Oct 20 2020 23 mins

MSP takes you into the future. Every week we look at advances in science and technology and ask how they will change the world we live in. And discuss how we can use our power and influence to shape the society of tomorrow.

MSP108 [] The Flaming ‘20s: Brighter than 1000 Suns.
Jan 15 2020 24 mins  
Last week we claimed the Skywalkers were rising. This week MSP takes a look at some at the science and tech advances that are giving hope for the coming decade. [] Show Notes []Flaming Twenties isn’t a reference to Australia’s bush fires, is it?No. That would be quite crass. No I mean it in the popular fire emoji sense.The decade where our ingenuity and awareness are on fire. Last decade pretty poor.Last episode, ran thru some of many reasons this might be the case. Overreach of silicon valley and tech firms,Dark money and fake news. General mistrust of technology and science. None of which indicates why you’d be optimistic for the future.Last week we talked about realisation.The noughties was a decade of hope, where we trusted tech would liberate us and enrich us, materially and spiritually.Rather than send us into dark holes of despair and dissatisfaction?Exactly. Not going to go over same ground.Listen to last week’s show if you need a does of despair and devilry.But I ended it with some of the things I think will be bright spots in the next ten or even 20 years.Mentioned CRISPR, gene and biotech.Revolution in food. Growing importance of blockchain technologies. Most importantly the growing awareness of people. Especially that spirit of activism amongst the younger generations. Ended last week saying the Skywalkers are rising.I believe that.Where do we start? With biotech?Get there in a minute.Always fun to look back at predictions.This is the 2020s.We were kids at roughly the same time.What did you imagine the 2020s would look like?

MSP107 [] Episode X: A Rey of Light
Jan 13 2020 24 mins  
MSP is in shameless Star Wars stealing-mode this week. Over the last decade, the forces of Silicon Valley seem to have transformed from information and data disruptors into Final Order-style monopolists. Are the 2020s set to become the battlefield for the Data Wars?[] Show Notes []This is a good start to a new decade, with you stealing notes from the Star Wars franchise. Xmas holidayReading about runaway techThreat to our democracy, freedom.Silicon Valley turning from liberator to demagogue,On the back of itGovts losing control.Rampant surveillance capitalism. So much doom and gloom.They’re are all topics that you’ve spoken about at length on this show.True.Not knocking the truth of these pieces.Or importance of understanding what’s in them.Have to examine the Dark Side.Is that where the Star Wars analogy comes in?Kind of. It’s also a nice way to ease into 2020. If you think of digital tech in the early noughties as being the first rush after the Empire fell. Technology represented people power.Bypass traditional news media. Post our own information.Citizen journalism. The blossoming of freedom and independence movements.Bypassing state controlled information systems.Create information sharing networks.At an individual level, celebrated the democratisation of data:Be less isolated because somewhere online other people like us lurked.Govts and city councils committing to open governance and sharing all kinds of data.What we didn’t foresee was this flush of freedom turning into something like SW’s The First Order.How do you think it happened?We do a lot of these things to ourselves.Spoken at length about how our freemium model has contributed to this system.An active / passive choice many of us made to make our online experience cheaper.These things happen by degree.Google going from not being evil to bidding on US govt defence contracts.Gradual. And by interpretation: freedom meaning the freedom of companies to do as they choose.So, that’s where we are? With Supreme Leader Snoke or a resurgent Emperor Palpatine?Apologies to listeners who aren’t SW fans / followers.One of the positive aspects of all those negative tech articles is realisation.I’ve been banging on about unsustainable freemium models for years.So have others. Talking about how we are willingly giving up our privacy. Apart from a few people, majority of people thought we were scaremongering.But people are scared. Tired. Mistrustful.

MSP97 [] Perfection: The Search for the Peerless Profile.
Oct 29 2019 24 mins  
Is a hidden epidemic of perfectionism creating stress and anxiety? How can we escape the perfection trap in a world of curated experiences?Episode Sources: Excerpt:We keep hearing about ideas like the perfection trap. But is it real? Does the perfection trap exist?That’s probably the hardest question of today’s show.Because it’s totally subjective.Certainly - and I don’t think it’s the first time we’ve discussed this subject this yearWe are seeing an increase in the numbers of people with mental health issues. Particularly people in the generations we define as millennial and digital native. And while perfectionism isn’t generally accepted as an illness in and of itself,It has been closely linked to eating disorders, OCD, anxiety and depression.It does seem that people with those conditions are more likely to demonstrate perfectionist traits than you would expect to see in the general population.So what are we actually talking about? How are we framing or defining perfectionism?Perfectionism is hard to define in a clinical sense.And there doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus among psychologists as to its definitions although many are starting to become alarmed about the potential mental health timebomb that might be ticking away in the next generation.The closest they have come to a consensus on this issue is the 30 year old multidimensional Perfection Scale which grades participants for a series of 45 questions on a level of 1 to 7.And there is more than one type of perfectionism.Which are?There are self-oriented perfectionists.These are the people who set themselves ridiculously high goals and then feel miserable when they can’t achieve them.Like you?You’re saying it as a joke but it’s probably a fair assessment tbh.I left one line of work behind me because it was something that left a lot to chance.Even when things were at their most successful, there were always failures.And I found that very hard to cope with. I couldn’t take pleasure in the success because I only saw the failures. Then there are are Other-Oriented perfectionists…Who hold others to ridiculously high standards.Which sounds like you again…And explains why I don’t have staff anymore and work largely alone.Not because I ‘can’t find anyone good enough’ which is what you often hear from entrepreneurs who suffer from the same delusions as me.But because it’s simply unfair on the people who are doing a great job that you are unable to comprehend.And the final one: socially prescribed perfectionists?This is where perfectionism dovetails with our own set of interests.These are the people who feel an overwhelming pressure from others.That might be from bosses or colleagues, friends or family members.And, increasingly, it’s rooted in the digital sphere.Not just in social media, but in the way we communicate.And that many of those communications are shorn of context.

MSP70 [] Fake It Till You Make It [] Rebroadcast
Oct 01 2019 25 mins  
We're off-air this week. So, here, in light of recent global attempts at fakery, is one of our most popular episodes of 2019: Fake It Till You Make It.Are you selling the dream or running a long con? How to sort the Silicon Valley spin from the outright lies.We've got a ton of show links this week. Great reporting from all these sources. Support content makers!!!Show Links: TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.Technology can be a harsh business. You spend years and millions of dollars developing a product, only to find out no one wants it, or that another innovator has turned your invention from a product into a feature. With the release this week of The Inventor, a documentary about the failed startup Theranos, we thought it was time that MSP took a deeper look into the industry’s fake it till you make it ethos.Matt, I can’t believe that you are going to be the one telling people about the dangers of faking it.•Who better than me?•I’ve spent my entire life faking it.•I’ve got a masters degree in faking it from Stanford.That’s a lie!•Exactly. If you want to catch a conman, you get a con man.•If you want to talk about lies, find a liar.•That kind of the point about today’s show.•There’s a fine line between promoting your invention, giving it enough hype to get yourself some media coverage and some venture capital and flat out lying. Juicero!•Exactly. Now Juicero wasn’t a lie.•But it was very weird. And it was a great example of giving customers exactly what they don’t want at a price they can’t afford.•Which, in Silicon Valley speak, is the perfect business model.We haven’t talked about this for ages. Go on. Remind everyone what’s it’s all about.•People like juices. And I imagine, people who have millions of dollars of stock options can afford to buy really fancy juicers.•Juicero was an attempt to meet the market’s need for slow pressed juices. •So they marketed a really expensive juicer – I think it was USD700 or something – which had to be connected to the Internet.•And you could only use it with really expensive bags of the company’s own pre-mulched...

MSP92 [] ’57 & Life: Innovation & Independence
Sep 09 2019 28 mins  
As Malaysia celebrates its 62nd year of independence, MSP looks at some of the milestones in technology and science since 1957.We're a little behind in posting episodes, so please enjoy the multiple feeds this week! EPISODE EXCERPTWith his authoritarian nature we’re not entirely sure it was a good idea to ask Matt to put together a list of tech and science advances and breakthroughs to celebrate the 62 years since Malaysian Independence. But MSP is a show that takes risks. And Matt has promised to keep today’s content WHO compliant. Unlike many of his business ventures.How are we going to do this? Chronologically?I thought that that would be a bit boring.As riveting as listening to me reciting a list of facts for 25 minutes would be, I thought jumping about might make it a bit more interesting. Because it’s also about looking at the way those discoveries are interconnected.How one breakthrough leads to another.And how they might appear to be unrelated. Which means you have to give us an example…Happy to.For the benefit of the listeners, I asked Jeff and a few other people to share some of their favourite moments in tech history over the last 60 or so years. One of the things that came up on both our lists was Photoshop.The image processing and manipulation software released by Adobe back in 1990.Can you imagine? Photoshop is almost 30 years old. I guess we’ll have to dedicate an MSP Ikons show to it at some point.Obviously, we’re celebrating it as a breakthrough, but isn’t Photoshop one of those love to hate it inclusions?Yes, of course.I think most of the big software breakthroughs - including milestones like Microsoft Word and the Office Suite - are very much in the love hate category.And designers have horror stories about early versions of Photoshop.Many of which are more about the state of computing back in the 90s.Buggy machines that would hang. Graphics cards and processors that couldn’t handle the load.Slow data transfer and rendering speeds.The number of times I used to get stuck in the office because a page of a magazine was crashing the zip drive.It used to take hours to download things. Yet Photoshop is still a transformational tool?Yes. For all its complexity.It helped to transform desktop publishing. We’re talking media industries. Fashion. Advertising. It made it possible to easily manipulate photos. Colour correct them.Give them a distinct look and feel.That’s a legacy that we carry over into products like Instagram and its photo filters.We take it for granted, but to do what Instagram does with the click of a button, used to take many minutes if not hours on early versions of Photoshop.And those same tricks could take a designer days to do manually with physical photos and negatives. All those clean looking social media posts against lily white walls. We owe those to Photoshop.

