The Chatter Podcast: Artificial Intelligence and its Perils with Jacob Ward

By David Priess
Thursday, April 14, 2022, 11:12 AM

Artificial intelligence algorithms are increasingly being used to make decisions for us. But, as NBC technology correspondent Jacob Ward argues, these are not necessarily the ones we want to perpetuate. Preying upon our brains' evolved shortcuts, biases, and hidden processes, they are becoming ever harder to escape.

For this episode, David Priess spoke with Ward—author of the new book "The Loop: How Technology is Creating a World Without Choices and How To Fight Back"—about artificial intelligence and much more. They discussed Ward's previous roles as editor in chief of Popular Science magazine and as host of the PBS mini-series "Hacking Your Mind," the importance of social psychology to many fields of study, he development of automated pattern-recognition systems that ultimately reduce human agency and choice, the ethics of working on algorithms without knowing their end uses, the challenges for reporters working on AI and related technologies, and how movies from "Minority Report" to "Star Wars" to "WALL-E" capture elements of AI.

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Works discussed in this episode:

Popular Science magazine’s announcement of its comments policy change (2013)

"Hacking Your Mind" PBS miniseries (2020)

"The Loop," by Jacob Ward

Movies mentioned include "Minority Report," the "Star Wars" franchise, and "WALL-E."