Cover art for podcast Raw Data

Raw Data

59 EpisodesProduced by Stanford and PRXWebsite

We’ve entered a new era. The creation and collection of information play an ever-increasing — yet often hidden — role in our lives. Algorithms filter all sorts of experiences, from the mundane to the monumental. The fuel that powers and curates these experiences is…data. Data are the new oil; whoeve… read more

59 Episodes | 2015 - 2019

Technically Sweet

November 21st, 2019


Chocolate is beloved by...well, most humans, it would seem. But this sweet treat that, for many of us, brings instant happiness, has a nasty secret: …

Training Computers to See

November 14th, 2019


Over the past few decades, computer vision has held the promise of making the world a better place, from aiding the blind to helping doctors better analyze medical imagery. But as it turns out, teaching computers to see …

The Worst Cyber Attack (For now)

November 7th, 2019


In June 2017, something weird — and very alarming — started happening at a company in Copenhagen. It seemed that hackers had shut down the company’s network, and were demanding a ransom. But it turned out this was no …

How We Found Ourselves

October 31st, 2019


Get out your smartphone, and you can almost instantaneously know where you are — and find out how to get where you want to go. Which, when you think back on the history of human navigation is...pretty astounding. How …

About Us, But Not For Us (Repost)

October 29th, 2019


Originally broadcast in April 2019. As we approach the end of 2019, the Financial Times recognizes Shoshana Zuboff's "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" as one of the best business books of the year.

Shoshana Zuboff …

Prediction (BYTE)

October 24th, 2019


When humans predict something, it’s basically an educated guess, based on our experiences. When a machine makes a prediction, it uses data and math. And we are increasingly relying on machine prediction to help make …

The Digital Divide

October 17th, 2019


Imagine a life without the Internet. No email, no Instagram, no texting, no Google maps, no Netflix...what would you do? A “normal” life would be …

Hacking (BYTE)

October 10th, 2019


In the world of computer science, being a hacker means you know what’s up, and you have street cred. Outside of technology circles, though, hacking …

Machine Learning (BYTE)

October 3rd, 2019


It’s 2019, and machine learning is everywhere. It might not be Skynet, but it can still sound a little scary. If the robot apocalypse isn’t around the corner, what is? We talk to Kantwon Rogers, a lecturer at Georgia …

Memory (BYTE)

September 26th, 2019


What exactly is memory? And why is it so important to how our devices work today? Friend of the show and Georgia Tech computing lecturer Kantwon Rogers breaks it down into bits and bytes — and hints at what kinds of …

The Answer Machine

September 19th, 2019


Google has become our yellow pages, our atlas, our library, our medical consultant, our shopping guide. Which means it is, basically, a giant, …

Algorithms (BYTE)

September 12th, 2019


Simply put, we (humans) can’t possibly process all of the data in the world, which is why computers are so useful — and why algorithms have become so …

Your Data Are Showing

August 29th, 2019


What could someone learn about you from your location? What about your Facebook likes? What about just...your face? You’re probably thinking — not …

Power from the People (Post Trump, Pre-2020)

July 18th, 2019


Originally broadcast in March 2019, this episode has a new introduction, with an update on the Trump administration’s push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. 

At the birth of the United States, the new …

Power Lines, Post SCOTUS

July 11th, 2019


Originally broadcast in May 2019, this episode has a new introduction, with an update on the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision on partisan gerrymandering.

The United States is a pretty divided country; …

Conspiracy Tyranny

July 4th, 2019


If the rise of despots around the world seems bewildering, especially given our unprecedented access to information in 2019 — therein might lie the …

Kinetic Effects

June 27th, 2019


We know that Russia has been honing its tools of disinformation since the Cold War, but how did Soviet Era sabotage make the jump into the digital …


June 20th, 2019


Russians posing as Americans. Wild conspiracy theories about political figures. Outright fabrications. All part of Russian efforts to interfere in …

Climate and Behavior: Warmer Means Worse

June 6th, 2019


Climate change is already reshaping the natural world, but how does it affect human behavior? Economist Marshall Burke is part of a growing field of scientists uncovering interactions between global warming and …

Power Lines

May 13th, 2019


The United States is a pretty divided country; which may just feel like an inevitable product of our times. But it turns out there’s one partisan …

Titan vs. Titan: A.I. & the Race for Global Supremacy

May 2nd, 2019


There’s an epic struggle under way: a challenge to lead the world in A.I. — artificial intelligence. But this space race for the 21st century doesn’t seem to be getting enough attention from at least one of the world’s …


April 25th, 2019


When we think of killer robots, images of the Terminator, Robocop, and other dystopian movies often spring to mind. These movies usually don’t end …

About Us, But Not for Us

April 11th, 2019


Shoshana Zuboff doesn’t mince words when it comes to the data economy. According to Zuboff, author of the recent book *The Age of Surveillance …

Power from the People, Part II: A New Kind of Machine

April 4th, 2019


At the start of the 20th century, the United States Census Bureau was in a bit of a pickle. The electric tabulating machines that had saved the …

Power from the People

March 21st, 2019


At the birth of the United States, the new nation faced a problem. How do you make a crazy new idea — power coming not from a king, but from the people — a reality? There was no handbook; the framers of the Constitution …

Meet Raw Data

March 7th, 2019


On Raw Data, we take a look at the new source of power in the 21st century: data. Whoever controls data has power. But is this making things better? …


July 26th, 2018


Silicon Valley and Washington DC have a showdown when Zuckerberg goes before Congress. Silicon Valley has grown powerful because it advances a vision …


July 19th, 2018


Technology is an almost god-like force that acts upon all of humanity. What does it actually want?


