244 episodes

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

Endless Thread WBUR

    • Technology
    • 4.1 • 2.4K Ratings

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part V: Dating Bots

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part V: Dating Bots

    If you've ever used a dating app, chances are you've encountered a bot, most likely a fake account or a scammer. But this week on Endless Thread, we investigate a new type of bot that is helping users optimize their love lives — a digital dating coach installed in your phone's keyboard that always knows just what to say.

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    Credits: This episode was written and produced by Nora Saks. Mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski and Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Nora Saks are the co-hosts.

    • 36 min
    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part IV: Tay

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part IV: Tay

    Next up in our bots series, we bring you a cautionary tale about Tay, a Microsoft chatbot that has lived on in infamy. Tay was originially modeled to be the bot-girl-next-door. But after only sixteen hours on Twitter, Tay was shut down.

    In this episode of Good Bot, Bad Bot, we uncover who gets a say in what we build, how developers build it, and who is to blame when things take a dark turn. 

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    Credits: This episode was written and produced by Quincy Walters and Ben Brock Johnson. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Quincy Walters are the co-hosts.

    • 28 min
    Encore: Shrinkflation

    Encore: Shrinkflation

    From the supermarket to the housing market, products are getting smaller but prices are not. Why is this happening? And can it be stopped before the toilet paper roll disappears right before our very… reaching hands? In this encore episode, we're talking all things shrinkflation. This episode was originally released on June 26, 2020.

    • 29 min
    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part III: Life, death and AI

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part III: Life, death and AI

    Next up in our bots series, we explore a growing field of AI: immortalizing the dead through predictive AI text. We talk to two individuals who utilized this tech in different ways, and discuss how these bots can help us improve our understanding of grief. 

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    Credits: This episode was written and produced by Megan Cattel. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

    • 34 min
    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part II: Political Bots

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part II: Political Bots

    Next in our series Good Bot, Bad Bot: the possibilities of bots being used in governments around the world. How can bots increase transparency and shine a light on corruption, such as insider trading, among our elected officials? Will bots be put on the ballot in the near future? We go into all of this and more in this installment of Good Bot, Bad Bot. 

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    Credits: This episode was written and produced by Grace Tatter. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

    • 29 min
    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part I: Bot Therapy

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part I: Bot Therapy

    For the next few weeks, the Endless Thread team will be sharing stories all about the rise of bots. How are these pieces of software influencing our daily lives in sneaky, surprising ways?

    First up, our co-hosts delve into the history of ELIZA, the world's first chatbot therapist. Why did this computer's creator have a lot of complicated feelings about the development of AI? We also contemplate the bigger question: can AI help us cope with mental health issues? 

    ******
    Credits: This episode was written and produced by Ben Brock Johnson with help from Dean Russell. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
2.4K Ratings

2.4K Ratings

Ohio150 ,

Great concept

Wish the dialogue wasn’t so scripted

Jwedvick ,

Banter Between Hosts is Distracting

I recently discovered this show and I really like the content and topics chosen. However, I find the banter between the hosts to be extremely distracting. Like it feels like they are flirting instead of just chatting, which would be okay, but then the dude talks about his wife and kids. Am I reading too much into the giggling? Probably. But it definitely crosses the distracting line for me.

Srfn ,

Each show is a fantastic journey

These peeps make a beautiful show- well balanced, respectful, fascinating- keeping to the creative and clear tradition of quality public radio. I’ll try other podcasts but so far I have not found many that hit all the sweet spots like this one days. Contemporary, well researched, fieldwork, unique and unusual, so surprising. I live on an island in Spain but thanks to these yankees, I feel like I can keep my finger on the pulse and journey safely back to my homeland. Please do an episode on the science of white holes and New Mexico.

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