Marketplace Tech®

with Ben Johnson

About the Program

Hosted by Ben Johnson, this daily "journal of the Digital Age" airs during broadcasts of Minnesota Public Radio's Morning Edition.

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Latest Show
03/24/17: A new way to withdraw money from the ATM
Wells Fargo is going to start letting customers withdraw money from ATMs using their smartphones, no debit card required. We'll chat with the Tiffany Rad, the CEO and founder of the security firm Anatrope, about whether this method of transaction is actually safe. Afterwards, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Vanity Fair's Maya Kosoff, and then look at the Senate's decision to scrap various user privacy rules for Internet Service Providers.  (03/24/2017)

03/23/17: Uploading the human mind to a machine
The physical sports world is now trying to capitalize on the digital sports world. We'll look at the NBA's plan to launch eLeague, a group that'll feature top-notch video gamers who compete against one another. Afterwards, we'll chat with author Luke Dormehl about the history and future of artificial intelligence. (03/23/2017)

03/22/17: Shattering stereotypes about programmers
Ads on YouTube have been running next to videos with content that could be defined as hate speech. After receiving complaints from advertisers, the site is now changing its policies. We'll take a look at the new settings YouTube will provide companies with to avoid the issue in the future. Afterwards, we'll chat with Joel Spolsky, the CEO of Stack Overflow, about why some developers feel underpaid and the skills required to succeed in the profession.     (03/22/2017)

03/21/17: Warfare through tech
FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers sat in front of the House Select Intelligence Committee this week for a hearing on Russia's interference in last year's presidential election. Patrick Tucker, tech editor for Defense One, joins us to talk about the role of technology in the hacking scandal. Afterwards, we'll look at how the Nintendo Switch console is performing on the market and what its release says about the larger video game business.     (03/21/2017)

03/20/17: How to cut a deal
All iPhone users will soon be able to access Amazon's voice assistant software through the main iPhone app. We'll look at how the tool functions and the strategy behind Amazon's decision to enable this feature. Afterwards, we'll chat with Annie-Marie Slaughter about the changing nature of diplomacy in the digital age.   (03/20/2017)

03/17/17: Economic espionage
Four people — including two Russian intelligence officers — have been charged over their alleged involvement in a massive Yahoo data breach. Chester Wisniewski of the cybersecurity firm Sophos explains the hacking methods involved in the case. Afterwards, we'll play this week's "Silicon Tally" with Sam Thielman from the Guardian. (03/17/2017)

03/16/17: Is art still 'art' when it's influenced by the crowd?
South by Southwest has kicked off in Austin, Texas, which has its own "Tech under Trump" programming. Marketplace's Molly Wood explains what the tech industry hopes to get out of it, and whether there are any aspects of the Trump administration that tech companies are excited about. Afterwards, we'll look at the unique songwriting process of Bombadil, a folk-pop trio based in North Carolina that's using data and algorithms to try and give fans more of what they want.  (03/16/2017)

03/15/17: Getting that perfect NCAA tournament bracket
A single March Madness tournament bracket has 9.2 quintillion possible combinations. Luckily, people making wagers now have technology on their side. CNET's Lindsey Turrentine dropped by to discuss the different tools people can use to increase their odds of winning. Next, we'll talk about the downfall of shopping malls — a decline 20-some years in the making — and then look at an iPhone case by Esti Inc. that runs Android 7.1's operating system.  (03/15/2017)

03/14/17: Going from a science lab to Capitol Hill
Intel is entering the self-driving game by purchasing chipmaker Mobileye for $15 billion. Johana Bhuiyan of Recode explains why big companies are acquiring other businesses, instead of creating their own products. Next, we'll talk about Uber's court loss in London over a requirement that all drivers have to take an English-language test. And finally, we'll look at why the nonprofit 314 Action wants to helping scientists run for office.   (03/14/2017)

03/13/17: A lot of Googling about World War II
Y Combinator's Sam Altman oversees an accelerator that launches promising startups into the world, but now he's turned part of his attention to politics. He joined us to talk about his experience interacting with Trump supporters across the country. Afterwards, we'll chat with Annalee Newitz of Ars Technica about why there's been an increase in Google searches of World War II-related terms like "Reichstag fire."  (03/13/2017)

03/10/17: How secure are our smartphones?
Earlier this week, we looked at Wikileaks' decision to release documents about the CIA's alleged hacking practices. As experts still comb through the details, we'll discuss what U.S. consumers should be thinking about their devices right now. Then to cap off today's show, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Lemu Coker, a member of the open innovation team at Verizon.  (03/10/2017)

03/09/17: Is investing in Bitcoin worth it?
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, allow investors to put money into a lot of companies at once. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is deciding whether to approve a new Bitcoin-back ETF, which could help legitimize the digital currency. Georgetown University's James Angel dropped by to discuss whether he thinks investing in the fund would be a worthwhile investment. Afterwards, we'll talk about the connection between smart devices and first amendment rights, and then look at a chatbot that can help asylum seekers in the U.S.  (03/09/2017)

03/08/17: Is the CIA spying on you?
New documents from Wikileaks appear to reveal the number of ways that the CIA may be using previously unknown tech vulnerabilities to do things like spy on citizens. Security expert Tiffany Rad, founder and CEO of Anatrope, discusses how the security industry is reacting to this news. Next, we'll look at why a German court sided with Facebook in a defamation case brought forth by a Syrian refugee.  (03/08/2017)