MSP91 [] Celebrating Science #2: Mosses, Magnets & Migraines.
Sep 09 2019 22 mins  
Negative stories in your social media feeds getting you down? Let The Knowledge soothe your troubles with edible algae, miracle magnets and a keto-based migraine cure.We're a little behind in posting episodes, so please enjoy the multiple feeds this week!Episode Sources: Matt is making good on his promise to show us that this world is a better place than our social media feeds might indicate. Today on MSP we have a lot of algae, some moss, quantum universes, children and magnets. Yes, it’s time to get your feelgood on.Where are we going today? Are you going to start us off with physics or food?I’ll go with a couple of food stories.Leave the stuff that’s mentally hard to swallow until later.We often hear about fad diets being the latest thing to help us lose weight and keep us in shape. And as we talked about a few shows ago, diets on their own often make very little difference to your weight over the long term because the body adjusts to the calories coming in and adjusts the way it burns and stores energy. But it turns out that the Ketogenic diet could be having unintended and quite profound health benefits for people with certain long term illnesses. For people that don’t know, the ketogenic diet essentially restricts carbs and calories and promotes a mixture of protein and fats to derive energy from.Yes, so it’s a bit like a more extreme version of the Atkins Diet that was popular a few years ago.You’ll find loads of keto influencers on social media and it seems to be wildly popular with a subsection of fitness freaks. What wasn’t perhaps anticipated was the effect it might have for migraine sufferers. And it’s something else that underscores, that despite all the advances, how poorly we understand the way our own bodies, especially our brains, work. Don’t tell me. You ran a little test?Haha. I left that question in from last week.And no, I didn’t.I know I have a slightly fast and loose reputation when it comes to experimenting with humans, but my line is drawn a long way before we get to chronic migraines. Besides, I signed a hypocritical oath...

MSP85 [] MSP Ikons: The Story of The Walkman.
Jul 15 2019 27 mins  
In July 1979, mobile technology was born in Tokyo. It wasn’t the Internet or the mobile phone. It was the Sony Walkmen that transformed the way we experience the world.Sources:Episode Sources: Excerpt:We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of a technology that half of our listeners have never heard of, let alone used.We’re celebrating a milestone. A pivotal moment in the development of mobile technology.A direct descendant of the smartphones we have in our pockets today.A machine that changed the way people behaved. And made the sight of headphones in public a common occurrence.This is also a bit of a personal one for me.A technology that shaped my teenage years and put me on the path to sitting here with you on this show.Your first mobile phone?No. Tbh, my first mobile wasn’t even a big moment. My first phone was an Ericsson that was rebadged in the UK as an Orbitel.I think it was 1994 or 1995. Phones were starting to appear on the high street by then.It wasn’t just yuppie swines that carried them.Big hearty men of the people like myself also had them in our pockets. You mean Geeks?Don’t be rude. I had a gym membership as well.It was kinda cool to have one. Part of the reason I had one was to stay in touch with my younger brother, who’d just started a university course after being ill for a couple of years.I’d recently graduated I was doing a lot of not doing very much in different parts of the country.And, because calls were so expensive, I hardly ever used it. Weirdly, I think the coverage back on those old analogue networks in the part of the UK where my parent live was better then than it is today.At my mum’s house you need to be on different networks in different rooms in the house. I think they’ve been barely touched by 3G yet, let alone LTE. Where do they live, in a cave?It’s flat and below sea level.I could go into technical reasons as to why there are cellphone dead spots all over the area but I won’t because we’re hear to talk about the walkman.I only mention the phone stuff because there’s an intersection. Most of my phones up until the smartphone era were Ericsson models.Latterly Sony Ericsson models.And Sony is where today’s story starts. With the Walkman. I know...

MSP76 [] Disruption and the Death of Empathy
May 12 2019 22 mins  
In part 3 of our Disrupted World series, MSP takes a look at the social costs of digital disruption and asks if we are somehow becoming less human in the process.Of course, that takes us to CoffeGate, Game of Thrones and Gladiator, and Matt considers launching the world’s first Sesame Street fake movie review podcast. Episode ExcerptThis week we’re staying with us, people, consumers, listeners - whatever you want to call us - to ask: what’s happened to our humanity? I assume this is a response to CoffeGate?•Hey Jeff.•Isn’t it strange how these serendipitous things pop up.•We’re in the middle of a disrupted world series. We were working on human empathy – or the lack of it – for today’s show.•And what do we get? A barrel roll of haters piling on because a modern day coffee cup was stuck in the background of a shot of this week’s Game of Thrones.•For those of you who have better things to do with your day, in a shot of the post battle feast in the episode, a takeaway coffee cup was left on a table in front of Daenerys, the Dragon Queen.•Isn’t it remarkable how far we’ve come, that that statement doesn’t sound as ridiculous as it obviously is.•Best thing is, you can’t even see it anymore. Because HBO have CGI’d it out following the backlash. I think some people were commenting that last week’s episode, the Battle, was too dark, and this week, suddenly you can see everything and the crew has left a modern cup in shot. So what was hiding in the dark of last week’s episode?•It’s a fair point. And I imagine that in the future someone with a BluRay player and a lot of time will take a forensic look at every scene in that episode.•Hopefully, my Internet will be down on that particular day.•Look for the most part it’s funny. It’s always funny when this kind of thing gets left in shot.Did you like the Memes?•And there are some really good ones. I particularly like the one that makes it look as though it was a deliberate act by Dani rival Sansa Stark to sabotage her.•I thought that was a nice way of mixing onscreen and offscreen.•To Jeff: Is there one you liked [We can skip this is easier]?Jeff Replies•But there’s also an undercurrent of anger there as well. •That somehow the production team is lazy and sloppy. •I saw one post on Twitter along the lines of ‘how dare you charge me so much to watch HBO and then allow mistakes like these to occur.People are taking it too seriously?•Is there anything that doesn’t get taken too seriously on Twitter?•People complaining that their right to say hateful things and insult people has been impinged upon.•You only have to spend a few seconds on YT to find the streams and streams of videos that unearth these kinds of bloopers and continuity mistakes in big movies and TV shows.•Gladiators is a classic example.I think that movie is legendary for its continuity errors…•Russell Crowe is holding his sword in different hands as the camera moves from •In his death scene he pancakes onto bare earth but is suddenly resting his head on a rock in the close up shot.•But do those things ruin your enjoyment of the film?There’s also a scene where one of the chariots overturns and you see there’s some kind of petrol tank or gas canister underneath.•This stuff happens. When you consider that blockbuster movies take a couple of years to make and GOT is doing multiple episodes at a similar scale, it’s a wonder that more things don’t get missed.•But the point is, how can you let something so inconsequential get you angry.•Your faith in the TV show has been rocked by a single continuity error. To the point where you have to insult the cast and crew.Didn’t Jon Snow attack the haters online a few weeks ago?•Even before the new season began...

MSP75 [] The 100: Paying for Privacy
May 05 2019 20 mins  
In the 2nd part of our Disrupted World series, MSP dismisses Avengers Endgame and looks to The CW’s The 100 for a solution to our privacy problems.It was supposed to be a celebration of Star Wars for May 4th but we couldn’t think of anything that hasn’t already been done. That’s how Disruptive we are. Produced by Jeff Sandhu for BFM89.9Show Links: Episode TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.As this show is airing on May 3rd, you might expect that uber Geek Matt Armitage would be doing a Mattsplained Star Wars tribute today. The answer, of course, is no. It seems like we’re going with the return of the slightly trashy steampunk sci-fi show The 100, instead.Are we continuing last week’s Disruption theme with a TV show about the most Disrupted future you can imagine?•Yes, I’m continuing with the Disrupted World theme we started last week.•Originally I was going to do something that tied in with Star Wars a little more closely.•In fact, I was planning to do a show about how movies now seem a little disappointing compared to games.•I watched Avengers Endgame this week and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed.•I’d heard all the hype and I’d kept away from spoilers – and don’t worry – no spoilers here, so I was imagining how it might work, especially now Captain Marvel has been admitted into the MCU.What disappointed you?•It turned out my imagination was taking me way further out than the movie went.•Don’t get me wrong – it’s a really good movie, but I found it fairly predictable.•That spun me back to the idea I’d had about so many movies being a little underwhelming compared to streaming shows and, of course, the increasingly vast universes that games now seem to inhabit.But you don’t know enough about gaming?•Yes. So, it made my comments seem a bit trivial.•I stand by the idea though. The complexity of the worlds you can now explore and inhabit in gaming is astonishing.•Especially the titles that don’t have a standardised gameplay.•Where you can explore the world or worlds and bash a few heads along the way when you get bored, but where you can define your own role and your own place in those worlds.•That’s far more interesting to me than the kind of linear narrative movies we’re seeing.You’re going to talk about books again…•I am, because I love books. •I think what disappointed me the most about Avengers Endgame – and if some of you are wondering if you’re listening to a tech show or a movie review – •This is a tech show and I will get to the point…•The thing about Endgame was the idea of all the realms and dimensions that the previous movie, Infinity War, had laid open for us. •I imagined it spinning off a little like the Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter series The Long Earth where the population of earth suddenly gains access to an almost infinite number of parallel earths and spreads out.Before this gets any more complicated. Let’s summarise things a little. You decided not to talk about Star Wars because you were disappointed in the Avengers movie. You didn’t know enough about gaming to make your central point. And now you want to talk about The 100 because it’s the ultimate example of a Disrupted world?•So nearly right. And yet so wrong. For two reasons which will I hope will become clear.•When we started talking about Disruption last week, I thought it was going to be a one-off show.•But since...

