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

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 Feb 4, 2020


 Dec 20, 2018

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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.

Episode Date
How One Block Got Through It
1340
Over the past five months, city blocks have been slipping away. Bars are closed; restaurants are half-empty; retail is shuttered. As the country returns to varying states of lockdown, how long can these blocks hold on?   This week: how one commercial strip on Chicago’s South Side is weathering the pandemic.    Guests: Nedra Sims Fears, executive director of the Greater Chatham Initiative Brian d'Antignac, The Woodshop Jaidah Wilson-Turnbow, Frances Cocktail Lounge Zoie Reams, Brown Sugar Bakery     Host Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 07, 2020
When America Can’t Pay the Rent
1503
For the last four months, federal and state eviction moratoria have kept Americans in their apartments, even if they couldn’t pay rent. Now, with financial relief in question, and moratoria set to expire, the first of the month might look very different for millions of Americans. Guests: Emily, a resident of Chicago’s Northwest Side Mark Durakovic, principal at Kass Management Peter Hepburn, analyst at Princeton’s Eviction Lab Host Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 31, 2020
New Orleans Without Music
1364
More than any other U.S. city, New Orleans banks on its culture. From music to restaurants to parades, the city relies on a steady stream of tourists to support its many artists and institutions. In March, those tourists stopped visiting. And without them, the fragile infrastructure of clubs, venues, and performances is starting to collapse. Can New Orleans survive the coronavirus? Guests: Patrick Williams, harmonica player Jesse Paige, owner of the Blue Nile Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes, Executive Director of the Ashé Cultural Arts Center Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 24, 2020
Cities Are Running Out of Money
1411
After months of coronavirus lockdowns, cities are taking stock of their finances. The situation is bleak. With plummeting sales and property tax revenue, American cities of all sizes may be facing a budget crisis. What happens when local governments have to cut their budgets by double-digit percentages? Will the federal government learn from the Great Recession and intervene? Guests: Minh Nguyen, owner of Cafe TH in Houston Chris Brown, Houston City Controller Mildred Warner, professor of urban planning at Cornell.   Host: Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 17, 2020
Is “Covid Flight” a Thing?
1251
Tens of thousands of people leave American cities every year. Normally, they’re replaced by new arrivals seeking jobs, education, and opportunity. But in a world transformed by the coronavirus, what happens if nobody arrives to replace them? Guests: Emily Badger, reporter at the New York Times Natalie Moore, reporter at WBEZ Amanda Kolson Hurley, editor at Bloomberg Businessweek Host: Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 10, 2020
What's a City Without the Office?
1197
Since March, white-collar offices in major cities across the United States have stood empty. Now, with growing evidence that the workforce is equally effective at home, companies and designers are starting to rethink the office—what it looks like, what it’s used for, and if it’s really needed at all. But this wholesale reimagining of office life comes at a cost. How will the severe reduction of commuters transform American cities? Guests: John Capobianco, principal at IA Interior Architects Hannah Hackathorn, principal at Unispace Ellen Baer, BID president, Hudson Square Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 03, 2020
A Hidden Side of Police Abuse
1097
Responding to protests around the country, the New York City Council passed the POST Act: Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology last week. The bill will require the NYPD to reveal the extent of their surveillance technology deployed within the city. For the first time, New Yorkers will get a clear picture of the technology being employed to watch and trace them. Experts say to expect the worst. Guest: Ángel S. Díaz, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 26, 2020
Why Remote Learning Failed
1392
In March, when schools across the country shut down, few people could have guessed that students wouldn’t return until the fall. Schools weren’t equipped to deploy remote-learning curricula, technology was in short supply, and most parents weren’t free to guide their children through lessons during the day. Three months later, little has changed. And all that time out of the classroom has taken a toll on students. Can they recover in time for the fall? Guest: Dana Goldstein, national correspondent at the New York Times   Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 19, 2020
Is This the End of Facial Recognition?
1344
This week, three of the leading developers of facial-recognition technology announced they would stop, or at least pause, selling this technology to police. The decision stems from evidence of racial bias inherent in these tools. For the researchers who first uncovered the deep-seated issues with these tools, it’s a watershed moment. Will facial-recognition technology continue to grow unchecked? Or will this week’s announcements result in lasting change? Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Guest: Deb Raji, technology fellow at the AI Now Institute. Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 12, 2020
Your Delivery Habit Isn't Helping
1192
In the midst of the pandemic, protests and police lockdowns, restaurants are turning increasingly to delivery apps like DoorDash and Grubhub to stay afloat. But with shady tactics, soaring fees, and deep-seated flaws with the business model of the entire industry, delivery startups may do more harm than good. Guest: Ranjan Roy, CEO at the Edge Group and writer of Margins newsletter Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 05, 2020
Trump and Twitter Go to War
1189
On Tuesday, after years of inaction, Twitter fact checked President Trump’s tweets for the first time. Six words were added below the original text, directing readers to outside articles refuting his claims. Two days later, the president signed an executive order that aims to change the nature of online speech, and the platforms that host it. Guest: Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at the Verge   Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 29, 2020
What Is Elon Musk Thinking?
1133
As the coronavirus shut down manufacturing across California in March and April, Elon Musk only wanted one thing: to start making cars again. So when local government officials in Alameda County got in his way, Musk took the fight public, and won. Guest: Kara Swisher, co-host of the Pivot podcast. Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 22, 2020
Decoding the Flood of COVID Data
1206
Every week, it feels like some new piece of coronavirus information dominates the headlines. Mysterious symptoms, changing government directives. This constant trickle of updates can quickly turn into a flood. How should normal people interpret this deluge of data? Guest: Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University and co-founder of COVID-Explained.  Host Lizzie O’Leary     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 15, 2020
Should You Get an Antibody Test?
1471
Yesterday, New York City announced that it would provide 140,000 free antibody tests to residents who want to know if they have been exposed to the coronavirus. And New York isn’t alone: large-scale antibody testing is ramping up around the country. But with faulty tests flooding the market and questions about whether a positive test really confers immunity are antibody tests really worth the bother? Guests: Shannon Palus, staff writer for Slate, and Dr. Natalie E. Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 08, 2020
How the Crisis Could Embolden Big Tech
1205
This week, the world’s largest tech companies posted their quarterly earnings. And—unlike most other companies in the world—things aren’t looking so bad. With the global economy reeling, and people sheltering indoors, the tech giants have an opportunity to reshape the way we live. Don’t expect them to wait on the sidelines. Guest: Elizabeth Dwoskin, Silicon Valley correspondent at the Washington Post Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 01, 2020
Can We Really Make a Safe Vaccine in 18 Months?
1408
There are over 60 vaccines for the coronavirus currently in development. Four of them are already being tested in humans. As researchers move at breakneck speed to find a vaccine, they’re debating breaking (or at least bending) the rules that ensure the end product is safe. How do we balance speed with safety in the rush to develop a vaccine? Guest: Dr. Timothy Lahey, an infectious diseases doctor, ethicist, and vaccine researcher at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 24, 2020
Can the U.S. Really Track the Coronavirus?
1408
Before the U.S. can start opening back up, states will need to put systems in place for “contact tracing,” or meticulous tracking of the disease within communities. South Korea’s extensive tracing program has all but eliminated the spread of the virus within its borders. What will it take for the U.S. to do the same? Guests: Raphael Rashid, a freelance journalist, and Dr. Mike Reid, professor at University of California, San Francisco Host Henry Grabar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 17, 2020
The Limits of Coronavirus Predictions
1194
As governments around the world try to predict the toll and duration of the coronavirus, they’re turning increasingly to a handful of forecasting models for answers. But many of the leading models differ drastically in their approach and methods. What do we need to know about these forecasts? And what are their limitations? Guest: Jordan Ellenberg, mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Host: Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 10, 2020
Risking Your Life for $8.71
1125
This week, workers at Amazon, Whole Foods, and Instacart have announced mass strikes across the country. Though demand for these services is high, pay and protection is low. What exactly do we owe to the delivery workers at the front lines of the pandemic? And with these companies hiring in record numbers, can the strikes succeed? Guests: Heidi Carrico, founding member of the Gig Workers Collective, and Johana Bhuiyan, tech accountability reporter at the Los Angeles Times.   Host Lizzie O’Leary Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 03, 2020
Where Are All the Tests?
1595
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 27, 2020
Big Tech Eyes the Pandemic
1469
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 20, 2020
What If They Close All the Schools?
1185
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 13, 2020
Did the Internet Doom a Pregnancy?
1381
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 06, 2020
Did Money Corrupt an A.I. Utopia?
1240
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 28, 2020
Inside Facebook’s Supreme Court
1367
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 21, 2020
Coronavirus Tests China's Surveillance State
1191
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 14, 2020
Iowa’s App-ocalypse
1218
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 07, 2020
Why Is the U.S. Scared of Huawei?
1212
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 31, 2020
Which Tech Companies Are Doing the Most Harm?
1385
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 24, 2020
The Silicon Valley Dream Was Always a Fantasy
1413
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 17, 2020
How Targeted Ads Started Watching Us All
1218
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 10, 2020
Do Algorithms Make Sentencing Fairer?
1190
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 03, 2020
A Landmark Privacy Law Takes Effect. Now What?
1156
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 27, 2019
Ring: Your Doorbell Is Watching
1207
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 20, 2019
Inside The Influence Economy
1112
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 13, 2019
What Is Google After Larry and Sergey?
1160
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 06, 2019
Is TikTok Really a National Security Threat?
1308
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 22, 2019
How WhatsApp Got Hacked
1301
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 15, 2019
The Uber Drivers Who Don’t Want to Be Employees
1095
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 megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 08, 2019
The Price of Automating Aviation
1043
This week, Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg appeared in front of Congress. He was there to answer questions about what his company knew, and when, before two 737 Max airplanes crashed and claimed the lives of 346 people.  But beyond the planes’ technological failures is another key issue: the way pilots react when automated systems go wrong.    Guest: Jon Ostrower, Editor in Chief of The Air Current  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 01, 2019
Inside Facebook's Political Ad Mess
1236
Over the last week, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have been under fire for declining to fact-check political ads. But a former insider says this is the wrong debate to be having—and it misses a more fundamental problem: Facebook’s business model itself.   Guests: Yael Eisenstat, former head of global elections integrity operations at Facebook and Charlie Warzel, an opinion writer at the New York Times. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 25, 2019
Announcement: What Next: TBD
54
Hey If Then listeners! As of now, the new Slate podcast What Next: TBD will be taking over this feed. What Next: TBD is a weekly analysis with host Lizzie O’Leary of how technology is impacting our lives, and where we’re headed. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, we’ll be examining the often hidden forces shaping our world, and we’ll talk to the people who are studying those forces, impacted by them, and creating them. What Next: TBD is a spinoff from the Slate daily news show What Next. If you’re not already subscribed, go find it in your podcast app: there you’ll find the brilliant Mary Harris every Monday through Thursday to help you make sense of the news, sifting through the frenetic cascade of headlines to go deep on one story at a time. Then you’ll get this show, What Next: TBD, on Fridays. So listen here, or get all of Slate’s morning news in the What Next feed, starting tomorrow, October 25th. See you then! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 24, 2019
Smash Bros Side Hustlers
2488
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 16, 2019
The People Who Hold The Internet Together
2625


Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 09, 2019
What it Takes to Study Online Harassment
2476


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Oct 02, 2019
The Surveillance Is Coming From Inside The (Smart) House
2310
Host Shannon Palus talks to Roxanne Leitao, a UK-based designer researching ways to make the smart home gear safer for victims of domestic abuse. They’ll discuss the ways that smart thermostats can be used to gaslight victims, the security measures that can help everyone in a home have agency, and the reason why smart home tech that’s hard to understand is all the more dangerous. They also touch on her other research in designing gig economy platforms that reduce the potential for bias against workers.  Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.
Sep 25, 2019
Breaking Away From Google
2533
Host Aaron Mak discusses with journalist Nithin Coca his attempt to abstain from using any Google products in his daily life.  They discuss why he did it, the useful alternatives he found for specific apps, the quirks of using different tools abroad, and the surprising benefits he found in starting over.  They also speculate on whether or not a normal consumer could sustainably do the same thing, and what that means for the state of the industry.
After the interview, host Aaron Mak joins co-host Shannon Palus for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”  Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.
Sep 18, 2019
The Case For The Vape
2253
Host Shannon Palus discusses how today’s vaping panic is connected to the rise of the cigarette with Jacob Grier, author of the new book The Rediscovery of Tobacco: Smoking, Vaping, and the Creative Destruction of the Cigarette. Grier argues for a nuanced view of tobacco and nicotine’s place in America, and just how much parents should worry if their teen comes home with a Juul. They’ll also discuss why Sweden’s solution for tobacco risk reduction serves as an enviable model.
After the interview Shannon Palus joins co-host Aaron Mak for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”  Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.
Sep 11, 2019
Inside Uber
2179
New York Times technology reporter Mike Issac discusses his new book Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber, which traces Uber’s rapid rise and fall under co-founder Travis Kalanick.  He and host Aaron Mak talk about Uber’s fraught relationship with the media, how public perception of the company enabled one of its competitors to stave off extinction, the necessary paranoia required to investigate the company, and how Kalanick’s particular style of leadership helped transform transportation around the world – for better or worse. 
After the interview Shannon Palus joins the show for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”  Podcast production by Justin D. Wright.
Sep 04, 2019
Cosmetic Gene Editing Gone Awry
2430
Host Shannon Palus explores a future in which high school girls stay atop the social hierarchy by editing their genes, giving themselves purple eyes, and glittery skin. That’s what fiction author E. Lily Yu imagines 2060 is like in her short story, Zero In Babel, which was published on Slate as part of the Future Tense Fiction Series. Shannon and producer Cameron Drews read and excerpt of the story, and then Shannon speaks to Yu about her creative process. 
After the interview Aaron Mak joins the show for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”

Aug 28, 2019
When Your DNA is Public Information
2280
Aaron Mak learns about how law enforcement is using public genealogy websites to crack cold cases. His guest is Nila Bala, Associate Director of Criminal Justice Policy at the R Street Institute, which is a think tank whose mission is to find solutions to complex policy problems. Bala is also a former public defender. She says while it’s great that criminals are being brought to justice, there should be more rules in place to limit false positives and prevent privacy violations.  

After the interview, Shannon Palus joins the show for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs. 





Aug 21, 2019
The Allure of Smart Guns
2113
In this episode Shannon Palus learns about personalized guns, sometimes referred to as “smart” guns. Her guest is Cassandra Crifasi, Deputy Director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy & Research. More specifically, Crifasi is an epidemiologist focused on policies, procedures, and practices that prevent injury. She says personalized firearms are great for keeping kids and thieves away from guns, but they do nothing to prevent homicides and suicides by gun owners themselves.

After the interview Aaron Mak joins the show for this week’s edition of “Don’t Close My Tabs.”

Aug 14, 2019
China’s Cyber War Against Hong Kong
1960
In this episode Aaron Mak learns about all the ways China is using cyber warfare to disrupt the efforts of protesters in Hong Kong. His guest is Nick Frisch, a fellow at Yale’s Information Society Project and a scholar of media and technology in the Chinese speaking world. Frisch was recently in Hong Kong as a fellow at the Journalism and Media Studies Center at Hong Kong University. 

After the interview, Shannon Palus joins the show for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs. 



Aug 07, 2019
Chemists Spill the Science of Skincare
2139
In this episode Shannon Palus talks to Victoria Fu and Gloria Lu, co-founders of Chemist Confessions. Their goal is to help us all cut through the marketing buzzwords of the skincare industry, and understand some of the actual chemistry behind the products we use. 


After the interview, Aaron Mak joins the show for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs. 




Jul 31, 2019
Why Facebook Can’t Just Create a Currency
2201
In this episode Aaron Mak looks into Facebook’s plan to create a global cryptocurrency called Libra. For an expert opinion, he turns to Chris Brummer, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the host of the podcast Fintech Beat. Brummer testified before the U.S. House of Representatives last week to explain why Facebook is jumping the gun with its proposal.
 
After the interview, Shannon Palus joins the show for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs.
 

Slate Plus members get bonus segments and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now.
Jul 24, 2019
Prime Day Comes but Once a Year
1688
In this episode, Shannon Palus talks about the journalistic ethics of Amazon affiliate links with Jacqui Cheng, former Editor-in-Chief of Wirecutter and current Editor-in-Chief of Music at WQXR in New York. As Cheng explains, it’s possible for news organizations to make money from Amazon links without turning into a shill for a giant company.  

After the interview, Shannon talks to Aaron Mak for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My tabs. 


Jul 17, 2019
ICE’s Reckless Use of Facial Recognition Tech
2070
In this episode, Aaron Mak talks about federal law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology with Jake Laperruque. He’s Senior Counsel at The Constitution Project, which is part of the Project on Government Oversight. According to The Washington Post, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and FBI officials have been partnering with state DMVs to scan through millions of drivers license photos. Jake explains the civil liberties implications of the practice and suggests regulations that might provide some level of oversight.

After the interview, Aaron talks to Slate’s own Shannon Palus for this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs.

Jul 10, 2019
Healthcare via Video Chat
2260
In this episode, Shannon Palus explores the growing telehealth industry, where doctors and patients connect via video chat or sometimes just a secure message system. To figure out the benefits and potential drawbacks of telehealth, Shannon talks to Roy Schoenberg, president and CEO of American Well, one of the first big players in the space. 

Then Shannon talks to Slate writer Aaron Mak in this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs. 



Jul 03, 2019
When Tech Journalism Took A Critical Turn
2655
In this episode, April Glaser catches up with her former co-host Will Oremus. Then the two of them are joined by Future Tense editor Torie Bosch and New York Times opinion writer Farhad Manjoo to discuss why tech journalism has become far more critical in recent years.

Plus, April and Will discuss futuristic science fiction scenarios on this week’s edition of Don’t Close My Tabs. 




Jun 26, 2019
When a Scooter Makes More Sense Than a Car
2079
In this episode, guest host Henry Grabar looks at how Zillow is trying to disrupt the real estate business—and why it might work in some cities but not others. 

Then Horace Dediu answers Henry’s questions about bikes, scooters, and other miniature contraptions that might replace the automobile in cities.



Jun 19, 2019
How Driverless Cars Will Actually Work
1635
In this episode April Glaser talks to Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora, a company that builds the technology for self-driving cars. Urmson offers a timeline for when we might see autonomous vehicles on the road and lists the different hurdles the industry still needs to overcome. According to Urmson, driverless cars shouldn’t require a lot of extra infrastructure or government funding. Instead, they should work within our existing system. 
Jun 13, 2019
Re-Up: Senator Mark Warner
1655
In this episode, April Glaser revisits an interview with Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who released a policy paper proposing possible regulations for U.S. social media and technology companies. In the interview, April and her former co-host Will Oremus talk to Senator Warner about what worries him most about the largely unregulated tech industry, which can’t seem to keep our data private and stop muddying our elections. They also ask him what he thinks congress can do to rein in these companies and why lawmakers haven’t been quick to act. 
Jun 05, 2019
Luxury Bunkers for the End of the World
2498
In this episode April Glaser is joined by Max Read, an editor and writer at New York Magazine who writes the column Life in Pixels.

First, April and Max talk to Patri Friedman, founder of the Seasteading Institute, which he started in 2008 with seed funding from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Seasteading is the process of forming new societies on the open ocean, and it’s getting a lot of attention from Silicon Valley. 

Then Robert Vicino joins the show to talk about his company, Vivos, which designs and builds high-end bunkers to help people ride out natural disasters and other potential catastrophes. Vicino talks about his clientele and the concerns that drive people to buy fancy underground apartments.  

May 29, 2019
Why It’s So Hard to Live in California
2846
In this episode April Glaser is joined by co-host Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at Initialized Capital, an early-stage venture firm. She’s also a former full-time journalist at TechCrunch. 

First, April and Kim-Mai discuss the lack of affordable housing in California and the political battles that are hindering progress. 

Then they talk about the upcoming wildfire season with Faith Kearns from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lizzie Johnson from the San Francisco Chronicle. 

May 22, 2019
Designing a Better Facebook
2196
In this episode, April Glaser is joined by guest co-host Max Read, an editor at New York magazine who covers technology and the internet.

First, April and Max talk about Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’ apostasy. Last week, Hughes wrote a long op-ed in the New York Times about why he thinks the company that made him so wealthy should be broken up.

Then Katherine Lo joins the hosts to discuss how Facebook’s redesign will change how we communicate on the platform. These days she leads the content moderation team at a nonprofit called Meedan, which works with journalists on disinformation. While we talk a lot about how large social networks are governed—and misgoverned—it’s less frequent that we talk about how these platforms are designed, and how that can lead to toxic behavior.

May 15, 2019
Cyberspace Didn’t Stay Free
2579
In this episode April Glaser is joined once again by guest co-host Meredith Broussard, a data journalism professor at NYU and author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. 

First, historian Mar Hicks joins the show to talk about the tech industry’s long-time aversion to organized labor and how that’s clashing with recent worker actions at major tech companies like Google and Uber. 

Then Alexis Madrigal joins the hosts to talk about his recent piece in the Atlantic called “The End of Cyberspace” where he argues that the 90s dream of an unregulated internet is starting to fade. According to Madrigal, it’s time to create a new alluring vision for what cyberspace should be.  




May 08, 2019
Public Education, Facebook-Style
2120
In this episode April Glaser is joined by co-host Meredith Broussard, a data journalism professor at NYU and author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. 

First they talk about the history of  Silicon Valley’s decades-long quest to replace teachers with computers. Then the hosts have a conversation with Nellie Bowles, tech reporter for the New York Times, about a Kansas town that’s struggling with the implementation of Summit Learning, a personalized web-based education program funded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan. 

