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34 minutes | 2 years ago
How GoPro rebooted itself, with guest CEO Nick Woodman
For GoPro, things are looking up. After a tumultuous couple of years — which saw the action-camera company enter and then leave the drone business, get squeezed harder by increasingly competitive smartphone cameras, and ride a steady wave of criticism of its product line — GoPro appears to have found its footing with the well-received Hero 7 Black camera and a return to profitability. At the center of the company’s renewal is founder Nick Woodman. Woodman joined MashTalk to talk about what it’s been like to be CEO through such a roller-coaster time. After promising expeditions into media, drones, and 360 video didn’t work out as planned, he’s discarded unrealistic visions for tighter focus. The new GoPro may be less ambitious, but it’s much more confident about what it can offer: high-quality action cameras with a compelling mix of features, value, and usability. Follow MashTalk on Twitter.
51 minutes | 2 years ago
The future of crowdfunding, with guest Indiegogo CEO David Mandelbrot
Ten years ago, Indiegogo launched the modern era of crowdfunding by creating a place where anyone could pitch their idea, product, or creative endeavor to the entire world, asking for the funds to make it reality. Today there are no shortage of crowdfunding sites, and even though Indiegogo isn’t as large as rival Kickstarter, it’s still tremendously influential, offering entrepreneurs not just a funding platform, but also support beyond their campaigns, with tools to ease the transition from concept to launch. Indiegogo has always had a more worldwide audience than its peers, and now current CEO David Mandelbrot wants to take things further with more outreach to inventors in China as he leads the venture-funded company to profitability. Mandelbrot joined Mashable’s MashTalk podcast to talk about how crowdfunding has evolved since in the past decade, how the company approaches quality control, and what he thinks of Indiegogo’s “anything goes” reputation. Follow @MashTalk on Twitter.
39 minutes | 2 years ago
Why we’ll never get rid of program guides, with guest Sling TV’s Jimshade Chaudhari
35 minutes | 2 years ago
The secret to Candy Crush's success, with guest King CEO Riccardo Zacconi
What does ‘time well spent’ mean for games like ‘Candy Crush?’ If you own a smartphone, chances are you know Candy Crush and maybe even the game’s latest incarnation, Candy Crush Friends Saga. What you may not know is the story behind the franchise: How an Italian entrepreneur put all his cash on the line as a co-founder of King, the company behind the game, in the early 2000s, with an idea of how to re-invent gaming for the online world. That person is Riccardo Zacconi. He’s guided the company through the many phases online gaming (desktop, Facebook, mobile, and more), taking King public and eventually selling it to gaming giant Activision Blizzard in 2015. In this episode of MashTalk, Zacconi talks about that journey, his thoughts on Mark Zuckerberg, and what the future holds for mobile gaming now that people are starting to question all the time they’re spending on their devices playing games like, well, Candy Crush. Follow @MashTalk on Twitter.
42 minutes | 3 years ago
How to do consumer robots right, with guest Anki CEO Boris Sofman
In case you missed it, the robots are here. No, not the apocalyptic hordes of artificially intelligent machines that some believe are destined to enslave or eradicate us (hello, Boston Dynamics!), but the everyday devices and companions that are rapidly becoming commonplace. After decades of lofty sci-fi-inspired promises, robots like iRobot's Roomba vacuums and the many iterations of the Sony Aibo robodog are slowly carving out their places in our domestic lives. Even Amazon's Alexa is arguably a disembodied robot. A new entry into the field is Anki's Vector. Vector is a small tabletop robot with big features. First and foremost, unlike other "robots" like those from Sphero or even WowWee, Vector doesn't need a smartphone to control it. It's fully autonomous and loaded with sensors, enabling it to interact with and learn from its environment from the get-go. Vector is another milestone for Anki, a company that's had one of the most interesting stories in tech. Unknown to the world before its splash launch at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2013, the robotics company has come out with several products, including intelligent toy race cars and a previous, more limited robot, Cozmo. Where does the robustly funded company go next? And when will it move its robotics business into something more capable (i.e. not a toy). Anki CEO Boris Sofman dropped by Mashable's MashTalk podcast this week to give us the full story of his young company, why it's so focused on the "personality" of its robots, and what he sees in the future for domestic robots and AI.
