Science & Technology News

GeekWire brings you the week's latest technology news, trends and insights, covering the world of technology from our home base in Seattle. Our regular news podcast features commentary and analysis from our editors and reporters, plus interviews with special guests.


Seattle, WA


GeekWire brings you the week's latest technology news, trends and insights, covering the world of technology from our home base in Seattle. Our regular news podcast features commentary and analysis from our editors and reporters, plus interviews with special guests.






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Lumen CEO Kate Johnson: Seattle tech, AI, Microsoft, and 'cloudifying' telecom

Kate Johnson is based in Denver in her role as Lumen Technologies CEO and president, but she has been spending a lot of time in the Seattle area recently, and not just because one of the local stadiums bears the company's name. Johnson sees the Seattle region an ideal test bed and proving ground for Lumen's offerings, including consumer and business broadband, voice, and data services. Yes, it helps that she has a home here, as a holdover from her prior role as Microsoft's U.S. president. But beyond that, she cites the region's importance as a major U.S. tech hub, the home of the biggest cloud platforms, a strong community of tech companies, and tech-savvy families who understand the appeal of fiber internet service. "The market is growing, and we are well-positioned to serve it," she said. "I've been spending time making sure we're making the appropriate investments, that I'm understanding our opportunities, and that we're capitalizing on them." It's part of a broader effort by Johnson and her team to reinvent the publicly traded telecommunications company, which was formed by the combination of Level 3 Communications and CenturyLink in 2017 and rebranded as Lumen in 2020. Johnson was named Lumen CEO a year ago and took over the role in November 2022. Educated as an engineer, with past experience at companies including Oracle, Red Hat, and Deloitte, Johnson is one of 53 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. She is charged with sparking new growth at a company that reported a net loss of $1.5 billion last year, after special charges, on revenue of $17.5 billion, down 11% year-over-year. In a recent podcast interview at Seattle's Lumen Field, she discussed topics including: Audio editing by Curt Milton. Hosted by Todd Bishop. See for privacy information.


Longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is our Copilot on this episode

It was a big week for Microsoft, with the unveiling of the company's latest Windows and AI features and new Surface devices at a special event in New York City on Thursday. This was preceded, by only a few days, by the surprise resignation of Panos Panay, the chief product officer in charge of the company's Windows and Devices division. Shortly after that announcement, Bloomberg News reported that Panay was set to join Amazon as the new leader of its Devices & Services division, a surprise twist that has yet to be confirmed as of publication time. To help sort it all out, we're excited to be joined on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast by someone who has covered the company for many years, journalist Mary Jo Foley, editor in chief at Related Stories Directions on Microsoft BlogMicrosoft to start selling Microsoft 365 Copilot on November 1GeekWire:‘It’s kind of like the ’90s are back’: Microsoft previews unified AI ‘Copilot’ initiativeLongtime Microsoft hardware leader Panos Panay is leaving the company after 19 yearsReport: Departing Microsoft exec Panos Panay set to lead Amazon’s Alexa and Echo businessShould Amazon be ‘pumped’ to land Panos Panay? A closer look at longtime Microsoft devices leader See for privacy information.


Human creativity and AI: Catching up with Chris Pirillo

Chris Pirillo is an entrepreneur, creator, event organizer, and online community leader who has been a guide to the world of tech for everyday users since the early days of the web. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we catch up with Chris about his latest project,, an email newsletter and monthly meetup focused on the intersection of creativity and artificial intelligence. The next CreatorTech meetup is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25, at the Microsoft Reactor in Redmond. We also discuss some of the latest AI and tech tools that Chris has been finding useful, and hear his take on corporate return-to-office mandates — spoiler alert, he's not a fan! on the new iPhone 15edited takelatest CreatorTech emailOur last GeekWire Podcast/Radio conversation With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop. Edited by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


