The Dynamist

Foundation for American Innovation


The Dynamist, a podcast by the Foundation for American Innovation, brings together the most important thinkers and doers to discuss the future of technology, governance, and innovation. The Dynamist is hosted by Evan Swarztrauber, former Policy Advisor at the Federal Communications Commission. Subscribe now!

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120 episodes

Episode 54: Conservative Futurism w/Jim Pethokoukis, Jon Askonas, & Robert Bellafiore

Many conservatives lament a decades-long stagnation of innovation. As Peter Thiel once quipped, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” The rise of AI and other transformative technologies may augur an end to this stagnation, according to thinkers like Marc Andreessen, who joined recently to discuss techno-optimism. Others, of course, are more pessimistic. Will we end the Great Stagnation? Will we build the sci-fi future of our dreams? And where does the hurly-burly of politics fit into this conversation?  Our guest today, James Pethokoukis, recently wrote Jim is a senior fellow and the DeWitt Wallace Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, where he analyzes US economic policy, writes and edits the AEIdeas blog, and hosts AEI’s Political Economy podcast. He is also a CNBC contributor and writes the Faster, Please! Substack.  We’re also joined by FAI Senior Fellow Jon Askonas and Research Manager Robert Bellafiore. Robert recently reviewed James’ book for Jon has written extensively about the politics of innovation, including for Compact and American Affairs 

Feb 29
LIVE: A Supreme Debate on Social Media w/ Carl Szabo & Adam Candeub

In our inaugural live recording of, FAI hosted a debate on two upcoming Supreme Court cases, Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton These cases could have major implications for online free speech and whether states can regulate the practices of Big Tech platforms. Over the past ten years, the debate over how companies and governments deal with online speech has only intensified. Whether you call it content moderation or censorship, people have very strong opinions about how companies like Meta, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok moderate their platforms. Florida and Texas both passed laws in recent years aimed at cracking down on what they see as politically biased behavior by these companies. Florida Senate Bill 7072, among other provisions, imposes fines on companies who "deplatform" political candidates and news outlets. Texas House Bill 20 prohibits social media companies with 50 million or more active monthly users from discriminating against users based on their viewpoint. On Feb 20, 2024, Evan moderated a debate at FAI’s office in Washington, DC. Arguing for NetChoice is Carl Szabo, Vice President & General Counsel of NetChoice, a trade association representing tech companies and the plaintiff in both cases. Arguing for the states is Adam Candeub, former Trump Administration official and Professor of Law at Michigan State University. 

1h 7m
Feb 22
Episode 53: China's Influence in Entertainment w/ Chris Fenton

One of the ways the Chinese government looks to exert influence is by changing the behavior of businesses and individuals who operate in China. Remember the firestorm that occurred when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey sent a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests? NBA games were taken off the air in China, and a series of profuse apologies on the part of the NBA and its partners followed.  As tensions rise between the U.S. and China, so do the tensions for businesses trying to operate in China. The nation of 1.4 billion people represents the biggest market in the world and an enormous source of potential revenue. But those who do business in China must play by China’s rules, so what are the tradeoffs? How far is too far? What role, if any, should the U.S. government play in regulating American businesses’ relationship with and dealings in China? Evan is joined by Chris Fenton, a movie producer and author of . Today, Chris advises companies, brands, and Congress on how to navigate the America-China relationship and co-hosts US Congressional Member delegations in China. 

Feb 13
Episode 52: The Worldwide Web of Online Privacy w/ Jennifer Huddleston

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee brought the CEOs of major tech companies like Meta and TikTok to answer questions about the impact of social media on children—from concerns about bullying and mental health to sexual exploitation. Lawmakers around the country and the world have been increasingly focused on this and other issues under the broader umbrella of digital privacy. Europe has led the Western world in enacting regulations that privacy advocates herald while critics warn they stifle innovation. We’re 30 years into widespread adoption of the commercial Internet, yet Congress has failed to pass any sort of comprehensive legislation around digital privacy. There’s broad agreement that America needs a national privacy law, so why don’t we have one? In the meantime, a growing number of U.S. states have filled the void with bills like the California Consumer Privacy Act and the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. How have these laws impacted the tech landscape? How do they impact global internet practices, and shape principles around online free speech and innovation? Evan and FAI Director of Outreach Luke Hogg are joined by Jennifer Huddleston, technology policy research fellow at the Cato Institute. Her work covers a range of topics, including antitrust, online content moderation, and data privacy. For more, see her recent piece on online safety legislation. NB: A previous version of this episode was missing content, which has been restored.