24 minutes | 3 years ago
Apple's 2018 iPhones have a serious naming problem
Everyone knows Apple will unveil new iPhones in the fall, and the consensus is there will be three models: a successor to the iPhone X, a large-screen version of that phone, and a new model that looks kind of like the iPhone X, but doesn’t have quite all the same features so Apple can sell it at a lower price. With three iPhones coming, the big question becomes... what is Apple going to call these babies? Apple really screwed itself by debuting the iPhone 8 alongside the iPhone “ten” — now anything called the “iPhone 9” sounds like an old model, and the “X” label makes it difficult to just jump to 11 (which would make the “9” sound even older). So what options does Apple have? Host Pete Pachal dissects them all with Mashable’s Raymond Wong and Michelle Yan. Tell us your vote by hitting us up on Twitter at @mashtalk.
45 minutes | 3 years ago
Why the gun emoji is no more, with guest Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia
Emoji have conquered the world, no doubt, but what happens after the conquest? The answer: Things change. Emoji are constantly evolving, not only with new symbols that arrive on our smartphone keyboards year after year, but also the symbols themselves. A couple of years ago, your standard emoji keyboard usually has a gun on it, but today that symbol has been almost universally replaced with a water pistol. The gun’s transformation may be the most dramatic of changes, but emoji are changing in subtler ways too. Apple recently announced a new set of emoji coming in iOS 12, and it includes a eye-like symbol, the nazar amulet, that’s very popular in Turkey and other parts of the world but not the U.S. With the emoji keyboard now pretty much filled out with “universal” symbols, expect more niche or regional characters to appear. There’s also the question: what to do about unpopular emoji? Some emoji, like "crying with tears of joy," are everywhere, but others don't get as much day-to-day use. Case in point: the aerial tram emoji is apparently the least-popular emoji in use, according to Emojitracker. Should there be an effort to boost unpopular emoji, and what responsibilities do the main shapers of emoji -- Apple and Samsung, mostly -- have here? And just who gave them so much influence over our new visual language anyway? To help guide us through the ever-evolving world of emoji, we turned to Jeremy Burge, the founder of Emojipedia and creator of World Emoji Day, which took place earlier this week on July 17. Burge sat down with MashTalk host Pete Pachal to talk about the new emoji coming this fall, review the Emojiland musical on Broadway (it's good!), and revealed his true thoughts about Apple's Memoji avatars. Follow Jeremy and Emojipedia on Twitter.
45 minutes | 3 years ago
The frightening world of online 'spiritual gurus,' with guest Jennings Brown
We all know YouTube. YouTube is the biggest video platform on the planet, with about 400 hours of video uploaded to the service every second. But YouTube, of all the current content "platforms," is arguably the most fragmented. There's no newsfeed, so there's no central place where everyone -- or seemingly everyone -- is gathering. As a result, communities form on their own, typically around channels or personalities, and they tend to be pretty insular. One of these communities formed around someone named Teal Swan. Swan is what you might call a "spiritual healer" or at least someone who believes herself to be that. But it turns out she has some very controversial thoughts on many topics, including suicide, and a lot of people think her teachings are potentially damaging — and may have contributed to the suicide of someone who followed her closely. That's exactly what Jennings Brown, a senior reporter at Gizmodo, investigated in The Gateway, a six-part podcast that explores the world of Swan, and how self-described "gurus" can use today's digital tools and platforms to reach massive audiences, and sometimes vulnerable people. Brown came on Mashable's MashTalk podcast to talk about his investigation and what he learned. What are the responsibilities of the platforms here? What about communities and individuals? And is there something mainstream services can glean about how these personalities cultivate loyal audiences? And how can we help the vulnerable navigate an at-times unforgiving digital culture? We take on those tough questions and more. But if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.
