Episodes

  • With digital spaces regularly evolving and updating, and the infinite scroll beckoning to us at all times, this episode questions if we have, as a culture, fully embraced the end of endings. Hanna Reichel, an associate professor of reformed theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, helps illuminate how the emergence of godlike AI and the rise of creator culture compare with the reformations and transformations through which people lived (and died) in the past.
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    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle Jazz”).

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  • Games can serve as an escape from reality—but they can also shape our understanding of trust, collaboration, and what might be possible IRL. Megan Garber talks with C. Thi Nguyen, an associate philosophy professor at the University of Utah, to better understand how games can help us safely explore our current reality and shape new realities, too.
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    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle Jazz”).
    How to Know What's Real is produced by Natalie Brennan. Our editors are Claudine Ebeid and Jocelyn Frank. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Our engineer is Rob Smierciak. The executive producer of audio is Claudine Ebeid, and the managing editor of audio is Andrea Valdez.
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  • With smartphones in our pockets and doorbell cameras cheaply available, our relationship with video as a form of proof is evolving. We often say “pics or it didn’t happen!”—but meanwhile, there’s been a rise in problematic imaging including deepfakes and surveillance systems, which often reinforce embedded gender and racial biases. So what is really being revealed with increased documentation of our lives? And what’s lost when privacy is diminished? 
    In this episode of How to Know What’s Real, staff writer Megan Garber speaks with Deborah Raji, a Mozilla fellow, whose work is focused on algorithmic auditing and evaluation. In the past, Raji worked closely with the Algorithmic Justice League initiative to highlight bias in deployed AI products.
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    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle Jazz”).
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  • This episode explores the web’s effects on our brains and how narrative, repetition, and even a focus on replaying memories can muddy our ability to separate fact from fiction. 
    How do we come to believe the things we do? Why do conspiracy theories flourish? And how can we train our brains to recognize misinformation online? 
    Lisa Fazio, an associate psychology professor at Vanderbilt University, explains how people process information and disinformation, and how to debunk and pre-bunk in ways that can help discern the real from the fake.
    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle Jazz”).
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  • While the vibrance, innovation, and cacophony of online life can feel completely unlike anything humanity has ever created before, its newness isn’t wholly unprecedented. Humans reckoned with many similar challenges to life as they knew it while navigating a different kind of social web: the city.  
    In this episode, Danah Boyd, a partner researcher at Microsoft Research and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, explains how the sociological work conducted during a time of rapid urbanization in the United States reveals a lot about human behavior and what we need to feel safe, secure, and inspired.
    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle Jazz”).
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  • Social media has made it easier to build more parasocial relationships with celebrities and influencers. What impact are those connections having on our relationships IRL? And how do they shift our understanding and expectations of intimacy and trust? 
    Florida State University assistant professor Arienne Ferchaud defines parasocial relationships and discusses how new technologies are changing the role of entertainment in our lives.
    Music by Forever Sunset (“Spring Dance”), baegel (“Cyber Wham”), Etienne Roussel (“Twilight”), Dip Diet (“Sidelined”), Ben Elson (“Darkwave”), and Rob Smierciak (“Whistle”).

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  • What is “real life,” now that the internet and AI are integrated into so much that we do? In the new season of The Atlantic’s popular How To series, co-hosts Megan Garber and Andrea Valdez explore deepfakes, illusions, and misinformation, and how to make sense of where things are really happening. How to Know What’s Real examines how technology has altered our sense of connectedness and how to determine what is authentic and true.

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  • It can be tough to face our own mortality. Keeping diaries, posting to social media, and taking photos are all tools that can help to minimize the discomfort that comes with realizing we have limited time on Earth. But how exactly does documenting our lives impact how we live and remember them? 

    In this episode, diarist and author Sarah Manguso reflects on the benefits and limitations of keeping track of time, and Charan Ranganath, a professor of psychology and researcher at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, discusses what research reveals about how memories work and how we can better keep time.

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    Music by Rob Smierciak (“Slow Money, Guitar Time, Ambient Time”), Corinne Sperens (“Dichotomy”), Felix Johansson Carne (“Headless”), Martin Gauffin (“The Time”), and Dylan Sittss (“On the Fritz”).

