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WIRED Politics Lab

Technology Podcasts

Politics has never been stranger – or more online. Each week on WIRED Politics Lab, our reporters guide you through the exciting, challenging and sometimes entertaining vortex of internet extremism, conspiracies, and disinformation. Expect in-depth analysis and conversations based on facts and research. Plus, we’ll give you information you can actually use to lift the fog of disinformation we find ourselves in today.

Location:

United States

Description:

Politics has never been stranger – or more online. Each week on WIRED Politics Lab, our reporters guide you through the exciting, challenging and sometimes entertaining vortex of internet extremism, conspiracies, and disinformation. Expect in-depth analysis and conversations based on facts and research. Plus, we’ll give you information you can actually use to lift the fog of disinformation we find ourselves in today.

Language:

English


Episodes
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AI Chatbots Are Running for Office Now

6/13/2024
Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we're digging into AI chatbots. In a bizarre turn of events, two AI chatbots are running for elected office for the first time—ever. VIC is campaigning for mayor in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and AI Steve is running for Parliament in the UK. Reporter Vittoria Elliot interviewed both of the bots and the people behind them. She explains their motivations, and if any of this is even legal. Meanwhile, reporter David Gilbert talks about how Google and Microsofts’ AI chatbots are refusing to confirm who won the 2020 election. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. Vittoria Elliot is @telliotter. David Gilbert is @DaithaiGilbert. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here. Mentioned this week: An AI Bot Is (Sort of) Running for Mayor in Wyoming by Vittoria Elliot Google’s and Microsoft’s AI Chatbots Refuse to Say Who Won the 2020 US Election by David GilbertThere’s an AI Candidate Running for Parliament in the UK by Vittoria Elliot.

Duration:00:31:07

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From The New Yorker Radio Hour: The TikTok Ban Is “Rooted in Hypocrisy” with Katie Drummond

6/6/2024
David Remnick talks with Katie Drummond, the global editorial director of Wired magazine, about the TikTok ban that just passed with bipartisan support in Washington. The app will be removed from distribution in U.S. app stores unless ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, sells it to an approved buyer. TikTok is suing to block that law. Is this a battle among tech giants for dominance, or a real issue of national security? Drummond sees the ban as a corporate crusade by Silicon Valley to suppress a foreign competitor with a superior product. The claim that TikTok is a national-security threat she finds “a vast overreach that is rooted in hypotheticals and that is rooted in hypocrisy, and in … a fundamental refusal to look across the broad spectrum of social media platforms, and treat all of them from a regulatory point of view with the same level of care and precision.”

Duration:00:21:42

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It's the AI Election Year

5/30/2024
In the largest global election year yet, generative AI is already being used to trick and manipulate voters around the world. Will this growing trend have real impact? Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we talk about a new online project that will be tracking the use of AI in elections around the world. Plus, Nilesh Christopher dives into the lucrative industry of deepfakes, and how politicians are using them to bombard Indian voters. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. Vittoria Elliot is @telliotter. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here. Mentioned this week: AI Global Elections Project “Indian Voters Are Being Bombarded With Millions of Deepfakes. Political Candidates Approve,” by Nilesh Christopher “A Far-Right Indian News Site Posts Racist Conspiracies. US Tech Companies Keep Platforming It” by Vittoria Elliot and David Gilbert

Duration:00:35:16

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Twitter Is Dead, Long Live the Portal

5/23/2024
Twitter is officially dead. Last week, twitter.com became x.com, marking the final step in a rebranding effort that the company’s owner, Elon Musk, announced last year. The change marks a shift for the now bird-less app under Musk’s reign, which has welcomed Nazis and white supremacists back onto the platform, dissolved its Trust and Safety council, and become a cesspool of disinformation and conspiracy. Meanwhile, people seem to still long for authentic connection—like with the Dublin to New York portal that connects the cities through a live video stream. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we trace Twitter's demise, and delve into what the rise of the portal could mean for the evolution of how we talk to each other and consume politics online. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. David Gilbert is @DaithaiGilbert. Makena Kelly is @kellymakena. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.

Duration:00:31:46

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Hasan Piker Won't Tell You to Vote for Joe Biden

5/16/2024
Hasan Piker is one of the biggest political streamers on Twitch. With more than two million followers and streams that average eight hours a day, Hasan has become increasingly popular as more people are turning to the platform for news and political analysis. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we talked to Hasan about his impact and what this shift could mean for the upcoming election. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. Makena Kelly is @kellymakena. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.