41 minutes | 3 years ago
The future of Microsoft Cortana, with guest Javier Soltero
When Google wowed the tech world with its demo of Duplex -- the tech that allows its digital Assistant make phone calls to perform mundane tasks like booking haircuts or making restaurant reservations -- Microsoft's Cortana chief was impressed, but not worried. "The technologist in me had no choice but to feel impressed," Javier Soltero, Microsoft corporate vice president of Cortana, said in this episode of Mashable's MashTalk podcast. "The idea that a computer can generate a voice with the right processes, right inflection, all of the right things to mimic humans, is amazing to see in practice, but not entirely surprising." But Soltero didn't immediately think, "We need to do something similar with Cortana so we can catch up to what they're doing." In fact, the Google Duplex demo emphasized just how different the two companies' approaches to voice technology are. Whereas Google is clearly putting consumer-friendly features that automate mundane tasks front and center, Microsoft is looking to make Cortana into a more symbiotic tool -- something that works in conjunction with a human, not necessarily in the person's stead. Think that scene in the first Iron Man movie, where Tony Stark has a continuous conversation with his digital assistant, JARVIS, as he designs the second generation of his armor. "It was clear that that was not where we were headed," Soltero said of Duplex. "We are interested in not that level of having the computer do stuff for you. We're more trying to enable you to do more things yourself." Soltero become master of Cortana in March 2018 after playing a big role in Microsoft's Outlook and Office apps. He first came to the company by way of Acompli, a well-regarded email app that Microsoft acquired in 2014. After successfully turning Outlook into one of the best email apps on mobile, he's now putting his expertise to work to push forward Microsoft's voice assistant. And it definitely needs a push -- the mindshare in the voice-assistant space is dominated by Amazon, Google, and, to a lesser extent, Apple. Even Samsung seems to have gotten more buzz. It's not like Cortana has been stagnant. It's made progress by migrating from phones to PCs (although, considering the fate of Windows Phone/Mobile, it was more like abandoning ship), and the first Cortana-enabled smart speakers, starting with the Harman Kardon Invoke, arrived on the market last year. Still, the Invoke isn't a Microsoft product. Given the ever-expanding number of competing products powered by Alexa or Google Assistant, everybody's wondering when Microsoft will flex its growing hardware muscles (its line of Surface tablets and laptops has been a solid success for the company) to build its own smart speaker. "We have lots and lots of ambitious plans that I can't discuss, but you will be learning more as the course of the year plays out," Soltero said. "And as you've probably seen, we're working closely with Amazon to integrate Cortana into the Alexa and Echo experience as well as having Alexa integrate into Cortana. It's ultimately less about the device and more about where the effect of the assistant is felt." Although everything is "early days" in tech, when it comes to voice assistants, it's not just a line. In this case, science fiction has set the standard for what constitutes success in the field -- an interactive, almost telepathic computer that we can talk to just like we would a human. Star Trek, Her, and other movies have all shown the dream, but it's still a long way off. Getting there will mean taking many, many baby steps to get there, but Microsoft thinks it's on the right path after its acquisition of Semantic Machines. Besides technology, Semantic brings a keen philosophy to voice interactions -- there should be no "dead ends." Which is to say, when you make a query to one of these assistants, and it can't complete the query for whatever reason, it shouldn't just give up and tell you it doesn't understand. Instead, it'll keep asking follow-up questions until it gets you to what you want, and if it still can't do that, it provides an opportunity to teach the AI what the right answer is. The semantic machines team is hard at work with the Cortana folks to bring those capabilities into Cortana. I'm still, along with my team, really focused on this problem... how do we go from, 'Hey, Alexa, turn on the lights,' to what is a much more complicated and natural-sounding articulation." Getting to those natural interactions, tailored to each user, will clearly be a long process, with many steps, but Soltero is clear what he thinks is the next one. "The wake word is the first thing to go."
36 minutes | 3 years ago
Why the gig economy was doomed from the start, with guest Sarah Kessler
For a while there, it seemed like "Uber for X" was the only pitch that mattered. To many, the rapid rise of Uber wasn't just a major tech success story -- it signaled a wholesale change that was coming to how people thought of work. Traditional jobs, the thinking went, would soon become less and less common, with predictable, inefficient employment getting replaced by the flexibility of independent contract work. The "gig economy" was underway, and it was unstoppable. Except that it stopped. In her new book, Gigged, reporter Sarah Kessler chronicles the ascent and decline of the gig economy, starting in the early 2010s, when it seemed every service -- from grocery shopping to cleaning offices -- could be "app-ified" to be done by easily scalable contract work, to the death of many of those services a few years later, when their models proved unsustainable. Kessler, a former Mashable startups reporter, visited the MashTalk podcast to talk about the gig economy, and its failure. One of the main problems, she observed, is that for many jobs outside of driving people from Point A to Point B, the work requires more skill than you think. It turns out that even something as seemingly menial as grocery shopping has nuance to it, and individuals tend to be very particular about the way it's done. Finding the best avocados for you might not be the same as finding the best avocados for me. "People saw Uber making this business model work, and you had a bunch of people who are experts at starting tech companies launching a service business for cleaning or washing your clothes or whatever," says Kessler, "And it is a lot more complicated and requires a lot of expertise to do those things, and so a lot of them did get in trouble." Not only did the jobs require more skill than expected, but the gig economy is set up in such a way that work is inherently modular, sometimes varying wildly from contractor to contractor. The problem is customers generally want consistency and reliability, and for many of these tech startups, creating an environment that encourages that -- while also offering a cheaper product than traditional employee-driven industries -- was too tall an order. Not all gig economy companies failed, though. One of them, a cleaning company called Managed by Q, ended up pivoting to an employee model, just with the same conveniences enabled by technology that the original contractor model had. There was some sacrifice in nimbleness, but the shift resulted in a better business overall. "They did make that change, and decided there was a business reason to do so," Kessler explains. "They wanted their cleaners to have relationships with people whose offices they were cleaning, and through those relationships they would start to sell other services like supplies. And you needed to have happy workers who liked your company in order for that to work." The danger of pivoting away from the original gig economy promise is that it's a much tougher sell to investors, who tend to fixate on scale, scale, scale. While there will always be tech startups based around centralizing contract work -- and some may even succeed -- the central lesson of the gig economy is that it's much harder than it looks. "You could see in the reviews of some services that they would be raving about one person but then talking about getting your jewelry stolen by the next person. The acquisition cost of trying to go find people, who have no allegiance to you and then pseudo-train them to do what you want to do but then they leave the next week when they find a real job, is pretty high."
