for daily life. Follow @newtechcity and subscribe to the podcast for stories of discovery on how the digital age is altering our brains, relationships, and values. 

On The Media

The Army's Robot Recruiter

Friday, August 08, 2014

Sergeant Star is a chatbot designed to influence potential recruits to enlist. Alex Goldman of our podcast TLDR wasn't sure how he felt about that, so he talked to the Army and a reporter who's covered recruitment abuses to consider the pros and cons of deploying a Siri to guide our decision to go to war. 

This story originally appeared in a longer form on the TLDR Podcast. If you would like to hear a longer version of this story and Alex's update with Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, follow this link.

Music: Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator. Special thanks to @M0X1 (Mo Xie) for the suggestion on Twitter!

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On The Media

Robot Humor

Friday, August 08, 2014

We often think of robots as tools to make our lives easier. But what if they could also make our lives funnier?

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On The Media

Joking With Robots

Friday, August 08, 2014

Myq Kaplan is a comedian known for his "robotic" delivery of jokes. That made him the perfect candidate to compete with Manatee, a joke-telling robot. Brooke talks with Kaplan about how robots might someday co-opt his comedic style.

Music: Dan Magnan - Robots. Special thanks to @jonaswoost (Jonas Woost) for the suggestion on Twitter!

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On The Media

Why Are 2 Million People Still Signed up For AOL's Dial-Up Internet?

Friday, August 08, 2014

AOL released their latest financial report this week, and the biggest surprise for most people was that the company still makes a ton of money from subscriptions to dial-up internet. 

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On The Media

Google's Robot Brigade

Friday, August 08, 2014

Google has scooped up more than a half dozen robot companies, but they are keeping mum about why they're acquiring these technologies.

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On The Media

THIS WEEK ROBOTS! (AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE)

Friday, August 08, 2014

A special theme hour - starring a computer competing against a comedian for laughs, the Army's recruitment chatbot, and Google crushing on robots. 

On The Media

#33 - Unfollow A Man

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A few weeks ago, writer Katie Notopoulos called on the Internet to devote one day a year to unfollowing a man on social media. Men's rights activists were enraged, cable news was intrigued, and a lot of people felt quiet relief. On the latest episode of TLDR, we talk to Katie about her mission and her manifesto.

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On The Media

So, Yeah, Those Russian Hackers? There Are Reasons To Be Skeptical

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Five reasons not to freak out over the latest reports of a massive personal data breach.

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On The Media

Pope Francis Says: Stop All That Downloadin'!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Ok, well he didn't exactly say that. Bazooka from GI Joe said that. Still Pope Francis, while calling the internet a "gift from God," said that us younguns waste too much time on it. Via the AP:

"Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things," the pope said in a short speech to the altar servers - young people who help the priest during religious services - who had come to Rome on a pilgrimage.

"Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions."

...

[he] also cautioned that high-speed world of digital social media needed calm, reflection and tenderness if it was to be "a network not of wires but of people".

He has a point. If I could have all the time back I spent furnishing my house in Animal Crossing or building massive ships in Captain Forever, I might have been able to apply that time to good and fruitful actions. Still, as we attempt to prove again and again on TLDR, the internet's network of wires is frequently utilized to create or strengthen human connections. It's not the network itself, it's how you use it.

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On The Media

eBay Bans Albums By Black Metal Artist Burzum

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It has been well established throughout the history of TLDR that I am a fan of what one could call "difficult" music. And even for me, Noreweigan Black Metal is a little out there. Not simply because it's totally brutal and unrelenting, it is also infamous for being a culture of Satanism, suicide, and church burning. Varg Vikernes, who records under the name Burzum, is often cited as a poster child for all that is ugly about the genre, having burned several churches and spent 21 years in prison for murdering fellow Black Metal artist Euronymous in the mid 90's. It's all pretty gross. So is that why eBay is making it impossible to purchase his music?

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On The Media

Drawing Pictures With Your Run Mapping App

Monday, August 04, 2014

Look, I run for exercise, but I don't like it. Sure, I love the feeling of accomplishment, but I think my biggest problem with it, aside from the fact that I am not all that athletic, is that it's just boring. I try to spice it up with high energy running mixes and, of course, listening to podcasts, but I just haven't found a way to make it entertaining. I guess that's because I'm not as enterprising as copywriter Claire Wyckoff, whose new blog, "Running Drawing" may have finally come up with a way to make running fun.

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On The Media

A Plugin That Searches OkCupid for Sexual Predators

Monday, August 04, 2014

On last week's episode of TLDR, we spoke to OkCupid President and founder Christian Rudder about the company's recent disclosure that it had been running an ethically questionable experiment on its users

In the experiment, the company took users who the site's algorithm found were bad matches (based on a battery of questions users answer) and told them they were actually good matches, and vice versa. In the interview I took issue with this experiment for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is because buried in the list of questions users get on OkCupid is this question: "Do you feel there are any circumstances in which a person is obligated to have sex with you?" I argued that this could lead to unsafe dating situations, to which Rudder replied "I mean there's also a lot of stuff we don't ask, I mean, y'know, so like, we don't know any of our users. Y'know so like we make no claim to the safety for anyone, and obviously we do everything we can to encourage a safe environment. But like, I think it's disingenuous to suggest that we're setting up people in dangerous situations." 

One enterprising hacker named Meitar Moscovitz (AKA Maymay) has developed a plugin to try and detect potentially dangerous situations before they occur.

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On The Media

TLDR #32 - An Imperfect Match

Monday, August 04, 2014

Last week, dating site OK Cupid put up a blog post describing experiments it conducted on its users. In one experiment, the site told users who were bad matches for one another that they were actually good matches, and vice versa. Alex and PJ talk to OK Cupid President and co-founder Christian Rudder about the ubiquity of online user experimentation and his defense of potentially sending OK Cupid's users on bad dates.

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On The Media

Twitter is Testing Hashtag Translations

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Twitter is testing out a new feature for hashtags. The way it seems to work is that searching for a hashtag will yield a translation of what Twitter thinks that hashtag means underneath the search term. Twitter declined to comment about the feature for the Journal, so the details remain a mystery.

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On The Media

Technology Making Us "Smarter Than You Think"

Friday, August 01, 2014

With every advance in technology, skeptics lament the loss of a more meaningful and simpler time, arguing that attention spans are shrinking and critical thinking is corroding. But in his book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, journalist Clive Thompson offers a different take. Brooke spoke with Thompson last year about how all of the YouTube videos, blogs, Twitter feeds, and Wikipedia pages have produced a unique human intelligence.

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On The Media

Dare to Stream

Friday, August 01, 2014

Bob goes to Hollywood to track down the future of television and locates it....in his laptop. A special report on streaming video, first aired in March of 2014.

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On The Media

Breaking News Consumers Handbook, Slow TV, and more

Friday, August 01, 2014

How to parse early coverage of breaking news events, Norway's slow TV phenomenon, and a report on the streaming-video revolution.

On The Media

#32 - An Imperfect Match

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some users of dating site OkCupid are upset at revelations that it was deliberately experimenting on its users by taking people who were bad matches and telling they were actually good for one another.

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On The Media

eBay is a Beautiful Place, Sometimes

Thursday, July 31, 2014

If you don’t use eBay regularly, you may think it’s a strange world where strange people buy strange things. You’re absolutely right, but sometimes those things are beautiful gems.

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On The Media

#AskCostolo and Twitter's Abuse Problem

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Twitter's CEO did an interview. If you followed it on Twitter, it didn't go great. 

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