763 episodes

Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.

Decoder with Nilay Patel Vox Media Podcast Network

    • Business
    • 4.1 • 3K Ratings

Decoder is a show from The Verge about big ideas — and other problems. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policymakers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future.

    What happened to the metaverse?

    What happened to the metaverse?

    This week I’m talking to Matthew Ball, who was last on the show in 2022 to talk about his book “The Metaverse: How it Will Revolutionize Everything.” It’s 2024 and it’s safe to say that has not happened yet. But Matt’s still on the case — in fact he just released an almost complete update of the book, now with the much more sober title, “Building the Spatial Internet.”

    Matt and I talked a lot about where the previous metaverse hype cycle landed us, and what there is to learn from these boom and bust waves. We talked about the Apple Vision Pro quite a bit; if you read or watched my review when it came out, you’ll know I think the Vision Pro is almost an end point for one set of technologies. I wanted to know if Matt felt the same and what needs to happen to make all of this more mainstream and accessible.

    Links: 

    Fully revised and updated edition to the “The Metaverse” | W.W. Norton


    Apple Vision Pro review: magic, until it’s not | The Verge


    Apple’s Vision Pro: five months later | Vergecast


    Is the metaverse going to suck? A conversation with Matthew Ball | Decoder


    Interviewing Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth on the Metaverse, VR/AR, AI | Matthew Ball


    Interviewing Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and author Neal Stephenson | Matthew Ball


    An Interview with Matthew Ball about Vision Pro and the state of gaming | Stratechery


    Tim Sweeney explains how the metaverse might actually work | The Verge


    Fortnite is winning the metaverse | The Verge


    Is the Metaverse Just Marketing? | NYT



    Credits: 
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Our producers are Kate Cox and Nick Statt. Our editor is Callie Wright. Our supervising producer is Liam James.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Biden’s top tech advisor on why AI safety is a “today problem”

    Biden’s top tech advisor on why AI safety is a “today problem”

    Today, I’m talking with Arati Prabhakar, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. That’s a cabinet-level position, where she works as the chief science and tech advisor to President Biden. Arati and her team of about 140 people at the OSTP are responsible for advising the president on not only big developments in science but also about major innovations in tech, much of which come from the private sector. 

    Her job involves guiding regulatory efforts, government investment, and setting priorities around big-picture projects like Biden’s cancer moonshot and combating climate change. More recently, Arati has been spending a lot of time talking about the future of AI and semiconductors, so I had the opportunity to dig into both of those topics with her as the generative AI boom continues and the results of the CHIPS Act become more visible. 

    One note before we start: I sat down with Arati last month, just a couple of days before the first presidential debate and its aftermath, which swallowed the entire news cycle. So you’re going to hear us talk a lot about President Biden’s agenda and the White House’s policy record on AI, among other topics. But you’re not going to hear anything about the president, his age, or the presidential campaign.

    Links: 

    Biden’s top science adviser resigns after acknowledging demeaning behavior | NYT


    Teen girls confront an epidemic of deepfake nudes in schools | NYT


    Senate committee passes three bills to safeguard elections from AI | The Verge


    The RIAA versus AI, explained | The Verge


    Lawyers say OpenAI could be in real trouble with Scarlett Johansson | The Verge


    Barack Obama on AI, free speech, and the future of the internet | Decoder


    Meet the Woman Who Showed President Biden ChatGPT | WIRED


    Biden releases AI executive order | The Verge


    Biden’s science adviser explains the new hard line on China | WashPo


    Where the CHIPS Act money has gone | The Verge



    Transcript: https://www.theverge.com/e/23961278

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Our producers are Kate Cox and Nick Statt. Our editor is Callie Wright. Our supervising producer is Liam James.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr
    Why The Atlantic signed a deal with OpenAI

    Why The Atlantic signed a deal with OpenAI

    Today I’m talking to Nicholas Thompson, the CEO of The Atlantic. I was really excited to talk to Nick. Like so many media CEOs, including Vox Media’s, he just signed a deal allowing OpenAI to use The Atlantic’s vast archives as training data, but he also has a rich background in tech. Before he was the CEO of The Atlantic, Nick was the editor-in-chief of Wired, where he set his sights on AI reporting well before anyone else.

    I was also really interested in asking Nick about the general sense that the AI companies are getting vastly more than they’re giving with these sorts of deals — yes, they’re paying some money, but I’ve heard from so many of you that the money might now be the point — that there’s something else going on here – that maybe allowing creativity to get commodified this way will come with a price tag so big money can never pay it back. If there is anyone who could get into it with me on that question, it’s Nick.

    Links: 

    Vox Media and The Atlantic sign content deals with OpenAI | The Verge


    Journalists “deeply troubled” by OpenAI’s content deals with Vox, The Atlantic | Ars Technica


    What the RIAA lawsuits mean for AI and copyright | The Verge


    Perplexity plagiarized our story about how Perplexity Is a bullshit machine | Wired


    How to stop Perplexity and save the web from bad AI | Platformer


    The text file that runs the internet | The Verge


    OpenAI, WSJ owner News Corp strike content deal valued at over $250 Million | WSJ


    The media bosses fighting back against AI — and the ones cutting deals — WashPo


    The New York Times spent $1 million so far in its OpenAI lawsuit | The Verge


    AI companies have all kinds of arguments against paying for copyrighted content | The Verge



    Credits:

    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Our producers are Kate Cox and Nick Statt. Our editor is Callie Wright. Our supervising producer is Liam James.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 51 min
    Canva CEO Melanie Perkins is happy to provide designers alternatives to Adobe

    Canva CEO Melanie Perkins is happy to provide designers alternatives to Adobe

    Canva got its start more than a decade ago as a different form of disruptive tech for creatives. It’s a web-based platform that makes design tools cheaper and accessible for individuals, schools, and businesses from tiny to enterprise. Melanie has big goals to grow the company — and try to do good in the process.