44 minutes | 3 years ago
WWDC recap: Why Apple is slamming Facebook hard, with Philip Elmer-DeWitt
WWDC. Apple's software show. "Dub-dub." Whatever you call Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, it's the event where we find out what cool new features are coming to the company's multiple platforms: iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It's also where we get to know what's on Apple's mind. The new software shows Apple's hand in ways its hardware doesn't: From new features to combat iPhone addiction to updates meant to prevent data companies from tracking you, Apple is playing both defense and offense in the ongoing backlash against big tech companies. It also quashed (but maybe not fully?) the rumor it was going to merge iOS with macOS, inadvertently giving us a GIF for the ages. On this week's MashTalk podcast, we go beyond the keynote rhetoric and basket of feature updates to get at the big questions: What kind of experience will users get when this software is on their devices? How will that compare to the competition? And exactly what kind of company is Apple trying to be? To help answer those questions, we talk to renowned Apple commentator Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the man behind Apple 3.0 and a former tech reporter for Time and Fortune.
45 minutes | 3 years ago
How should cryptocurrency be regulated?
Does Facebook know something about blockchain that we don't? Probably. If there's one thing we can all agree on about blockchain tech and cryptocurrency, it's that most people don't understand them. Facebook, which recently re-organized itself to make blockchain one of its major focuses, clearly has something up its sleeve with regard to crypto. But even if they revealed what it is, users would likely react with a head-scratch. The financial world is already a mystery to many. Add to that a layer of novel technology involving a digital "immutable ledger" that runs on a peer-to-peer network, decoupling the currency from any central authority, and even an interested person will start to resemble the Confused Lady meme. To those folks, this week must have been especially troubling. It was Blockchain Week in New York City, headlined by CoinDesk's Consensus Conference. Besides the Lamborghinis on display and the bizarre crypto-inspired stunts, there was clear progress in bridging the world of cryptocurrency with that of real-world finance, including a new suite of investor tools and a new "stablecoin" for jittery crypto investors. HTC even debuted a blockchain-based phone. But does any of that matter in light of crypto's Wild West reputation, with shady startups and scams dominating most of the headlines? How should the field be regulated? And what is Facebook's crypto team up to anyway? On this week's MashTalk podcast, Mashable Senior Editor Stan Schroeder and Tech Correspondent Jack Morse give a status report on the state of cryptocurrency and answer some of the fundamental questions around the space around regulation, energy consumption around "mining," and whether or not all these tokens will be worthless in the end.
