11 episodes

What happens to society when human beings are reduced to data points? What happens when our behavior, our movements, our relationships, and our obsessions are all tracked with near perfect precision? What happens when that information is indexed for the purpose of selling us products and influencing our political viewpoints all under the guise of “building community” and “making information free.”

Well, look around. That’s the world you live in.

Tech monopolies have built trillions of dollars of wealth watching and recording everything that you do in a day, building a database of YOU that’s so nuanced they can predict everything you’ll do next.

Join Ari Andersen, a curious generalist, as he talks to data scientists, Internet pioneers, government officials, and various other people who understand what the heck is happening.

If anything is going to change, first we have to understand what’s going on.

Everything They Know Curious Audio

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 34 Ratings

What happens to society when human beings are reduced to data points? What happens when our behavior, our movements, our relationships, and our obsessions are all tracked with near perfect precision? What happens when that information is indexed for the purpose of selling us products and influencing our political viewpoints all under the guise of “building community” and “making information free.”

Well, look around. That’s the world you live in.

Tech monopolies have built trillions of dollars of wealth watching and recording everything that you do in a day, building a database of YOU that’s so nuanced they can predict everything you’ll do next.

Join Ari Andersen, a curious generalist, as he talks to data scientists, Internet pioneers, government officials, and various other people who understand what the heck is happening.

If anything is going to change, first we have to understand what’s going on.

    “Don’t Be Evil”

    “Don’t Be Evil”

    Before Big Tech was the bad guy, we all had dreams of a digital utopia brought about by the democratizing power of the Internet.
    What happened?
    I spoke to Judy Estrin about her decades of experience as an innovator in Silicon Valley, and what she thinks might have happened to lead us astray.
    Then, I sat down with Andrew Keen, one of the earliest Internet naysayers, to understand why he saw (and was willing to call out) such a big potential problem and when others did not.
     
     
    Featured guests this episode:
    Judy Estrin is an Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, business executive, and author in the United States. Estrin worked with Vinton Cerf on the Transmission Control Protocol project at Stanford University in the 1970s, often looked at as the project that our modern e-mail emerged from. Estrin is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded eight technology companies. She was the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems from 1998 to 2000.
    Estrin served on the boards of FedEx Corporation (1989-2010), Rockwell Automation (1994-1998), Sun Microsystems (1995-2003), as well as the being the first woman to serve on the board of Walt Disney Company, where she served for fifteen years (1998-2014). She served on the advisory boards of Stanford University School of Engineering and the Bio-X interdisciplinary program, and is a member of the University of California President’s Science and Innovation Advisory Board.
     
    Andrew Keen is a British-American entrepreneur and author.
    In his book The Internet Is Not the Answer, Keen presents the history of the internet and its impact on psychology, economy, and society. He argues that the more the internet develops, the more detrimental it is to those who use it.
    Keen writes: “It is more like a negative feedback loop, a digital vicious cycle in which it is us, the Web’s users, who are its victims rather than beneficiaries.” Keen goes on to argue that the internet has allowed for the emergence of “new, leviathan-like monopolists like Apple, Google, and Amazon,” impeding economic competition and economic justice between the rich and poor.
    Follow him on Twitter here

    • 43 min
    “While We Were Looking Over There”

    “While We Were Looking Over There”

    Think about where we were technologically just 10 years ago, when everybody was really excited about our utopian tech-driven future.
    Netflix used to mail you DVDs, now they spend $15 billion a year feeding their content algorithms. Google used to cutely offer you the “i’m feeling lucky” option, now they predict your searches before you finish typing them. Snapchat and Instagram didn’t exist yet, and Facebook was still a place where you could find someone under 45.
    With modern smartphones, we have more technology in our pocket than what NASA had to send humans to the moon. We have more information at the tip of our fingers than all the libraries of the ancient world. We can make a few taps and gestures and food or drugs or people show up to where we are. 
    But think about it. To the ancient world, we’d seem like a society of depressed wizards.
    This week I speak again to Judy Estrin, Internet pioneer and serial entrepreneur to better understand how this problem has metastasized.
    Then, I sit down with K Krasnow Waterman, who was the Chief Information Officer of the first post-9/11 data analytics facility established by the White House and, next, led the reorganization of the FBI's intelligence operations. K helped me form a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the problems we face. 
    Have questions? Let us know on Instagram or Twitter!
     
