Post Reports

What’s stalling the self-driving car revolution

Faiz Siddiqui explains the engineering challenge behind training self-driving cars. Madhulika Sikka shares the story of an author and filmmaker excavating the experiences of black Americans. Plus, Matt Viser unpacks a Dukakis family tradition.
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Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.

In this episode

What self-driving cars are still struggling to recognize
For years, engineers have raced to program artificial intelligence to recognize the scenarios that human drivers understand implicitly — like the difference between a shadow, a puddle and a pothole. 

But their efforts to propel self-driving cars into the mainstream have sometimes had disastrous results, such as the death of a jaywalker last year. 

“It was the first known fatality from self-driving vehicles,” tech reporter Faiz Siddiqui says. “And there was a lot of interest in the subject, because the tech industry has staked the future on this idea of self-driving.”

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Attica Locke left Hollywood screenwriting to write novels. Now she’s doing both. 
Attica Locke went to Hollywood with big ambitions: “She wanted to be a director and writer in Hollywood,” says Post Reports executive producer Madhulika Sikka

But when Locke got there, it didn’t work out as she had hoped. There was no appetite for her voice, she says, and nobody wanted to produce the movies she was hired to write — black stories helmed by black characters. She toiled away in L.A. as a writer for hire before quitting, mortgaging her home and writing a successful novel.

Then, something changed in Hollywood, and she was back as a writer/producer for the hit Fox show “Empire.” Since then, she has released her fifth crime novel, “Heaven, My Home,” and is writing screenplays for Netflix and Hulu shows, proving that there is a demand for stories about black characters — on the page and on the screen.

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A former presidential nominee's plan for Thanksgiving leftovers
In 2015, writer Matt Viser reported on Michael Dukakis's passion for preserving turkey carcasses. “It was one of my favorite stories, I think, over my entire career in journalism,” Viser said.

The former Massachusetts governor and one-time Democratic presidential nominee was said, each year, to collect Thanksgiving turkey carcasses to make soup for his extended family for the year to come.

“Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful,” Dukakis said at the time. “It’s a terrible thing to do. There’s so much richness and goodness in a turkey carcass.”

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the premier daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Every weekday afternoon.