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Using Tech for Good with Baratunde Thurston

2022-04-04 | 🔗

Advocate, technologist and comedian Baratunde Thurston joins the show to talk about his podcast How to Citizen and how, with a little work, we can make tech live up to its potential as a tool for positive social change.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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women and trending spring denim styles from frame and got american plus. The latest party ready bags from Saint Laurent and Valentino, their new arrivals weekly from the top designers. You love and new emerging names on sax dot com. You can shop for everything you need for spring now and pay later with Klarna plus you also get free shipping and free returns every day on sax dot com welcome to textile production, from I heart radio, the hey there and welcome to tech stuff, I'm your host Jonathan Strickland, I'm an executive producer with, I heart radio and how the tech aria. Today I have a special treat, for you was a big treat for me too. I got the sit down with baritone day Thurston the comedian and activist technologist.
On top of all that, he hosts a show called how to citizen at the show's third season focused on technology's role in our world and our our ability to citizen, as he calls it and also about how some really remarkable people are working hard to see that text, DE lives up to its potential to facilitate positive change out there who has listened to textile for any length of time. You all know that I often focus on the dark side of tech from unintended consequences that can be harmful to alright, malicious misuses or abuses of technology, and how that impacts people. I there are ten days attitude as a balm for the cantankerous perspective. I typically have of tech, and so sit back and enjoy this conversation that I had with baritone day Thurston. You're going to learn a lot including stuff, you might not know about me
I want to welcome my guest baritone day Thurston, someone whom I have admired for many years. I have admired his comedy work of admired his purse active on tech, and I admire him in particular, because whether he remembers it or not. He wants rescued me from the worst day of my professional career, welcome to the show, yeah that good to be here. Jonathan. Tell me about this rescue mission, I don't know about okay, I'll set the scene gray. It was stopped by cell. As two thousand sixteen. It was in between you getting inducted into the Hall of Fame and me trying every taco at torches, and I had been assigned to model It a panel for which I was severely under qualified to do, but I had no had no up okay and it was for a now defunct anonymous GEO located social networking site called Yak, Yak wow and for those who
do not remember Jack was a service that allows people to anonymously post messages and people. then a certain radius of that person's physical look. She could see those messages impose their own re, so I, I had to submit every single question. I had to the two co founders ahead of time and that that made me feel like I was kind of restricted in what I could ask. I wasn't confident in what I could do so so by the time we get to the panel flop. Sweat is evident. It's undeniable I'm sitting there there's way more people than I expected to be there, because this wasn't part of the official sought by south panel that you would find in the other locations. This was in some bar off the main drag and I get through my quest it's pretty quickly because I'm getting monosyllabic answers and not really any follow up. So thirty minutes and an hour long slot. I open it up to the audience, because I have nothing else to go to, and I don't know
number bear today. But you were the first person to stand up and ask questions, and you those co founders accountable, you, you asked them about the consequences unleashing, a tool that allowed for anonymous posting and GEO located areas and the potential effect that could have on people populate then those community specifically in colleges and high schools, and they gave varying unsatisfying answers and at the end of this I was shaking I was so upset with myself. But I came up to you and I thank you for your question you were incredibly gracious and then I slunk off to hide in shame and that fueled, the stress dreams for the following six years, which is not even a joke, but but I was so thankful. You were there because I appreciated the fact that you asked a tough questions and you
were you were adamant about getting answers and when clearly there were none, then that precipitated more, questions from the rest of the audience you I remember there was a teacher who came up after you and started asking very tough questions and I thought man I wish they had asked Baratunde a to moderate this panel it would have been a much better panel Oh thank you for remembering that. I actually do remember it now, It was at a bar right of Congress tree in downtown Austin, and they had it got a robotic bartender, which I also recall. I looked up that service just to get a visual memory and yet was like a yak. the their logo. They went out of business in twenty seventeen. They literally just came back He has worked with again, and it was three hours ago from Yahoo and whose Yogi ACT is back baby, so we can do this all over again, Janshah is that what this does some, I feel
