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Hard Fork

New York Times

“Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp


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“Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp




Google DeepMind C.E.O. Demis Hassabis on the Path From Chatbots to A.G.I.

This week’s episode is a conversation with Demis Hassabis, the head of Google’s artificial intelligence division. We talk about Google’s latest A.I. models, Gemini and Gemma; the existential risks of artificial intelligence; his timelines for artificial general intelligence; and what he thinks the world will look like post-A.G.I. Additional listening and reading: A.I. Could Solve Some of Humanity’s Hardest Problems. It Already Has.criticism of images the chatbot generated of people of color in Nazi-era uniformsGoogle Is Giving Away Some of the A.I. That Powers ChatbotsWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


The State of A.I. + Will Perplexity Beat Google or Destroy the Web?

A year ago, a chatbot tried to break up Kevin Roose’s marriage. Ever since, chatbots haven’t been the same. We’ll tell you how. Then, we’ll talk through the latest ways the world is adapting to artificial intelligence. And finally, Aravind Srinivas, the chief executive of Perplexity, will discuss his company’s “answer engine,” a challenger to Google’s search engine that could reshape the web as we know it. Today’s guest: Additional Reading: The Year Chatbots Were TamedOpenAI Gives ChatGPT a Better ‘Memory’Google Releases Gemini, an A.I.-Driven Chatbot and Voice AssistantSam Altman Seeks Trillions of Dollars to Reshape Business of Chips and AILawmakers propose anti-nonconsensual AI porn bill after Taylor Swift controversySarah Silverman’s lawsuit against OpenAI partially dismissedCan This A.I.-Powered Search Engine Replace Google? It Has for Me.We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok. .


Bluesky’s Big Bet + Are Deals Dead in Silicon Valley?

Bluesky, the Twitter spin-off, is now open for public sign-ups. Can its dreams of decentralization fix social media? We talk with CEO Jay Graber. Then, New York Times reporter Erin Griffith on how Adobe’s failed acquisition of Figma has spooked tech companies and upset Silicon Valley’s startup pipeline. And finally, updates on ancient scrolls and artificial intelligence, Google’s chatbots, and the fight between record companies and TikTok. Today’s guests: Additional Reading: What Is Bluesky and Why Are People Clamoring to Join It?After Its $20 Billion Windfall Evaporated, a Start-Up Picks Up the PiecesFirst passages of rolled-up Herculaneum scroll revealedGoogle Releases Gemini, an A.I.-Driven Chatbot and Voice AssistantUniversal Music Group Pulls Songs From TikTokWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


We Tried the Apple Vision Pro + Can Congress Protect Kids Online? + Cruise’s Crash

Apple’s Vision Pro headset is now for sale in stores. Will it live up to the hype? Kevin Roose and Casey Newton tried it out to see. Then, in a high-profile congressional hearing on child safety and social media, Mark Zuckerberg, the Meta chief executive, made an apology to families of victims of online child abuse. Is new legislation on the horizon? And finally, what the collapse of Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company, means for the future of self-driving cars. Additional Reading: Apple readies its Vision‘Your Product Is Killing People’: Tech Leaders Denounced Over Child SafetyCruise Says Hostility to Regulators Led to Grounding of Its Autonomous CarsWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


Mediapocalypse Now + a16z’s Chris Dixon Defends Crypto + HatGPT

Layoffs are hitting newsrooms and publishers again, as tech platforms, ad markets and artificial intelligence reshape the internet. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton have ideas for solutions. Then, one of the most influential investors in crypto companies lays out where the industry went wrong, and why he still thinks blockchains are the future. And finally, a round of HatGPT with the week’s tech headlines, including a spicy LinkedIn post and an A.I. test that disturbs Kevin and Casey’s sense of reality. Today’s guest: Chris Dixon, partner at Andreessen Horowitz Additional Reading: Los Angeles TimesSports IllustratedPitchfork is being wrapped into GQRead Write Own: Building the Next Era of the Internet,” by Chris DixonTest Yourself: Which Faces Were Made by A.I.?We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