MSP74 [] Your Future: Disrupted
Apr 28 2019 22 mins  
It’s the entrepreneurial equivalent of a middle finger. Disruption is more than a tech bro buzzword. It’s a destructive force that we’ll be paying the price of for generations to come. Produced by Jeff Sandhu for BFM89.9Show Links: Episode TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.I’ve been away from MSP for the past few weeks. Because Matt decided that I needed some attitude adjustment. However, while I was away our Inbox was flooded with complaints that the show was starting to sound like the BBC Shipping Forecast. So, who’s attitude do you think needed adjusting?Of course, we wouldn’t want Matt to adjust his attitude or change anything up, which is why, on this week’s show, we’re talking about Disruption.Are we looking at the effects of Disruption on our future?•I actually wanted to call today’s show the search for a noun.•But I knew that was essentially suicide in terms of SEO, unless we compensated by filling the introduction full of spam terms like size, money, crypto, wealthy, enrichment and pharmaceuticals.You mean, you’d have had to do exactly what you just did?•There, you see, I’m already being Disruptive.•Mostly to the norms of taste and decency.You sound as though you’re saying Disruptive with a capital D…•Your ability to aurally process grammar, is extremely impressive. •that’s aural with an au not an or, by the way.•I’ve successfully wasted 103, no 105, no 107 words since you asked your first question. •I’m Disrupting the show again.•[pause]•Have you noticed that Disruption always has a capital D?•If you see it in a presentation, even in the middle of a sentence, it always seems to be capitalised.Jeff Replies•There’s this element of shoutiness about the word Disruption. •It’s the entrepreneurial equivalent of a middle finger.And you think that’s what Disruption – with a capital D – has become?•Absolutely. On the one hand it’s a very arrogant response. •On the other. It’s like a panic reaction•it has this ‘rabbit in the headlights’ quality about. •Somewhat lacking in specificity…A bit like this show…•Oi. •Someone asks you what your company does or what’s unique about your product.•And the only thing you can think to say about what you do is that it’s disruptive.

MSP73 [] The Case for Clean Meat
Apr 19 2019 23 mins  
Is it time to start feeding our meat addiction with a new approach? It ends up in a pan. Why not grow it in one?Advances in biotechnology, sustainable planet initiatives and changing consumer demand are putting us on the cusp of a cultured meat and plant-sourced burger revolution. This is the case for clean, green, meat.Show Links:• •• • •• TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.Meat. A word that delights some and disgusts others. I probably only have to say the words ‘juicy burger’ for half of you to hit pause on this show and switch to your favourite food delivery app. Assuming you’re back and the food is steaming, have you ever considered how dirty that meat in your hand is? Matt has. But I’ve still no idea what he’s talking about.You’re not supposed to marinade your steaks in the street, you know. •That’s where all the flavour is! Or at least that’s what I keep being told about authentic street food.•Anyway, as they say: if it’s good enough for the flies…•Ok. This would be a very strange show if it was all about food hygiene.•Although, of course, that is an issue.•Things like chlorine washing to disinfect meat, not just because it has fallen on the floor, but because the meat itself is contaminated. .•That’s become something of a Brexit issue in the UK because it’s outlawed under EU rules but would likely be central to any trade deal with the US.•But we’re really talking about the bigger picture of meat and other animal products. We’re talking about technology and diet in a broader sense?•This is not an entirely novel subject for MSP.•Meat is a subject we have talked about quite frequently on the show over the years.•Especially when it comes to the things we are now classing as clean Meats. Maybe you should tell us a bit more about clean meat in general?•You’re asking me to pander to people who don’t hang on my every word?•I’m not really enjoying this post Jeff world I’m finding myself in.•I’m hoping his attitude readjustment is almost complete.•You’re just far too high maintenance.Clean Meat…•We’ve covered Laboratory-grown meat on the show a number of times.•In general, when I bring it up, it’s met with the chorus of revulsion.•In fact, I get more tweet feedback when we do a food show then anything else.And you can find Matt on twitter @kulturpopup•You’re just mean.•When we’ve talked about...

MSP72 [] Kids For Sale: Kids, Parents And The Burnout Generation.
Apr 12 2019 25 mins  
While parents worry about self-harming memes like Momo, are their own actions creating a generation of kids destined to self-destruct? Show Links:••• • • ••• Let’s clear something up from the start: is this show intended as a How To guide for exploiting your children?•I know that I seem to get cast as an AI-toting, modern-day Fagin figure but no. •There is enough child exploitation – of tremendously varying degrees – going on without me adding to it.•Of course, my popular online course, how to make money off your weak-minded kids, is available for only 99.99 in the currency of your choice on the Kulturpop website.Yes. Someone who bought it said it contained four hours of nothing but you laughing.•It’s a theme that runs through most of Kulturpop’s online courses.•Get rich with Crypto-Currency is especially popular.•And it’s true. My course on crypto currency is making me rich.•But I have my social responsibility hat on today. •And there’s quite a lot of ground to cover. We’re looking at deliberate exploitation?•That’s one aspect.•There are the online scares and memes, there’s innocent oversharing and there’s also the emergence of Gen Z as the so-called burnout generation.•So, we’re really looking at the whole cause and effect cycle.Do you think we’re still obsessed with Millennials?•Yeah, which is really weird. I discussed this with Jeff on a previous show.•The last Millennials were born in 1994. The oldest Millennials are now 39. •We’ll be changing their title to Middlennials soon.•If you’re 25 or older then you’re not a Millennial, you’re a Digital Native.•And, the last Digital Natives have been born. Gen Alpha?•Anyone born after 2013 or so is characterised as Gen Alpha.•So when we talk about the exploitation side of this, it’s Gen Z...

MSP70 [] Fake It Till You Make It
Mar 22 2019 25 mins  
Are you selling the dream or running a long con? How to sort the Silicon Valley spin from the outright lies.We've got a ton of show links this week. Great reporting from all these sources. Support content makers!!!Show Links: TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.Technology can be a harsh business. You spend years and millions of dollars developing a product, only to find out no one wants it, or that another innovator has turned your invention from a product into a feature. With the release this week of The Inventor, a documentary about the failed startup Theranos, we thought it was time that MSP took a deeper look into the industry’s fake it till you make it ethos.Matt, I can’t believe that you are going to be the one telling people about the dangers of faking it.•Who better than me?•I’ve spent my entire life faking it.•I’ve got a masters degree in faking it from Stanford.That’s a lie!•Exactly. If you want to catch a conman, you get a con man.•If you want to talk about lies, find a liar.•That kind of the point about today’s show.•There’s a fine line between promoting your invention, giving it enough hype to get yourself some media coverage and some venture capital and flat out lying. Juicero!•Exactly. Now Juicero wasn’t a lie.•But it was very weird. And it was a great example of giving customers exactly what they don’t want at a price they can’t afford.•Which, in Silicon Valley speak, is the perfect business model.We haven’t talked about this for ages. Go on. Remind everyone what’s it’s all about.•People like juices. And I imagine, people who have millions of dollars of stock options can afford to buy really fancy juicers.•Juicero was an attempt to meet the market’s need for slow pressed juices. •So they marketed a really expensive juicer – I think it was USD700 or something – which had to be connected to the Internet.•And you could only use it with really expensive bags of the company’s own pre-mulched juices.•Which, incidentally, thanks to reasons of perishability, they could only supply to around half, or even less, of the continental USA.But still....

MSP69 [] Fixing It: Working for the Machine
Mar 17 2019 23 mins  
Is your technology working for you, or are you working for it? Why machines want us to prove that we are human.Produced by Jeff Sandhu for BFM89.9Show Links:Episode TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.One of the reasons that this show exists is to demonstrate some of the many ways that technology is dramatically improving our lives. But what do you do when the technology that is supposed to be making our lives easier seems to be serving other masters?This sounds like another of those Game of Thrones inspired episodes. Are we back to your master and servant theme?•Indirectly, I guess.•This is another one of those episodes I’ve had sitting on the burner for a while.•And then the brouhaha about Facebook’s supposed pivot towards privacy broke cover last week and I thought it was time to tackle this one.Before we head into Facebook land again, do you want to give us a little background for today’s show?•As you mentioned in the intro, I think technology is fantastic.•For the majority of humans – in the developed world at least – this is still the best time to be alive.•And part of the reason for that is technology.•Whether it’s technology delivering information to your hand, safer and more reliable modes of transport, cheap and plentiful food, incredible medical advances.•Everywhere you look, technology is chipping away at the brutality of the past.You could argue that some of that technology is pretty brutal too.•Absolutely. We have an enormous capacity for violence and destruction.•And one of the first things we do with a lot of technological developments is to weaponise them and use them for so-called defence or security purposes. •Whether it’s video cameras or advances in sonics. •It’s not what we’re talking about today, but if you are interested in that part of our development, there’s a great article at New Scientist called How Humans Evolved to be both shockingly violent and super co-operative.•Not the snappiest title, but the piece, written by Richard Wrangham, looks at the evolutionary and societal case for violence and cooperation.When do you think we lost control of the technology?•I’m not there’s even an answer to that question.•You could say that we lost control of technology hundreds of years ago. •Donald Trump loves to tell people how well walls have worked for millennia.•And yes, they keep marauders and bandits out.•History is full of walled cities that fell to invaders.•Some were more technologically advanced than the invaders, who simply encircled them and starved them out.•But often it was technology that breached the walls.•Siege engines. Catapults. Crossbows.I thought we weren’t talking about wars and violence?•Yeah, but if I start talking about looms and steel mills people are going to switch off.•The things most people seem to remember from their history classes are the battles and the wars.•And greater technology has often – not always – played a decisive role in who wins wars.•The US Civil War is a good example. The industrialised Union States literally had an enormous war machine that the more agricultural and slave based economy of the Confederate States couldn’t compete with.

MSP68 [] Data Babies: The Rise of the Planet of the Tracked
Mar 08 2019 22 mins  
From the moment of conception to the time they die, the next generation of children may be tracked, monitored and surveilled every minute of every day.Produced by Jeff SandhuTranscripts & more at Episode ExcerptWhen I first saw that today’s show had Babies in the title, I assumed it had to be a joke. Matt Armitage is not known for being child friendly. In fact, I’m fairly sure that he thinks they should be farmed. Or grown in vats, like clean meat. But it would seem he’s genuinely worried about generations still to come. Matt. Data Babies and trackable humans. What’s going on?•You sound like one of those local TV news anchors in the US doing a hard hitting interview.•Mrs McGillicutty’s slipped on ice because no one salter her path. Here to answer our questions is city representative, Jeff Sandhu. Councillor, what’s going on?It really must be hurting you to devote an entire episode to children.•I prefer to think of them as boxed in adults. •In that you keep them in a box until they’re 18.•I had one of those weird realisations over the weekend.•I’ve been listening to and watching a bunch of anti-vaxxer information over the last couple of weeks.•To the point where parents are turning down routine vitamin K injections for newborns in some countries, while in other places we’re seeing the return of infectious diseases like measles because fewer kids are being inoculated against themThis doesn’t sound as though it’s related to data…•Because there’s a weird corollary. •At a time when parents are rejecting medical interventions for their kids in increasing numbers, ignoring the science that shows these interventions lead to better health outcomes. •Yet, despite the concerns people have about data privacy with Facebook, Google and the scores of apps and companies that track our habits and movements every second of the day.•Despite those facts, plenty of people are willing to use services that offer them utility in helping to raise their kids in exchange for a very rich stream of data.