a little more prepared that with that was based. In the woods deer in the headlights, I'm slightly better. Now yeah, no joke, so that kind of brings to talk about how to citizen, which is already a phenomenal podcast before got into the these specific role to focusing on tax role in this idea of making citizen a verb and die, and this concept of becoming more socially responsible and active in a positive way and, first of all, I absolutely love the show, and I love the tone of it, and I love your perspective. So congratulations and thank you for that. Well, thank you. and you're welcome. For that it mean this season really is an outgrowth of of moments like the one that we shared in twenty sixteen. I was at that by Sxsw to be in,
it didn't the hall of Fame, fav fav. I gave a little acceptance speech like four minutes, and I made a lot of jokes about brand activations at this arts festival as well as tacos and whiskey and beer, but I also remember saying the folks, like the assumption that tech is just going to create goodness in the world, we got to stop that. Could we could actually be accelerating bad things in the world? You know at scale and codifying our history instead of forcing history into our future or under the guise of machine learning. If what we teach those mushy, is all of our mistakes and our biases and all that kind of stuff, and and now that that's a common perspective, you in tech, but in twenty sixteen we're just kind of entering the the discordant skeptical realm about what might happen with all this russian and the season of how to citizen is a follow up to that
it's a what else. Can we do you? What else can we build who's out here? Not yet yakking, all over our commons, you are creating something, if not perfect, at least more perfect and helping us be more of a union not just in the US, but kind of just as human beings all over the world. It's been a. I needed that season to remind me that it's not all like insurrection and Nazis out there and teen depression and body shaming that there is so much more good. We can still do and in the future, history is not yet written. He could not agree more here. I'm in that same need for that It's been a few years ago, I used to host a show called forward. Thinking in the whole premise was that it was an optimistic view of the few
sure, largely through the lens of technology, and talking about the the promise of tax or the potential of tack and through that optimistic lens, and I do largely consider myself an optimist. I just unfortunately, a monopoly to also feels like I've been put through the ringer for the burn happening, yeah and and yeah you, you think back like I've heard you speak about this too, like I also was an early active participant on the internet. I was in college when the world wide web became a thing, and I thought I'd never going to take Telnet do that. Oh, I want to hug you right now and I met my through telnet that's how I met my wife, wow yeah. Not many people that began Miller through a tell net chat, room and the others. I thought the whole web thing like it takes forever for them.
page. I never got just stick to this. Prompts the situation in a man's line, injury Universe ever the slashed. He is my friend That's me do anything but yeah listening to that like when we cast our minds back to that and we think about the potential of of what we were seeing and this idea of a platform that could allow for instantaneous global communication and collaboration, as well as things like commerce down the line once that Friction was lifted. Every one was sure that the internet was going to solve all problems, including eliminate conflict because now suddenly
There would not be these barriers to communication, ignoring places like China and North Korea, even if that bravoes, where the old, true everywhere else and m and the course it didn't turn out that way. But it it's not a big surprise. I mean I look now at the landscape. I look at something like like Facebook, not just matter, but the specific platform of maize and one which is supposed to be this. This globalized social network that connects for parents and grandparents hm. Well, yeah, we're we're, listen, you and I are of a certain think, I'm two years older than you are so but yeah. If I look at that- and I think well of course that didn't turn into a really you know benevolent and useful tool that has nothing but good in it. It started, or at least it evolved out of a project that was ultimately about
rating the appearance of female students at Harvard Face Face: oh yeah, age, old, human space reading, which always brings out the best in our species? yes, you can have huge expectations as a guess what I'm getting at you, but the promise is still there right. The promise that we could have this democracy guys approach that removes barriers that traditionally stood in the way of people connecting to each other or people connecting to a career or people connecting to contributing to their communities that still there. It's it's easy to lose sight of that, because we ve seen all the bad. But I love that your podcast is looking at specific cases where people are making substantive changes to provide this. This opportunity to actually use Tec to make real benefits to
all over the world and one of the the ways we've been asking that question it slows down the process. Tech is often about speed and efficiency and and results, but not necessarily with a very clear question like results for what faster at what I'm so faster at extracting value to generate advertising revenue, cool, faster, read, dismantling in a social ties or respect for various types of community interests, yes or crashing it at that. But if, if the question is baked a little differently and it's about creating a the community, if it's about citizen as a verb, which is kind of the premise of our show, it's like what, if what, if tech didn't make it harder to citizen but made it easier
then you got after what did it mean to sit at that? That sounds very, very cool, very abstract, very hard to pin down, and so we we try to define our terms and repeat, So citizen means you show up and participate so like do these technologies allow people to show up and participate in their various circles of community, to citizen to to invest in relationships with yourself with others the the planet around you do these tools and platforms that help us get in touch our cells. Do they help us connects with other people and our relationship fashion that just a transaction? Do they eliminate this mythical separation between us in nature or create greater distance at the third and of the four? Is that data helps us understand power to citizen his understand your power money and presents an idea is in physical strength, but also communication string and attention, and in particular those who does this,
Knowledge Strip, us of our powers or make us further aware of and capable of wielding our power and then the last of these four nicely balanced pillars is at the two citizen is to prioritize and take account for the collective interest, not just the individual self interest, and so, if you're doing all that previous stuff, just the individual self, your finely tuned. It was social path and you could be very well funded by venture capital and go up into the right on all the charts. But you wouldn't be citizen it. You know you be hyper, investing it in a private life which has its place, but it it should not take up all of of the space that that we are keeping together. So here we found all these people who are doing different pieces. We found all these people who are doing different pieces of that kind of citizen in
even with a platform like a social network, building them differently with different kinds of considerations and so just a good reminder like oh yeah, we got choices, then you have to ask you know grace though we have choices Dewey. How much are we able to exercise them? What barriers standing between us and our ability to create those types of opportunities in large scale and not just have to be, could have cute demonstration projects and that's it a tough secondary question. Absolutely I have cut covered many times in the past some various projects in various stories that were incredibly exciting and inspirational, and unfortunately, also momentary
yeah that that there was no lasting effect or or presence, and that and you run the risk of it suddenly becoming something performative or that someone like me who covers tech for a lot, starts to get really. then call when I start seeing moves even moves that our sincere and earnest in their motivations. You start to question simply because you've been encountering the dark side. For too long, which is why I you, when I to season three which, by the way, everyone absolutely should We should listen to all of them, how citizen dot com, especially your audience. Your text stuff. I think you know I've listened to one of your recent episodes about the history of like web. In web to because a great time machine inside the human, if you like, the time machine element and revisiting that, whether you were present or not, there's value to it. We do a little bit of
version of that in our season three and then start chipping away at the assumptions about how a lot of this stuff needs to work, and it's kind of mobile, it ended up being a global expedition from Argentina to Spain to Taiwan. to prisons in the United States and multiple cities, and then types of in use all around is very, very cool but out of finnish. When you plug my podcast. Please contact! Oh well. I was going to say, like I love how you start with an episode where you're talking with your sister when he was beautiful. It was a beautiful conversation in such a wonderful tribute to your mother. I absolutely loved it and then you follow that up with the what I would call The text of episodes on how to citizens well was got Galloway where you are defining the problems here and was listening to that, like our man, I'm so glad that he doesn't have my job
yeah. I would I don't know what I'd be doing right now, but he does it better than I do. There's plenty of work out there for all of us manage rather drive and then and then the later episodes. You know, you're you're talking with these extraordinary people who are spearheading incredible project. And that's where I really feel that text of listeners, if you I have been listening to me for a while, and you know you ve: u, specially with the news episodes it's almost impossible to avoid the dark stuff cassettes, the stuff that tends to rise in the public consciousness. Listen to this show and get involved, because there are ways you can do that and it helps and takes a better were holding those are all things I want to see. we'll be right back with more from baritone day after these messages. I I I I I would if he were a major transit system,
with billions of passengers taking millions of trips every year. You are about to let any cyber attack slow you down, so you pay No, if I began to build a security architecture to keep your data network and applications protected now, you can tackle threat, so they don't bring you to a grinding halt and air whinstone places, including you, let's, Creed, of cyber security that keeps your business on track. Ibm. Let's, Crete, learn more ibm dot com, a quick scroll of sacks dot com as your guide to shopping the best spring fashion, you'll find curated shops that may getting dressed every day, easy brows, effortless, bohemian dresses from free people and simmer men and trending Spring Dunham styles from frame and got american plus. The latest party ready bags were sattler on
