Headphones, AI and the future of humanity
They can see in the sponsor meeting. They were like brilliant all my god yes. We'll have a lexus start final jeopardy and then you see it on the show and you're like oh mike god hey everybody welcome to geekwire. I'm be acquire editor todd bishop geekwire managing editor taylor soper geek life reported kurtz lahser all right. We have some fun stuff to talk about today. We're going to explore or the landscape for wireless headphones and ear buds including a somewhat unusual looking set of wireless headphones taylor's wearing right now we'll get into that in just a second and later on we have a fascinating job post to analyze with implications for decades <unk> of tech industry growth and we'll explain that coming up later on plus the random channel. Hey it's great to have the two of you in. This is a group. I don't think we've had the three of us kerr taylor and me on on the podcast before. I don't think so feels good to be back. This is a trio. It is all right. We'll see hey. We got ourselves here all right so let's let's jump in and dealer you are wearing what immediately reminds me of headphones that spock might have worn on star trek explain. I what these headphones are before we get into who makes them yeah. May my ears are very warm right now in the podcast room because i'm wearing that the human headphones now human is a company based in seattle. They've been developing these headphones for several years now and finally they're out in the wild. They are wireless is headphones and the most apparent thing about them is the design they in the form factor they basically are designed to kind of fit over your ear completely so your butts air pods and not like massive over the head headphones but kind of a hybrid of those in between and so they kinda slip right every year and they're all black and they came out this week for the price of three ninety nine although that price quickly was dropped through a promotional offer to two fifty nine which we can talk about in just a second but kurt you have a way with words. You're looking at taylor right now. How would you describe how who described these headphones taylor you. I love you but if you wore those to work out smack them off your head. Ouch are you having. What is this like third grade. Aw i'm bringing bullying back to work. I already have a problem with todd john walking around here with the air pods in all the time having conversations where i think they're talking to me in the night turnaround and they've got those little white things in their ears. I'm tired of it and this is worse. There's a reason why every professional athlete whereas beats on on top of their head or some other variation of because they look cool okay you know a coup right now. You look like you look like something that walked out of black mirror. It's it's like it's like princess. Laya had a kid and she had the year bon ear bones and then you took them and put them on your ears without anything anything connecting them. I thought seen it had a good phrase and it's one of those you know. Sometimes you work on a story for a while and you're so close to than some other publication does the same story after you or whatever or and and they come up with the phrase that you wish you thought of and there's was air muffs their air muffs. That's that's pretty good. You know as much flack has i got in the newsroom. We did go out in the streets here in fremont and seattle and you know the majority of folks actually thought the design was cool or they were like okay with it. They're big issue. Was the price a couple. People thought the audio quality wasn't super great. We can actually listen. Let's hear what people had to say first impressions why they're just i mean they look like <hes> like i don't know they would dispense some sort of like scented missed. Maybe that'd be kind of cool. I i'd like to sound john's nice. How's it feel pretty good. It's better than air pods. Just kind of sticking your it doesn't like lock the sound as well. These are veteran. That sounds really good. Yeah really good yeah. It's like surprising. I didn't expect this to actually be that loud and clear just from the kind of look of it but it is. What's your first impression. I thought that was the case. Actually i saw it on your ear. Dan realized that that's factual as quickly kinda weird. I guess i might be a little on might be a little concerned concerned that if i put my head around you know yeah. I don't know how expensive they are. There are four hundred so yes us over four hundred why i guess why are they so expensive but i mean i do life the home and free aspect of it and that it's like kinda pointed a year. <hes> just need a little little toy hotter. Put them onto a little hard put on would you would you get these luth. No wires probably a yeah see okay. We sound really nice. They retailed for four hundred dollars so i take it back. No i ain't got that kind of money. I'll i'll take those back and you can have your bose his first impressions. They look why they're just an. I mean they look like <hes> like. I don't know they would spend some sort of like sentenced. Maybe baby. That'd be kind of cool. I like the sound yeah. How's it feel pretty good. It's better than air pods lodged just kind of sticking. It doesn't lock the sound as well. These