Tech-Heads, Here’s What To Watch, Read & Listen To In August

Ed Harris as The Man in Black in Westworld Season 4, holding a gun, wearing a wide-rimmed black hat, scarf, trousers and jacket, and standing in an office space.

Inspired by EY’s great weekly ‘5 must-reads for your weekend’ articles (like this one and this one), I’ve decided to put together something similar once a month. I’ll be covering both newer and older content that has recently caught my attention on a variety of media, including TV series, films, documentaries, books, articles, blogs, radio shows, and podcasts. The primary focus of my series, as you may have guessed, will be tech, but if there’s a dearth of relevant content on any given month I’ll cast a wider net to include science or business content.

Without further ado, here are this month’s top tech picks:

DOCUMENTARY: Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King

A distorted close-up picture of Gerald Cotten with medium length floppy hair and wearing thick black glasses

For a lot of people, cryptocurrency and blockchain remain bewildering, but fear not, the only bewildering thing about Trust No One is how it passed me by until now. The true-crime doc, which Netflix dropped in April, is not only digestible but also deliciously atmospheric and sensational.

We’re told the mind-boggling story of Gerald Cotten, the founder of a collapsing cryptocurrency exchange called QuadrigaCX who died unexpectedly in 2018, leaving users unable to access over £150 million in funds. When those users — one disguised in a 3D racoon head mask, his voice digitally distorted — begin to smell a rat, they swap ideas and team up to find out what really went down.

In his search for the truth, Luke Sewell balances their wild conspiracy theories with the input of more rational voices, and it’s all very entertaining. Overall, a great watch for anyone who loved The Tinder Swindler and Bad Vegan. Fame fraud. Fugitives.

BOOK: Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

A shot of Tony Fadell’s book on a desk next to a pen and a pair of tortoise shell glasses to one side and the Penguin logo on the other.

By Tony Fadell, co-creator of the iPod and iPhone and founder of Google Nest, Build is mainly aimed at anyone looking to solve problems and grow in the workplace.

Throughout this New York Times bestseller, the author shares a number of captivating true stories from his long and varied career, and his mastery of storytelling makes the reader feel as if they were actually there with him. Based on everything he has learned in Silicon Valley over the decades, Fadell also dishes out incredibly useful practical advice on all sorts — leadership, design, decision-making, mentorship, failure, and much more.

I don’t agree with all of the ideas here, but the insight is next-level. I especially love the inspired suggestion that we step away from the common Silicon Valley belief that great things are only created when we start from scratch.

PODCAST: Accidental Tech Podcast

The words ‘Accidental Tech Podcast’ underneath what looks to be one side of a pair of over-ear headphones with ‘ATP’ in the middle

Hosts Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa describe the simple concept of this podcast, which they started in 2013, as “three nerds discussing tech, Apple, programming, and loosely related matters.” Well, that couldn’t be a more accurate description if it tried, the last part in particular — in a recent instalment, the trio discussed the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which irritated some fans. “Stay out of politics…shame on you,” fumes one.

Listening to Accidental Tech Podcast feels a lot like spending time with a group of smart, like-minded friends or colleagues for a natter about all things tech. Some episodes are definitely better than others, especially if you have a stronger grasp of the concepts up for discussion that week. But in general, the show is very funny and informative and will appeal to tech geeks of all ages.

SERIES: Westworld Season 4

Evan Rachel Wood as Christina in Westworld Season 4, with reddish hair, blue eyes, and light red lipstick. She’s wearing a dark green velvet jacket and is staring up at something out of the frame, looking concerned.

I’d hoped my final suggestion this month would be an article, but I haven’t come across anything that truly blew my mind of late. Instead, I’m going for a bit of indulgence with Westworld, Season 4.

In the complex third instalment of this high-concept dystopian sci-fi series, which chronicles an AI uprising that began at its eponymous theme park and has since spilt over into the real world, Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan explored the concept of what is ‘real.’ The tech-powered wild west setting made way for the glass and steel of an ultra-modern city, which annoyed a lot of fans. I didn’t mind so much, but I did, however, yearn for the mystery of seasons 1 and 2.

We’re now halfway through season 4, which some critics have also panned, but that mystery is back, keeping viewers constantly intrigued with new plot twists. Phew. And this “dark odyssey about the fate of sentient life on Earth” is as stunning as ever.

I hope you enjoy the recommendations. I’ll be back with one of my usual blogs next week, so until next month—for this series — that’s all for now folks!

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Catriona Campbell

Behavioural psychologist; AI-quisitive; EY UK&I Client Technology & Innovation Officer. Views my own & don't represent EY’s position. catrionacampbell.com