Feb 06
Episode 51: Can AI Unlock Transparent Governance? w/Jamie Joyce

Our government agencies are hopelessly out of date. Public documents are stored in backroom file cabinets, instead of being digitized and posted online. As FAI Senior Economist Samuel Hammond has noted, “We validate people’s identity with a nine-digit numbering system created in 1936. The IRS Master File runs on assembly from the 1960s.”  The deliberations of the government and its agencies are often inaccessible to the general public. And without this information, nearly everything becomes harder. How do you hold government institutions accountable when their activity and data are buried under layers of bureaucracy? How do we improve the collection, organization, and distribution of government information, as well as public information in general? And how will the arrival of new technologies like artificial intelligence help (or hurt) with that goal?  Evan is joined by Jamie Joyce, Director at Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, and Founder of the Society Library, a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution that builds tools and develops products to improve the information ecosystem. She’s also a board member at WikiTongues, an internet archive dedicated to the preservation of world languages.

Jan 30
Episode 50: OpenAI Gets Sued w/Matthew Sag & Zach Graves

The has sued OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging the tech companies violated the newspaper’s copyrights by training ChatGPT on millions of articles. The decision in this case could have enormous implications for journalism and AI tools like large language models, and the lawsuit could go to the Supreme Court. While OpenAI says such training is “fair use,” the says the companies “seek to free-ride” on its journalism. How will the case be decided, and how will the outcome affect the next decade-plus of journalism and AI development? Fundamentally, should companies like OpenAI be allowed to train on copyrighted material without compensating creators? Joining us to discuss all of this today are Matthew Sag and Zach Graves Sag is a Professor of Law in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science at Emory University Law School. He is an expert in copyright law and intellectual property, and a leading authority on the fair use doctrine in copyright law and its implications for AI. Graves is the Executive Director at the Foundation for American Innovation. He was recently invited to participate in the Senate’s AI Insight Forum. 

Jan 23
Episode 49: Can China Outmatch the U.S. in ‘Discourse Power’? w/ Kenton Thibaut

In examining international competition between the U.S. and rivals like China, we tend to think of two types of power—military and economic. How large and advanced is our military compared to others? Are we overly reliant on other countries for resources like oil and microchips? But there’s a third, less commonly thought of type of power that is crucial to America’s role in the world order. We might call it our reputation or our cultural dominance. The Chinese government calls it “discourse power.”  In China’s view, America has come to dominate the international system in part by controlling the narrative around governance, norms, and values. For China to gain control in the international order, then, it’s not enough for their economy or military to grow to either match or surpass ours. They have to secure discourse power—one that favors Chinese Communist Party values and their approach to security and human rights. In particular, they see the digital realm as an opportunity to tilt the balance in China’s favor. So what does this look like in practice? Evan is joined by Kenton Thibaut, a senior resident China fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, where she leads China-related research and engagements. See her paper on discourse power and her new article in on whether China can swing Taiwan’s election.

Jan 16
Episode 48: Could AI Blunt the Next Pandemic? w/ Phil Siegel

With the benefit of hindsight, there’s a lot that people wish they could have done differently after a pandemic, wildfire, or other disasters. That’s why governments, militaries, public health entities, and first responders spend significant time and resources “wargaming” potential scenarios and how best to respond. But while technologies like flight simulators have long played a role in disaster preparedness, AI could dramatically change how wargaming is done and help overcome human “failures of imagination.” How does AI threat-casting compare to human creativity? How could AI change the way governments respond to major stress tests? How might the response to COVID-19 have differed if generative AI were more available to policymakers? Joining us to discuss these questions and more is Phil Siegel, founder of the Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation (CAPTRS, an AI nonprofit utilizing simulation gaming to progress societal disaster preparedness.  

