Marketplace Tech

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Hosted by Molly Wood, “Marketplace Tech” demystifies the digital economy. The daily radio show and podcast uncovers how tech influences our lives in unexpected ways and provides context for listeners who care about the impact of tech, business and the digital world. Transforming breaking news to breaking ideas, Marketplace Tech uncovers themes that transcend the hype in an industry that’s constantly changing. Reporting from Oakland, California host Molly Wood asks smart questions that connect the dots and provide insight on the impact of technology to help listeners understand the business behind the technology rewiring our lives. Molly has spent two decades covering the tech industry on all platforms and is known as a pioneer in podcasting. She is an IDEAS contributor at Wired and  has been recognized for her dynamic reporting by the Webbys, the National Magazine Awards, and is a Gracie Award winner. Prior to joining Marketplace, she was a tech columnist at The New York Times and before that an executive editor at CNET. The Marketplace Tech daily news podcast is available worldwide on platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, RSS Feeds and any place else where you get your podcasts.

Episode Date
The technology behind the discovery of a new blue hue

Throughout human history, the color blue has been a conundrum. Now, an Oregon State University lab is pushing color science forward. Researcher Mas Subramanian discovered YInMn blue, the first new blue pigment discovered since Thomas Jefferson was president and one of the most vivid blue colors ever created. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Jes Burns reports.

Jul 03, 2020
Content creators look for more fan support as brands pull back ad spending

You aren’t seeing ads from hundreds of brands on Facebook and Instagram right now because companies froze their advertising over how Facebook handles hate speech. That’s on top of a drop in advertising due to the pandemic. For online creators, the drop in advertising is even more of a push to diversify their revenue sources and support themselves without relying on sponsorship or ads. 

Jul 02, 2020
Ethical hackers are busy stamping out bugs during the pandemic

There are a lot of juicy targets for hackers these days, with millions of people working from home and companies working on valuable COVID-19 drugs. One of the ways companies fight attacks is to try to fix bugs in their software before they can be exploited. They do it by hiring ethical hackers. Molly Wood speaks with Jesse Kinser who works as the chief information security officer for the precision health care company LifeOmic. She also moonlights as a hacker, finding jobs using the crowdsourced hack platform Synack.

Jul 01, 2020
When immigrants come to the U.S., investments often follow

The Trump administration put a temporary freeze on new foreign workers that come here through the H-1B visa program. The administration argues that if the U.S. stops the flow of immigrants, there will be more jobs left for Americans in this recession. But researchers say the policy may backfire, because when immigrants go to a new country, they frequently bring new ideas, start companies and attract new investment money. Molly Wood speaks with Zeke Hernandez, a professor of global strategy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Jun 30, 2020
Why the racism in facial recognition software probably can’t be fixed

It’s been proven that facial recognition software isn’t good at accurately identifying people of color. It’s also known that police departments around the country use facial recognition tools to identify suspects and make arrests. And now we know about what is possibly the first confirmed wrongful arrest made as a result of mistaken identification by software. The New York Times reported last week that Robert Williams, a Black man, was wrongfully arrested in Detroit in January. Molly Wood speaks with Joy Buolamwini, who has been researching this topic for years as a computer scientist based at the MIT Media Lab and head of the nonprofit Algorithmic Justice League. She said that, like racism, algorithmic bias is systemic.

Jun 29, 2020
If the internet was a utility, could more cities provide it?

In this country, internet access comes from companies. And in many states, those companies have lobbied for laws that prevent cities from building their own infrastructure to provide access. But some cities have. A decade ago, Chattanooga, Tennessee, laid fiber to every business and home in the city to prevent power outages and offer internet access to everyone. Molly Wood speaks with Katie Espeseth, vice president of new products at the city’s electricity and internet utility. 

Jun 26, 2020
Want affordable, abundant internet access? Competition’s the key.

All this week, we’ve been looking at internet access, cost, infrastructure, and today, competition. Actually, the almost complete lack of competition. More than 129 million people in the U.S. only have one option for broadband. Is that a government problem or a free market problem? Molly Wood speaks to Susan Crawford, a law professor at Harvard and the author of the book “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — and Why America Might Miss It.”

Jun 25, 2020
Gaps in internet access: Low-income, communities of color most left out

All this week, Marketplace Tech is doing a new series called “The Internet Is Everything,” where we look at access, infrastructure and cost. That question of cost comes down to competition, infrastructure and whether telecom companies have invested in bringing service to where you live. Molly Wood speaks with Mignon Clyburn, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission. She says we have to acknowledge that race and poverty play a role in where companies decide to offer access.

Jun 24, 2020
Mapping internet access: no clear data on haves and have-nots

This fall, the FCC is planning to award up to $16 billion to increase broadband availability across the country. But the data the FCC is using to decide where broadband is most needed is wildly inaccurate, even by the agency’s own admission. Host Molly Wood speaks with Nicol Turner Lee, who researches technology access as a fellow in the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution. She said the pandemic has made the mapping problem even more obvious.

Jun 23, 2020
The pandemic has shown us that the internet is everything

Internet access is the ultimate essential service. But, like so many things in this country, access is not equal. This week, host Molly Wood starts a new series called “The internet is everything,” starting with listeners’ personal stories.

Jun 22, 2020
What happened to coronavirus contact tracing on our phones?

Earlier in this pandemic, Apple and Google joined forces to help create a shared underlying technology for digital contact tracing apps. But at least in the United States, they haven’t caught on. Apple and Google’s tech only work with apps developed by government health authorities. And almost no states have developed those apps. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart speaks with Ina Fried, chief technology correspondent for Axios.

Jun 19, 2020
Can working from home help employees speak out against racism?

