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Online life is real life, and with artificial intelligence it’s getting even more real. In Season 6, IRL zooms in on data, machine learning and algorithms, as host Bridget Todd shares real life stories about AI from around the world. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report, which explores who is reclaiming power to make online life healthier for everyone.
 
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Life, death and data. AI’s capacity to support research on human health is well documented. But so are the harms of biased datasets and misdiagnoses. How can AI developers build healthier systems? We take a look at a new dataset for Black skin health, a Covid chatbot in Rwanda, AI diagnostics in rural India, and elusive privacy in mental health app…
 
Murky political groups are exploiting social media systems to spread disinformation. With important elections taking place around the world this year, who is pushing back? We meet grassroots groups in Africa and beyond who are using AI to tackle disinformation in languages and countries underserved by big tech companies. Justin Arenstein is the fou…
 
An aerial picture can tell a thousand stories. But who gets to tell them? From above the clouds, our world is surveilled and datafied. Those who control the data, control the narratives. We explore the legacy of spatial apartheid in South Africa’s townships, and hear from people around the world who are reclaiming power over their own maps. Raesetj…
 
Gig workers around the world report directly to algorithms in precarious jobs created by secretive corporations. We take you to the streets of Quito, Ecuador where delivery workers are protesting against artificial intelligence, and we hear solutions from people in several countries on how to audit the algorithms and reclaim rights. Eduardo Meneses…
 
Where should tech builders draw the line on AI for military or surveillance? Just because it can be built, doesn’t mean it should be. At what point do we blow the whistle, call out the boss, and tell the world? Find out what it’s like to sound the alarm from inside a big tech company. Laura Nolan shares the story behind her decision to leave Google…
 
AI is everywhere now. It’s part of healthcare, social media, maps, and even killer robots. But who has power over AI? And who is shifting that power? Join IRL’s new host, Bridget Todd, as she talks to technology builders and policy folks from around the world who are developing more trustworthy AI that puts people over profits. IRL is an original p…
 
Every day, our data hits the market when we sign online. It’s for sale, and we’re left to wonder if tech companies will ever choose to protect our privacy rather than reap large profits with our information. But, is the choice — profit or privacy — a false dilemma? Meet the people who have built profitable tech businesses while also respecting your…
 
The word “regulation" gets tossed around a lot. And it’s often aimed at the internet’s Big Tech companies. Some worry that the size of these companies and the influence they wield is too much. On the other side, there’s the argument that any regulation is overreach — leave it to the market, and everything will sort itself out. But over the last yea…
 
‘5G’ is a new buzzword floating around every corner of the internet. But what exactly is this hyped-up cellular network, often referred to as the next technological evolution in mobile internet communications? Will it really be 100 times faster than what we have now? What will it make possible that has never been possible before? Who will reap the …
 
There's a movement building within tech. Workers are demanding higher standards from their companies — and because of their unique skills and talent, they have the leverage to get attention. Walkouts and sit-ins. Picket protests and petitions. Shareholder resolutions, and open letters. These are the new tools of tech workers, increasingly emboldene…
 
Manoush Zomorodi explores the surprising environmental impact of the internet in this episode of IRL. Because while it’s easy to think of the internet as living only on your screen, energy demand for the internet is indeed powered by massive server farms, running around the clock, all over the world. What exactly is the internet’s carbon footprint?…
 
Part of celebrating democracy is questioning what influences it. In this episode of IRL, we look at how the internet influences us, our votes, and our systems of government. Is democracy in trouble? Are democratic elections and the internet incompatible? Politico's Mark Scott takes us into Facebook's European Union election war room. Karina Gould, …
 
Privacy policies: most apps and websites have them, buried away somewhere. These legal documents explain how the company collects, uses, and shares your personal data. But let's be honest, few of us actually read these things, right? And that passive acceptance says a lot about our complicated relationship with online privacy. In the Season 5 premi…
 
All the things we love on the internet — from websites that give us information to services that connect us — are made stronger when their creators come with different points of view. With this in mind, we asked ourselves and our guests: "What would the internet look like if it was built by mostly women?" Witchsy founders Kate Dwyer and Penelope Ga…
 
Some people believe that decentralization is the inevitable future of the web. They believe that internet users will start to demand more privacy and authenticity of information online and that they’ll look to decentralized platforms to get those things. But would decentralization be as utopian as advocates say it could be? Host Manoush Zomorodi sp…
 
