IRL: Online Life is Real Life

Host Manoush Zomorodi shares real stories of life online and real talk about the future of the Web.

IRL is an original podcast from Firefox.

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Season 5

5: The 5G Privilege

‘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 benefits? And, who will get left behind?

Mike Thelander at Signals Research Group imagines the wild ways 5G might change our lives in the near future. Rhiannon Williams hits the street to test drive a new 5G network. Amy France lives in a very rural part of Kansas — she dreams of the day that true, fast internet could come to her farm (but isn’t holding her breath). Larry Irving explains why technology has never been provided equally to everyone, and why he fears 5G will leave too many people out. Shireen Santosham, though, is doing what she can to leverage 5G deployment in order to bridge the digital divide in her city of San Jose.

Show Notes

Read more about Rhiannon Williams’ 5G tests throughout London.

And, find out more about San Jose’s smart city vision that hopes to bridge the digital divide.

Season 4

Season 3

  • Examine how the internet is changing our minds, our votes, and our democracies – all over the world. Listen now.

  • Today’s teens are the first humans who have spent their entire lives online. Find out what it's like growing up in the age of screens. Listen now.

  • Veronica Belmont and Franchesca Ramsey meet the people working to make the web — and world — friendlier places. Listen now.

  • Veronica Belmont and Peter Rojas explore how the Internet is building and confusing our relationships. Listen now.

  • There’s a new currency in town (and no, we’re not talking about Bitcoin). We’re talking about attention. Listen now.

  • One of the most successful recruitment tools the U.S. Army ever made was… a video game? Find out how gaming elements in tech have infiltrated our online and offline lives. Listen now.

  • Explore the tradeoffs you make online everyday, and learn why on earth your email inbox is filling up with privacy policies. Listen now.

  • Get a sneak peak at what Veronica Belmont will cover in Season 3 of IRL, because online life is real life. Listen now.

Season 2

  • How to stop the spread of disinformation online. Listen now.

  • How technology can create, and can break, our filter bubbles. Listen now.

  • When bad code spreads disinformation and bias, it’s never something that “the algorithm did.” It’s something people did. Listen now.

  • On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog, as the old joke goes. But does anonymity truly exist on the web anymore? Listen now.

  • From Snapchat filters to Apple’s Face ID, biometric technology plays a growing role in our everyday lives. What do we actually give up when we upload our face to these apps? Listen now.

  • Recent reports estimate that over 50% of teens are addicted to their smartphones. Veronica Belmont investigates the impact of growing up online. Listen now.

  • Most website visitors aren’t human. They’re bots. Here’s how to spot them. Listen now.

Season 1