Your Undivided Attention

Your Undivided Attention

In our podcast, Your Undivided Attention, co-hosts Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin explore the unprecedented power of emerging technologies: how they fit into our lives, and how they fit into a humane future. Join us every other Thursday as we confront challenges and explore solutions with a wide range of thought leaders and change-makers — like Audrey Tang on digital democracy, neurotechnology with Nita Farahany, getting beyond dystopia with Yuval Noah Harari, and Esther Perel on Artificial Intimacy: the other AI. Your Undivided Attention is produced by Executive Editor Sasha Fegan and Senior Producer Julia Scott. Our Associate Producers are Sara McCrea and Kirsten McMurray. We are a top tech podcast worldwide with more than 20 million downloads and a member of the TED Audio Collective.

Episodes

June 7, 2024 37 mins

This week, a group of current and former employees from OpenAI and Google DeepMind penned an open letter accusing the industry’s leading companies of prioritizing profits over safety. This comes after a spate of high profile departures from OpenAI, including co-founder Ilya Sutskever and senior researcher Jan Leike, as well as reports that OpenAI has gone to great lengths to silence would-be whistleblowers. 

The writers of the open ...

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Right now, militaries around the globe are investing heavily in the use of AI weapons and drones.  From Ukraine to Gaza, weapons systems with increasing levels of autonomy are being used to kill people and destroy infrastructure and the development of fully autonomous weapons shows little signs of slowing down. What does this mean for the future of warfare? What safeguards can we put up around these systems? And is this runaway tre...

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Tech companies say that AI will lead to massive economic productivity gains. But as we know from the first digital revolution, that’s not what happened. Can we do better this time around?

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Power and Progress by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson Professor Acemoglu co-authored a bold reinterpretation of economics and history that will fundamentally change how you see the world

Can we Have Pro-Worker AI? Professor Acemogl...

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Suicides. Self harm. Depression and anxiety. The toll of a social media-addicted, phone-based childhood has never been more stark. It can be easy for teens, parents and schools to feel like they’re trapped by it all. But in this conversation with Tristan Harris, author and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt makes the case that the conditions that led to today’s teenage mental health crisis can be turned around – with specific, achi...

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Beneath the race to train and release more powerful AI models lies another race: a race by companies and nation-states to secure the hardware to make sure they win AI supremacy. 

Correction: The latest available Nvidia chip is the Hopper H100 GPU, which has 80 billion transistors. Since the first commercially available chip had four transistors, the Hopper actually has 20 billion times that number. Nvidia recently announced the Blac...

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What does a functioning democracy look like in the age of artificial intelligence? Could AI even be used to help a democracy flourish? Just in time for election season, Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang returns to the podcast to discuss healthy information ecosystems, resilience to cyberattacks, how to “prebunk” deepfakes, and more. 

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Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and...

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Was it political progress, or just political theater? The recent Senate hearing with social media CEOs led to astonishing moments — including Mark Zuckerberg’s public apology to families who lost children following social media abuse. Our panel of experts, including Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, untangles the explosive hearing, and offers a look ahead, as well. How will this hearing impact protocol within these social medi...

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Over the past year, a tsunami of apps that digitally strip the clothes off real people has hit the market. Now anyone can create fake non-consensual sexual images in just a few clicks. With cases proliferating in high schools, guest presenter Laurie Segall talks to legal scholar Mary Anne Franks about the AI-enabled rise in deep fake porn and what we can do about it. 

Correction: Laurie refers to the app 'Clothes Off.' It’s actually...

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We usually talk about tech in terms of economics or policy, but the casual language tech leaders often use to describe AI — summoning an inanimate force with the powers of code — sounds more... magical. So, what can myth and magic teach us about the AI race? Josh Schrei, mythologist and host of The Emerald podcast,  says that foundational cultural tales like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" or Prometheus teach us the importance of initi...

