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Wired Business - Spoken Edition

Business & Economics Podcasts

Get in-depth coverage of business news and trends at WIRED including technology, startups, and Silicon Valley. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com

Get in-depth coverage of business news and trends at WIRED including technology, startups, and Silicon Valley. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com


United States


Get in-depth coverage of business news and trends at WIRED including technology, startups, and Silicon Valley. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com




AI, the Transcription Economy, and the Future of Work

Gabriel is a professional transcriber, and for years he earned a middle-class living. In the early 2000s he'd make up to $40 an hour transcribing corporate earnings calls. He'd sit at his desk, “knock it out” for hours using custom keystrokes, and watch the money roll in. “I sent my son to private schools and university on transcribing,” he tells me. “It was a nice life.” But in the past decade, the bottom fell out.


This Social Network Wants to Pay You (in Crypto) to Do Good

Last June, at a swanky, strobe-lit event in Washington, DC, Brendan Blumer, the 33-year-old CEO of a blockchain company called Block.one, unveiled a new product with Steve Jobs-like theatrics: a social network called Voice. A year earlier, Blumer’s company had raised $4 billion selling a crypto token called EOS. It was, by far, the largest-ever initial coin offering—more money than just about any US initial public offering that year.


Airbnb Has Devoured London. Here’s the Data to Prove It

The number of Airbnb listings in London has quadrupled in the last four years as more and more of the city’s housing stock has been gobbled up by short-term rental companies. As of May 2019, 80,770 properties in London were listed on Airbnb, with a staggering 23 percent, or 11,200, of these thought to be in breach of a legal 90-day limit in the capital.


Why the FTC Wants to Revisit Hundreds of Deals by Big Tech

When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014, many observers scratched their heads. The smaller messaging platform had annual revenues in the low tens of millions. How could it be worth so much? Soon enough, however, Facebook’s logic became clear. While little noticed in the US, WhatsApp was already a juggernaut overseas, with hundreds of millions of users. In countries where Facebook was not as popular, the acquisition gave Mark Zuckerberg’s company an immediate foothold.


Sony Envisions an AI-Fueled World, From Kitchen Bots to Games

In 1997, Hiroaki Kitano, a research scientist at Sony, helped organize the first Robocup, a robot soccer tournament that attracted teams of robotics and artificial intelligence researchers to compete in the picturesque city of Nagoya, Japan. At the start of the first day, two teams of robots took to the pitch. As the machines twitched and surveyed their surroundings, a reporter asked Kitano when the match would begin. “I told him it started five minutes ago!” he says with a laugh.


Judge Rules That T-Mobile Can Acquire Sprint

You’ll likely have one less choice for mobile service soon. Last year, nine states and the District of Columbia filed suit to block T-Mobile's $26.5 billion acquisition of Sprint. Tuesday, a federal judge ruled against the states, allowing the merger to move forward. The deal still needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, but it's not clear if the commission can actually block the deal.


Europe Limits Government by Algorithm. The US, Not So Much

One evening last June, residents from the Hillesluis and Bloemhof neighborhoods on the south side of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, crowded into a community room at their local playground. Many wore headscarves and some arrived after a protest march from a local mosque. The residents had assembled to learn more about a government system called SyRI that had quietly flagged thousands of people in their low-income communities to investigators as more likely to commit benefits fraud.


The UK Exited the EU—and Is Leaving a 'Meme Ban' Behind

Article 13—a controversial piece of copyright legislation that is now called Article 17 but is more colloquially known as "the meme ban"—is no more, in the UK at least. Last week, the country's minister for universities and science, Chris Skidmore, confirmed that the UK will not implement the EU Copyright Directive after leaving the EU. Wired UK This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. The directive limits how copyrighted content is shared on online platforms.


How AI Is Tracking the Coronavirus Outbreak

With the coronavirus growing more deadly in China, artificial intelligence researchers are applying machine-learning techniques to social media, web, and other data for subtle signs that the disease may be spreading elsewhere. The new virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in December, triggering a global health emergency. It remains uncertain how deadly or contagious the virus is, and how widely it might have already spread. Infections and deaths continue to rise.