The AI Election + Bitcoin’s Wall Street Debut + TikTok’s Doodad Era

OpenAI has released its plan to fight disinformation in elections in 2024, but will its policies be consequential compared to those of other generative A.I. companies? Then, a watershed moment had crypto fans celebrating for the first time in maybe more than a year. And finally, what one writer’s attempt to sell a used mechanical pencil on TikTok says about how the platform is changing. Today’s guests: Additional Reading: How OpenAI is approaching 2024 worldwide elections$4 Billion of New Bitcoin Funds Change Hands in First Trading DayWhat I Learned Selling a Used Pencil on TikTok ShopWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


Why Casey Left Substack + Elon’s Drug Use + A.I. Antibiotic Discovery

Casey is taking his newsletter Platformer off Substack, as criticism over the company’s handling of pro-Nazi content grows. Then, The Wall Street Journal spoke with witnesses who said that Elon Musk had used LSD, cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms, worrying some directors and board members of his companies. And finally, how researchers found a new class of antibiotics with the help of an artificial intelligence algorithm used to win the board game Go. Today’s guests: Additional Reading: leaving Substackused illegal drugsdiscoveredWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


The Times Sues OpenAI + A Debate Over iMessage + Our New Year’s Tech Resolutions

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft last week for copyright infringement. Kevin Roose and Casey Newton walk through the lawsuit and discuss the stakes for news publishers. Then, they talk about Apple’s “walled garden,” which is facing threats from both regulators and 16-year-olds. Finally, we set our tech resolutions for the new year. Today’s guest: Eric Migicovsky, co-founder of Beeper Additional Reading: sued latest headacheWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


Our 2024 Predictions + Jenny Slate Answers Your Hard Questions!

Last year, we predicted what 2023 in tech would look like. This week, we take a look back at those predictions, see what we got right and wrong, and make new ones for 2024. Then, the actor, comedian and writer Jenny Slate joins us to answer your Hard Questions. We want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


Google’s Epic Loss + Silicon Valley’s Curious New Subculture + How 2023 Changed the Internet

A jury decided the Google Play store unfairly stifles competition and maintains a monopoly. Kevin and Casey discuss how the ruling could reshape the digital economy. Then, a growing movement of developers and enthusiasts of artificial intelligence want the technology developed as quickly as possible, even if it has negative consequences for humanity. And finally, why the internet of the future could look totally different. Today’s guest: Cloudflare CEO and co-founder Matthew Prince. Additional Reading: won its lawsuitEffective Accelerationismbiggest changesWe want to hear from you. Email us at hardfork@nytimes.com. Find “Hard Fork” on YouTube and TikTok.


Google's Next Top Model + Will the Cybertruck Crash? + This Week in A.I.

Warning: This episode contains some explicit language. Google’s new artificial intelligence model ‘Gemini’ is out. It’s advertised as America’s next top A.I. model. Kevin and Casey ask, is it really better than OpenAI’s GPT-4? Then, by some estimates millions of people pre-ordered Tesla’s Cybertruck, but has Elon Musk’s recent behavior soured people on the brand? And finally, more A.I. news you may have missed. Additional Reading: chasingmassively successfulwine fraudsevere hallucinationsblocked a promptA.I. watching Twitch streams


What’s Next for OpenAI + Binance Is Binanceled + A.I. Is Eating the Internet

Warning: This episode contains some explicit language. The drama at OpenAI is not over. Kevin and Casey take stock of new information they’ve gathered since last week, and look at how other artificial intelligence companies are trying to capitalize on the debacle. Then, why people are still buying cryptocurrency even after Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its founder pleaded guilty to money laundering violations. And finally, three ways A.I. is ruining web search. Or is it? Today’s guest: David Yaffe-Bellany covers crypto for The New York Times. Additional Reading: Casey has new details from the OpenAI board fight. Changpeng Zhao, the Binance founder, agreed to pay a $50 million fine and step down from his role as chief executive.


