Talking robot news on ABC Radio National Drive

ABC logoRobot newsreading and journalism has very much become my thing — as evidenced by the fact that I spoke about it yet again on ABC Radio National Drive on 3 July.

Here’s the news stories that triggered presenter Waleed Aly’s interest:

American news agency Associated Press has joined the ranks of the LA Times and Forbes magazine by adding robots to its workforce.

AP says it will use robots to write its corporate earnings reports, giving finance reporters time to concentrate on more in-depth stories.

The news comes just a week after Japan unveiled its robot newsreader, the ‘Kodomoroid’.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.

Talking RATs and webcams on The Project

Screenshot from The Project, 28 February 2014It’s been a while since I got to talk directly to The Project presenters, but I did so last night. And I was captioned as a “Cyber Security Commentator”, which is obviously a bit special.

The story was about the security risks of webcams. Presenter Gorgi Coglan introduced it thusly:

What if I told you that the webcam in your computer could be under the control of someone on the other side of the planet, and watching everything you do right now?

I was pleased that The Project introduced the Channel TEN audience to RATs, or remote administration (or access) tools, and managed — as they nearly always do — to strike the right balance between scary and funny.

Over the fold you’ll find the video of the entire four-minute segment — starting off with a “package”, as they’re called, featuring Hacklabs director Chris Gatford, followed by the panel interviewing me.

It was the Friday team, so that panel consisted of presenter Gorgi Coglan, comedian Lehmo, the inimitable Waleed Aly and, just to be different, Richie Sambora, guitarist of Bon Jovi fame.

Continue reading “Talking RATs and webcams on The Project”

Talking regulating social media on ABC Radio National

On Thursday 9 August I had the very great pleasure of discussing the regulation of social media with the ABC’s Waleed Aly.

As I’ve been writing these catch-up posts today, I’ve become aware that there’s been quite a bit of media commentary on this topic lately. People are seeing Bad Things happening online and want to Make It Stop.

Even my own small media involvement has seen this topic come up, since the beginning of July, at Crikey, ABC Local Radio, Balls Radio and probably elsewhere. It almost makes me want to use Gerry Anderson’s special machine.

Actually it’s all been fun. But what makes this conversation stand out is that Mr Aly is a bloody intelligent bloke, witty and incisive all at once. As just one example, here’s the observation with which he ended the interview.

Anyone who wanted to have the power to read people’s minds, I think, has the internet and now realises that power might be something more of a curse.

While the conversation took as its starting-point the outrage over the discovery of a Facebook page full of offensive jokes about Aboriginal people, we also talk about Facebook’s inconsistency in enforcing their own rules, and I call for Stephen Fry’s program QI to be taken off television.

ABC Radio has posted their version of the audio at Regulating social media, where for some reason they fail to mention my involvement. Here’s mine.

Both versions start off with a brief interview with Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke. My interview starts at around 6 minutes 40 seconds.

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The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.