Pocket worthyStories to fuel your mind

AI Is Shaping the Future of the Web. How Can We Make Sure It’s for the Better?

We can’t get to a brighter future for tech without confronting the most nefarious parts of where we are now. Bridget Todd, host of the IRL podcast, shares resources for understanding and addressing the biggest concerns AI has introduced into modern life.

Pocket Collections

Read when you’ve got time to spare.

In partnership with
IRL Podcast

“Technology is cool, but you've got to use it as opposed to letting it use you.” –Prince

For me, music and technology have always gone hand in hand. When I was a kid, I would spend hours running my fingers over the smooth cases of my dad’s records, trying to unlock whatever secrets were hidden within their colorful sleeves. And the music that spoke to me the most—Earth, Wind & Fire, Funkadelic, Prince—all connected back to Black folks, technology, and the future.

It may sound optimistic, but for me, technology has always been about the promise of a future better than the one we have now. But getting us there also involves contending with the ways technology has harmed our communities. And the ways people who spoke up about it have been silenced, ignored, or punished for doing the difficult work of trying to make things better. In that way, critics of Big Tech are like tech alchemists, looking at the way things are and asking: “Why can’t they be better?”

When we make room for the folks who are risking everything to push for safer, better technology, we’re also making room for the possibility and promise that technology can be a means to get us closer to collective liberation.

On my podcast There Are No Girls on the Internet, I’ve spent the last two years telling these stories. And as the host of this season of IRL, I’m helping to bring Mozilla’s annual Internet Health Report to (audio) life, speaking with people grappling with how to make sure technology—AI in this instance—is being used to help, not harm, our real-life communities. As we consider those voices and experiences over these next five episodes, I’ve brought together some content that helped clarify my own understanding of what it looks like to reckon with that harm on our route to a brighter future. –Bridget Todd

Prince the Artist Giving Advice About Internet

Serdar Balcı

Bridget Todd: “Prince was the OG tech critic in my opinion, so let’s start there. Prince was known for using technology in his music in innovative ways and he was also behind initiatives to bring tech to underrepresented communities. So he valued technology, but this was also grounded in criticism and truth telling about the harms it could present. He presents a model for how believing in the possibility of technology goes hand in hand with being honest about the way it can be used to harm.”

Immoral Code

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots

BT: “Killer Robots sounds like something out of a horror film. But, as this documentary shows, the actual horror is the way we’re developing and funding killer robot technology in real life—these automated decisions that are being introduced across all parts of society.”

Can We Make Our Robots Less Biased Than We Are?

David Berreby
The New York Times

BT: “As the first episode of IRL demonstrates, technology that is used to harm will always have a disproportionate impact on communities of color—something that is unfortunately the case all around the world. In the United States, the first person to be killed using an armed police robot was Micah Xavier Johnson. This happened at an especially chaotic time in the country and I am not sure we had a real reckoning around what this event might have ushered in regarding the use of killer robot technology.”



BT: “Similarly, this tweet demonstrates exactly what I mean. What happens when technology that we know can be so harmful is just ushered in as an unavoidable part of public life?”

On Harassment

Shmyla Khan

BT: “It is critical we reimagine what safety looks and feels like for women globally—both IRL and online.”


Gnarls Barkley

BT: “This isn’t just an excuse to listen to my favorite Gnarls Barkley jam; it can be transformative to listen to voices who have risked everything to make technology better.”

Talking With Janelle Monáe on Sci-Fi, Androids and Slack [WATCH]

CNET Highlights

BT: “I hate that when we think about technology, we’re so often talking about tech that is being used to harm. To me, it leaves less room for conversations about possibility. What would it be like to center hopeful reinterpretations of technology and the future?”

World Wide Web Jumpsuit

Bridget Todd

BT: “I curated this collection while traveling in Lisbon, Portugal. On my first day there, I found this second-hand jumpsuit at a flea market and it seemed apt!”

Bridget Todd

Bridget Todd is the host of this season of Mozilla’s IRL, as well as her own critically-acclaimed podcast, There Are No Girls On The Internet, where she explores how marginalized people show up online in response to the lack of inclusion in conversations around the internet.

As Director of Communication for the national gender-justice advocacy organization UltraViolet, Bridget regularly meets with leadership from platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok to advocate for and develop policy recommendations to make digital experiences safer and more inclusive. Bridget’s writing and work on technology, race, gender, and culture have been featured in The Atlantic, Newsweek, The Nation, The Daily Show, and several other outlets. She got her start teaching courses on writing and social change at Howard University.