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and that's what always blows my mind is that, yes, you can act selfishly and you can excel Finally, in a way that benefits you, but when you act in a way that helps others you to benefit like that's an on everybody when situation makes you it makes. You feel good. So there's that selfishness- and it sure is something I often forget until I'm doing it and that's all yeah It feels good to be around others that feels good to do something with others. It feels good to do something for others and then igniting- maybe maybe that comes back to me in a little rule or direct way or maybe just I'm getting high off the endorphins of that kind of social hit. You have the same kind, feeling like when someone likes your posts, or shares your content online. You can, get that in up in a much healthier way through engaging with with our fellow humans,
Then you think about these sort of collective interest like how does public health for work? How does national security work? How does how does These in communities of all sizes work. We're not meant to do everything by ourselves and I think just over index to Lundy the independence. Drain and it's very american and then a western, but particularly Americans. Like me, my house, my yard, my gun, my food supplies my your system, my pool my kids, my private school, and this list of my my my my my is very little room for our and it's super inefficient Asheville be highly redundant and it's Isolating and lonely taken to such an extreme we're out here, building our own. You know is one and the city the one in societies of one then we're losing out on the benefits of even here the other people around like. What's the point
there be more than one of us if we're all going try to do the whole job as society by yourself. They also includes a lot of denial like you have to live in denial, to believe that you alone are responsible for your place and and oh and your well being yeah. It's such an unrealistic view that it it boggles my mind. I wish I was fortunate to be raised by teachers and science fiction. Authors so I came to my philosophy from a perspective of the sort, the track yeah you of this did, he, like everyone, contributes and everyone's important, and if you, if you deny that, if you think somehow that you are more important than everyone else, nothing, but faster awaits you and and there's there's a denial is a really good name. king of one of the the challenges of that kind of thinking, I think fear is another component of it where
yeah, we operate out of a sense of being afraid of others, and so we must do this for ourselves, because we can't trust someone else. The be there for us and there's reasons for the denial you know educate. Some of us are educated to believe we are better than others and don't need them. These reasons for the fear in a way we We receive a lot of messaging and even have had personal experiences which would trigger that. It's not an outlandish. You know it's, it's not inexplicable, but I think it is ultimately self destructive for most of us to to live extreme extreme in that way, so ll find finding people in this little pocket of the world whores or asking some different questions, violence and different answers and say, okay. So what if we made a social network, that didn't give everyone on day zero. on the powers of the network at once. What if you
gradually unlocked these features over, time after being more carefully and considerately on boarded into the community. What you mean? I can't just start d people right off the bat and Breton million from from the first when I sign up well Oh that's, that's good, that's all why would you do that? ok well, maybe, if you're, not under the pressure of returning year, ten x, the financial investment to people who already hundred x, the money they were born with you would have time to consider that and build a community optimizing that, instead of just maximum noise and so yeah, we had this. Your back rainy, Lgbtq plus activist S, Royal Shafi, she's one of the people who, I think everybody. It's hard pick a favorite, but I just in this moment, given that you mentioned Facebook,
that there's more than one way there me different ways to build networks and communities and we've just done is copy pasting thing and Facebook in particular, has just done the like copy paste with with innovations from others, but speed beats. Speed is costing us in some other ways and in the speed of enabling people to behave in certain ways without having any connection to the community there heart of. Yet it's like going to your first day as a freshman in high school. You just like you're running the pep rally, you're the president of the class, your we're in charge of discipline. That's way too much power too quickly, yeah. I I have so much of what you say resonates with me. I think back to some of the smaller forums that I participated in early on in the internet and how fundamentally different they were
like it felt like a community of people, usually was centered around something specific which helped like an interest in exactly a movie or comic. Yeah hey shout out to all my fellow former Buffy, the vampire Slayer Bronze members now was part of the bra What I also haven't you met out revealing a lot of personal stuff. On this episode, and that so do you in that first episode of season three yeah, so I think that's good but yeah. I I completely find that inspiring. I love the idea of social networks that truly are social right and build toward that and and help people avoid traps like the fact that a lot of folks fall into a sort of tribalism stick experience online.
