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New Podcast to Debut Sept. 24

Sarah Collins
Point Park University News Service

90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station, will offer a new podcast, Nanograms: Brief Messages from the Very Near Future. Created by Josh Raulerson and produced at 90.5 WESA, the first season of the podcast, 'Borg in the USA, contains seven episodes; the first will launch on nanograms.org on September 24.

“Technology is changing fast, and reshaping the human experience along with it—transforming the economy, the environment and the way society is organized,” Raulerson writes on nanograms.org.  “But explosive technological growth isn’t just changing our world. It’s changing us. How we think of ourselves. How we relate to one other. How we imagine our future.”

“Nanograms is a limited-series dispatch from the front lines of technoculture,” Raulerson continues, “where weird and surprising things are happening at the intersection of human and machine, of science and the arts, of technology and everything else. It’s a dumpster-dive into big ideas and complex problems, a serialized feast served in bite-size chunks for those who are already living with one foot in the future, but still figuring out what that means.”

Season One, 'Borg in the USA, consists of 7 episodes, posted weekly at nanograms.org starting September 24, 2015. Guests include Jane Chong, co-author of Our Cyborg Future: Law and Policy Implications (Brookings Institution); Prof. David Shumway, Carnegie Mellon University; Dr. Sandeep Jain, UPMC cardiac electrophysiologist; Nathan Newman, Data Justice; Tim Cannon, Chief Technology Officer at Grindhouse Wetware, and others. Music for the series was created by Josh Mobley.

Episode 1: Our Cell Phones, Our Selves

Available September 24, 2014

It’s not a new observation: mobile devices have become indispensable tools for modern life. And the relationship is getting to be more than just utilitarian. Increasingly, we identify with these devices—and the connections they effect—in deeply personal ways. It’s as though the technology has become a part of our selves.

Episode 2: Peekaboo

Available October 1, 2015

Visibility—seeing and being seen—is at the core of what it means to be a cyborg. It’s also a flashpoint in the emerging field of cyborg law.

Episode 3: Panopticon Highway

Available October 8, 2015

Cyborg activists argue that ubiquitous video technology is displacing monolithic state surveillance with something more democratic: "sousveillance."  Cyborgization grants us new powers to monitor both the authorities and one another.  

What could possibly go wrong?

Episode 4: Little Brother Is Watching

Available October 15, 2015

Tiny, cheap cameras mounted on bikes and helmets have given us an entirely new—and entirely harrowing—genre of web video. But can they change people's behavior?

5. Heartstrings 

Available October 22, 2015

You’ve heard of the “Internet of Things,” right? Smart refrigerators that let you know when it’s time to pick up milk. Dryers that text you when your laundry’s done. WiFi-enabled thermostats and light fixtures you control from your phone… that kind of thing. 

What about internal organs? 

6. Vital $igns

Available October 29, 2015

Data is the lifeblood of the cyborg. It flows through us and – increasingly – from us. And in a digital world, data is wealth. Who controls that wealth? When value accrues as a byproduct of leisure activities, what happens to the concepts of labor and property?

7. Subcutaneous

Available November 5, 2015

Even if we’re all becoming cyborgs in the theoretical sense, most of us don’t yet have cybernetic components physically embedded in our bodies. But some of us are actively modifying and augmenting our bodies with the express goal of becoming more machinelike. They’re called biohackers, or grinders, and like many subcultures they have their own organizations, gatherings, and online communities.  They also have companies vying for their business.

90.5 WESA and Josh Raulerson will host a Nanograms launch event at the Thrival Innovation Festival on September 24 at 6  p.m., with a panel of technophiles including Tim Cannon, CTO of Grindhouse Wetware; Vic Walczak, Legal Director of ACLU of PA; and Anne Wright of Carnegie Mellon.  The event will be held at Techshop at Bakery Square. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited; registration is recommended. 

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