18-42 Segment 1: The Art of Video Games

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Video games are often considered child’s play, or at least something below “real” art. Author Andrew Ervin argues that’s not true, and that video games are now big-business for TV networks and advertisers, as well as a source of true artfulness.

Guest:

  • Andrew Ervin, author, Bit by Bit: How video games transformed our world

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18-38 Segment 1: The Uncertain Future of Cash

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As technology evolves, more and more of us are relying on credit cards, debit cards and even apps like Venmo or Zelle to make payments. Gone are the days of physically cashing your check, now almost all of us use all direct-deposit. So what is the future of cash? We talk to one expert who lays out some of the nefarious uses of bills and coins.

Guests:

  • Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University and author, The Curse of Cash

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18-37 Segment 1: Learning Happiness

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With social media streams dominating our time, sometimes our self-esteem can plummet. We talk to two experts on what we can do to get in touch with ourselves and learn to have a happier, more positive disposition throughout our lives.

Guests:

  • Neil Pasricha, author of Two Minute Mornings: A journal to win your day every day
  • Sharon Weil, author of ChangeAbility: How artists, activists, and awakeners navigate change

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18-36 Segment 2: Privacy Online

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Thanks to online shopping, internet banks and social media, our information has never been more vulnerable to theft. We explore what exactly is in all of those privacy agreements we often agree to without reading, and how we can try to reclaim our privacy in a digital world.

Guest:

  • Julia Angwin, journalist and author, Dragnet Nation: A quest for privacy, security and freedom in a world of relentless surveillance
  • William King, adjunct professor of law at ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law and clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago

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18-17 Segment 1: Our Right to Privacy in the Social Media Age

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With the increased use of advanced technology and constant access to social media, many people have started to question their right to privacy, and what that even means, when all their personal information has become public. Jennifer E. Rothman, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, explains that in recent years, people have become more willing to put their information on social media accounts that are accessible to the public. However, this does not mean that people do not want to have control over the information. Rothman states that many social media sites take the information and pictures posted by the users and sell it. While this seems like it would be illegal, users often consent to this when they agree to the terms and conditions. There are many laws out there working to protect social media users from having their information used by the sites, but many people do not know how these laws works.

In today’s digital age, Rothman believes that we should be most worried about the right of publicity which grants a person control over the commercial use of their identity. She explains three aspects in particular that can most affect us. The first is transferability which articulates that by making something into a piece of intellectual property, the rights can be taken away from the individual. Another important aspect to note is the impact on free speech which can hinder the ability to produce or limit stories and information about real people. Finally, she expresses the conflict with copyright laws. It is important to understand the ways in which these laws work in order to be better prepared to navigate social media and understand how these sites use the information provided to them.

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18-07 Segment 2: The Power of the Written Word

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With technology constantly changing, new ways of documenting stories are being used to allow people access to reading them. These new inventions have led many people to wonder just how storytelling happened in the past, and what changes have allowed for stories to continue to be told over time.

Storytelling has always been an important part of human communication. In the past, stories relied on oral communication. Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization explains that before written word, stories had to be able to withstand being told from one generation to the next by remaining relevant. He also explains that there were rare exceptions to this rule, in which some stories were lost and then rediscovered, a feat that Dr. Puchner says is very lucky. The only way to ensure that a text survived from one generation to the next was to continue to verbally communicate the story.

Since then, many technologies have been created that increased the accessibility to written text. These developments have allowed for new writing techniques to surface. One of these elements of modern writing that Dr. Puchner explains is introspection, which was not always important in literature, but emerged about a thousand years ago when the first novel was written, and since then, it has become an important aspect of storytelling. The written word has had many other significant impacts, not just on the way humans write, but also on how humans understand the world.

Guest:

  • Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and author of The Written Word: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

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Culture Crash 17-52: Black Mirror

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine american culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

It’s no secret that technology consumes our lives. we sit on computers at work, we use our phones and social media feeds to fill time on our commutes, and we are constantly finding new apps to solve problems.

At times, it’s all great and super convenient…but there is a down side. Maybe we spend less time with our families having face-to-face conversations, and maybe it can get a whole lot worse from there.

That’s a simplified version of what the show “Black Mirror” is all about-so yeah, it’s pretty heavy. “Black Mirror” is an anthology show, every episode tells a unique story with a different cast, about the future of technology.

In one episode, people have DVR-like devices in their brains allowing them to re-live events from their own past. In another, an augmented reality video game can adapt to put characters in a horror situation that exactly replicates their worst fears.

It’s sort of like the “Twilight Zone” for the digital age. What would happen if user scores that are impacted by others perception of us develop some kind of caste system? Or what if you could block people, like you can on twitter, in real life?

The show began in Britain, where it aired its first two seasons and a christmas special on Channel 4. In 2016, the show was continued on Netflix, which distributed 6 new episodes. Now, the show returns with six more installments of all that can go wrong with the devices we put in our pockets and on our walls-the televisions, phone screens, and other black mirrors we can’t stop looking at.

“Black Mirror” is a fascinating look at technology that may very well exist someday and a wonderful reminder that sometimes, less is more when it comes to the advancing technology of the times.

The first 13 installments of “Black Mirror” are now streaming on Netflix. Season four debuts with six new episodes on Friday.

I’m Evan Rook.