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    • A glimpse into the fashion industry's inner workings through podcastsFashion People podcast explores the drama and intrigue behind fashion's glamour, while Make Me Smart hosts discuss unexpected distractions and news items, offering insights into the world around us

      Behind the glamour and multi-billion dollar deals of the fashion industry lies a world of intrigue and drama, as discussed in the new podcast "Fashion People." From creative director changes to mergers and acquisitions, DTC failures, and Met Gala mishaps, the podcast offers a candid look into the industry's inner workings. Meanwhile, on Make Me Smart, hosts Kyrie Risdahl and Kimberly Adams shared some unexpected distractions during their recording session, but managed to discuss some news items. One of these was a story from Politico about a PR stunt involving a new chatbot for AI technology sales. Despite the challenges and distractions, both podcasts promise to make sense of the world around us, reminding us that we're all in this together and will get through the week.

    • New chatbot platform, chat 202024, features AI-powered avatars of 17 leading presidential candidatesChat 202024 uses AI to create bot avatars of 17 presidential candidates, allowing users to query all or set two against each other in debates. Regulations for political tech, including chatbots, are under consideration by the Federal Election Commission.

      During the 2024 presidential race, a new chatbot platform named chat 202024 was soft launched, featuring AI-powered avatars of 17 leading candidates. Each bot is trained on data from over 100 sources, including candidates' video appearances, writings, and policy statements. Users can query all 17 bots at once or set two against each other in debates, directed by user input. Politico tested the bot and found it held up reasonably well, potentially offering an engaging way for people to interact with candidates' ideas. However, it remains to be seen if the AI can accurately capture candidates' evasions and flimflammering. In August, the Federal Election Commission released a notice of availability for a petition for rulemaking regarding potential regulations for political technology, including chatbots, in federal elections. This could impact how these types of platforms are used in future campaigns. While I haven't tried the chatbot myself, I find the concept intriguing and worth keeping an eye on.

    • FCC Considering Rule Change to Address AI Misrepresentation in Campaign AdsThe FCC is considering a rule change to address AI misrepresentation in campaign ads, with public comment period open until October 16, 2023, but it's unlikely rules will be implemented in time for the upcoming election. Public Citizen has petitioned for clarification on existing regulations and penalties.

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering a rule change to address the use of fraudulently misrepresentative artificial intelligence (AI) generated content in campaign ads and communications. Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy organization, has petitioned the FCC to clarify that existing regulations and penalties apply to such deceitful practices. The public comment period is open until October 16, 2023, but it is unlikely that rules will be implemented in time for the upcoming election. Despite the long odds, it's essential for the government to address concerns about AI's role in elections and consider public input to ensure fair and honest political discourse.

    • Senator John Fetterman's Unique Appearance Debunks Body Double Conspiracy TheoriesThe physical uniqueness of Senator John Fetterman makes it unlikely for him to be replaced by a body double, as conspiracy theories suggest. The rarity of individuals sharing his distinctive appearance further debunks such claims, but the incident highlights the growing concern of people believing in outlandish theories as technology advances.

      Despite the widespread conspiracy theories suggesting that Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman has been replaced by a body double, the physical uniqueness of Fetterman, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, bald, and distinctive in appearance, makes such claims implausible. The Washington Post analyzed the rarity of individuals sharing Fetterman's physical characteristics, further debunking the theory. However, this incident underscores the concerning trend of people believing outlandish theories, which poses a challenge for maintaining a common understanding of reality as technology advances and generates increasingly convincing AI images.

    • The power of belief and perception in shaping the national conversationOperation Santa, an 111-year-old USPS program, demonstrates the power of belief and kindness in fulfilling Christmas wishes for those in need, reminding us of the importance of empathy and compassion during complex political times.

      The power of belief and perception will continue to play a significant role in the national conversation leading up to the Election Day. While the truth may not always be clear, initiatives like Operation Santa serve as reminders of the importance of spreading joy and fulfilling the wishes of those in need. During the discussion, Kimberly Adams and her guest acknowledged the influence of belief and leadership in shaping people's perspectives. They also touched upon the complexity of separating truth from what is made true to ourselves. A light-hearted moment came when Kimberly shared her story about Operation Santa, an 111-year-old program run by the USPS that allows people to adopt letters to Santa and fulfill Christmas wishes for those in need. This simple act of kindness demonstrates the power of belief and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. As we navigate the intricacies of the current political landscape, it is essential to remember the importance of empathy, compassion, and the power of belief in creating a more positive and connected world.

