NüVoices Podcast #13: ‘Black Mirror’ China and Dystopian Female Futures with Cate Cadell

In episode 13 of the NüVoices podcast, co-hosts Alice Xin Liu and Sophie Lu interview Cate Cadell, a tech writer for Reuters who is based in Beijing. Cate covers Chinese tech companies with a focus on cybersecurity, AI, surveillance, censorship, and ethics issues. This episode focuses on the troubled relationship between the Chinese government, technology, and ethics. In particular, spurred by recent, disturbing news of a leaked Chinese government database that gathered data on women’s “breeding” status, the discussion focuses on how the state’s tech practices have impacted women in China. Next, co-hosts lead Cate in a round of Sophie’s favorite game, “Pick your Dystopian Future,” in which players must choose their preferred dystopian scenarios. In this edition, the discussants consider which worlds are worse: One where CRISPR humans eat non-CRISPRs? Or one without memory, where people — like women — can be erased from history? The game ends with a reflection on what would happen to humans without gender and death. This episode also features Sophie’s “exit interview” as she prepares to depart Beijing for Australia. In the final segment, on recommendations and self-care, Alice recommends Leon Legothetis and The Kindness Diaries. Sophie suggests rewatching Mad Men to see men go through their own “Lean In” moment in the 1960s–1970s, with disastrous results. In closing, Cate recommends a new documentary called People’s Republic of Desire, which looks at the fascinating world of live streaming in China. For a deeper dive, check out these articles: – Discrimination against women in tech (by Cate Cadell) – Sex dolls in China (by Joanna Chiu) – Social credit system (by Mara Hvistendahl) – How automation will replace female labor (by Sarah Holder) – CRISPR babies (by Christina Larson)

This podcast was edited and produced by Jason MacRonald.