    Featured guests this episode:
    Judy Estrin is an Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, business executive, and author in the United States. Estrin worked with Vinton Cerf on the Transmission Control Protocol project at Stanford University in the 1970s, often looked at as the project that our modern e-mail emerged from. Estrin is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded eight technology companies. She was the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems from 1998 to 2000.
    Estrin served on the boards of FedEx Corporation (1989-2010), Rockwell Automation (1994-1998), Sun Microsystems (1995-2003), as well as the being the first woman to serve on the board of Walt Disney Company, where she served for fifteen years (1998-2014). She served on the advisory boards of Stanford University School of Engineering and the Bio-X interdisciplinary program, and is a member of the University of California President’s Science and Innovation Advisory Board.
    K Krasnow Waterman
    Early in her career, K was on the design team for a new IBM outsourced services and storage business; an officer of Morgan Guaranty Trust managing data centers and special technical projects; she then became a trial attorney and in-house legal advisor. K returned to her technology roots when she became inception CIO of the first post-9/11 task force created by President Bush, served as the interim chief operations executive for the reorganization of FBI Intelligence infrastructure, and represented the Department of Homeland Security in high level negotiations to set the requirements for interoperability of federal data systems.  More recently, she served as Global Head of Anti-Money Laundering Infrastructure at Citigroup.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    “All Your Data Are Belong To Us”

    “All Your Data Are Belong To Us”

    We hear the words “they have your data,” or “they’re selling your data,” or “they’re keeping my data” and we think of it as some ethereal thing that has no merit to our lives. The results of this theft are hidden from us, and in many cases, on purpose.
    This episode, I sat down with Tim Shea, a data scientist with a political background, to understand what it actually means when we say “they’re taking our data.” Then, I flew out to D.C. to speak to Bryan Lane, a data expert and senior government official, to learn more about how data is captured and indexed, and to start to hear about how it’s being used against our interests. 
     
    Guests featured this episode:
    Tim Shea - Tim is the founder and CEO of Latticework Insights. 
     
    Bryan Lane - Bryan is the Director of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the General Services Administration.

    • 47 min
    “Extraordinary Levels of Specificity”

    “Extraordinary Levels of Specificity”

    We seem to have collectively accepted that we’re going to keep playing this rigged game of data harvesting because the playing of the game itself placates us, giving us just enough of that beautiful dopamine-serotonin-oxytocin combo to get us to keep pulling the lever on the slot machine. 
    There are thousands of entities that have thousands of pieces of data about you right now, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These same entities are selling that information to advertisers, political campaigns, and government agencies so that they can sell you what they want, make you believe what they want, or make you do what they want. 
    So, being the reasonable people that we all are, don’t we want to know the truth about this game? The truth that defines our modern world? 
     
    Featured guests this episode:
    Judy Estrin is an Internet pioneer, entrepreneur, business executive, and author in the United States. Estrin worked with Vinton Cerf on the Transmission Control Protocol project at Stanford University in the 1970s, often looked at as the project that our modern e-mail emerged from. Estrin is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded eight technology companies. She was the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems from 1998 to 2000.
    Estrin served on the boards of FedEx Corporation (1989-2010), Rockwell Automation (1994-1998), Sun Microsystems (1995-2003), as well as the being the first woman to serve on the board of Walt Disney Company, where she served for fifteen years (1998-2014). She served on the advisory boards of Stanford University School of Engineering and the Bio-X interdisciplinary program, and is a member of the University of California President’s Science and Innovation Advisory Board.
    Tim Shea is the founder and CEO of Latticework Insights. 
    Eric Sapp has managed successful democracy-building and advocacy campaigns on issues ranging from international peacekeeping, human rights, counterterrorism, and foreign assistance to domestic campaigns for pollution control, hunger alleviation, supporting veterans, and protecting victims of terrorism.  
    Through these efforts, his team developed one of the largest voter response databases and most sophisticated digital advertising platforms in the country, which they transformed into a Public Benefit Corporation, Public Democracy.
    Sarah Miller is Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project and formerly the Deputy Director of the Open Markets Institute.
    Eric Yang is the Founder and Executive Director at Junto. Junto is a new breed of social media founded in the spirit of authenticity, with the goal of rebalancing our relationship with technology and inspiring agency, privacy, and free expression

    • 41 min
    “How much do they really know?”