are veteran. That sounds really good yeah really yeah. It's like surprisingly rising. I didn't expect this to actually be that loud and clear just from the kind of look at it but it is. What's your first impressions. <hes> i thought that was the case i actually thought on your ear and realized that that's factual as kinda weird. I guess i might be a little. I might be a little too certain that if i put my head around you know yeah. I don't know how expensive they are but they're four hundred. Oh yes so for four hundred why i guess why are they so expensive but i mean i do like the home and free aspect of it and that it's like kind of porn thirty two year <hes> just need a little little toy adequate the monitor a little hard to put on would you would you get these new on the bluetooth wires probably up yeah see okay. We sound really nice. They retailed for a four hundred dollars so i take it back. No you don't want them. I've got that kind of money. I'll take those back in you can have your business so at the end of the video. There basically took them back and she walked away into the sunset with her bose headphones. Here's my thing on this. I i understand the reaction to him. I have the reaction to this. I don't think that i would wear these in public and i don't think i would pay a four hundred dollars for them or two fifty nine or ninety nine but i admire the pioneering spirit of this company human <hes> we sat down with their top executives including the co founder and inventor ben willis the c._m._o. And white who has an extensive history at amazon and also the c._e._o. Bill more of this company human and they are very passionate about this and i appreciate where it's headed and i'll tell you why one of the reasons i like the air pods is that they are the first step toward bridging and essentially integrating they are aced that maybe not the first step but a step toward integrating people machines and i am excited and scared by that whole prospect. I've joked in the past that i'd love to put a s._d. Car you're in the back of my neck and you know be able to just have all the bad memories. Go there and take it out or put it in when i need to go to therapy or whatever you know like i love the idea of like you're out cycling or something and you have a brainstorm and you think oh my gosh. How am i gonna remember this hitting a button on your head that says okay record this and then stop recording according and you know elon. Musk is getting into this with neuro link. I mean this is where things are headed so i see this human headphones sort of notable in that evolution because it truly is trying to become part of your ear yeah angry and if you get past the design of these there are a ton of pretty innovative features in the device itself has a nine hour battery life one hundred foot wireless range really meant to be worn all day long and then there's other features like translation features where thanks to a deal human <hes> made with microsoft for soft you can actually speak in one language and then have another language translated immediately into your ears so there are a lot of cool features here and i agree with you. You know the wireless headphone market. It is expected to reach fifteen billion by twenty twenty four so you know as you said the air pods are kind of the first wave and i think it's everybody almost everybody who listens to music or what were they have headphones so if everyone needs these things it's kind of like i remember hearing food companies and food companies. Everyone eats three times a day. So you know there's going to be some innovation around the somehow you know tons. The people have headphones and what's the next wave of them going to be so this could be. The next step is going to be the next air. Pods probably not but like you said i do kind of admire what what they've built so far. Have you had any instances where they've fallen off like you've been wearing them around and the and one topples off not yet they are the do feel a little loose but they they have not come off. <hes> haven't exercised or worked out for a run and if i did that i would prefer probably the pot inside my ear something but yes they do feel they did but they do feel a little bit loose yeah the way they sort of sit on your ear even if they are technically secure they they don't inspire confidence right at they're going to stay day on right yeah and our your ears warm actually in the winter i could see them. Actually you know that would be a feature out out. Maybe they should have called them the earmuffs. Why didn't they well human. I think was meant to signify that they follow the shape of human error yeah so you know this company did do an indie gogo crowdfunding campaign that raised over five hundred thousand dollars. There's a lot of interest in the beginning. We'll see what the next step is. They've raised more than twenty six million from investors <hes> <hes> so. I think they've got you know cash to work within a little bit of time to see where they can go. It was very interesting to see what they did right. After all the stories came out this week they dropped that price from three ninety nine to two fifty nine as promotional price. I think they got they probably saw some of the backlash. This is the most expensive wireless headphone make basic on them on the market