Also joining the show is Tom Henning, a parent in Kansas who pulled his son out of his local public school after Summit Learning was adopted. Henning discusses how he and other parents organized to try to bring human-centered learning back to their schools, citing the physical and emotional problems their kids came home with after being stuck in front of a computer all day.

May 01, 2019
Unmasking The Russians Who Hacked The DNC
2076
In this episode April Glaser is joined once again by co-host Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. They start by talking about the Sri Lankan government’s shutdown of Facebook and WhatsApp after the Easter attacks on churches and hotels.

Then they talk to Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a staff writer for Motherboard and producer for CYBER, a Motherboard podcast about hacking. In their conversation Franceschi-Bicchierai talks about the time he corresponded directly with hackers who infiltrated the servers of the Democratic National Committee. Those hackers initially tried to pass themselves off as a lone Romanian hacker named Guccifer 2.0.

Then slate writer Rachelle Hampton joins the show to talk about her cover story, The Black Feminists Who Saw the Alt-Right Threat Coming.

This episode is brought to you by Proper Cloth.  Save $20 on your first custom shirt at propercloth.com/ifthen.
Apr 24, 2019
What Happened To WikiLeaks
2521
In this episode April Glaser is joined by guest host Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia and author of several books about social media and the internet, including a recent one on Facebook, “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” 

First they talk about the ongoing elections in India and how fake news and propaganda on Facebook and WhatsApp is wreaking havoc on an electoral process that’s otherwise celebrated for working quite well in the world’s largest democracy. Then they discuss Uber’s recent IPO filing and the litany of ways the company’s reliance on a contractor workforce and business in only a handful of major cities could destabilize the rideshare company’s hopes of ever being profitable. 

After that, author and WIRED writer Andy Greenberg joins the show to talk about the recent indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, threats the case poses to press freedom, and how Assange’s ideology has been much more fluid than his alleged co-conspirator, Chelsea Manning. Greenberg is the author of This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers.


This episode of IF Then is brought to you by LinkedIn. Post a job today at LinkedIn.com/IFTHEN and get fifty dollars off your first job post.
Apr 17, 2019
Fake Meat Designed for Carnivores
2508
April Glaser is joined by Gizmodo investigative reporter, Kashmir Hill, to talk about an ambitious British proposal to regulate content on social media sites. Then they discuss Airbnb’s efforts to kick White Nationalists off its platform ahead of a national summit in Tennessee. 

After that they talk to Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, about his company’s eerily realistic fake meat products and his vision for a more environmentally sustainable food system. 





Apr 10, 2019
Local News Brought to You by Big Tech
2498
April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss a recent report in Bloomberg that says executives at YouTube ignored employees who raised concerns about the spread of harmful videos. The company’s algorithm often recommends conspiracy videos, which lead viewers down rabbit holes they might not otherwise explore. 

Then journalism professor Emily Bell talks about Google and Facebook’s recent efforts to revive the local news industry. Since the tech giants are partially complicit in harming local news in the first place, Bell says it’s akin to asking a bull that broke everything in a China shop to come back and piece things back together.





Apr 03, 2019
Uber and Lyft Drivers Strike
2746
Aprill Glaser and Will Oremus kick off the episode by talking about Apple’s plan to be the ultimate middleman--with new offerings announced this week of streaming video, games, and more. Then April offers an update on efforts in Congress to restore net neutrality. 

After that Veena Dubal, a law professor at UC Hastings, talks about worker strikes at Uber and Lyft and then sheds light on a California case that reclassifies most gig workers as employees instead of contractors. 


Mar 27, 2019
Livestreaming A Massacre
2097
On today’s show, April Glaser and Will Oremus first talk to two researchers who’ve uncovered new information about the way the U.S. government trains its facial recognition software. According to their findings, the government uses photos of immigrants, children, and even deceased prisoners to train their programs. 

Then NBC News reporter Ben Collins talks about the role of online extremism in last week’s New Zealand attacks, specifically with regard to Facebook and other platforms that allow live broadcasting. Collins also discusses how the shooter left a manifesto riddled with white supremacist signals from online communities and the difficulty of reporting on these racist communities without broadening their reach.





Mar 20, 2019
Your Social Media Photos Are Helping to Build the Surveillance State
1718
On today’s show, April Glaser kicks things off by talking about Facebook’s long-overdue crackdown on anti-vaccination groups. The social media platform announced it will stop allowing advertisements that peddle misinformation about vaccines, and they’ll make anti-vaxxer groups and pages harder to find. What took them so long? 
 
Then Will Oremus talks to Olivia Solon, Editor of Tech Investigations at NBC, about facial recognition technology, and how some companies are collecting online photos without getting explicit permission from photographers or subjects. 
 







Mar 13, 2019
How To Trust A VPN
1868
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus take a look at an increasingly popular online privacy tool--that has some serious trust issues of its own. We’re  talking about VPNs, or virtual private networks, and why the average user might have a very hard time figuring out which one to trust.

The hosts will also look at privacy blunder number one billion from our friends at Facebook. This one involves two factor authentication, a feature to ostensibly help keep your account safer that turns out to be another good way for Facebook to keep track of you, wherever you go. Mark Zuckerberg told Congress, “you own your data”--but once you give Facebook your phone number, good luck ever taking it back.

1:11 - Interview with Will Oremus
24:00 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Stories discussed on the show:
Slate: Do You Trust Your VPN? Are You Sure?

Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: Wired: Are Men at Google Paid Less than Women? Not Really.
Will: Instagram: Nathan W Pyle

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Mar 06, 2019
Empathy at Scale
2003
On today’s show, host April Glaser looks at the continuing battle between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commision. Earlier this week, the SEC asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for tweets he’s made about Tesla’s performance. The SEC says Musk violated a settlement he reached with the commission last year, which required him to have his tweets reviewed before sending them.

Then, Will Oremus speaks with journalist Casey Newton about an investigation he published this week on the tech site The Verge. The article is headlined, “The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America.” Newton talked to current and former employees of a moderation facility in Arizona that contracts with Facebook, about the working conditions there. And, in particular, the psychological toll of scrutinizing hundreds of Facebook posts each day that feature extreme violence, hate speech, and conspiracy theories.

5:57 - Interview with Casey Newton
23:23 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Stories discussed on the show:
CNN: SEC Asks Judge to Hold Musk in Contempt
The Verge: The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America
Wired: The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed

Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: Mercury News: Facebook, Google Bikes Lead to Tensions with Neighbors
Will: Vox: How a coat on Amazon took over a neighborhood — and then the internet

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
I
f Then is presented by
Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Feb 27, 2019
Can Palantir Be Used For Good?
1935
On today’s show, host Will Oremus looks at the fallout from Amazon’s announcement last week that they’re abandoning plans for a new headquarters in New York City. Some celebrated it as a victory; others mourned a missed opportunity; still others were mad that Amazon took its ball and went home, rather than negotiating a fairer deal.

Then, April Glaser talks with Faine Greenwood from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, where she focuses on the role of drones and data intensive foreign aid projects. Her latest piece for Slate is headlined “Why Humanitarians Are Worried About Palantir’s New Partnership With the U.N.”

6:02 - Interview with Faine Greenwood
23:15 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Stories discussed on the show:
Slate: New York’s Anti-Amazon Movement Is Now a Blueprint for Critics of Big Tech
Slate: Why Humanitarians Are Worried About Palantir’s New Partnership With the U.N.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: The New Yorker: Private Mossad for Hire
Will: Wired: AR Will Spark The Next Big Tech Platform-Call It Mirrorworld

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Feb 20, 2019
Jeff Bezos’s Privacy Complexifier
1859
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about the implications from last week’s bizarre, but also serious, showdown between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and American Media INC, the owner of the Trump-friendly National Enquirer. Bezos claimed the Enquirer was blackmailing him by threatening to release private and quite racy photos between him and the woman he was having an affair with. Bezos stood up to the alleged extortion by publishing his account of the situation, complete with threatening emails from AMI.

At the same time Bezos was fighting for his own privacy, his company was making a deal that could have serious privacy implications for the rest of us. This week, Amazon announced it was acquiring Eero, the mesh WiFi router startup. To sort through this mesh, the hosts are joined by Stacey Higginbotham, who writes all about the internet of things. They ask her about what this move means for smart home users’ privacy, and where we should draw the line on what in our home should be smart, and what should be...well, dumb.

8:08 - Interview with Stacey Higginbotham
21:15 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: The Baffler: The Whitest News You Know
Will: The New Republic: The False Promise of Silicon Valley’s Quest to Save the World

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Feb 13, 2019
The Court-Records Paywall Scam
2657
Feb 06, 2019
Media Layoffs Are Trending
2180
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss a rather terrifying security flaw from Apple, a company that prides itself on keeping information well-protected. A bug was found in the video chat app Facetime that let snoops listen in on someone by calling them on FaceTime, even if the call wasn’t answered.
Then, the hosts are joined by Franklin Foer,  a staff writer for the Atlantic, former editor in chief of The New Republic, and author of a book about what he calls “the existential threat of big tech.” They talk to him about the recent wave of layoffs in the media—including big cuts at BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Gannett newspapers— and how those tie into the dominance of companies like Google and Facebook over the way we get information now.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: Pandora’s New Corporate Parents Gave Millions to Trump, GOP
Will: Wired: Is Big Tech Merging with Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It.
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.
This episode is brought to you by Warby Parker. Try their home try-on program for free today at warbyparker.com/ifthen. 
Jan 30, 2019
Juul Heist
2503
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss news news that the french government has fined Google close to $57 million for violating the new European privacy laws that went into effect in 2018. This comes as news that the Federal Trade Commision here in the US  is considering levying a record-breaking fine against Facebook for violations to their users privacy following the Cambridge Analytica mess. Corporate fines may well be a theme this year following the great clean up after the 2016 election went awry
And then we’re going to talk about Juul, the multibillion dollar e-cigarette company that is dominating the new industry. It’s been quite the year for Juul. Their offices were raided by the FDA. They at least provisionally agreed to stop selling certain fruity flavors of tobacco clearly popular with kids. They accepted a $12.8 billion dollar investment from Altria, the tobacco company that owns Marlboro. And most recently, announced, the vaping brand launched a new $10 million national TV marketing campaign.