Is Elon Musk calculated or crazed? Walter Isaacson on his new book

Our guest on this special episode is journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, whose new book about Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla founder and X (Twitter) owner, was published this week. Isaacson addresses the question of whether Musk is "calculated or crazed," as one anecdote in the book puts it; discusses Musk's role in some of the world's most vital infrastructure, including SpaceX's Starlink satellites; compares Musk's approach and style to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos; addresses Musk's outlook on artificial intelligence and space travel; and outlines the key issues that could determine Musk's legacy. With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop. Edited and produced by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


Amazon's robots and its larger vision for work

Tye Brady, chief technologist for Amazon Robotics, joins us on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast to talk about the company's latest warehouse robots, explaining how they represent the emergence of the larger vision that prompted him to join Amazon more than eight years ago. Our conversation at Amazon HQ in Seattle followed a trip by GeekWire's Todd Bishop to Austin and San Marcos, Texas, to see many of Amazon's newest autonomous robots first-hand. Related coverage: New robots are making Amazon’s warehouses more efficient — can they also make them safer?Amazon's Robots, explainedAmazon’s Sparrow is leaving the nest: Trailblazing warehouse robot is ready for a wider rolloutUp close with Amazon's Sparrow Robot See for privacy information.


Amazon is done debating return to office; Robot umps update; GeekWire Summit sneak peek

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy made it clear in a recent internal meeting that he wants employees to "disagree and commit" to the company's policy of working three days in the office, and find somewhere else to work if it doesn't work for them. We discuss the news in our first segment this week, and ponder why Amazon seems to be getting a bigger backlash than other big companies implementing similar policies. In our second segment, we consider new changes in the MLB automated ball/strike system for Triple-A games, as an update to Seattle Mariners CEO John Stanton's comments in a recent interview with our GeekWire colleague Taylor Soper. And finally, we give a sneak preview of the upcoming GeekWire Summit, scheduled for Oct. 19 at the iconic Seattle movie theater formerly known as the Cinerama. With GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop. Edited and produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell. See for privacy information.


Shift AI Podcast: Seattle's place at the center of the AI universe, with Madrona's Matt McIlwain

On this week’s GeekWire Podcast, we're featuring an episode of Shift AI, a podcast hosted by Boaz Ashkenazy, CEO of AI solutions provider Simply Augmented, with guest Matt McIlwain of Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group. A thriving tech hub requires access to ideas, people, and experiments that produce collective lessons sooner and with greater fidelity than anywhere else. This is what made the Seattle area the cloud capital of the world. It also positions the region as one of the world’s top centers of excellence for artificial intelligence. That’s one of the insights from Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, on this episode of Shift AI, a show that explores what it takes to thrive and adapt to the changing workplace in the digital age of remote work and AI. We discuss Matt’s background and experience building companies and advising founders, and get his take on the future of AI. Subscribe to ShiftAI and hear more episodes at See for privacy information.


Building an 'AI chief of staff,' with Xembly CEO Pete Christothoulou

How can startups differentiate themselves in the new era of AI? We've been discussing that question a lot recently on the GeekWire Podcast, and on this episode, we'll get a first-hand look from business and technology veteran Pete Christothoulou, who has been immersed in this world for many years. Christothoulou is the former CEO of Marchex, the call and conversational analytics company, who is now founder and CEO of Xembly, a Seattle-based startup developing AI-powered technology that replicates a chief of staff and executive assistant, automating tasks such as meeting notes, scheduling, and action items. Xembly was founded in Madrona Venture Labs nearly three years ago, long before the current mania over large language models. The company has raised $20 million from major venture capital firms and angel investors. It employs about 45 people, with customers including Salesforce, Qualtrics, and Twilio, among others. We talk about the rapid developments in AI over the past year, and take a close look at Xembly as a case study for insights into how startups can differentiate themselves in this new era of AI. In the final segment, we consider the big-picture implications of AI in the current deluge of information and the quest for meaningful productivity. Related links and resources An executive assistant for every worker: Startup’s AI takes meeting notes, follows up on email, and moreSeattle startup Xembly raises $15M for AI ‘chief of staff’ that automates tedious conversational tasksMicrosoft’s optimistic view of AI sees technology ending the drudgery of ‘digital debt’ What Happened to All of Science’s Big Breakthroughs?(New York Times)Papers and patents are becoming less disruptive over time (Nature)A Decline in Scientific Innovation?(Science) See for privacy information.


