NPR Specials: Can Our Connected Lives Be Green and Safe?

Apr 10, 2017

This week on NPR Specials:

The "Internet of things" promises a world with smart connected devices such as refrigerators that automatically order food and robots that anticipate our desires. On today’s show we hear how that vision is coupled with a push to run those machines, and our online lives, on cleaner power. California plans to get half of its energy from renewable sources but some advocates say the state should make a national statement by aiming for 100% clean electricity.

At a recent Climate One forum, General Keith Alexander, a former director of the NSA, called the internet-connected world "a hacker’s dream." But, he added, "It’s also a dream for us as a nation."

Alexander believes that the American people should have a discussion about the balance between perceived threats to civil liberties and the needs of national security. But what does all this mean for the American way of life?

Does the smart grid make us vulnerable to hackers and terrorist attacks? Does it endanger our personal privacy? What is the role of the government and private companies in protecting and policing this new frontier?

Not everyone agrees on how the existing energy grid can integrate new technologies, or whether getting to 100% is even technically possible.

Climate One: Can Our Connected Lives Be Green and Safe? will air Saturday, April 15th at 19:00 and Monday, April 17th at 08:00.