I used to depend on the NPR podcasts for being the best, they were interesting enough to attract my attention and slow enough to coax it down. this american life, or fresh air. but these past two years the world's problems have gotten bigger and more concerning so when they're talking about politics or russia taking us over or whatever, I'm just not interested. I go look through fresh air's recent episodes and in a given week they'll usually have some actor or a non-fiction author that I want to hear for a bit, but not always, and most episodes are about news.
I tried the sleep with me podcast. that one is the hardcore option, it is made to put you to sleep, this very calm man talks slowly about nothing interesting at all. but it's so uninteresting that it doesn't always suit me either. I'd like to learn *something*, sometimes. he gets into a wikipedia article every so often, those are good.
It struck me that what I really wanted was for someone to read me educational or scientific stories, so then I found one called Read2Me Daily - it's the weirdest. They take Medium posts or new york time articles and a robot reads them to you. the robot is pretty good, but obviously a machine. you never hear a real human talk.
it suits its purpose for me, but also makes me concerned about all the things we're leaving up to robots these days. I think about the future of companionship and human interaction. could the robot write the articles too, I wonder, hearing it badly interpret a blogger's rant against autonomous cars without taking it the least bit personally or seeing any irony in the day's selection.
I'm always worried about how much website bandwidth I'm paying for that goes to robots, crawlers, indexers, spambots, and just automated processes. then here's this podcast where someone programmed a robot to read our stories, there aren't many reviews so who's even listening? the robot doesn't care, it will just keep going every day. I've made programs like that. everything auto-billed to my credit cards every month is also like that. A package of dog food shows up on our porch every 10 weeks like magic, we turn around and use it so we can have a real dog who actually loves us. I have real kids, they made real amazon wishlists this year for christmas, we transfer funds to their school lunch balances that alert us when they're low. everything in its place. I might not be real, I think for a second. I plan to write a livejournal entry on it, but I already wrote one today so obviously I'll write it then schedule it to post so it's spaced out a bit. let the robot post it, of course.
then I fall asleep.