It’s been an astoundingly good couple years for television shows and movies that fit into the Motherboard orb of interest. Whenever people ask me what Motherboard is, I tell them we write about stories that are like Black Mirror, but real. Now, I’ve got to add Mr. Robot to my short list of major series that perfectly fit the Motherboard aesthetic.
We were slightly late to binge watching our way through USA’s harrowing hacker series, but now that (some) of us have watched it all the way through, we’ve got plenty of thoughts. My first one: How the hell did a show like this even get made? That’s not a criticism by any stretch—it’s just that Mr. Robot is so unlike anything else on TV that it’s surprising a network took a risk on it. From there, we talk about Mr. Robot’s realism, its character development, and our thoughts on where the show might go from here.
If you haven’t seen the show, you can still listen to part of this episode: The first half is more-or-less spoiler free, and the second half is for people who have watched the whole series.
It’s almost Halloween, so Motherboard is exploring the very nature of fear. Why do we still get scared by things that no longer represent any threat to us? How has technology changed how we feel fear? And what happens in a culture that reveres death?
This week, Kaleigh Rogers and Jason Koebler talk with Naomi Bishop, a freelance writer who recently spent time with the Tana Toraja people in Indonesia. In Tana Toraja culture, it’s common for families to dress up and take care of the dead corpses of their loved ones, sometimes for many years at a time until a proper funeral can be held.
When you log into Facebook, you’ll see a list of “suggested friends.” They’re full of people you went to high school with, random colleagues, and a bunch of people that you do sort of know … but why does Facebook know that you know them?
Motherboard contributor Kari Paul talks to us about her investigation into how Facebook and other social networks learn things about you that you’ve never purposefully given them access to. Short Circuit editor Nicholas Deleon talks to us about watching the Democratic presidential debate in virtual reality, and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai discusses why Uber’s latest security screwup is a bad sign of things to come.
Two major, solar system-shaking things happened this week. ‘The Martian’ came out, and we’re all thankful that it ended up being a very good film. And Motherboard killed comments.
These two things aren’t even remotely related, but you’re in luck if your interests include major sci fi motion pictures and the future of media. After announcing we were ending comments, there was a bit of a firestorm online and we just so happened to be recording the podcast as the hot takes came on Twitter. So, for the first 15 minutes or so, we discussed the move with our editor in chief, Derek Mead. Afterwards, we talk about whether it was even possible for Ridley Scott to screw up ‘The Martian,’ and Motherboard editor at large Alex Pasternack talks to Drew Goddard about his screenplay.
Radio Motherboard talks to Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet and Google’s “internet evangelist,” about the company’s plans to fly internet-providing balloons over the developing world, encryption and security, and a horrifying scenario where our kitchen appliances start trying to hack our financial institutions.
We also discuss Peeple, the “Yelp for People” app that’s getting everyone riled up this week, a brand new scary Android vulnerability, and we end with a dramatic reading of a sci fi story written by one of our staffers when she was seven years old.