July 12th, 2018


Can democracy survive the internet? What country will take the lead in shaping our online environment – and how?


July 5th, 2018


The tech giants that control the internet have destroyed 20th century institutions and challenged the role of an independent press. Whither the 4th …

All the World's a Stage

June 28th, 2018


Within 15 years, social media has become the dominant force shaping the Valley. What does it mean for individuals around the world and for society at large to be publicly performing in so many aspects of our lives? …

The Garage

June 21st, 2018


Silicon Valley reveres garage start-ups and the myth of the entrepreneur. But, in the wake of the dotcom crash, power dynamics shift. Have the entrepreneurs, these quintessential American characters,captured too much …

Land of the Free Dotcom

June 7th, 2018


Netscape’s IPO electrifies the dotcom era, and “New Economy” proponents insist that cyberspace will redefine the rules of prosperity. The data …

The Triple Fence

May 31st, 2018


In the post-Watergate era, two academics battle the NSA and establish the technology that protects our online information. Cryptography remains a …

The Looking Glass

May 24th, 2018


The Valley comes of age as the center of innovation and personal computing. Doug Englebart delivers the Mother of All Demos. Steve Jobs makes a …

Drop City

May 17th, 2018


Inspired by cybernetics and LSD, Stewart Brand creates the Whole Earth Catalog as a how-to manual for the commune movement. The catalog articulates a …

Valley of Heart's Delight

May 10th, 2018


Before tech, there were orchards in the “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Federal funding for Cold War research changes everything, and the semiconductor …

Monument to a Dead Child

May 3rd, 2018


The seeds of Silicon Valley were sown long ago. The Gold Rush, the railroad barons, the founding of Stanford University, and myths of the American …


April 26th, 2018


Introducing the series. Silicon Valley’s power: how did we get here?

Season Finale: The Legal Codes

June 27th, 2017


How are algorithms and data science making their way into the American criminal justice system? The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, and it’s clear from the statistics that minorities …


May 19th, 2017


There are A LOT of unanswered questions right now about Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Whether it’s actually hacking into the DNC servers or …

Newer Money

April 2nd, 2017


It's been a minute since we've checked in on the world's favorite cryptocurrency – Bitcoin! And man oh man is there a lot of upheaval in Bitcoin-land. The price is soaring, the SEC is debating, and other crypto-coins …

Propaganda Armies

February 24th, 2017


Let’s face it – there’s a lot of bulls**t flying around on the Internet. But where is it all coming from? This week, we tackle fake news, propaganda, …

A New Day in Hollywood

January 30th, 2017


There are massive changes underway in Hollywood – and a lot of the disruption is being driven by big data. In this week’s episode, we’re taking a …

Attention is Money

December 20th, 2016


On the Internet there’s a never-ending, epic battle to catch – and keep – your attention. We don't really think about it much, but attention is a precious and personal resource, and these days the name of the game is to …

Data Confidential

December 13th, 2016


It’s nearly impossible to know if you're having a truly private, unmonitored conversation today. Big data and online communications open the door for …

Gold or Pyrite?

November 29th, 2016


Welcome to Season 2 of Raw Data! There's been a lot of buzz about big data in the past few years. The success of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon has helped fuel the growth of second generation data companies …

Upon Reflection: Season 1

May 24th, 2016


We’ve reached the end of Season 1 of Raw Data! (Don’t worry, there’s a second season coming soon.) In this episode, producers Mike and Leslie break from the usual format, and sit down in studio for a conversation with …

Episode 11: So... What's On Your Mind?

April 5th, 2016


Language is a window into our minds. So with all the digital text trails we're creating these days, what can we learn about our inner psychology, …

Episode 10: Love

March 21st, 2016


LOVE!! Why is it so hard to find?! The seemingly endless options of online dating should make it easy, right? Is there data that can predict lasting …

Episode 9: The Digital Afterlife

March 3rd, 2016


What happens to our data when we die? Digital estate planning is becoming an increasingly important topic, though many of our laws have not yet caught up. These days, we leave behind entire histories of our lives …

Episode 8: All the News That's Fit to Feed

February 11th, 2016


How do you get your news – and how do you think your news gets to you? The pathway of information flow involves layers of decisions that in many ways …

Episode 7: The Big Data of Nature

January 27th, 2016


As we hear over and over again, environmental issues are mounting, and the stakes are huge. So how might big data be used to tackle the issues of sustainability, climate change, habitat loss, and species extinction? And …

Episode 6: Under the Influence

December 21st, 2015


Are we addicted to the Internet? Is it even appropriate to use the language of addiction about smartphones and other digital devices? After all, tech companies intentionally appeal to human nature – our desire to …

Episode 5: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Data

November 24th, 2015


Elections and political messaging are changing in the new media landscape. Campaigns are using big data to target voters with better precision, and …

Episode 4: New Money

November 3rd, 2015


Cryptocurrencies could revolutionize money and finance. But even more than that, they symbolize how trust is changing as we increasingly rely on …

Episode 3: The Hippocratic Algorithm

October 20th, 2015


Big data is revolutionizing health and medicine, from genomics to wearable technologies to precision health. But is our medical care system prepared …

Episode 2: Work in the Crowd

October 6th, 2015


What is the future of work? Today, all of our careers are being transformed by big data, from how we find it, to how we collaborate with others, to …

Episode 1: Uploaded

September 16th, 2015


Welcome to Raw Data! In this first episode, hosts Mike Osborne and Leslie Chang explore how normal, everyday digital footprints can reveal surprisingly intimate facts – like whether your parents are divorced, and …

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