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Brett Gaylor - The Internet of Everything

Ep. 501

Brett Gaylor and Face2Face host David Peck talk about his new film The Internet of Everything, advertising and activism, the digital arms race, the third industrial revolution and learning how to respond to a crisis.


Watch the film on CBC Gem now.


Synopsis:


The Internet is invading all aspects of our lives. No longer confined to computers or phones, the Internet is now in refrigerators, and toilets, and is the infrastructure of our cities. The future will either be a surveillance nightmare or an eco-utopia, the outcome determined by start-ups in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen.


The Internet of Everything directed by award-winning filmmaker Brett Gaylor is a documentary that examines the hype and hubris hurtling towards the next frontier in the Internet’s evolution. Using the never-ending list of devices we are told we want, the film provides a landscape for a broader discussion about whether the Internet has indeed been a democratizing force or, instead, a fertile ground for the formation of new empires.


Kristina is developing a device that transmits fertility data to the cloud from inside a woman’s private parts; Nellie Bowles, a journalist for the New York Times, introduces a survivor of domestic abuse who was terrorized by her partner’s “smart home.” China’s smart city vision reward citizens for behaviour conforming to social norms, as well as Alphabet’s vision for a corporate neighbourhood built “from the Internet up.” In Barcelona, we grasp a new potential for the Internet to allow for the copying of physical goods, turning the material world of atoms into digital bits that can be transmitted at zero cost anywhere on earth.

 

Best-selling author and economist Jeremy Rifkin proposes that these digital disruptions are the signifier of an industrial revolution, and that the Internet is as significant a development as railroads and the internal combustion engine.


“I’m a reformed techno-utopian who works in the tech industry and has spent a decade critiquing it,” says director Gaylor. “My previous documentaries, Rip! A Remix Manifesto and Do Not Track have mapped the public’s relationship with the Internet, first with fascination and then obsession, then growing discomfort around the abuse of our private information, and now a sense of confusion and dread.


“If the pace of change and lack of agency is confusing for a techie like me,” continues Gaylor, “everyone else is probably feeling bewildered, too. But now, with the connecting of the physical world into the “Internet of Things”, the stakes have been raised - it’s no longer just the abstractions of cyberspace that are spinning out of control, but instead our homes, our bodies and our cities that are being transformed.”


The Internet of Everything is a fast, funny and enlightening take on the bewildering change the Internet has wrought. It embraces the “techlash” while reflecting on the big picture of a world where we are all connected.


About Brett:


Brett’s brain is split between making technology and documentaries. For 10 years, he was part of the Mozilla Foundation’s senior management team. During this time he also produced media work documenting the Internet’s slide from democratic wonderland to dystopic surveillance market.


Do Not Track, his 6-part interactive documentary about privacy and the web economy, was the recipient of the International Documentary Association award for best nonfiction series, the Prix Gemaux for Best Interactive Series, the International Association of Broadcasters Online Factual Prize, the Deutscher Prize for online communications, the 2015 Sheffield Documentary Festival jury commendation, and the 2016 Peabody award.


OK, Google animated a year of his son Rowan’s accidental voice searches and received the 2019 Webby Award.

 

His 2008 feature Rip! A Remix Manifesto was the recipient of audience choice prizes at festivals from Amsterdam to South Africa, broadcast in 20 countries, and seen by millions of people worldwide on Netflix, Hulu and The Pirate Bay.


Image Copyright: Brett Gaylor and Eye Steel Films. Used with permission.


F2F Music and Image Copyright: David Peck and Face2Face. Used with permission.


For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.


With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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