Mariners CEO and wireless pioneer John Stanton on the future of baseball

How can baseball embrace technology and new traditions while honoring its legacy and listening to its fans? Those were the questions at the heart of the Seattle Mariners CEO's conversation this week with Taylor Soper, at the GeekWire Rooftop BBQ and Mariners Day at the First Mode headquarters in Seattle. Stanton brings his experience as a longtime business and tech leader to his role with the Mariners. He also chairs Major League Baseball's competition committee, the group leading some of the biggest changes in the history of the sport, including the pitch clock that has dramatically shortened game times this year. He spoke with Taylor in the midst of a Mariners' winning streak that has since been extended to eight games with a 9-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. An early McCaw Cellular executive and founding partner at Bellevue, Wash.-based venture firm Trilogy Equity Partners, Stanton was CEO of Western Wireless and VoiceStream, the predecessor to T-Mobile USA, and also served as chairman of broadcast communications provider Clearwire. Listen for highlights from Stanton's remarks in the second segment, and read an extended writeup with more of his comments on GeekWire. In the first segment, GeekWire co-founders John Cook and Todd Bishop revisit a recent conversation with Brinc CEO Blake Resnick based on John's sighting of the company's technology during an armed standoff in his neighborhood this week. In the final segment, John and Todd offer their thoughts on Stanton's remarks, Todd rants about an annoying tradition carried on by Seattle Mariners fans in the stands during a pivotal moment in a game this week, and they discuss Todd's idea to use technology to help fans keep more engaged with the action on the field. See for privacy information.


Amazon's AI strategy, how AI startups can stand out, and hope for AI and humanity

This week on the GeekWire Podcast, we look at how Amazon is positioning itself in the emerging era of generative artificial intelligence. We play and assess clips of Amazon CEO Andy Jassy explaining the company's AI strategy on its earnings call this week. We also discuss the history of AI usage by startups, and consider advice from investors and startup leaders at Seattle Tech Week for emerging tech companies looking to stand out with their own AI applications and solutions. And finally, we reconsider our approach to interacting with machines and contemplate the possibility of artificial intelligence reflecting not just the worst but the best of humanity. Related links and headlines Amazon’s online store sales dip below 40% of net sales for first time, and other earnings notesLeaked email shows Amazon formed a new group to work on the 'most ambitious' AI modelsHow Seattle startups are ‘supercharging’ internal operations with AIWhy Using a Polite Tone with AI MattersSee for privacy information.


Drones and the future of public safety, with Brinc CEO Blake Resnick

Blake Resnick built a fusion reactor in his garage at age 14, and interned at McLaren Automotive, Tesla, and DJI, before dropping out of Northwestern University in 2017 to launch drone startup Brinc. Now, at age 23, he oversees a team of nearly 100 people making drones and other technology for public safety agencies, serving more than 400 customers. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, recorded on-location at the company's headquarters in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, Resnick talks about Brinc’s origins, its move from Las Vegas to Seattle, the upcoming release of its Lemur 2 drone, his recent White House visit, and the geopolitical forces impacting its products. He also explains the mind-blowing series of events that led OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to become the company’s first investor. Listen to the end for that. Related stories and links Video of the Lemur 2Video of the Brinc BallDrone startup Brinc prepares for take off with ex-Amazon engineers and geopolitical tailwindsMeet Blake Resnick, the 22-year-old engineer who just moved his fast-growing drone startup to Seattle See for privacy information.


