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Good Code

Technology Podcasts

Good Code is a weekly podcast on ethics in our digital world. We look at ways in which our increasingly digital societies could go terribly wrong, and we speak with those trying to prevent that. If you like TV shows, think of it as Black Mirror meets The Good Place: Dystopian scenarios, with a way out. Good Code is a collaboration of Cornell Tech's Digital Life Initiative and visiting journalist Chine Labbe.


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Good Code is a weekly podcast on ethics in our digital world. We look at ways in which our increasingly digital societies could go terribly wrong, and we speak with those trying to prevent that. If you like TV shows, think of it as Black Mirror meets The Good Place: Dystopian scenarios, with a way out. Good Code is a collaboration of Cornell Tech's Digital Life Initiative and visiting journalist Chine Labbe.






Camille Francois on Disinformation Campaigns

How do foreign actors spread disinformation online? What have we learned from the campaign of Russian meddling into the 2016 US Presidential elections, and are we ready for what’s coming in 2020? Our guest this week is Camille Francois, Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, a network analysis company that studies the spread of disinformation online. She explains how Russian trolls have been trying to sow chaos in the US since 2014, and she details the new threats she's seen emerge in recent years.


Alexis Wichowski on Net States

Big Tech companies have grown beyond their core products and services — influencing not only our digital lives, but our physical lives, and working in territory that used to be government turf : counterterrorism, space exploration, electricity, agriculture. Alexis Wichowski, deputy chief technology officer for the City of New York, warns that we should not accept lightly that these new giants provide our electricity or other essential services. Even if they are more efficient than governments.


Yaël Eisenstat on Facebook and Political Ads

Last October, Facebook announced that it would not fact-check political ads. And that decision angered a lot of people: outside, but also inside the company. To talk about Facebook's policy, and the potential risks of such a decision ahead of the 2020 presidential election, we sit down with Yaël Eisenstat. She's a former CIA officer and national security advisor to Vice-President Joe Biden. And in 2018, she served as Facebook's Head of Global Elections Integrity Operations for six months.


Jake Goldenfein on Google Scholar

From Gmail and Google Documents to Google’s Cloud, our reliance on Google services has extended to more and more realms of our lives. And academia is not immune from this growing dependency. Our guest this week is Jake Goldenfein, a Postdoctoral fellow at the Digital Life Initiative. His most recent piece of research looks at Google Scholar, a free web search engine that indexes scholarly work. And it asks: should we feel that comfortable using yet another Google service as if it was a disinterested actor?


Lisa Lewin on Making Boards of Directors Care

What can board of directors of big tech companies do to push for more ethical practices in the field? Lisa Lewin is the managing partner at Ethical Ventures, a management consulting firm. Because the problem of ethics in tech is so monumental, she thinks we need to include all stakeholders in finding a solution. From tech workers and consumers to boards of directors. Why them? Because they get a unique access to these companies' CEOs. Mandatory face-to-face time that can make a real difference.


Daniel Kelley on Harassment in Online Gaming

Over two billion people play games globally. And live, multi-players games are more than just games: they are social platforms, where people interact, chat, and get harassed. Daniel Kelley is the associate director of the Center for Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League. He leads the center’s work to fight hate, bias and harassment in online gaming. And he explains why games should be considered as social spaces, and toughen their moderation and harassment policies.


Judith Duportail on Tinder's Algorithm

How do we love online? What does dating and love look like in an era dominated by swipes, likes and matches ? In may ways, online dating has become the new norm. And Tinder, our new reality. Judith Duportail, a French journalist and Tinder user, spent two years investigating the app: its algorithm, its patent, and the data it had accumulated on her. She tells us what this investigation taught her about herself, the future of dating, and the company's philosophy.


Tracy Dennis-Tiwary on Screens and Relationships

What is screen time doing to our relationships? More specifically, what is us being on our screens so much, doing to our kids? What happens when mothers, fathers, caregivers disappear into their phones in front of infants and toddlers? Tracy Dennis-Tiwary is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the City University of New York, and she has conducted a study to find out. We talk about her research on technology and mental health, and she warns against always blaming the technology.


The Tech Worker Uprising

In 2018 and 2019, tech workers stood up, pushed back and said no, to projects and working environments they disagreed with. At Amazon, Google, Microsoft: they said no to government contracts, no to sexual harassment. Are we witnessing a revolution? A unique movement led by a new generation of data scientists with a strong conscience? We explore this question with Guillaume Chaslot, who worked on YouTube's controversial recommendation algorithm, and with computer science PhD students.