There’s a national conversation going on about race and inequality, and that includes at work. A lot of companies are holding internal listening sessions to start to address systemic racism. And because of the pandemic, many of those tough conversations are happening via videoconference. For some, it may be easier to have tough conversations from the comfort of their own home. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart speaks with Kira Banks, a professor of psychology at Saint Louis University, where she runs the Race and Intergroup Dynamics Laboratory.

Jun 18, 2020
In automated warehouses, robots’ reach exceeds their grasp

Amazon, along with other online retailers, has seen a massive increase in demand in the past few months. The company has also faced accusations about its working conditions being unsafe, especially during this pandemic. The coronavirus has accelerated the push to automate warehouses, but the technology isn’t quite there yet to improve conditions for human workers. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart speaks with Ken Goldberg, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Jun 17, 2020
How to prepare our communications for the next natural disaster

Our computers and cellphones are an increasingly huge part of how we work, socialize and even organize protests. In a natural disaster, those communication tools become even more important but often less reliable. That’s particularly an issue for first responders, who are soon going to have to start dealing with this year’s inevitable hurricanes and wildfires. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart speaks with Craig Fugate, a former FEMA administrator who now consults for goTenna, one of the companies working on “mesh network” technology.

Jun 16, 2020
Hacktivism on the rise in wake of national protests

Hacktivism, or computer hacking as activism, is in the news again with the group Anonymous claiming responsibility for a cyberattack on the Minneapolis Police Department this month. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood interviews M.R. Sauter, assistant professor at the University of Maryland and author of “The Coming Swarm: DDoS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet,” for a dive into the history and tactics of so-called hacktivists.

Jun 12, 2020
Tech companies scrap facial recognition products

After largely ignoring demands from civil rights groups, tech giants IBM, Amazon and Microsoft have put moratoriums on sales of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies as protests against police brutality continue.

Jun 12, 2020
Lots of industries are bad at diversity. But tech stands out.

Big tech companies and investors have a bad track record when it comes to hiring, investing in and retaining people of color. Especially Black employees. Host Molly Wood speaks with Tiffani Ashley Bell, an alum of the Y Combinator startup accelerator and founding director of the water nonprofit the Human Utility. She wrote the Medium post “It’s Time We Dealt With White Supremacy in Tech” and originated the phrase “Make the hire. Send the wire.”

Jun 11, 2020
Can 15,000 moderate the content of 2 billion?

Pressure is growing on social media platforms to intervene more against misinformation, hate speech and other content. A new report says a big barrier, especially at Facebook, is that content moderators are mostly outside contractors and there aren’t nearly enough of them. Host Molly Wood speaks with Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, who wrote the report. 

Jun 10, 2020
Climate change isn’t going anywhere, and investment could soon rise

While people around the country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and protest for police reform and racial justice, the climate is continuing to change. The U.S. just experienced the warmest May on record. A U.N. report last week warned that mass extinctions are happening far faster than expected. While climate change solutions are on the back burner for now, they’re as urgent as ever. Host Molly Wood speaks with Seth Bannon, a founding partner at the venture firm Fifty Years.

Jun 09, 2020
From BlackPlanet to Black Twitter, the evolution of Black voices on social media

As protests over police brutality and systemic racism continue, social media is a tool for organizing, amplifying and arguing. Yes, it can often be a racist dumpster fire. But, experts say that a big, messy public square might actually be the best place to create political change. Host Molly Wood speaks with Omar Wasow, who is a founder of the social media site BlackPlanet, an early place for online Black expression. He’s now a professor at Princeton studying race and protest.


Jun 08, 2020
You may have heard this before: Venture capital investing is not very diverse

The past few days have seen a few commitments from established venture funds to support founders of color. SoftBank launched a $100 million fund; Andreessen Horowitz launched a $2.2 million fund to support founders from “underserved” communities, with a plan to expand it to $15 million over time. But honestly, that’s not that much. Host Molly Wood speaks with Sarah Kunst, the managing director of Cleo Capital.

Jun 05, 2020
Social media unites and divides us. How should we respond?

As people all over the country protest the police killing of George Floyd, social media has become the medium for amplifying marginalized voices, organizing and reporting events. It’s also where President Trump and other politicians are responding. Bots and bad actors are swarming social media with misinformation, yet these platforms often spark awareness of injustice in the first place. Host Molly Wood speaks with Nicol Turner Lee, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Jun 04, 2020
Black founders want tech companies to do more than donate

The protests happening around the country over the police killing of George Floyd are emblematic of longstanding racial divisions. That certainly includes the tech industry, which is notorious for its lack of diversity in hiring and investing. Host Molly Wood speaks with tech startup CEO Jim Gibbs about one suggested solution: Hire people of color or wire them investments.

Jun 03, 2020
Police can track protesters even after the demonstrations end

Police departments have a lot of surveillance tools to identify protesters and looters, from camera technology to drones, license plate readers to the facial recognition tool known as Clearview AI. In some cases, these technologies can help keep the peace, but they can also be used to find organizers and even arrest protesters after the fact. There aren’t a lot of rules. Host Molly Wood speaks with Saira Hussain, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Jun 02, 2020
How can we respond to mass protests if we can’t agree on what’s happening?

Protesters demonstrated in dozens of cities across the country over the weekend, sparked by the alleged murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last week. But depending on what people saw on social media about the protests, they may have completely different ideas about what happened. Host Molly Wood speaks with Zeynep Tufekci, author of “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.”

Jun 01, 2020
The regulation that helped build the internet may be in trouble

The debate over how social media platforms deal with content hit a new peak this week after Twitter fact-checked several of President Donald Trump’s tweets. That prompted Trump to sign an executive order trying to limit platforms’ legal protections. Currently, under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, internet platforms aren’t legally responsible for most content posted by users. Host Molly Wood speaks with Jeff Kosseff, author of “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,” a book on Section 230.