03/07/17: The corruption charges involving Samsung
We'll look at a Samsung scandal involving one of the company's top executives, who's about to go on trial as part of a larger corruption investigation involving the South Korean government. Afterwards, we'll chat with Slate's Will Oremus about how Twitter's algorithm affects the way we consume news. (03/07/2017)

03/06/17: Using games to measure a robot's abilities
South by Southwest Edu, a conference where educators will get together to reimagine the future of the classroom, kicks off today. Devorah Heitner, author of "Screenwise," joined us to discuss the role of tech in education and how parents can teach their children in the digital age. Also in the world of learning: we'll chat with computing science professor Michael Bowling about why we use games to test artificial intelligence's abilities.  (03/06/2017)

03/03/17: What companies have to do to rehabilitate their image
2017 hasn't been Uber's year. There have been accusations about sexual harassment from former employees, a lawsuit over intellectual property, and questions about the CEO's temperament. The ridesharing company might need some crisis management. Andy Gilman, the CEO of CommCore Consulting Group, shares how his company helps other companies respond to crises. Afterwards, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Simon Ogus, COO of the website  (03/03/2017)

03/02/17: Will Snapchat be a good investment?
Snapchat is going public today. On today's show, we'll talk about why its IPO will take place on the NYSE instead of tech-friendly Nasdaq, and whether its stock is overvalued or undervalued. We'll also look at the most interesting news coming from wireless providers at this year's Mobile World Congress. (03/02/2017)

03/01/17: The market for nostalgia
Nintendo Switch will launch this Friday, a console that's being marketed to kids — and their parents. We'll look at what Nintendo has in store for its new system. Afterwards, Tradesy CEO Tracy DiNunzio joins us to discuss the company's decision to offer parental leave for all of its employees.  (03/01/2017)

02/28/17: How much would you pay to travel to the moon?
Amid news that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been checking staffers' phones, multiple reports say that government officials have been using encrypted chat apps. We'll look at exactly what information becomes federal record and what doesn't. Next, we'll discuss what current stock market optimism means for venture capitalism, along with Elon Musk's announcement that two people have paid a hefty sum to go on a weeklong mission around the moon. (02/28/2017)

02/27/17: The next generation of mobile tech
5G tech, the next generation of cell service that will bring us even faster internet, is approaching. Michael Nunez, tech editor at Gizmodo, breaks down how telephone technology has evolved over the course of history. Afterwards, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince joins us to discuss a bug found in the company's code.  (02/27/2017)

02/24/17: Google vs. Uber in the self-driving car race
There have been a lot of protests going on recently. And at these events, there's a fair amount of time spent sitting, standing, waiting. Ian Bogost, a game critic and professor at Georgia Tech, discusses how a new website called aims to have attendees translate some of that downtime into positive energy. Next, we'll look at Alphabet's decision to sue Uber and Otto for allegedly stealing its intellectual property. And to end today's show, we'll play this week's Silicon Tally with Laura Weidman Powers, the co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit Code 2040. (02/24/2017)

02/23/17: Funding in outer space
We're look at how public-private partnerships, like the collaboration between NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX, are changing how America's space program works. Afterward, we'll talk to analyst Tasha Keeney about how fully autonomous cars may start pulling up into our lives earlier than expected.  (02/23/2017)

02/22/17: What does the future of Uber look like?
A former Uber employee has written a blog post about being the target of sexual harassment and sexism at the company. Jessi Hempel, head of editorial at Backchannel, joined us to discuss how she thinks CEO Travis Kalanick should have handled the issue. Next, we'll discuss some of the products we discovered at Toy Fair 2017, which included a children's 3-D pen that'll let you create sculptures. (02/22/2017)

S02-7: Technology Crossing Borders
The gadget that saved a refugee in the middle of the Aegean Sea, how an agent uses technology to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico, and how a journalist in exile broadcasts the news with WhatsApp. Listen, decode, and decide: Can technology crossing borders save us? (12/27/2016)

S02-6: Encryption
How encryption hides all around us, how it was used in 18th century Paris to separate merchants from their money and the difference between your brain and your fingertip. Listen, decode, and decide: Can encryption save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (12/21/2016)

S02-5: World Building
A proposal to bioengineer shorter humans with cat eyes, a decades-old idea for a totally new kind of power, a battery made from trash and Bill Nye the Science Guy tries to get us in gear. Listen, decode, and decide: Can world-building save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (12/14/2016)

S02-4: Watching
A small city known for its Amish population and surveillance cameras, an old lady in Northern Ireland who watches video feeds in Brazil and getting footage from the fin of a shark. Listen, decode, and decide: Can watching save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (12/07/2016)

S02-3: The Augmented Self
The man who collected too much data, cyborgs who want to make their body-hardware mainstream, robots that rebuild your hairline and a conversation with Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge aka LeVar Burton. Listen, decode, and decide: Can the augmented self save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (11/30/2016)

S02-2: Alternate Reality
A therapist who creates virtual reality experiences for people with dangerous disorders, a grandmother who uses a headset to escape her surroundings and Ernest Cline on virtual reality in fact and fiction. Listen, decode, and decide: Can alternate realities save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (11/23/2016)

S02-1: Recognition
A toddler who saved her mother's life with Siri, a man whose mysterious ailment opened up a world of voice recognition technology and a dating service that wants to scan the faces of all your exes. Listen, decode, and decide: Can recognition software save us?Stay updated on all things Codebreaker. (11/16/2016)

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