42 minutes | 3 years ago
The ethics of Google Duplex, with Assist CEO Shane Mac
It was possibly the most mind-blowing tech demo in years: During the opening keynote of the Google I/O developers conference, CEO Sundar Pichai showed the company’s AI-driven Assistant making a phone call to a business and carrying out a verbal conversation with the person who answered. What made the demo of the feature, called Duplex, so amazing was the Assistant’s command of natural language – saying “um,” “mm-hmm,” and “ah” at various times – was so masterful that it was apparent the person on the other end had no idea he or she was talking to a machine. It was a very specific situation, but Google Assistant had effectively passed the Turing test. The demo instantly got the tech world’s collective mind a-blazing. Was the Assistant obliged to say it wasn’t a person? How off-track would the conversation have to go for the Assistant to mess up? What happens when an automated system picks up the phone? And maybe most important, when will consumers get their hands on this feature? To try to answer many of those questions, I called up Shane Mac, CEO of Assist, a voice and messaging assistant platform. Mac has been immersed in voice technology and AI for a long time, and he and I had a far-reaching discussion about Google Duplex on the MashTalk podcast, exploring Google Assistant’s impressive progress, the roadblocks ahead, and what happens when this technology scales. Given the current climate — where Silicon Valley companies are routinely criticized for how they seem to prioritize products and progress over customers — some saw the Duplex demo as another example of Silicon Valley hubris, effectively using service workers as guinea pigs. “There are so many questions in this arena,” Mac said. “Bot ethics are finally real. If [this tech] is applied somewhere, and you don’t know it’s a real human, there are massive things that need to built around legal policy, disclosing if it’s a robot or not... because you can see this quickly becoming a really big problem.” When Google Assistant users get their hands on Duplex, the amount of robocalls — in both directions — will certainly increase. Waiting on hold will effectively no longer be an issue for someone with the tech, and sales forces may need to add another layer of human verification — a kind of verbal Captcha — to ensure they don’t get flooded with calls from bots. But what about the strange but obvious consequence of tech like Duplex: Where a growing portion of phone calls is just bots talking to bots? “Bots are going to talk to bots all the time,” Mac predicted. “Everyone’s trying to get to these fully automated experiences on the brand side. But what if the consumer bot gets here first? Then what happens?” At the end of the day, though, this is one tech demo from just one of the many companies aggressively pushing forward into voice tech and digital assistants. This same week, Microsoft showed how its assistant, Cortana, would talk to Amazon Alexa. It was a promising taste of platforms working together, but it also emphasized what the individual platforms are good at, with Alexa handling personal requests and Cortana having domain over more work-related things like calendars and work projects. To Mac, however, this kind of specialization might mean social networks have something new to offer, underpinning the strategy behind Facebook’s rumored smart speaker. “This is where Facebook has an opportunity,” said Mac. “I would watch out for the social platforms getting into voice, because social experiences drive human nature, and it can do things with that social graph that other platforms can’t.”
39 minutes | 3 years ago
'Free' doesn't have to mean you're the product (with Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua)
If you're not paying for the service, are you the product? That's been Silicon Valley conventional wisdom for at least a decade, but the new focus on data privacy in the wake of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal has inspired the world to re-examine the maxim. It's pretty clear now that it's an oversimplification, and there's a strong case to be made that thinking this way is downright dangerous. That doesn't mean we let services like Facebook off the hook, but we should be cognizant that there are other ways to monetize a free service outside of "profiling" users to optimize advertising. One good example is Viber. Founded in 2010 as a mobile-first messaging service (then a novel idea), Viber now has about half a billion monthly active users worldwide. And it doesn't do advertising in the traditional way. CEO Djamel Agaoua joined MashTalk to talk about the current conversation about user data, whether its users are "products," and how it squares a strict privacy-first approach with monetization (Viber isn't profitable, Agaoua admits, though it was bought by Japanese tech giant Rakuten for $900 million in 2014.) "The Facebook galaxy is our major competitor," Agaoua said. "Messenger is a very different model from us. It necessitates a lot of ads, a lot of reading of everything exchanged on the platform to be able to monetize as much as possible. WhatsApp was supposed to be different... we'll see what WhatsApp will become. If WhatsApp remains a secure private app, or if it becomes another tool of the Facebook galaxy to grab more data and make more money." While Viber makes some money via user fees (calling out to a phone number costs a nominal fee, as do extras like sticker packs), the way it treats advertising doesn't depend on user data. Instead, it will only serve ads when a user goes to the Discover part of the app and looks for something. For example, if you search for "restaurants" you may see some local spots that have paid to be there. The important part is Viber says it doesn't use personal data to serve any of this content, and it will only serve these kinds of ads when you're proactively searching for something. "The answer to a search could be sponsored in some cases," Agaoua explains. "It's advertising, but it's not advertising by pop-ups when you don't want it." On top of that, for messaging, Viber turns on end-to-end encryption by default. That makes it impossible for the company to read any of those messages, and any encrypted messages that travel through the service are deleted from servers as soon as they're delivered, the company says. "We don't read this content, we don't use this content. We don't have this data available for anyone -- not for us or any advertising partners," said Agaoua. Of course, that also means it's more or less impossible for Viber to offer any kind of "personal assistant" or actively provide help when you are having a conversation, in the way Messenger and Google Allo do. "When you're discussing with your friends about getting a pizza somewhere, we don't know, so we're not going to send you advertising." However, Agaoua doesn't take a hard stance that it's not OK for a service to make money off user data. In the case of Facebook, however, he believes the company wasn't transparent enough about the bargain its users were making. "The model of providing a service for free to monetize via third-party services is not a problem," Agaoua said. "The problem with Facebook was that the company vacuumed a lot data without the specific, explicit consent of the users, which is very different.... If someone is getting data off your back without telling you exactly what data it's getting and why and -- even worse -- with whom it's sharing this data, then there is an issue."