That you have these echo chambers that you have you have these these environments, that they don't just allow for the noise they don't just allow for the flame war, the platform itself is dependent upon that activity means annoys. They need the flame wars there, the flame wars for fuel, their growth, pretty much a literal sense, yeah, there's another looking back at that season, something haven't thought as much about but given who you are and where you sit the way we for now, the rhythms it as a huge impact on our sense of reality and truth And most of us are not aware of them, so we we think we're making choices. Actually now that the choice set is pre determined by
a series of machines guided by humans who tell us who we are before we have a chance to become who we may be meant as though just even if you're, like an independent minded person, if free will- and rugged individualism, hard to be that, when your subservient to him teen telling you who you are before you get to be, who you are, and so there's folks working on cleaning the datasets that power, these algorithms and just in a level of insight into like. Oh, that was just a garbage mailing list at some aboard the dark web. Maybe we shouldn't use that to determine who has access to healthcare? How interesting or you know, my favorite example is forbidden to Risa Hodge, whose formerly a car surrounded and was very frustrated by folks, with felony records that being able to get employment after they serve their time, because various algorithm say they're, not trustworthy
nobody's gonna get caught me. I still maintain most humans are criminals. Technically, but there's a lot of laws that we're breaking on a constant basis. Most of us are not under constant surveillance to be busted, and many of us who are busted have access to a level of resource to get out of there. Get that explain, It is slap on the wrist just get a warning see out here able to learn from the error and then proceed as society, but but a subset of us get caught up and then punished forever, and so she came with and another algorithm that employers could use to consider Someone is really a risky bet in terms of hiring an, and it takes a lot more data points into consideration, cause it's defined by people. Who've experienced that particular time and so you're putting people who are close to the problem in the driver seat to help co create the solution And if it there was no assumption of vindictiveness,
ill will right this is it about putting king companies, but it's also about no longer punishing people, who've already been punished and then locking their ability to contribute productively for all of us like we would all benefit from those folks having gainful employment. So it's you know. It doesn't mean like no more algorithms ever. I think that ship has sailed how will we algorithm in whose involved in crafting them? In what oversight we at what goes into them, who makes them how they affect the world. We have so much more choice in that We we have realized many of us. You just sit kind of dormant. Like a ghost, and we can do oh well that they already Computers go to compute. They must, I must know better, it's like. Oh, they know what we tell them to know and we can still have an influence on that. So I just thought: okay, people are not expecting to hear this form
incarcerated black woman coming up with algorithms selling them two employers to help them hire people better. What that is, and that's the same kind of story that would be on the cover of INC magazine. You know or have a fast company magazine of a Forbes, but we don't hear it as often as the I made an app called you I and that the alone is a crime. Should be punishable severely. and over and over again, not the color now the one of the co founders. I don't remember both their names near one name is always gonna. Stick with me for ever and ever and ever because it was Brooks, buffering, tend the third. And how do you forget it im like? No that's an incredible name? That's an incredible, Brooks Buffington, the third. I shouldn't really y'all calling them out. I live in Atlanta, Still in Atlanta Running businesses and stuff, I mean I'm burning bridges, this, but that ever and you know I don't know what you get is doing with its return. Maybe they have regular it out and it is. We are in a way
the different world from twenty. Sixteen in in so many ways, so, let's, let's assume des as we have grown so have day and- and you can just marvel at the amazing name that is Brooks Buffington. Contender third yeah phenomenal. I like that. I, like that perspective, we've got more conversation coming up with baritone day after this short break. I I I I I I I would if he were a major transit with billions of passengers taking millions of trips every year you want about to let any cybertext slow you down, so you When was IBM to build a security architecture to keep your data network and applications protected. Now you can tackle threats, so they don't bring you to a grinding halt and
