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

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Open Dialogue

Evan Selinger in conversation with Clive Thompson

This is Open Dialogue, an interview series from OneZero about technology and ethics.

I’m Evan Selinger, a professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology. One of my favorite activities is talking with smart and engaging people who think deeply about responsibility and the paths for creating a better future. In the “Open Dialogue” series, I’ll reach out to academics, journalists, activists, tech workers, and scientists to explore how to better understand controversies, more thoughtfully analyze innovation, and critically determine which leading ideas and behaviors need to change.

I’m excited to talk this week with Clive Thompson about how the…


Big Technology

Sophie Schmidt and Louise Matsakis tell Big Technology Podcast that North America and Europe must look outside to fix their problems inside

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.

In 2019, Sophie Schmidt founded Rest of World, a news site dedicated to telling technology stories about what’s happening outside of North America and Europe. After watching her father, Eric Schmidt, run Google for 10 years, she became convinced that…


The New York Times fails in its attempt to report on the surveillance economy

This op-ed was co-authored by Albert Fox Cahn, the founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) at the Urban Justice Center, a New-York based civil rights and privacy group, and a fellow at the Engelberg Center for Innovation Law & Policy at the NYU School of Law.

If you want to teach kids not to play with fireworks, try not to put on a fireworks show as part of the lesson. You don’t warn people that something’s dangerous by showing them just how fun it can be.

That lesson is lost on the New York Times


Big Technology

Plus, why Twitter is a double-edged sword

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

This week, Kantrowitz sits down with Ben Smith, the Media Equation columnist at the New York Times and former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

As the Media Equation columnist at the New York Times, Ben Smith is covering an industry going through…


Big Technology

A conversation between leading tech journalists

OneZero is partnering with Big Technology, a newsletter and podcast by Alex Kantrowitz, to bring readers exclusive access to interviews with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

This week, Kantrowitz sits down with three reporters, Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer, the Financial Times’ Hannah Murphy, and OneZero’s Brian Merchant. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

When the Big Technology Podcast debuted last month, I spoke with The Verge’s Casey Newton about why people can’t stand…


Sarah Jeong talks to Newton about the details of his deal, subscription journalism, and what makes email such a good media format

Casey Newton, The Verge’s longtime Silicon Valley editor and the creator of The Interface newsletter, is leaving the publication to start a newsletter on Substack called Platformer.

Newton, who started at The Verge in 2013, has published more than 570 issues of The Interface since it launched in October 2017. The newsletter currently boasts more than 20,000 subscribers. The Interface usually follows the themes of content moderation, disinformation, and the negative effects of social media on society. The focus is frequently on the omnipresent and ever-controversial Facebook, but the newsletter also covers companies like TikTok, Apple, Google, Amazon, and more.


From engineering a better cannabis to eluding ad tracking, here are the top stories from our first year (okay, 10 months) of existence, as selected by… us

OneZero examines the forces influencing the future — the undercurrents that quietly shape our world like the binary code at the root of our computers. (See what we did there?) Since launching in February, we’ve published hundreds of stories about technology and science to help our readers expand their minds and move fearlessly into tomorrow.

Here’s a small selection of our favorites, collected by our team of staff writers and editors. Thank you for reading.

Unraveling the Secret Origins of an AmazonBasics Battery

by Sarah Emerson

Recommended by Michael Zelenko, Features Editor

Most people would toss a busted battery right in the trash. But when an AmazonBasics AA…


Jose ‘Pepe’ Martín was a little-known journalist and convicted conman — and then he got his hands on footage of the WikiLeaks founder in his embassy sanctuary

On April 10, WikiLeaks called a press conference to denounce what they claimed was a bizarre attempt to blackmail the organization. A “dubious group of individuals” in Spain, WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said, had demanded a multimillion euro payout, or they would publish a cache of surveillance footage of Assange inside Ecuador’s British embassy in London. The group even sent sample images as proof: one showed Assange playing with his cat.

Hrafnsson claimed that the WikiLeaks founder had been the victim of a “Truman Show-like” spying operation, in his view, as part of wider attempts by the U.S…


OneZero staffers select their favorite reads from around the web

Looking for something to read? We hope you’ll keep your eyes trained on OneZero… most of the time.

As readers ourselves, we’d like to highlight some of our favorite technology and science stories published elsewhere throughout 2019. Some of these inspired our own coverage, others simply delighted us, and all of them expanded our understanding of the world around us.

Take some time over the holidays to explore these for yourself. (Might we suggest the Save to Medium feature?) And follow OneZero for great reads every day.

How Algorithms Know What You’ll Type Next

By Wessel Stoop and Antal Van Den Bosch for The Pudding

Explaining how…


Faced with avoidant consumers, media companies must experiment with different technological formats

The Reuters Institute released its annual Digital News Report last week, and among its many findings a couple jump out.

One is that when it comes to news, more people are putting their heads in the sand. Almost one third (32%) of the world’s population avoids the news, up 3% from 2017, the report found. In the U.S. that figure is higher at 41%, up from 38% in 2017. …

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