The Evolution of Tech-Focused Television and Film

Why are shows about hacking and surveillance so popular right now?

By Alain StephensAugust 25, 2016 11:57 am| , ,

“Your democracy has been hacked…”

No, not really, but it’s a novel concept – and the tagline to the successful television show “Mr. Robot.” The show’s now well into its second season. Tech-focused television shows are everywhere, and if it’s true that art imitates life, then in terms of technology, it might appear we’re living in a rather dystopian world: where our cellphones betray us, our laptops spy on us, and our TV’s can’t be trusted not to listen in on our conversations.

Or maybe we’re just paranoid? Digital Savant Omar Gallaga, with the Austin American-Statesman’s 512 Tech, has been contemplating our mediated relationship with technology.

“I feel like we know these things are happening: we know that our privacy is in jeopardy, we know that there are NSA things happening, and this taps into that fear, that paranoia and dramatizes it,” he says.

Gallaga says another show, which falls outside the normal category of technology and hacking television, is MTV’s “Catfish.”

“It is where people basically disguise their identity online to fool someone else, usually in a dating situation…so that show is really about shifting identity online,” he says. “And Mr. Robot is really about these power structures and this group called ‘fsociety’ that wants to take them down, and this central character who is kind of caught in the middle of all that.”

What you’ll hear in this segment: 

– How “Mr. Robot” relates to real-life issues such as Anonymous’ hacking initiatives and the “We are the 99%” movement

– Other shows and movies that focus on technology and our relationship with it

– Why the state of technology in television is more pessimistic than in current advertising