Deepfakes come to remote job interviews

The FBI warned last week that people are interviewing for tech jobs using stolen identities — and even deepfake videos.

Specifically, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on June 28 reported an increase in complaints about the use of stolen personal information — and even real-time deepfake video technology during Zoom interviews — by some tech job candidates to misrepresent their job experience or lie about who is actually applying for the job.

The FBI said that the rise in fake applicants is happening mainly in software development, database, and other software-related job openings.

Here's what you need to know about deepfake remote job interviews.


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Here comes the 'destination workplace.'

In a market economy, some human spaces are provided as services that compete with other services to attract customers. This is true of hotels, gyms, and shopping malls.

But it hasn't been true of workplaces.

In the past, the workplace was provided by a monopoly provider — the company you worked for. As a result, offices hadn't been particularly appealing or creative, with industry exceptions like tech, where the nature of employment can be fluid.

Once an employer was chosen, individual employees didn't have a choice like customers. Instead, workplace quality was just another factor lumped in with many other factors for how appealing an employer might be.

You might accept a substandard workplace if other factors like higher salary and better growth opportunities were available.

But in the future of work, that's going to change. It's already changing.

Get ready for the rise of the "destination workplace."


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

The first iPhone shipped on this day 15 years ago. One day before that, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek "email from the future" from the year 2022

"I can't believe it's been 15 years since iPhone came out. I still remember the launch like it was yesterday. The first version was totally lame, but people were calling it the "Jesus phone," waiting in line for days to buy it and talking about it like it was this amazing thing. (Remember -- this was way before the holographic display version came out.)"

(Read the rest or read it on Reddit.)

It’s time to let go of the belief that a single global internet was ever going to be possible and embrace the real world of many separate internets.

The splinternet idea is simple: instead of the single, global, open internet that early network pioneers intended, we actually now have multiple unconnected internets.

It’s a good idea to assume that the splinternet is here to stay, and the splintering will continue.

The biggest problem is that there are a couple billion people — at least — who do not have access to anything resembling the global internet. And that’s a violation of their rights (specifically Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

One other problem is that when knowledge is blocked, interaction is blocked and business is blocked. It makes the world a smaller place for everybody.

Filter bubbles, walled gardens, authoritarian censorship and other factors that push people into internet cul-de-sacs place undesirable limits on the flow of information, to the detriment of all.

From now on, we should let go of the one-global-internet pipe dream. It was never going to happen. The metaverse won’t save us. And neither will Web3.

6 things they don't tell you about digital nomad living

The digital nomad literature — blogs, websites, social accounts — often paints a picture of the digital nomad lifestyle that's totally misleading. It's not all laptops and sunsets.

When the average professional imagines the digital nomad lifestyle, no doubt inane stock photography comes to mind — some 22-year-old in a hammock, or sitting on the sand or perched on a mountaintop awkwardly balancing a laptop.

The pictures are pretty. But to any real digital nomad with a serious career, the photos fall flat. (Expert tip: the beach is a bad place to work.)

What's wrong with these pictures is that leisure time and work time are combined into a single image, whereas in real life, these have to be separate, or you ruin both.

The words are worse than the pictures — digital nomad posts, articles, and even books tend to be shallow and misleading.

If you're seriously considering changing to digital nomad living, you need an accurate picture of what you're getting into. 

So here are the six basic lifestyle facts that blogs don't tell you.


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

It's time to let go of collaboration bias and embrace the power of deep work

Environment affects modes of work. And that's why the recent shift to remote work is so consequential.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, nearly all the conversations about office design centered around collaboration.

This was especially true in the tech industry. Companies (ranging from scrappy startups to industry giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook) innovated with casual meeting spaces, extensive break areas, and open office plans.

Collaboration was king. And then COVID-19 happened.

All that effort to foster and encourage water cooler moments — spontaneous meetings that could spark creativity, collaboration, and new ideas — was swept away by the pandemic, the necessity for remote work, and the subsequent resistance by employees to return to offices.

It's a disaster, according to some managers and executives.

But I disagree. I think the remote work revolution will save them from their own faulty thinking.


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

The Future of Work? There's an app for that!

People associate Airbnb with vacation travel. But Airbnb was founded as a service for business travelers.

The company began in 2007. Then called AirBed & Breakfast, its founders' business model was simple: Buy three air mattresses, and build a website at airbedandbreakfast.com. Then, invite attendees of the city's 2008 Industrial Design Conference who couldn't find a hotel room to crash at their house.

They quickly realized there was demand in the world for this idea.

So they cobbled together investments, ditched the air mattresses, and shortened the name to Airbnb (I'm, of course, oversimplifying here).

Specifically, the original business model was to create accommodation supply out of nothing in a world with overwhelming demand created by business professionals.

And now the company has just done it again.


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Busting three myths about the future of work

First impressions, gut reactions, and unexamined assumptions about the future of work become embedded in conventional wisdom. Even when they turn out to be false, people still believe them.

Here are the three biggest myths about the future of work.


