Interview with Dr. Margaret Kosal, AOMD Episode 031 – Natasha Bajema

Interview with Dr. Margaret Kosal, AOMD Episode 031

Welcome to the episode number 31 of the Authors of Mass Destruction podcast. My name is Natasha Bajema, aka WMDgirl on Twitter. I’m a fiction author, national security expert and your host for this podcast.

  • If you’re interested in science & technology, in reading good fiction, or want to write fiction based on technology, you’re in the right place.
  • Before we get started, a few notes:
    • The views expressed on this podcast are my own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
    • The AOMD podcast is proud to be part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network. Check us out at
    • If you enjoy my podcast and want me to keep it up, I hope you’ll become a patron for only two dollars a month at Patreon at – p a t r e o n / natashabajema
  • Personal Update:
    • It’s good to be back after a month break. Thanks for your patience. I’m hoping to switch gears a bit for the next few months and focus on some new and different topics.
    • I regret to inform you that I will not be producing the Project Gecko podcast as planned. I’d already recorded the intro and autro and finished the graphics, but then I realized I need to prioritize other things at this time. I haven’t been able to monetize the Authors of Mass Destruction podcast; that means that I still pay money to produce each episode and my time is free.
    • I’m wrapping up work on my fourth novel, Rescind Order. It’s due to my editor on February 1. As my next project, I’ll be writing a dark comedy stage play based on the themes in the novel. I’m planning a Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial stage of production, which I hope will be an audio play.
  • My headline for this week is a doozie: “The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It,” published in the New York Times on January 18.
    • If you’ve listened to this podcast and my Bionic Bug podcast, you know that one of my soapboxes is the data we’re putting on the Internet and the potential for certain actors to surveill us with this information.
    • A startup company called Clearview AI has invented a tool that puts the final nail in the coffin of our anonymity.
    • “You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared.”
    • Clearview AI has a database of billions of images scraped from Facebook, YouTube and other popular apps.
    • What this means? Your face, wherever it is recorded, unlocks everything about who you are.
    • This has occurred because we, including policymakers, have largely stood by and watched as our privacy erodes and we’ve willingly offered companies and third parties unlimited information about us.
    • Guess who is using the tool? Law enforcement authorities.
    • The company intends to pair the app with AR glasses, meaning that anyone wearing them can walk down the street and know things about you simply from your face—your name, your address, your social network, your employer.
    • And while your privacy is being stripped away, this company operates in the dark, shrouded in secrecy.
    • We need to wake up from our slumber and do something about this before it’s too late. It may already be too late.
  • On that cheery note, let’s go to a fun interview on nanotechnology where I talk to Dr. Margaret Kosal about science enabling invisibility cloaks and night vision in rats as well as the truth about gray goo.

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