To help make sense of the company that controls an estimated 70% of the e-cigarette market we’ll be joined by Nitasha Tiku, a senior writer for Wired.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
April: Bloomberg: Corporate America Is Getting Ready to Monetize Climate Change
Will: The Huffington Post: Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants

Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

This episode is brought to you by Slack, the collaboration hub for work. Learn more at Slack.com.
Jan 23, 2019
Social Media's Weird Future
3025
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss news that PG&E, California’s main power provider, plans to file for bankruptcy due to the billions in liability it faces stemming from the deadly wildfires last year. Allegations have been made that PG&E’s power lines and equipment aided in the fires and the company did not adequately address the hazards beforehand. As the home to some of the world most powerful tech companies, California’s economy last year surpassed the UK, but it’s clear that this wealth has not trickled down to help Californian suffering the effects of prolonged drought and longer fire seasons hitting more populated areas.
They’ll also talk about a letter sent this week to Microsoft, Amazon and Google from more than 85 civil rights and racial justice groups, including the ACLU. The letter demands that these companies stop building face recognition technology that could be used by the government. We’ve seen employees of these companies voice their concern, but what might we expect from outside pressure?
The hosts touch on one of the least discussed themes from last week’s CES conference in Las Vegas: privacy.
Then they welcome back Taylor Lorenz, journalist for the Atlantic. Glaser and Oremus talk to her about what social media might look like in 2019. Forget Facebook for a second. Forget Twitter, Snapchat, even YouTube, which was the focus of our conversation with Lorenz last year. They talk to her about what the kids are up to now, like making dance videos on Tik Tok, making Instagram eggs go viral, and making friends in the comments sections of social apps.

21:14 - Interview with Taylor Lorenz.
39:30 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.



Jan 16, 2019
At CES: Tech After Smartphones
2527
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss startling new revelations about some of the major phone carriers. The story broke this week in Motherboard titled “I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone.” It details how T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T  are selling access to customers location data to shady characters like landlords and collection agencies.

And speaking of phones, could we finally be witnessing an end to the iPhone’s dominance of the technology industry? Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned about a shortfall in global iPhone revenue. We’ll talk about why that is and what it might mean for Apple’s future.
And if you work even remotely adjacent to the tech industry, then you know...this week is the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES—the biggest annual tech expo in the world held in Las Vegas. We’ll be joined by Dieter Bohn, the executive editor of The Verge, from the floor of the show.

17:05 - Interview with Dieter Bohn.35:13 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Slate: Tunnel Vision
New Statesman America: London's Victorian Hyperloop: the forgotten pneumatic railway beneath the capital's streets
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.






Jan 09, 2019
Best of 2018
2884
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus introduce some of their favorite interviews from 2018. We have highlights from our conversations with journalist Taylor Lorenz about teen YouTube stars, former head of Facebook’s Newsfeed Adam Mosseri about real-world violence in places like Myanmar, the founder of Data for Black Lives Yeshimabeit Milner on how tech companies might share their data for social justice efforts, author Naomi Klein on cryptocurrency in Puerto Rico following the deadly Hurricane Maria, Senator Mark Warner on how the government might actually regulate the big tech companies, and Paige Panter, a volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition on how a broad coalition of tech workers are fighting for change.

1:21 - Interview with Taylor Lorenz
7:57 - Interview with Yeshimabeit Milner
15:49 - Interview with Adam Mosseri
24:09 - Interview with Naomi Klein
30:27 - Interview with Senator Mark Warner
38:30 - Interview with Paige Panter


Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.









Jan 02, 2019
Aftermath of a Data Breach
2069
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus will talk reader mail! The hosts  take a look at some of your questions and comments from the year, in particular about how your relationship to technology and social media has changed in a year that has been tumultuous for tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
Then, they’ll talk about cybersecurity, hacks, and the sometimes bizarre legal battles that ensue after a big data theft. They’re be joined by Josephine Wolff, a professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of “You'll see this message when it is too late: The Legal and Economic Aftermath of Cybersecurity Breaches.” They’ll talk to her about some of the most significant breaches in the last decade,  how those companies holding that information have been held accountable,  and what it means for the everyday user who just wants to shop at Target.
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.
This episode is brought to you by Merrill Lynch. Get started today at ML.com/you.
Dec 26, 2018
The Information World War
2055
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus will talk about how Taylor Swift used face recognition to surveil the crowd at a recent concert, and whether that’s smart, scary, or both.

Then they’ll welcome Renée DiResta, an expert on cybersecurity and online misinformation. DiResta is the lead author of a new report to the Senate Intelligence Committee on exactly how Russian operatives weaponized social media in the 2016 election, and why it may be just the beginning of a new era of global information warfare.
6:45 - Interview with Renée DiResta26:09 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Logic: My Stepdad's Huge Dataset
The Pudding: Population Mountains

Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Dec 19, 2018
Warehouse Workers Bring Amazon To The Table
2928
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the latest round of “Tech CEO Goes to Washington.” On Tuesday morning, that CEO was Google’s Sundar Pichai, who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and was asked about data privacy, location tracking, Google’s plans in China, and of course, Republicans’ favorite tech topic: conservative bias. We’ll talk about what we learned from this hearing as well as what we wish Congress might’ve asked the Google CEO.

Then April speaks with two people who have been working to organize workers in Amazon fulfilment centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One is a founder with Awood, Nimo Omar. She’s been organizing with the primarily East African communities that work in the Amazon warehouses on a campaign to collectively advocate for better working conditions.

We’ll also be joined by a worker at one of those Amazon fulfillment centers in the Minneapolis area, WIlliam Stolz. We’ll ask him about his job at the warehouse and why he’s joining his fellow workers in organizing for change for change at the fulfillment centers. 

15:45 - Interview with Nimo Omar & William Stolz
37:13 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Don’t Close My Tabs:
Pew Research: Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source
The Baffler: Streambait Pop
Slate: Roma Is the Culmination of Everything Alfonso Cuarón Has Ever Done

Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.





Dec 12, 2018
The Civil Rights Group Targeted By Facebook
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On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the news that Tumblr will soon be banning all adult content on its site -- this in response to some instances of child pornography that got it suspended from Apple’s App Store. Hundreds of thousands of Tumblr users are upset, and the plan appears to be backfiring.
Then we’re excited to bring you a pair of interviews today, with two people who have emerged as leading critics of Facebook—one from the outside, and one from within, right before he left the company. We’ll talk first with former Facebook employee Mark S. Luckie about what he calls Facebook’s “black people problem.” Those words came from a memo that he wrote shortly before leaving the company last month, and which he published to the world after he left.
Then we’ll talk with someone who’s been thinking through problems at Facebook for many years--and recently discovered that his organization was also a target of the company’s controversial “opposition research” PR campaign. Rashad Robinson is the president of Color of Change, a progressive civil rights group that was among several nonprofits Facebook tried to discredit by highlighting their ties to the liberal financier George Soros. In the wake of that story, Robinson met last week with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
8:15 - Interview with Mark Luckie
16:00 - Interview with Rashad Robinson
35:20 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New York Times: Philippine Journalist, a Thorn to Duterte, Turns Herself In to Face Charges
Twitter: Natasha Vianna
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.





Dec 05, 2018
Tomorrow's Children, Edited.
2443
On today’s show, hosts April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the ongoing fallout at Facebook over the company’s decision to hire a conservative PR firm to surface opposition research in order to attack Facebook’s nonprofit critics by highlighting their funding ties to the liberal financier George Soros, playing into an untrue and anti-Semitic popular right wing trope. As internal and external turmoil continues to rile major American technology companies, their employee are organizing for serious change. Hosts dig into what that’s accomplished so far and what continued employee pressure and mounting labor actions means down the line.

Then, an interview with Antonio Regalado, a senior editor at the MIT Technology Review, on a story he broke Sunday night: the very first gene-edited babies were born this month in China. The trio discuss the history of gene-editing technology and the debate about using it on humans. To some, gene-editing is a form of medicine, like a vaccination. To others, it’s a form of enhancement. How easy is this to do? And will we have a future where the health of tomorrow’s children, or those whose parents can afford it, will be determined before their children are even born?

14:13 - Interview with Antonio Regalado32:02 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New Yorker: Exploding Mojitos: The First “Sonic Attacks” Targeting American Diplomats in Cuba May Have Taken Place Thirty Years Ago
The New York Times: A Business with No End
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Nov 28, 2018
Facebook's Former Security Chief on What Went Wrong
2866
On today’s show, host Will Oremus will discuss the fallout from last week’s New York Times expose about Facebook with the company’s former Security Chief Alex Stamos.

The Times story was headlined “Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Leaned Out in Crisis.” Stamos has been at the center of this story both as a critic and an advocate. The story has revolved partly around reports that Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg stifled or downplayed his revelations that their platform was still not free from Russian meddling months after the 2016 election. We’ll get his side of the story, as well as his perspective on Facebook’s missteps, and what he thinks the public and the media get wrong about the company. We’ll also talk about what some solutions to its problems might look like, including, potentially, government regulations.

2:15 - Interview with Alex Stamos37:53 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Slate: Trapped in the Fire Zone
The New York Times: Are You Sitting Down? Standing Desks Are Overrated.
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.


Nov 21, 2018
Amazon's Prime Real Estate
2684

On today’s show, host Will Oremus will talk about the employee uprising at Google, and the changes that it and other tech companies have made to their sexual harassment policies in response. Joining him is Caroline O’Donovan, senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News, who was there to cover the employee walkouts in person and has continued to report on the fallout from them.
And then, a story that has been making headlines for months, and finally reached its culmination this week with a big announcement. That would be Amazon’s HQ2 contest—or maybe now it’s HQ2.5, or HQ2 and 3, HQ2a and HQ2b. Whatever you call it, we’ll talk about the company’s decision to open not one but two new headquarters. One will be in Arlington, Virginia, just outside DC. And the other in Long Island City, just across the East River from Manhattan. That, of course, prompted an outcry from critics around the country, not to mention all the cities that weren’t chosen. Here to help Will make sense of all this will be Tim Bartik, a Senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. He’s done some fascinating research on the incentives that cities offer to companies to try to get them to locate there--and whether it really pays off for their residents in the long run.

2:47 - Interview with Caroline O’Donovan14:32 - Interview with Tim Bartik32:00 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Atlantic: The Problem with Feedback
GoFundMe: How To Help Those Impacted By The Fires In California
Chico Enterprise Record: How You Can Help Camp Fire Victims
Twitter: Martha McSally For Senate (Concession Video)
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.


Nov 14, 2018
The Meme Midterms
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Will Oremus and April Glaser are bringing you a special episode of If Then, all about the midterm elections and the role of Silicon Valley and online media in our beloved democratic process. We’re going to start with a roundtable with two extra tech journalists, Kevin Roose from the New York Times and Paris Martineau of Wired who have been reporting on issues of online speech, misinformation, and election interference this year.

Then we’ll have an interview with one of the country’s top experts on election security and voting systems. He’s the former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer: Ed Felten. We’ll talk to him about the problems that could rear their heads this cycle… namely with the very very outdated tech that we use to cast our ballots. Some of the voting machines we rely on are well over a decade old and are extremely vulnerable to hacking -- but here we are.

And we’ll end our show with a very special Don’t Close My Tabs where we take a look at the best way to watch the results come in on Tuesday night.

2:00 - Roundtable with Paris Martineau and Kevin Roose
31:22 - Interview with Ed Felten
49:01 - Don’t Close My Tabs


Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
I
f Then is presented by
Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.