    • Starbucks' Custom Orders Complexity Costing Over a Billion DollarsStarbucks faces operational challenges due to 383 trillion possible drink combinations, leading to longer wait times and customer frustration, costing over a billion dollars to address. Solutions include smaller ice cubes and improved customer flow.

      The complexity of custom orders at Starbucks is leading to longer wait times and customer frustration, costing the company over a billion dollars to address. With an estimated 383 trillion possible drink combinations due to various customizations, Starbucks faces an operational challenge that impacts customer experience and loyalty. This issue was highlighted in a Bloomberg article, showcasing the intricacies of data journalism and visual storytelling. The company is investing in solutions such as smaller ice cubes and improved customer flow to reduce wait times and enhance the overall Starbucks experience. The importance of understanding and addressing operational complexities was further emphasized by a recent visit to the DC Bureau by representatives from USA Facts, who shared a book filled with infographics and charts showcasing intricate details and facts about America. The power of data and visualization to reveal insights and inform decision-making is a testament to the value of data journalism in today's data-driven world.

    • The Importance of Improving Reading EducationThe podcast 'Sold A Story' highlights the need to improve reading education and shares insights from New York and other places. Listeners are encouraged to engage and share ideas, while efforts are being made to change teaching methods.

      Importance of literacy and the need to improve reading education in various parts of the country. The podcast "Sold A Story" has shed light on how teaching kids to read has gone wrong in New York and other places. The hosts of Make Me Smart, Marketplace's daily news podcast, have emphasized the significance of continuing to engage with the show and share thoughts, questions, and suggestions. They also highlighted the efforts being made to change the way reading is taught in schools. The podcast has had a profound impact on listeners, and many plan to share it with others. Overall, the discussion underscores the critical role that literacy plays in our lives and the importance of continually seeking ways to improve it.

    Recent Episodes from Make Me Smart

    Who’s ready for retirement?

    Who’s ready for retirement?

    For the oldest members of Gen X, retirement is right around the corner. But a new report from BlackRock found only 60% of Gen X feels on track to retire, the lowest of any generation. We’ll do the numbers on which Americans feel confident in their retirement savings and what could explain generational and gender gaps. And, we’ll get into a social media horror story playing out at a Pennsylvania middle school. Plus, Team USA gymnasts will bring the sparkle factor to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 10, 2024

    The problem with the American 30-year mortgage

    The problem with the American 30-year mortgage

    The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is as American as apple pie. But it wasn’t always this way, and it’s putting the housing market in a tough spot lately.  A substantial amount of homeowners with low-rate mortgages are choosing to stay put in their homes rather than selling and buying a new one at higher rates. It’s created what’s known as a lock-in effect. On the show today, Andra Ghent, professor of finance at the University of Utah, explains how a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage became the norm in the United States, why it’s now putting the housing market in a bind, and how our mortgage system perpetuates inequality. Plus, could the Danish mortgage model work here?

    Then, we’ll get into why the Federal Trade Commission is eyeing pharmacy benefit managers, the third-party companies that negotiate drug prices between health insurance providers and drugmakers. And, an editor at The Points Guy shares the story of a travel lesson learned.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 09, 2024

    Let’s get smart about the 1.5 degree global warming limit

    Let’s get smart about the 1.5 degree global warming limit

    In June, global temperatures had surpassed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for 12 months straight, encroaching on the goal set in the Paris climate accord. We’ll explain why scientists use 1.5 degrees as a key benchmark and why it’s important to have hard conversations about climate change. Then, we’ll get into an investigation revealing how insurers profited from false diagnoses of Medicare patients. And, a billion-dollar donation to a medical school and new developments in textile recycling make us smile.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 09, 2024

    From “This Is Uncomfortable”: The high price of cheap clothes

    From “This Is Uncomfortable”: The high price of cheap clothes

    Hey Smarties! We’re on a little break for the Fourth of July holiday. So today we’re bringing you an episode from our friends at “This Is Uncomfortable.” It’s all about the fashion industry and the workers who make the clothes we buy (and often throw away). In this episode, producer Alice Wilder introduces us to one garment worker’s personal fight for fair pay and the push to improve conditions for garment workers like her.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 05, 2024

    From “Million Bazillion”: Why is there so much gold at Fort Knox?