In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Harvard Business School’s Shoshana Zuboff argues that tech companies — like Google and Facebook — collect so much personal data for profit, that they’re changing the fundamentals of our economy and way of life. And now these companies are learning to shape our behavior to better serve their busin…
 
What, if anything, should be banned from online media? And who should review violent and explicit content, in order to decide if it’s okay for the public? Thousands of people around the world are working long, difficult hours as content moderators in support of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They are guided by complex and shifting guide…
 
TL;DR: We have access to more things to read than ever before. Too much, in fact. Our reading habits have shifted. We skim a lot. We look for full stories baked into headlines. Our eyes bounce around from one article to the next, and we try and fail to manage how many things we read at once. Some of us can no longer concentrate on a book—no matter …
 
Look, we agree with you: passwords are the worst. But you know what else is the worst? Someone hacking your account, or big security breaches that expose your email, your credit card information, your government-issued identification number, and more. We should hold companies accountable for better security, but we also need to hold ourselves accou…
 
When you shop, your data may be the most valuable thing for sale. This isn’t just true online — your data follows you into brick and mortar stores now as well. Manoush Zomorodi explores the hidden costs of shopping, online and off. Meet Meta Brown, a data scientist who unveils the information Amazon captures about you when you make an online purcha…
 
Can ‘ethical tech’ be a thing? We think so. Season 4 of Mozilla’s IRL podcast will explore all the ways tech can have a more positive influence on people, communities, and societies at large. And, we’re delighted to welcome our new host Manoush Zomorodi, who will keep the season nerdy, human, and — importantly — fun, for all of us as we listen in. …
 
The 2016 U.S. presidential election blew up our ideas about influence campaigns in the age of screens. Two years later, Veronica Belmont and Baratunde Thurston examine how the internet is changing our minds, our votes, and our democracies – all over the world. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Scott Shane details the United States' lon…
 
Today’s teens are the first humans who have spent their entire lives online. Join Veronica Belmont and Manoush Zomorodi as they explore what kids are facing on the interwebs, how they’re using social media for good, how they’re handling cyberbullying, and how parents can keep up. Parkland, Florida’s Cameron Kasky discusses how he uses social media …
 
It’s a problem when tribalism divides us, online or in real life. Join Veronica Belmont and Franchesca Ramsey as they meet the people working to make the web — and world — friendlier places. Jhamel Robinson discusses how he used social media to organize a massive BBQ in Oakland after a racial altercation went viral; Dr. Meredith Clark sheds light o…
 
:'-) Ever wonder why emoticons exist? They popped up in the 1980s to make online connections feel a little less digital and a little more personal :D. In this episode of IRL, host Veronica Belmont and special guest Peter Rojas explore how the Internet is both building and also confusing our relationships every day. Chloe Stuart-Ulin gives a first-h…
 
There’s a new currency in town (and no, we’re not talking about Bitcoin). We’re talking about attention. In this episode of IRL, Veronica Belmont and special guest Jane Lytvynenko explore all the ways your attention has become worth money on social media. Meet Hamlet the Piggy, an Instagram star who is helping her owner cope with epilepsy and also …
 
One of the most successful recruitment tools the U.S. Army ever made was…a video game? Sometimes without even knowing it, gaming elements in technology — often designed for addiction — are incentivizing you to think certain ways and do certain things. Join Veronica Belmont and co-pilot Ashley Carman as they explore the rise of gamification in our e…
 
We’re told from a young age to “accept the things we cannot change.” But should this be the case online as well? We click “Accept” every day, but often don’t know what we’re giving away. Is it a fair trade, and should we demand a better bargain? Veronica Belmont and special guest Dave Pell explore if what we get for what we give online is a good de…
 
In Season 3 of IRL, we're exploring the bargains we make online every day, and how we might approach striking better deals with the powers that be. You'll find out what happened when the U.S. Army got into the video game business, what it's like to be a professional flirter on Tinder (for real), and how a super cute pig transformed a person's life …
 
From campaign bots to conspiracy videos, it’s harder than ever to discover the truth online. In conversation with The New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel, Data For Democracy Policy Lead and Mozilla Fellow Renee DiResta, and DisInfoMedia founder Jestin Coler, we navigate the age of disinformation. It’s the season finale of IRL, recorded live in San Franc…
 
We’ve long heard that the ways the web is tailored for each user—how we search, what we’re shown, who we read and follow— reinforces walls between us. Veronica Belmont investigates how social media can create, and can break our filter bubbles. Megan Phelps-Roper discusses the Westboro Baptist Church, and the bubbles that form both on and offline. B…
 