Cara LaPointe on The Ethics of Blockchain

Ever wished you found the perfect Blockchain 101 presentation? Well this episode’s for you. Cara LaPointe is a non-resident fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University. And she's created the “Blockchain Ethical Design Framework," to help entrepreneurs develop socially responsible blockchain technologies. What is Blockchain? Is it really the truth technology? LaPointe answers all the questions you might have on this hot new technology.


Shiri Azenkot on Accessible Virtual Realities

How can we make virtual, augmented and mixed realities accessible to all, including people with disabilities? That's a question that's been on Shiri Azenkot's mind for years now. She's an Assistant Professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and her research focuses on accessible technology. She explains why accessibility is important to her, and why she believes that XR is a promising technology in that regard.


Desmond Patton on Social Media and Gang Violence

Young people spend a lot of time on social media, where they express happiness, pain, trauma, grief and anger. What do social media really say about them? To what extent do they facilitate violence? Our guest is Desmond Patton, an Associate Professor of Social Work at Columbia University. His research examines the ways in which young people of color experience violence online, and offline. He explains why we need to work within communities to best interpret social media posts.


The UN on Humanitarian Data

In the quiet city of The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the United Nations Centre for Humanitarian Data. It's not a traditional data center: there is no data storage here. Think of it as an innovation hub. Its goal is to increase the use and impact of data in humanitarian crises. Our host Chine Labbe visited the Centre over the summer. Follow her as she takes a tour of the place, and speaks with several of its members.


Niva Elkin-Koren on Content Moderation

What is being filtered out of our online platforms? What don't we get to see? That's a question that our guest worries about a lot. Niva Elkin-Koren is a Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, in Israel, and her research looks at the ways in which big tech companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter) are acting as "guardians of the public sphere", through content moderation. We ask her why she thinks that private filtering poses a fundamentally democratic problem, and we discuss her proposal for a "Public Artificial Intelligence."


Gilles de Kerchove on 5G

5G is coming. With increasing speed and decreased latency, it will power a vast array of new services. And with new possibilities will come new vulnerabilities. Tech companies and governments around the world worry about the security of 5G networks. So does our guest Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. But he also worries that in the era of 5G, it could become harder and harder, if not impossible, for law enforcement agencies to do their job, and prevent attacks.


Season 1 Summary

Season 1 wrapped up in late June. Over the summer, we worked hard on new content, and we’re very excited about what’s coming. So stay tuned… But before we dive into Season 2, we wanted to look back on our inaugural Season, and take a minute to thank all the terrific researchers, academics and professionals who trusted us with their time, when Good Code was still a baby podcast. Here is a compilation of some of their comments, I hope you’ll enjoy it. And come back soon, for Season 2!


Diana Freed on Technology-Enabled Domestic Violence

In this episode, the last of season 1, we speak with Diana Freed. She’s a PhD student at Cornell Tech, and part of a group of researchers working on technology-enabled intimate partner violence. How do abusers exploit technology to harass their victims? How can we improve their digital safety? Freed meets with survivors of domestic violence every week in clinics throughout New York City to help them mitigate this type of abuse. Listen on as she explains her work.


Salam Shahin on Refugees and Technology

In this episode, released on World Refugee Day, we talk about the ways in which digital technologies can be used to improve the lives of refugees, and we explore some of their inherent risks. More than 70 million people were displaced at the end of 2018, the highest level in almost 70 years. Our guest Salam Shahin, senior business analyst at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, walks us through some of the most promising technological developments for refugees, and how they could transform the work of organizations like his.


Jamie Metzl on Genetic Engineering

In this episode, we talk about genetic engineering and the future of our species as we enter these uncharted territories. Our guest is Jamie Metzl, a technology futurist and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. In his latest book, Hacking Darwin : Genetic Revolution and the Future of Humanity, he explores all the ways in which the Human-led rewriting of our genetic code is about to shake the very foundation of our Humanity. Sit back and listen on!


Isabelle Zaugg on Digitally Disadvantaged Languages

In this episode, we speak with Isabelle Zaugg, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. She studies minority languages, and the ways in which digital technologies can contribute to their decline and even extinction. What are digitally disadvantaged languages? Why should we care about rare languages not getting the support they need to thrive online? And what can be done to bring them to digital vitality? Zaugg walks us through what's at stake when languages do not enjoy digital support.