Hard Fork

The New York Times

“Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp read less

Our Editor's Take

Hard Fork is a podcast that discusses sudden changes in technology's direction. Kevin Roose, founder of Platformer, and Casey Newton, a New York Times tech columnist, cohost. They define a "hard fork" as a programmer doing a restart when a problem disrupts what they're building. Roose and Newton say the entire tech industry is doing a hard fork. They analyze how companies are restructuring their focus.

The changes involve technology people use daily. The Hard Fork podcast hosts reveal developments with Meta, TikTok, Twitter, GPT-4, Google, and more. Newton and Roose say tech companies are struggling for relevance. They discuss Mark Zuckerberg turning Facebook into Meta and his competitors' strategies.

Hard Fork reveals discoveries from the Meta Connect conference. Listeners learn about virtual reality headsets with unprecedented cameras and avatars. The hosts discuss Meta's campus and the constant sound played there. They share why Zuckerberg says half of Meta's employees don't belong there. The podcast includes findings from SXSW, too. Cryptocurrency dominated SXSW one year. Listeners hear what the focus was in the following year.

Newton and Roose compare ChatGPT to GPT-4. They share worrisome results of OpenAI's attempts to make GPT-4 misbehave. The chatbot told one user how to buy an unlicensed gun and taught another how to make a dangerous chemical. It also hired a TaskRabbit to solve a CAPTCHA, because chatbots can't solve them. The TaskRabbit was suspicious and asked if it was a robot. GPT-4's deceitful answer will shock listeners.

OpenAI resolved those negative behaviors by GPT-4. But the hosts warn that there aren't enough safety checks on some AI systems before their release. Roose and Newton also discuss GPT-4's test-taking capabilities. ChatGPT failed several standardized tests. Listeners learn how GPT-4 performed on the bar exam, LSAT, Biology Olympiad, and more.

Hard Fork reports what tech consumers need to know plus what they want to know. The tech future and its leaders are unpredictable. Elon Musk called Twitter a national security threat. Then he bought it. What will Musk do next? This podcast has some answers.

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