In recent months, I’ve become increasingly fascinated by developments in the tech industry, particularly the way information is stored and transmitted online. This new interest may or may not have had something to do with Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress last month and the developing phenomenon of fake news. As a history major specializing in Russian and European politics, I am simultaneously terrified and excited by the fake news debacle. However, at one point I realized that I don’t actually understand how the Internet works, I only have a vague conception of what social media algorithms do, and I am generally incompetent in all things tech. Naturally, I went looking for a podcast.
I have been a big fan of The Atlantic’s newsletter for a while, so imagine my joy when it announced the release of a new podcast, Crazy/Genius, that explores the intersection of technology and culture. Crazy/Genius is hosted by Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, who seeks out experts on tech-related topics he understands little about to present them in an easily digestible way to the uninitiated tech noobs like me (and maybe you, too). I especially love the podcast’s format: Thompson picks a controversial tech question and finds two experts who hold the opposing points of view on it. Rather than hold a debate, however, he lets each guest convince him of their position individually, and then puts the two interviews together in a single episode. Unashamed about his total confusion, Thompson breaks down complicated concepts like Blockchain and monopolies for his listeners without putting you to sleep. The first episode,Why Can’t Facebook Tell the Truth?, is a timely exploration of Facebook’s recent PR and data leak struggles. Although I suggest you actually start with the latest episode on online dating to dip your toes in a less tech-heavy, light-hearted episode 5 appropriately titled Is Online Dating Destroying Romance? that explores the potential evils and benefits of Tinder, among other online dating platforms. Full disclosure: I firmly stand on the side of online dating haters.
There have been five episodes so far, so it won’t be difficult for you to catch up if you do commit to the podcast! New episodes are released every Thursday. You can listen to all available episodes on The Atlantic’s website.
***This is not a sponsored endorsement.***