Steve Henn

Steve Henn is NPR's technology correspondent based in Menlo Park, California, who is currently on assignment with Planet Money. An award winning journalist, he now covers the intersection of technology and modern life - exploring how digital innovations are changing the way we interact with people we love, the institutions we depend on and the world around us. In 2012 he came frighteningly close to crashing one of the first Tesla sedans ever made. He has taken a ride in a self-driving car, and flown a drone around Stanford's campus with a legal expert on privacy and robotics.

But Steve's favorite technology stories are the ones that explain how little-understood innovations can change the way millions of us behave. Why do people buy cows in Farmville? Why are video games so compelling and why do some people have such a hard time setting Twitter aside? He is fascinated by how digital companies attempt to mold our behavior and study our every move in a world where we are constantly interacting with connected devices.

Prior to moving to Silicon Valley in 2010, Steve covered a wide range of topics for the public radio show Marketplace. His reporting kicked off the congressional travel scandals in late 2004, and helped expose the role of private military contractors at Abu Ghraib.

At Marketplace, Henn helped establish collaborations with the Center for Public Integrity and the Medill's School of Journalism.

Steve spent his early life on a farm in Iowa where his parents, who are biochemists, hoped to raise all their own food and become energy self-sufficient. It didn't work. During college Steve hoped to drop out and support himself by working in the fishing industry in Alaska. That also didn't work. After college he biked around the country with his sweetheart, Emily Johnson. He then followed Emily to Africa, volunteering at Soweto Community Radio. That did work out. He and Emily are now happily married with three daughters.

Steve graduated from Wesleyan University's College of Social Studies with honors and Columbia University's Graduate school of Journalism.

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Planet Money
5:02 am
Thu June 11, 2015

A Suit That Turns A Person Into A Robot (Sort Of)

The evolution of exoskeletons, hanging on the wall at Ekso Bionics in Richmond, Calif.
Peter Earl McCollough for NPR

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 11:30 am

A few years ago, the Defense Department invited researchers from around the world to build robots that could respond to disasters. The machines were supposed to go up stairs, drive a car and clear debris.

The competition to test the robots was last week. For many of the robots, it did not go well.

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Law
5:28 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Silk Road Founder Sentenced To Life In Prison

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 6:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Planet Money
10:35 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

A 12-Year-Old Girl Takes On The Video Game Industry

You have to pay to play as Scarlett Fox, a character in the mobile game Temple Run.
Imangi Studios

Maddie Messer is 12 years old. She loves science, her dog, and a good video game. One of her favorites is the mobile game Temple Run.

In Temple Run, you run along a path through a swamp or a forest, while being chased by a tribe of fierce monkeys. Maddie loves the game, except for one thing: Her character is a guy.

In a lot of video games, the default character is a guy. If you want to play as a female character, it's not easy. Often you have to pay.

"It's not fair," Maddie said. "Because if I'm being forced to play as a boy, like, why?"

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Law
5:59 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Silk Road Operator Ross Ulbricht Convicted On All Counts

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Technology
4:51 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Finding, Selling Flaws In Apple's Code Can Be Lucrative Work

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:33 pm

Every time there is a big new release of some Apple software or operating system, hackers get to work — finding a flaw in Apple's computer code can be very lucrative. Criminals and even governments are willing to pay top dollar for the ability to get inside our iPhones.

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