May 29, 2020
Demand for mental health apps is spiking

COVID-19 has opened up a conversation about remote therapy, but online mental health care goes way beyond talking to a therapist over video chat. App analytics companies say downloads of mental health and wellness apps are up almost 30% since the pandemic began. These include therapy services, but also meditation apps like Calm and Headspace. Do they work, and how is your data handled? American Public Media’s mental health reporter, Alisa Roth, takes a look. 

May 28, 2020
Public health officials stuck using faxes to track the coronavirus

Tech has helped in the fight against the coronavirus, but there’s a bottleneck when it comes to contact tracing: public health departments. These government agencies are chronically underfunded, and some don’t have the right tech to get medical data quickly. Host Molly Wood speaks with Dan Gorenstein, co-host of the health-care podcast “Tradeoffs,” about trying to track the spread of the virus  with fax machines. 



May 27, 2020
Europe’s data-privacy law turns 2. Has it actually made our information safer?

This week marks two years since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect. Companies spent millions of dollars on GDPR compliance, and people expected fines so big they’d put Big Tech out of business. That didn’t exactly happen, but what has the GDPR meant for consumer privacy? Host Molly Wood speaks with Jessica Lee, a partner with the law firm Loeb & Loeb who specializes in privacy.

May 26, 2020
Some people are making bread in quarantine. Others are making TikToks

TikTok has been in the news for its new CEO, who was poached from Disney, and for the record labels who think the service should pay more to publishers and artists for song rights. And there have been calls to ban it in the U.S. over its Chinese ownership and security fears. But its popularity keeps growing.

May 25, 2020
Restaurants and apps are fighting over fees. Is delivery too cheap to support both?

Most restaurants right now are open for delivery or pickup only, and that means a lot of them are relying on third-party delivery services like Grubhub, DoorDash or Uber Eats. Those services can charge significant fees to restaurants, and some restaurants complain those fees are unsustainable. Some cities have capped those fees and now the delivery companies say the caps are unsustainable. Host Molly Wood speaks with Venessa Wong, a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News.

May 22, 2020
When ventilators break, iFixit can help

Ventilators, dialysis machines and mechanical beds are more important than ever. That equipment, of course, breaks down. And some manufacturers restrict access to repair information, so hospital technicians can’t just fix things themselves. Molly Wood speaks with iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, who just launched a public database of medical-equipment repair manuals.

May 21, 2020
Antitrust regulators have an eye on Big Tech’s spending spree

Uber looking to buy Grubhub. Facebook buying Giphy. Apple nabbing NextVR.  Host Molly Wood speaks with Mark Lemley, who teaches antitrust and internet law at Stanford University, about whether regulators will take action against any of these deals. He says Facebook buying Giphy, for example, may not be any worse than its purchase of Instagram. But the combined weight of so many acquisitions could prompt regulators to wade in. 

May 20, 2020
A new strategy for 5G without Huawei

The Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei sells a lot of the complex hardware needed for 5G. But what if there were a way to build the networks that didn’t depend on Huawei? A group of 31 companies are pushing for devices that let software do most of the heavy lifting. Host Molly Wood speaks with Doug Brake, director of broadband and spectrum policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

May 19, 2020
Real estate disruptors got disrupted by COVID-19

The biggest instant homebuyers — Opendoor, Zillow, Offerpad and Redfin —  stopped making purchases in March, in some cases backing out of deals and forfeiting their deposits. Now, some iBuyers are coming back, but they’ll need to prove the model can survive a downturn. Marketplace’s Amy Scott speaks with Mike DelPrete, who watches iBuying closely. He’s a scholar-in-residence at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

May 18, 2020
Ransomware attacks against hospitals are on the rise

Host Molly Wood speaks with Marketplace correspondent Scott Tong about the increase in ransomware attacks against hospitals and other health-care facilities. Tong says places that are working on coronavirus testing and vaccines appear to be especially popular targets. And because these institutions are anxious to restore access to potentially lost patient information, they may ignore authorities’ advice and pay the ransoms.

May 15, 2020
COVID-19 is pushing notaries into the digital age

Notarization has been around for centuries. It’s when an official of the state verifies a person’s identity so she can buy a house, adopt a child or draft a will. Lots of states allow online notarization, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced others states to follow. On “Marketplace Tech” today, a look at how online notarization works, why it costs more and how secure the practice is.

May 14, 2020
Finding ways to mourn online, as the coronavirus keeps us apart

Host Molly Wood speaks with Sarah Chavez, executive director of the nonprofit group The Order of the Good Death. Social distancing makes it hard to mourn together deaths from the pandemic or other causes. So people are turning to digital spaces to remember their loved ones. Chavez says some people are even creating digital altars in the video game Animal Crossing.



May 13, 2020
Coronavirus conspiracy theories don’t go viral by accident

Host Molly Wood speaks with Renée DiResta, the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, about coronavirus disinformation campaigns. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have been trying to chase the conspiracies off the internet, but DiResta says it’s not an accident these theories reach so many people. It’s an old playbook that’s even more effective in a time of fear and uncertainty. 

May 12, 2020
Zoom could be the new language of film

Host Molly Wood speaks with Ann Hornaday, a film critic at The Washington Post, about the future of films in the pandemic era. Since lots of people are working from home and using Zoom, she says it will eventually be a stylistic option for directors trying to convey what it was like living through 2020. It’s just a matter of time, she says, before the first Zoom movie.

May 11, 2020
Etsy is doing very well during the pandemic

Host Molly Wood speaks with Etsy CEO Josh Silverman about how the platform has been a go-to for people looking for fabric masks. Silverman says that Etsy sellers had to pivot to making and selling masks after the CDC announced that everyone should be wearing them outside. The company helped sell more than 12 million masks last month.