Nov 05, 2018
The Internet of Hate
2788
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser look further into the presidential election in Brazil and how tech has played a role. On Sunday, the far right candidate Jair Bolsanaro was elected President, and many have attributed his victory to misinformation that spread like wildfire through WhatsApp in the months leading up to the election.
And it’s time again for more gadgets. Apple unveiled a new series of gizmos on Tuesday in Brooklyn: there were big changes to the iPad, Macbook Air, and MacMini.
The hosts are also joined by Joan Donovan, the lead researcher at Data & Society, who focuses on hate groups congregate on social media. This conversation, sadly, comes following the horrific terrorist attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The shooter, Robert Bowers, had been an active user of the free-speech-centric social media platform Gab that has become a kind of digital playpen for neo-Nazi and white supremacists since forming in 2016. Gab went offline Sunday night.

5:43 - Interview with Pablo Ortellado15:11 - Interview with Joan Donovan33:41 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New York Times: How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the “Father of Android”
Frontline: The Facebook Dilemma (Part One)
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Oct 31, 2018
Who Owns Your DNA Data?
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss Elon Musk’s other, other project with their Slate colleague Henry Grabar. Not space travel, not electric cars, but the Boring Company, which is working on a tunneling project in Los Angeles that would bring a new type of transportation to an area plagued by traffic. Musk announced over the weekend that the first tunnel will be open to the public later this year.
They’ll also dig into never-ending battle to rid Facebook of disinformation—particularly the kind that can disenfranchise, confuse, or stoke hatred in voters. Last Friday, the Department of Justice unsealed a criminal complaint against a Russian woman accused of running an operation on behalf of the Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency. The operation had been working to deepen America’s political divisions and muddle its upcoming midterm elections.

April and Will are also joined by Kate Black, Global Privacy Officer and Senior Counsel at 23andMe, the genetic testing company. Sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com have been in the spotlight lately after Senator Elizabeth Warren made public the results of her DNA test in a video last week. And earlier this year, when the capture of the Golden State Killer was aided by a genealogy website. The hosts ask Black about who really owns your data, who gets to see it—and what the company will say if law enforcement comes asking for it.

13:45 - Interview with Kate Black23:53 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs: 
The Root: The Wildly Unregulated Practice of Undercover Cops Friending People on Facebook
Wired: An Alternative History of Silicon Valley Disruption
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Oct 24, 2018
How Senator Mark Warner Wants to Crack Down on Tech
2460
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the continuing saga that is Facebook’s effort to fix itself--ideally, without breaking everything else. On Friday, the company finally released more information about the huge hack that it announced last month, which affected nearly 30 million people. They’ll talk about what was stolen, and why it matters.
Then, April and Will are joined by Senator Mark Warner, from Virginia, the top democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, conducting its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. This summer he released a policy paper proposing possible regulations for U.S. social media and technology companies. They talk to him about what worries him most about the largely unregulated tech industry that can’t seem to keep our data private and stop muddying our elections. They also ask him what he thinks congress can do to rein these companies in and why lawmakers haven’t been quick to act.
10:44 - Interview with Senator Mark Warner
31:40 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New Yorker: The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire
New York Magazine: Here Is a List of Every Animal Humans Currently Monitor Using Facial Recognition Technology
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Oct 17, 2018
Is Privacy A Right?
2694
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the latest data spill in Silicon Valley: It’s Google this time. And it’s time to talk gadgets again. This week Facebook announced its second foray into the hardware space with the Portal and Portal Plus—essentially a smart display for making video calls, equipped with an AI camera and Amazon Alexa. Meanwhile, Google launched a new smart display called the Google Home Hub, a new tablet that shares a name with the hosts’ employer, and a new phone that’s interesting for both its camera and the AI built in.
The hosts are also joined by tech attorney and privacy expert Tiffany C. Li. She teaches a course at Yale about the changing rights to privacy throughout history. They talk to her about what privacy rights we really have, whose interests are served by U.S. privacy law, and the difference between government and corporate surveillance.
19:16 - Interview with Tiffany Li34:45 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs: 
IPCC Report
Bloomberg: The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies
Podcast production by Max Jacobs
If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Oct 10, 2018
Fact And Fiction on Wikipedia
3382
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the announcement that Amazon would raise the minimum wage for its US workers to 15 dollars an hour. While Jeff Bezos may be receiving praise for the move this week, another enigmatic tech CEO is facing retribution. Elon Musk has agreed to settle with the SEC following tweets he made about potentially taking the company private and will step down from Tesla’s board.
Net neutrality is also back in the news: California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Sunday to implement net neutrality protections in the state starting next year. But within 30 minutes of Brown’s signing, the Justice Department announced it would be suing the state of California to prevent circumventing the federal net neutrality repeal.
And the headaches continue for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook... Last week it was announced that a massive security breach to the social media site allowed for hackers to take control of upwards of 50 million accounts. Facebook does not yet know who the culprits are.

The hosts are then joined by Katherine Maher, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, best known for, well, Wikipedia: the fifth most popular website on the planet. Maher talks to Will and April about how it all works; how a community of millions of volunteer editors are able to pull fact from fiction, how a site dedicated to trying to be correct deals with false news, how it deals with harassment within its editor community, its changing relationship with Google, and why diversity is important in writing the web’s massive nonprofit encyclopedia.

17:04 - Interview with Katherine Maher47:15 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Slate:
The Temptation of Apple News

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Oct 03, 2018
Reshuffling the Podcasting Deck
2550
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the recent announcement that Instagram’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, would be leaving the company - at least in part due to clashes with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the company’s future.
They also discuss tech talks on capitol hill this week between the justice department and federal and state law enforcement on political bias, antitrust, and privacy on social media -- as well as a hearing in the Senate scheduled for Wednesday on how technology companies use and misuse consumer data.

Then, the hosts spend the rest of the podcast talking about...podcasts. The last couple weeks have witnessed some dramatic changes in the podcast industry (including right here at the Slate Group). Last week Buzzfeed axed it’s entire podcast department, a very popular and groundbreaking arm of the media company. Meanwhile, Vox Media did just the opposite, announcing they’d be doubling their podcast output this fall. To help make sense of all this, April and Will are joined by media writer Nick Quah, who pens the weekly newsletter Hot Pod, which is considered required reading for many in the podcast industry. 

15:41 - Interview with Nick Quah
34:36 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Don’t Close My Tabs:
okayplayer: The Secret History of Outkast’s ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below:’ the Last Truly Great Double Album
The New Yorker: How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump
The Guardian: ‘Sorry I’m Scuba Diving’” Salesforce CEO Criticized Over Response to Border Contract Backlash
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.



Sep 26, 2018
Tech Barons Are the New Media Barons
2802
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about a literal moonshot. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced the first private customer who is signed up for a trip around earth’s moon, possibly as early as 2023—and he’ll be bringing some surprising passengers. Meanwhile,the Justice Department is investigating Musk’s other company, Tesla, over an ill-advised tweet. Next, Will and April discuss a new Twitter feature that brings back the classic, reverse-chronological timeline.
The hosts are then joined by Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for the Washington Post and former public editor of the New York Times. They’ll talk to her about the trend of tech barons buying media companies. That’s what Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff did this past weekend with his $190 million purchase of Time Magazine. Sullivan knows abit about tech titans buying media companies--her employer, the Washington Post, was bought by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013, and she worked for Warren Buffett at the Buffalo News. We’ll talk to her about what this sale might mean for the future of Time, and the growing entanglements between big tech and journalism.

13:34 - Interview with Margaret Sullivan33:33 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Slate: Why Did the New York Review of Books Publish that Jian Ghomeshi Essay?
Engagdet: Why PayPal’s Crackdown on ASMR Creators Should Worry You
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Sep 19, 2018
If Then Presents: The Secret History of The Future
2644
Technology continues to change the way we live and work. Which is why The Secret History of The Future—the new technology show from Slate and The Economists—is digging through the past to find lessons for our future. Subscribe to Secret History of the Future via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.
Sep 16, 2018
Special Report: Apple’s New (Old) Gizmos
1456
We have a special bonus If Then! On Wednesday afternoon Apple held its big annual event full of new and expensive gadgets. We wanted to help you make sense of what happened, and what it means. Host Will Oremus is joined by journalist and Slate contributor Christina Bonnington, who covers emerging technology and consumer technology. They talk through new phones, new watches, and all the things Apple is taking away from their original products.
Stories discussed on the show:
Slate: Why Apple’s Not Giving Us Another Small iPhone Anytime Soon
Slate: Everything We Know About The Three New iPhones
Slate: Apple’s Devices Are Pulling Us Into Our Own Personal Clouds
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.




Sep 13, 2018
Google’s Real Biases
2806
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss California’s landmark decision to eliminate cash bail for defendants in criminal cases--and the controversial algorithmic “risk assessment” system that will partially replace it. They also hash out a fresh debate over who gets to fact-check the news that appears in your Facebook feed following an outcry in media circles on Tuesday, after Facebook flagged a story in the liberal outlet ThinkProgress as “false”--all because the conservative Weekly Standard had taken issue with its headline. 
The hosts are then joined by Professor Safiya Umoja Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. Lately, media coverage - and congressional hearings - have focused on potential anti-conservative bias among the big tech companies, but professor’s Noble’s work suggests we may actually have a much different problem.

17:50 - Interview with Safiya Umoja Noble36:36 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs: 
Anatomy of an AI System by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler 
The New Yorker: Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before it Breaks Democracy?
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.  or Google Play
Sep 12, 2018
How The Future Of Music Streaming Will Sound
2602
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser are joined once again by their Slate colleague Mark Joseph Stern to make sense of a what a Kavanaugh-court might mean for the internet going forward.
They are also joined by music and technology writer David Turner, who pens the weekly newsletter Penny Fractions, which is all about the economics and culture of music streaming. They’ll talk to him about how streaming works for artists and if there’s anything they can do to push back against the streaming giants like Spotify, Apple, and YouTube. And they’ll also talk about some of the surprising ways in which streaming is changing music itself.
13:24 - Interview with David Turner33:57 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New York Times: How Much Hotter Is Your Hometown Than When You Were Born
BuzzFeed News: How Duterte Used Facebook to Fuel the Philippine Drug War
The New Yorker: The Shaming of Geoffrey Owens and the Inability to See Actors as Laborers Too
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Sep 05, 2018
Twitter Without the Nazis
2434
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss reports that big tech companies are lobbying in favor of a national privacy law. They’ll talk about what their motivations are. (Hint: It’s not just altruism or civic duty.)
The hosts are also joined by Eugen Rochko, the founder of Mastodon, a social network that’s becoming an increasingly popular alternative to Twitter. Rochko likes to say that you can join Mastodon if you want social networking without the Nazis and white supremacists. We talk to him about exactly how it works, and the daunting obstacles that every social networking startup faces.