Dec 26, 2023
Episode 47: Google’s Epic Battle w/ Adam Kovacevich

A San Francisco jury recently ruled that Google's Android app store is a monopoly, siding with Epic Games in a lawsuit initiated in 2020. The verdict focuses on Google's practices, such as mandating app customers and developers use its billing system and taking a 30% commission on app subscriptions. Google intends to appeal, citing cybersecurity and other concerns. This ruling raises questions about Apple's App Store, with Epic's similar case against Apple possibly going to the Supreme Court. The outcome could significantly impact antitrust laws and government efforts to regulate Big Tech. Evan is joined by Adam Kovacevich, founder and CEO of the Chamber of Progress, an American trade group that represents technology companies on issues such as antitrust law and content moderation. He previously helmed government relations for Lime Bike. Prior to that was senior director of U.S. public policy for Google. Follow Adam on X: @adamkovac

Dec 19, 2023
LIVE: Jennifer Pahlka & Michael Kratsios on Building a Tech to Government Talent Pipeline

The worlds of tech and policy are increasingly integrated, for good or ill. Tech professionals are recognizing government service as a vital way to contribute to the national interest, at the same time that politicos and policy experts have realized that they need the tech industry’s experience and insight. Ten years after the Foundation for American Innovation was formed to serve as a bridge between Silicon Valley and DC, the fusion of technology and public policy is greater than ever. But can technologists, founders, and investors really accomplish more in a sclerotic political environment than they can in industry?  Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, served as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States under President Obama, and as a member of the Defense Innovation Board under Presidents Obama and Trump. This year, she published Michael Kratsios, former Principal and Chief of Staff at Thiel Capital, served as Chief Technology Officer of the United States and Under Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon during the Trump administration. He is Managing Director at Scale AI, where he leads corporate strategy and helps accelerate AI applications across industries. Media Fellow Marshall Kosloff hosts podcast with FAI.  This event was hosted at the Internet Archive in San Francisco on December 4, 2023.  We thank Project 47 their support of From Tech to Government and Back Again. 

Dec 12, 2023
Episode 46: Solving America's Math Problem Pt. 2 w/ Mark Schneider

A recent editorial painted a damning portrait of learning loss from COVID-19 school closures, arguing it “may prove to be the most damaging disruption in the history of American education” setting “student progress in math and reading back by two decades.” The Institute for Education Sciences is a federal agency within the Department of Education with a modest budget and a daunting mandate—figure out what works and what doesn’t, including how to reverse and mitigate learning loss.  IES Director Mark Schneider has led the agency since 2017. In that time, the agency has funded an array of million-dollar programs and faced the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19. Evan and Director Schneider discuss the challenges facing students and educators, what we can learn from COVID-19 and the government’s response, and how artificial intelligence could help individualize education.

Dec 05, 2023
Episode 45: Bison Nationalism w/ Micah Meadowcroft

Over the last few years, a small but influential group of right-of-center Twitter/X users have begun outlining a vision for what they half-jokingly refer to as Bison Nationalism. In a lot of ways, it’s hard to fully understand all of the relevant context unless you spend too much time online. Is the idea of repopulating the American prairie with buffalo just a meme? A longing for tradition? Or is it a real policy goal? Why might certain communities find this issue compelling, and how does this fit into a broader vision of conservative environmentalism? Joining us to discuss this today is Micah Meadowcroft. Research Director at the Center for Renewing America, a policy group based in DC, and former White House liaison for the Environmental Protection Agency. Read his piece http://here. on the future of environmental conservatism here, and his writing on Bison Nationalism here