Who Should Control the Internet's .Org Addresses?

For decades, .org domain names have been the home for nonprofit organizations on the internet. Groups including the Red Cross, the Sierra Club, and the Heritage Foundation use them, as do many smaller, less well-known organizations. Now, the nonprofit organization in charge of .org domains could be sold to a for-profit company in a $1.1 billion deal that’s attracted protesters and the attention of California’s attorney general. The organization managing .


Jeff Weiner Updates His LinkedIn Profile

The last three and a half years haven’t been so great for social media platforms. They’ve been accused of fomenting genocide, breaking Western democracies, and abetting mass shooters. The CEOs have sweated in front of Congress, meditated deep in the forests, and deleted the very apps that made them billionaires. Amid this drama, Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, has been like a man whistling as he bikes safely beside the century’s craziest car crash.


In the Land of Big Tech Outposts, a Push for More Housing

John Elberling likes to play the long game. In 1986, when he was 40, he pushed for a ballot measure to cap office development in San Francisco, to protect the city’s character from rogue developers. The voters approved it, but it didn’t matter much, because it turned out the city didn’t need so many big offices. That is, until now. Three decades later, San Francisco is finally feeling the cap’s intended pinch—thanks to a recent influx of tech.


When ‘Ghost Kitchens’ Become Mystery Grubhub Listings

Happy Khao Thai has an address on San Francisco’s Mission Street, but don’t go there looking for a storefront. A sign on the sidewalk reading “Food pick up here” points, improbably, through the maw of a demolished theater, of which all that’s left is the marquee. Behind it, in what would have been the lobby, is a parking lot, and way in the rear—backstage, perhaps—are a pair of portable toilets and a trailer.


Alphabet Has a Second, Secretive Quantum Computing Team

In October, Google celebrated a breakthrough that CEO Sundar Pichai likened to the Wright brothers’ first flight. Company researchers in Santa Barbara, California, 300 miles from the Googleplex, had achieved quantum supremacy—the moment that a quantum computer performs a calculation impossible for any conventional computer.


Oh Sure, Big Tech Wants Regulation—on Its Own Terms

Last week, a global gaggle of billionaires, academics, thought leaders, and other power brokers gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s signature annual event. Climate change! The global economy! Health! The agenda was packed with discussion of the most pressing issues of our time. True to form, much of the musing ventured away from root causes.


AI License Plate Readers Are Cheaper—So Drive Carefully

The town of Rotterdam, New York, has only 45 police officers, but technology extends their reach. Each day a department computer logs the license plates of around 10,000 vehicles moving through and around town, using software plugged into a network of cameras at major intersections and commercial areas. “Let’s say for instance you had a bank robbed,” says Jeffrey Collins, a lieutenant who supervises the department’s uniform division.


AI Can Do Great Things—If It Doesn't Burn the Planet

Last month, researchers at OpenAI in San Francisco revealed an algorithm capable of learning, through trial and error, how to manipulate the pieces of a Rubik's Cube using a robotic hand. It was a remarkable research feat, but it required more than 1,000 desktop computers plus a dozen machines running specialized graphics chips crunching intensive calculations for several months. The effort may have consumed about 2.


How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in the Digital Age

This story is part of a series on parenting—from surveilling our teens to helping our kids navigate fake news and misinformation. What does it mean for a kid to be media literate? It sounds generally positive and important, like a good dental checkup or a flawless report card. The field is broad and definitions vary, but the main thrust of literacy education is to prepare our children to be adept at accessing, creating, and thinking critically about all types of media.


The UN Warns Against the Global Threat to Election Integrity

A new United Nations-sponsored report offers one of the most comprehensive overviews of the challenges to global electoral integrity posed by the onslaught of misinformation, online extremism, and social media manipulation campaigns, and calls for a series of reforms from platforms, politicians, and international governing bodies.


PopSockets Asks Congress to Rein in Big Tech

David Barnett, a former philosophy professor and the founder and CEO of PopSockets, says his interactions with Amazon have often amounted to “bullying with a smile.” Like many companies, PopSockets, which makes a popular plastic grip that can be attached to smartphones, discovered several years ago counterfeit versions of its products available for sale on Amazon.