MSP66 [] Never Gonna Give You Up: Can You Live Without The Big 5 Tech Companies?
Feb 22 2019 24 mins  
What would it be like if you cut Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft out of your life completely?We knew it would be a living hell and never had the nerve to do it. Kashmir Hill, a writer at Gizmodo did. We chat about her experiences and their implications for the world we live in.Show Links: TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.What would your life look like if you cut the big five tech companies out of your life? Is it possible to live without using Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft or Apple at all?With a statement like that, you might think that MSP’s Matt Armitage has embarked on some kind of giant and heroic experiment. Well, sorry to disappoint you. He hasn’t.So, Matt, you want to talk about cutting the tech giants out of your life without actually cutting any of the tech giants out of your life? I know you said that 2019 is the year we should embrace the hypocrisy, but isn’t that pushing the limits; even for you?•We’ve done a lot of shows on MSP based on the creep and spread of the tentacles of companies like Amazon and Google.•For many of us we associate these companies mostly with one or two products:oApple is the iPhoneoGoogle is search and mapsoMicrosoft is windows, and equally, officeoFacebook is, well, FacebookoAnd Amazon is what people do instead of going to the mall..But that public facing aspect is really only a tiny part of what these companies are and do?•Especially when it comes to the cloud, which Amazon, Google and Microsoft all control huge chunks of.•A lot of us are using 3rd party services that rely on these companies, simply by buying a cup of tea in a café that uses a POS sitting on a cloud run by one of these companies. •A lot of our interactions with them are seamless and invisible, which is why the idea of living without them is at once v intriguing and impractical.This is something we’re increasingly seeing right across the tech landscape, isn’t it? This spread of function, and acquisition of other companies that operate in neighbouring spaces?•There’s nothing new about it.•Mergers and acquisitions is how the world of commerce works.•What’s different when you relate it to tech, is the speed of the rise of some of the bigger players, and the sheer amounts of money they have to fund themselves or buy themselves into new market sectors.•So their growth – in terms of scale and function – is quite amazing.•Especially as the technology evolves so fast. •What we aren’t even imagining today, is something that is a daily use necessity tomorrow.How does that bring us back to life without the Big 5?•It’s an experiment I’ve been really interested in for a long time.•Can you consciously decouple yourself from these companies?But not something you were interested enough in to actually try?•Every time I ran it as a thought experiment, or tried to figure it out in terms of practicalities, I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it.•For example, just to do these shows. •Can I do them from paper? Yes, I could make my notes by hand.•I could research with an independent like Duck Duck Go, if I got myself a computer with Linux.•But the computers running the studio sit on MS...

MSP65 [] What the World Needs Now: Utopia for Idealists
Feb 17 2019 21 mins  
Utopia or Mattopia? We use today’s technology to create Matt’s perfect world of tomorrow. And introduce the term ‘bests of burden’. Excerpt:Then let’s start with money and finance as this is a business station.•I like your commitment to keeping this fun. Will money be digital?•Eventually, of course. But it won’t be the kind of digital currency we have now. •At the moment we have two major routes – the decentralised crypto currency route and the controlled, centralised currency, whether it’s physical or digital, like Sweden’s e-kronor.•We talked about some of the risks of independent crypto currency last week when we discussed Quadriga CX and the money that is stuck in an encrypted cold store. [Jeff ad libs reply]•So there’s a real need for forms of money that are instant, robust and safe.•At the moment, physical currency does that most successfully. •But as we’ve seen from the growing power and success of e-wallet technologies, the currency itself is becoming more invisible. •Most existing e-wallets link to your bank account or you pre-load the wallet.•What I think we’ll see – what we’re already seeing – in China, Alipay is a bank as well as all the thousands of other things it is - is a growing merger of these systems and banking.Can you imagine these payment systems becoming completely invisible and frictionless?•Absolutely. What we have to figure out is the new relationship between central banks and retail banks.•For example, a number of countries are starting to introduce electronic IDs that are a default access point for citizens to access government services, file taxes etc. •In the future, why wouldn’t that central ID become our default payment account?•At the moment, when we make a big transaction, we show a government approved ID, like a passport of driving licence.•If everything is digitised, why do we need all these other layers.•That one ID can be your payment account, your driving license, your marriage certificate, your passport. You mean like a chip?•I wonder if that idea if putting an identity chip in people is actually just an old sci fi idea.•If you think about it, high speed web access allows you to do all the same things and more with biometric data and a cloud account.•How that will look, I don’t know. It’s possible we’re be able to do on the spot DNA processing within a decade or two.•Possibly even less. •You get stopped for a traffic offence, it might be as simple as holding a sensor in your hand and that processes your DNA or other identifiers from from your sweat.•The police can instantly see who you are, if the car is yours, if it’s insured, whether you have a license. Even whether you’re under the influence.•And any fines or penalties can instantly be registered and debited from your account.

MSP64 [] Little 15. How Facebook Changed the World: A Space Opera
Feb 08 2019 19 mins  
Welcome to MSP the Musical. It’s hard to think of the world without Facebook. MSP looks at the central role Facebook has assumed in the digital economy and wonders: can it last another 15 years?Episode TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the typos and grammar flaws.We’re celebrating a birthday this week. No, not mine or Matt’s or BFM’s. On Monday 4th February, Facebook turned 15 years old. Today MSP takes a look at the impact of that legacy.Hang on. It says here that today’s show is a Space Opera. Are you going to be singing?•You know how most musicals have two parts the speak-y part and the sing-y part.•I thought I’d do the speak-y part and you could sing the questions.I’m not singing.•But I’ve told the listeners it will be a Space Opera.•They’re expecting this to be our Mamma Mia or We Will Rock You•We’ve got CO2 cannons and pyrotechnics and everything.•Rich was going to run through the studio in one of those flame suits, screaming.•It was going to be legendary.My contract says I have to sit in this studio with you. It doesn’t say anything about singing.•Does it say no singing?It doesn’t tell me if I should or shouldn’t kick you under the table. There are some things that you assume. Not singing is one of them.•I’ll be honest. I’m a little disappointed.It’s not my name on the show’s title.•Then we’ll just have to apologize to the listeners.Show Links:

MSP63 [] We Are The Robots
Jan 26 2019 22 mins  
Surveillance Capitalism is turning us all into robots. Don’t fear the machines: they are us.Show Links:••••• Episode ExcerptOn last week’s MSP, Matt Armitage thrilled us with a tale of swashbuckling misadventure and mis-spoken grammar. This week we’re heading further beyond the edge of sanity to ask: whose robot are you? Should we assume that this is another one of those shows talking about our entire existence being a computer simulation and that the creator of our Universe is actually a pre-teen working on a school computer project?•That’s a very specific example.•Have you spent a lot of time thinking about this?What’s the point of it all is if we’re only ones and zeroes?•I’d probably point you in the direction of Rod Rees’s Demi-Monde series of books.•Simulations aren’t what we’re talking about today btw, but if it was, then your life still has as much meaning as it did before you realised it was all a simulation.•It’s not like pain or joy is any less real. Or the taste of food.•It’s unlikely to be a Matrix type situation: oI don’t think anyone is holding our bodies prisoner while our minds are plunged into some fiction. •This is our existence – simulation or not – and it’s really as simple as that.So, why are we robots?•This is building on from something we were talking about in last week’s Geeks Squawk.•Radio listeners will know that these shows, MSP and Geeks Squawk, are kind of a pair.•but I have had some of our podcast listeners tell me that they know about one show but not the other.•Both shows are me and Jeff. •I get to wander off into fantasy realms and thought experiments on MSP whereas on Geeks we’re a bit more grounded in the events of the week, looking at big or quirky stories from the world of tech and culture.That’s the cross-promotion done. How does this follow from last week’s Geeks.•We were talking about the 10 year challenge and how that information can be used to train machine intelligence to identify, track and even age humans more effectively.•We also mentioned some other areas where we are inadvertently helping to train AISo you’re being literal? You’re actually saying that we’re robots?•Not in a mechanical sense. But in the sense that we are often used as objects that are the possession of someone or something.•Which, of course, begs the question: whose robots are we? •Who thinks they own us?

MSP57 [] How Not To Get Rinsed [What I learned in 2018(i)]
Dec 14 2018 22 mins  
Since he adopted Wikipedia as his main memory source, Matt forgets most of the things he learns within 24. What exactly can he remember from the ride in a washing machine that was 2018?Show Notes:We’re coming to the end of another year, and it’s a tradition with MSP that we find out what Matt has learned over the last 12 months. One of the reasons we ask this, is that the list of things he has learned is usually a lot shorter than the ones he has learned.What have you learned this year?•The first thing I learned is that no one over the age of 25 should play futsal unless they have an ambulance on-call and very very good medical insurance.•The second thing I learned is that no one batted an eyelid when Richard and I played on-air badminton.oWhich suggests that they either have the people at home have a high level of trust that I will eventually make a the point, or that no one is listening.I had no idea that you and Rich played badminton, so I guess no one was listening.•Always there with a kind word. •And it’s kind words where I want to begin and end with this.•As usual, I’m going to spread this out over two episodes. So if all goes to plan we’ll go full circle from kindness through rage, delusion, miserliness, fear, optimism, happiness and back to kindness.•Because this year really has been a crash course in ethics.In what sense? •Last year we talked a lot about the power of tech companies and how they were dominating increasing sections of our lives, especially with the aggressive consolidations, mergers and takeovers that we often don’t pay attention to.•Like Amazon owning almost half the world…Fake News!•We’ll get to the Fake News.•I wish that there was some penalty we could impose on anyone who shouts that in someone else’s face.•You know that thing about Godwin’s Law and the time it takes for someone to compare something or something to Hitler or the Nazis in a debate.•I think we should call it Zuckerberg’s Law, which is the time it takes for anyone to decry any factually provable argument as fake news.Fake News!•I know you’re still jet-lagged but I think you’re going to have to work a little bit harder than this. •Jeff: Fake News!•This is going to be a struggle.•So that journey into the power of the companies, into the role that technology has played in disrupting elections, influencing share and stock price movements.•And how tech populism has gone hand in hand with, or even paved the way for, the rise of political populism.•So this year has been one where I think the shows have concentrated more on people than the technology itself.

MSP54 [] How Tech Works [Social Media Smear Campaigns]
Nov 16 2018 21 mins  
Recorded the day before the Facebook and Soros smear story broke, this Explainer shows how easy it is to build a smear campaign. About donuts. Episode Excerpt:Frequent friend of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg apologist, also known as Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage, is back on his Fake News mission this week. We’re never entirely sure whether he wants to stop it or spread. So, we’d better give him the chance to explain.•It’s a bit unfair to say I’m a Facebook apologist. •I’m more of a Facebook realist. •We talk about accountability a lot. So today I want to ask what should Facebook or any other technology company be responsible for?•Restocking our fridge? Well, Amazon seems to be on its way to that one.•Driving us to work? Uber and Google are working on those.•Looking after kids or elderly relatives? Companies like Samsung and Hitachi are building robots that should be able to take care of the unwanted.•Still there? Hello Yahoo.•Massive over-pricing and glitchy software? Apple’s got that one covered.Well, that’s that topic resolved. What should we do for the next twenty minutes?•I always find that badminton works very well on the radio.•YouTube clip: (play a few secs)I think that might be all the listeners can take. •It was a good game though. •I think you beat me 40 love in that first game.That’s a different game. Let’s go back to your friend Mark Zuckerberg. Maybe we can pad the show out a bit.•Regular listeners know that Mark and I have this weird relationship where I call him Zucky-baby and he acts as though he has no idea who I am.•In effect, that relationship allows me to be absolutely honest about what I think of his company and its policies and he continues to act as though he has no idea who I am.•You may have heard on the media – perhaps on BFM itself – that various governments have called for Mark Zuckerberg to appear at some kind of world congress of fake news.•To answer the questions that various world leaders and politicians have about the fake news epidemic.•And, I’m guessing, about how to reset their router when the bandwidth drops out on a Sunday morning.You’re still on the politicians don’t know enough about technology trip?•Well, that’s why I made the joke about resetting the router.•Which I know is a cheap jibe and the pols are getting better at this but it’s not good enough that they’re playing catch up.•Mark Zuckerberg is the boss of one of the world’s largest companies, not the tech support guy from the basement of your office.That’s not an excuse for him not to be held accountable.•Absolutely not. He should be brought to task.•But it’s pointless unless we have the infrastructure and knowledge to hold him to account.•Right now he could say pretty much anything. •For example, he could say that fake news was made possible because of a vulnerability in the root servers that govern DNS addresses, and that that exploit prevented Pearl programmed servers from correctly identifying the geo-locations that his company’s ads stream to and from.•He could easily say that even though I just made that up. •It’s nonsense. In the sense that none of it makes sense. It’s just random Internet stuff I threw into a sentence.•But our general lack of knowledge about the technology we rely on, leaves us in the position that anyone who trots out a bunch of plausible sounding terms is taken seriously.Produced by Richard Bradbury for BFM89.9.

MSP53 [] The Fragile Earth
Nov 09 2018 25 mins  
A combination of natural disasters and cyber-attacks has shown how fragile our way of life is. Are we heading for chaos? Or will the better side of human nature prevail?Links: Episode Excerpt:Episode TranscriptThese shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the minor typos and grammar flaws.Recent natural disasters have started to show how delicate the web of technology that holds the world together actually is, reckons Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage. But what if those natural disasters were followed up by cyberattacks from a hostile nation? On that happy note, it’s time to ask Matt to explain.Where are we starting, natural disasters or cyber-attacks?•This is one of those weeks where a bunch of stuff comes together.•Listened to a recent episode of the 99% invisible podcast earlier this week which focused on Puerto Rico’s electricity grid.•I know that might not sound fascinating, but it was.•The podcast is adapted from a longform article in wired magazine about the year long struggle to get Puerto Rico’s electricity grid back online after Hurricane Maria last year.•We’re facing increasing numbers of extreme weather events and natural disasters. The recent earthquake in Indonesia. Flooding in Italy, which affected your recent trip, to name some of what’s happening.Is it climate change?•Honestly, I don’t want to bang that drum.•I think it is but that’s not the purpose of the podcast.•So I don’t want people to switch off because they don’t believe my take on things.•Today is about our infrastructure and how delicate it is and how we take so much for granted.Let’s start with Puerto Rico•Ok. We’ve heard a lot over the past couple of years about how easy it has been to hack into electricity grids and other critical infrastructure projects. •Now, it is perfectly possible to imagine parts of a grid being ruined. Turbines in a power plant being run in a way that might physically damage them, that kind of thing.•But most plant has physical overrides. You could potentially send surges down individual lines that might damage them or upset substations downline.•But from what I understand, most hacking of these systems is for short terms disruption. Days, weeks, months if they get really lucky.It’s the command and control mechanisms rather than the infrastructure itself?•Exactly. It isn’t bringing the towers or the cables down.•Water pipes aren’t collapsing. •But weather events are causing that kind of damage.•So we’re seeing this non-fortuitous convergence of conditions. •At a time when we’re increasingly putting these systems online and trusting them to automated control systems…•We’re in this situation of growing geopolitical uncertainty where countries are increasingly prepared to meddle in one another’s affairs•And the planet is having its own series of wobbles in terms of extreme weather events and natural disasters.

MSP52 [] The Singing Dead
Nov 02 2018 23 mins  
With Amy Winehouse set to tour the world in 2019, are we stumbling towards a future of zombie stars? Artists frozen in time and doomed by AI and CGI to repeat their hits for infinity. Links:Roy Orbison, Hologram Tour Excerpt:These shows are dictated to and transcribed by machines, and hurriedly edited by a human. Apologies for the minor typos and grammar flaws.Sometimes it feels more like an episode of the X-Files or one of Infowars’ crazier moments when you’re talking to Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage. Today, I believe we’re talking about technology and deceased pop stars. That’s right: it’s the singing dead. It’s time to Mattsplain. I can only assume we’re talking about Amy Winehouse, here?•Yes. In case any of you missed it, last week there was a story that Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011, will be embarking on her first world tour since her death.•And, in case you’re wondering how that works, it’s not a bunch of fans sitting around her casket while her albums are played over the PA.•No, it’s something even more sinister and macabre than that.•Amy will actually be onstage, belting out her hits, night after night.Like a hologram?•Yeah. It will be a mixture of holograms with cutting edge CGI and presumably AI, so it gives the appearance of being live and natural.•Even though she isn’t alive and this isn’t natural. This is what they did with 2Pac at Coachella a few years ago?•Before I dive into the technology side, yes, there have been quite a few attempts to bring dead artists back to the stage virtually.•2Pac is one, back in 2012. •Frank Sinatra was brought back for a duet with Alicia Keys at the Grammys.•Michael Jackson, of course at an award ceremony in 2014.•There have even been rumours that Justin Timberlake might appear with Prince at a Superbowl. And they use the same technology?•The music business is a really dirty one, and there have been a number of companies trying to pioneer various technologies and systems.•And they’re all constantly suing and counter-suing each other.•Some of them even sue the estates of the artists they’re trying to secure. •\I think a couple of time, the estates haven’t liked what the companies have come up with and pulled out on the grounds of maintaining the dead star’s legacy.•It’s this weird thing in music. They think it’s a great idea to sue their clients and customers.

MSP50 [] Who Owns Your Thoughts?
Oct 21 2018 22 mins  
Who controls your mind? With mind-reading technology already showing incredible accuracy, is it time to ask who owns our thoughts?Produced by Jeff Sandhu for BFMEpisode Excerpt:You’re already making us sound like machines…•We are machines.•But we’re thinking, feeling, sensing and self-determining machines.•We’re conscious.•You can press a button or issue a command that will wake Siri or Alexa, but the best those devices are is a one-dimensional representation of who and what we are.•We haven’t found a way to mimic or replicates that consciousness.•Yet.And now we can? This is another one of your killer AI shows?•There will be plenty of AI.•It’s weird, isn’t it?•I talk about 3-D printing twice in a year and I have an obsession.•We could literally rename this show Matt and Jeff talk about AI and nobody would bat an eyelid.Or pulse a chip?•Precisely. To answer your previous question, no we don’t have conscious AI.•But strangely, and I expect somewhat creepily to some of our listeners, we can use AI in various ways to unlock the secrets of our brains.Is this like tweaking your DNA in a garage? Something you can do because you can?•One of the reasons we’ve been so preoccupied with creating humanoid robots is precisely because we have so little understanding of what makes us conscious.•I’m going to stick with technology rather than philosophy today, mainly because my philosophy knowledge is probably equivalent of a 16-year-old who study selfies rather than philosophy.•And at least with technology I can lie and makes things up and nobody will find out till later.•Understanding the brain is a bit like decoding our personality or our sense of self.The last frontier of medicine?•I wouldn’t go quite that far.•Our bodies still contain plenty of mystery.•Like the appendix. Its only purpose seems to be to create excruciating pain and ruin family holidays.•We’ve certainly become much better at the routine mechanical parts of medicine.•If your car gets in an accident you can just pop down to the junkyard and that some panels off another wreck and you’re as good as new.•Same with people. We can replace arms, legs and the wiggly bits that attach to them.We can turn our insides into bak kut teh our insides.•For those listeners who don’t know what bak kut teh is, honestly, don’t Google it you’re better off not knowing.•It really stretches the definition of what food is and should be.•Yes you make a valid point we can replace organs.•We can even perform face transplants, which is incredible, odd and slightly frightening.•When it comes to our brains were bit like mountaineers attempting to scale at peak for the first time.•We’ve got maps that take us some of the way, but, on the whole it’s a maddening game of trial and errorAll of which is taking us further away from machines that can read our thoughts…•I’m Setting the scene, and that’s all.•On Geeks we have to race through the stories. Here we can give them room to breathe.

