Better Offline

Better Offline

Better Offline is a weekly show exploring the tech industry’s influence and manipulation of society - and interrogating the growth-at-all-costs future that tech’s elite wants to build. Combining narrative-form storytelling, one-on-one interviews and panel-based discussions, Better Offline cuts through the buzzwords and obfuscation of the tech industry, investigating and evaluating the schemes and scams of everyone from cryptocurrency scumbags to the greediest of the venture capital elite. Tech industry veteran Ed Zitron and a dynamic coterie of guests will help listeners understand the who, how and why of how tech’s most powerful players are changing the world - for better or for worse.

Episodes

June 19, 2024 33 mins

Last week, Apple announced that they're integrating artificial intelligence into your iPhone and Mac in a stunningly demure and reserved presentation. In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through whether you should trust Apple - and how OpenAI agreed to the worst deal in tech history to integrate ChatGPT in the least-prominent way.

EPISODE LINKS: https://tinyurl.com/betterofflinelinks 

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In this episode, Ed Zitron walks through how Sam Altman's ridiculous promises about the future of artificial intelligence could be ruinous for Silicon Valley, and speaks with Bloomberg's Ellen Huet about how Sam Altman - a non-technical founder with little business success - accumulated so much power.

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June 12, 2024 55 mins

Sam Altman has used his power and influence to become a multi-billionaire with stakes in hundreds of startups, but behind the curtain, he's never run a successful company, fired from both Y Combinator and, briefly, OpenAI. In this episode, Ed Zitron digs into the history of Silicon Valley's most popular confidence man, and talks to the Wall Street Journal's Tom Dotan about Altman's many, many investments. EPSIODE LINKS: https://tin...

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June 7, 2024 41 mins

In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through what happens when tech's growth-at-all-costs epoch begins to collapse, and how the only way to save Silicon Valley is to put power back in the hands of those who actually build things - and reject the management consultant mindset killing innovation.

Episode Links: https://tinyurl.com/betterofflinelinks

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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June 5, 2024 30 mins

Tech's hyper-growth era is ending, with online 100 million new people getting online between 2022 and 2023, and almost every major web platform seeing a decline in growth since 2021. In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how tech's decline is driving the tech industry to try and sell you useless products like the metaverse, cryptocurrency and generative AI.

Episode Links: https://tinyurl.com/betterofflinelinks

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May 29, 2024 48 mins

On May 14th 2024, Google introduced their Search Generative Experience, a service that uses hallucination-prone artificial intelligence to generate answers to queries rather than just presenting links, all so that they could Wall Street that they're innovative and future-forward. The result is an even-more-broken search experience, and in this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through the rotten state of Google, and speaks with Lily Ray...

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May 24, 2024 37 mins

For three years, Facebook's monthly active users have been declining dramatically, with Facebook.com losing 397 million unique monthly visitors since May 2021. In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how Mark Zuckerberg's abominable growth-at-all-costs mindset has turned Facebook into a dystopia of AI-generated slop, dangerous misinformation and outright pornography, all as a result of Zuckerberg's intentionally harmful approa...

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In the last decade, Mark Zuckerberg and his internal growth team have repeatedly and intentionally made Facebook and Instagram harder and more dangerous to use in the pursuit of perpetual growth, and in this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through multiple horrifying insider stories about Facebook's disgusting approach to user happiness.

LINK for documents: https://www.wheresyoured.at/killingfacebook/ 

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Earlier in the year, OpenAI debuted Sora, an AI that can generate videos that almost look realistic. In this episode, Ed walks through why generating video with AI is a near-impossible task, and speaks with Walter Woodman of Shy Kids, who made a movie called "Air Head" using the tool. LINKS: Shy Kids' Air Head - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4wJ4WeJrz4 Mira Murati Interview with Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/video/ser...

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May 8, 2024 54 mins

On April 26 2024, the NHTSA, the government body responsible for keeping roads safe, found Tesla's Autopilot and Full-Self-Driving software created a "critical safety gap" with drivers, killing and injuring people in the process, in the very same week that Elon Musk fired most of Tesla's team behind their Supercharger electric vehicle charging moment. Ed Zitron brings on E.W. Niedermeyer, author of Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story ...

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May 1, 2024 38 mins

Ed Zitron walks you through how career manager Adam Mosseri pushed out Instagram's original founders, turning it into an ultra-profitable app that barely works, and how Sam Altman, the so-called hero of the AI boom, is a lobbyist dressed as a technologist best-known for being an absent, self-obsessed demagogue.

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April 25, 2024 30 mins

In this episode, Ed Zitron tells you the disgraceful story of how Prabhakar Raghavan, Google's former head of ads - led a coup so that he could run Google Search, and how an email chain from 2019 began a cascade of events that would lead to the outright decay of the most important website on the internet. 

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April 24, 2024 34 mins

The growth-at-all-costs management consultant mindset has turned most of the modern internet into a painful and profitable social experiment - and in this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through how these disconnected, growth-hungry personalities have made Google and Meta abdicate any responsibility toward their users and products.

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In the last few weeks TikTok and other social networks have been flooded with memes about a chinese glycine manufacturer called Donghua Jinlong, all thanks to one innocent promotional video. Ed Zitron is joined by journalist Louise Matsakis and writer/researcher Tianyu Fang to talk about why young people are talking about glycine. Read more of Louise's work at https://youmayalsolike.beehiiv.com/ and you can find Tianyu at https://t...

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April 12, 2024 47 mins

Every major tech firm is betting billions of dollars that the generative AI revolution will change society - yet when you look under the hood, the reality of generative AI might be far grimmer. Ed Zitron walks you through the many signs that we're on the verge of the AI bubble popping - and what the consequences might be if it does.

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April 10, 2024 30 mins

It’s been just under a year and a half since ChatGPT - an AI-powered chatbot launched by so-called non-profit OpenAI - ushered in a new era of investor and media hype around how artificial intelligence would change the world. But what if this we're actually at the peak of what generative AI can do? In this episode, Ed Zitron walks you through the four intractable problems that are stopping Large Language Models like ChatGPT in thei...

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Wikipedia, a non-profit encyclopedia that anybody can edit, remains one of the few trustworthy and reliable websites left online. Ed Zitron is joined by critic, researcher and 18-year veteran of the Wikipedia editing community Molly White to discuss how Wikipedia actually works, and why you should care about its future.

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The media industry has laid off over 30,000 people in the last three years as a result of an executive sect that doesn't read, write, or meaningfully contribute to society. Ed Zitron walks you through how the startup mindset destroyed Sports Illustrated, VICE and The Messenger - and how journalism can turn the tide and survive.

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Ever wonder why Silicon Valley stopped making anything new or interesting? It's because of the same growth-at-all-costs mindset that's destroyed the rest of the tech ecosystem. Ed Zitron is joined by Robert Evans to discuss how venture capital demolished tech's ability to innovate by forcing the smartest people in the world to work on the dumbest things ever invented.

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A New York Times investigation revealed this week that Musk's $7 billion "Musk Foundation" regularly fails to donate enough money to get its multi-billion dollar tax break. Ed brings on Pullitzer-prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold of the New York Times to walk through the extremely questionable world of Elon Musk's non-profit.

Link to the New York Times story: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/10/us/elon-musk-charity.html

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