Nov 28, 2023
Episode 44: Faith in the Algorithm pt. 2 w/Taylor Barkley

The human fascination with creating life dates back centuries. From the ancient myth of Pygmalion, who carved the statue that came to life, to the Jewish legend of the golem, and now to our modern-day marvels in AI, humans remain captivated by questions surrounding consciousness, creation, and the Divine. In a prior episode, we discussed AI’s practical impact on the day-to-day practice of religion. Today, we explore AI’s interaction with religion at a more fundamental level. What are the central philosophical, anthropological, and spiritual issues brought about by the AI phenomenon? What does AI reveal about our own human nature? Can it understand or possess spirituality? And how might a religion like Christianity, with its own set of answers to fundamental human questions, contribute to this conversation? Evan is joined by Taylor Barkley, Director of Technology and Innovation at the Center for Growth and Opportunity, where his primary research concerns the intersection of culture, technology, and innovation. He also has a recent op-ed for Fox News entitled, “Christians shouldn’t fear AI, they should partner with it.” 

Nov 21, 2023
Episode 43: Marc Andreessen on Techno-Optimism and Its Enemies

Marc Andreessen’s Techno-Optimist Manifesto set the tech world ablaze just a few short weeks ago – and now, he responds to his critics. A bold statement of principles arguing for the liberatory potential of technology, his manifesto generated criticism from both the left and right—including FAI’s own Sam Hammond In this special edition of , FAI Senior Fellow Jon Askonas and Marc Andreesen hash out the foundations of the Techno-Optimist politics of tomorrow. Marc is a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He has achieved two rare feats in the tech industry: pioneering a software category used by more than a billion people, and establishing multiple billion-dollar companies. You can read the Techno-Optimist Manifesto here, along with responses discussed on the episode from Ezra Klein

1h 23m
Nov 14, 2023
Episode 42: Solving America’s Math Problem w/ Melissa Moritz

When it comes to science and math education, America’s report card has been in decline. According to the National Science Foundation, U.S. students have lagged their peers for over ten years, ranking dead last in math among our closest economic competitors. With the U.S. seeking to lead the world in artificial intelligence, how will the country’s math and science literacy impact jobs and economic growth? The federal government has invested billions of dollars in improving STEM education in K-12 schools. What works? What doesn’t? And how can research and development play a role in achieving America’s education goals?  Evan is joined by Melissa Moritz, Senior Fellow for the Social Innovation Team at the Federation of American Scientists, and Dan Lips, Head of Policy and Senior Fellow at FAI. You can check out their co-authored paper on this subject here

Nov 07, 2023
LIVE: AI & the Creator Economy: Dark Age or Digital Renaissance? w/Laurent Crenshaw, Sy Damle, Ashkhen Kazaryan & Patrick Blumenthal

Remarkable improvements in artificial intelligence are forcing us to reassess our government, our economy, and ourselves. Boosters see an opportunity to empower individual creators and circumvent sclerotic industry gatekeepers. Many creators are already using AI to hone their craft, test new concepts, and reach new audiences. But skeptics see another possibility: that AI will stifle creativity by strengthening the most powerful corporations. Artists’ work is being used without license to teach AI models. AI platforms have produced works inspired by human creators without attribution. And as the recent writers strike shows, many fear that media companies will use AI to replace human creators altogether. How can we channel AI so that it strengthens individual agency? What are potential artistic and public interest applications of AI, and what policies and incentives do we need to make those applications succeed?  In this bonus episode, Laurent Crenshaw (Patreon, FAI board of directors), Sy Damle (Latham & Watkins, fmr. general counsel for the U.S. Copyright Office, Ashkhen Kazaryan (Stand Together), and Patrick Blumenthal (New Frontier Ventures) discuss AI's implications for creators, art, and innovation live from Washington, D.C.

