With technology advancing ever further with fancy phones and computers on one’s wrist, companies are constantly changing the way people compute and keep in touch. There has been surprisingly little critical thought, however, as to how this changes the way people work as people, instead of just gadget consumers. That’s where Manoush Zomorodi comes in.
As the host and managing editor of the tech-centered podcast, “New Tech City,” Zomorodi presents insightful reporting–in collaboration with fellow journalists–about how technology “[changes] our lives for better and for worse.” With these reports come fresh new perspectives of social and personal subjects in a modern and tech-based era.
I chose this podcast to listen to because of that broad coverage on technology in our world. It’s simple enough to report on a new gadget and what it does, but Zomordi takes it another step further by examining the social implications of new products.
The episodes I listened to were quite compelling. I started with the most recent episode, “Is Braille Obsolete?” I was surprised by the level of friendliness portrayed through Zomorodi’s voice and her very words.
She began by interacting with the listeners, asking them to fiddle with their iPhone if they had one to turn on the text-reader function which would read things like text messages to its user. I liked this approach as it spread a layer of immersion into the story, giving me listeners a little taste of what the visually-impaired may go through when using their own phones, which would be the topic of the podcast. Aesthetically pleasing music was sprinkled throughout bits of information regarding text-reading technology replacing braille and its pros (cheap, convenient, easier) and cons (risk of illiteracy, no hands-on work with grammar), making sure that the voices of strangers doesn’t get dull after a half-hour of listening. Nat sound was also key, as it captured the feel of the classroom in which visually impaired students had their classes.
The second episode I gave a listen was called “The Case for Boredom.” I may be a little biased in saying that this one was far more interesting to listen, but it truly was. This podcast discussed the decrease of boredom that comes with constant accessibility to phones and how the constant occupation can hamper creative thinking. In other words, being bored could potentially make people more creative! Nat sound was truly a key element in this, capturing the many noises a cell phone can produce. Mixed together in an almost overwhelming cacophony of noise, this served almost as an illustration to the use of portable technology consuming one’s life. In the end, Zomordi even presented listeners with a boredom challenge that NTC thought of (retaining that layer of immersion). I might have been inclined to participate had the week-long event not been issues back in January.
“New Tech City” definitely has something interesting to bring to the table. It looks at people using phones and computers and examine the changes that can occur upon using them, not just the fact that they’re being used. They ease listeners into a subject before getting into the nitty-gritty and provide thoughtful and objective insight. I wouldn’t be surprised if I began to listen to them more often.