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In Machines We Trust

Technology Podcasts

A podcast about the automation of everything. Host Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review look at what it means to entrust artificial intelligence with our most sensitive decisions.

A podcast about the automation of everything. Host Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review look at what it means to entrust artificial intelligence with our most sensitive decisions.


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A podcast about the automation of everything. Host Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review look at what it means to entrust artificial intelligence with our most sensitive decisions.






I Was There When: Facial Recognition was Commercialized

I Was There When is an oral history project that's part of the In Machines We Trust podcast. It features stories of how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and computing happened, as told by the people who witnessed them. In this first installment we meet Joseph Atick who helped create the first commercially viable facial recognition system. Do you have a story to tell for this series? Do you want to nominate someone who does? We want to hear from you! Please reach out to us at...


How games teach AI to learn for itself

From chess to Jeopardy to e-sports, AI is increasingly beating humans at their own games. But that was never the ultimate goal. In this episode we dig into the symbiotic relationship between games and AI. We meet the big players in the space, and we take a trip to an arcade. We Meet: Julian Togelius Will Douglas-Heaven David Silver David Fahri We Talked To: Julian Togelius Will Douglas-Heaven Karen Hao David Silver David Fahri Natasha Regan Sounds From: Jeopardy 2011-02:The IBM Challenge...


Beating the AI hiring machines

When it comes to hiring, it’s increasingly becoming an AI’s world, we’re just working in it. In this, the final episode of Season 2, and the conclusion of our series on AI and hiring, we take a look at how AI-based systems are increasingly playing gatekeeper in the hiring process—screening out applicants by the millions, based on little more than what they see in your resume. But we aren’t powerless against the machines. In fact, an increasing number of people and services are designed to...


Playing the job market

Increasingly, job seekers need to pass a series of ‘tests’ in the form of artificial intelligence games—just to be seen by a hiring manager. In this third, of a four-part miniseries on AI and hiring, we speak to someone who helped create these tests, we ask who might get left behind in the process and why there isn’t more policy in place. We also try out some of these tools ourselves. We Meet: Matthew Neale, Vice President of Assessment Products, Criteria Corp. Frida Polli, CEO, Pymetrics...


Want a job? The AI will see you now.

In the past, hiring decisions were made by people. Today, some key decisions that lead to whether someone gets a job or not are made by algorithms. The use of AI-based job interviews has increased since the pandemic. As demand increases, so too do questions about whether these algorithms make fair and unbiased hiring decisions, or find the most qualified applicant. In this second episode of a four-part series on AI in hiring, we meet some of the big players making this technology including...


Hired by an algorithm

If you’ve applied for a job lately, it’s all but guaranteed that your application was reviewed by software—in most cases, before a human ever laid eyes on it. In this episode, the first in a four-part investigation into automated hiring practices, we speak with the CEOs of ZipRecruiter and Career Builder, and one of the architects of LinkedIn’s algorithmic job-matching system, to explore how AI is increasingly playing matchmaker between job searchers and employers. But while software helps...


When AI becomes childsplay

Despite their popularity with kids, tablets and other connected devices are built on top of systems that weren’t designed for them to easily understand or navigate. Adapting algorithms to interact with a child isn’t without its complications—as no one child is exactly like another. Most recognition algorithms look for patterns and consistency to successfully identify objects. but kids are notoriously inconsistent. In this episode, we examine the relationship AI has with kids. We Meet: Judith...


Encore: Land of a Billion Faces

Clearview AI has built one of the most comprehensive databases of people’s faces in the world. Your picture is probably in there (our host Jennifer Strong’s was). In the second of a four-part series on facial recognition, we meet the CEO of the controversial company who tells us our future is filled with face recognition—regardless of whether it's regulated or not. We meet: Hoan Ton-That, Clearview AI Alexa Daniels-Shpall, Police Executive Research Forum Credits: This episode was reported...


Can AI fix your credit?

Credit scores have been used for decades to assess consumer creditworthiness, but their scope is far greater now that they are powered by algorithms: not only do they consider vastly more data, in both volume and type, but they increasingly affect whether you can buy a car, rent an apartment, or get a full-time job. We meet: Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney at National Consumer Law Center Michele Gilman, professor of law at University of Baltimore Mike de Vere, CEO Zest AI Credits: This episode...