Microsoft's big bet on the AI economy

Microsoft staked its financial claim in the AI gold rush this week, announcing the pricing for its upcoming Microsoft 365 Copilot technology: a whopping $30/user per month on top of its existing enterprise subscription license fees. Wall Street loved it. One analyst called it "eye popping." Investors sent the company's shares to a new record on the day the pricing was announced. The upcoming product, fueled by Microsoft and OpenAI technologies, is designed to integrate with Microsoft productivity apps and work with internal business data, going beyond the capabilities of web-based generative AI technologies. But will companies see that much value in what Microsoft has to offer? Microsoft 365 Copilot is still in private preview, for now, but the pricing suggests that the company likes what it's seeing and hearing from early users. It's part of a big week that also saw the company clear a major hurdle in its $69 billion Activision-Blizzard acquisition, winning a key court ruling and giving itself an extra three months of breathing room to complete the blockbuster gaming deal. But behind the scenes, Microsoft is grappling with shaky morale amid ongoing cutbacks, and growing questions about the gap between employee and executive compensation. Meanwhile, a high-profile U.S. government breach by a Chinese hacking group is raising new questions about the security of Microsoft products, and threatening to undermine a growing source of revenue for the company. It's shaping up as one of the biggest years in Microsoft history, and this was perhaps the biggest week of the year so far for the company. Next up: Microsoft will make its quarterly earnings report on Tuesday. Stories discussed on this week's show: Microsoft sees ‘massive’ economic opportunity in AI; stock nears record on business pricing newsMicrosoft, Amazon, other tech companies make commitment with White House for responsible AIMicrosoft’s stock has risen almost 1,000% since Satya Nadella became CEO in 2014, netting him a reported $1 billion in compensation(Fortune)Google Tests A.I. Tool That Is Able to Write News Articles(New York Times)See for privacy information.


Amazon's Alexa and the rapid evolution of AI

This week, we take a closer look at Amazon's Alexa in a world where generative AI is enabling increasingly sophisticated conversations with digital assistants. How does Alexa stack up against ChatGPT? Is that even a fair comparison? How will privacy play into all of this? And what's Amazon's commitment to Alexa in this era of corporate cutbacks. Those are some of the topics we discuss with Rohit Prasad, the longtime senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, whose role has expanded in the past year to lead the entire Alexa business. With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop. Edited and produced by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


What generative AI means for cities

If the use of generative AI in the workplace didn’t seem complicated enough already, just consider what it means for big cities and other governmental agencies. The implications of common AI problems such as algorithmic bias and attribution of intellectual property are magnified in the public sector, and further complicated by unique challenges such as the retention and production of public records. Jim Loter, interim chief technology officer for the city of Seattle, grappled with these issues as he and his team produced the city’s first generative AI policy this spring. Loter recently presented on the topic to the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, and he joins us to discuss the issue on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast. With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop. Edited and produced by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


How AI is changing Microsoft Windows

For more than four decades, since the 1980s, pointing and clicking has been the primary method of using a personal computer. What if that changed to simply thinking, typing and doing? That's one promise of AI. Rather than remembering the keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot, or the setting to shift the screen into dark mode, you could just tell the computer what you want it to do in natural language. Microsoft is moving in this direction with the development of Windows Copilot, an adaptation of its Open AI-powered Bing search chatbot integrated directly into the operating system, showing as a persistent sidebar once activated by users via a new taskbar button. This week, the company started to give users in the Windows Insider preview program a very early look at Windows Copilot. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we're featuring a conversation with Aaron Woodman, the Windows vice president of marketing, recorded shortly after Windows Copilot was unveiled a few weeks ago. Here is the full video of Windows Central's hands-on with the Windows Insider early preview of Windows Copilot, as highlighted in the intro to this episode. With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop. See for privacy information.