34 minutes | 3 years ago
Apple vs. the FBI never ended, and the FBI is winning, with guests Joseph Cox and Joe Hall
If you own an iPhone, you should be concerned about GrayKey. That's the name for a new kind of device that's becoming increasingly popular with law enforcement agencies across the U.S., according to recent reports. It's popular because it unlocks iPhones protected with a passcode, even ones running Apple's most recent software, iOS 11. GrayKey is the product of Grayshift, a security company based in Atlanta that was co-founded by an ex-Apple security engineer. The device itself is a nondescript black box with two Lightning cables sticking out. But once you connect a locked iPhone, it can somehow bypass Apple's built-in protections against repeatedly attempting to guess the phone's passcode -- effectively letting users "brute force" the code and get in after a certain amount of tries. A four-digit code becomes practically useless, and a six-digit code might take a few days to crack at the most. Phone-cracking technology has been around since people started keeping sensitive information on phones, but in recent years the security pendulum swung hard in the direction of the user, with improved encryption techniques and widespread adoption of it by Apple, Google, and other big tech companies. As a result, law enforcement decried the emergence of "warrant-proof" devices and complained that important communications were now inaccessible, resulting in intelligence gathering was "going dark." With GrayKey, it definitely looks like the pendulum is swinging the other way. Thanks to the reporting of Motherboard journalist Joseph Cox, we know that local law enforcement across the country are buying the device, which costs as little as $15,000 (plus a subscription to Grayshift's service) -- expensive to the individual, but to a police department, much less than a single squad car. Federal agencies are looking to procure the device, too. Cox joined the MashTalk podcast this week to discuss GrayKey, how it works, and the implications of it in the ongoing tug of war between digital security advocates and law enforcement. Joseph Hall, the chief technologist of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for civil liberties around digital issues, also guests to break down what this could mean for technology policy. One of they first questions we tackle is whether or not GrayKey is actually a good thing? If it's only used when cops have a legitimate warrant to search the contents of an iPhone, doesn't that restore the status quo pre-encryption and ensure they can get the evidence they need to catch criminals? That may be true, but Hall points out that clearly GrayKey takes advantage of some heretofore unknown exploit, which could be leveraged by other parties. And even if others don't discover the flaw, there's not much stopping oppressive regimes, banks, or anyone else with $15,000 to burn from procuring one of these boxes, too. "We have no indication that Grayshift is going to sell these devices only to U.S. law enforcement," said Hall. "They, like any other business that does this, have to ask themselves: How far is too far? What regime is too antithetical to your own principle that you won't sell the devices to?" That would have grave implications for device privacy worldwide. Still, there's hope. As Cox says, the emergence of GrayKey (and other technologies like Cellebrite) means the balance between hacking devices and securing them has shifted, but that doesn't mean it won't shift back. Apple almost certainly has one of these boxes, Cox says, and surely a future iPhone or version of iOS will have better defenses against them. "Eventually when it does get fixed, because presumably it will, there will be another lull," Cox said. "There will be a point where the hackers are trying to catch up again." But does GrayKey betray the existence of a larger problem that needs solving? Just this week the infamous case that pitted Apple against the FBI two years ago was back in the news when research by former Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie was highlighted in Backchannel: a way for iPhones to have an extra set of encryption keys, stored securely at Apple HQ, and only accessible with a valid warrant on a specific device. It's essentially the backdoor into iPhones law enforcement has been asking for, but it's likely untenable. Ozzie's proposal was eviscerated by the infosec community, and Hall dismisses it as old news. "Having mandates in the laws to have backdoors is just a really bad idea," said Hall. "We know that these devices have flaws, both hardware and software flaws, so use those to find the way. It's not going to be like a light switch -- you can't just turn it on and collect content willy-nilly... it's more something where you develop a capability, and you cultivate that ability. And when you can't do it internally, you may have to rely on the market. In that sense, it's good." As uncomfortable as it may be to face, the security arms race between Big Tech and law enforcement may be the worst solution -- except for all the other ones.