at four hundred dollars dollars it would be yeah and i think that was a big risk for them. I still am really fascinated by the whole wireless bluetooth headphone phenomenon. I'm it's changed the way i you read on my computer one of the things that i love to do i don't if you know i'm doing this in addition to saving stories into pocket and doing the text to speech to be able to read every story every word that appears on geekwire the way. I've been getting an extra exercises. I've got the microsoft surface bluetooth headphones paired to my computer at home home and so what i do is when i have to edit a story i put those on and then i've got a special text to speech plug in in my browser. It is sit there and i do exercise while i'm basically so reading the story and it's interesting because for me. It's actually more effective. I'm not tempted to skip ahead. I literally can't skip ahead. I hear every single word where where sometimes when you're reading story you're tempted to skim and that's not effective especially when you're editing something so i think there's lots of room for innovation in this whole bridge between between text and speech and wireless headphones and you know the human mind i i don't know the whole thing. I think there's lots of interesting potential and i'm going to be fascinated to see where this market is. In ten years you know my favorite film is blade runner as i've as i've said before and i've reported on in the corporation in that movie that makes the replicas the the androids is called tyrel in their tagline is more human than human and i often think about that when i look at you in those ridiculous amounts and think what's more human human than human while it's our actual ear so take those off right now all right with that coming up next. We're going to have a job offer for for you to consider that's right around the corner on geekwire. Hey geekwire listeners. It's todd bishop inviting you to register for the eighth annual geekwire summit. This is our flagship technology conference and it's coming up this year october seventh through ninth in seattle. It's basically a sneak preview of the future. We'll be exploring trends in a._i. And robotics privacy and surveillance health technology travel venture capital startups and much more with speakers including microsoft off president brad smith expediency oh markers trump former zillow c._o._o. Amy bukowski u._s._a. Facts founder and l._a. Clippers chairman steve balmer and and many others shaping the future of technology business science sports in philanthropy. That's the geekwire summit coming up october. Seventh through ninth in downtown seattle learn more in register at geekwire dot com slash summit and we're looking forward to seeing you there. Welcome back to geekwire. It's todd bishop with taylor. Soper encouraged lahser and we have a fascinating job post forty consider. It's an opportunity in seattle and it as a quote well capitalized seattle startup seeking unix developers quote you must have experienced designing and building large and complex yet maintainable systems and you should be able to do so in about one third the time that most competent people think possible. This is a hard charging company any cheese. It says familiarity with web servers h._t._m._l. Would be helpful but is not necessary and you should expect to work with quote talented motivated evaded intense and interesting co workers now. There's a word that's missing by the way from those adjectives. It's peculiar because this company in fact is amazon and it was the first job post that jeff bezos ever put online. It was twenty twenty five years ago this week kurt. You did something very interesting. Once we started to dig into this once you explain what you did. The ad has been around people have seen this before he posted this on on august twenty second nineteen ninety four and it was his first posting ever for what even wasn't even called amazon then it was cabraha based in bellevue washington but so oh i didn't want to just say oh this ad is out there and it's twenty five years old today i i had an idea to reach out to another seattle startup company in town called text ego and a a were founded by a couple of ex microsoft executives and their goal is to make the writing of such job postings better for companies. I'm that's one of the things that they do with their augmented writing platform <hes> they've been around since two thousand fourteen so i reached out to them and their c._e._o. Kieran snyder and what they did thankfully thankfully was run. Jeff's twenty five year old ad through their platform and the results were interesting it it came back with a score <hes> nineteen out of a hundred on their rating which was quote unquote very weak. It was dinged for such things as needing more. We statements being too short. We're not using enough exclamations lacking engaging questions too many adjectives and it was also deemed for what's called fixed mindset language. I think the ad used the word talented a couple all times in that applies to the difference between fixed and growth in in textile has written about this before are they focused on how they help employees grow grow. You know so jeff in writing this ad probably twenty five years ago clearly <hes> he was the type of person that he was looking for already and whether his