14 episodes

Laurie Segall, Silicon Valley’s go-to reporter and former CNN Senior Tech Correspondent, hosts First Contact - a weekly podcast series that explores the people and technology that are changing what it means to be human. First Contact brings listeners engaging and thought-provoking interviews with some of the biggest names in tech in ways we can all relate to. Laurie’s authentic and nuanced conversations give listeners “first contact” with the world’s most influential figures in tech - people the audience may know by name, but have never heard speak in this way before. Laurie built a decade’s worth of trust and credibility in Silicon Valley, and now she is giving listeners unprecedented access to the behind-the-scenes world only she knows. Each week, First Contact exposes the audience to engaging one-on-one interviews with everyone from billionaire tech founders to vigilante hackers shaping the world. First Contact goes beyond the big names and 24-hour news cycle. First Contact introduces listeners to the as-yet unknown figures in tech who will fundamentally change how we will live in the future. The series examines the people behind the tech by looking at their stories through the human lens. From tech titans to the fringes of society, First Contact explores human connection and the ethical dilemmas facing our future.

First Contact with Laurie Segall iHeartRadio

    • Tech News

Laurie Segall, Silicon Valley’s go-to reporter and former CNN Senior Tech Correspondent, hosts First Contact - a weekly podcast series that explores the people and technology that are changing what it means to be human. First Contact brings listeners engaging and thought-provoking interviews with some of the biggest names in tech in ways we can all relate to. Laurie’s authentic and nuanced conversations give listeners “first contact” with the world’s most influential figures in tech - people the audience may know by name, but have never heard speak in this way before. Laurie built a decade’s worth of trust and credibility in Silicon Valley, and now she is giving listeners unprecedented access to the behind-the-scenes world only she knows. Each week, First Contact exposes the audience to engaging one-on-one interviews with everyone from billionaire tech founders to vigilante hackers shaping the world. First Contact goes beyond the big names and 24-hour news cycle. First Contact introduces listeners to the as-yet unknown figures in tech who will fundamentally change how we will live in the future. The series examines the people behind the tech by looking at their stories through the human lens. From tech titans to the fringes of society, First Contact explores human connection and the ethical dilemmas facing our future.

    Ex-Facebook Security Chief Speaks Out on Russia & Spies in Silicon Valley

    Ex-Facebook Security Chief Speaks Out on Russia & Spies in Silicon Valley

    When the lights went out in his home, and his children asked if it was “Russia,” Facebook's former chief security officer Alex Stamos knew he was bringing his work home. In a candid interview, Stamos opens up about what it was like when his team discovered Facebook had been compromised by Russia, and the personal implications of being at the center of one of the most significant attacks on technology... and democracy. Plus, hear what Alex had to say when asked whether he uncovered spies within Facebook during his time there and why he worries foreign spies have infiltrated every major US tech company.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    She Spent 10+ Years at the CIA. It Didn’t Prepare Her for Life at Facebook.

    She Spent 10+ Years at the CIA. It Didn’t Prepare Her for Life at Facebook.

    Yael Eisenstat is trained to analyze an argument from all sides. During her career at the CIA and State Department, she had tea with suspected extremists and sat at tables with people who were programmed to hate her. But the biggest challenge of her career didn’t come from a covert operation… it came when she stepped into Facebook Headquarters to head up their election integrity efforts. This is her story.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Sam Altman: Growing Up Silicon Valley

    Sam Altman: Growing Up Silicon Valley

    According to investor and entrepreneur Sam Altman, the last decade of tech was the warm up... and Silicon Valley didn’t exactly get it right. The main event is even more pressing. Now the stakes are higher.

    First Contact’s Laurie Segall met Sam ten years ago. Back then, he had a startup called Loopt. It was a location-based social networking app for your phone. Since then, Sam became a fixture in the tech world. Loopt didn’t take off, but he went on to run Y Combinator — one of the most valuable incubators in Silicon Valley. And his next act is OpenAI — an initiative he started with Elon Musk.