45 minutes | 3 years ago
Did Mark Zuckerberg just beat Congress? (with Matt Navarra and Michael Nuñez)
Mark Zuckerberg survived Congress. Now what? That's the big question now that the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have put Zuckerberg and Facebook under the microscope. After 10+ hours of testimony, plenty of clueless questions, and multiple promises that Facebook's team would "follow up" with lawmakers, the public now has a chance to re-examine its fundamental relationship with Facebook, and judge whether or not "breach of trust" that Zuckerberg has admitted will lead to fundamental change. Zuckerberg has promised the company would atone for past sins through audits of former developers and changes in how it handles data. It's also addressing the accusation that it enabled Russian operatives to manipulate its network in an attempt to sway public opinion with better detection tools and much greater transparency in its advertisers -- a clear attempt to get ahead of new regulations, such as the Honest Ads Act, before they hit the social network like a speeding freight train. One of the fundamental questions the hearings addressed is one that has dogged Facebook almost since its beginning: Is it a tech company or a media company? Zuckerberg tried to have it both ways in the hearings, but Republican lawmakers seized upon his ambivalence, pointing to alleged bias against conservative views and citing the work of former Gizmodo reporter and current Mashable Deputy Tech Editor Michael Nuñez, where he uncovered an anti-conservative slant in Facebook's (now defunct) trending news team back in 2016. Nuñez speaks out for the first time about having his work cited in this debate on this week's MashTalk podcast, where we also discuss Facebook's broader responsibilities. The Next Web's Matt Navarra, a long-time Facebook observer and commentator, also joins to help unpack the hearings, what will happen next, and whether or not the whole affair has strengthened or weakened Facebook. And, hey, did Zuckerberg actually hint there may someday be a paid version? Follow Matt on Twitter. Follow Michael, Pete, and MashTalk, too.
40 minutes | 3 years ago
If Apple breaks from Intel, will Macs get cheaper? (with guest Shara Tibken)
When Apple makes a move, it usually causes an earthquake. The chip industry definitely felt tremors upon the report that Apple would soon be turning away from Intel for the chips in its MacBooks. Or at least one MacBook. As early as 2020, we may see the first Mac to run on a chip designed and built by Apple -- either one of its "A" processors or something new altogether. Obviously, Intel shareholders weren't happy about the news (the stock still hasn't recovered four days later), but the big question is what this means for Apple and Mac users down the road: Will it be a single "hybrid" machine, a new line of Macs, or is Apple really looking to split entirely from Intel's chips, at least in the long term? And what will the first non-Intel Mac in over a decade look like? We tackle those questions and more on the latest episode of our MashTalk podcast. CNET's senior reporter Shara Tibken joins host Pete Pachal and Mashable Tech Reporter Karissa Bell to evaluate whether the chipocalypse is really coming for the Mac, and answer the key question: If Apple does debut an ARM-powered MacBook, will it actually be affordable? The panel also tackles the latest Apple news and rumors, taking a hard look the recent education-themed Apple event in Chicago and whether or not it achieved what Apple set out to do. TL;DR: If the intent was to just show off a new iPad in a semi-interesting way, it did. If Apple really thinks a new, cheapish iPad is going to turn the tide against Chromebooks, it has another thing coming. Wait, there's more! We talk about Apple's big steal from Google -- snagging AI chief John Giannandrea -- and the latest iPhone rumors: a curved screen? Gesture controls? Plus: why Apple may actually be making AR glasses after all. Follow Shara on Twitter. Follow Pete, Karissa, and MashTalk on Twitter, too.
38 minutes | 3 years ago
Preventing a dark future, with guest Andrew Keen
Is the future broken? Maybe not, but, by many measures, the present is. Over the past couple of years, the networks and devices that we've come to rely on for our information, consumption, and social interactions have been exposed to have toxic underbellies: Social networks have been twisted by fake news and filter bubbles, the constant ping of notifications on screens has shortened attention spans and created addictions, and it seems all the big tech companies are determined to erase every trace of privacy left in the world. We know how we got here. In fact, most of the conversation in 2017 was about examining the problems and laying blame. Now the conversation have begun about repairing the damage and charting the best way forward. One of the people leading that conversation is Andrew Keen. Keen is an author, and if you look at the titles of his previous books -- The Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, and The Internet Is Not the Answer -- you can tell he's been a tech naysayer since before it was cool. But he's taking a different tune with his new book, titled How to Fix the Future. Instead of diagnosing problems, Keen is proposing solutions, traveling the globe to educate himself and his readers on how governments, private enterprise, and individuals can build some kind of new "digital social contract" as the influence of technology in our lives inevitably grows. Keen joins MashTalk to discuss those solutions, and the five tools he thinks are essential in creating them: competitive innovation, social responsibility, worker and consumer choice, education, and -- yes -- regulation. While many in Silicon Valley might bristle at any discussion of government stepping in on their turf, Keen sees regulation as an essential part of fixing things, although he also explains that it's not a panacea, and that it needs to be complemented with empowered consumers and innovative companies with new business models. Follow Andrew Keen on Twitter. Follow MashTalk on Twitter, too.
34 minutes | 3 years ago
Why Evan Spiegel turned down a billion dollars, with guest Billy Gallagher
Snap is starting the year off strong. Its quarterly earnings blew past expectations, and while its redesign is angering some users, the change is expected to improve the app experience for everyone, with time. But life hasn't always been so great for Snapchat. CEO Evan Spiegel continues to be compared to Mark Zuckerberg and his tech giant Facebook, whose much larger products keep taking on Snapchat-esque features. Such a comparison isn't so crazy. Back in 2013, Facebook offered $1 billion to acquire Snapchat. Zuckerberg later upped the offer to $3 billion. And that's just one drama in a long saga of how Snapchat and Spiegel rose to fame. For more details on the rise of Snapchat, we spoke with the guy who wrote the book — seriously — on this week's MashTalk. Billy Gallagher is the author of "How To Turn Down A Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story," which is out Feb. 13 and available on Amazon. Gallagher has quite the personal knowledge of the whole "Snapchat Story." He attended Stanford with Spiegel and was in the same fraternity. Back then, he covered the early days of Snapchat for TechCrunch. Gallagher later worked in venture capital, and now, he's getting his MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business. He also says his favorite Snapchat filter is the puppy lens. In the book, Gallagher illustrates the personality of Spiegel as a frat brother, someone who would stand back, solo cup in hand, and watch pledges push each other in shopping carts; someone who would ask those some pledges to help him with his startup; someone who later took Taylor Swift as his date to Snapchat's New Year's Eve party. A major character and story arc in the book is Reggie Brown, the classmate who suggested the idea of a disappearing messaging app. Brown later forced out of the company and sued. Spiegel and his fellow cofounder Bobby Murphy settled for $157.5 million. We chatted with Gallagher about Spiegel and Brown and what he predicts for the future of Snapchat. There wouldn't be a Snapchat without Spiegel, he said, and there may not be one in the future without him, he argued. Follow Billy Gallagher on Twitter. Follow MashTalk on Twitter, too.
44 minutes | 3 years ago
The real story of Steve Jobs 'getting fired' from Apple, with guest John Sculley
It's legend in the computer industry: In the mid '80s, Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple, the company he co-founded and went on to eventually lead to worldwide dominance, after a boardroom battle with the CEO at the time, John Sculley. Over the years, the story got altered and adapted -- to the point where many assumed Jobs was fired, either by Sculley or Apple's board, which wasn't the case. Jobs did lose a boardroom showdown with Sculley (which actually played out over a week or so), one where Jobs' plan of moving marketing dollars from the Apple II to the Macintosh Office was rejected by the board, which led to Jobs being stripped of his leadership of the Macintosh team and pushed him to leave the company. In other words, Jobs ouster was tantamount to a firing, but not an actual firing. Good information, but not as good as knowing Sculley's thoughts and reflections about the incident, some 30+ years on. But that's just what we got when we sat down to talk to the former Apple CEO for Mashable's MashTalk podcast. Now 78, Sculley has gained a new appreciation for founders since his time at Apple, and has gone on to become one himself: He co-founded Zeta Global, a data-driven marketing company, in 2007 and founded Obi Worldphone, which builds smartphones for emerging markets. He's also been an investor in many other companies since he himself was forced out of Apple in 1993, including MetroPCS, Wine Clip, and PopTech. Sculley had a lot to say about the state of the tech industry and the current backlash against it. On the podcast he shares his thoughts on what social media has done to society, where he stands on government regulation of tech, and the fundamentals we need to stick to as we try to integrate technology into our lives as we chart our own future. Follow @MashTalk on Twitter.
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