company grew into a a reflection of himself well. That's that's part of. What <hes> we were sort of digging into yesterday and curing snyder the c._e._o. Of text yo had some fascinating things to say she actually worked for a brief time at amazon and she said it seems like jeff's add worked for him to build exactly the company that he wanted to build old not so different from amazon today now amazon like much of the tech industry is male dominated to me. It's just interesting to look at how the words we use. This can have an impact in the outcomes and that's really what textile is all about. They use machine learning to say what are the characteristics of the job posts that lead into the outcomes that specific companies want in their recruiting practices. I don't know i just thought it was fun from variety of perspectives but also extremely enlightening when you took that extra step curt and had them analyze it amazon even today according to textile uses the phrase competing six times more than the rest of the tech industry three and extreme five times more often like i said in the story the ad clearly worked amazon has six hundred and fifty thousand worldwide employees now in eleven thousand curren in openings in seattle. I don't think jeff has written eleven thousand nude new job postings but and the thing is you could look at raw numbers to say it worked in a lot of those are whole foods employees in terms of the growth wrote the recent growth but also you have to look at the composition of the workforce and by that measure amazon is not doing as well as i'm sure it and the rest of the industry would hope but it's also so doing better than some of the other companies out there. I really just like looking back at what jeff bezos was doing twenty five years ago you know and trying to see from his behaviors the actions that led head to amazon becoming the company that it became today for better or worse and shortly after that story published jeff be actually on instagram and posted a screen shot of the job posts and he he said quote. I posted our first drop opening twenty five years ago today when i hadn't even settled on the name amazon yet feels like yesterday hashtag gratitude gratitude gratitude to you jeff equally so we should say cadavre. I know that the two of you know the answer to this trivia question but that was in fact the first name of amazon amazon as in abracadabra. It's magic you press. A button in the book shows up at your door a few days later but the reason that they changed it was because on the phone own people heard it as cadaver so they changed it. The amazon and the rest is history that had a couple of other interesting nuggets. He included in there. Your compensation position will include meaningful equity ownership which on twitter was getting some reaction people wishing they had a time machine they would go back apply for this type of job knowing what that all all that stock turned into and he also ended the ad with a quote from alan kay the famous computer scientists. It is easier to invent the future than to predict it. That's a great quote. It's it's interesting too that he was saying that back then because i think he's still says that quote today all right you can check the show notes for a link to that post and the analysis and jeff bezos. This is reaction to it. You're listening to geekwire and we will be right back with the random channel. Are you tired of meal plans and exercise routines that just don't seem into work. Hack your health with the solution. That's personalized to you. Met pro is a concierge nutrition fitness and lifestyle coaching company using your metabolic data. You're pro coach analyzes your metabolism and learns how your body actually responds to diet and exercise then with personal coaching to help you apply those insights into your lifestyle style at met pro. Your metabolism isn't some mystery. It's a data point armed with hard science. That pro is your health concierge. It's not just about weight. Loss metro coaches provide you with the support and education. You need to live healthier life. We've got a special offer. Just for our listeners visit metro dot co slash geekwire to get a complimentary metabolic profiling assessment and consultation learn about your metabolism and receive personalized advice from a metabolic expert head to met pro dot co slash geekwire to claim this offer <music> welcome back it is time for the random channel that moment of the week when we talk about all the random items we were buzzing about behind the scenes at geekwire kurt. You're the king of the random channel and slack. You always post good stuff in there. I love the random channel random. I'm channel in slack for me is just a a window into my early morning scrolling and some of it's quite <hes> scary and serious in our world and some of it is is light yeah so what would you wanna highlight this week from which he posted there or what you saw out in the world <hes> couple things actually made it onto the site <hes> which isn't the case for everything in random but <hes> had a couple of things this week amazon is sponsoring a teacher tournament on jeopardy if he's been tuning into that game show and it's kind of cool because <hes> there are incorporating alexa into the actual broadcast alex trebek's at an echo sitting right next to him on