I am Sam Greenspan, formerly of 99% Invisible & NPR, now host of Bellwether, a new podcast of speculative journalism. AMA!
After two years in seclusion, I'm re-entering the world to bring you my super-secret project: Bellwether www.bellwether.show, a podcast of speculative journalism—true stories of the world as it is through the lens of what it might become. After a decade of launching and working on other people's radio shows and podcasts (including 99% Invisible, NPR’s TED Radio Hour, USA Today’s The City, and others), Bellwether is my attempt to take what I've learned and move the podcast medium forward.
The first episode of Bellwether is now live on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and everywhere podcasts are RSS'd. Also here: https://soundcloud.com/thisisbellwether/01_autopilot-off and http://thisisbellwether.libsyn.com/01_autopilot-off.
Episode 01, "AUTOPILOT OFF," concerns the car crash in Tempe, Arizona, in which, for the first time in human history, a self-driving car killed a pedestrian. But who’s really at fault? If the person behind the wheel takes the fall, suddenly we are living in a world where a person can go to jail for the crimes of an AI.
This non-fiction reporting is told within a sci-fi radio serial: my 'podcast' has been found in the future by a pair of data archaeologists—one human, one AI—listening back, trying to figure out if this reportage from back in 2019 holds clues to what happened to their world. Over the course of the show, we'll learn more about these [fictional] protagonists, the world they inhabit, and what it might tell us about our own.
Bellwether is currently 100% independent. I'm currently running a Kickstarter to help me complete the first cycle of four episodes. Unlike a normal Kickstarter, the victory condition here is not about hitting a certain dollar amount, but to find 1,000 people to back the project at any level. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bellwether/b-e-l-l-w-e-t-h-e-r-a-podcast-of-speculative-journalism. If you're into Bellwether existing, please consider supporting the show!
I am currently a fellow at the Institute For The Future and will soon be a fellow at the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. Ask Me Anything!
More proof: https://i.redd.it/orybvesdahd31.jpg
EDIT: TAKING A NOURISHMENT BREAK AS OF 12:51PM PST! Will be back on by around 1pm :)
EDIT 2: AND WE'RE BACK! Answering questions again!
EDIT 3: OK, everyone, I think I'm gonna call it a day [as of 3:39pm PST]. Thanks for all of your questions and for the rousing debate! I'm gonna log off for a bit but will check back tomorrow [Thursday] morning and answer anything I missed. I hope you get a chance to listen to the pilot, and if you like it, please support our Kickstarter [tinyurl.com/bellwetherKS] and help me get the first cycle of stories finished! We only get funding if we get to 1,000 backers, so every pledge counts. OKthxbyebye!
EDIT 4: [Aug 8, 11:02am PT] Gonna hop back on periodically througout the day to answer any additional questions. Yay!
EDIT 5: [Aug 9, 10:18am PT] I think we can call this done-zo. Thanks everyone! This was really fun.