Transformers (r)

May 13, 2016

Yvette Gonzales tells us a first person story about what its like to be transgender in Prison. Gender theorist B. Preciado tells us about what happens when a person takes testosterone without the intention of transitioning from one gender to another. Also, Jim Elledge tells us about his new biography of Outsider Artist Henry Darger, and why he drew little girls with penises.

Platform of the Real

April 28, 2016

A look at the most revolutionary media format that has ever existed and a trip back to 1968 when video became real. Plus Virtual reality!

The Future

April 12, 2016

Your host has a chance encounter with the supposed inspiration for a cult TV show that predicted the future of tech and media. Plus the end of Moore’s law?

A light touch and a slight nudge

March 28, 2016

Is Donald Trump actually a CIA asset with implants in his small hands or are our brains just wired for paranoia – or both! Rob Brotherton, author of Suspicious Minds, explains how our cognitive biases push us to see Conspiracies everywhere. Plus a look back to when the CIA weaponized Abstract Expressionism (one of the greatest real conspiracies of all time).


March 7, 2016

Luc Sante takes us on a tour of “The Other Paris” Benoît Peeters shows us Paris of 22nd century and your host learns why there is so much Brooklyn in the 10th arrondissement

image by Celeste Lai

After Work

February 10, 2016

ToE instaserf Andrew Callaway gets invited to do a TED ALPHA Talk on the sharing economy. Mary Gray (a real sharing economy expert) explains why we are anxious about the future of work and Ignacio Uriarte leaves his cubicle to make post-office art.

The Escapers

January 28, 2016

Artist Gary Panter packs up and sizes down, Alix Lambert explains the new computer trap. Plus your host on Gordon Comstock (the escaper protagonist of Orwell’s novel Keep the aspidistra flying).

70×7 (Holy War part II of II)

December 29, 2015

The second half of our sly-fi story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. Margo hopes to leave Christian America with Ali Baba ( a terrorist clone she was given as recompense for the death of her husband). But can they escape before evil Freddie catches wind of their plans? Plus a meditation on the parable of the unforgiving servant.

Alaska Is Closer (Holy War part I of II)

December 22, 2015

As 2015 winds down we offer you a story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. When Margo’s husband is killed in a terrorist attack, she is given Ali Baba, a terrorist clone. This is how it works in Christian America in this piece of speculative fiction (although we like the term Sly-fi). Will Margo use her new Walmart deluxe torture kit? Or does she have a greater plan? Also your host declares war on God!

New York After Rent (post prop f director’s cut)

November 25, 2015

Now that Airbnb has proved it can beat regulation we return to the post-gentrified city. Two! new segments: we meet a landlord (named Benny) who built an illegal artists space in Bushwick, and we visit Astor Place, the embodiment of the New New York, with writer Ada Calhoun (Saint Marks is Dead).

The things we do for money

October 31, 2015

Allen Ginsberg tries his hand at Market Research, Walter Benjamin goes on the radio and ToE’s Chris drops in on a new bar in DC called the Freedom Cock. Radiotopiaforever!

Secret Histories of Podcasting

October 22, 2015

It turns out there are (at least) three ways to tell the secret history of podcasting: it is a story about technology, it is a story about a business model for audio, and it is also a story about the birth of a new art form. What’s really cool is that the whole thing is sort of a Rashomon narrative – in this special edition to mark the radiotopiaforever campaign your host attempts to tell all three versions using the same people. Visit to join the radiotopiaforever campaign.

Enchanting by Numbers (2015 version)

October 9, 2015

We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. Plus James Essinger and Suw Charman-Anderson, tell us about Ada Lovelace, the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm)  in 1843.


September 7, 2015

Your host attempts to write a description for the Podcast. He seeks assistance from an old book, and the plot whisperer.


August 25, 2015

This week Christine tells us how a stuffed donut ruined a Tinder date, ToE’s Chris explains Adblock Jihad and your host gets beat up by two self driving cars.

Instaserfs (part three of three)

July 7, 2015

“This is part of the sharing economy, I am sharing myself”
Our instaserfs series comes to a crushing conclusion, Hear Instapoder Andrew attempt to manserve… Plus we meet two former Uber drivers! Special thanks to our new sponsor

Instaserfs (part two of three)

June 24, 2015

Instaserfs II: “Chipolte Strikes back” or “Seriously, in the sharing economy no one can hear you work” Either tagline works for our second installment in our future of work series. Andrew (our ToE instapoder) continues with his task of working for as many San Francisco sharing economy companies as he can stand this month. Plus Susie Cagle (cartoonist, journalist, and freelancer) explains why the tech community prefers not to talk about the worker.

ALSO In two weeks, after part three of Instaserfs drops, we’re hosting an online discussion party for ToE fans. Sign up at

Instaserfs (part one of three)

June 17, 2015

In the sharing economy no one can hear you work. This is because companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and others only employ “partners” or independent contractors. So your host decided to partner with Andrew Callaway, a 25 year old San Francisco native, to find out what its like to work in the sharing economy. As the official ToE instapoder Andrew will drive, shop, clean, deliver, and serve for a whole month, and he’s going to record his entire experience. Plus in this episode technology journalist Sarah Lacey tells us the truth about Uber.
thanks to our new sponsor:

Art De Vivre (II of II)

June 2, 2015

Benjamen and Mathilde continue exploring the intersection between France and China over wine. In this installment they traverse China talking with winemakers, wine enthusiasts and drinkers to find out what the emerging middle class of China, one of the most powerful forces on Earth, wants from a bottle of wine. Plus Your host is forced to defend his working methods and his beliefs in the art of living well.
Thanks to our sponsors and offer code: theory

Art De Vivre (I of II)

May 26, 2015

The voice of the ToE episode announcer revealed! (her name is Mathilde) and she joins our host for this two part series about the intersection between France and China and wine. The story of the red obsession of Wealthy Chinese has been told many times, but what is going to happen when China’s elusive emerging middle class gets wine fever? Can wine transmit cultural values? Can it transcend consumerism? In this installment Benjamen and Mathilde traverse France to discover this vino nouvelle vague.

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