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2024 will be the biggest election year in world history. Forty countries will hold national elections, with over two billion voters heading to the polls. In this episode of Your Undivided Attention, two experts give us a situation report on how AI will increase the risks to our elections and our democracies. 

Correction: Tristan says two billion people from 70 countries will be undergoing democratic elections in 2024. The number exp...

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November 30, 2023 35 mins

You asked, we answered. This has been a big year in the world of tech, with the rapid proliferation of artificial intelligence, acceleration of neurotechnology, and continued ethical missteps of social media. Looking back on 2023, there are still so many questions on our minds, and we know you have a lot of questions too. So we created this episode to respond to listener questions and to reflect on what lies ahead.

Correction: Trist...

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As AI development races forward, a fierce debate has emerged over open source AI models. So what does it mean to open-source AI? Are we opening Pandora’s box of catastrophic risks? Or is open-sourcing AI the only way we can democratize its benefits and dilute the power of big tech? 

Correction: When discussing the large language model Bloom, Elizabeth said it functions in 26 different languages. Bloom is actually able to generate te...

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On Monday, Oct. 30, President Biden released a sweeping executive order that addresses many risks of artificial intelligence. Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, shares his insights on the order with Tristan and Aza and discusses what’s next in the push toward AI regulation. 

Clarification: When quoting Thomas Jefferson, Aza incorrectly says “regime” instead of “regimen.” The correct quote is: “I a...

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In this interview, Dr. Joy Buolamwini argues that algorithmic bias in AI systems poses risks to marginalized people. She challenges the assumptions of tech leaders who advocate for AI “alignment” and explains why some tech companies are hypocritical when it comes to addressing bias. 

Dr. Joy Buolamwini is the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and the author of “Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of ...

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This is going to be the most productive decade in the history of our species, says Mustafa Suleyman, author of “The Coming Wave,” CEO of Inflection AI, and founder of Google’s DeepMind. But in order to truly reap the benefits of AI, we need to learn how to contain it. Paradoxically, part of that will mean collectively saying no to certain forms of progress. As an industry leader reckoning with a future that’s about to be ‘turbochar...

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Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer brought together Congress and many of the biggest names in AI for the first closed-door AI Insight Forum in Washington, D.C. Tristan and Aza were invited speakers at the event, along with Elon Musk, Satya Nadella, Sam Altman, and other leaders. In this update on Your Undivided Attention, Tristan and Aza recount how they felt the meeting went, what they communicated in their statements, and what it f...

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Where do the top Silicon Valley AI researchers really think  AI is headed? Do they have a plan if things go wrong?  In this episode, Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin reflect on the last several months of highlighting AI risk, and share their insider takes on a high-level workshop run by CHT in Silicon Valley. 

NOTE: Tristan refers to journalist Maria Ressa and mentions that she received 80 hate messages per hour at one point. She actua...

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In the debate over slowing down AI, we often hear the same argument against regulation.   “What about China? We can’t let China get ahead.” To dig into the nuances of this argument, Tristan and Aza speak with academic researcher Jeffrey Ding and journalist Karen Hao, who take us through what’s really happening in Chinese AI development. They address China’s advantages and limitations, what risks are overblown, and what, in this mul...

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August 17, 2023 44 mins

For all the talk about AI, we rarely hear about how it will change our relationships. As we swipe to find love and consult chatbot therapists, acclaimed psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel warns that there’s another harmful “AI” on the rise — Artificial Intimacy — and how it is depriving us of real connection. Tristan and Esther discuss how depending on algorithms can fuel alienation, and then imagine how we might ...

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We are on the cusp of an explosion of cheap,  consumer-ready neurotechnology - from earbuds that gather our behavioral data,  to sensors that can read our dreams. And it’s all going to be supercharged by AI. This technology is moving from niche to mainstream - and it has the same potential to become exponential. 

Legal scholar Nita Farahany talks us through the current state of neurotechnology and its deep links to AI. She says that...

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