IRL: Online Life Is Real Life

Mozilla
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.
Introducing IRL Season 6: AI in Real Life
Trailer1 min 19 sec

All Episodes

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 apps.Avery Smith is a software engineer in Maryland who lost his wife to skin cancer. This inspired him to create the Black Skin Health AI Dataset and the web app, Melalogic.Remy Muhire works on open source speech recognition software in Rwanda, including a Covid-19 chatbot, Mbaza, which 2 million people have used so far.Radhika Radhakrishnan is a feminist scholar who studies how AI diagnostic systems are deployed in rural India by tech companies and hospitals, as well as the limits of consent.Jen Caltrider is the lead investigator on a special edition of Mozilla’s “Privacy Not Included” buyer’s guide that investigated the privacy and security of mental health apps.IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox. In Season 6, host Bridget Todd shares stories of people who make AI more trustworthy in real life. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report. Go to the report for show notes, transcripts, and more.  

Sep 12

25 min 55 sec

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 founder of Code for Africa, an organization that works with newsrooms across 21 countries to fact check, track and combat the global disinformation industry.Tarunima Prabhakar builds tools and datasets to respond to online misinformation in India, as co-founder of the open-source technology community, Tattle.Sahar Massachi was a data engineer at Facebook and now leads the Integrity Institute, a new network for people who work on integrity teams at social media companies. Raashi Saxena in India was the global project coordinator of Hatebase, a crowdsourced repository of online hate speech in 98 languages, run by the Sentinel Project. IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox. In Season 6, host Bridget Todd shares stories of people who make AI more trustworthy in real life. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report. Go to the report for show notes, transcripts, and more. 

Aug 29

21 min 54 sec

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.Raesetje Sefala is mapping the legacy of spatial apartheid in South Africa as a computer vision researcher with Timnit Gebru’s Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR).Astha Kapoor researches how communities and organizations can be ‘stewards’ of data about people and places as co-founder of the Aapti Institute in India.Michael Running Wolf is the founder of Indigenous in AI. He is working on speech recognition and immersive spatial experiences with augmented and virtual reality in Canada.Denise McKenzie is a location data expert who works with the global mapping organization PLACE to empower governments and communities to use advanced spatial data.IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox. In Season 6, host Bridget Todd shares stories of people who make AI more trustworthy in real life. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report.  Go to the report for show notes, transcripts, and more.

Aug 15

22 min

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 is gearing up with allies to ‘audit the algorithms’ of delivery platforms in Ecuador as the Global Head of Social Change at Thoughtworks.Dan Calacci at the MIT Media Lab is developing open source tools and systems that empower workers to take control of their data.Aída Ponce Del Castillo is working on AI regulation to protect the rights of platform workers as a lawyer with the European Trade Union Institute in Brussels.Yuly Ramirez is the general secretary of a coalition of digital platform workers in Ecuador and José Gonzalez is a delivery driver in Quito, Ecuador.IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox. In Season 6, host Bridget Todd shares stories of people who make AI more trustworthy in real life. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report. Go to the report for show notes, transcripts, and more. 

Aug 1

20 min 23 sec

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 in 2018 over their involvement in Project Maven, a Pentagon project which used AI by Google.Yves Moreau explains why he is calling on academic journals and international publishers to retract papers that use facial recognition and DNA profiling of minority groups.Yeshimabeit Milner describes how the non-profit Data for Black Lives is pushing back against use of AI powered tools used to surveil and criminalize Black and Brown communities.Shmyla Khan, describes being on the receiving end of technologies developed by foreign superpowers as a researcher with the Digital Rights Foundation in Pakistan.IRL is an original podcast from Mozilla, the non-profit behind Firefox. In Season 6, host Bridget Todd shares stories of people who make AI more trustworthy in real life. This season doubles as Mozilla’s 2022 Internet Health Report. Go to the report for show notes, transcripts, and more.

