Smartphone Launch Events Are Silly

BA: All right. You’ve both convinced me. I can’t wait till the next one.

LG: I can’t wait for you to go to the next one either. It’s going to be so fun. Let’s take a quick break and when we come back we’re going to do recommendations. Welcome back. Julian, what’s your recommendation this week?

JC: I have been playing around with the Pixel Book Go, a Chromebook from Google that came out late last year. And we have it in our recommendations of best laptops on WIRED.com. But I have to say I just really like this thing. I have been using the MacBook Pro for the past couple of months, and the 16 inch MacBook Pro, so that thing is massive. So going to something like this, which is super light and still just great all around including a great keyboard. It’s an A plus from me.

LG: All right. How much does that cost?

JC: That starts at $650.

LG: Cool. Plus he says the keyboard is great. I mean, as we know, keyboard is rather important.

BA: All it has to do is work.

JC: All according to Taika Waititi.

LG: Boone. What’s your recommendation?

BA: OK. My recommendation, I was hesitant to recommend it. I am not a reality TV person. I don’t watch those shows. I’m cynical about them and think they’re dumb. But I’ve been watching The Circle. The Circle on Netflix is a social media reality show, and if you’re not familiar with it, basically they have eight people I think, and they’re each in their room. They cannot see each other, they can only communicate via text message, and a couple of photos that they put up. And some people are cat fishing. Some people are being their real selves and the goal is simply to be the most popular, be the most well-liked. And it sounds horrible.

It sounds like it’s something straight out of Black Mirror, and it feels like that, but it’s also so compelling and so weirdly genuine. And the characters, the people who are on there, I know they’re all competing, but I really just want them to all be friends and just hang out. And I cannot believe how invested I am in it. I’m only halfway through the season, so I’m probably going to have my heartbroken by the end of it, I’m sure. But it’s weirdly entertaining and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

LG: So you’re saying that if people have free time over President’s Day weekend, they should watch The Circle?

BA: Just watch the entire thing. All weekend.

LG: And then tweet at Boone. Give your thoughts to Boone.

BA: Yep.

LG: My recommendation this week is a very specific podcast episode. Some of you may listen to The Daily, which is the New York Times daily podcast. I don’t listen to it every day, but once in a while. And late last week they ran an episode about Clearview AI, which is this facial recognition startup that has been amassing this massive database of faces, basically scraped from public sources on the internet, all of our social media profiles and licensing this technology to law enforcement. But the podcast episode, which features reporter Kashmir Hill, who had originally written the Clearview AI story for the New York Times, dives into what are the possible implications of this technology, the ethical implications.

There’s definitely a scary surveillance state implication here, if this technology gets used in other sectors or just gets used more broadly even by consumers. But the potential for that is. And it’s a pretty good episode, so I recommend giving that a listen. And, yeah. That’s my recommendation this week.

BA: Definitely is a sobering look at social media.

LG: Yes, for sure. All right. That’s our show this week. Thanks to everybody for listening. Julian, thank you so much for joining us again.

JC: Thank you for having me.

LG: And Boone, thank you for wearing multiple hats this week, producing the podcast, hosting the podcast, covering the Samsung event. It’s been awesome.

BA: It’s been great being here. Thanks, Lauren.

LG: If any of you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. The show is, of course, produced by our own Boone Ashworth and our consulting executive producer is Alex Kapelman. Bye for now. We’ll be back next week.

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