From Google search to Facebook news, algorithms shape our online experience. But like us, algorithms are flawed. Programmers write cultural biases into code, whether they realize it or not. Author Luke Dormehl explores the impact of algorithms, on and offline. Staci Burns and James Bridle investigate the human cost when YouTube recommendations are …
 
On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog, as the old joke goes. But does anonymity truly exist on the web anymore? And when it’s taken from us, what else do we lose? So Sad Today talks about the value of anonymity for women and self-care. Jonathan Hirshon shares his personal battle to keep his face off the Internet. New Yorker cartoonists Peter St…
 
From Snapchat filters to Google’s art selfies, biometric technology plays a growing role in our everyday lives. What do we actually give up when we upload our face to these apps? Steven Talley shares his experience as the victim of mistaken identity. Artist Adam Harvey investigates how racial bias seeps into big data sets. Emily Kennedy and Glynnis…
 
What does it mean to grow up online? Veronica Belmont investigates how the www is changing us: our personalities, our bodies, and our brains. A college student shares his experience at rehab for Internet addiction. Bestselling author Nir Eyal breaks down what apps borrow from gambling technology. Writer Heather Schwedel talks about taking a cue fro…
 
Most website visitors aren’t human. They’re bots. And these automated accounts are having serious, real-world impact; from the 2016 election to the FCC’s recent, controversial net neutrality vote. Veronica Belmont investigates the rise of social media bots with Lauren Kunze and Jenn Schiffer. Lisa-Maria Neudert measures how bots influence politics.…
 
The battle for the open Internet isn’t over. In the days leading up to the FCC’s net neutrality vote, we investigate what’s next in the fight. We Rate Dogs’ Matt Nelson talks about trolling Ajit Pai with a pay-per-pupper plan. Verizon protesters share their experience on the ground. The FCC’s Mignon Clyburn weighs in on net neutrality’s road ahead,…
 
In this bonus episode, we check in on some of Season One’s stories and see how they’ve evolved. Activist Amanda Werner talks about their turn as the Monopoly Man at the Equifax hearings, and how to create visibility for victims of identity theft. Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler follows the case of hacker Marcus Hutchins, and tries to make se…
 
In our final episode of season 1, we break from our usual format to host a big conversation. Recent events like the Charlottesville, VA rally have revealed the Internet’s role in helping spread IRL threats and violence. Leaders in the tech world have represented varying positions on both protecting free speech and also reducing hate speech online. …
 
What is life like without fast Internet, and how does life change once a person has it? Should Internet access be a right, rather than a luxury? Veronica Belmont explores these questions as she talks to people about joining the digital economy. Inspiring stories of access are surfaced by members of a small Minnesota community and by a Syrian refuge…
 
We react against the idea of surveillance, but it turns out that we’ve invited it into our homes through devices like digital assistants, connected toys, and baby monitors. Are you comfortable with the idea that someone might be watching you or listening to you right now? IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla. For more on the series go to irlpodc…
 
Trolls. You'll find them in every corner of the Internet. During this episode, explore the landscape of trolling online, its impact on individuals, and its impact on the Web. Some people are fighting back in new and tasty ways. Baked goods included. IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla. For more on the series go to irlpodcast.org. Help form a mo…
 
Have you been hacked, or been the victim of malware or ransomware? Humans make the internet vibrant, but we're also the weakest link — we're predictable and often easily fooled. This episode of IRL focuses on our internet insecurity. Meet the unsung heroes fighting to keep us safe. IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla. For more on the series go …
 
The Internet (at least in the US) is at a crossroads as the FCC is considering rolling back the net neutrality regulations it adopted in 2015. If net neutrality is abolished, the Internet could shift from an essential service that all consumers can access to a product that can be packaged and sold to the highest bidders. Get to know the potential w…
 
You’ve heard the expression, “When something is free, you’re the product.” And, while you may think it’s no big deal to give away your personal data in exchange for free online services, how can you know that what you get for what you give is a fair trade? Meet some of the people determined to shape the reality (or lack thereof) of privacy online. …
 
Our online life is real life. We walk, talk, work, LOL and even love on the Internet – but we don’t always treat it like real life. Host Veronica Belmont explores this disconnect with stories from the wilds of the Web – and gets to the bottom of online issues that affect us all. Whether it’s privacy breaches, closed platforms, hacking, fake news, o…
 
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