Endless Thread Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.
Endless Thread

Endless Thread

From WBUR

Hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson dig into the internet's vast and curious ecosystem of online communities to find untold histories, unsolved mysteries, and other jaw-dropping stories online and IRL.

Most Recent Episodes

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part IV: Tay

Next up in our bots series, we bring you a cautionary tale about Tay, a Microsoft chatbot that has lived on in infamy. Tay was originially modeled to be the bot-girl-next-door. But after only sixteen hours on Twitter, Tay was shut down. In this episode of Good Bot, Bad Bot, we uncover who gets a say in what we build, how developers build it, and who is to blame when things take a dark turn. ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Quincy Walters and Ben Brock Johnson. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Quincy Walters are the co-hosts.

Encore: Shrinkflation

From the supermarket to the housing market, products are getting smaller but prices are not. Why is this happening? And can it be stopped before the toilet paper roll disappears right before our very... reaching hands? In this encore episode, we're talking all things shrinkflation. This episode was originally released on June 26, 2020.

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part III: Life, death and AI

Next up in our bots series, we explore a growing field of AI: immortalizing the dead through predictive AI text. We talk to two individuals who utilized this tech in different ways, and discuss how these bots can help us improve our understanding of grief. ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Megan Cattel. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part II: Political Bots

Next in our series Good Bot, Bad Bot: the possibilities of bots being used in governments around the world. How can bots increase transparency and shine a light on corruption, such as insider trading, among our elected officials? Will bots be put on the ballot in the near future? We go into all of this and more in this installment of Good Bot, Bad Bot. ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Grace Tatter. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part I: Bot Therapy

For the next few weeks, the Endless Thread team will be sharing stories all about the rise of bots. How are these pieces of software influencing our daily lives in sneaky, surprising ways? First up, our co-hosts delve into the history of ELIZA, the world's first chatbot therapist. Why did this computer's creator have a lot of complicated feelings about the development of AI? We also contemplate the bigger question: can AI help us cope with mental health issues? ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Ben Brock Johnson with help from Dean Russell. Mixing and sound design by Paul Vaitkus. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

Encore: Haunted House, Holy Water

When Alex was in high school, he and his best friend used to break into abandoned houses. Alex was a tough guy, giving people hell. Until one night, in one of those abandoned houses... hell gave him something back. This episode was originally released on October 05, 2018.

Encore: Olga of Kiev

Olga of Kiev executed one of the most bone-chilling revenge tours in history after her husband, Igor, was murdered. Then, with a burning city in her wake, she converted to Christianity and became a saint. This episode was originally released on October 18, 2019.

Encore: Imaginary Friend

When Kellie's 3 year-old daughter told her about her new imaginary friend, Kellum, she didn't think too much of it. But gradually, Kellum started to feel less and less... imaginary. Kellie and her daughter, Madison, tell us everything. This episode was originally released on October 30, 2019.

Anti-fans, online hate, and Caroline Calloway

This week, we investigate the rise and fall of online influencer Caroline Calloway and the bigger question: Why do some people love to hate? ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Grace Tatter. Mixing and sound design by Emily Jankowski. Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson are the co-hosts.

Lazy Geoff

A Twitter thread about a fox named "Lazy Geoff" drew the attention of thousands online. But can a fox really be lazy? Our search for an answer revealed a surprising shift in how humans understand animals and, maybe, the fate of nature. ****** Credits: This episode was written and produced by Dean Russell and Ben Brock Johnson. Sound design by Emily Jankowski. Ben Brock Johnson and Dean Russell are the co-hosts.