    From “Million Bazillion”: Why is there so much gold at Fort Knox?

    Hey Smarties! We’re off for the Fourth of July holiday. So today we’re bringing you a super fun episode of “Million Bazillion” that’ll teach you and your kiddos about a bit of our nation’s history and a highly secretive landmark. It’s all about Fort Knox, known as one of the most secure places in the world, and why it holds so much of the country’s gold. Plus, its role in stabilizing the U.S. economy in a time of crisis.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 04, 2024

    Our GPS system is wearing down

    Our GPS system is wearing down

    Much in our modern lives depends on GPS. But the United States’ GPS system is getting old and hasn’t kept up with international competition. We’ll get into how this leaves the U.S. vulnerable to national security threats. And, new data shows that as abortion protections have eroded across the country, more young women have been getting sterilized. Plus, one nonprofit’s work to give kids who’ve aged out of foster care a bona fide college move-in experience, and a women’s soccer stadium’s surprise success story.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 03, 2024

    The evolution of the American office

    The evolution of the American office

    It’s been about four years since the great remote work experiment took off for many employees who work computer-bound jobs. After plenty of back and forth between return-to-office mandates and work-from-home advocates, neither side really won. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the share of Americans doing some or all of their work from home has leveled off to about 35%. On the show today, The New York Times’ Emma Goldberg explains who’s working from home these days and how it’s impacting both employees and their bosses. Plus, the commercial real estate question looms large over the remote work debate.

    Then, we’ll get into why the Joe Biden administration’s new protections for workers in extreme heat could be threatened by recent Supreme Court rulings and a potential second Trump presidency. And, the CEO of GS1, the company administering retail barcodes, didn’t see the QR code takeover coming.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 02, 2024

    A one-two punch for the power of federal agencies

    A one-two punch for the power of federal agencies

    A Supreme Court ruling today gives companies a dramatically wider window to challenge federal regulations with lawsuits. We’ll get into why this is particularly important in light of a separate decision to overturn the Chevron doctrine, and how it could impact other federal regulations like the Federal Trade Commission’s ban on noncompete clauses. Then, we’ll discuss the Supreme Court’s decision on former President Donald Trump’s immunity case and where the heck we go from here. Plus, what you can do to protect the health of our democracy.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJuly 01, 2024

    Our take on the debate (and drone light shows)

    Our take on the debate (and drone light shows)

    There were no fireworks for the Democratic Party during last night’s debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. While Trump made false claims throughout the night, Biden did little to assuage fears that he’s not up to the job. We’ll get into how the Biden campaign’s fundraising strategy is already shifting and what it might mean for downballot races. Then, we’ll weigh in on Fourth of July travel and drone light shows during a game of Half Full/Half Empty!

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJune 29, 2024

    SCOTUS shakes up SEC

    SCOTUS shakes up SEC

    The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to the Securities and Exchange Commission today when it ruled against its use of in-house judges to enforce securities fraud laws. We’ll get into why the decision will make the SEC’s job harder and what it could mean for other federal agencies. Plus, we’ll bust a common myth about Social Security and explain why homeownership is key factor in how Americans are faring in this economy.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    We love to hear from you. Send your questions and comments to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

    Make Me Smart
    enJune 27, 2024

    Related Episodes

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    Crisis in Sudan

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    For a closed-captioned version of this episode, click here. For a transcript of this episode, please email transcripts@crooked.com and include the name of the podcast.

     

    The Twitter vs. Meta drama continues

    The Twitter vs. Meta drama continues

    Meta’s new Threads became the most quickly downloaded app on Wednesday, its opening day. Twitter’s not thrilled about it. We’ll get into why folks may or may not gravitate toward the app and whether any of the “new Twitters” can become a true social media hub. And, could a scandal involving a celebrated behavioral science researcher impact the way we engage with pop science? Plus, guest host Reema Khrais leads us in a new game.

    Here’s everything we talked about today:

    Got a question about the economy, business or technology for the hosts? Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

    Good Bot, Bad Bot | Part II: Political Bots

    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.