[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Welcome to the new world of business travel

The COVID-19 pandemic crushed the business travel industry, hammering trade shows, hotels, airlines, and other services. As video meetings went mainstream, the industry’s loss was Zoom’s gain.

But now, restrictions are being lifted. As a result, business travel is coming back.

Travel management company TripActions says business travel bookings for the first quarter of this year exceeded all bookings for the entire previous year.

Unsurprisingly, the “return” of business travel, in fact, is less of a return and more of a new world of trends.

For example, TripActions says more than one-third of business travelers are now booking longer “bleisure” trips, combining business with leisure. Some business travel will be workcations. Other trips will be remote workers visiting the office.

Despite the changes, some companies are still sending employees and executives on good old-fashioned business trips.

A recent Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) poll found that three-quarters of respondents’ companies (74%) now allow international travel, up 48% in February.

The only difference is the price.

Not a good sign

This tapas joint in Sitges, Spain, has a sign that says: "We have the worst vermouth in the world. Try it!"

Remote work isn't just for security specialists. Here's why everybody needs zero trust!

Last summer, law enforcement officials contacted both Apple and Meta, demanding customer data in “emergency data requests.” The companies complied. Unfortunately, the “officials” turned out to be hackers affiliated with a cyber-gang called “Recursion Team.”

Roughly three years ago, the CEO of a UK-based energy company got a call from the CEO of the company’s German parent company instructing him to wire a quarter of a million dollars to a Hungarian “supplier.” He complied. Sadly, the German “CEO” was in fact a cybercriminal using deepfake audio technology to spoof the other man’s voice.

One set of criminals was able to steal data, the other, money. And the reason was trust. The victims’ source of information about who they were talking to was the callers themselves.

Here's how a zero trust mindset could have easily thwarted these attacks

In a remote-work world, a zero-trust revolution is necessary

Last summer, law enforcement officials contacted both Apple and Meta, demanding customer data in “emergency data requests.” The companies complied. Unfortunately, the “officials” turned out to be hackers affiliated with a cyber-gang called “Recursion Team.”

Roughly three years ago, the CEO of a UK-based energy company got a call from the CEO of the company’s German parent company instructing him to wire a quarter of a million dollars to a Hungarian “supplier.” He complied. Sadly, the German “CEO” was in fact a cybercriminal using deepfake audio technology to spoof the other man’s voice.

One set of criminals was able to steal data, the other, money. And the reason was trust. The victims’ source of information about who they were talking to was the callers themselves.

Here's why remote work makes zero trust a must for deterring social engineering attacks

Remote work and the end of super-commuting

Super-commuting was (and is) mainly a burden and a problem — a failure of public policy. (Super-commuting is when your commute takes 90 minutes or more each way.)

According to the US Census Bureau, even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing remote- and hybrid-work surge, super-commuting was very much on the rise. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of super-commuters in the United States increased by 45%, according to an analysis by Apartment List. In 2019, some 4.6 million Americans commuted for more than 90 minutes each way.

Pre-COVID, the rise in super-commuting was driven by rising housing costs and road congestion. Nearly a third (roughly 1.4 million people) were found near only three over-priced housing markets: New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. And nearly half live within 30 miles of the office; those longer commutes resulted from slower traffic, not further distances.

Many super-commuters, especially in and around New York City, live only 10 miles from their place of work. But it takes so long to get to the office because of slow rush-hour traffic, long waits to switch between buses or subway trains, and other problems that have nothing to do with living far from work.

So what is the effect of post-COVID work arrangements on the super-commuting trend? The answer will surprise you. 

[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Enterprise AR will be dominated by Apple and Magic Leap

Magic Leap just unveiled an advanced prototype of its Magic Leap 2 headset and the consensus among reviewers is that it’s a great product.

Founded 12 years ago, Magic Leap first offered up a series of proof-of-concept prototypes that started out being bigger than a big refrigerator. Then, four years ago, the company introduced its first headset, aimed also at the consumer market. The technology wasn't ready for the world, or maybe the world wasn't ready for the  technology, but the company sold only a few thousand units. Magic Leap was barely hanging on until it raised more money to continue.

The prototype, unveiled last week, delivers universal improvement in all aspects of the device's technology, usability and functionality. And two features put Magic Leap into contention as a device that can co-dominate enterprise augmented reality (AR), along with Apple.

The trouble with hybrid work

The current thinking goes like this: Hybrid work is a great compromise between requiring all employees to either be in the office full time or requiring employees to work remote full time. Remote work is a great solution because employees can enjoy the convenience and focus of a home office, then go into the office for the real-world collaboration they can only get in person.

Many large Silicon Valley tech companies are embracing hybrid work, including Google.

It feels like a great solution. But I think the hybrid model may create more problems than it solves over time. So here are the potential issues with hybrid work.

[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Leo Laporte, Doc Rock, Daniel Rubino and me on TWiT!