    Sam is someone who’s driven by an inability to stay in the lines. He isn’t afraid to stand up and say things that might get him into trouble and has a history of taking a stand under bright lights and a podium.

    In this episode of First Contact, Sam opens up about what is was like to come out as gay in a St. Louis high school in the early 2000s, the possibility of human/AI hybrids, and why the next ten years in tech will be more disruptive than the last.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Kickstarter's Co-founder on Paralyzing Fear & Staying Punk Rock

    Kickstarter's Co-founder on Paralyzing Fear & Staying Punk Rock

    Have you ever left something that was so tied to your identity, you worried, “Who am I without it?” A job? Maybe a relationship? Although terrifying, sometimes shedding an identity is where the magic happens. Who you are and what you actually stand for becomes a little clearer. At least that was the case for Yancey Strickler.

    He co-founded Kickstarter and spent five years as CEO. Now Yancey is in the midst of stepping into his own identity without the backbone of the company he created. In his new book, This Could Be Our Future, he asks us to look "beyond money and toward maximizing the values that make life worth living." Yancey tells the story of his journey from growing up on a farm, to punk rocker, to building a tech company that transformed creative communities around the world. 

    Startup life is messy. It comes with a lot of highs and lows. And leaving a job that defines your identity can be paralyzing. So is staying at one when it’s clearly time to go. We are in a similar moment in tech. We’re trying to figure out our identity in what Yancey calls a “dark forest where the loudest and most extreme voices are amplified.” You could argue it’s a pretty important time to understand our own values, and what we value as a society as a whole. In this episode of First Contact, we explore what it’s like to rediscover your identity and stay true to yourself through life’s most challenging moments.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Reading your text message 'body language'

    Reading your text message 'body language'

    Imagine an A.I. Assistant that reads all of your text messages… and turns them into a pile of data points. A human psychology report.

    And then it guides you. The assistant can say — “hey, the person you're talking to is introverted. You may want to be a bit delicate when you message them.”

    The assistant will tell you the likelihood — down to the percentage — that the person you're texting likes you… in a romantic way.

    But you're going to have to give over a lot of your data in exchange. It’s a classic privacy dilemma.

    The tech exists. It was created by an entrepreneur named Es Lee and built into an app called Mei. Could AI detect our mood and guide us to communicate better? And what are the ethical issues that come along with tech so personal?

    In this episode of First Contact, Laurie and Es talk about what happens when you mix artificial intelligence with raw human emotion
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Hacking Your Brain to Order Dreams On Demand

    Hacking Your Brain to Order Dreams On Demand

    What if we could order up custom dreams? Could our thoughts become hackable? Will neurolink technology make some of us superhuman? And if so, would that create a superior species? Is death really the final step? Or could our brains answer vital questions once our bodies are gone?

    These are topics we explore with Moran Cerf, a professor of neuroscience at the Kellogg School of Management. He’s a brain hacker. But really -- he’s a student of humanity. He likes to push the boundaries and challenge us to anticipate what’s coming next -- even the worst-case scenario. Moran goes beyond disinformation and manipulation in this era of tech. He focuses on the brain and your sense of self -- and how that sense of self is increasingly hackable in the modern era. Just talking to him feels like living in an experiment.

    Spend enough time with Moran and you begin to question everything. And maybe that’s the point -- to not just question the big tech companies and the lines of code we see in front of us, but to question ourselves and our own thoughts.

    In an era where the lines between true and false, and real and fake have blurred, First Contact explores how our own minds are our first line of defense for what’s coming next.
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    • 1 hr 2 min

Customer Reviews

Omar Murywed ,

Highly recommended

I was always intrigued by the topics Laurie used to cover back with CNN or the discussions she moderates at conferences like Web Summit, I believe this podcast is Laurie taking it to the next level and the conversations with her super interesting guests are fluid, thought provoking and they discuss topics that we should all collectively be thinking about and working together to solve

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