Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

90 Episodes

Make Me Smart is a weekly conversation about the themes of today, centered around the economy, technology and culture. Hosts Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood use their expertise to connect the dots on topics they know best, and hear from other experts – CEOs, celebrities, authors, professors and listeners…

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77: Big Tech is a nation-state with a constitutional crisis

August 14th, 2018

The dam finally burst last week as many of the internet's largest platforms, like Facebook, YouTube and Apple Podcasts, banned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. His site, InfoWars, has gained legitimacy from President Dona…

76: The host of "Slow Burn" makes us smart about Clinton's impeachment

August 7th, 2018

Where were you in 1998? Kai Ryssdal was just starting his career in public radio. Slate staff writer Leon Neyfakh was in middle school, watching the Clinton impeachment play out on television with parents who were sympat…

75: A little Wisconsin root in a big trade war

July 31st, 2018

Journalists love to list the disparate items caught up in the trade war. Blue jeans! Cranberries! Bourbon! Ginseng! There's something giddy about the seeming randomness of it. But lists of tariffs are not random. They're…

74: What do we do about Elon Musk?

July 24th, 2018

In some ways, Elon Musk is made for our times. He's a fiercely polarizing billionaire who's positioned himself as a singular visionary, capable of remaking the auto industry and revolutionizing space travel while buildin…

73: Bitcoin IRL

July 17th, 2018

We've told you about other wild uses for blockchain technology besides bitcoin: mortgages, weddings and more. Now it's time to go down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole — or maybe the bitcoin mineshaft? Joon Ian Wong is man…

72: Are we an eponymous lifestyle brand yet?

July 10th, 2018

Make Me Smart loves the art of the zoom out. Wages aren't rising? Let's look at how capitalism is or isn't working for people. Big leak at Facebook? Let's talk about the ethics of running a huge tech company. And one way…

71: Your front row seat to the trade war

July 3rd, 2018

This is what a trade war looks like. Trump has been standing his ground on tariffs (he's even had a law drafted called the FART Act — U.S. Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act). And now the retaliation is rolling out — from Ca…

70: Can VR make us more empathetic?

June 26th, 2018

If you work in an office, chances are you've sat through some pretty lame harassment training — videos, click-through programs and materials that might feel straight out of the '90s. For many of us, these trainings are s…

69: Why does "zero tolerance" look like this?

June 19th, 2018

By now, you've probably seen them. Heart-wrenching images of parents and children separated and the southwest border, sent to jail or youth detention centers. The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" for illegal borde…

68: Ajit Pai's internet is "free and open," but no longer neutral

June 12th, 2018

Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai was on something of a victory lap Monday when he talked with Kai on Marketplace about the repeal of net neutrality. The rule change became official this week. Molly has in…
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