May 08, 2020
Political advertising during COVID-19 is the calm before the storm

Host Molly Wood speaks with Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams, who covers politics and the economy, about how political ads are changing during the pandemic. Adams says online ads may be cheaper, helping cash-strapped campaigns, but consumers are even less in the mood for content that doesn’t either cheer them up or inform them about COVID-19. It could also mean that online ads are way more accessible to bad actors looking to spread misinformation.

May 07, 2020
The tech industry says immigration makes the U.S. more competitive

Host Molly Wood speaks with Michael Petricone of the Consumer Technology Association about the Trump administration’s executive order on green cards and how it’ll affect the tech industry. Petricone says that immigrants make the U.S. economy and tech industry stronger. He adds that limitations on green cards and visas could make it harder for the economy to recover once the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. 

May 06, 2020
Safety or surveillance: drones and the COVID-19 pandemic

Host Molly Wood speaks with Ryan Calo, a professor of law at the University of Washington, about the legalities involved in police using drones to monitor social distancing requirements during this pandemic. Calo says that though it can be legal, he is worried about surveillance being combined with AI tools that purport to detect whether people are sick. He raises concerns about companies selling “technical snake oil” and increasing anxieties in an already anxious environment.

May 05, 2020
Scientists are working furiously to create COVID-19 tests

Host Molly Wood speaks with Dr. Loren Wold, from the nursing school of Ohio State University, about how he and OSU colleagues have adapted to create COVID-19 tests. He says they’ve needed to create their own fluids to stabilize samples, 3D-print their own nasal swabs and figure out supply chain logistics for test tubes.

May 04, 2020
Small business emergency lending program expands fintechs’ portfolios

Host Molly Wood speaks with Felix Salmon, chief financial correspondent at Axios, about fintech companies getting involved in the PPP loan program for small businesses. He says PayPal, Square and other fintechs aren’t likely to beef up that side of their businesses beyond the federal program, mainly because they’re not well-equipped to gauge risks on loans that aren’t guaranteed by the government.

May 01, 2020
COVID-19 tracing apps might not be optional at work

Host Molly Wood speaks with David Sapin, who works for consulting firm PwC, about the company’s new contact-tracing app. After an employee self-reports being positive for coronavirus, Sapin says, the human resources department could see if the exposed employee came into contact with co-workers and notify them. He says the app only traces contacts at the workplace, not outside.

Apr 30, 2020
If it looks phishy, don’t click. COVID-19 is spawning lots of online scams.

Host Molly Wood speaks with Lily Hay Newman, a reporter at Wired, about the recent surge of phishing emails. Newman says with the distraction of the pandemic, people online are more vulnerable to hackers asking for information like login credentials. Some of these messages, she adds, are disguised as fast-food coupons, making it challenging to detect the fraud.

Apr 29, 2020
Houseparty is having a moment. Are your guest lists updated?

Host Molly Wood speaks with the CEO of Houseparty, Sima Sistani, about the sudden surge in the use of the app as people quarantining at home connect for video chats with friends and family. Like Zoom, Houseparty’s privacy practices have come under scrutiny as millions more are using the platform. Keep a close eye on your connections lists, Sistani says, and privacy should not be an issue.

Apr 28, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak means an opportunity for fintech companies

In the United States, we’ve traditionally liked using cash and credit cards to pay for things. But the COVID-19 crisis means we’re buying different things in new ways. That represents an opportunity for people to start using financial technology apps like Venmo and Square, even in typically analog places, like farmers markets.

Apr 27, 2020
We can still watch TV together — virtually, that is

Host Molly Wood speaks with VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi about simultaneous show and movie watching options that are helping us be alone together during the pandemic. He says people have the options of creating group watches via Netflix Party and gaming streaming sites. “Gaming is the new social network,” he says.

Apr 24, 2020
Digital ads are disappearing, seriously denting revenue for Big Tech

Host Molly Wood speaks with Sara Fischer, a media reporter at Axios, about the state of the digital advertising industry. Usually, Fischer said, the ad industry as a whole grows along with U.S. GDP, with the digital segment outperforming. Since the economy has gone south during the coronavirus pandemic, the digital ad industry’s initial 2020 growth estimate of 12% has dwindled to 4%. Yet even its shriveled prospects look good relative to other media.

Apr 23, 2020
Is 3D printing ready to fill the gaps in COVID-19 medical equipment needs?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Avi Reichental, an early pioneer in 3D printing, about how 3D printers could help fill the gap for much needed PPE during this pandemic. He says that not only are companies making things, but so are many people who have 3D printers at home. Now, he says, FDA regulations should be revisited and revised so 3D PPE can be quickly approved and certified.

Apr 22, 2020
Elections 2020: Pandemic may accelerate online voting solutions

Host Molly Wood speaks to Michael Alvarez, professor of political and computational social science at Caltech, about the possibility of people voting online in the November general election. During this pandemic, when people want to minimize coming into contact with other people and anything physical that can potentially transmit COVID-19, like paper, Alvarez says there might be the possibility of people voting through an app to minimize that friction. But federal and state governments, he adds, have to come up with a plan to make that a smooth transition for everyone and avoid any technical crises.

Apr 21, 2020
Doing school online: plenty of tech tools, and a learning curve

Host Molly Wood speaks with Holli Plummer, who teaches English and history at a Los Angeles private school, about the learning curve all teachers and students are facing now that everything is being taught online. Plummer says teachers from all over the world are coming together to find solutions to making online learning as effective as traditional classes.

Apr 20, 2020
Not enough VR headsets to meet demand. Thanks / no thanks, COVID-19.