MSP49 [] Mic Drop Moments [Facebook Portal]
Oct 21 2018 21 mins  
Technology companies, like people, don’t always make smart decisions. When they make truly disastrous ones, those are the mic drop moments. Today’s show takes a leap through the Portal.Produced by Jeff Sandhu for BFMEpisode Transcript:What’s on your mind?•Facebook. They’ve done something silly, again. •And this time, it’s a genuine mic drop moment.The Portal?•Back in 2012 Mark Zuckerberg told the world that Facebook was not in the business of making hardware.•Jump to October 2018 and FB is making hardware. Specifically, a voice activated communication screen that works rather like Amazon’s Echo devices.To be fair, Facebook has been in the hardware game for a few years, since it bought over Oculus, the Virtual Reality specialist.•Yes, but that was as much about bringing FB up to speed with VR in general.•Not because the company wanted to become the world leader in moleman goggles.The Portal device has been on the cards for a long time. Reports suggest it was delayed for 6 months.•And the reasons for that delay are one of the reasons we’re talking about it today.•Regular listeners will probably have noticed that we don’t pay much attention to gadget releases on this show.•So gadgets have to be very very good or very very bad in order to grab our attention.I’ll take a guess. The Portal is very very good?•I think the Portal may end up belonging in category roughly alongside the Smart hairbrush we loved so much last year.•For those of you who really don’t care about these things and who haven’t heard what Facebook is up to this week the Portal and that’s with a capital P, is a smart communication device, Bluetooth speaker, Home hub etc etc with a big screen.•It’s essentially Facebook Messenger with a screen.And it’s ugly? It’s slow? It doesn’t work at all?•None of those things.•One of the wonders of the particular age that we find ourselves in is that there are very few truly bad electronic devices.•Yes, of course, you can find yourself in trouble if you opt for those generic brands but don’t meet international safety requirements and all that kind of stuff.•By and large, anything that comes out of a reputable company is usually half decent in terms of build and design and functionality.•But that’s not the same as saying you need it or it’s a good idea.

MSP48 [] How Tech Works [CRISPR Blockchain]
Oct 05 2018 23 mins  
Today Matt & Jeff go back to basics to look at CRISPR and the Blockchain and ask: What are they and how do they work? It’s time to Mattsplain.Episode ExcerptYou’re looking very decomposed today. Why’s that?•I don't really spend much time in this temporal reality.Of course you don’t. You spend most of your time propping up a bar and practising your lies. Why don’t you tell us about black holes?•You are a little bit grumpy this morning, aren’t you? They aren't lies so much as alternative truths•As for the black holes, It’s really very straightforward.•You look at the velocity of the light coming from a dying star.•Then you account for the friction of gravity, and the density of the planet’s gasses •The you account for how they multiply as the star is pulled into the hole and the matter is compressed.Did you just make that up?•Yes. I’m very good at pretending to know what I’m talking about.•Usually, if I'm speaking it's a fairly good indication that I'm lying.Once again. An episode with very few expectations. Where would you like to start today?•Gosh. It sounds like I've knocked all of the hope out of you.•Should we start with CRISPR?•We’ve been talking about genetic modification an awful lot on the show recently.•Editing out the genes that create certain diseases, all conditions or hacking your body to try and create enhancements.•And then on the show we keep saying that tools like crisper actually incredibly cheap.If you don’t really understand what CRISPR is, then it doesn’t really matter how expensive it is or isn’t?•Precisely. I’m sure a lot of people think that CRISPR is the part of the fridge where you store leafy vegetables.•And you wouldn’t be wrong.•It’s not the best analogy but we can use CRISPR to extend the life of things. Why not tell everyone what it means?•It’s quite incredible what we take for granted, isn’t it?•We use this terminology all the time, and it’s become part of our lexicon, yet how many of us know what those initials stand for, other than sounding cool and futuristic?

MSP47 All In The Mind
Sep 28 2018 22 mins  
Technology and a little bit of positive thinking could vastly improve your mental and physical state. How? It’s time to Mattsplain. Show Excerpt:On last week’s show we talked about technologies that are meeting evolution head-on and trying to tip the balance in our favour. This week we’re in similarly choppy waters as we enter the world of the mind. In particular, the mind of Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage, an environment so hostile that it has been known to drive MRI scanners insane. It’s time to Mattsplain.You have another new word you want to introduce this week.•It’s not specifically about the direction of the show, but while we’re on mental health issues.•We’re all familiar with terms like sociopath and psychopath.•Many of us work with one or the other. I know you do Jeff…Are you talking about yourself?•I still maintain that that doctor is the real psychopath, and he has no business diagnosing anyone.•Would I be doing this show if you weren’t all my playthings?•Not everyone can have empathy. Nothing strange about it.Your new word?•Ah. I was ranting again, wasn’t I?•Yes, well we’ve been talking a lot about AI on the show for the last couple of years. •So, as I was looking at the stuff for today’s show I was wondering if the AIs we are building and that will eventually build other AIs could one day develop mental problems.Like the crazy AIs in science fiction?•I just watched the new Emma Stone show Maniac which is partially about an AI suffering from depression and mostly about not very much.•One thing we’ve talked about a huge amount, is how machine intelligence differs from human intelligence.•But you have to wonder if one day there will be a bunch of algopaths, that’s my new word by the way, sentient machines with serious behavioural issues, seeking treatment. Couldn’t we just reprogram them?•As we’ve brought up on the show before.•If we have self-determining machines, those machines may have many of the rights that we enjoy.•So reprogramming might not be an option.•I can imagine a future where there is a body of healthcare professionals, human or machine, that deals with the mental health problems of AI and algorithms.

MSP46 Evilution [The Dark Side of Evolution]
Sep 21 2018 22 mins  
Science is building an impressive toolkit that is enabling us to fight back against Evolution’s darker urges. How? It’s time to Mattsplain.Episode Excerpt:You made up a word for today’s show…•Yes. We’re all about the clickbait on this show.•Hold tight for 7 reasons why evolution will kill you.Really?•No, of course not.•But we are talking about evolution. We're going to talk about the ways that Evolution targets us and some other ways in which we are starting to fight back.You’re not going to talk about the giant ants again are you? I keep telling you that Them! is a 1950s B-movie not a documentary…•You clearly don’t spend enough time on the Internet.•Look at the way that the local wildlife population has survived the Chernobyl disaster.•Is it really so far-fetched that radioactive tests after WW2 resulted in giant ants that roamed the New Mexico desert neighbouring towns?•You’ve got to start thinking more clearly Jeff. Forget your obsession with the lamestream media.•Take off the blinkers, open up your mind.I’m not hopeful about today’s show. When Charles Darwin wrote the Origin of species, do you think he ever imagined, well, you?•Darwin was oddly interested in finches and pigeons.•My face is often recognised as kittens by AI but I think I’m probably a fair distance away from what he imagined as natural selection.Does Unnatural selection exist? You may be a prime example.•As with a lot of things in life: only in Star Trek.•One of the early episodes of Star Trek TNG – Season two, I believe–featured a bunch of genetically altered children whose immune systems altered the environment around them and caused normal humans to rapidly age and die.•And of course that’s the easiest way for one species to conquer another.•Not with anything so complicated as war, but by infecting them with pathogens that they can’t fight.

MSP44 Killer Code
Sep 07 2018 23 mins  
Wipe your feet and mind your head as we enter a universe where mindless code decides whether we live or die. A dystopia on your doorstep? It’s time to Mattsplain.Show Links: Excerpt:About three months ago, Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage claimed that we will soon be living in the Age of Amazon. A world ruled by mega-companies who control every facet of global trade and our economic activity. Has he had a change of heart? Has the algorithm running his thought process short-circuited? To find out, we’ll have to let him Mattsplain.Now, we’re not actually in the studio together today.•No. Your new studios have this really amazing facial recognition software.•And they won’t let me in. I’ve had this problem for years, but for some reason facial recognition software identifies me as a basket of kittens. •So, I’m recording my side of the show from kulturpop’s bunker inside a dormant volcano.So, you’ve changed your mind about Amazon and the mega corporations?•Would you be annoyed if I started yet another episode by saying yes and no?•I think it’s too early to say that I’m wrong about Amazon, just as it’s too early to say that I’m right.•What I’d like to do today is introduce new variables into the argument, and listeners can draw their own conclusions from there.•You mentioned algorithms in the introduction, and that’s really what I’d like to talk about today.•The intersection of our digital world, these massive IT powered corporate colossi and the uncertain growing power of code.This is something that you’ve come back to quite often this year. The idea that we’re under threat from machine intelligence.•Yes. And thank you for not calling it artificial intelligence.•It’s probably quite important to make a distinction here.•We often use terms like artificial intelligence comma machine intelligence, Machine learning, deep learning and others, quite interchangeably.•I’m not going to go into that side of the argument too much today.•If you are a bit confused about the terminology, there’s an on by a guy called Calum McClelland called the difference between artificial intelligence, Machine learning and deep learning.•It’s a quick read and a great primer.•We’ll post the link with the podcast.Why is it important that I didn’t call it artificial intelligence?•Because we’ve had various people calling artificial intelligence threat over the last couple of years.•Including one of our old friends, the man who likes electric cars and space rockets and makes weird comments about cave rescuers.•If you’ve been following this show this year, you’ll know that it’s not artificial intelligence in itself that concerns me.•It’s the fact that the AI or machine intelligence or deep learning – whatever you want to call it – •It’s the fact that the systems we have now are not intelligent enough that worry me.•Systems that we are releasing into the world that have an incredible ability to affect our lives but have no ability to reason or to question.A bit like a robot army in one of those old 1950s B-movies?•Yes. I’ve mentioned on the shows already, I’ve been reading a lot of Philip K Dick’s short fiction this year, which is absolutely breath-taking for its scope.•You can see that a lot of it Is him indulging in thought...