Nov 06, 2023
Episode 41: Chip Wars, China, & Compute Governance w/ Onni Aarne & Erich Grunewald

Recently, the Biden Administration announced further restrictions on the types of semiconductors that American companies sell to China. The move is aimed at preventing American AI from benefitting Chinese military applications. While heralded by many as a necessary move to protect U.S. national security, how will the move affect Sino-American relations, and how will China respond? Could China simply “smuggle” the chips to avoid U.S. restrictions, or will the move spur China to race to develop more chips domestically? Could China simply access the computing power it needs through “the cloud?”  Evan is joined by Onni Aarne and Erich Grunewald of the Institute for AI Policy and Strategy, which works to reduce risks related to the development & deployment of frontier AI systems. You can read Erich’s report on chip smuggling here

Oct 31, 2023
Episode 40: When Washington Works w/ Santi Ruiz

It's an old trope that nothing gets done in Washington. The city is filled with some of the brightest minds in the country looking to tackle massive challenges, from immigration reform to confronting the threats posed by China. But despite all the discourse, monied interests, lobbyists, and think tanks, so many major issues facing the country see little in the way of action. That raises the question: when America does have major policy success, how did it happen? How, exactly, did energetic civil servants address core issues like AIDS in Africa or developing the COVID-19 vaccine?  Evan is joined by Santi Ruiz, Senior Editor at the Institute for Progress and co-creator of, a new newsletter & podcast focused on policy entrepreneurship, state capacity, and governance.  

Oct 24, 2023
Episode 39: Is Net Neutrality Headed to the Supreme Court? w/ Tom Johnson

Recently FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced her intent to bring back net neutrality regulation. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the brouhaha over broadband regulation reached a fever pitch. When the Trump FCC repealed the Obama-era rules, the apocalypse was predicted. CNN said it would be “the end of the Internet as we know it.” Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon warned of “digital serfdom.” Underlying the heated public debate has always been a more arcane legal question of how to regulate Internet access—whether through a light touch or a heavier one. And with the Supreme Court taking a closer look at “major questions” to see if federal agencies are acting outside the bounds of the laws passed by Congress, it remains to be seen whether the FCC’s revival of net neutrality will withstand legal muster. Evan is joined by Tom Johnson, former general counsel for the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai during the Trump administration where he successfully defended the agency’s net neutrality repeal before a federal district court. He is now a partner at the law firm Wiley Rein and co-chair of their appellate practice. He recently discussed his perspective on this issue in an article for

Oct 17, 2023
Episode 38: Is Big Tech a Government Actor? w/ Ben Sperry

The White House and the state of Missouri are in a court battle over whether the Biden Administration crossed the line in trying to influence social media companies’ content moderation decisions—from Hunter Biden’s laptop to vaccine skeptics to the origins of COVID-19. The “Twitter Files,” documents released to select journalists by Elon Musk, as well as information unearthed by Missouri’s lawsuit, appear to show that the FBI, CIA, and other agencies either coerced, or heavily encouraged, social media companies to take certain actions. Many on the right say the Biden Administration violated the First Amendment by essentially co-opting social media companies into censoring speech that the government couldn’t censor itself. But many researchers and activists working on disinformation and misinformation worry that the outcome of this case could squelch legitimate government efforts to communicate with social media companies and combat foreign efforts to influence elections and American political discourse. So did the Biden Administration cross the line? Did Big Tech companies become “state actors?” Evan is joined by Ben Sperry, Senior Scholar of Innovation Policy at the International Center for Law and Economics and author of a new white paper on regulating misinformation on social media platforms.

Oct 10, 2023
Episode 37: Second-Class Digital Citizens w/ Brian Chau

Are the citizens of the EU at risk of becoming second-class digital citizens? It’s well known at this point that Europe doesn’t have its own version of Silicon Valley. Many believe that this is in large part due to its digital regulatory approach—the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and the AI act, among others. While Congress hasn’t passed a federal privacy law in the US, states like California have enacted rules similar to the EU model—at least on paper. Are the consequences of such regulation overstated? Is it possible to have consumer protection without sacrificing innovation?  Evan discusses with Brian Chau, former mathematician and machine learning engineer and current research fellow at Alliance for the Future. He’s also the author of the widely-read AI Pluralism newsletter In a recent piece for , he argues that Europe’s digital regulations are turning EU residents into “second-class digital citizens.”