     
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  • Time can feel like a subjective experience—different at different points in our lives. It’s also a real, measurable thing. The universe may be too big to fully comprehend, but what we do know could help inform the ways we approach our understanding of ourselves, our purpose, and our time.
    Theoretical physicist and black-hole expert Janna Levin explains how the science of time can inspire new thinking and fresh perspectives on a much larger scale.
    Music by Rob Smierciak (“Slow Money, Money Time, Guitar Time, Ambient Time”), Gavin Luke (“Time Zones”), Hanna Lindgren (“Everywhere Except Right Here”), and Dylan Sitts (“On the Fritz”).
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  • Between making time for work, family, friends, exercise, chores, shopping—the list goes on and on—it can feel like a huge accomplishment to just take a few minutes to read a book or watch TV before bed. All that busyness can lead to poor sleep quality when we finally do get to put our heads down. 
    How does our relationship with rest impact our ability to gain real benefits from it? And how can we use our free time to rest in a culture that often moralizes rest as laziness? Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, the author of several books on rest and director of global programs at 4 Day Week Global, explains what rest is and how anyone can get started doing it more effectively.
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  • Before laptops allowed us to take the office home and smartphones could light up with notifications at any hour, work time and “life” time had clearer boundaries. Today, work is not done exclusively in the workplace, and that makes it harder to leave work at work. 

    Co-hosts Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost examine the habits that shrink our available time, and Ignacio Sánchez Prado, a professor of Latin American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, offers his reflections on American culture and shares suggestions for how to use the time we do have, for life. 

    This episode was co-hosted by Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost. Becca Rashid also produces the show. Editing by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smierciak. The managing editor of How to Keep Time is Andrea Valdez. Write to us at [email protected]. 

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  • Many of us complain about being too busy—and about not having enough time to do the things we really want to do. But has busyness become an excuse for our inability to focus on what matters? 
    According to Neeru Paharia, a marketing professor at Arizona State University, time is a sort of luxury good—the more of it you have, the more valuable you are. But her research also revealed that, for many Americans, having less time and being busy can be a status symbol for others to notice. And when it comes to the signals we create for ourselves, sociologist Melissa Mazmanian reveals a few myths that may be keeping us from living the lives we want with the meaningful connections we crave. 
    Music by Dylan Sitts (“On the Fritz”) and Rob Smierciak (“Slow Money,” “Guitar Time,” “Ambient Time”).
    This episode was co-hosted by Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost. Becca Rashid also produces the show. Editing by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smierciak. The managing editor of How to Keep Time is Andrea Valdez. Write to us at [email protected]
    Want to share unlimited access to The Atlantic with your loved ones? Give a gift today at theatlantic.com/podgift. For a limited time, select new subscriptions will come with the bold Atlantic tote bag as a free holiday bonus.
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  • Co-hosts Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost explore our relationship with time and how to reclaim it. Why is it so important to be productive? Why can it feel like there’s never enough time in a day? Why are so many of us conditioned to believe that being more productive makes us better people? Author Oliver Burkman offers some insights.
    This episode was co-hosted by Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost. Becca Rashid also produces the show. Editing by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smierciak. The managing editor of How to Keep Time is Andrea Valdez. Write to us at [email protected]
    Music from by Dylan Sitts (“On the Fritz”), Gavin Luke (“Time Zones”), Martin Guaffin (“The Time”), and Rob Smierciak (“Slow Money,” “Guitar Time”).
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  • Why can it feel like there’s never enough time in a day, and why are so many of us conditioned to believe that being more productive makes us better people? On How to Keep Time, co-hosts Becca Rashid and contributing writer Ian Bogost talk with social scientists, authors, philosophers, and theoretical physicists to learn more about time and how to reclaim it. How to Keep Time launches December 2023.
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  • A lot of people are plagued by the feeling that society used to be better, that neighbors were more helpful, that strangers once talked to you. Some people channel that belief into political action, as in the Make America Great Again movement. A new study explains why the sense that people and the culture have gotten worse is a psychological illusion. This special episode features Hanna Rosin, the host of Radio Atlantic. Subscribe and find new episodes of Radio Atlantic every Thursday.
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  • The values of individualism that encourage us to go it alone are in constant tension with the desire for community that many people crave. But when attempting to do things on our own, we may miss out on the joys of coming together.
    This season’s finale conversation features writer Mia Birdsong, who highlights the cultural and philosophical roots of Americans’ struggle to build community. In a culture pushing us to put our own oxygen mask on first, Mia argues for the quiet radicalness of asking for help and showing up for others.
    This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Julie Beck. Editing by Jocelyn Frank. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smerciak. Special thanks to A.C. Valdez. The executive producer of Audio is Claudine Ebeid; the managing editor of Audio is Andrea Valdez.
    Be part of How to Talk to People. Write to us at [email protected]. To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.
    Music by Arthur Benson (“Organized Chaos,” “Charmed Encounter”), Alexandra Woodward (“A Little Tip,” “Just Manners”), Bomull (“Latte”), Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”), and Yonder Dale (“Simple Gestures”). 
    Also: If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, submit feedback at theatlantic.com/listener-survey. We'd love to hear from you.
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  • Are commitment issues impacting our ability to connect with the people who live around us? Relationship building may involve a commitment to the belief that neighbors are worthy of getting to know.
    In this episode of How to Talk to People, author Pete Davis makes the case for building relationships with your neighbors and wider community and offers some practical advice for how to take the first steps. 
    This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Julie Beck. Editing by Jocelyn Frank. Fact Check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smerciak. Special thanks to A.C. Valdez. The executive producer of Audio is Claudine Ebeid, the managing editor of Audio is Andrea Valdez.
    We don’t need you to bring along flowers or baked goods to be a part of the How to Talk to People neighborhood. Write to us at [email protected]. To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.
    Music by Bomull (“Latte”), Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”), Arthur Benson (“Organized Chaos,” “Charmed Encounters”), Alexandra Woodward (“A Little Tip”).
    Also: If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, submit feedback at theatlantic.com/listener-survey. We'd love to hear from you.
    Click here to listen to more full-length episodes in The Atlantic’s How To series.
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  • What motivated two families to engage in the organized chaos of shared living and how did they learn to talk through, and shape, new expectations for their family life at home?
    In this episode of How to Talk to People, we hear from Deborah Tepley and Luke Jackson, who remember when they first asked their best friends to buy a house with them. The Flemings—soon to be expecting their first child—didn’t hesitate to say yes. Their real estate agent and extended families warned against the decision, but the families shared a vision of a home where the values of community could flourish in practice. 
    This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Julie Beck. Editing by Jocelyn Frank. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smerciak. Special thanks to A.C. Valdez. The executive producer of Audio is Claudine Ebeid; the managing editor of Audio is Andrea Valdez.
    Be part of the How to Talk to People family. Write to us at [email protected]. To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.
    Music by Alexandra Woodward (“A Little Tip”), Arthur Benson (“Organized Chaos,” “Charmed Encounter”), Bomull (“Latte”), and Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”). 
    Also: If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, submit feedback at theatlantic.com/listener-survey. We'd love to hear from you.
    Click here to listen to more full-length episodes in The Atlantic’s How To series.
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  • The terms of friendship are both voluntary and vague—yet people often find themselves disappointed by unmet expectations. In this episode of How to Talk to People, we explore how to have the difficult conversations that can make our friendships richer and how to set expectations in a relationship defined by choice.
    This episode was produced by Rebecca Rashid and is hosted by Julie Beck. Editing by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado. Engineering by Rob Smierciak. Special thanks to A.C. Valdez. The managing editor of How to Talk to People is Andrea Valdez.
    Be friends with How to Talk to People. Write to us at [email protected]. To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.
    Music by Alexandra Woodward (“A Little Tip”), Arthur Benson (“Charmed Encounter,” “She Is Whimsical,” “Organized Chaos”), Bomull (“Latte”), and Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”).
    Also: If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, submit feedback at theatlantic.com/listener-survey. We'd love to hear from you.
    Click here to listen to additional episodes in The Atlantic’s How To series.
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  • Coffee shops, churches, libraries, and concert venues are all shared spaces where mingling can take place. Yet the hustle and bustle of modern social life can pose challenges to relationship-building—even in spaces designed for exactly that. 

    In this episode of How to Talk to People, we analyze how American efficiency culture holds us back from connecting in public, whether social spaces create a culture of interaction, and what it takes to actively participate in a community. 

    Hosted by Julie Beck, produced by Rebecca Rashid, edited by Jocelyn Frank and Claudine Ebeid. Managing editor is Andrea Valdez. Fact-check by Ena Alvarado, and engineering by Rob Smierciak. Special thanks to AC Valdez. Music by Alexandra Woodward (“A Little Tip”), Arthur Benson (“Charmed Encounter,” “She Is Whimsical,” “Organized Chaos”), Gavin Luke (“Nadir”), Ryan James Carr (“Botanist Boogie Breakdown”), Tellsonic (“The Whistle Funk”), Dust Follows (“Willet”), Auxjack (“Mellow Soul”).
    Build community with us! …via email. Write to us at [email protected]. To support this podcast, and get unlimited access to all of The Atlantic’s journalism, become a subscriber.
    Also: If you have any comments or suggestions about the show, submit feedback at theatlantic.com/listener-survey. We'd love to hear from you.

    Click here to listen to additional seasons in The Atlantic’s How To series.
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