MSP43 Silly Season
Sep 02 2018 23 mins  
It’s Silly Season. The time of the year when the news goes on holiday. Which means it’s time to catch up on some of the really cool tech and science stories we missed like fiery webcams and livestreamed fatbergs.Matt's Notes: This is the quiet time of the year for news and developments. It’s been such a crazy year that we’ve had a lot to catch up on. This week, I’m going back to some of the smaller stories, such as the discovery of a new shape, the scutoid, and its implications for building human organs. And why fatbergs, for all their colossal disgustingness, may be the cultural symbol of our times. On with the episode!Transcript Excerpt:Are we in the Mattsplained equivalent of a desert?•That is normally the case most years.•We get to a point where, sometime during July August and really isn’t anything to talk about.•This is been such a tumultuous and topsy-turvy year that the stories have kept on coming.•And as you said, this year I’ve had more to rant about than I’ve had time to rant.•The silly season has been a chance to catch up.•And as we doing on and off of the last few weeks I thought we’d catch up on some of the smaller stories and developments that have come out recently.We have a topic, or topics, I suppose. That means it’s time to Mattsplain. •Let’s start with some environmental stories.•We don’t cover nearly as many environmental stories on the show as we probably should.•One caught my eye this week was from the wildfires that are raging across California.•The one that that Pres Trump says that because there is enough water fight them and the California fire service says comma Nonsense, of course there is.•One of things things I can talk about on the show is technology doesn’t always get used for the purpose for which it was originally designed.This is the story about Daniel Perez, who livestreamed the wildfire raging outside his home?•Yes. Perez lives in a small town outside LA.•When the police issued a mandatory evacuation order for the town, the last thing Perez did was to turn on his home security cameras and connect them to the Internet before driving over to a relative’s house in a safe zone.•As the Flames reached the backyard of this house in the middle of the afternoon, the dead smoke activating the night mode on his camera, Perez was able to watch as the blaze was brought under control.•What was really nice about the story was that once the place was under control, Perez notice that his door bell camera was capturing a fireman walking up onto the porch of his house.•And is able to use the intercom to talk to the fireman, reassured him that the house was intact, that the flames had damaged garden but not the house itself, and Paris was able to thank the man and his colleagues for their hard work.We often talk about our tech infrastructure being very delicate. This story shows another side, that it’s robust enough to work during a disaster.•That’s the weird thing, isn’t it?•Wildfire is a very very strange creature.•I won’t bore you all the details of our story I read about to have a type of roof you have often determines whether or not your house gets burned out during world, •I can only guess here, but I’m assuming that either the web coverage came along overhead cables along streets that were protected by the firemen or they were underground and similarly protected.•And Not just the Internet, obviously the power was still running even though the town was surrounded by flames.•And it’s not the first time this has happened. Back in 2016 another guy in the US watched his house burn to the ground over his WebCam.•In this instance, I thought it was nice that somebody was able to thank the fireman in person for saving the home.⠀

MSP42 Life As We Know It
Aug 28 2018 23 mins  
Are we heading for a one world order of powerful corporations? Will commercial brands dictate the popular culture of the future? It might not be what you expect. It’s time to Mattsplain. Episode Excerpt:As the world becomes increasingly wired, we often hear that culture is becoming more uniform and homogenised. Are we really heading for a one world order? Someone who’s not sure, but is pretty certain that it may not be the one world we imagine, is Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage. It’s time he Mattsplained.Is it true you’ve had Jeff locked up for the crime of sarcasm?•In a fake news world those of us with power can bend the judiciary to our will.•Last week, Jeff said some horrible things about me. They may have been true but I choose to call them untrue.•So, he’s way this week: I’ve had him locked up for a week to teach him to be more polite.I assume this has some link to the show?•You know what they say about assuming.•But yes, there is a link. •Nobody seems to know which way is up, right now. •True is false. Green on red. Orange is not the only fruit.•We are living in this weird and uncertain age where no one knows the rules.•It’s like we’re futuristic and medieval at the same time.•On social media, our lives are there for everyone to see. •But IRL we’re walled up in castles, behind all kinds of physical and mental barriers.How is this leading us to a one world order?•Conspiracy fans are more than familiar with the new world order.•That’s not what we’re talking about today.•As you mentioned in the intro, people are starting to wonder whether Digital technology is actually pushing us towards more singular vision of the world around us, rather than allowing us to share and celebrate the differences of cultures around the world.We’re talking Amazon and Facebook, rather than a sinister plot to take over the world?•Precisely. Strange thing is, it’s possible that they could end up being same thing.•No conspiracy, but power still concentrated amongst a handful of companies by virtue of their size.•We did a show on Amazon and a few weeks back, in the company really is poised to become this global trade monolith.•Along with the Alibaba group based in China, these two companies are starting to carve out a niche for themselves where almost all of our trade touches them at some point.•Whether it’s an online payment, an app using cloud services or something we buy, it’s quite incredible the number of the companies and products we use in our daily lives that have some direct or indirect connection to companies like Amazon and Alipay.But you’re not sure that this is where the future is heading?•A lot of today’s show was actually a bit of a thought experiment.•Usually when I do these shows I’m quoting from lots of sources, or at the very least a couple of websites.•A lot of them to talk about today’s conjecture. •That’s one of the best things about futurism, you look at the information you have today, he hope that you handle on what’s going to happen tomorrow and use that to project or predict what’s going to happen in 10 or 50 or 100 years time.•So I can’t cite any particular studies to back up what I’m about to say, •but if I’m on track, I think a lot of people Will be researching this very soon.

MSP41: Buying into Biotech
Aug 17 2018 26 mins  
Biotech conjures images of cloning, lab meat and mind control. But biotechnology has been fuelling humankind’s progress for thousands of years. Today we look past the fear and celebrate the promise. It’s time to Mattsplain. It’s time to Mattsplain.⠀Excerpt:Biotech is one of those words that’s often thrown around – like blockchain – but that mean very little to most people.•That analogy with blockchain is a really good one. •People often imagine that topics like biotech and block chain are easily definable, like say artificial intelligence or the Internet.•Biotechnology especially is extremely broad.•That’s one of the reasons that we don’t talk about it here too often.•It tends to pop up more often on our geeks squawk show, because there will be a news item about a specific piece of biotech but that technology may not be big enough for us to consider on this show.Presumably that means that there is some enormous breakthrough in the Biotech sphere did you want to talk about today?•That would be the way that we normally go about it.•people seem to respond very well to the hit-and-run format of last week’s show, I thought that today we could try and explain a little about what biotechnology is.•And then have a look at some of the stories and breakthroughs that we’ve seen in that sector this year.Just to be clear, we are not going to be talking about really intelligent Machines that start building organic bodies to host their minds while they wipe out humanity?•No.Or enhancement technologies that create a race of superhumans who will enslave everyone else?•No. •Look, every technology has its Dark side. •And often when we hear reports about biotechnology, it’s those negative aspects that gets stressed.•So we’ll hear stories about the dangers of crisper DNA editing.•Or cloning or stem cell research.•Or, as we talk about a lot on this show, the gradual convergence of intelligent machines and humans.You mean where humans have so many mechanical replacement parts and machines have so many organic parts that it’s difficult to tell which is which?•Yes. Now, I generally take that nightmarish and negative tone because I’m trying to demonstrate how extreme the result of this technology could be if we allow it to spread unchecked.•It also might be that that is exactly the future that you would choose.•As we mentioned in a previous show, a billionaire’s nightmare might be a poor person’s paradise.•So, if I come onto the show and paint a picture of a future of teddy bears, cotton candy and infinite episodes of Star Trek, then people may look at the world and think the future’s going to be great and stop bothering to look around them.•With biotechnology we so often see the negative portrayal, that the truly incredible advances in this sector get overlooked.

MSP40: Questions Unanswered
Aug 10 2018 25 mins  
Today we’re going to speed through a bunch of the questions that Matt gets asked most often. What do the Facebook and Twitter share price falls mean? Should I invest in crypto currency? Where’s my ray gun? It’s time to Mattsplain. Excerpt from Transcript:Because he’s got a one track mind – a recent show on GPS being a good example – we usually tackle one topic at a time on Mattsplained. That generally means there are more things we can’t cover than we can talk about. Today we’re going speed read our way through some of the topics Kulturpop’s Matt gets asked on a daily basis. It sounds a little less depressing than what we do most weeks. It’s time to Mattsplain.Will today be less depressing than what we do most weeks?•No. Covering more topics means I can scare even more people than usual.•I’m hoping it’ll be like watching a Tony Robbins lecture backwards.•You’ll feel a lot more scared and insecure by the end.•I’m going to jump straight in and ask the first question myself, because I’ve been peppered with it this week.•Does the recent fire sale on Twitter and Facebook shock pose any great problems?Does it?•For investors, yes. They’ve lost money. And while those stocks may not dip too much further – I’m not an analyst, you’ll get better advice from the Morning Run crew than from me on that – I don’t know if they’ll soar again in quite the same way.•It doesn’t seem to be the start of a tech sector rout. Apple’s quarterly announcement was very strong, indeed. Even if Huawei now makes more phones than Apple. •But most of us aren’t Facebook or Twitter investors. That’s a really small number of people.•The majority of us, literally billions of us, as far as the markets are concerned, we’re just losers. I mean users.What do you think it means for users?•If you look at it that way round: not very much.•Our day to day use of these services will continue exactly the same.•The real question is: what does it mean to the people governing those companies?•If I was them, I would be scared.Full transcript at

MSP39: A Problem Shared
Jul 30 2018 21 mins  
Bad ideas. Technology creates at least as many of them as it does good ideas. What happens when the bad ideas slip through and the good ones drift away? It’s time to Mattsplain. Excerpt from this episode:Problems. The things that science and technology are supposed to solve. That the solutions are themselves problems is not an original thought – which is good, because Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage isn’t very good at originality – but are we slipping into an era of bad ideas with great execution? I don’t know. I’m not sure I care. But someone does and he’s here to Mattsplain.You’ve been a bit under the weather this week?•That’s right. Nothing major – bit of a cold.•But it does mean there’s a couple of small changes to the show.•Instead of 20 mins of unrelenting misery punctuated by a couple of jokes, this week we just have the misery.•My SOH is the first thing to go when I’m feeling sickPlay Clip (0m06s to end)•Well, that’s all the production crew gone. •Jeff, you still here?I’ve been doing this for too long to get spooked because you’re feeling grumpy. I believe we’re starting with librarians. Not often we do that on Mattsplained.•That’s true. People don’t make an obvious link between libraries and technology, so they don’t often come up on this show.•But they did this week. •An economist at Long Island University wrote a piece for Forbes that suggested that the US replace its public libraries with run bookshops. •Before we get to that. Remember how you spent a lot of last show trying to stop me talking about the nitty gritty of positional navigation systems like GPS and LORAN?This show originally aired on BFM89.9 in Malaysia