15:00 - Interview with Eugen Rochko31:00 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs:
NBC News: Secret message board drives 'pizzagate'-style harassment campaign of small businesses
The Information: Waymo’s Big Ambitions Slowed By Tech Trouble
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Aug 29, 2018
Google’s Secret Censorship Project
2933
On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about a new Russian hacking report--this time, targeting conservatives. And it’s been a busy news week (as always) for Facebook, with reports on massive changes to its ad targeting and a heretofore secret plan to rate the credibility of its own users.
Then, April is joined by Ryan Gallagher, a U.K. based investigative journalist at the Intercept, where he reports on digital security and state surveillance. Earlier this month Ryan broke a story on Dragonfly, a secretive Google search engine for China that would censor certain websites banned by the Chinese government. The vast majority of Google’s employees, including founder and board member Sergey Brin reportedly was unaware of this project until Gallagher broke the story. Now, many Googlers are livid.
19:25 - Interview with Ryan Gallagher
Don’t Close My Tabs:
RadioLab: “Post No Evil”

Jezebel: How a Woman Disappears from the History Books
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Aug 22, 2018
Making Sense of Elon Musk
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about how Google has been tracking and storing your location—even after you’ve asked it not to. Then they review some of the disturbing security news out of DEF CON, the annual hacker conference in Las Vegas, including a demonstration in which an 11-year-old managed to hack a voting machine in minutes.
The hosts are joined by Dana Hull, a reporter for Bloomberg News, who covers the electric-car company Tesla and the space transportation company SpaceX. What those companies have in common, of course, is their CEO, the enigmatic Elon Musk. Will and April ask her what to make of Musk’s latest machinations, including his surprise bid to turn Tesla back into a private company.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Huffington Post:The Story Behind the Story That Created a Political Nightmare for Facebook
The Washington Post: A Small-Town Couple Left Behind a Stolen Painting Worth Over 100 Million Dollars - And a Big Mystery
Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.





Aug 15, 2018
Embracing Deplorable Status
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss why a bunch of the big tech platforms—Facebook, YouTube, Apple—are suddenly banning the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his media empire Infowars. They also talk about the latest Wells Fargo foreclosure scandal where a computer glitch led to hundreds of wrongful foreclosures. The hosts are then joined by William Sommer, tech reporter with the Daily Beast who follows QAnon and other right-wing conspiracy theories closely. He’ll help us understand how this fringe thinking tumbled into mainstream attention. The interview with Will Sommer starts at 17:54.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
New York Times: Phone Calls From New York City Jails Will Soon Be Free
New York Times: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change

If Then plugs:  

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com. If Then is presented by Slateand Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Aug 08, 2018
Flying Cars Are Only A Few Years Away
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk talk about a new study that suggests the internet might not have played the crucial role in Trump’s election victory that we tend to assume. And then: flying cars! And self-driving cars. The hosts are joined by Justin Erlich, the new VP of policy at Voyage, an self-driving vehicle company in Silicon Valley. Before that, he was head of policy for autonomous vehicles and urban aviation at Uber. The hosts discuss when these “cars” will hit the skies, what this means for investment in public transit, and how we’ll know they’ll be safe.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Aug 01, 2018
This Is How Fake News Spreads
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about what’s happening new with the proposed $3.9 billion dollar merger between Sinclair, the largest television station owner in the country and also happens to have an overt tilt in favor of Trump, and Tribune media. Thanks to an unexpected announcement from the FCC last week, that merger may be doomed.
The hosts are also joined by Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft, a nonprofit news literacy and fact-checking outfit with Harvard University. Wardle works hands-on with journalists and newsrooms around the world to find and responsibly debunk disinformation. They talk to Wardle about what we should be concerned about as the midterm elections approach, how false stories spread on social media to confuse readers, disenfranchise voters, or incite violence—even when Russian agents aren’t working behind the scenes.

Don’t Close My Tabs
The Atlantic: Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular
Twitter: Shane Goldmacher


Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Jul 25, 2018
How a Top Twitter Exec Tackles Trolls
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the latest Congressional dog and pony show involving the big social media platforms. They’ll get into a controversy over whether Facebook should ban the prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars. Meanwhile, there’s a new owner of the title “wealthiest person in modern history.” They’ll talk about who that is and what it says about our economy.
Later, Will is joined by Vijaya Gadde, a top-level executive at Twitter, in charge of their legal, public policy, and trust and safety teams. It’s her job to fight bots, trolls, and Russian agents, all while navigating the laws of more than 100 different countries in which the site operates. They’ll talk about how that uphill battle is going these days, and find out how Twitter is thinking about the balance between free speech and user safety at the highest level.

Don’t Close My Tabs
Medium: Digital Exile: How I Got Banned for Life from AirBnB

Buzzfeed: Elon Musk Has Always Been At War With The Media
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Jul 18, 2018
The Surveillance State's Eyes at the U.S. Border
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk to Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of political science and policy at George Mason University and an expert on immigration and security at the U.S.-Mexico border. They discuss how technology contractors benefit from working with the government to carry out its immigration policies — while others suffer from the ever-broadening surveillance state. And they examine the concept of a “virtual border wall,” and what that might look like in reality.
The hosts are then joined by Brian Brackeen, CEO of a face recognition company called Kairos. Kairos provides face recognition technology to businesses, but Brackeen warns that putting that same kind of software and data in the hands of law enforcement is a very bad idea. Oremus and Glaser ask him why that is, and what he sees as the more appropriate uses for a controversial cutting-edge technology.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.























Jul 11, 2018
The Supreme Court in the Cyber Age
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the Facebook privacy scandal that won’t go away. They’ll also touch on some new data from our employer, Slate, that illustrates how Facebook is pulling back from the news business.
Then, the hosts will be joined by our colleague Mark Joseph Stern, who covers courts and the law. They’ll discuss some recent tech-related Supreme Court cases, and how the court’s stance toward technology and privacy could change with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Don’t Close My Tabs
Real Life Mag: Big and Slow: How can we represent the threats that are too vast to see? What if civilization itself is one of them?
Vanity Fair: Sorry to Bother You Director Boots Riley Takes a Ride Through Oakland’s Changing Landscape

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Jul 04, 2018
Tech Workers Fight Back
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the midterm elections coming up in November -- and whether Silicon Valley companies are ready for the deluge of disinformation -- whether from Russia, Macedonia, or right here in the U.S. 
The hosts are joined by Paige Panter, a product manager in Silicon Valley who is also a volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition, a group that’s been active since 2014, but more recently has acted as a kind of communications hub for people who work in the technology industry to organize to make demands of their employers. They discuss this recent wave of tech employee activism, how it got started, and what could come down the line. 
Don’t Close My Tabs

The New York Times: San Francisco Restaurant Can't Afford Waiters. So They're Putting Diners to Work.
SF Chronicle: Silicon Valley bus drivers sleep in parking lots. They may have to make way for development
Wired: How A Child Moves Through A Broken Immigration System

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play
Jun 27, 2018
Should Tech Companies Take a Stand Against Family Separation?
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss the horrifying story that’s on everyone’s minds this week: the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant families crossing the US Mexico border. They focus on how tech’s big players -- some of the most powerful companies in the world -- are responding to the policy and what we should expect from those companies and their leaders in the face of a humanitarian emergency.
The hosts also discuss the fallout from AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. Both Disney and now Comcast want to buy Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. And as always - Don’t Close My Tabs - some of the most interesting stories from the web this week.

A quick update to Will’s tab, in which he discussed Verizon’s announcement that it would stop sharing customers’ real-time location data with third parties: As of Wednesday, the other three major carriers have all announced that they will do the same

Don’t Close My Tabs
The New Yorker: The Government Has No Plan For Reuniting The Immigrant Families It Is Tearing Apart
The Verge: Verizon Will Stop Sell Real-Time Location Data to Third-Party Brokers
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Listen to If Then via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play

Jun 20, 2018
The Failed Promise of the Gig Economy
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus is joined by guest co-host Maya Kosoff from Vanity Fair. They discuss the electric scooters that are suddenly wreaking havoc on city streets—and why Silicon Valley venture capitalists are swooning over them. They also discuss the layoffs at Tesla, and what they might mean for the electric-car company and its workers. 
Later, Will is joined by journalist Sarah Kessler of Quartz. Her new book is called “Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work,” and it looks at the so-called gig economy from the human side. She talked to people around the country who are trying to make ends meet on services like Uber, Amazon Turk, and Taskrabbit. 

On Tabs this week, the hosts discuss Palmer Luckey’s proposed surveillance border wall, and why you probably shouldn’t let foreign governments help you cool down your computer.

Don’t Close My Tabs
Slate: Why the Gift Bags at the North Korea Summit Could Pose a Cybersecurity Threat
Wired: Inside Palmer Lucky’s Bid to Build a Border Wall
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Jun 13, 2018
Naomi Klein on Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico.
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about how Microsoft is buying GitHub, Google is ending its Pentagon contract, and all the news from Apple’s developer conference on Monday—including the company’s effort to engineer a less addictive iPhone.
April is joined by journalist, author, and activist Naomi Klein to discuss her new book The Battle for Paradise about how corporations and politicians are trying to cash in on the chance to rebuild Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria’s destructive sweep through the island last fall. Some of the people descending on the island: blockchain enthusiasts hoping to build a “Crypto Island” of their own.
On ‘Tabs’ this week, the hosts discuss Silicon Valley’s relative silence on local elections and some listener mail about politicians who won’t stop texting us.
Don’t Close My Tabs
New York Times: Tech Was Supposed to Get Political. It’s Hanging Back in This Election.
Listener mail!

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




Jun 06, 2018
Bloody Money and Blind Investors
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about GDPR, Europe’s sweeping new online privacy legislation that took effect last Friday. They explain why it triggered an avalanche of emails to your inbox, and what it means for the tech industry.
The hosts are joined by John Carreyrou, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal. His new book, Bad Blood, chronicles his investigation into Theranos, the now-disgraced blood-testing startup, which sold faulty machines that may have put patients’ lives in danger. Carreyrou fills in some fascinating details in this bizarre story, and reflects on what it tells us about Silicon Valley—and whether it could happen again.
On ‘Tabs’ this week, Will digs into Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s attacks on the media and his idea to fix journalism by rating the credibility of individual journalists. April discusses the New York Times story about how Googlers’ quest to help stray cats has gone awry.
Don’t Close My Tabs
The Daily Beast: What It’s Like When Elon Musk’s Twitter Mob Comes After You
The New York Times: As Google Feeds Cats, Owl Lovers Cry Foul
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




May 30, 2018
Google’s Chokehold on the Web
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about about a privacy invasion that’s arguably scarier than Cambridge Analytica, and why it’s not getting nearly the same amount of attention. It involves your cellphone, and its ability to track where you are at all times.
The hosts are then joined by Luther Lowe, the senior VP of public policy for Yelp, a company that has had some major beef with Google’s allegedly anti-competitive behavior. They’ll talk about how Google got so big, and whether or not federal regulators might start taking action.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.








