HACKS | a tech podcast

doggedly zeroing in on the intersection of technology, politics, and culture

About the show

here at the HACKS Initiative we ask the questions everyone else is too shook to: what is technology? why is everything so bad? what's my passphrase again? how do I get the header image to work? is the NSA agent watching me through my webcam my friend?


  • episode 018: incognito sicko mode (ft. justine smith)

    February 19th, 2019  |  57 mins
    adult entertainment, funny pictures, n00dity, podcast, pr0n, secks work, skin

    the HACKS institute opens its doors to its first guest, Justine Smith, who helps us get the lay of the land when it comes to the internet pr0n industry.

  • minisode 004: the woke, the horny, the sentient

    February 14th, 2019  |  24 mins 27 secs
    advertising, brands, hell, help us we are in hell, podcast, twitter

    on a pared-down quickie, simon and rob dive into the dark heart of Sentient Brand Twitter for some reason

  • episode 017: the quadriga affair

    February 7th, 2019  |  1 hr 11 mins
    bitcoin, cryptocurrency, innocence, it's illegal to sue podcasters, quadriga, scams, schroedinger, true crime

    in which we "playfully" skirt libel laws and plain old ethics in order to dig into a deeply strange recent case of financial calamity in the cryptocurrency sphere.

  • episode 016: the algorithmic eldritch odyssey

    January 24th, 2019  |  1 hr 1 min
    ben shapiro, fascism, food is bae, horrors beyond belief, pranks, qanon, the storm, thomas the tank engine, time travel, treats, youtube

    what do thomas the tank engine, QAnon, ben shapiro, fancy desserts, """fun pranks"", time travel, ghosts, and the secret service have in common? you'll wish you never found out.

  • minisode 003: banderscratch n' sniff

    January 17th, 2019  |  27 mins 9 secs
    black mirror, interactive storytelling, netflix, podcast, what if phones but too much

    rob and simon ponder the impact and implications of netflix's foray into interactive storytelling

  • episode 015: the 2020 holographic apology tour

    January 10th, 2019  |  35 mins 29 secs
    apparently we're humorists now, futurism, podcast, politics, profit, technology

    in an ill-advised attempt at combining humor and prognostication, the gang looks back on 2019, the strangest year in our living memory

  • episode 014: islands in the stream

    December 21st, 2018  |  46 mins 25 secs
    movie magic, netflix, podcast, spotify, streaming, wot if your computer could play you a song

    the gang ponders the impact of the streaming economy, both financially and creatively, on the artistic class.

  • episode 013: you news, you lose

    December 7th, 2018  |  49 mins 33 secs
    hashtags, important, journalism, much impact, podcast, pulitzer prize, very serious, writers

    the gang ponders the role and place of journalism in the internet age. #important #vital #criticism #impactful #awards

  • episode 012: hq2 pt. ii — the search for shatner

    November 29th, 2018  |  1 hr 4 mins
    amazon, failed thought experiments, hq2, jeff bezos, more like jeff bozos am i right, nerd shit, oppression olympics, urban planning

    we return to the amazon well to ponder the specifics of both the winning and losing bids, before wondering what people are after when they talk about "nationalizing amazon"

  • episode 011: 23andme and you and everyone we know

    November 22nd, 2018  |  47 mins 35 secs
    23andme, ancestry, blood blood blood, elizabeth warren, podcast, race science, skulls skulls skulls

    the gang takes on 23andme, ancestry.com, their methods, and the dubious meanings ascribed to their services

  • episode 010: future's so right I gotta wear shades

    November 8th, 2018  |  53 mins 19 secs
    alt right, cats, class war, fascism, guillotines, podcast, social media

    can our social media platforms be disentangled from the reactionary right? plus, a grim survey of "alt-tech" social media platforms...

  • minisode 002: betrayed in the hexagon (sidewalk labs pt ii)

    October 26th, 2018  |  21 mins 38 secs
    alphabet, asphalt, google, pavement, sidewalk labs, smart cities, which shape is the strongest?

    we return to the toronto smart city initiative and examine its new controversies, as well as its slick-but-sleepy podcast

  • episode 009: blaze it pal, the weed episode 420 hell yeah bro

    October 18th, 2018  |  57 mins
    alcohol, ecstasy, lsd, marijuana, nicotine, podcast, pot, tech, valium, vicodin, weed

    in honor of pot legalization (in canada), the gang takes a sightly supersized look at the the new law's implications, as well as the culture of microdosing in tech

  • episode 008: lightweight jammin'

    October 11th, 2018  |  45 mins 12 secs
    adbusters, culture jamming, podcast, politics, tech, telephone poles

    In a very scattered but hopefully not altogether unenlightening episode, the gang ponders the properties of modern attempts at cultural disruption.

  • episode 007: a touch too much

    October 4th, 2018  |  45 mins 29 secs
    dating apps, ethics, podcast, politics, realdolls, tech

    we touch on some of the peculiarities of the internet pr0n industry, before taking a deep dive into a (very) wide variety of niche dating apps.

  • minisode 001: eine klein nachtmusik

    September 27th, 2018  |  19 mins 57 secs
    amazon, nike, podcast, politics, silicon valley, tech

    On a quick stopgap episode, we ponder "tech centrism" aka "solutionism" and the myth of Silicon Valley as the land of solutions.