MSP38: Old Tech Is Better Tech
Jul 27 2018 22 mins  
It’s easy to jump on the new tech is better tech bandwagon. But what happens when that new tech is a little bit older and doesn’t perform as well as the technology it replaced? It’s time to Mattsplain. Excerpt from this episode:If there’s one thing that we can be sure of on this show, it’s that the future is always better. Every week, Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage pops by to tell us that while the sun may not come up tomorrow, it’ll be back eventually. Even if humankind is dead by then. So, why, you may wonder, is he suddenly declaring that the old is better than the new? It’s time to Mattsplain. Have you finally turned into that crabby old man obsessed with the good old days?•Yup. Things were good back then.•Back then, kids didn’t to go to school.•There was no point - most of them were dead from disease or stuck in chimneys or looms before they reached their teens.•You didn’t have to lock your doors because you couldn’t afford anything anyone would want to steal.Weren’t people more neighbourly then? •Sure. What’s mine was yours because neither of us had anything. •We looked out for each other. •People would make sure you were really dead, or at least heavily sleeping, before they stole your boots. •And if you couldn’t afford a funeral, the local parish would give you a generous send-off by flinging your body into a midden pit.•Not like today. Where everyone worries about nutrition and clean drinking water and getting an education. •Life’s become too complicated. Let’s get back to basics. The important stuff. •Work. Steal some food. Die young and deformed.Fun Friday folks. Can we assume from your sarcasm that not everything was better in the past?•Of course it wasn’t. But sometimes we go too far the other way and get caught up in some shiny new thing rather than sticking with something that’s less exciting but works really well.This show was originally broadcast BFM89.9 in Malaysia.

Jul 06 2018 22 mins  
Is Star Wars undermining the Internet? Has hate speech undermined the mainstream? Could a licence to surf could bring us back from the Dark Side? It’s time to Mattsplain.Excerpt:Masculine inferiority. It’s something that Kulturpop’s Matt Armitage has been accused of all his life. But until last week, he thought it was just him. Now, the massed ranks of Star Wars Ultras have broken cover to try and force their views, Empire-like, across the Internet. Confused? You will be. It’s time to Mattsplain.The fanboys should be happy today: we’re talking about Star Wars.•Less happy than you might imagine.•The fan boys very much in our crosshairs this week, as well as is everyone else who thinks the Internet is the sole preserve of their point of view.•Everyone knows that the Internet is reserved for my point of view.•And when that POV is interrupted, I have to conjure up these 20 minutes sermons to bring everyone to heel.You’re really full of yourself, aren’t you?•I’m happy to see that your holiday has improved your mood.•And people call me uncle angry.•I am full of myself. But that’s not what I’m trying to do here.•I’m just trying to prove a point. Everyone thinks the Internet is for them and that anyone who dares to disagree with their opinion is attacking them.•Or rather, threatening that little piece of the Internet they call their own.And what does Star Wars have to do with any of this?•I’m not sure if you caught this because you been away.•And I’m not sure how long this post has been going around.•It’s a manifesto purporting to be from The fans of Star Wars, asking Disney to stop its campaign of perverting the franchise to further a socio-political agenda of inclusion that promotes masculine inferiority.Yeah I saw it…•I’m not quite sure how having strong female characters equates to masculine inferiority.•Also not quite sure how promoting different sexes genders and races upsets anyone in a fictional universe populated by creatures like Jabba the Hut, a cross between a slug and a lump of faecal matter that somehow manages to be more disgusting and offensive than either.•I consider myself to be a Star Wars fan, and I happen to like where the franchise is headed.•Anyone who is flabbergasted by Luke Skywalker’s transition to cantankerous old goat, obviously hasn’t met a lot of old people and thinks that they really are like the old duffers in the Werthers Originals commercials.You’re definitely going to be like Luke. You don’t even have to get much older.•Oi. Respect please.•People might be wondering what relevance this has as a topic for our show.I think our listeners gave up trying to connect your dots a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…•Bonus Star Wars points.•We’ve heard a lot of talk of the last few months about how the Internet is being weaponised by countries and companies with an agenda. •But we can’t blame what’s happening online entirely on external actors and agents.•You have people like the guys who put together the Star Wars memorandum, and I’m guessing are mainly white males.•And quick note to those guys: Star Wars is a global franchise, when you look at the population of our planet and I’m guessing the population of the wider universe. The majority of those people aren’t white or male or probably even human.

M.Ex Ep 2: Shiny Disco Satellites in Space
Feb 13 2018 17 mins  
On the show Matt & Polly ask: should we be sending junk into space, even if they are giant disco balls and convertible roadsters? What can you do when software breaks your car and no one can fix it? And is your email provider a window into your soul?Episode Transcript:MattHey Polly. I’m good. What have we got for everyone this week? PollyWell, Matt. Sometimes it can be a struggle to find the right stories but this week it’s been pretty easy. I’m really happy with what we have today. We’re going to be talking about satellites and the new space start up industry. You have a story about our dependence on software; whatever that means. And finally, we'll be talking about hotmail, a technology that is making humans, obsolete. MattThanks Polly. We’ll be hearing more from Polly later in the show. After the break, I’ll be coming at you with the giant disco ball from space. Here on MX. ShowMEX0002Jan. 26, 18Segment1ItemShiny Disco Satellites I really don’t know what to think about this next story. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with the shininess of new technology and forget all those old homilies like all that glitters is not gold. Or in this case, all that glitters is not silver.The story itself is quite a nice one about national pride earlier this month the company in New Zealand called rocket lab launched a rocket into space. It had a payload of the usual commercial satellites and it was a big deal for the country, marking a successful first foray into the space business.They’ve since come under a lot of criticism for including a large geodesic sphere amongst the cargo. As I said I’m a little bit unsure about this story. On the face of it it’s quite cool, the sphere is called the humanity start, it’s about a metre across, it’s made out of carbon fibre and it’s designed to reflect light. And they’ve let it out into whatever part of the outer atmosphere it is that satellites inhabit.So in effect it’s an artificial star. Which gets everyone’s Star Wars fantasies excited, even though it’s not a death Star. It has been designed to reflect so much light that it will be the brightest star visible in the night sky for the next nine months until its orbit finally decays and breaks up.As I said the idea of having a giant disco ball in space is a pretty cool one and maybe one that can get the international space station going into party mode.The problem with stories like this is that they really don’t stand up to closer scrutiny. Astronomers are up in arms because they’re already struggling with light pollution. And while they acknowledge that one little sphere won’t make a huge amount of difference, it sets a precedent for sending other silly things into space.Which is really something we have to avoid. There has been an explosion in Space tech start-ups over the last five years. There is so much investor money going into the field that it’s in danger of creating the classic tech bubble. It’s quite astonishing that companies are being founded on the basis of building satellites and paying for them to be delivered into space despite having no clear idea of what they’re going to be for and if they’re ever going to earn their money back.It’s like we’re back in the early days of boom. the Ethos is very much building first and find an audience later. The area of space surrounding our planet is already incredibly...

Trip to Vegas.
Jan 16 2018 11 mins  
If you’re a techie or a geek you will probably have noticed that the 2018 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show was held in Las Vegas last week, although increasingly it’s with a sense of diminishing returns.The show, which has been running in some form since 1967 and annually since the early 2000’s has come to dominate the consumer electronics industry, and certainly, in the ten years from 2005 to 2015, CES was the event for manufacturers: that one they couldn’t afford to miss. For consumers, it was something to look forward to in January: a way to get over those post Xmas Blues.As I said, CES has dominated the consumer tech world for the last ten years. The last two years have show a marked decline in the show’s importance. Those were years when a smart hairbrush and an electric car that still hasn’t made it into production were part of the breakout news of the year.This year continues the trend - Not a lot of big news from the show this year. It does seem that unless the show’s organisers can really pull something out of the bag for 2019 and beyond, there’s a very real chance that we have gone past the glory days of CES being the go-to showcase for the gadgets and gizmos we’ll all be buying up over the coming year. Which would be a shame. I’m a big fan of the show and trade fairs like this in general.You might wonder why – as the kind of consumer technology that CES specialises in becomes more and more integral to our lives – that the show seems to be waning? Partly it seems to be because technology is becoming too big for CES or any other single show. We’ve seen the evolution of CES: one year the smart home is the big thing. The next it’s robots. Then robot cars. But AI is upending that trend. As we build the Internet and communicability into every single device, everything becomes technology. Even the terrible ideas like smart juicers and salt shakers that track your sodium intake. When everything belongs at CES it’s hard to find the space or justify the expense. So, perversely, at the very time we should be celebrating the place of events like CES, instead it seems to be becoming increasingly irrelevant.At the same time, the crowd-funding model has enabled smaller developers to enter the market, and because they are pitching directly to their target market, performing the not inconsiderable feat of convincing consumers to pay for something that may not have reached prototyping stage, let alone retail.As well as allowing smaller players to fight against the big boys, it puts them beyond the rigid campaign cycle of the traditional retail sector. And it also gives them more freedom to maneuver. Instead of competing for air space in a crowded January announcement market, players both big and small can now decide on their own airtime and make their pitch more effectively.We’re going to take a quick break. Stay around for more on CES.Before the break, we were talking about CES, the ubiquity of AI and the Internet of Things, and the effect that the crowd-funding model is having on product release cycles.Which brings us back to the big boys. A lot of the bigger manufacturers prefer to stage their own events where their hero status won’t be challenged. Where they can demonstrate their own eco-systems. And where everything can be stage-managed and controlled. Because, when they don’t do that = as this year has again shown, things can and do go wrong.Those mistakes are far more manageable and a lot less glaring when the herd of journos is on the way to another of your brand’s keynotes rather than heading off to see a sex robot redefine the phrase non-erotic with a mechanical – in all senses of the word – striptease. And the last thing your brand wants to be is further down the pole than a robo-stripper, a fate that befell LG at when its home controlling robot Cloi gave up halfway.

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