In the first half, author and attorney James Grippando discussed how technology and more specifically algorithms are rapidly changing society and how we do business. Algorithms are a "set of instructions and rules that lay out a sequence of tasks that need to be performed in order to produce a certain output," he explained, adding that they can take the form of a verbal instruction, mathematical computations, computer code, or some combination of those. Computer algorithms can make our lives better or more convenient, but can also intrude into our lives and privacy, he noted.
What makes algorithms particularly interesting is when they are used to get computers to perform very human-like functions, such as when calling in to an automated customer service line, and analyzing a person's vocal responses. Before speaking to an actual person, we often get the message that "this call may be monitored or recorded for training purposes" which in many instances "we are allowing about six million algorithms to be unleashed to listen to our tone of voice, our sentence structure," and then we're assigned a "personality quotient" which is a kind of "robotic psychoanalysis" that is stored in a data bank," he revealed. Grippando also talked about how some 2,000 physicists are employed in stock trading firms to develop algorithms that pick up patterns in the market, in order to make reactive trades in mere microseconds.
In the latter half, Brennan Storr, a researcher with a lifelong interest in the paranormal, talked about how the small town of Revelstoke, British Columbia has been a hub of strange activity over the years including hauntings, UFO sightings, missing time, and Sasquatch-like creatures. He also shared accounts of his own personal brushes with the paranormal, including being stalked by shadow beings who flew through his body. The stalkings ceased after he was "accidentally" exorcised by an Indian shaman in Vancouver, whom he met by happenstance on the street. As they shared a coffee at a Starbucks, the mysterious man gave him an herbal substance that turned out to be juniper, which is used in Native American clearing ceremonies, Storr recalled.
Detailing one of the strange cases in Revelstoke, he told of a home where unexplained footsteps were heard, pantry cupboards seemed to open on their own, and a desk chair was observed spinning without anyone in it. Eventually, the youngest daughter spoke of befriending a "girl in a blue dress" who she said lives in their house with them. The mother wrote it off as an imaginary friend, and after a time, the family moved out. Around 10 years later, the mother received a call from an acquaintance who was babysitting at their former house, and one of the children there spoke of her special friend-- a little girl in a blue dress.