Interested in AI? Check out this incredible new podcast: Voices of AI

Do you want to hear leading artificial intelligence practitioners talk through long detailed descriptions of their work? I do! Especially now that I’ve begun listening to AI researcher Leora Morgenstern explain the creation of systems for machines to read and understand tables in scientific research literature. It’s awesome!

Voices of AI is a brand new podcast made by Kent Bye, longtime publisher of the in-depth podcast Voices of VR – which is currently at episode #622! Episode 622 looks intense, too. (Trigger warning: discussions of sexual violence and fighting back.)

The first episode of Voices of AI I’m listening to is fascinating and fun. Kent Bye has become one of the 3 most influential people online in the world of Virtual Reality, so he knows what he’s doing connecting with industry leaders.

Bye said by Twitter DM, “my strategy is to find the best experts, ask them questions, and don’t hold them back from getting too technical. The mind is able to fill in a lot of the gaps and discover the deeper story, and repeat listens will reveal more info as you start to uncover the structures of knowledge and figure out the open questions.”

“It’s been my strategy in covering VR, and I’ve done the same with AI. I’ve even tested this to the limits by covering abstract mathematics. And what I’ve found is that the structure of language allows to find the deeper story of complicated topics. And full interviews with the full context allows you to tune into the deeper stories that headline-driven coverage misses. Podcasts as a medium allow you the flexibility to dive deep into a topic.”

Love it.

Imagine AI that can read and understand all the knowledge held in tables published in scientific research. Eeeek! That and more amazing things to ponder in one of the inaugural episodes of this new show.

Check it out.

We must listen to people we disagree with

Sometimes people we find toxic have important insights that we ignore at our own peril. Social media amplifies the obnoxiousness and the opportunity. Ryan Holiday says “I Tried to Expose Russia’s Media Manipulation Playbook in 2012 and Nobody Listened.”

“You don’t get infected when you interact with someone you disagree with—or have at times found obnoxious or offensive. In fact, you can usually learn something. Specifically: what makes them tick and how they do what they do (the latter being the most important).”

Author Ryan Holiday wrote that in an interview he did with right wing troll Mike Cernovich a year ago last month. He says he was criticized for interviewing people like Cernovich, but he even started that article out by saying he doesn’t agree with Cernovich and had forgotten that he’d blocked him on Twitter.

I’ll follow Holiday’s lead and say I don’t particularly care for Holiday, either. But he’s got some important things to say and we should listen to him. He had a long post on the Observer today titled I Tried to Expose Russia’s Media Manipulation Playbook in 2012 and Nobody Listened.

It’s all about how he’d been interviewing people gaming the internet and contemporary cultural tastes for years and had written a book about it and had faced wide criticism. People saying he was trying to ruin the internet for everyone.

“I was trying to ruin it for everyone! Because the system had become a rotting, stinking mess—one worse than anyone wanted to admit—and I wanted to put some sunshine on it.”

But we didn’t listen. The whole post is a good read.

I’ll admit I didn’t listen. I enjoyed part of Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way, but I’m reading his compatriot Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. And when Holiday says in the Observer today that people have called him “a douchebag” and that his consulting clients are “mostly harmless”…uh yeah, he’s a part of a bro-tastic clique like that who are hot right now. But do they have valuable things to say? Yes. Should we sometimes hold our noses and listen? Yes. Are they “mostly harmless?” No, I don’t think that’s the case. But that’s not the whole story, either.

In this same spirit, I just took my dog for a walk and listened to Gerry Gould of the Summit Community Church in Ontario, Canada give a powerful sermon on apocalyptic literature and the spiritual meaning of the book of Revelations. It’s something I’d never have chosen to listen to, I’ve got a pretty deep aversion to such things to tell the truth – but you know what? It was fascinating! It was interesting to learn how those Christians think about some things and it was just an interesting meditation on spiritual life. I went out of my way to listen through to the end.

You know how I found it? Through the very cool “random podcast episode” button on the podcast search engine Listen Notes. Check it out! Give it a click or two and find something you’d never have listened to otherwise. Your dog will appreciate it and you’ll be a better, more informed person for it. The internet is great like that. Arguably, new media’s always like that: check out these great excerpts from an analysis of the newspaper explosion around the American revolution.

How to get pumped up and finish hard tasks

Popular author Daniel Pink has begun a new podcast and the first of two episodes is particularly good. It’s embedded below.

Pink interviews Dan McGinn, author of a new book titled Psyched Up – The Science of Mental Preparation. The interview is really cool. Want to know what Stephen Colbert does every night before his show to get pumped? Check it out.

McGinn says when he looked across the preparation rituals of all kinds of high-performing people, he found that they all did different things to fill the following three needs.

1. Reduce anxiety
2. Increase confidence
3. Elevate your energy level (often with music)

I loved this interview, and just happened to listen to it as I was walking back to my office to tackle something I really dreaded working on. Something that made me feel a lot of anxiety.

What I did was this: I spent 5 minutes writing, with pen and paper, about my anxieties around the task. I’ve done that with a number of fears lately and it’s worked great to put things in perspective and help me turn down that anxiety. Then I spent just a couple of minutes visualizing the last time I successfully did the thing. It felt great. Then I put on some Bassnectar radio on Pandora and turned the volume up high. I told myself I’d do one Pomodoro of the task at a time, but once the first 25 minute period was complete – I was flying high.

Try your own steps to fill those 3 needs. I’m pretty excited about this model as a new tool.

Want 3 Minutes by Phone on ReadWriteWeb?

Do you want to record a three minute explanation of some important geeky topic, by phone, on ReadWriteWeb?

I’ve been doing experiments with audio using Cinch lately and I listened to a wonderful short-form Gov 2.0 event today while walking my dogs.

I want to try putting these two ideas together and record a 3 minute explanation of something important and interesting to post online. I like the idea of a tight time limit: it puts a premium on succinctness and density of information. Put that kind of opportunity in the hands of an articulate professional and they’ll create a high-value experience.

Let me know if you’re interested in contributing a segment and if I choose you and your topic, I’ll let you know and give you a call. We have a few million people stop by RWW each month & I think at least a handful of them will enjoy listening to something like this a lot. Shoot me an email at to suggest a topic.

Evaluating the Twitter Accounts of Job Applicants for a News Writing Job (Podcast)

I got my list of 100+ applicants for this evening news writing position at ReadWriteWeb whittled down to a list of top 10 applicants tonight. (Related story about how to get a job as a professional blogger here.) I mentioned on Twitter that in summarizing the pros and cons of leading applicants for the rest of my team to evaluate I’ve included an evaluation of their Twitter accounts. A good Twitter account isn’t a requirement at all but… it helps. A number of people asked me just exactly what that meant. And so I wrote a song about it, and it goes a little something like this…

It’s not really a song, sorry! It’s just me talking. It got cut off at the very end by an incoming phone call, but I suspect you may find it interesting none the less. Speaking of Twitter, here’s my account there. Let’s be buds if we’re not already, huh?

Direct MP3 download here, iTunes subscription link here and podcast subscription feed here.

6 Short Podcasts Recorded on My Phone

Bloging makes publishing easier than ever, but given that I blog for a living at ReadWriteWeb, it’s been hard to blog here on as well. Classic problem for people who work in tech. However, I have recorded 36 podcasts over the last 3 months using the Cinch iPhone app! Here’s my account there. The service is so easy to publish with! When things are going well, I try to publish there every day. The production quality isn’t everything it could be – this is super mobile podcasting – but I think the ease of publishing and quality of content outweigh the issues with background noise, etc. (If you disagree, let me know. But know that the choice is between these podcasts and no podcasts.)

I was just thinking this morning about the next podcast I want to record using Cinch, probably while walking my dogs, and it occurred to me: why on earth am I not posting those here on my personal site, where listeners will be exposed to my personal promotional materials instead of to Cinch’s on its website?

I love Cinch and am happy to promote the service, but I’ve got services of my own to promote as well. (ReadWriteWeb, the blog I co-edit, and my own personal consulting services, generally one single hour-long phone call per week. Drop me a line via – next week’s call could be with you!)

There will be a little more work I need to do in order to post my Cinch-casts here, I’ll spare you the details, but I think it will be well worth it and will not significantly raise the overhead on this super-easy service to publish to.

So without further delay, let’s play catch-up. Below are a few of my favorite, mostly tech-related Cinchcasts. If you’d like to subscribe to everything I record as a podcast, here’s a link for iTunes and here’s an RSS feed with enclosures.

Different types of relationships between tech startups and bloggers

Why people use location based social networks

Lead to this very successful post on ReadWriteWeb.

Passion and the Internet of Things

The new media production schedule & its consequences in terms of quality

Looking past paper, looking back from digital media consumption

The Sounds of the Eugene Train Station

One of my personal favorites, a short wordless soundscape from the train station on the way out of my home town. I’d like to do more soundscapes with Cinch.

I’m Starting a Podcast With Dave Winer Tonight

RSS and blogging forefather Dave Winer has asked me to co-host a weekly podcast with him and we’re starting the first live episode in just a few minutes!
I’m very excited about it, as I’ve long enjoyed Dave’s other podcasts. I hope you’ll give it a listen, enjoy it, take your dog for walks more regularly (that’s the best time to listen to podcasts, in my experience!) and send feedback about how we can make the show even more awesome.

We’re going to be talking about cutting edge tech news and I’m sure Dave will be adding a lot of perspective from the early days of Web 2.o’s unfolding. He was there at the start and is still breaking new ground on a regular basis. It should be a fun show.