Ben Johnson started his career in journalism in 2003, working as a features and general assignment reporter for The Day newspaper in New London, Connecticut. While there he won a regional award for feature writing, and was recruited to write a weekly entertainment column for the Tribune Media Service wire service.

In 2006, Ben relocated to New York City to be an entertainment and music reporter at the Staten Island Advance newspaper, where he soon moved into hard news, working the cops beat and as a weekend city desk editor. In 2010, he began to work as a freelance web producer at The Takeaway, a national radio show produced out of New York's WNYC Radio in partnership with WGBH, the New York Times and the BBC.

Ben went on to be a freelance radio producer at WNYC, serving as the digital editor for The Takeaway while also doing live and features reporting for the station on everything from Occupy Wall Street to New York's last functioning ship graveyard. While working at WNYC, Ben started blogging for Slate Magazine's breaking news blog, The Slatest.

In 2012, Ben left WNYC to manage a partnership between Slate and YouTube, producing daily breaking news videos and other content for SlateV, the magazine's video department. He also wrote regularly for Slate's Future Tense blog and drew the extreme ire of his fellow Radiohead fans by asking the band to stop touring

In summer 2012 Ben joined Marketplace to relaunch and produce the Tech Report, now called Marketplace Tech. When David Brancaccio became the host of Marketplace Morning Report in 2013, Ben started hosting Marketplace Tech and was hired officially as host in early 2014.

He doesn't like to brag about it but over the years, Ben has interviewed Jay-Z, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Luciano Pavarotti, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Josh Homme, Biz Stone, Guy Kawasaki, Col. Chris Hadfield, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neil Young. Ben enjoys and engages in 80s movie references, pie baking, and high-fives. His Twitter feed has never been polluted by a subtweet. His interest in swimming knows no bounds, especially if there is a high-dive and a high-five involved. 

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Features by Ben Johnson

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Movies that mispredicted future technology

 

The Oscars are this weekend, and we thought it was a good chance to talk about how technology is presented in the movies. The industry often gets it wrong, when depicting the future or even the present era of technology. Sarah Wanenchak* has a great post at the blog cyborgology about why tech on film can be a tricky. Here are some other examples of movies that didn't effectively predict the future of tech. 

Gattaca supposedly takes place in 2020 or thereabouts. Moral challenges regarding genetics? Almost definitely. But this level of genetics-based societal strata seems unlikely. Great outtake nonetheless:  

 "2001: Space Oddysey." Artificially intelligent computers by 2001? Almost but no cigar. HAL might be close, but even just the computer parts alone in this movie are way too big. 

 

"Bladerunner"? Straight classic of course. Also hard to decide if "android" in this movie predicted or inspired the name of Google's operating system. But either way...2019 seems much too early for this robot clown fight: 

 

Last from our short list: "Terminator 2." Again, the 1994/1995 landscape seems prescient. After all, Google Glass seemed based on this kind of heads up display with technology scrolling across your eyes. But considering we're still waiting for wearable tech to be cool, it's pretty obvious that this fight scene couldn't yet happen. 

 

 What movies can you think of that grossly overestimate the tech of the present or "future," now passed? 


*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled author Sarah Wanenchak’s name. The text has been corrected.

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