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Decoder

Decoder is a new show from The Verge about big ideas – and other problems. Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel talks to a diverse cast of innovators and policy makers at the frontiers of business and technology to reveal how they’re navigating an ever-changing landscape, what keeps them up at night, and what it all means for our shared future. Subscribe here!

Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini on how anime took over the world

The head of the fast-growing streaming service discusses the Funimation merger and shutdown and where he sees growth in anime.

How AI copyright lawsuits could make the whole industry go extinct

The New York Times’ lawsuit against OpenAI is part of a broader, industry-shaking copyright challenge that could define the future of AI.

DOJ’s Jonathan Kanter says the antitrust fight against Big Tech is just beginning

The assistant attorney general says ‘the resonance these issues have is something that I’ve never witnessed in my lifetime.’

Welcome to the first Thursday Decoder.

This week marks the launch of Decoder’s second episode, which will explain big topics in the news with Verge reporters, experts, and other friends of the show. (The other Decoder you know and love, featuring big interviews with CEOs and others, now publishes every Monday.)

For this episode, I sat down with Verge Transportation Editor Andy Hawkins, to discuss a fantastic article he wrote called, “The EV Transition trips over its own cord.” It’s all about how the momentum for electric cars in America has started to hit serious snags, even as more people than ever before go fully electric. Check it out.


Why Sen. Brian Schatz thinks child safety bills can trump the First Amendment

The Democratic senator from Hawaii on regulating social media: ‘An algorithm doesn’t have a First Amendment right.’

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Listen to Mina Hsiang revisit her time on the “surge” team that fixed HealthCare.gov.

In case you haven’t listened to the most recent episode of Decoder, Hsiang, who is now the United States Digital Service administrator, told us the inside story of how she helped fix the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov a decade ago. Read the full interview here, or listen to the podcast here.


Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami on why the web isn’t dying after all

The co-founder of website builder Wix is embracing generative AI, and he’s not too worried that it might destroy the business models of the web.

Volvo CEO Jim Rowan thinks dropping Apple CarPlay is a mistake

As cars become computers on wheels, the former BlackBerry and Dyson executive is approaching Volvo’s EV transformation with a consumer electronics mindset.

Barack Obama on AI, free speech, and the future of the internet.

In a sitdown with Verge EIC Nilay Patel on Decoder, the 44th president discussed Joe Biden’s recently-signed executive order about AI, why Obama disagrees with the idea that social networks are a “common carrier,” and which iPhone apps he uses the most, now that he’s no longer president and he can use an iPhone.


Barack Obama on AI, free speech, and the future of the internet

The former president joined me on Decoder to discuss AI regulation, the First Amendment, and of course, what apps he has on his homescreen.

Barack Obama is on Decoder next week.

The 44th President just posted his AI reading list and let it slip that he and I chatted about the challenges of regulating AI — and he recommended our episode on free speech and social networks with Larry Lessig as well. Coming on Tuesday — subscribe now so you don’t miss it.


Barack Obama smiles while taping an episode of the Decoder podcast
Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

AI is on a collision course with music — Reservoir’s Golnar Khosrowshahi thinks there’s a way through

The publisher behind the songwriting copyrights to some of the most popular music ever recorded doesn’t think AI spells doom for the industry.

Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig on balancing free speech with protecting democracy

After 30 years teaching law, the internet policy legend is as worried as you’d think about AI and TikTok — and he has surprising thoughts about balancing free speech with protecting democracy.

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Is it too late to protect our privacy?

Kashmir Hill, author of the book Your Face Belongs to Us and “not a privacy nihilist,” spoke to Nilay on Decoder about whether or not we can do anything about the rise of a facial recognition-enabled dystopian world.


CEO David Baszucki’s mission to make Roblox a billion-player platform

AI is relatively easy. Working in China? That’s harder.

 and Alex Heath

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe on ramping up R1T production and competing with the Cybertruck

The Rivian founder kicked off last month’s Code Conference with a conversation about supply chain challenges, the company’s Amazon deal, and whether the R1T will compete with the Cybertruck.

Getty Images CEO Craig Peters has a plan to defend photography from AI

Getty’s entire brand is built on authenticity. CEO Craig Peters sat down with us at Code to talk about how the company is dealing with AI and disinformation.

Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott on how AI and art will coexist in the future

Microsoft’s Kevin Scott sat down with us at Code to talk about Bing’s competition with Google, the race to acquire and develop high-end GPUs, and how art can survive in the age of AI.

‘The Android of agriculture’: Monarch Tractor CEO Praveen Penmetsa on the future of farming

Monarch Tractor’s Praveen Penmetsa has a grand vision for agriculture, and it includes autonomous electric smart tractors powered by AI.

AMD CEO Lisa Su on the AI revolution and competing with Nvidia

At this year’s Code Conference, the CEO of one of the world’s largest computer chip companies discusses competing with Nvidia’s leading GPU, AI regulation, and the global supply chain.

Mark Zuckerberg on Threads, the future of AI, and Quest 3

In a rare interview, Meta’s CEO dives into where AI is going next, the new Quest 3 headset, and his ongoing rivalry with Elon Musk.

After 10 years covering startups, former TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino tells us what’s next

It’s been a rocky and chaotic decade — and now digital media is on the brink of yet another existential crisis thanks to generative AI.

More than Sally Ride: Loren Grush explains how NASA’s first women astronauts changed space

In the 1980s, NASA wanted space to become a booming business — and the first six women astronauts were meant to help get it off the ground.

Biometrics? Bring it on: why Okta’s Jameeka Green Aaron wants passwords to go away

How do you define what it means to be you in the all-digital 21st century — and how should systems protect that?

Fandom runs some of the biggest communities on the internet — can CEO Perkins Miller keep them happy?

Users hate the ads, AI is coming, and the social media landscape is getting weird — but Perkins thinks Fandom is poised to survive and thrive.

There’s no AI without the cloud, says AWS CEO Adam Selipsky

AWS has been around for nearly all the big computing transformations of the 21st century so far. Selipsky’s not worried about the next one.

Why would anyone make a website in 2023? Squarespace CEO Anthony Casalena has some ideas

Squarespace has lived through the eras of domain squatting, SEO keywords, and social algorithms and is now launching AI tools. Here’s what’s next for the 20-year-old company.

Inside Google’s big AI shuffle — and how it plans to stay competitive, with Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis

Google invented a lot of core AI technology, and now the company’s turning to Demis to get back in front of the AI race for AI breakthroughs.

Why CEO David Baszucki is ready for Roblox to grow up

With over 66 million daily users, the virtual world platform is now allowing experiences exclusively for people 17 and up. What’s driving the push?

 and Alex Heath
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This week’s Decoder on private equity in America really touched a nerve.

I usually get a few emails about every episode of Decoder — I really do read them all! — but the response to this week’s episode with Brenden Ballou on the influence of private equity companies on businesses of all kinds has been fascinating, since it connects a wonky financial idea to real experiences so many people have had at work. There’s a 300+ comments thread at Hacker News about it, even. And here I thought this would just be a wonky passion project of an episode!