The story of OceanGate and Stockton Rush

"Our rule is, we risk capital — we don't risk people." That was the guiding principle for Everett-Wash.-based OceanGate, as described by its CEO, Stockton Rush, at the GeekWire Summit in October 2022. Rush's engineering decisions, and his tolerance for risk, as reflected in his comments at our event, are getting new scrutiny after the apparent implosion of OceanGate's Titan submersible, near the site of the Titanic wreck deep under the North Atlantic Ocean this week, killing Rush and four others on board. On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we're joined by Alan Boyle, GeekWire contributing editor, who has been covering OceanGate for the past seven years. He tells the story of Stockton Rush and the company, discusses the tragedy of the past week, and contemplates what's next for OceanGate and the larger world of ocean and space exploration. Now what? OceanGate sub tragedy sets off a torrent of questions without answersOceanGate submersible and crew declared lost after discovery of debris near TitanicStockton Rush at the 2022 GeekWire Summitan archived version of Rush's OceanGate bioNew York Times obituary With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop See for privacy information.


Inside the Amazon and Walmart rivalry, with Jason Del Rey

Our guest this week is Jason Del Rey, a business reporter who covered Amazon, Walmart and the business of online retail for more than a decade at Recode and Vox Media. His new book is "Winner Sells All: Amazon, Walmart, and the Battle for our Wallets," which takes an inside look at what he calls "the defining business clash of this generation—a battle waged for our loyalty and wallets, with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake and millions of jobs on the line." With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop; edited and produced by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


Data's destiny: Bob Muglia on the future of AI and humanity

This week: the origins of data, and the future of the digital species. Our guest is business and tech leader Bob Muglia, a startup investor and advisor who played key roles in the emergence of Microsoft's database, server, and business software products, and served as the CEO of data warehouse company Snowflake Computing. He's the author, with Steve Hamm, of a new book called "The Datapreneurs: The Promise of AI and the Creators Building Our Future," published by Peakpoint Press. Muglia connects the dots between early data innovation and the emerging era of artificial intelligence; talks about lessons from one of his favorite authors, Isaac Asimov; compares Microsoft and IBM to Microsoft and OpenAI; explains why he's ultimately an optimist about technology and humanity; and tells the story of the data center he built in his house when he was a Microsoft executive. "We've gone from the verbal way of recording information ... to various forms of writing, to the printing press, to ultimately digital computers and the internet. And now data of every type is recording society in a way that essentially has a permanence attached to it. And these intelligent entities that we can create in the future will learn from all of this. ... It's a little scary, for sure, but it's pretty exciting." With GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop; edited and produced by Curt Milton. See for privacy information.


Apple vs. Microsoft: Vision Pro, HoloLens, and the future of computing

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday unveiled the company's new $3500 Vision Pro headset, declaring a new era for spatial computing, and it was difficult not to notice the similarities to Microsoft's unveiling of its HoloLens headset back in 2015. The comparison of Vision Pro and HoloLens, and the way the devices match a certain historical pattern, is one of our topics this week in a broader discussion about the new Apple device and what it means for the future of technology and computing. Our guest is John Tomizuka, co-founder and CTO of Seattle-based tech startup Taqtile, which makes augmented reality work instruction software for enterprise companies. Taqtile has been working on HoloLens applications since the beginning, and the company said this week that it plans develop for the Vision Pro, as well. Related Posts ‘Tears in my eyes’: Seattle startups sound off on Apple’s Vision Pro headsetAnalysis: Apple’s Vision Pro sets up a clash with Valve, Sony, Meta over future of VR/ARApple vs. Microsoft: Vision Pro, HoloLens, and a familiar pattern in a classic tech rivalrySee for privacy information.


Voices from the Amazon walkout

Hundreds of Amazon employees walked out of the office in Seattle this week, gathering in between the company's headquarters towers while holding signs, participating in chants and listening to speakers urge the tech giant to do better. It was part of a global walkout that organizers said drew participation from more than 2,000 Amazon employees worldwide. So why did they walk out, and what do they hope to accomplish? On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we hear from Amazon employees in the crowd and speakers at the podium, explain the company's perspective, and put the walkout in the larger context of the tectonic shifts taking place in the tech industry. With GeekWire reporter Kurt Schlosser and co-founder Todd Bishop. Related stories: Amazon employees walk out, seeking bolder climate action and end of return-to-office policyHow big was that Amazon walkout crowd?Amazon employee groups expect nearly 2,000 workers to participate in walkout See for privacy information.