Talking life pre-Google on ABC Adelaide

ABC logoIt’s almost 20 years since Google was founded, and it’s fair to say that at least some of the company’s services have become a part of almost every internet user’s life. But what did we do before Google?

There were other search engines, of course, but what about before the web was a thing?

On Friday I discussed this question with ABC Adelaide presenter Peter Goers, along with librarian Nikki White from the National Library of Australia.

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This audio is ©2018 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking Elon Musk on ABC Melbourne

ABC logoThe demonstration launch of SpaceX’s Dragon Heavy launch vehicle was for me the highlight of the week. It got some attention elsewhere too, and not just from space geeks.

By complete coincidence, I’d been booked for ABC Melbourne’s regular Wednesday night “Please Explain” spot, with the task of explaining Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX. Here’s the full conversation with Lindy Burns and Declan Fay.

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This audio is ©2018 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking Trump, Twitter, employee revenge on ABC Adelaide

ABC logoFriday’s news that Donald Trump’s Twitter account had been deactivated for 11 minutes swept the world. No wonder it caught the attention of Peter Goers at ABC Adelaide.

Here’s the resulting 14-minute radio spot. It begins with a chat with Rebecca Fraser from the Career Development Association of Australia, and I’m after that.

I shamelessly steal some material from an article at The Clever, 15 Times Fired Employees Got Revenge On Their Company, which I think I forgot to credit. Sorry.

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This audio is ©2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking trust and the uncanny valley on ABC Melbourne

ABC logoIt’s been a while since I’ve posted the audio from any of my radio spots, but we’re back. Here’s my conversation with Lindy Burns on ABC Melbourne from the evening of 31 October.

Two stories took our fancy.

First was the Australian tour of a supposedly intelligent robot called Sophia. I’m sceptical about how intelligent it actually was, but it gave me an excuse to talk about the uncanny valley, and the early chatbot ELIZA.

Second was the news that Amazon is launching a new service called Amazon Key, which will let couriers open people’s front doors and put deliveries inside. Would you trust strangers to come into your house?

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This audio is ©2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking end-to-end encryption on ABC RN Breakfast

ABC logoAustralia is opening a new campaign in the seemingly never-ending Cyptowars. This time, the target is end-to-end encryption.

Our favourite attorney-general, Senator George Brandis QC, wants “the cooperation of companies like Apple and Facebook and Google and so on” to help the government break into encrypted communications. That cooperation would presumably extend to messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and so on.

And cooperation would be ensured, thanks to new legal sanctions.

Brandis says he’s not interested in putting mandatory “back door” access into the encryption used by messaging platforms. But how can that be true when he’s asking for the tech companies to be able to provide access to customers’ encrypted messages? That’s exactly what a back door is.

Anyway, this morning I was interviewed on this topic by Fran Kelly on the ABC’s RN Breakfast. We spoke for more than seven minutes.

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The audio is ©2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the ABC website.

For more analysis, try George Brandis’s salvo in cryptowars could blow a hole in architecture of the internet, by the Guardian’s Paul Farrell.