Duration:00:38:30

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The Conspiracy of Campus Protests

5/9/2024
Campus protests over the war in Gaza have been going on for months at American universities. Now that they're at an all-time high, protests been getting a lot more attention— and tons of disinformation and conspiracies are spreading. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we talk about some of that disinformation and what student journalists on the ground are doing to report the facts. Plus, we look at how foreign actors are exploiting the dissent. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. David Gilbert is @DaithaiGilbert. Makena Kelly is @kellymakena. Vittoria Elliot is @telliotter. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.

Duration:00:32:46

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How Far-Right, Extremist Militias Organize On Facebook

5/2/2024
Far-right militia, extremist groups are using Facebook to organize ahead of the US presidential election. After laying low for several years after the Capitol riot on January 6, militia extremists have been quietly reorganizing, ramping up recruitment and rhetoric on Facebook—with apparently little concern that Meta will enforce its own ban against them, according to new research by the Tech Transparency Project shared exclusively with Wired. These groups, which are set up locally, encourage members to engage in combat training and recruitment. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we discuss Facebook’s culpability, and what this means as we head into November. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. David Gilbert is @DaithaiGilbert. Tess Owen is @misstessowen. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.

Duration:00:30:36

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The TikTok Ultimatum Is Here

4/25/2024
This might be the end of TikTok. President Joe Biden signed a bill this week which allows the US government to ban the platform if TikTok doesn't divest from it's China-based owner, ByteDance, within a year. Today on the show, we’re going to talk about what happens to TikTok now and how this new law affects the politicians and influencers who use TikTok. Leah Feiger is @LeahFeiger. Tori Elliott is @Telliotter. Makena Kelly is @kellymakena. Write to us at politicslab@WIRED.com. Be sure to subscribe to WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.

Duration:00:34:33

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RFK Jr.’s Very Online, Conspiracy-Filled Campaign

4/18/2024
In the year since Robert F. Kennedy Jr. officially launched his presidential campaign, his extreme conspiracies and very online outreach tactics have added up to a pretty effective independent bid. Today on Wired Politics Lab, we look into how RFK Jr. continues to build a following. We talk about his recent VP pick, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan, his media outreach, and the staff behind it all. And, of course, how his push for ballot access in the US might make him a spoiler candidate in the 2024 election. You can find more from Makena Kelly on RFK Jr. here, and from Anna Merlan here. Be sure to subscribe to WIRED Politics Lab here.

Duration:00:29:27

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How Election Deniers Are Weaponizing Tech To Disrupt November

4/11/2024
Election deniers are mobilizing their supporters and rolling out new tech to disrupt the November election. These groups are already organizing on hyperlocal levels, and learning to monitor polling places, target election officials, and challenge voter rolls. And though their work was once fringe, it's become mainstreamed in the Republican Party. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we focus on what these groups are doing, and what this means for voters and the election workers already facing threats and harassment. Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here

Duration:00:30:16

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WIRED Politics Lab Trailer

4/4/2024
Politics has never been stranger – or more online. Each week on WIRED Politics Lab, our reporters guide you through the exciting, challenging and sometimes entertaining vortex of internet extremism, conspiracies, and disinformation. Expect in-depth analysis and conversations based on facts and research. Plus, we’ll give you information you can actually use to lift the fog of disinformation we find ourselves in today.

Duration:00:01:24

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New Podcast: WIRED Politics Lab

3/20/2024
Politics has never been stranger – or more online. Each week on WIRED Politics Lab, our reporters guide you through the exciting, challenging and sometimes entertaining vortex of internet extremism, conspiracies, and disinformation. Expect in-depth analysis and conversations based on facts and research. Plus, we’ll give you information you can actually use to lift the fog of disinformation we find ourselves in today. You can subscribe to the Wired Politics newsletter here.

Duration:00:00:38

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Farewell HANF, Hello Gadget Lab

10/25/2023
Misinformation lives everywhere. False accounts of events, doctored photos, and purposely misleading news stories are quickly shared and passed around on social media, usually by well-meaning people who don’t know they’re sharing incorrect information. It's a big problem in the best of times, but the stakes become much higher during a heated crisis like the current Israel-Hamas war. As the violence in and around Gaza has continued to escalate, people are turning to places like X (aka Twitter) for the latest news on the conflict. But they've been met with a flood of bad info—old videos, fake photos, and inaccurate reports—that researchers say is unprecedented. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED reporter David Gilbert about how misinformation and disinformation spreads across social media, and how recent changes made by X before the Israel-Hamas war have made the problem even worse. We also talk about how the proliferation of generative artificial intelligence tools is making fake photos and videos look more believable. Show Notes: Read David and Vittoria Elliot’s WIRED story about how disinformation is getting worse on X. Read David on the role misinformation played in coverage of the recent Gaza hospital explosion. Also read David’s story about how posts by X owner Elon Musk are seemingly making the platform’s misinformation problems worse. Recommendations: David recommends the book A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney. Mike recommends Bono’s memoir Surrender. Lauren would like you to send her workout playlists. (She prefers Spotify.) David Gilbert can be found on social media @daithaigilbert. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

Duration:00:46:05

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How to Be Extremely Online and Influence People

10/4/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode talk to journalist Taylor Lorenz about her new book Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, And Power on the Internet. They talk about the rise of the modern influencer and how all of us have to make our peace with our online lives.

Duration:00:36:50

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Introducing: Critics at Large - The Myth Making of Elon Musk

9/29/2023
Elon Musk’s presence in our lives is inescapable: his cars roam our streets, his satellites orbit our skies, and his purchase of X—formerly known as Twitter—has reshaped the social-media landscape. The staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss a recent biography of Musk, by Walter Isaacson, tracing the familiar archetype of the genius tech founder from the nineteenth-century robber baron to “Batman” ’s Bruce Wayne. The critics examine how, in recent years, the idea of the unimpeachable Silicon Valley founder has lost its sheen. Narratives such as the 2022 series “WeCrashed” tell the story of startup founders who make lofty promises, only to watch their empires crumble when those promises are shown to be empty. “It dovetails for me with the disillusionment of millennials,” Fry says, pointing to the dark mood that the 2007-08 financial crisis and the 2016 election brought to the country. “There’s no longer this blind belief that the tech founder is a genius who should be wholly admired with no reservations.” New episodes drop every Thursday. Follow Critics at Large wherever you get your podcasts: https://link.chtbl.com/tnycriticsatlarge_feeddrop

Duration:00:13:29

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College Is Broken. We Can Fix It.

9/20/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode talk to education journalist and author of The Inequality Machine, Paul Tough about the future of higher education. Even as many Americans return to college campuses this month, rising costs and a lower return on investment has raised uncomfortable questions about just what those classes are all leading towards. Can college be saved?

Duration:00:36:36

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Get In, We're Taking Back the Internet

9/13/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode talk to Cory Doctorow, a writer, internet activist and the author of The Internet Con: How To Seize the Means of Computation. As the US government takes Google to court in an anti-trust case this week, Doctorow explains why he believes monopoly power has made the internet a miserable place and what we can do to get our digital lives back.

Duration:00:37:01

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Learning to Let Go (of the Wheel)

9/6/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode talk to Chris Urmson, CEO of the self-driving truck company Aurora. They discuss new legislation in California that could help or hinder a driverless future, whether or not self-driving vehicles are actually safer and the consequences for the transportation industry if (human) truck drivers become unnecessary.

Duration:00:33:42

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10 Years Until Chatbots Run the World

8/16/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode talk to Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of DeepMind and InflectionAI. They discuss his new book, The Coming Wave, which outlines why our systems are not set up to deal with the next great leap in tech. Suleyman explains why it's not crazy to suggest that chatbots could topple governments and he argues for a better way to assess artificial intelligence (hint: it has to do with making a million dollars). The Coming Wave: Technology Power and the 21st Century’s Greatest Dilemma is available on September 5th.

Duration:00:39:00

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Grimes Wants to Be Less Famous (and Replaced by AI)

8/9/2023
Gideon Lichfield and Lauren Goode are joined by c, or as she is more widely known, Grimes. Earlier this year, she launched elf.tech, a website where her fans can use AI to build their very own Grimes songs based on her vocals and stems. They talk about why c wants to push the boundaries of AI art, and why, despite being a techno-optimist at heart, she’s worried about our AI future. Check out the Big Interview with c by Steven Levy in the September issue of WIRED. If you missed our episode with Puja Patel, the editor in chief of Pitchfork, about the new wave of generative AI in music—and AI-generated Drake—you can catch up here.

Duration:00:36:37