Codebreaker, by Marketplace and Tech Insider

Codebreaker season two starts now

Ben Johnson Nov 16, 2016

Sometimes, the best way to understand a complicated issue is by asking a simple question. This is something we know as journalists, and as users, but it’s easy to forget when the world we live in is increasingly complicated by technology built to simplify our lives.

That’s why Codebreaker asks straightforward questions with a sense of humor, a sense of awe — and sometimes a sense of dread. Innovation and disruption happen so fast now that we’re often grappling with the impact of technology after it’s already arrived. Codebreaker wants to pause and look at the change while it’s happening rather than doing the forensics in the aftermath. Technology stories are increasingly the same as business stories, but they’re also almost always human stories too — at least until we’re all replaced by artificially intelligent robots.

In Codebreaker’s first season we asked “Is it Evil?” In our second season, out today, we flipped the script: “Can it Save Us?” In a way, we know the answer to both questions is “no.” But that doesn’t stop users — whether you’re trying to save yourself money and time with an app on your smartphone, or trying to use virtual reality to diagnose pedophilia — from asking these big questions in the moment.

Questions we’re tackling this season: How can smartphones help refugees stay alive? How do we feel about cyborgs? Who is watching you on that surveillance camera? If technology got us into this climate change mess, can it get us out? Our spectrum of stories about tech reaches around the globe and goes under our skin.

We are so excited for you to hear what we’ve been working on these many months. A warning to people who want to binge the season and crack the codes: They are much harder this year. So get your thinking caps on, and listen closely. Happy codebreaking!

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