(Yet Another) Emergency Pod: Sam Altman Is Back

In yet another head-spinning twist at OpenAI, Sam Altman was reinstated as the company’s chief executive on Tuesday night, a mere five days after the OpenAI board had fired him. The board will be overhauled and a new set of directors, including Bret Taylor and Lawrence Summers, will join. Today, we discuss how Altman returned to the top seat — and whether the OpenAI news will ever slow down. Additional Reading: reinstated as OpenAI’s chief executive


Mayhem at OpenAI + Our Interview With Sam Altman

Last week, we interviewed Sam Altman. Since then, well, everything has changed. The board of OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT, fired Altman as chief executive on Friday. Over the weekend, it looked as if he might return. On Sunday night, Microsoft hired Altman to lead a new A.I. venture. Who knows what will happen next. Today, an update on a crazy weekend in tech, and our interview with Sam Altman. Today’s Guest: Additional Reading: Microsoft hired Sam Altmanwinners and losers


Emergency Pod: Sam Altman is Out at Open AI

Sam Altman, the chief executive of Open AI, was pushed out of the company by its board of directors on Friday. The news was a complete shock to much of the company’s employee base and to its largest corporate partner, Microsoft. Silicon Valley insiders are scrambling to get answers on exactly what happened and why the board’s decision seemed so abrupt. We rundown what we know and the many things we still don’t.


An A.I. Pin Drops + YouTube’s Take on Deepfakes + A Lab-Grown Thanksgiving

The tech start-up Humane launched a new device, an A.I. pin meant to be worn on our clothing. Might this be the device that replaces the iPhone? It’s the question on Silicon Valley’s mind. The pin allows users to take phone calls, catch up on messages and get answers to questions, all without ever looking at a screen. Then, why YouTube is bucking the trend on deepfakes. Plus: We eat a Thanksgiving meal made with meat that was grown in a lab. Today’s Guest: Additional Reading: replace screensnext generation of hardwarelatest approach to deepfakes.


Personalized GPTs Are Here + F.T.C. Chair Lina Khan on A.I. Competition + Mayhem at Apefest

Warning: this episode contains some explicit language. OpenAI has unveiled a new way to build custom chatbots. Kevin shows off a few that he’s built – including a custom Hard Fork bot, and a bot that gives investment advice inspired by his late grandpa. Then, we talk to Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, about the agency’s approach to regulating A.I., and whether the tactics she’s used to regulate big tech companies are working. And finally, a Bored Ape Yacht Club event left some attendees' eyes burning, literally. That, and Sam Bankman-Fried’s recent fraud conviction has us asking, how much damage hath the crypto world wrought? Today’s guest: Additional reading: new toolsbelievesMore than 20 people reported burning eye pain after a Bored Ape Yacht Club party in Hong Kong.


Casey Goes to the White House + The Copyright Battle Over Artificial Intelligence + HatGPT

President Biden’s new executive order on artificial intelligence has a little bit of everything for everyone concerned about A.I. Casey takes us inside the White House as the order was signed. Then, Rebecca Tushnet, a copyright law expert, walks us through the latest developments in a lawsuit against the creators of A.I.-image generation tools. She explains why artists may have trouble making the case that these tools infringe on their copyrights. And finally, it’s time again for HatGPT. We get a taste of the tech headlines you may have missed from the week. Today’s guest: Rebecca TushnetAdditional reading: debriefbreakdowndefective


The People vs. Meta + Marques Brownlee on YouTube and Future Tech + DALL-E 3 Arrives

Dozens of state attorneys general has sued Meta, alleging the company knowingly created features that induce “extended, addictive, and compulsive social media use” among teenagers and children. In a country without wide-reaching internet regulations, are lawsuits the way to reign tech companies in? Then, for our first episode on YouTube, we talk with YouTuber and tech reviewer Marques Brownlee about how the platform has changed, and the future tech he’s excited about. And finally, A.I. image generators are getting scary good. Casey tells us what he’s been using them for. Today’s guest: Marques BrownleeAdditional reading: accusedYouTubequickly


Peering Into A.I.’s Black Box + Who’s The Real Techno-Optimist? + Reading Ancient Scrolls With A.I.

A.I. models are black boxes. You input a prompt and the model outputs nearly anything: a sonnet, an image or a legal brief riddled with lies. Today, a look at three ways that researchers are unlocking that black box in hopes of bringing transparency to A.I. Then, Marc Andreessen’s techno-optimist manifesto has left us asking, Is he OK?! Plus: decoding a 2,000-year-old ancient scroll with the help of A.I. Today’s Guest: Additional Information: how A.I. worksmanifestosurvived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius