This episode features returning guest Sam Woolley, whose new book 'The Reality Game,' examines the new frontiers of 'fake news' and the idea that the next wave of technology will 'break the truth'. We discuss the state of the art in propaganda bots, delve further into the Russian strategy of producing 'controlled instability' through ongoing, widespread informational attacks such as political bots, and talk about the rise of institutional distrust, which may well prove disastrous in the context of the current pandemic.

I hope you are doing okay during this tough period. During these uncertain times I'd love to connect with listeners more than ever. For that reason I'm temporarily opening the Patreon discord to anyone who wants to join -- just email me at [email protected] and I'll send you an invite. At times like this we all benefit from exchanging information and ideas about what we should be doing and how to survive whatever comes next.


In this Stolen Headlines, we invite show supporters Tim Reutemann and Mendel Skulski to discuss Coronavirus - how various world governments have responded so far, and the role information technology has played in detecting, containing and eradicating the disease. Tim introduces the informal hackathon he's initiated along with this wife, as a platform for people to do something about the virus.

We discuss: how Taiwan has approached containing Coronavirus, and whether the surveillance provisions set up in order to contain the disease could persist after it's resolved. And we argue about whether modern, data-driven totalitarian societies like China are proving themselves more efficient than free-market economies in addressing Coronavirus, and whether this points to any unexpected advantages this new state form may have over the Western model in the future.

Tim brought the stolen headlines for this show (via Google Translate). The first piece we discuss looks at how the first Swiss citizens became infected with the virus and how the Swiss government has responded to the infection.

The second is a detailed reflection from blogger Alex Kunz on his experience of Coronavirus in Taiwan.

Joey & Tim's Coronavirus Hackathon is organizing itself via Discord. There's already a couple of investors staking cash to help the best ideas get realised. If you'd like to help out, you're welcome to join -- you'll also find me there! Come say hi at: https://discord.gg/tfsCfk2


This conversation centers around Bitcoin - its past, present and future. Cedric Dahl's 1000x group, which describes itself as a 'private think tank' focused on finding black swans in the world of open and distributed protocols, has a thesis that Bitcoin is on the verge of 'superdominance' in which its value could multiply by a thousand or more from where it is right now. We discuss various evidence for this, from Bitcoin's increasing dominance as the key currency of the darknet, to a surge in coin-mixing on the Wasabi network and the possibility that asymmetrically disadvantaged nation states may be hoarding Bitcoin in order to tip the balance of power in their favour should a 'hyper-bitcoinization' scenario arise. Find out just when Cedric thinks the tipping point for that event might occur, and why the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is serious enough about this kind of 'black swan' bitcoin situation to to be sponsoring a study on just what the world would look like if the U.S. dollar lost its status as the world’s reserve currency.