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On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus discuss the outrage at the largest TV-station owner in the country—Sinclair Broadcasting—after the media conglomerate forced its local-news anchors to read a script that echoes Trumpian talking points. They also unpack Trump’s beef about Jeff Bezos owning what he calls the #AmazonWashingtonPost. Meanwhile, music streaming site Spotify went public this week in a totally new kind of way. The hosts take a look at its unorthodox move and what it means for the company’s future.
Will is joined by Al Lindsay, vice president of Alexa Engine Software at Amazon, to talk about how Alexa works, what privacy concerns it raises, and why it started scaring the bejesus out of people a few weeks ago by emitting peals of creepy laughter for no apparent reason.
Stories discussed on the show:
- Slate: “Public Shaming Isn’t Enough to Stop Sinclair’s Conservative Local News Empire”
- Slate: “Silicon Valley’s Obsession With Rapid Growth Is Literally Killing Us”
- The New York Times: “Amazon Knows Why Alexa Was Laughing at Its Customers”
- Slate: “Spotify Has Never Been Profitable. That Could Cause It Trouble After Its IPO.”
- Vox: “Donald Trump’s Twitter Feud With Amazon, Explained”
Don’t Close My Tabs:
- The New York Times: “ ‘I Can’t Stop’: Schools Struggle With Vaping Explosion”
- BuzzFeed: “Growth at Any Cost: Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection in 2016 Memo—and Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed”
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.