AI finds its voice

Synthetic voice technologies are increasingly passing as human. But today’s voice assistants are still a far cry from the hyper-intelligent thinking machines we’ve been musing about for decades. In this episode, we explore how machines learn to communicate—and what it means for the humans on the other end of the conversation. We meet: Susan C. Bennett, voice of Siri Cade Metz, The New York Times Charlotte Jee, MIT Technology Review Credits This episode was produced by Jennifer Strong, Emma...


What’s AI doing in your wallet?

Tech giants are moving into our wallets—bringing AI and big questions with them. Our entire financial system is built on trust. We can exchange otherwise worthless paper bills for fresh groceries, or swipe a piece of plastic for new clothes. But this trust—typically in a central government-backed bank—is changing. As our financial lives are rapidly digitized, the resulting data turns into fodder for AI. Companies like Apple, Facebook and Google see it as an opportunity to disrupt the entire...


The AI of the beholder

Computers are ranking the way people look—and the results are influencing the things we do, the posts we see, and the way we think. Ideas about what constitutes “beauty” are complex, subjective, and by no means limited to physical appearances. Elusive though it is, everyone wants more of it. That means big business and increasingly, people harnessing algorithms to create their ideal selves in the digital and, sometimes, physical worlds. In this episode, we explore the popularity of beauty...


We're back with a new season!

Host Jennifer Strong and MIT Technology Review’s editors explore what it means to entrust AI with our most sensitive decisions.


Attention Shoppers: You’re Being Tracked

Cameras in stores aren’t anything new—but these days there are AI brains behind the electric eyes. In some stores, sophisticated systems are tracking customers in almost every imaginable way, from recognizing their faces to gauging their age, their mood, and virtually gussying them up with makeup. The systems rarely ask for people’s permission, and for the most part they don’t have to. In our season 1 finale, we look at the explosion of AI and face recognition technologies in retail spaces,...


Timnit Gebru Tells Her Story

Two weeks after her forced exit, the AI ethics researcher reflects on her time at Google, how to increase corporate accountability, and the state of the AI field. We meet: Dr. Timnit Gebru Find more reporting: Google's email to employees:...


Your Face Could Be Your Ticket

Face mapping and other tracking systems are changing the sports experience in the stands and on the court. In part-three of this latest series on facial recognition, Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review jump on the court to unpack just how much things are changing. We meet: Donnie Scott, senior vice president of public security, IDEMIA Michael D'Auria, vice president of business development, Second Spectrum Jason Gay, sports columnist, The Wall Street Journal Rachel Goodger,...


No Face... No Service

Facial recognition technology is being deployed in housing projects, homeless shelters, schools, even across entire cities—usually without much fanfare or discussion. To some, this represents a critical technology for helping vulnerable communities gain access to social services. For others, it’s a flagrant invasion of privacy and human dignity. In this episode, we speak to the advocates, technologists, and dissidents dealing with the messy consequences that come when a technology that can...


When the Camera Turns on Police

Moves have been made to restrict the use of facial recognition across the globe. In part one of this series on face ID, Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review explore the unexpected ways the technology is being used, including how the technology is being turned on police. We meet: Christopher Howell, data scientist and protester. Credits: This episode was reported and produced by Jennifer Strong, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Emma Cillekens, and Karen Hao. We’re edited by Michael...


Encore: What Happens in Vegas… Is Captured on Camera

The use of facial recognition by police has come under a lot of scrutiny. In part three of our four-part series on face ID, host Jennifer Strong takes you to Sin City, which actually has one of America’s most buttoned-up policies on when cops can capture your likeness. She also finds out why celebrities like Woody Harrelson are playing a starring role in conversations about this technology. This episode was originally published August 12, 2020. We meet: Albert Fox Cahn, Surveillance...


EmTech Stage: Twitter's CTO on Misinformation

In the second of two exclusive interviews, Technology Review’s Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield sat down with Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s Chief Technology officer to discuss the rise of misinformation on the social media platform. Agrawal discusses some of the measures the company has taken to fight back, while admitting Twitter is trying to thread a needle of mitigating harm caused by false content without becoming an arbiter of truth. This conversation is from the EmTech MIT virtual...