Jul 18

22 min 44 sec

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 podcast from the non-profit Mozilla. For more on our series, visit us here.

Jul 5

1 min 19 sec

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 privacy. Fact check if Facebook and Google have really found religion in privacy. And, imagine a world where you could actually get paid to share your data.In this episode, Oli Frost recalls what happened when he auctioned his personal data on eBay. Jeremy Tillman from Ghostery reveals the scope of how much ad-tracking is really taking place online. Patrick Jackson at Disconnect.me breaks down Big Tech’s privacy pivot. DuckDuckGo’s Gabriel Weinberg explains why his private search engine has been profitable. And Dana Budzyn walks us through how her company, UBDI, hopes to give consumers the ability to sell their data for cash.IRL is an original podcast from Firefox. For more on the series, go to irlpodcast.org.Read about Patrick Jackson and Geoffrey Fowler's privacy experiment.Learn more about DuckDuckGo, an alternative to Google search, at duckduckgo.com.And, we're pleased to add a little more about Firefox's business here as well — one that puts user privacy first and is also profitable. Mozilla was founded as a community open source project in 1998, and currently consists of two organizations: the 501(c)3 Mozilla Foundation, which backs emerging leaders and mobilizes citizens to create a global movement for the health of the internet; and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, which creates Firefox products, advances public policy in support of internet user rights and explores new technologies that give people more control and privacy in their lives online. Firefox products have never — and never will never — buy or sell user data. Because of its unique structure, Mozilla stands apart from its peers in the technology field as one of the most impactful and successful social enterprises in the world. Learn more about Mozilla and Firefox at mozilla.org.

Sep 2019

26 min 33 sec

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 year, in the midst of this regulation debate, a funny thing happened. Tech companies got regulated. And our right to privacy got a little easier to exercise.Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna gives us the highlights of Europe’s sweeping GDPR privacy law, and explains how the law netted a huge fine against Spain’s National Football League. Twitter’s Data Protection Officer, Damien Kieran explains how regulation has shaped his new job and is changing how Twitter works with our personal data. Julie Brill at Microsoft says the company wants legislators to go further, and bring a federal privacy law to the U.S. And Manoush chats with Alastair MacTaggart, the California resident whose work led to the passing of the California Consumer Privacy Act.IRL is an original podcast from Firefox. For more on the series go to irlpodcast.orgLearn more about consumer rights under the GDPR, and for a top-level look at what the GDPR does for you, check out our GDPR summary.Here’s more about the California Consumer Privacy Act and Alastair MacTaggart.And, get commentary and analysis on data privacy from Julie Brill, Gabriela Zanfir-Fortuna, and Damien Kieran.Firefox has a department dedicated to open policy and advocacy. We believe that privacy is a right, not a privilege. Follow our blog for more.

Aug 2019

32 min 8 sec

‘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 and takes a new 5G network out for a test drive. 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. IRL is an original podcast from Firefox. For more on the series go to irlpodcast.org 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.

Aug 2019

23 min 46 sec

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 emboldened to speak out. And, as they do that, they expose the underbellies of their companies' ethics and values or perceived lack of them. In this episode of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi meets with Rebecca Stack-Martinez, an Uber driver fed up with being treated like an extension of the app; Jack Poulson, who left Google over ethical concerns with a secret search engine being built for China; and Rebecca Sheppard, who works at Amazon and pushes for innovation on climate change from within. EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn explains why this movement is happening now, and why it matters for all of us. IRL is an original podcast from Firefox. For more on the series go to irlpodcast.org Rebecca Stack-Martinez is a committee member for Gig Workers Rising. Here is Jack Poulson's resignation letter to Google. For more, read Google employees' open letter against Project Dragonfly. Check out Amazon employees' open letter to Jeff Bezos and Board of Directors asking for a better plan to address climate change. Cindy Cohn is the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is a nonprofit that defends civil liberties in the digital world. They champion user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.

Jul 2019

22 min 39 sec