TWIT 745: Highly Illegal - and Very Affordable

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!


Great panel and nice to have Leo back in the driver’s seat, although I wasn’t buying his whole let’s-be-more-positive-about-big-tech spiel (on this episode or Sunday’s TTG). Glad the panel pushed back on the Google stories (Project Nightingale and the pending Fitbit acquisition), neither of which are good news, and that Brianna spoke up about algorithmic bias being a serious issue regardless of whether or not it played a role in the Apple Card fiasco. Interesting discussion around vaping, too, and again thankful for Brianna’s contribution re: cannabis use for PTSD and the dangers of vaping/smoking.


@Leo Preshow in studio guests that worked for NASA and the talk of the plane with the long and low wings reminded me of this Mythbusters episode where the plane has wheels under the wings to keep them from hitting the ground during take off.


Trust me Leo if you lived here and knew Corbin, you would not vote Labour for the free fibre internet. If they win, if they do it, the next person in Number 10, will sell BT back off and the dream ends.

It’s pointless and he’s trying to get votes only.

I don’t know anything about UK politics except that it’s a mess right now and that BJ is a crackpot. But I do recognize a politician’s empty promise when I see one.

It’s not a terrible idea, though. Any country that insures free or affordable high speed Internet to all its people will have a huge leg up.


A thought on the fragmentation of culture and the death of the commons:

The commons is kind of a myth. There are, were, and pretty much always have been alternative facts, but we had fewer ways to discuss and highlight them. The Tonkin Gulf Incident, for instance, or the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, and the examples go back much further than 50 or 120 years. Cultural commons aren’t all that either, because the days of three television stations meant the creation of a very narrow view of the world and culture. Charitably, we can even say it wasn’t particularly nefarious exclusion of many points of view and experiences of the world, but that there was very limited bandwidth for communicating these things, and content creators of the time couldn’t get to everyone. (That is being rather charitable, though.)

And that’s only in the US. Human culture as a whole has always been hyper-fragmented when we talk globally, and that largely had to do with distance. Modern technology disrupts the distance question, but that also allows cultures that were once hyper-niche to find some footing and market power because they can combine usefully.

It’s tragic that right now we’re fighting such a cataclysmic fight over what is a fact, but I think it’s also a necessary step in growing into a global human culture. It might end up looking more fractured on the surface, but on the whole is probably going to be more cohesive within certain niches than it ever was based on things like shared geography or religion of birth.


Agree it is beneficial to all. How do you see that working? Just hope it wouldn’t end up anything like our roads, bridges, and highways. :grimacing::roll_eyes::astonished:

Well, the trick is adequately investing in the maintenance, not just the flashy initial construction. And not letting it be undermined by private interests. And not having such a hugely distributed population would also make it easier, so somewhere like the UK is a much more feasible undertaking than in the US.


Elon to the rescue!

This show should be changed to This Week In Tech Negativity and Paranoia.

It seems like every story was spun to have a negative twist. Not enjoyable to listen to.

Considering nearly every tech story today — at least the ones involving big tech — does have an underlying (if not overt) negative twist, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. I don’t watch TWiT to be lulled to sleep or numbed out; there are more than enough social forces encouraging that already. I watch to increase my awareness of big tech’s impact on my life and society as a whole. To the extent that it ever becomes “the apologist show” for Google & Co., I’m out. As it was, I thought the panel did a good job of countering Leo’s strangely rosy take on Google’s incursions of the week.


I truly hope you’re right about this. I’m not at all sure that’s where we’re heading, but no one really knows. Great post, though…definitely a different take on cultural fragmentation than I’m used to hearing. Appreciate your thoughts!


Google could cure cancer tomorrow and people would still complain about privacy. Sigh.


I agree totally. In fact it was one of the reasons that I liked last week’s show so much. Even though Greg was forceful and talked over Alex and Justine, at least he was being honest, while they were trying to find excuses for the incredibly poor behaviour of Big Tech.

I’d much rather hear the truth, rather than apologies. There are times when Jeff Jarvis and his blind defense of Big Tech gets my goat and I feel like the Hulk… SMASH! Very frustrating, but the others usually manage put a more realistic view across.


I respectfully suggest that anyone who thinks 1) Google is a benign actor and/or 2) the people raising alarms about Google are primarily concerned about what you’re calling “privacy” read the first four (five would be better) chapters of Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Then we can have an intelligent conversation about Google.


In general, I think those who think are big tech apologists or who downplay the negatives while overweighting the positives are those with the privilege to not have (yet) felt those negatives attack them. If you’re demographically similar to those writing the algorithms, then you will probably not see the downsides nearly as much as others.

That said, I know that sometimes the hosts like to lean against or push a somewhat different take to get the guests to react and counter making for a lively discussion. The key is to get the balance right while keeping the discussion civil and respectful.


As much as he drives me nuts, the one positive I can say about Jeff Jarvis is that he’s very consistent in his positions re: Big Tech. I strongly disagree with him, but at least you know where he stands from week to week. (I guess the same could be said of Greg Ferro, come to think of it.)

What I actually find more unnerving is someone who wildly vacillates between hopeless resignation — “it’s all a big mess and there’s nothing we can do about it” — and forced, disingenuous optimism — “Big Tech really isn’t that bad, I mean, look at Google photos!” I just feel gaslit by that sort of thing.

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Best part of the show was studio audience pilots for JPL. God if someone just could have been heads up enough to get mic’s on them.

Hmm maybe we should have a TWiG special with just Jeff and Greg going at it.


Maybe we shouldn’t… :scream: