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OneZero
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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Big Technology

The question isn’t what’s going to get automated. It’s what’s going to get automated last.

Elaine Kwon

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

As I wrote Always Day One, my book about tech giant culture, I learned of a massive automation program inside Amazon’s corporate offices called Hands…


In our search for easy answers, we give up control.

The evidence is overwhelming: we are far more powerful than the technology that is supposedly mind-controlling us. It’s not even close.

As I’ve discussed here and in many other places, we need to give ourselves more credit. Instead of passively accepting the idea that we’re all being puppeteered by some sort of menacing tech bogeyman, we can hack back distractions.

To be clear, too much social media can be harmful. No one disputes that too much of all sorts of good things can be bad, whether it’s too much news or too much booze.

But the popular narrative that distractions…


Big Technology

The two join Big Technology to discuss tech criticism, Cambridge Analytica, and how Facebook can begin to right its wrongs

Carole Cadwalladr and Yael Eisenstat

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Carole Cadwalladr and Yael Eisenstat are two of the most prominent Facebook critics worldwide. Cadwalladr is the journalist who broke open the Cambridge Analytica story for The Guardian and The Observer. Eisenstat, a former CIA officer, worked on election integrity…


Analyzing the hot new app through the Hooked Model reveals its strengths and weaknesses.

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

Nir’s Note: This article is part of a series on “The Hooked Model in Action.” Previous analyses have included Slack, Fortnite, Amazon’s Echo, Tinder, and The Bible App. I never take compensation from any company profiled.

Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around Clubhouse, the drop-in audio chat app. It’s a bit like Twitch for conference calls. If you have no idea what “Twitch” is, you’re probably over 40. In your case, the closest analog might be those 1–900 party lines you saw advertised on late-night TV in the 1990s — but a bit less sleazy and in app form.

Clubhouse…


BIG TECHNOLOGY

‘The main thing is you just never underestimate Amazon’

Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, Amazon announced it would expand Amazon Care — its employee-only health care service — to the public. The service lets you chat with nurses, move to video, arrange home visits, and get medication prescribed. Amazon delivers the medicine.

The company began piloting Care internally in September 2019, and it’s now opening it up to employers in Washington state, who can offer it to their workers as a benefit. Some already seem eager to jump in. “We’re in discussions with a number of companies,” an Amazon spokesperson told me.

Though Amazon is starting small, and trying to enter a…


Big Technology

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are paying third parties millions to make their case. Sometimes we know about the money, sometimes we don’t.

The New York State Capitol building. Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Stringer/Getty Images

When New York State Senator Michael Gianaris called a hearing last September to discuss his new Big Tech antitrust bill, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all declined to appear. But as he sorted the schedule, the Progressive Policy Institute, a “radically pragmatic” think tank, asked to send a representative.

Alec Stapp, that representative, mounted a robust defense of Big Tech in prepared remarks at the session. But when Giannaris started asking about PPI’s funding, he clammed up. “In my role in research,” Stapp said. “I’m not privy to the full donor list or who gives how much money.”

Left…


Big Technology

In a new interview with Big Technology, the senator discusses the future of antitrust

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Stringer/Getty Images

“I’d say resolved,” Senator Amy Klobuchar told me over Zoom yesterday. We were talking about whether congressional Democrats were serious about pursuing meaningful action against the tech giants. And Klobuchar, the new chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, seemed committed.

“There’s been some good hearings,” she said. “But to me, actually, I have to get something done.”

Klobuchar is already moving ahead. She introduced an ambitious new bill to bolster antitrust law last month. And today — less than 24 hours after Congress passed its $1.9 …


Big Technology

‘We were hyper-focused on doing very, very few things’

Kayvon Beykpour

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kayvon Beykpour is one of Silicon Valley’s busiest product executives. As Twitter’s head of product, he’s survived for years in a formerly cursed role that seemed to turn over every few months. Now, Beykpour’s team is shipping. Twitter just released…


Big Technology

‘If you’re talking about break encryption, it’s really hard for me to imagine being comfortable with it’

Will Cathcart

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts — edited for length and clarity — with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Will Cathcart runs WhatsApp, the 2 billion user app that’s the de facto tool for messaging and calling for many across the globe. Cathcart joins the Big Technology Podcast to discuss Facebook’s feud with Apple, its battle with Signal, its…


Big Technology

What happens next with the 2 billion-plus user messaging app, and the company that runs it

Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash

When WhatsApp head Will Cathcart dialed into our call last Friday, his 2 billion user slice of the Facebook empire was in the thick of it, as usual. WhatsApp had just weathered a bungled privacy update that sent panicked users to Signal and Telegram. It was scrambling to make sense of a new Indian law that might force it to break encryption. And it was preparing to roll out desktop voice and video calling — which it introduced today.

Cathcart took questions on a variety of topics. And through winks and nods, he indicated where his app — and Facebook…

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