Host Molly Wood speaks with Adi Robertson, a senior reporter at The Verge, about how virtual reality is having its time right now. However, due to the global pandemic, VR headsets are on a shortage, which might make the product miss its spotlight. Robertson says we shouldn’t think of VR as a tool for online and homeschooling because it’s expensive and inaccessible for students, given the shortage — not to mention students who already have a hard time getting access to the internet and a decent computer.

Apr 17, 2020
Can tech trace the spread of coronavirus? Maybe. Maybe not.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, one way to try to prevent its spread is for public health officials to track down all the people that person has been in contact with and then isolate them. This is called contact tracing, and the U.S. hasn’t done a great job of it so far. Now Big Tech wants to get involved. Apple and Google announced a program where they allow people who’ve tested positive for the virus to tell an app, which then alerts people nearby via Bluetooth technology. Will it work? “Marketplace Tech” host Molly Wood discusses that with Ross Anderson, a professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge.

Apr 16, 2020
Startup helps feed bank accounts of food stamp recipients

Host Molly Wood speaks with Jimmy Chen, founder and CEO of the startup Propel, which makes an app called Fresh EBT. The app helps recipients of SNAP, also known as food stamps, digitally check their balances. Now, Propel has partnered with GiveDirectly, a nonprofit, to give a one-time cash gift to users of the Fresh EBT app, beginning in areas hardest hit by COVID-19.

Apr 15, 2020
Does my COVID-19 moment look good on Instagram? The creator economy tries new angles

Host Molly Wood speaks with Sarah Frier, a social media reporter for Bloomberg News, about her new book “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram.” Originally, the incentive on Instagram was to get as many followers, likes and comments as possible on content posted, but during this pandemic, Frier says, influencers on the platform are sharing entertainment via live videos and stories — tools that were less popular pre-pandemic. She also predicts that Instagram won’t go back to mostly aspirational content posting — like photos of outfits, luxe dinners or exotic travel — right away.

Apr 14, 2020
Climate change + pandemic means new math for investors

Host Molly Wood speaks with Jay Koh, managing director of the private equity firm the Lightsmith Group, which focuses on climate adaptation technology. As the pandemic keeps people quarantined at home, the fight against climate change isn’t paused. And Koh says after the pandemic, people may reevaluate the way they travel, which could permanently lower our carbon footprint.

Apr 13, 2020
Unemployment programs can’t handle signups because … COBOL?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Joseph Steinberg, a cybersecurity consultant, about why some state and federal computing infrastructures are still running on the decades-old coding language COBOL. New Jersey’s recent surge of unemployment benefit claims overwhelmed the system. It might need to be replaced or at least scaled up, Steinberg says, and that can be expensive.

Apr 10, 2020
Feds should call Big Tech to fight COVID-19, says Silicon Valley lawmaker Ro Khanna

Host Molly Wood speaks with U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a Democrat whose 17th District includes Silicon Valley, about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting business for tech companies. Many of these companies, he says, have been pitching various tech-based solutions, and many are still not being used. Right now he is also working with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and other legislators to help gig workers maintain their flow of income.

Apr 09, 2020
Venture-backed startups were left out of COVID-19 relief bill’s loan program

Host Molly Wood speaks with Aziz Gilani of venture capital firm Mercury Fund about why venture-backed startup companies are not included in the coronavirus relief bill, which allows small businesses to apply for loans. Congress did not intend to leave startups out, he says, but the oversight means his company is scrambling to find ways to support some 40 companies in Mercury’s portfolio.

Apr 08, 2020
This gig worker had to choose between work and her health

Kimberly James, 46, of Rome, Georgia, is a gig worker who has delivered food and transported passengers. But she has health problems, and has had to stop working to minimize her exposure to COVID-19. But, as a gig worker, not an employee, she has way fewer options for how to keep herself afloat financially.

Apr 07, 2020
How tech connects older people with mental health services as COVID-19 isolates

Host Kimberly Adams speaks with her sister, Nichole Adams-Flores, psychology supervisor for CHE Behavioral Health Services, about how telehealth has changed during the pandemic to allow her to continue offering mental health care to the elderly patients she works with. Now, Adams-Flores says, they are allowed to use popular apps like WhatsApp or FaceTime to stay in touch with loved ones and doctors. It does pose some patient privacy questions, and Adams-Flores says that’s been a big topic of conversation.

Apr 06, 2020
Ubiquitous Amazon and our new COVID-19 life

Host Kimberly Adams speaks with Matt Day, a tech reporter at Bloomberg, about Amazon’s current state as it is still shipping out products during this pandemic when people are being ordered to stay at home. Workers at Amazon warehouses, Day says, have organized walkouts and speaking out about their working conditions — working more to ship out both essential and nonessential goods. Day notes, however, that Amazon’s core business model isn’t only e-commerce, but also anything regarding Amazon Web Services, so they will survive business-wise this pandemic.

Apr 03, 2020
Is it possible that Zoom is not ready for its moment in the spotlight?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Kim Zetter, a cybersecurity journalist, about the spike of Zoom bombing — a new phenomenon where strangers obtain Zoom meeting IDs and barge in digitally to disrupt the meeting. Zoom is also facing different scrutiny, Zetter says, now that it was discovered that the platform had been sharing data to Facebook without being fully transparent. Zetter adds that Zoom users — especially those hosting digital meetings — should be mindful of the privacy breaches the platform may have and start requiring passwords for Zoom guests to wait and be let into the e-meetings.

Apr 02, 2020
For the most efficient humanitarian response to COVID-19, mine the data

Host Molly Wood speaks with Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. Back in 2014, Shah was in charge of leading the Ebola response in West Africa, and only with data metrics, he says, was his team of epidemiologists able to identify those who had tested positive with the disease and those who at least had symptoms of the disease. With that in mind, Shah says the U.S. should create some sort of data-driven response to identify the same issues with COVID-19 — who’s tested positive, who’s symptomatic, what is working with social distancing (or not) and what health care workers need.

