First Contact with Laurie Segall

First Contact with Laurie Segall

Laurie Segall, Silicon Valley’s go-to reporter and former CNN Senior Tech Correspondent, hosts First Contact - a weekly podcast series that explores the people and technology that are changing what it means to be human. First Contact brings listeners engaging and thought-provoking interviews with some of the biggest names in tech in ways we can all relate to. Laurie’s authentic and nuanced conversations give listeners “first contact” with the world’s most influential figures in tech - people the audience may know by name, but have never heard speak in this way before. Laurie built a decade’s worth of trust and credibility in Silicon Valley, and now she is giving listeners unprecedented access to the behind-the-scenes world only she knows. Each week, First Contact exposes the audience to engaging one-on-one interviews with everyone from billionaire tech founders to vigilante hackers shaping the world. First Contact goes beyond the big names and 24-hour news cycle. First Contact introduces listeners to the as-yet unknown figures in tech who will fundamentally change how we will live in the future. The series examines the people behind the tech by looking at their stories through the human lens. From tech titans to the fringes of society, First Contact explores human connection and the ethical dilemmas facing our future.... Show More

Episodes

October 6, 2020 88 min

Our new hyperconnected lifestyles have revealed weaknesses in the technology we use every day. But new problems lead to new solutions. That’s where innovation comes from. Phil Libin is probably best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Evernote. These days he heads up a company called All Turtles, whose latest project mmhmm wants to save us all from the Zoom-apocalypse and revolutionize how we will work in the future. Phil set...

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Facebook has ambitious plans for virtual reality. And Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is in charge of it all. He says we’ve only scratched the surface of how VR and AR technology will transform society. So what does that future look like? How do you make virtual interaction feel as natural as in-person interaction? How do you prevent harassment, without prohibiting intimacy? How will virtual spaces change the way we work? The way we learn? T...

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What happens to our civil liberties when an algorithm is used by law enforcement to make an arrest? Even more concerning, what happens when that facial recognitiontechnology is racially biased? As we enter an age of ubiquitous surveillance, it’s minorities - especially people of color - who are disproportionately affected. The ACLU has recently filed a complaint on behalf of a Black man who was wrongfully arrested dueto faulty poli...

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We’re bringing you three interviews from the first at-home edition of the Collision tech conference. Laurie chats with Headspace Co-founder and CEO Rich Pierson about the importance of mindfulness and how to live in the present amidst global uncertainty. Match.com CEO Hesam Hosseini and Plenty of Fish CEO Malgosia Green discuss how COVID-19 has transformed the world of dating. And lastly, entrepreneur and author Molly Bloom shares ...

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It's no secret to anyone: Tech has a major diversity problem. And it's not getting better. How do we finally start making the necessary changes to fix the glaring inequity in Silicon Valley? How do we change the makeup of board members, make companies more diverse, and start putting our money where our mouth is? Venture Capitalist Sarah Kunst is someone who’s not afraid to speak out. She’s been leading a discussion on minor...

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We are living through pretty surreal times... Most of the country is still shut down due to COVID-19. Over the last few days we’ve seen protests and riots across the country following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. All while Facebook faces a crisis of its own: internal and external revolt in response to the company’s inaction towards President Trump’s inflammatory posts.

Barry Schnitt was Facebook’s Direct...

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You probably know Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an actor from films like Looper, Snowden, and 500 Days of Summer. But he’s also an entrepreneur. In 2005, Joe and his brother started HitRECORD -- it was a simple website where he could post things he was making. In 2010 he opened it up. He and his friend Jared Geller turned HitRecord into an online platform where people from all over the world could come together to collaborate. Since then...

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The 2008 recession was a devastating time for many Americans. But amidst the chaos, it was also the breeding ground for a new creative class: Developers who coded their visions into reality. Uber and Lyft redefined transportation, Airbnb shook up the travel industry, and TaskRabbit helped pave the way for the gig economy. In many ways, the uncertainty we face today mirrors that crisis. TaskRabbit’s founder Leah Solivan joins the sh...

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For a long time, we tried to limit our screen time. But now we’ve gone all in. We’re living in isolation, more reliant than ever on technology for human connection. So let’s look at technology through a more philosophical lens: Are we now slaves to our devices? Could tech companies use the same persuasion tactics they use to get us to click... to help save lives? How will we balance protection and privacy?