    Links: 

    Canva tackled digital design — and now the office suite is next | The Verge

    Canva Inks Deals With Warner Music Group, Merlin | Variety

    Canva founders join Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge to give away most of their fortune | Sydney Morning Herald

    Canva partnership tackling extreme poverty in Malawi one year on | GiveDirectly

    Canva’s Two-Step Plan: Celebrating 10 years of impact | Canva

    Adobe’s new terms of service aren’t the problem — it’s the trust | The Verge

    ‘The general perception is: Adobe is an evil company that will do whatever it takes to F its users.’ | The Verge

    Why Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen thinks AI is the future | The Verge

    Canva corporate 'Hamilton' cringe rap presentation goes viral | YouTube


    Transcript: 
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23955121

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Our producers are Kate Cox and Nick Statt. Our editor is Callie Wright. Our supervising producer is Liam James.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.

    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 6 min
    How Big Green Egg CEO Dan Gertsacov is getting zoomers into the cult of kamado cooking

    How Big Green Egg CEO Dan Gertsacov is getting zoomers into the cult of kamado cooking

    It’s almost the Fourth of July, and that means it’s time for our annual grilling episode. This year, I’m talking with Big Green Egg CEO Dan Gertsacov, who has big plans for using very modern fan-based marketing techniques to expand the market for the company’s old-fashioned, fire-burning, aspirational product. 

    Links: 

    Big Green Egg Appoints a New CEO | CookOut News


    Big Green Egg 50th Anniversary 1974-2024 | Big Green Egg


    Yep, Big Green Egg Just Made a Beer Keg | Gear Patrol


    AI could kill creative jobs that ‘shouldn’t have been there in the first place,’ OpenAI CTO says | Fortune


    Campfires, explained | Vox


    An ‘Epidemic’ of Loneliness Threatens Health of Americans | Scientific American 


    RIP: Here are 70 things millennials have killed | Mashable


    “Genius of the AND” | Jim Collins


    Keurig's attempt to 'DRM' its coffee cups totally backfired | The Verge


    A Look at the Danny Meyer Documentary The Restaurateur | Eater



    Transcript: 
    https://www.theverge.com/e/23952121

    Credits:
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Our producers are Kate Cox and Nick Statt. Our editor is Callie Wright. Our supervising producer is Liam James.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 1 hr 16 min
    The rise of shadow lobbying and its influence on decades of US policy

    The rise of shadow lobbying and its influence on decades of US policy

    Today, we’re talking about politics and lobbying in America. It’s hard to imagine a time when the influence of big corporations and billionaires didn’t touch every part of American politics, but the kind of lobbying we have now didn’t really exist before the 1970s. Now, our political debates about everything from energy, finance, and healthcare are deeply intertwined with corporations and their money — and new big players in tech now spend tons of political money of their own.

    To understand the structure of today’s political lobbying and how we go here, I brought Pulitzer Prize winner Brody Mullins on the show. Brody has a new book he co-wrote with his brother Luke Mullins called The Wolves of K Street: The Secret History of How Big Money Took Over Big Government, which came out last month. It’s a definitive history of modern lobbying in America, told through the lens of some of the industry’s most unsavory characters and the influence they’ve exerted on DC politics across decades. 

    Links:

    If Donald Trump Wins, Paul Manafort Will Be Waiting in the Wings | NYT


    Meta had its biggest lobbying quarter ever | The Verge


    Apple quietly bankrolled a lobbying group for app developers | The Verge


    The Many Reinventions of a Legendary Washington Influence Peddler | Politico 

    The Wolves of K Street review: how lobbying swallowed Washington | The Guardian


    Big Tech Has a New Favorite Lobbyist: You | WSJ


    SOPA bill shelved after global protests from Google, Wikipedia and others | WashPo


    The Russia Inquiry Ended a Democratic Lobbyist’s Career. He Wants It Back. | NYT


    The Swamp Builders | WashPo


    The Rise and Fall of a K Street Renegade | WSJ



    Credits: 
    Decoder is a production of The Verge, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.
    Today’s episode was produced by Kate Cox and Nick Statt and was edited by Callie Wright.
    The Decoder music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
3K Ratings

3K Ratings

Harrow1nd ,

Diction?

Idk what the exact issue is maybe it’s me. (It’s probably me) But Nilay sometimes mumbles or slurs his words slightly. And even when i have AirPods Pro in I struggle to know if he said “are” or “aren’t”, and similar but i know sometimes he says things as an aside kinda quickly and when he does I’m like pleeeease into the mic. I like everything these folks talk about bc it’s so far beyond me. But I can’t help but feel it’s an issue of diction, like there’s a reason why news people sound the way they do and did during time of radio and I guess I want that back. 🫥😬😮‍💨😵‍💫

Ashleyoftheriver ,

Some good, much bad

Some good info but too many interviews that end up more like ads for company of the ceo being interviewed. Combined with advertisers like Schwab, you need to take everything with a grain of salt.

ReaganB ,

Every time I try this show I’m disappointed

Really going down hill. Could be so much better. My advice: quit trying to be cool to these interview subjects and ask harder questions.

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