Note To Self

Note To Self

From WNYC Radio

Host Manoush Zomorodi talks with everyone from big names techies to elementary school teachers about the effects of technology on our lives, in a quest for the smart choices that will help you think and live better.More from Note To Self »

Most Recent Episodes

Can Your Phone Make You Better In Bed?

When Graceann Bennett got married, she and her husband were terrible at communicating about sex. They were both virgins. They didn't know how to explain what turned them on, or what turned them off. Over almost two decades, they never quite managed to talk about it. And then the marriage fizzled out. Bennett decided to code her way out of the problem. If an app was too late to save her marriage, maybe it could help someone else. In this repeat episode, Kaitlin Prest and Mitra Kaboli of The Heart take that app on a test drive. Pls Pls Me lets users share their secret desires with their partners. Who can respond with yes please, or... not so much. Things we talk about in this episode include love, sex, spanking, and peeing on people. But also kissing, intimacy, and how to communicate. But you might not want to listen with your kids. Or parents. Or at work.

Privacy, Data Survivalism and a New Tech Ethics

There are different approaches to digital privacy. Technologist and entrepreneur Anil Dash tries to flood the Internet with information about himself, not all correct. Reporter Julia Angwin tries to get as invisible as possible. But like Julia says, we're all kind of losing. Just losing in different ways. Manoush talked with Anil and Julia before a live audience at WNYC's The Greene Space. We chatted about becoming an information prepper, heterogeneity as privacy, and the perennial question: should we all get off Gmail? Also, a surprising amount of laughter. And hope.

Privacy Paradox: Results Show

This week, the results are in. Tens of thousands of people joined the Privacy Paradox challenge. And it changed you. Before the project, we asked if you knew how to get more privacy into your life—43 percent said you did. After the project, that number went up to 80 percent. Almost 90 percent of you also said this project showed you privacy invasions you didn't know existed. When we asked you what this project made you want to do, only 7 percent of you said "give up." Sorry guys! Don't. Fully 70 percent of you said you want to push for protection of our digital rights. We have ideas for that in our tip sheet. A third of you said you'll delete a social media profile. Another third said this project made you want to meditate. And just one more stat. We tallied your answers to our privacy personality quiz and gave you a personality profile. One-fifth of us were true believers in privacy before the project. Now half us are. Manoush says that includes her. In this episode, we talk through the results, and look to the future of privacy. With Michal Kosinski, creator of Apply Magic Sauce, and Solon Barocas, who studies the ethics of machine learning at Microsoft Research. Plus, reports from our listeners on the good, the bad and the ugly of their digital data.

Day 5: Your Personal Terms of Service

You've made it. It's final chapter of the 5-day Privacy Paradox challenges. We hear from the one and only Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. And we set some terms for ourselves about how we want to live online, and what we—all of us, together—can do to create the web we really want. And while you're thinking about the future, take our Exit Strategy Quiz to find out how far you've come, and get a tip sheet with actions—big and small, individual and collective—to re-invent the internet to work for us. Sir Tim thinks we can do it. And hey, he already did it once, right? And if you haven't already—sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step. Don't worry if you're signing up after February 10th, we'll get you the challenges on your schedule. The project lives on!

Day 4: Fifteen Minutes of Anonymity

In this episode, we hear from Elan Gale, executive producer of the Bachelor. Yes, that Bachelor, THE reality show, with a single guy, in a mansion, surrounded by a bevy of young women trying to get him to pick her as "the one." It sounds so weird when you spell out the premise like that. He has a few things to say about our performance culture and what it means for our privacy. And we hear from Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of Clinical Psychology at Stanford University, where he runs the OCD clinic. He's the author of Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the e-Personality. And he's worried that all our posting and sharing is making it hard for us to protect our true, inner self. Or even find it. And it's not too late - you can sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.

Day 3: Something To Hide

In this episode, we hear from Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford professor of philosophy and ethics of information. In 2014, he was appointed as Google's in-house philosopher, advising the company on the right to be forgotten. Think you have nothing to hide? As Floridi says, a life without shadows is a flat life. And if you haven't already - sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.

Day 2: The Search For Your Identity

In this episode, coming out on Tuesday, February 7th, we'll hear from Joseph Turow, professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He's studied the marketing and advertising industries for decades, and recently wrote a new book called The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power. And we'll hear from our friend Julia Angwin at ProPublica, who's been doing brilliant reporting on algorithms and how they're being used online and off. Her series Breaking the Black Box lifted the lid on ad targeting at Facebook. And if you haven't already - sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.

Coming Soon: What Your Phone Knows

What does your phone know about you? And what can you do about it? In this episode, coming out on Monday, February 6th, we'll hear from renowned security technologist and cryptographer Bruce Schneier. He'll take us on a guided tour of our phones and the metadata they're sharing. And to get details on the day's action step, sign up for the 5-day newsletter here.

Introducing: The Privacy Paradox

We've heard so many stories from you, listeners. You love the convenience of living online. But you want more control over where your personal information goes and who can see it. Researchers call this the Privacy Paradox. Our 5-day plan, starting February 6th, is here to solve that digital dilemma. This week, we're laying the groundwork. What it'll take to resolve the privacy paradox — and how it starts with you. In this episode, we'll hear from behavioral economist Alessandro Acquisiti, retired Harvard professor Shoshanna Zuboff, who coined the term "Surveillance Capitalism," and — of course — more of you, dear listeners. Stories of ex-wives hacking social media accounts, stolen social security numbers, and (from a lot of you) that vague creeped out feeling. Then, after you listen, join us and start resolving your paradox. Sign up for the Privacy Paradox newsletter here. From February 6th to 10th, we'll send you a daily newsletter, with an action step and a short podcast on the science, psychology, and technology behind that day's challenge. You'll learn where your digital information goes. You'll weigh the tradeoffs you're making with each new app or service. And you'll learn how to make digital choices that are in line with your values. We can do this. We can do it together. And it starts today. Learn a little more about our upcoming challenges: day one, two, three, four, and five. PS - If you're already signed up for the Note to Self newsletter, (a) thank you and (b) you also need to sign up for the Privacy Paradox newsletter. They're separate. The Privacy Paradox newsletter is time-limited and just for these challenges.

Saving Big Data From Itself

In a room at The MIT Media Lab, you can find the dreamscape of small children everywhere. Giant cities, in perfect detail, constructed entirely from tiny white Lego. Sandy Pentland built them. These dioramas use all sorts of data, from foot traffic to investment dollars to tweets, so cities--and the people living in them--can be improved in ways they've never been before. A few doors down is Rosalind Picard's office. She met a young man who just could not tell if his boss was happy or furious. And it kept getting him fired. He was on his 20th job. So she built him a glasses-mounted camera that reads facial expressions, matching what it sees against a huge database of faces. Problem solved. That's the promise of big data. It can smooth social interactions. Solve sticky municipal problems. Cure cancer, slow climate change. But the data has to come from somewhere. And that somewhere is us. This week, as we get ready for our big project on privacy, Note to Self looks at the good that can come from all the data we share. IF people are good, and make good choices. Except we're often not good. And we make bad choices. So, what then?

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