May 23, 2018
Welcome to the Swamp
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about about an unexpected move by President Trump that could save the Chinese electronics maker ZTE.  Also in the news is Project Maven, a Pentagon project to build AI for drones, which Google has been working on. This week it was reported that around a dozen Google employees quit over the company’s involvement in the project.
The hosts discuss what one Apple blogger calls “one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history,” which has led to a class-action lawsuit. And they break down a major vulnerability in email encryption.

Later, April and Will are joined by antitrust expert Gene Kimmelman. He’s the president and CEO of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that focuses on tech policy research and advocacy. He formerly served as the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division under President Obama, during which time the NBC/Comcast merger was approved. They talk to him about AT&T’s antitrust trial with the DOJ as the company attempts to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion. If approved, that deal could reshape the future of how people connect to the internet, how they get their news and entertainment, and the future of mega-mergers proposed under Trump. And then there’s the recent revelation that AT&T hired Trump attorney Michael Cohen as a consultant last year.




Don’t Close My Tabs
The Guardian: Black Activist Jailed for His Facebook Posts Speaks Out About Secret FBI Surveillance
The Verge: UK Newsstands Will Sell “Porn Passes” to verify Ages Under New Laws
The Telegraph: Newsagents and Corner Shops To Sell “Porn Pass” Access Codes To Allow Adults To Visit X-rated Sites
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




May 16, 2018
Baby, You Can Self-Drive My Car
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the hedge fund that’s gutting the newsrooms of local newspapers across the country—and racking up huge profits. They also discuss the futuristic news out of Google’s annual developer conference, including an AI that can hold a conversation and book you a dinner reservation.
Oremus is joined by Professor Raj Rajkumar, a self-driving car expert who serves as co-director of Carnegie Mellon’s autonomous driving research lab. They discuss the future of self-driving cars, but also the current moment—how today’s technology stacks up to human drivers in terms of safety, and what’s behind the recent spate of crashes.

Don’t Close My Tabs
The New York Times: Yes, It’s Bad. Robocalls, And Their Scams, Are Surging.
The Atlantic: I’m not Black, I’m Kanye
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




May 09, 2018
Why an E-Waste Recycler Is Going to Prison
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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about Facebook’s big privacy changes and its foray into online dating, as Glaser reports from the company’s annual developer conference in San Jose. Oremus takes a listener’s question about the Golden State Killer case and the questions it raises about the privacy of our DNA.
Oremus is joined by Eric Lundgren, a pioneer in e-waste recycling who is awaiting a 15-month prison sentence for distributing CDs that allow people to reinstall Microsoft Windows on used Dell computers. Lundgren insists he’s not a criminal, and that the real crime is how tech companies drive sales of new products by discouraging people from fixing up their old ones.

And on this week’s “Don’t Close My Tabs,” Slate tech reporter Heather Schwedel joins Oremus as they share stories about “Moviepass movies” and Google’s increasingly divided internal culture.

Timestamps:
1:47 News: Golden State Killer and DNA Tech
5:55 News: April dispatches from F8, Facebook’s Annual Developer Conference
16:09 Interview: Eric Lundgren, the e-waste recycler on why he’s going to prison
35:04 Don’t Close My Tabs
Don’t Close My Tabs
The Cut: The Distinct Pleasure of the “MoviePass Movie”
The Wall Street Journal: Google Vs. Google: How Nonstop Political Arguments Rule It’s Workplace
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.





May 02, 2018
The Cost of Online Immunity
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On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a somewhat surprising speech from the antitrust chief of Trump’s DOJ. They bring you up to date on a big new data privacy bill in Congress, and Mike Nuñez, a journalist for Mashable, joins the show to discuss how his reporting on alleged liberal bias at Facebook has sparked a somewhat bizarre Congressional inquiry.
The hosts are also joined by Dr. Mary Anne Franks, a professor of law at the University of Miami Law School, where she teaches criminal law, First Amendment law, and Technology policy. They speak about the massively important Communications Decency Act, which was just amended to allow victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that knowingly facilitate it.
And as always, “Don’t Close My Tabs,” the Sean Hannity/Jeff Bezos edition.
Timestamps:
1:40 DOJ Antitrust Speech
6:15 New data privacy bill
11:13 Diamond and Silk on Capitol Hill: phone call with Mashable’s Michael Nuñez
20:55 Zillow clarification regarding last week’s show
22:14 Interview: Professor Mary Anne Franks on amending the CDA to fight sex trafficking
44: 08 Don’t Close My Tabs

Don’t Close My Tabs Links:
KQED: How Sean Hannity Began His Path to Punditry on Santa Barbara Community Radio
Washingtonian: Here Are the Floor Plans for Jeff Bezos’s $23 Million DC Home

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.



Apr 25, 2018
What If Facebook Used Data For Black Lives?
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On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about trouble at Tesla: the company has suspended production of the Model 3, the car that will make or break its business. The hosts also dig into the news about the real estate site Zillow, which is expanding its business in a surprising new way--and why its stock is tumbling.
The hosts are also joined by Yeshimabeit Milner - founder and executive director of Data for Black Lives. You might’ve seen her piece earlier this month on Medium entitled “An Open Letter to Facebook from the Data for Black Lives Movement: Give Black researchers, data scientists and Black communities access to our data.” They talk to her about what questions she has for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg following his two congressional hearings last week in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data spill and everything else the company has been grappling with over the past couple years.
Don’t Close My Tabs
SF Chronicle: SF’s Scooter Conflict: City Attorney Orders Cease-and-Desist Order to Companies
The Wall Street Journal: You Think Discovering a Computer Virus is Hard? Try Naming One.
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Apr 18, 2018
What Mark Zuckerberg Didn’t Share
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Will Congress let Mark Zuckerberg get away with under-sharing? On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus break down the Facebook chief’s trip to Washington to testify before Congress on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They review the most amusing and revealing moments from his 10-hour testimony. 

The hosts also analyze Zuckerberg’s evasion strategy and discuss whether members of Congress were buying it. And they look ahead to what regulation might be brewing that could affect Facebook and other Internet companies. Finally, Don’t Close My Tabs: their picks for the best stories and Twitter threads on the Web this week.

Don't Close My Tabs

Bloomberg: Tesla Workers Claim Racial Bias and Abuse at Electric Car Factory
Twitter: @Max_Fisher
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Apr 12, 2018
Congress Called. They Want Our Data Back.
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On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus bring us an early-week show in anticipation of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress Tuesday and Wednesday (which also means we will have a show recapping the hearings later this week). The hosts speak with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who will be questioning Zuckerberg on Wednesday at his second hearing in Congress this week. They speak with Pennsylvania republican Congressman Ryan Costello, and two democratic Congressman from California; Jerry McNerney and Raul Ruiz. Each of these politicians are on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will be questioning Mark Zuckerberg after his first round of questioning from the Senate.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




Apr 10, 2018
Alexa, How Do You Really Work?
2595
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the outrage at the largest television station owner in the country—Sinclair Broadcasting—after the media conglomerate forced its local news anchors read a script that echoes Trumpian talking points. They also unpack Trump’s beef about Jeff Bezos owning what he calls #AmazonWashingtonPost. Meanwhile, music streaming site Spotify went public this week in a totally new kind of way. The hosts take a look at its unorthodox move, and what it means for the company’s future.
Will is joined by Al Lindsay, vice president of Alexa Engine Software at Amazon to talk about how exactly Alexa works, what privacy concerns it raises, and why it started scaring the bejesus out of people a few weeks ago by emitting peals of creepy laughter for no apparent reason.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
The New York Times: ‘I Can’t Stop”: Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion

BuzzFeed: Growth At Any Cost: Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection In 2016 Memo - And Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Apr 04, 2018
Facebook’s Deepwater Horizon
3063
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus dissect the latest fallout from the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein the profile data of over 50 million Facebook users was obtained and allegedly used by Trump’s online voter targeting firm. The hosts go deep into some of the subplots of that scandal, and what it means for Facebook, elections, and your privacy. They’ll also discuss the death of a pedestrian in Arizona at the hands of an Uber self-driving car, and what that means for the future of autonomous vehicles. Finally, a tech story that has gotten less attention that it probably deserves: a change in the law that governs whether websites are liable for what their users say.
Will and April are joined by David Carroll, a professor at Parsons School of Design at the New School, who focuses on political campaigns and data targeting. He’s suing Cambridge Analytica in the UK to find out what the company did with his data, and where it went. The hosts talk with him about the mechanics of how campaigns use voters’ persona data to win elections.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Twitter: Sally Kuchar on Housing in the Bay Area
The Atlantic: My Cow Game Extracted Your Facebook Data
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Mar 28, 2018
The Tech That Draws Your District
1592
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus take a deep look into gerrymandering and the highly specialized mapping technology that has allowed for political parties - especially the GOP since 2010 - to drastically change the way political districts are drawn and controlled. The hosts are joined by David Daley, a senior fellow at FairVote and the author of  Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. This interview was recorded on March 13th, so no news or tabs this week, but we’ll be back to our regular schedule next week.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Mar 21, 2018
What Keeps Facebook Up at Night
2535
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss Elon Musk’s plan to… colonize Mars? They explain how sanctuary cities may unwittingly be sharing data with ICE through police surveillance tech. And Facebook VP Adam Mosseri, head of the news feed, joins the show for a wide-ranging interview. He explains how his team thinks about its responsibility to inform the public, and how they tackle complex problems ranging from fake news in the United States to Facebook-fueled hate campaigns in Myanmar.
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




Mar 14, 2018
Nietzsche with a 3D Printer
2918
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus try to make sense of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s rare honest assessment of his company’s shortfalls, and what new state regulations mean for self-driving cars and trucks. Cody Wilson, the man behind the first 3D printed gun, joins the hosts to talk about his vision of a “Wikileaks for guns” and why he thinks gun control is no longer possible. And, as always, Don’t Close My Tabs: this week Will looks at the “deepfakes” video phenomenon and April discusses former Trump aide Sam Nunberg’s email inbox exhaustion.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
Twitter: Sam Nunberg on CNN with Jake TapperNew York Times: Here Comes the Fake Videos, Too
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Please fill out the Slate podcast survey at slate.com/podcastsurvey

Mar 07, 2018
“You Have to Be Heard”
2804
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus take a look at Vero, the new social network that has people fleeing Instagram and Facebook, how conspiracy theories after the Parkland massacre have bubbled to the top of YouTube’s search results, and the controversy over how Facebook charges for campaign ads, after a Wired report showed that Trump faced much lower rates than Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn joins the show to talk about net neutrality, the upcoming Sinclair merger, sky-high prison phone rates and what the FCC is doing to help restore communications post Hurricane Maria.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
Wired: How Trump Conquered Facebook - Without Russian Ads
Uber Driver’s Playlists
: @TEEJUS

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Please fill out the Slate podcast survey at slate.com/podcastsurvey
Feb 28, 2018
How Russian Trolls Went Local
2294
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus dig into special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s recent indictment of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian companies for their role in tampering with the 2016 election. Jonathan Albright from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia join the hosts to talk about his take on the indictments, and the research he’s conducted that show how the big social media companies were manipulated by Russian trolls from the Internet Research Agency at a rate far greater than those companies claimed.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Verge: Google Removes ‘View Image’ Button From Search Results
Vulture:
The Story of Combat Jack, Hip-Hop’s Flagship Podcaster

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Please fill out the Slate podcast survey at slate.com/podcastsurvey

Feb 21, 2018
“Like” Is Too Simple an Emotion
2728
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus lamentthe anticlimactic end to Waymo and Uber’s court drama, explain why teens are pissed at Snapchat, and examine John Perry Barlow’s contributions to the internet we know today. The hosts are joined by Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana and the former Facebooker behind the like button, to talk about the distraction crisis and whether Silicon Valley can solve a problem it created.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Robot Dog That Can Open a Door Is Even More Impressive Than It Looks
Candy Heart Messages Written by a Neural Network


Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.