we were going places, including you, let's create cyber security that keeps your business on track idea. Let's create learn more at I b m dot com, a quick scroll of Saks dot com is your guide to shopping the best spring fashion, you'll find curated shops that make getting dressed everyday, easy browse, effortless, bohemian dresses from free people and Zimmerman and Trending spring denim styles from frame and get american plus the latest party ready bags from Saint Laurent, Valentino, their new arrivals weekly from the top designers. You love and new emerging names on sacks dot com. You can show for everything you need for spring now and pay later with Carnea plus you also get free shipping and free returns every day unseen ex dot com. Millions of Americans are getting back to work, Careerbuilder calls it the great rehire and we want to help you get the best jobs. Before everyone else caribbean. there gives you the competitive edge to get the job you want
The salary you want with the benefits he wants, we even send job alert. So your perfect job lens right in your inbox a career builder dot com today or get left with whatever jobs are left, find your next job fast, a career builder, dot com. I love hearing about these stories. This is the sort of it's like nourishment for the soul. Is the the ball? What I needed in order to kind of just rock everything that's going on and not no fall into that little puddle in the corner. It's like despair. Little here we small and helpless and when the things are wrong, but not knowing how to write them. The and feeling like. The the snowball is already so large that no one's ever going to stop it. It's it's going to wipe out the village we're just waiting to see when it happens.
These are the stories that remind me, that's not that's not case. That's not the narrative you I tend to abstract too much the concept of companies being these monolithic things that somehow existed on their own. In fact, they are at the the construction of people. Actual human beings made these and and if by forgetting that you start to just me, I do it all. The time you start to ascribe motivations, two things that are not themselves really an entity, it's a collection that was built by whom, be angry. It's even possible that the motivations that you're, recognizing or never consciously in any of those human beings mind. But it's manifested that way and I think that's healthy to make those realization because then you can say I listen, I'm not! I'm not gonna necessarily lay blame on anyone here, for
for maliciously approaching this situation, but we still have to reckon with the consequences and to adjudicate to decide. Are these things we want? Are they positive are they helpful or are they things we can do without are things we can change here so that we get more positive outcomes and more supportive outcomes? And that's really, though, the take away. I get from your show. What do I think the most glowing review? I can give five. Cars. We got the five stars mission accomplished in a retire from podcasting. I think, please know I need more, I need more. I need more. I need like endless number of seasons. More is coming more is coming yeah,
to come a wrap this up? I want to just fire sort of talk with you about some some random little things like do. You have any favours, like. I know you talk a lot about technological memories in Europe, that's what do you have any like favorite standouts like things where either something clicked for you or you encountered a technology for the first time, just the sort of sense of wonder discovery yeah, so there's a! I don't think that we put this in how to citizen this would be a pseudo exclusive. I definitely mention that publicly, but not often so in so in graduated high school, one thousand nine hundred and ninety five. To situate. You in in my timeline- and we got an internet connection at that school in probably ninety ninety one, possibly ninety, and always on, can t one level connection. So I was there
around in unix and coding, and see poorly and bopping gopher servers in usenet servers and finding gateways into public libraries, and I was the work for the student newspaper at the time and a friend of mine had been expelled from school. So these three facts converged friend I felt who was unjustly expelled from the school, his family sued our school, and there was a court case involved and I was called as a witness. To this court case and court cases create a lot of public documentation. Most people in the school did not know about this. Lawsuit enter my new internet skills, and so I start a fake email address called the informant at knowledge dot com. One of my prouder, I was like deep throat it in a and, and I figured out your males
where's, were very, shall we say porous at that time in our history and so If you knew the right keyboard commands, you could interact with a mail server as if you were a mail, client and ill have the rights and tat in the right order, and so I kind of logged in to this mail server at Yale University. Minerva. That says, TAT, Yale, dot Edu, I'm sure they battened down those ports at this stage, and so I used a launch to my attack from Yale, even though at the computer lab in Washington DC at Sidwell friends, and I crafted a message to my fellow newspaper editors cause. I didn't want my fingerprints on it and I wanted them to kind of independently decide. This is worth talking about with But I feel like a favor to me or without being coloured by any attitude toward me at all, because I was clearly close to the personally been expelled. They might It's it. You know all you trying to get your friend back in school, so
