The stars of Humans reveal the technology they can’t live without: ‘I wouldn’t own a synth – but I said the same about mobile phones’

They may play robots on Channel 4's Humans, but how much do Gemma Chan, Emily Berrington and Ivanno Jeremiah really know about technology?

Humans series 3 (Channel 4 from mag, EH)

The stars of Humans, which returns for a third series, are used to grappling with the moral complexities of technology.

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The Channel 4 show is based in an alternate present, where humanoid robots (synths) form a part of everyday life. But just how tech-savvy are the synth stars?


Gemma Chan

Who does Gemma Chan play? Mia

C4

How much do you use technology?

A lot actually, and I hate how dependent I am. My phone’s just here, ticking away, but I’m feeling more and more uneasy with it. I’ve left Facebook.

How plugged in are you to social media?

I do occasionally use Twitter and Instagram, mainly for work-related stuff. Maybe we should all come off everything, but I’m not quite ready to completely disconnect yet. I do hate that everyone seems to live through their phones now.

How long have you gone without a phone?

I dropped my phone in the sea in Ibiza once. It kind of fell off a boat, so I didn’t have it for the rest of the holiday. And actually it didn’t matter at all — it was great! I might try to do it on the next holiday as well.

What technology can’t you live without?

My toaster. I really like having my morning cup of tea and my toast, so I would really miss that.

Are you tech-savvy or a bit of a Luddite?

Somewhere in between. I know a little bit because of doing Humans and a documentary on artificial intelligence I made for the last series. I know just enough to make me uneasy!

What’s the weirdest gadget you own?

I got a “build my own robot” as a present from the last series, which I’m halfway through making. It’s not an actual synth!

How do you watch TV?

I have a Smart TV, and I watch iPlayer and things like that on my iPad. I have to stop myself from pulling up an article to read at the same time. It’s increasingly difficult to make yourself do one thing at a time.

Is there too much tech in our lives?

I think it depends what we’re talking about. We can’t wind back progress, and there are so many things that we wouldn’t want to lose that have made our lives better. But I think we could probably do with thinking more about what the impact is in terms of our relationships — and how we go about our everyday lives and experience the world.

Would you get a synth?

I can see how it would make our lives easier. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.


Emily Berrington

Who does Emily Berrington play? Niska

(C4)

How much do you use technology?

I’m probably far too reliant on my phone, like many people. I use the map to get absolutely everywhere, so I never remember where anything is — even if I’ve been somewhere ten times. My internal GPS is gone.

How plugged in to social media are you?

About five years ago I left all of social media. Deleted my Facebook, hooray! And I deleted Twitter, and I didn’t have Instagram or anything at the time. But gradually, for work purposes, I got back on Twitter, then Instagram. Now it takes up quite a lot of my time…

What technology can’t you live without?

I really would miss the storytelling elements of audiobooks and watching things on an iPad or the TV. That’s my form of escapism.

How do you watch TV?

I’ve got a Smart TV, but I actually mainly watch things on my iPad, which is probably the oldest iPad that anybody has. If I’m cooking or ironing or whatever, I like to have something I can take around with me.

Are you tech-savvy or a bit of a Luddite?

I think I’m more of a Luddite. So I’m kind of great until something goes wrong and then I don’t have a clue! And when I’m with my friends who are very computer-literate, I realise that there’s really a whole language that I’m totally unaware of.

What’s the weirdest gadget you own?

I have something that you stick on the fridge — it looks like a little alien. And when you walk past it there’s a sensor that goes off. And a message plays in my mum’s voice! It’s not very hi-tech…

Would you get a synth?

I would avoid having one. But then I said that about mobile phones…


Ivanno Jeremiah

Who does Ivanno Jeremiah play? Max

(C4)

How much do you use technology?

It’s integral, to a certain extent, for my work — not quite the full singularity but veering towards it. I’m pretty much inseparable from my devices.

How long have you gone without a phone?

For the past five years, I’d probably say not once, because of how important it is for work and staying accessible. Which is pretty surreal as an 80s baby, having come from an era of no mobile phones and those big old Rolodexes.

How plugged in are you to social media?

I sometimes spend a little too much time scrolling through, but it’s good to keep it all in check. I find Twitter is really good for immediacy, for what the public is feeling.

What technology can’t you live without?

Possibly my iPad. I like to think that I’ve saved a whole forest of paper thus far, considering all the scripts we go through. I enjoy jazz and play the saxophone, so it’s good to get sheet music on it, too.

How do you watch TV?

I usually select my shows now, just because of time. I watch a lot of All 4 — I am a Netflix user and Amazon Prime abuser.

Are you tech-savvy or a bit of a Luddite?

Somewhere comfortably in between the two. I mean I’m not a coder by any stretch, or the most savvy. But I like to think I can hold my own, get around and do what I need to.

What’s the weirdest gadget you own?

A pair of Nike Back to the Future-style self-lacing, light-up hi-tops. And I haven’t dared wear them! They’re fully boxed up, limited edition.

Would you get a synth?

Yes — but then I’d have to ration myself and make sure that there were some weeks when I’d go dark and feel the struggle of the human condition!

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Humans is Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4

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