    “How much do they really know?”

    We hear “data breach” or “data leak” or “they’re gathering our data” and don’t stop to consider what that really means. We’ve accepted that there’s nothing really we can do about it anyway, so why fuss? 
    “Does it really matter? Who cares! Well, I don’t have anything to hide.” We’ve all heard those statements, maybe even said them ourselves. But those are cop-outs. Ignorance can't be bliss forever.
    So, now that we know what it means when we say “data” and how these companies make money from this data, let’s collectively pull our heads out of the sand for a few minutes and start to fully comprehend the amount of information that we’re giving away about ourselves.
     
    Featured guests this episode:
    Tim Shea is the founder and CEO of Latticework Insights. 
    K Krasnow Waterman was the Chief Information Officer of the first post-9/11 data analytics facility established by the White House and, next, led the reorganization of the FBI's intelligence operations. She has held a multitude of roles across the government and business worlds, as well as being a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • 39 min
    "I sold. I'm out. I don't want anyone to remember I was doing that."

    "I sold. I'm out. I don't want anyone to remember I was doing that."

    When I got on Facebook in 8th grade, it was worth somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million. By the time I was a junior in college, studying abroad in Senegal and forced to have a much more limited Internet experience, it was worth $50 billion. 
    Today, it’s worth about $550 billion, the 5th most valuable company in the world. 
    How did they do it? 
    Well, it turns out your data is really, really valuable to advertisers. And the longer you stay on the platform, the more ads they can serve you, translating directly to more dollars in their pocket. 
    What happened, is that they discovered anger and fear. Anger and fear drive more engagement than positivity and hope ever could -- and so that was the content their algorithm pushed. 
    In the preparation for this episode, I asked a colleague for an introduction to a friend of his who I wanted to interview for this podcast, a former senior executive at a social media company. 
    The response? 
    “I sold. I’m out. I don’t want anyone to remember I was doing that.” 
     
    Featured guests this episode: 
    K Krasnow Waterman was the Chief Information Officer of the first post-9/11 data analytics facility established by the White House and, next, led the reorganization of the FBI's intelligence operations. She has held a multitude of roles across the government and business worlds, as well as being a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    Tim Shea is the founder and CEO of Latticework Insights. 
    Bryan Lane is the Director of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the General Services Administration.
    Michael Slaby was the Chief Technology Officer of Obama for America in 2008. In 2012, he rejoined the campaign as Chief Integration and Innovation Officer. When the campaign finished, he began work on social impact organizations that leverage technology to create social movements. Today, he's the Chief Strategist at Harmony Labs. 
    Eric Yang is the Founder and Executive Director at Junto. Junto is a new breed of social media founded in the spirit of authenticity, with the goal of rebalancing our relationship with technology and inspiring agency, privacy, and free expression. 
    Jonathon Morgan is the founder of Yonder, a fast-growing Authentic Internet company on a mission to give the online world the same amount of authentic cultural context as the offline world. Using artificial intelligence, we help organizations identify the groups and narratives that drive conversation, revealing what matters and creating the confidence to act.

    • 1 hr 7 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

Awesome advice that works! ,

Wow! Unique, eye-opening, and compelling

Ari Andersen asks all the right questions of as he engages with fascinating speakers one of the most important topics of our time. Smart, a little mind blowing, and a great listen.

420eBayFan88 ,

Don’t Be Evil

Judy Estrin was part of the team that created the protocols for the internet. Her insights about the business models and practices of internet giants like Google and Facebook are essential. This is a brilliant podcast.

blane7482 ,

Episode 1 - Killer

Was so awesome to hear how internet pioneers viewed the work they were doing at the very beginning and their perspectives on how technology has changed the way we interact today.

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