alerted them to the fact I gave them like the docket number that they could look up in the court system and they ended up no telling the story you know of this lawsuit, which triggered political action on campus and meetings and all kinds of stuff, but the the ability to influence in that way to discover a form of power. I didn't like hack to the mail server to destroy it. I didn't even create fake information with a tie had created a fake header technically, but trying to raise awareness of an issue from my relatively meager position. It wasn't a trustee, wasn't a faculty member, it wasn't apparent, but I was an interested and affected party by this and I thought it affected all of us. I felt powerful in the moment I felt like I did more than I thought I could and it just felt kind of cool, and I didn't tell anyone
for years. I just kept my mouth shut. I'm like I don't know what the statute of limitations is. I don't know if that was technically a crime, I'm not trying to go to jail, for my friend I'm like I like them a lot, but you know he's still. He wasn't incarcerated. He just had to go to a different school, so measuring all of that, but also just that though, the moment of realising that I could communicate. Through machines in this way, and not just for the sake of communicating with machines but for the sake of affecting I Rl Universe that I inhabited that was significant moment in in my technology life in my life overall I also like to imagine, although I know it's not the case, it's why you had to go to Harvard Casual was gonna, be like oh, no.
Well, I didn't riddled actually laughter that you don't do. I would you I were securely seriously. Let you let it child if you hate your tech infrastructure imperative and they come on child. Just just compromised authentication company. People shouldn't shouldn't be dependent on that one surfaced. Yeah yeah, though I will go down that road, but yeah but I love that story to it. It speaks to me about sort of the the the pure hacker ethos, right idea of understanding. L systems work. occasionally you, that knowledge to have systems do something that they weren't necessarily meant to do. Not not. It doesn't have to malicious. It doesn't have to be criminal. It doesn't have to be destructive of
from hacker obviously gets thrown around a lot in a very sinister way, but we understand those of us who have ever can have put her hand to it. It's more about that that innate curiosity of how does this thing work and once you understand how it works like? Oh, I wonder if it could also do this. Other thing that is not designed to do here and dumb, and that I feel is, is something that we need to encourage, but unfortunately, just the the term hacker has got such a stigma again. it that I feel a lot of people immediately make judgments as soon as they hear the term being thrown around yeah they'll make look at we. We always need folks who are going to push things, and sometimes most of us don't appreciate it Why that person over there pushing things I like to just the way they are. and we find out. You know who we are through that process, and I call I guess we don't have to always do it.
Way now forging YE males is it like. I, The thing that I want all of us to be doing that the the lesson is more metaphorical, but you know being able to find your voice being able to express it caring enough about. You know a situation to try to influence other people's perception, or even awareness of that situation mean that's the same thing that drives something much bigger like a me too, or a black lives matter. Read it's just and you see all kinds of social media usage to amplify awareness, of situations as well. As you see, sort of secure, journalistic communications and very anonymize tore based trot file file drop services. to allow folks in,
Second position to still hold power accountable in some way, specially in like regimes that don't allow anything approaching the level of freedom, free expression we have in the US that's super important work and will continue to be so. I suspect, for as long as we have more than one person on the planet. I agree and then we're even seeing it if you go one step removed from the tech itself were saying it in the tech companies as where we're watching, growing movement among employees organization. That's right, I mean the Iheart Podcast Union form not long ago, and that was really exciting and the it in efforts at Amazon, we're seeing it and efforts at parts of Activision Blizzard, yeah yeah this. This is a really exciting time from that perspective too, because I see this this growing understanding that the the
balance has been out of lack for far too long and that it has been benefiting far too few people in the process, and I feel like we're getting too, maybe not a full correction but we're at least reckoning with it and I'm hopeful to see. Continue. Like that's another one, those trends, I'm excited to be alive to see that, because we were also here today. We also growing up in the Reagan era, when a lot of those systems were dismantled, that's right! Yet the way that workers we have an episode us the three shall we, what Wang focused on not just workers, organizing around better compensation, better benefits that those typical contract