Aza Raskin is the co-found...

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All around the world, people are now living in isolation. Many of us are confronting this experience alone. Physical interaction is now a liability. What does this mean for one of humanity’s most important forms of connection — sex? And how can we continue to meet our fundamental need for intimacy during these times? Laurie looks at what all this on-screen interaction will mean for the future of sex. Could tech eventually replace h...

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Jerry Colonna is fondly known as the CEO whisperer. He coaches some of the world's biggest entrepreneurs - like the former CEO of Etsy and the folks who started Gimlet Media. He helps business leaders navigate uncertainty and chaos. At a time when the coronavirus crisis is devastating the economy and millions of people's lives have been changed forever, the future is nothing but uncertain. Jerry's whole ethos is centere...

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March 30, 2020 43 min

While we all stay inside, each one of us is living our own story. Many of us are coping with the painful realities of a society in isolation. Jobs lost. Weddings canceled. Loved ones sick, or worse. We are confronting a new reality, and an uncertain future. First Contact host Laurie Segall has been in quarantine for weeks, and she’s been thinking a lot about community. Human connection. And then she had an idea: What if we cold-cal...

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Workouts between calls. Meditation apps. A desk candle to boost productivity. Work-from-home hacks for all of us, as we self-isolate and practice social distancing to slow the spread of Coronavirus.


Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress and Automattic, was an early evangelist of remote work. Back in the early 2000s, many of his first hires at Wordpress were people he had never met in person. Today, Automattic has nearly 1,200 employe...

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Ev Williams is the entrepreneur behind Twitter, Blogger, and publishing platform Medium -- three companies that helped shape the modern Internet. As we grapple with the impact of Coronavirus, these digital platforms are playing an even larger role in our ability to connect with one another. Ev weighs in on how all our lives could change in the short term and what the longer term future may hold for technology and media…

Will Augment...

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The rise of “cloud clubbing” from your living room, as people are ordered to stay inside. Digital raves. Virtual connection as a means to deal with an isolation bubble.


As people in China grapple with an uneasy reality, isolation, and the uncertainty around the Coronavirus, a new trend is emerging: the rise of Isolation Tech. Concerts are canceled. People are rethinking physical interaction. Nightclubs are shut down. So millions are...

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March 2, 2020 65 min

Who are the people who spread online disinformation? The so-called trolls you hear about in the news whose jobs are to distort facts and create chaos? Camille Francois knows them well. She’s the chief innovation officer at Graphika - a social media analytics firm hired by major companies to identify and fight online disinformation. Her team was a big part of uncovering the extent of Russian influence during the 2016 election. She s...

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February 24, 2020 89 min

Should Artificial Intelligence be able to make the decision to take a human life? And if it does, who will be liable if — or when — it goes wrong? When it comes to the future of war and technology, the ethics are murky.


Tech is creating a new arms race. Will the U.S. be able to keep up with the likes of China and Russia? And what ethical lines will we draw, or cross, to maintain our national defenses?


Let’s rewind to Orange County ci...

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When the lights went out in his home, and his children asked if it was “Russia,” Facebook's former chief security officer Alex Stamos knew he was bringing his work home. In a candid interview, Stamos opens up about what it was like when his team discovered Facebook had been compromised by Russia, and the personal implications of being at the center of one of the most significant attacks on technology... and democracy. Plus, hea...

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Yael Eisenstat is trained to analyze an argument from all sides. During her career at the CIA and State Department, she had tea with suspected extremists and sat at tables with people who were programmed to hate her. But the biggest challenge of her career didn’t come from a covert operation… it came when she stepped into Facebook Headquarters to head up their election integrity efforts. This is her story.

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February 3, 2020 66 min

According to investor and entrepreneur Sam Altman, the last decade of tech was the warm up... and Silicon Valley didn’t exactly get it right. The main event is even more pressing. Now the stakes are higher.


First Contact’s Laurie Segall met Sam ten years ago. Back then, he had a startup called Loopt. It was a location-based social networking app for your phone. Since then, Sam became a fixture in the tech world. Loopt didn’t take of...

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