his podium he said alexa dim the lights and the the stage lights went down right before final jeopardy finland's okay so. I thought that was really kind of awkward weird. You thought it was cool. That's been very surprised. We're being real here. I thought it was ridiculous. It was one of those things that were you. Look at it and you go. I can see in the sponsor meeting were they. They were like oh my god. Yes we'll have alexa start final final jeopardy and then you see on the show and you're like oh my god allies allies. Yes i think they have like a one track mind when it comes to that <hes> artificial intelligence when they open the spheres here in downtown seattle jeff bezos did the exact same thing alexa turn on the lights in the spheres lit up. I don't know what else that thing what they're supposed to be using it for but i like it as a light dinner and we actually know that the true response that alexa gives to that is there is no such touch device called lights now. It'd be awesome if that actually deliver. I'm i have i would be surprised was legit. I think think someone's in the backyard. It's real man. There's no way they hook it yeah. That was totally staged. I if it wasn't isn't hats off to them but i think it's highly unlikely of course jeopardy itself has a long history with artificial intelligence. I._b._m.'s watson went on there and kicked kicked the butts of some of the all time greatest jeopardy champions including ken jennings so not not a first for alex to to sell out to the corporate interests of artificial intelligence didn't kurt put a different name for alex and the story or a different name yeah. That was an electra beco- is i think that's the that's the give me a nice compilation of all the different play on words that we were trying all right. That's that's a good one car. That was going to be my random channel but don't did you have another one yeah. I was gonna say netflix has a new documentary series coming in september two three part series called inside bills brain decoding bill doc gates mice <hes> and that's intriguing because for us obviously who follow bill and melinda gates and the foundation closely in his days since microsoft ease up to some very intriguing and important stuff in our world so that that's a new netflix series. It's interesting lindy west. The seattle author also has a new hulu series or they're turning her book into a hulu series. It's fascinating to see the blending of these worlds of audiobooks and print books and netflix series on and hulu series. It's like anybody can do a podcast these days without having to think about your intellectual property less in net flicks this week also had the premiere of the barack and michelle obama backed a documentary called american factory. I heard people raving about unsocial yeah. I'm looking forward to checking that one out all lots of stuff to watch. Frankly the problem with all of this is i'm. I'm not using comcast anymore but i feel like i have to describe to hulu and netflix or h._b._o. And i i was do the trial and then i forget to cancel it and so i ended up with a bill at least comparable pro bowl to my comcast bill when compiled suffer although it's real it's first of all problems. How about you taylor. I will move this conversation. I'm from netflix to popeye's this week. The most viral thing probably on the internet was the new popeye's chicken sandwich vices headline was the popeye's chicken sandwich is a masterpiece new yorker went with the popeye's chicken sandwiches here to save america. The backstory is basically that chick-fil-a delays had their chicken sandwich. Don't take flays famous for having the best fast food chicken but popeye's had never had a sandwich they only had like the tenders or whatever and they've they've come out with this apparently glorious chicken sandwich with this beautiful bond the perfect amount of mayonnaise crunchy pickles i've been reading about i too much the same ingredients as chick-fil-a sales exactly and so for some reason and there's a bunch of things pieces out there already on this in terms of why i don't understand why this is just taken over the internet. Maybe it's haven't eaten. Maybe once i eat it all fully understand if anyone's tried it out there and let me know on twitter how it is. I've you guys tried it. Is there popeye's in seattle. I don't think actually in the city limits may be in the burbs. Yes we've got to drive a little bit but we can go that. Maybe we should take a geekwire field trip speaking lunch. I i don't think can drive to popeye's today but i am hungry okay. I know we've got a story dead but i was thinking. Maybe some thai food you want to go get some type okay. That's not as good as popeye's chicken sandwich but okay the occurred those just headphones out about ten feet behind you all right. Don't forget to subscribe to the geekwire podcast in your favorite podcast app and a new feature on geekwire. If you've listened this far you're into the site enough that you should be subscribed to our daily newsletter which is newly revamped. We're narrating the news for you. Everyday day pointing out interesting things on choir and elsewhere you can subscribe to that geekwire dot com slash newsletters until next time. I'm todd bishop. I'm taylor soper and i'm kurt shirts lahser. We'll talk to you next time on geekwire.