Oct 03, 2023
Episode 36: TikTok with Wings?: Chinese Drones and National Security w/ Lars Schönander

Are Chinese drones a security threat? Not the kind that drop bombs, but the ones you might see at the beach or a major sporting event—used to take aerial photos and videos. These drones aren’t just for hobbyists. Government agencies in the U.S. use them for policing to fighting wildfires. And they've been buying them for years, predominantly from a Chinese manufacturer named DJI. Since the early 2010s, DJI drones have allowed even a poorly coordinated amateur to shoot video and create high-quality maps, and the company today has a 70 percent global market share.  So what’s the problem? The company has close ties to China's People’s Liberation Army and has the ability to disable its products from afar. Could America’s reliance on DJI be an economic or cybersecurity risk? Is this just another anti-China “red scare,” an outgrowth of the growing tensions and saber-rattling between the world’s two greatest powers? Evan is joined by Lars Erik Schönander, a policy technologist at the Foundation for American Innovation and author of a new paper for FAI, .,the%20military%20and%20private%20enterprise.

Sep 19, 2023
Episode 35: Europe Gatekeeps the Gatekeepers w/Luke Hogg

The European Union has designated six Big Tech companies as "gatekeepers" to the Internet—Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance (TikTok's parent company). Experts & pundits are calling this designation under the EU’s Digital Markets Act the most significant action against Big Tech ever taken. As the U.S. Congress continues to avoid significant legislative action, Europe has stepped into the void. Will this be another example of the so-called Brussels effect, where European policy becomes de facto regulation for the entire Western World? How will the companies respond, and what impact will it have on consumers? Joining Evan is FAI Director of Outreach Luke Hogg, whose tech policy research focuses on decentralization and innovation. Read his recent piece on the "Brussels effect" for here

Sep 14, 2023
Episode 34: Virtual Reality Check w/Juan Londoño

It’s been seven years since Pokemon Go introduced augmented reality to the masses and caused a global craze. Since then, consumers have used a slew of applications that alter their reality—from more mundane uses like TikTok filters adding cat ears to someone’s head to more immersive experiences like Meta’s Oculus headset video games. Beyond shopping and gaming, augmented, virtual, and mixed reality software could become an invaluable tool for education. While research shows promise, classrooms have been slow to adopt immersive tech, just as they were slow to adopt PCs in the 80s and 90s.  Could a research and development strategy that includes government investment help integrate this tech into the classroom? Evan is joined by Juan Londoño, policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), where he focuses on augmented and virtual reality. You can read his paper on immersive learning here

Sep 05, 2023
Episode 33: Do American Elites Make China Stronger? w/Isaac Stone Fish

Tension between China and the U.S. is arguably at the highest it has been since President Nixon began normalizing relations decades ago. Yet, despite China’s treatment of ethnic minorities, its crackdown on Hong Kong, and threats against Taiwan, America remains economically entangled with the People’s Republic. How did the U.S. become so dependent on its chief geopolitical rival? What role did American businesses like Boeing and diplomats like Henry Kissinger play in the building of the modern relationship between the two nations? How has Beijing used the economic relationship to advance the Communist Party’s goals? How likely is war between the U.S. and China, and how would that impact trade and foreign investment? Evan is joined by Isaac Stone Fish, founder and CEO of Strategy Risks He is also an adjunct professor at NYU's Center for Global Affairs and a visiting fellow at the Atlantic Council. He is the author of

1h 1m
Aug 29, 2023
Episode 32: Can the Economy Have Your Attention, Please? w/Scott Wallsten

As the saying goes, “if the service is free, you are the product.” In the social media age, many companies don't compete for our money, but for our time. While many traditional entertainment companies increasingly rely on monthly subscription fees, social media products like TikTok and Instagram are “free,” powered by consumer data used to sell advertising. What platforms compete with each other for our attention? Does watching TV make you less likely to use social media? Or are you just scrolling the small screen while watching the big screen? As policymakers consider the nature of competition and issues involving “Big Tech,” such as data privacy, how should they factor in how much attention consumers pay to different platforms?  Joining us to discuss all of this is Scott Wallsten, President of the Technology Policy Institute and a PhD economist with broad expertise. His prior roles include stints at the FCC and White House Council of Economic Advisers. Read TPI’s paper on the attention economy here 