Apr 01, 2020
The tech that can help crank out more critical care hospital space

Host Molly Wood speaks with Chris Giattina, CEO of the Alabama-based manufacturing and design firm Blox, which specializes in modular medical facility construction. During this time of crisis, when hospitals are reaching their capacity to treat regular patients on top of treating those with COVID-19, Blox is beginning production on its mobile isolation care units, or MICUs, to help alleviate hospital space. With Blox’s technology, these modular medical facilities are built in only weeks, rather than months — and they have everything a doctor needs to keep treating patients. They’re also cheaper than traditional hospital beds.

Mar 31, 2020
Creating COVID-19 tests is complicated science, and business

Host Molly Wood speaks with Jacqueline Linnes, a professor of biomedical engineering who runs a lab at Purdue University, about what sort of tech is needed to produce COVID-19 tests in the face of a shortage. She says production at scale during the pandemic is the biggest challenge. Linnes also says academia may be prompted by the accelerated work during the pandemic to rethink how peer reviews are conducted. A lot of peer reviewers are usually excited to read about the next big thing around biosensors, for example, but pay little attention to more mundane things regarding manufacturing.

Mar 30, 2020
A futurist on navigating change forced by the pandemic: fight the fear

Host Molly Wood speaks again with Amy Webb, futurist and founder of the Future Today Institute, about the fear-versus-optimism side of tech during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who see this pandemic as an opportunity to pause and really prioritize what sorts of scientific and tech advances should be done, Webb says, will move forward and will be OK at the end. On the other hand, she says, those who oppose the fact that the future will now look different than originally envisioned will have a much more difficult time adapting.

Mar 27, 2020
What tech do we have for living through a pandemic? And what tech do we wish we had?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Amy Webb, futurist and founder of the Future Today Institute, about the tech we have and wish we had during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are lucky this pandemic didn’t happen even 30 years ago, Webb says, given the many ways we can now connect and communicate with our colleagues, friends and family via video calls. Webb also expects tech companies to accelerate the technology around drones and autonomous vehicles that deliver essential goods to people’s homes.

Mar 26, 2020
Social media platforms are fighting disinformation, but with half the resources

Host Molly Wood speaks with Alex Stamos, Facebook’s former chief information security officer, about disinformation around COVID-19 on social media. A lot of people are working from home, which includes tech employees who are in charge of moderating content on social platforms. At home, they might not be supervised the same way they would at tech company offices, where high security measures might ensure that they are not sharing users’ personal information. So how are social platforms managing disinformation about coronavirus while not compromising users’ personal information? 

Mar 25, 2020
How COVID-19 may further erode our digital privacy

Host Molly Wood speaks to Alexander Howard, the director of the Digital Democracy Project at the nonprofit Demand Progress, about the need for transparency regarding the data being collected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Collecting certain data — like location, who is interacting with whom, and the last time a person was tested for coronavirus — is helpful to epidemiologists, Howard says. And, he adds, there should be discussions about how, and whether, the data will be used for other purposes.

Mar 24, 2020
Getting internet access to everyone during a pandemic is not an easy job

Host Molly Wood speaks with Christopher Mitchell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. Now that people are expected to work from home and students are required to be home-schooled during the COVID-19 pandemic, internet connectivity has become essential. Mitchell says cities and states need to develop a plan to expand broadband connectivity to those without access — especially now that people are being asked to not leave their homes.

Mar 23, 2020
If social media giants collaborate, can they wrestle down COVID-19 misinformation?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Shira Ovide, a tech reporter at the New York Times, about how tech companies, like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, are in collaboration to fight misinformation around the coronavirus. Social giants are pushing official information from other organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization that inform internet users more about the pandemic.

Mar 20, 2020
Now? Launch a startup now? History points to opportunity

Host Molly Wood speaks with Michael Seibel, who leads the Y Combinator accelerator program, about whether it is a difficult thing to launch a startup during this global coronavirus pandemic. Some of the most successful startups began before, during and after the 2008 economic crash, he says.

Mar 19, 2020
B+ for secure government networks is not going to cut it in case of cyberattacks

At a moment when we would prefer it stay healthy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was the target of a cyberattack. Reports say the agency’s servers slowed down because they received millions of hits at the same time. Host Molly Wood talks about it with Mark Rasch, who runs a cybersecurity consulting company.

Mar 18, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is making the internet more available

As more of us are working or learning from home, there’s going to be increased demands on our digital infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi, VPN and broadband. What can employers do to prepare? And what can workers do to cope? Host Molly Wood talks with Jonathan Reichental, the former chief information officer for the city of Palo Alto, California, and author of the book “Smarter Cities for Dummies.”

Mar 17, 2020
How can AI help biotech companies seeking vaccines?

As we work to treat COVID-19, how can artificial intelligence help health care workers find the people who are most likely to become sick? And how could AI help prevent the spread of future viruses? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Michael Greeley, co-founder and general partner of the biotech investment firm Flare Capital.

Mar 16, 2020
“Years and Years” showrunner on when tech’s great and grim

Host Molly Wood speaks with Russell T. Davies about his BBC-HBO show “Years and Years.” Davies says that the family featured in the saga are forwarded 15 years into time and they experience every technological and humanistic evolution possible, like a character coming out as trans — not transgender, but transhuman (some robot parts in her). They also talk about the technology featured in the series.

Mar 13, 2020
#canceleverything = adios tech conferences. Now what?

