More Information


Chicago, IL






Hoverboards may become a thing of the present

Marty McFly’s hoverboard stunt in 1989’s Back 2 The Future II propelled the technology to the forefront of our imagination. Fast forward a few decades to Doc Brown explaining that hoverboard technology is now real and available to the public, all of which turned out to be an elaborate Internet hoax. And finally Internet video star Hank Green dispelling the hoverboard myth on his popular SciShow. But a new company is promising a breakthrough in the technology, albeit it with limitations. Arx...


Tech Shift: The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a notion about how our web devices and technology can connect to each other. Cisco recently sponsored an event for the Internet of Things. Zebra Technologies, the Lincolnshire based company that is perhaps best known for its bar code and RFID technologies, was one of the participants. Phillip Gerskovich is the Senior Vice President of Zebra Technologies. He discusses what Zebra Technologies is up to next and how interconnected technology could be harmful to our...


Week in Review: HBO, Ventra and Gamergate

HBO is cutting the cable cord, Ventra tells us we will have an app next year, and Gamergate continues. Those are just three of this week’s stories we talk about on Tech Shift Week in Review. Our panelists are WBEZ data blogger, Chris Hagan, and WBEZ Digital Products Director, Matt Green.


Tech Shift: NASA uses social media to connect with citizen scientists

NASA is trying a new method to acquire data on clouds. They're using the hashtag #SkyScience to reach out to citizen scientists for assistance. NASA scientist, Lin Chambers and the Adler Planetarium's Citizen Science web developer, Stuart Lynn, discuss how social media has revolutionized citizen science and what this project means for NASA.


OkCupid co-founder, Christian Rudder, on his new book 'Dataclysm'

What does big data say about who we are online? To find the answer, OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder analyzed data from various website for his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking. It uses big data analysis to show patterns in racism, sexism, and all kinds of bias. He joins us to talk about his book and his dating website, OkCupid.


BONUS: OkCupid Co-Founder, Christian Rudder, on big data and dating website

What does big data say about who we are online? To find the answer, OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder analyzed data from various website for his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking. It uses big data analysis to show patterns in racism, sexism, and all kinds of bias. He joins us to talk about his book and his dating website, OkCupid.


Tech Shift: Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace is considered the mother of computer programming, yet there is a significant gender gap in the field founded by Ada in the 19th Century. Women make up more than half the workforce, but only about a quarter of computer science jobs. That divide is what inspired Ada Lovelace Day. It's a global celebration of women’s accomplishments in science, technology, engineering and math. WBEZ's Tricia Bobeda discusses the importance of Ada Lovelace Day and what's being done to close the...


Tech Shift: The beginner's guide to big data

A pair of Chicago data enthusiasts put together a free e-book called Data+Design. The e-book explains the most important concepts around understanding and working with data. Trina Chiasson is the cofounder and CEO of Infoactive and one of the book’s authors. She talks about how Data+Design simplifies big data for beginners.


Tech Shift: Facebook anonymity app, gifs, and the Daily Chicago Chocolate S

We cover this week in tech with a look at Facebook's new anonymity app, the Daily Chicago Chocolate Smell Map and a discussion about how to pronounce the word 'gif.' Our panelists are Katy Exline, an engineer at Fooda and co-leader of GIrl Develop It Chicago and Jill Salzman, the founder of the Founding Moms and co-host of the Breaking Down Your Business podcast.


Carnegie Mellon's 'Science with a Sparkle' goes viral

Carnegie Mellon recently found itself in the middle of a firestorm when a photo of its Scout science programs were published online: Boy Scouts were offered engineering and chemistry; Girl Scouts offered “Science with a Sparkle” health and beauty products. Of course the photo wasn’t the whole story. It prompted some sympathy from UIC’s Director of Women in Science & Engineering, Veronica Arreola, who also is behind the Viva La Feminista blog. She's also a Girl Scout Troop leader for her...


Tech Shift: Understanding the STEM paradox

STEM is the acronym for the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Many Americans think that there are a lack of graduates in these four fields of study but academics argue differently. Ars Technica's Science Editor John Timmer attempts to clarify this study on this segment of Tech Shift.


Chicagoans recap Code for America Summit

Some of the biggest names in the civic technology community met in San Francisco for the annual Code for America Summit. Cathy Deng, a Developer at Datamade and creator of Expunge.IO; and Christopher Whitaker, a consultant at the Smart Chicago Collaborative and the Chicago Code for America Brigade Captain, were in attendance and recap the annual Code for America Summit.


Tech Shift: Gamergate, 'Places', and Paypal splits from Ebay

We review the week in tech with a look at Intel's decision to pull their ads from game developer website 'Gamesutra' and a new app that helps you text local businesses. Plus, we'll have more on the split between Paypal and Ebay. WBEZ's Digital Editor, Tim Akimoff and news editor at Giant Bomb, Patrick Klepek, join the conversation.


Illinois ranks 30th in US Internet speed

The latest quarterly State of the Internet report found that Illinois ranks fairly low when it comes to Internet connection speeds. Compared to other states, Illinois ranks 30th. The report by cloud services provider Akamia Technologies compared Internet speeds among U.S. states and other countries. The author, David Belson, joins us on the phone.


Tech Shift: Chicago data community creates new tool that makes data easier

Data scientists say that the power of what they can do is to compare two pieces of seemingly unrelated information. That’s been difficult to do in civic data, even as governments post more online. Last week a group from Chicago’s Urban Center for Computation and Data released a new tool to simplify that process. It was announced at the Code for America Summit. WBEZ’s Chris Hagan spoke to former Chicago Chief Information Officer Brett Goldstein recently and discusses what he's learned about...


Finding and fixing news hoaxes and misinformation

What can we do about hoaxes and fakes in the news world? The World Economic Forum listed the rapid spread of misinformation online as one of the 10 biggest challenges facing the world in 2014. This past week, Craig Silverman launched a new research project at the Online News Association conference in Chicago. The project looks to use digital tools to help fact-check and eliminate misinformation before it can spread. Craig Silverman runs the blog “Regret the Error” for and is a...


Tech Shift: iPhone encryption and Ello

We review the week in tech with our panelists Dave Hoover, the co-founder of Dev Bootcamp and Jay Savsani, founder of We discuss the FBI backlash from Apple's new iPhone encryption technology and the anti-Facebook social network, Ello.


Tech Shift: Which Chicago start-ups will make it big?

Which of Chicago's start-ups have the best chance to make it to the big leagues and offer an IPO? That's the idea behind John Pletz column in Crain's Chicago Business. He joins us to predict which start-ups will be the next big thing.


India's Martian probe and the future of libraries

There was much jubilation in India when a space probe reached Martian orbit today. India has achieved two firsts: it is the cheapest, at a mere $70 million, and it was a success also, because it's the first time a country's maiden voyage to Mars has ended in success. The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder has the story from Indian Mission Control. Plus, what role do libraries play in the future of our communities? That’s the question the Knight Foundation is trying to answer with their current news...


Tech Shift: iOS 8 is helping apps to become more aware

We discuss Apple's iOS 8 system, its new features and the potential bugs. Lauren Orsini is a reporter for tech news site RedWrite and talks about the promises and pitfalls of the new system.