James Corden chased after a drone that spied on his family

“The Late Late Show” host James Corden has a complicated relationship with technology.

Speaking on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, the “Carpool Karaoke” creator explained how he retooled the late-night talk show formula for the internet, becoming a viral video star in the process. But he also seemed frustrated by a wide range of modern tech products and trends, including drones, online video and cloud software.

“A drone flew over my house the other day and just hovered over our garden,” he said. “I was in the garden with my wife, my children, my mum. It flew over and then came back. But then we were like, ‘Is that …?’ And I went out in my car to try and find [the pilot].”

“Shocking, yeah? Why are we all right with this?” he added.

Corden is a realist about the fact that he is probably better known online than to average TV viewers (“Our show airs at 12:37 at night. Our competition is people choosing to fall asleep”). But he said he worries that the apparent freedom of choice on the internet is making people more isolated, pushing audiences onto a track of entertainment-by-algorithm and robbing them of serendipity.

“Television, what is it meant for?” he asked. “At its very best, is it not a time where me, my dad, my sister, my son will gather together and happen upon something?”

“I think we should have a slight feeling of, ‘Oh! Have we taken those moments?’ Have we taken the season finale of ‘Friends’ or ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘The West Wing?’” he said. “I go, ‘Oh my God, did you see it?’ And you go, ‘No, I’m on Episode 11! Don’t tell me what happened!’ ‘Okay. Let's not talk any more.’”

Most of Corden’s technological ire, though, was saved for internet security (“I don’t want 20 passwords. I just want one!”) and “the cloud,” which he alleged was a name chosen to give people a false comfort.

“The way people talk about this ‘cloud’ like it’s a cloud. It isn’t a cloud!” he said. “It’s a load of hardware on an island somewhere, where anyone can access it, which is clear from the endless hacks that happen. Let’s call it ‘the hard drive island’ because then, immediately, it tells people ‘Oh, it’s not in the sky, it’s not untouchable by people.’ Someone is monitoring it every day.”

You can listen to Recode Decode in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher. This week, we will have a bonus episode of Recode Media that drops tomorrow, featuring an interview between Peter and Vice News boss Josh Tyrangiel.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara. On Wednesday, we will have a bonus episode of Recode Decode, so tune in then!


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