Host Molly Wood speaks with Connie Guglielmo, editor-in-chief at CNET, about how a plurality of tech conferences have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, and what that might mean for the tech industry. Guglielmo says that this will only allow tech companies to get creative by making the conferences more video-friendly and therefore accessible to anyone who wants to be part of them in a cheaper way. Wood also speaks with Karen Allen, a consultant to artists who livestreams on Twitch, about how artists are monetizing the platform by performing more personal concerts — only without the live audience.

Mar 12, 2020
How online retailers are handling the COVID-19 gold rush

Host Molly Wood speaks with Louise Matsakis, a reporter at Wired, about price gouging on e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. She says that these platforms need to respond to gouging just as social media platforms have to respond to misinformation about the public health crises. Amazon, she adds, has been making an effort to regulate the dramatic price increases that some sellers are applying to hand sanitizers and face masks that protect against COVID-19.

Mar 11, 2020
In a world of remote work, virtual reality is still pretty much MIA

Host Molly Wood speaks to Adi Robertson, a senior reporter at The Verge, about how virtual reality initially promised us the future, and now that we need it to work remotely during the coronavirus outbreak, it still has very little to offer. Robertson says the equipment is just too heavy to successfully work from home. And then there’s the “goofiness factor.”

Mar 10, 2020
Can tech keep learning on track during COVID-19 spread?

Host Molly Wood speaks with John Watson, founder of the Evergreen Education Group, which conducts research on K-12 digital learning, about schools closing due to the spread of COVID-19. He says that while there are plenty of schools and school districts equipped with the tools to make online learning possible, there are still other schools and districts that do not have that sort of bandwidth.

Mar 09, 2020
There’s no driving test for self-driving cars — only metrics

Host Molly Wood speaks with Jack Stewart, Marketplace’s transportation reporter, about the recent California DMV “disengagement” report, which tells the public how many times a human has had to manually take over the wheel of an autonomous vehicle. But there aren’t any federal standards for collecting that kind of data.

Mar 06, 2020
Fintech apps make stock trading fun … until they crash

Host Molly Wood speaks with Nathaniel Popper, a technology reporter for The New York Times, about Robinhood’s recent outage and what that might tell us about the fintech industry. He says the tech glitches are giving traditional banks a chance to catch up.

Mar 05, 2020
A startup founder wants to change the way employees report HR complaints

Host Molly Wood speaks with Claire Schmidt, CEO and founder of AllVoices, an online program that lets employees file an HR complaint anonymously. Research shows, she says, that about 75% of employees don’t report any sort of harassment because they think their HR department is asking for too much information, which makes them feel vulnerable. AllVoices mainly works with companies that do not have HR departments.

Mar 04, 2020
Coronavirus concerns? The doctor will video chat with you now. Is that enough?

Host Molly Wood spoke with Robert Wachter, the chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, about telemedicine and if it is effective enough to make a difference during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Mar 03, 2020
One Chinese government Rx for COVID-19: Collect more data

As China works to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, residents there are being asked to supply a lot more personal information to both companies and the government. But once the virus is under control, could the government still use the data to continue to surveil people? Molly Wood talks with Marketplace’s China correspondent Jennifer Pak.

Mar 02, 2020
Inside China’s digital war on information about COVID-19

Host Molly Wood spoke with Marketplace’s China correspondent Jennifer Pak about China’s battle with its online information about the coronavirus. She says that in critical times, the country tends to slow down the internet, and in some way censor what is being shared online. Some people are able to bypass that censorship, she adds, by using homonyms to successfully post something.

Feb 28, 2020
Michael Bloomberg is paying for sponsored memes. Any ROI?

Host Molly Wood spoke with Taylor Lorenz, a tech and internet culture reporter at the New York Times, about the sponsored memes Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg is paying for. Lorenz says that because Bloomberg doesn’t resonate with young voters — like Sanders and Trump — he has to pay social media influencers to advertise his campaign through memes in forms of videos or still images. All of this is allowed, according to Facebook, so long as it’s known to social media users that it’s paid content.

Feb 27, 2020
Intuit wants Credit Karma — along with all the data

Host Molly Wood spoke with Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit — the parent company of TurboTax — about the company’s recent $7.1 billion acquisition of Credit Karma, its biggest since 1983. The reason for this acquisition, Goodarzi says, is to advance its mission to help families with their savings, while also helping its customers about their financial literacy, like how to keep or improve a great credit score. Since many services on Credit Karma are free, and many on TurboTax are not, Molly asked how the acquisition might change things up for Credit Karma.

Feb 26, 2020
What’s behind Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion climate plan?

Jeff Bezos is putting $10 billion of his personal money into climate solutions. Will that go toward inventing new technologies to deal with the problem or scaling up what we already have? And what will make more of a difference? Host Molly Wood talks about it with Jay Koh, a managing director at the private equity firm The Lightsmith Group.

Feb 25, 2020
Microsoft vs. Amazon vs. White House = Pentagon cloud project delay

Host Molly Wood speaks with tech editor Patrick Tucker of Defense One, a news site that covers national security. They discuss Amazon’s recent court win that’s halted the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud project in partnership with Microsoft. Tucker says Amazon did this because it feels as though the contract was awarded to Microsoft simply because President Donald Trump has an iffy relationship with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Feb 24, 2020
Kickstarter workers voted to unionize. It wasn’t about working conditions.

Host Molly Wood speaks with Marketplace’s workplace reporter Meghan McCarty Carino about Kickstarter’s union, which is considered a big win for Silicon Valley activists and for other tech workers. McCarty Carino says that the union looks at traditional complaints, including pay inequality and work culture, as well as newer issues involving gig workers, diversity in hiring and more.

Feb 21, 2020
The EU is busy crafting a digital strategy. Because no one else is.

Host Molly Wood spoke with Mark Scott, chief technology correspondent at Politico, about the potential rules that Europe wants to put in place that might, Scott says, shape the way the digital ecosystem will be for the next decade. Specifically, they spoke about what this means for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an era when his company has been subject to lots of antitrust investigation.