firms but organizing around their own sense of power and purpose and technical Silicon Valley. Employees are highly valued financially and yet there are starting to recognise the limits of financial recognition of their value. And what do I want to be doing with my power and and expanding the lens on what a technology worker is. You know if you drive for uber, eats you're, also a technology worker and you're. Just letting people claim that language for themselves and gig workers, gig workers, gig, that's pretty dismissive unintentionally, I think, but it has a consequence of minimizing the labor of some diseases, and if you can build a bridge between the powder and the driver had a code or in the courier there. You ve just magnified your community and your potential power, and once we change who we relate to
All kinds of new things are possible, so weakening that's happening to that's not just about contract terms and as much looser and broader and, and I think, potentially even more powerful, though contract terms very much matter has I feel the same. I don't want to keep you any longer, because I am a very cognizant of your time, but I could check IRAN about all these things for hours and die. Every time. I'm like no, no, stop, stop! Stop Jonathan Chet Chatty, Cathy, Let you going to let it in here you can have, can the show some future point? If you want to come back and you yes, I will. I will happily come back. That's an easy easy! Yes, thank you. I would love to have you have you back on this? Oh absolutely I mean you're a busy man, so we will talk when you've got time to breathe and and
engage in life in a meaningful way. I don't want anyone to be like all. I gotta get back our job and show I can't you know, go outside and smell the flowers, but none of that but thank you so much for joining the the show. This has been a truly enjoyable conversation. As it has been for me as well. Thank you for taking me back to south by southwest two twenty, sixteen back to high which is not always a pleasant recitation, because in high school when everyone knows what that means generally unpleasant time and our lives and yeah you for what you're doing with your show, to explain why all this stuff matters even to some to be what it is, because I think it such an important centre of power and community and creativity. It's it's not just text F anymore, but it seems this this Loca, so you ve been at this for a while, and I appreciate what you mean
Shipping is excellent, and, while the show is how to citizen it's available anywhere, you get pod casts it's. You absolutely have to listen to it. I guarantee, after one episode, you'll be hot and you'll just bench them do it on. Yeah you know, and if you like me, you, then you gonna listen to them at half speed, because you don't want it to end listen to the man, a speed! I have I've never heard of any I've. Only Some people, including myself, who accelerate the play there are two ladys celebrate the playback jurist Those can be so packed with such important stuff I don't want to miss any of it. This is a good note. Maybe we should spread it out a little bit yeah. Well. Thank you again. I look forward to having you back and I look forward to my listeners checking you show so do I thank you for having me enjoy your day and the rest of your podcasting and beyond life
again to bear it and day for joining the show, I could have taught with him for hours. I think those pretty clear and the episode and he probably would have. Let me because he's a nice guy but you know I should not manner is anyone's time, including yours, dear listeners, so I'll leave you with this. His show how to sit. is in fact available on all podcasting platforms. I really do urge you to go out and listen to it, particularly if you've ever yourself wondering what can one person do that can make a difference. I know that there have been times where I felt kind of lost and helpless. and that the problems are just so big that there's I think I can really do to make a difference and, and it it's really discouraging, what turns there actually are a lot of ways that you can make a difference and his podcast kind of folk It says on that, in a way that you know it's actionable
highly recommend you check it out, especially if you need to pick me up They they do tackle some tough problems on that show. But it's with that sort of optimistic view always a goal of doing better, and I really admire that. If you have suggestions for topics I should cover on, represents a tech, stuff or even guests. I should invite on the show. Please reach out to me the best way to do that is over on twitter. The Don't for the show is taxed stuff H S, W, Talk to you again really soon. the tech. Stuff is, heart radio production for more pie. ass. For my heart, radio visit the I heart radio app apple podcasts
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Transcript generated on 2022-04-07.