Feb 14, 2018
FISA and Fury
2558
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a new anti-tech lobbying group formed by ex-employees of Facebook and Google, the big trial that’s happening this week in San Francisco that involves Waymo accusing Uber of stealing trade secrets in a winner-take-all race for self-driving supremacy. The hosts are also joined by Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist and long time expert on the ins and outs of FISA and mass digital surveillance. And as always, Don’t Close My Tabs, the hosts’ picks for best on the Web this week.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
New York Times: Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico


New York Times: A Driver’s Suicide Reveals the Dark Side of the Gig Economy

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




Feb 07, 2018
Through The Revolving Door Between Facebook and Democrats
2253
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about about a clever effort to restore net neutrality in Montana and New York. They also discuss Facebook’s latest news feed tweaks: this time it’s trying to resuscitate the local news economy by putting more stories from local sources in your feed. The hosts are joined by Dipayan Ghosh, a former privacy and policy advisor to Facebook, the Obama Administration, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign -  to talk about his recent report on how digital advertising technologies lend themselves to disinformation campaigns, and what the government can do about it. And as always, Don’t Close My Tabs, their picks for best on the web this week.
Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Guardian: Fitness Tracking App Strava Gives Away Location of Secret US Army Bases


The New York Times:
The Follower Factory

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs: 
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Jan 31, 2018
Dudebros Everyday
2021
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about Facebook’s fraught plan to rate the media and the cool yet creepy Amazon store that automatically bills you for your purchases. The hosts are joined by Daily Beast technology and culture reporter Taylor Lorenz to talk about the incredible fame, wealth, and influence of young YouTube stars—and their startling business savvy. And, as always, Don’t Close My Tabs: Netflix’s price hike and an inside scoop on last year’s bizarre blow-up by the CEO of HQ Trivia.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Washington Post: Netflix raised its prices, and we kept subscribing anywayThe Daily Beast: CEO of HQ, the Hottest App Going: If You Run This Profile, We’ll Fire Our Host
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.




Jan 24, 2018
The Problem With Facebook Is Facebook
2175
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about the Senate’s stand on net neutrality and why Congress is set to renew a major piece of internet government mass surveillance legislation. The hosts are joined by Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of Media Studies at University of Virginia, to talk about Facebook’s big news feed changes and what they might mean for the way we read the news and talk to one another online. And on Don’t Close My Tabs: Google’s gorilla problem and “authentic” Instagram ads.

Don’t Close My Tabs:
The Verge: Google ‘fixed’ its racist algorithm by removing gorillas from its image-labeling tech
The Atlantic: The Strange Brands in Your Instagram Feed
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.






Jan 17, 2018
Live from CES: Our Dumb "Smart" Future
2056
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus are at CES, the huge trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas. They talk about all the weird, wonderful, and unnecessary gadgets and tech they seen so far the convention, like the laundry folding robots that might not be very good at folding laundry, bizarre tech for your pets, drones and self driving cars, smart mirrors, and even a smart couch. The hosts will talk about the cybersecurity concerns surrounding Intel and how they’ve handled the situation so far, and the big battle between Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s new AI assistants.
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Jan 10, 2018
Science Fiction by ABBA
2159
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about a key detail in the new tax plan that could have a huge effect on gig workers in the tech sector—and maybe even robots. They also discuss Apple’s “batterygate” iPhone situation, what happened, and what can we take from their unusual apology? The hosts are also joined by Slate’s Future Tense editor Torie Bosch to talk about the anthology she co-edited What Future: The Year’s Best Ideas to Reclaim, Reanimate & Reinvent Our Future.

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.






Jan 03, 2018
What’s a Firefox?
2458
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk with the executive director of Mozilla about how Firefox competes with Chrome and the biggest threats to the Open Web. They break down the fallout from the FCC’s 3-2 vote to kill net neutrality and what it means for mega-mergers like Fox and Disney. And they speculate on the motivations behind Uber’s misdeeds, why Apple’s AirPods are sold out, and why the Koch brothers are trying to kill municipal broadband.
Stories discussed on the show:
BuzzFeed:
Uber Accused Of Espionage, Bribery, Hacking, And More In Bombshell Letter


Slate
: The Fight for the Open Internet Isn’t Over


Mozilla
: Privacy Not Included: A Guide to Make Shopping for Connected Gifts Safer, Easier, and Way More Fun


If Then’s “Don’t Close My Tabs” recommendations:


MacRumors:
Apple is Currently Sold Out of AirPods Until January


Wired
: KOCH BROTHERS ARE CITIES' NEW OBSTACLE TO BUILDING BROADBAND


Podcast production by Laura Flynn.

If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Dec 20, 2017
Beanie Babies for Geeks
1921
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk a little about why everyone is freaking out about Bitcoin. And in the run up to Thursday’s critical net neutrality decision from the FCC, the hosts speak with Columbia law professor Tim Wu - who actually coined the term net neutrality - about why it’s so crucial to save it, and what we might expect from legal challenges stemming from Thursday’s FCC announcement.

If Then’s “Don’t Close My Tabs” recommendations:
TechCrunch: Patreon’s New Service Fee Spurs Concerns that Creators will Lose Patrons
Slate: Netflix Releases Rare Ratings Info to Mock Obsessive Fans of its Own Movie
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Dec 13, 2017
The Ellen Pao Effect
1663
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser talks with Ellen Pao about sexism in Silicon Valley and why the tech industry hasn’t experienced the same fallout over accusations of sexual harassment and assault as the media and entertainment business. Pao discusses what gives her hope for tech and describes what she’s witnessed as CEO and founder of Project Include, a nonprofit organization dedicated to diversity in tech. They also discuss her time as interim CEO of Reddit and what platforms should do to combat hate speech and harassment on their sites.
Dec 06, 2017
Antitrust Superstar
2274
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss how bots messed up the net neutrality comment process and whether that gives advocates a last chance to preserve an open Internet. They also examine YouTube’s ongoing problems airing disturbing videos involving children and why its moderation algorithms don’t work. Then the hosts speak with Lina Khan, legal policy director of the Open Markets Institute and a fellow at Yale Law school, about AT&T’s now-troubled attempt to merge with Time Warner, and the DoJ’s unusual antitrust challenge. Lastly, as always, Don’t Close My Tabs: April and Will’s picks for best tech stories on the web this week.

If Then’s “Don’t Close My Tabs” recommendations:

NY Mag: Tumblr Founder David Karp is Stepping Down
Stanford Politics: How Peter Thiel and the Stanford Review Built a Silicon Valley Empire

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will at @WillOremus, and April is @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment for us, you can email as well at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Nov 29, 2017
Hack Friday
2563
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus talk about changes to net neutrality that were announced this week. They also talk a little about the digital media bubble and if it’s real, and April will also tell us about how living with a robot is going. We also have Black friday special for you - the hosts will talk with Brian Krebs, an expert on cybercrime - about everything retailers and consumers should know before the big day.
And lastly, Don’t Close My Tabs - Will and April’s picks for best on the web this week.
April’s Tab:https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/the-making-of-an-american-nazi/544119/
Will’s Tab - https://www.thedailybeast.com/ceo-of-hq-the-hottest-app-going-if-you-run-this-profile-well-fire-our-host

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April is @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment for us, you can email as well at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.





Nov 22, 2017
Leaving Zen on the Table
2916
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss some recent tech news, like the head-scratching revelation that WikiLeaks actually sent Donald Trump, Jr. Direct Messages on Twitter before and after the election, and a speech by Senator Al Franken that suggests we should regulate big tech companies more like utilities. The hosts are also joined by T. Dalton Brown from Dopamine Labs, the cofounder of an interesting and controversial startup whose mission is to help other companies make their apps and online platforms more addictive, by playing on our cognitive biases and psychological weaknesses.
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April is @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment for us, you can email as well at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Nov 15, 2017
You Can’t Hardcode Community
2304
On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the news that YouTube has been showing disturbing videos to kids and why this might be a symptom of a much deeper problem for Internet companies. They also talk about the recent revelations from the Paradise Papers and how new details pertain to companies like Twitter and Apple. The hosts are also joined by Mercer University Professor Whitney Phillips. She’s the author of “This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture.”

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April is @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment for us, you can email as well at ifthen@slate.com.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Nov 08, 2017
Trash Moths to the Trash Flame
2674
Hosts and Slate journalists April Glaser and Will Oremus are excited to bring you this new weekly podcast: If Then.

The hosts start by talking through some of the most interesting tech news of the week (we promise it's not just tech geeks fawning over their smart watches).

They dig into the big story this week - how Facebook, Twitter, and Google all took a trip to congress this week to testify at three different hearings about how russian operatives used their platforms to interfere in the 2016 election--and help secure Trump’s victory. What did these companies know was happening, and what they could have done to stop it?

The hosts are also joined by author and former Facebook Product Manager Antonio García Martínez (@antoniogm) to talk about what he thinks the role of these powerful tech companies is now that we know more about what happened in the run up to the presidential election.

And to end the show - "Don't Close My Tabs" - a look into some of the best things seen online this week, as recommended by your show hosts.

Please hit that subscribe button if you don't so already! And...maybe leave us a comment? We're trying to spread word of the show and that will help us out!

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April is @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment for us, you can email as well at ifthen@slate.com.

See you back here next Wednesday!





Nov 02, 2017
Coming Nov. 2, Slate's New Tech Show IF THEN
510
If Then: a podcast about technology, society, and power. Each week, Slate‘s April Glaser and Will Oremus take you on a lively tour of the tech news that actually matters, from fake news in your Facebook feed to the algorithms that want your job to the Uber drivers who want a job with benefits. With news-making interviews of key tech-industry figures, fascinating academics, and top tech journalists, they explore not only how the technology that’s shaping our world works, but the ideas, ideologies, incentives, and biases that underlie it. And guess what: They don’t always agree.
Oct 27, 2017