Anxious Machine ★★★★
When I first left for college almost 20 years ago, it was in a completely foreign city to me. It was an urban setting with accessible public transportation, something I hadn’t experienced before, and it was free because I was a student. I had a passport to anywhere through the public bus system. But in order to get around, I had to read maps and paper bus schedules, pay attention to street names, and fully notice all the landmarks, order of numbered streets, and which bus actually stopped at the bus stops that got me where I needed to go. There was no GPS, no smart phones, no way to check the internet on-the-go for directions.
When I visited the city and campus recently, we had our smart phones and plenty of technology to tell us where to go, but you know what? I knew exactly where to go, like muscle memory. I was so appreciative that I knew how to get around, that I knew this life skill that in an emergency or a catastrophe would serve me so well. And furthermore, I didn’t have to rely on a phone to make my way. I’m glad I have a smart phone, but if I had one in a new city when I was 18, I may have never discovered the hidden stairs to a walking path, which neighborhoods were shady or safe, or that I could easily walk miles and miles and be in terrific shape.
Anxious Machine is a podcast that examines the relationship between humans and their inventions. The smart phone, the hearing aid, prescriptions, airplanes, email. These things inevitably make some things better in our lives, and sometimes have a negative impact. The relationship can be complicated, and Anxious Machine posits that the relationship is worth exploring. The show is hosted and produced by Rob McGinley Myers, who often helps produce and edit other podcasts–you may recognize his name.
This sound-rich podcast is part of The Heard, a radio collective of which I’m very fond (see my other reviews of How to Be a Girl, Neighbors, and First Day Back). Anxious Machine fits in nicely with the suite of podcasts.
McGinley Myers doesn’t publish new episodes often (last one was posted in September 2015), but I look forward to new episodes and will still catch up on the older shows I’ve missed – McGinley Myers recommends The Window Seat and Inbox Time Machine as starter episodes, and I loved Do You Feel More Like Gods? I can’t wait to hear what Anxious Machine has coming up next.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (3 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (3 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (4 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (4 / 5)
Humor (3 / 5)
There is occasional humor, but this is truly a storytelling podcast (see: storytelling!).
Investigation (2 / 5)
Storytelling (5 / 5)
So great. McGinley Myers finds really interesting “everyday people” to lend their voices to the topic of the episode. The sound mixing helps make the stories even more engaging.
Makes Me a Better Person (5 / 5)
The reason this makes me a better person is because philosophically, I find it valuable to examine the human connection with machines and inventions. We always want to cut corners, take shortcuts, be efficient and do more with less – especially with our time – and this podcast helps me realize I might be missing something great if I do that.
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (4 / 5)
You May Also Like …
How to Be a Girl, Nocturne, Neighbors, Arrvls, This American Life, First Day Back, Home of the Brave, Snap Judgment, Everything Is Stories