Putting heart and the human experience into tech coverage, WNYC's New Tech City with Manoush Zomorodi investigates what all the data, constant connectivity, and perpetual "upgrades" really mean for daily life. Follow @newtechcity and subscribe to the podcast for stories of discovery on how the digital age is altering our brains, relationships, and values.
Sergeant Star is a chatbot designed to influence potential recruits to enlist. Alex Goldman of our podcast TLDR wasn't sure how he felt about that, so he talked to the Army and a reporter who's covered recruitment abuses to consider the pros and cons of deploying a Siri to guide our decision to go to war.
This story originally appeared in a longer form on the TLDR Podcast. If you would like to hear a longer version of this story and Alex's update with Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, follow this link.
Music: Kraftwerk - Pocket Calculator. Special thanks to @M0X1 (Mo Xie) for the suggestion on Twitter!
The word 'robot' first appeared in 1920 in Karel Čapek's play, Rossum's Universal Robots. Since then, intelligent machines have starred countless times in novels and films. Brooke talks with professor Jay P. Telotte about the ways our fears and fascinations with robots are reflected in culture.
Music: Calexico - Attack El Robot! Attack! Special thanks to @bartona104 (Julia Barton) for the suggestion on Twitter!
Myq Kaplan is a comedian known for his "robotic" delivery of jokes. That made him the perfect candidate to compete with Manatee, a joke-telling robot. Brooke talks with Kaplan about how robots might someday co-opt his comedic style.
Music: Dan Magnan - Robots. Special thanks to @jonaswoost (Jonas Woost) for the suggestion on Twitter!
Want to see what it’s like to walk in the shoes of the homeless? One entrepreneur in California is giving portable, wearable cameras to homeless people to record what life is really like when you live on the streets.
We often think of robots as tools to make our lives easier. But what if they could also make our lives funnier?
Despite the technological leaps made in the realm of artificial intelligence, people often object to the idea that the minds of machines can ever replicate the minds of humans. But for engineers, the proof is in the processing. Brooke talks with Stanford professor and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan about how the people who make robots view the field of AI.
Google has recently scooped up more than a half dozen robot companies. Their specialties range from artificial limbs to 3D machine vision to scurrying insect-bots and humanoid soldiers. But Google has kept mum about why they're acquiring these technologies. Brooke talks with Henrik Christensen, a professor of robotics at Georgia Tech, about what Google might do with its new toys.
The deadline for pre-kindergarten applications is Wednesday, April 23.
A recent study seems to confirm what most of us already suspect - that Facebook activism isn’t likely, on its own, to lead to real world consequences. Researchers looked at the “Save Darfur” Facebook group and found that despite having 1.2 million members, the group only raised $100,000. That works out to a donation rate of 0.24 percent.
In March, I did a story for TLDR about Sgt. Star, the Army website's virtual recruiter that answers questions from potential future soldiers. You can hear that story below.
In that story, we spoke to Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation who had sent a FOIA request to the Army for more information on Sgt Star, but had not received any response. But now he has, and he wrote an impressive update on the EFF blog. Among other things, the EFF received every single answer that Sgt Star can give. I spoke to Maass about the things he learned about Sgt Star, like how he was born, his relationship to the CIA and the FBI, and even his astrological sign. Listen to the update below.
A special theme hour - starring a computer competing against a comedian for laughs, the Army's recruitment chatbot, and Google crushing on robots.
College students learn how to build their own businesses. But what if the process started with even younger students?
A new bill would let victims sue Google.