We celebrate This Week in Tech's 17th anniversary! Plus we solve every problem related to Elon Musk, Apple, Microsoft, hybrid work, argan oil, NVIDIA, Russian army audio, Unreal Engine, WWDC, Magic Leap and enterprise AR, the climate crisis, r/Place, Alphabet drone delivery, Windows 3.1, baseball tech, Amtrak trolling, Chatterbox and much more! Watch now!

Don't look now, but the blue-collar remote work revolution is coming

A convenience store chain in Japan, called FamilyMart, is experimenting with remotely controlled robots to stock shelves. The employees can work from anywhere using what are essentially VR googles and controllers, and among their number can be disabled employees with limited mobility — people who lack the physical ability to stock shelves unassisted by robotics.

Heavy equipment maker, Cat, is developing increasingly-capable remote-control earth movers and other such equipment — as are several other European companies. For now, it's marketed as a safety technology, so humans don't have to work in dangerous work environments. But in the future, it could be that high-skilled machine operators could be hired from anywhere. Construction. Road work. You name it — it could all be done from a city apartment.

Planes, trains, and automobiles could be piloted and controlled remotely. Some factory work can be done at home, as long as the equipment isn't too large or complex.

In fact, a great many jobs now considered impossible as remote positions could become remote with the right technology, along with some creative thinking.

Here's why the blue-collar remote-work revolution is about hit

[About this newsletter. My "Future of Work" email newsletter is published by Foundry. The newsletter is both ad-free and free of charge. BUT, because Foundry newsletters are aimed at technology and business professionals, you'll be asked some basic information as part of the subscription process. Please provide! I'd love for you to subscribe to my Future of Work newsletter. -Thank you! -Mike]

Are we destined to work in the metaverse?

In a recent interview with Lex Fridman, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg described a future in which our workplace would exist in the so-called "metaverse."

Our commute would involve little more than slipping on a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles. Once jacked in, we’ll interact with colleagues via avatars, attend meetings, give presentations and do all our work in a VR world.

Instead of sitting at a desk in front of a keyboard and screen, we’ll instead sit in front of a virtual keyboard and virtual screen, doing our work as before, but all virtualized.

Zuckerberg specified the virtualization of even jobs that involving typing — such as writing and coding — where VR would be preferable to actual reality because you could have a virtual screen of any size — "your ideal workstation," he said.

That scenario, he said, is "no more than five years off."

Zuckerberg's predictions, which are more than predictions because his company is investing billions to realize them, confront futurists (especially those of us writing newsletters called "Future of Work") with the question: Is the future of work virtual?

How to follow me on Amp

Amazon's Amp is the newest and best social audio service. Amp is thousands of radio stations where you're the D.J., if you want to be. (Or you can just enjoy the music.) You can play music free from Amazon's tens of millions of songs. You can talk. You can take callers and have conversations. 

It's ambient social audio, and people are spending 10 hours at a time on the service, even as they work. Here are my current thoughts on Amp

Amp is currently in beta, US-only, iOS-only and requires an Amazon account. Here's how to get on Amp and follow me (I'll follow you back, too): 

1. Download the iPhone app here

2. On the app, log into your Amazon account

3. Use the Access Code GOLIVE

4. Click here to go to my profile, and smash the button to follow me.

Have fun!

Why Amazon's Amp is way better than Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces

I’ll just come out and say it: Amazon Amp is BY FAR the best social audio service.

Because it’s “ambient.” It’s designed to provide a soundtrack for your life, without all the scheduled, trade-show-conference intensity of Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces.

Amp lets you be a DJ. You can select from any of tens of millions of songs available to use (but not download) for your shows. You build a playlist, then play that music for yourself and your audience — the Amp users who choose to listen. Between songs, you can talk. And, like a radio DJ, you can open it up for “callers.” They queue up, and you can choose whomever you like to talk. And you have a conversation.

Currently live shows are featured on the app, and as you scroll through them you eventually see the scheduled shows in order, with the soonest first.

The result of this format is a very relaxed, easygoing ambient kind of social audio experience.

Unlike Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces (which can become a kind of extrovert Hunger Games of microphone hogging and bloviating pontification, and where far too many conversations descend into boring chatter about crypto), Amp shows are great for everybody. Even the most extreme introverts can host shows without discomfort.

I think Amp is going to be huge. But even if it doesn’t blow up, Amp is already a super fun way to discover music and have conversations.

Go here to get all the details

Why nobody is buying Putin's bullshit anymore

The Russian government used to be very good at disinformation. In the last two weeks — not so much.

Russia's disinformation strategy is rooted in 20th-Century KGB tactics for using information warfare against the Russian population to suppress popular support for political opponents of the state.

In the 21st Century, where information is global, Russia's disinformation services are working overtime to serve the regime's interests as Putin sees them, with sometimes opposite messages for internal and global consumption.

In general — both inside Russia and around the world — Russia's falsehoods and propaganda aren’t having the usual effect. And this failure may hold the keys to combating disinformation in the future. 

If so, here's the apparent formula for defeating state-sponsored disinformation.