Tech Leaders Explore “Promises and Perils of Technology”

cryptocurrency, video games, stem education scrutinized in new series

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Dr. Crystal Dilworth
Neuroscientist and science communicator, Dr. Crystal Dilworth, hosts second Wondrium Insights series, Promises and Perils of Technology. Photo by Wondrium

Cell phones and home internet may have proliferated in the 1990s, but few consumers likely imagined that they would lead to smart homes and cryptocurrency, respectively. New technology leads to newer technology and the public is left to adapt or fall behind. While no one can predict the future, we can ask tech leaders and experts about the possibilities—both good and bad—that await us with new and emerging tech.

A new Wondrium series, Promises and Perils of Technology, tasks five prominent figures in the tech industry with answering big questions about where we could be headed and what we should know. Wondrium writer-producer Brandon Hopkins, who served as a producer on the series, explained in an exclusive interview what to expect.

A Diverse Array of Expert Insight

“This is the second in our Wondrium Insights series,” Hopkins said. “We have the first one being Achieve Your Potential and we’re going to have a third one called Finding Strength in Mental Health Challenges. What the series tries to do is […] come at it through some illuminating figures in their fields.”

Dr. Crystal Dilworth, neuroscientist and science communicator, hosts Promises and Perils of Technology. Her first interview source is Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake. Fake, who also served as Director and Chairman of the Board for Etsy, spoke with Dr. Dilworth about what technology really is in every sense of the word.

“Caterina Fake is a technologist; she calls herself an accidental technologist because she came from the humanities—she was studying Renaissance poetry and stuff—and she came into the Silicon Valley world as someone who was trying to create […] Flickr,” Hopkins said. “Now she’s a venture capitalist and her company invests in all these new technologies.”

Next up is science and technology journalist David Kushner, who lays out the virtual worlds of video games, virtual reality, and more. Dr. Dilworth also speaks with STEM education innovator Dr. Knatokie Ford; former astronaut Leland Melvin; and award-winning AI artist, musician, and storyteller Taryn Southern.

Don’t Byte Off More Than You Can Chew

When it comes to the scope of topics and the themes in the series, Hopkins was quick to mention that the title of the series is apt to its focus.

“We talk about cybersecurity a little bit, or hackers and that kind of thing, in the David Kushner piece,” he said. “But we really kind of jump around, get at it from different angles, and look at ‘Should we be overwhelmingly positive or overwhelmingly pessimistic about these technologies and what they can do?’ It’s a real mixed bag; there are some huge dangers and some huge possibilities.”

How did Wondrium keep such broad discussions on-track? The production crew and many of the experts specifically cited Dr. Dilworth’s skills as an interviewer. The natural flow of conversation that she helped develop with her interview sources led to much more information about each topic coming to light.

“She is a really, really good interviewer, and many of the guests actually said this,” he said. “She really lets the person say what they want to say and then she responds to it with a kind of insight and empathy and interest that the person feels. So, they become very comfortable talking to her and really open up.”

Promises and Perils of Technology is now available to stream on Wondrium.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily