Slate’s If Then on Alexa vs. Google, cybersecurity, and robots for your pet.

At CES, Everything Is “Smart,” and Everything Is Dumb

At CES, Everything Is “Smart,” and Everything Is Dumb

Decoding the Logic of Silicon Valley
Jan. 10 2018 3:23 PM

The Future Is “Smart” and Dumb

If Then reports from CES on the A.I. battle between Amazon and Google, Intel’s cybersecurity problem, and a robot that shoots dog treats six feet in the air.


Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

On this week’s If Then, Slate’s April Glaser and Will Oremus are at CES, the huge trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas.


They talk about all the weird, wonderful, and unnecessary gadgets and tech they have seen so far at the convention, like the laundry-folding robots that might not be very good at folding laundry, bizarre tech for your pets, drones and self-driving cars, smart mirrors, and even a smart couch. They discuss the cybersecurity concerns surrounding Intel and how they’ve handled the situation so far, and the big battle between Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s new A.I. assistants.

Stories discussed on the show:

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.