Aug 22, 2023
Episode 31: Faith in the Algorithm w/Nathan Leamer

What if your rabbi used ChatGPT to write a sermon? What if you asked a faith-based chat bot to help you with bible study? The proliferation of AI tech is changing every sector, including religion and theology. The mechanized sanctum is no longer theoretical, as the rise of AI in religious spaces poses both unprecedented opportunities and serious ethical challenges. It poses questions around the nature of sentience, personhood, and what constitutes a creator. Can a super-intelligent AI have a soul? And there are also more immediate questions: will certain faiths use AI more effectively to spread their gospel and grow their ranks? Does AI have a religious bent? Should there even be a place for this tech in religious practice at all? Evan is joined by friend of the podcast Nathan Leamer, CEO of Fixed Gear Strategies, a boutique tech policy consulting firm, and former policy advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Aug 15, 2023
Episode 30: Did Google Monopolize Ad-Tech? w/ Mark Meador

Google is facing legal challenges that could strike at the heart of the company’s advertising business, which accounts for 80 percent of its global sales. The U.S. Department of Justice sued Google for allegedly monopolizing digital advertising technology (ad tech). Across the pond, the European Commission told the Big Tech giant recently its preliminary view that the company distorted competition in ad tech—favoring its own services to the detriment of competitors. The outcomes of these cases could force Google to divest significant portions of its business and potentially transform the tech industry. Is Google really guilty of the agencies’ claims? And how could proposed legislation in Congress impact the company going forward? Joining Evan is Mark Meador, partner at Kressin Meador, a boutique antitrust law firm. He was formerly Deputy Chief Counsel for Antitrust and Competition Policy for Senator Mike Lee. Prior to that, he was an attorney at both the DoJ and the FTC.

Aug 08, 2023
Episode 29: Perry Metzger & Jon Askonas - AI-pocalypse Now?

Will artificial intelligence spell the end of humanity? The concept has been implanted in American culture through dystopian phenomena like and , but how real is this possibility? Since the public release of Open AI’s ChatGPT in late 2022, AI doomerism has played a key role in shaping the discourse around this rapidly advancing technology. “Artificial intelligence could lead to extinction,” blares the . “The race to win the AI competition could doom us all,” warns . Some commentators have even said that we may need to bomb data centers to stop or slow AI development. Is so-called AI “doomerism” simply an outgrowth of AI-related science fiction? Or is there a concerted PR effort to frame the conversation? How does doomerism impact the debate over how/whether to regulate AI, and what positive applications of AI aren’t receiving enough attention?  Evan is joined by Perry Metzger, CEO of a stealth AI startup and founder of Alliance for the Future. You can read his work on his Substack, Evan is also joined by Jon Askonas, a professor of politics at Catholic University and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for American Innovation. He has written broadly on tech and culture for outlets like, and his work has been discussed at length in the

Aug 01, 2023
Episode 28: Caitlin Fennessy - Can European Data Cross the Pond?

Can tech companies send data about European Union citizens across the Atlantic? According to a new framework, the answer is yes. Recently, the EU formally adopted a new agreement with the U.S. on data privacy that gives companies the green light to send data back and forth. For years, EU privacy advocates have raised alarms that U.S. intel agencies like the NSA are spying on EU citizens, particularly by tapping the data droves of Big Tech companies like Google and Meta. This framework is the third attempt at a data-sharing framework after past attempts were struck down by a European court after the Edward Snowden revelations revealed U.S. spying practices. Will the third time be the charm? Evan is joined by Caitlin Fennessy, Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer at the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Prior to joining the IAPP, Caitlin was the Privacy Shield Director at the U.S. International Trade Administration, where she spent ten years working on international privacy and cross-border data flow policy issues. You can read her work on these issues here

Jul 25, 2023