Feb 20, 2020
SoftBank in Silicon Valley reallllly disrupts the scene

SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund started pumping a lot of money into the tech startup scene around 2018, but it has lost billions in recent months after the WeWork IPO disaster, disappointing returns from Uber, other SoftBank backed companies announcing layoffs or shut down. Now, SoftBank Group is apparently putting in billions of its own money to try to keep Vision Fund Two going. Molly Wood spoke with Paul Kedrosky from SK Ventures about what she called a burble in the startup economy.

Feb 19, 2020
FTC examining tech exits could change the landscape in Silicon Valley

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission said it would examine hundreds of past tech deals to see if they were hurting the competitive landscape. Big tech companies buy a lot of startups, either to acquire technology or to get their hands on hot engineering talent — a system that benefits venture capitalists. In fact, mergers and acquisitions is by far the most common way for VCs to make back their money and then some. If the FTC puts a damper on deals, it could be a problem. Molly Wood spoke with Paul Kedrosky, an investor with SK Ventures, and he said folks are stressing.

Feb 18, 2020
Swipe right for safety features (and give up more data)

It was probably a busy weekend on Tinder with Valentine’s Day and all. Hopefully it was also a safe weekend on Tinder. The company last month announced a panic button feature for the app to let users report if they feel unsafe on a date, as well as a check-in feature to let your friends know where you are when you’re out with someone. But as always, there’s a catch. You have to share your location constantly to use the new features. Molly Wood spoke with Marketplace’s media reporter Jasmine Garsd who told said that these changes are happening partly because maybe Tinder itself isn’t a very good date.

Feb 17, 2020
Tech + old mattresses make gardens grow in refugee camp

Some 80,000 people live in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, the world’s largest for people fleeing the war in Syria. As the camp has evolved from a temporary tent city to a semi-permanent settlement of prefabricated houses, a surprising challenge has emerged: what to do with thousands of discarded mattresses. Chemist Tony Ryan from the University of Sheffield knew exactly what to do — use them to grow food. Amy Scott spoke with Victoria Gill, who reported this story for BBC.

Feb 14, 2020
FTC scrutiny of Big Tech digs into old deals

This week, the Federal Trade Commission demanded that the five biggest tech companies turn over years of information on some of their past acquisitions. They’re not focusing on the big purchases, like Facebook buying Instagram or Google buying Waze, its navigation competitor, but more on the tiny ones that were too small to be reported to antitrust officials. Molly Wood spoke with Diane Bartz, who covers antitrust for Reuters, about all of this.

Feb 13, 2020
Everything’s on Wikipedia. Misinformation, too. But Wiki says its editing process quickly shuts that down.

At any given time, Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors might be fighting a raging battle to make sure that a page contains the truth. That’s happening this week on Wikipedia entries about the coronavirus. Considering the state of information online, Wikipedia’s goal of providing free information for no incentive other than providing information is reassuring, assuming it can beat back the trolls. Host Molly Wood spoke with Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, and asked her how often the site gets hit by misinformation campaigns.

Feb 12, 2020
Instagram makes lots of money. Now creators want some of the profits.

In recent days, we’ve started to find out how much money YouTube and Instagram are making. During its recent earnings report, Alphabet said YouTube made just over $15 billion in advertising sales in 2019. Sarah Frier, a reporter at Bloomberg, reported that Instagram made $20 billion last year in ad sales, more than a quarter of Facebook’s total revenue. But YouTube shares its ad revenue with the creators on its platform and Instagram doesn’t, even though both rely on a steady stream of uploads from their users. Frier told host Molly Wood that soon IG creators will want some of that money.

Feb 11, 2020
Virus video games are suddenly more popular than ever

The coronavirus in China is having a large impact on the economy and on many travelers — businesses, factories and stores are shut. With so many people staying home quarantined, they’re going online to entertain themselves. Health and fitness apps are seeing surges in downloads, but it’s video games that have seen the real leap in popularity. The strategy simulation game Plague Inc. jumped recently to the top of Apple’s App Store for games in China. Jack Stewart spoke with Marketplace’s media reporter Jasmine Garsd, who said it’s one that’s eerily similar to the real-life situation that people are finding themselves in.

Feb 10, 2020
How disinformation on YouTube gets into your “watch next” queue

An in-depth report last month looked at climate disinformation online and found that YouTube was spreading videos through its recommendation, or watch next, algorithms. Many of these videos are slick and professional, making them seem credible. Not only are these videos popping up to the top of recommended queues of YouTube’s billions of users, but they’re wrapped in regular ads from big-name companies who are unwittingly funding this disinformation. Jack Stewart spoke with David Roberts of Vox about the problems YouTube faces in deciding how to police these videos.

Feb 07, 2020
Here’s my fail plan, said no startup founder ever

This week gave us a spectacular tech failure with the Shadow Inc. app that basically ruined the Iowa presidential caucuses. But tech failures aren’t always considered a bad thing in Silicon Valley. There’s a mantra here — fail fast — that suggests you should try things quickly as an entrepreneur and move on to the next thing with lots of great lessons in hand. Host Molly Wood speaks with Arielle Pardes, a senior writer at Wired, about how tech companies, even the small startups, should plan for failure.

Feb 06, 2020
Iowa caucus debacle verdict: Sometimes, there shouldn’t be an app for that

Here’s what we know about what happened earlier this week at the Iowa presidential caucuses. The Iowa Democratic Party hired Shadow Inc., a startup company, that built an app that clearly hadn’t been tested well enough before it was deployed in the real world. Host Molly Wood spoke with Charles Stewart, a professor of political science at MIT and a member of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, and asked him what parts of the voting process do need tech innovation?

Feb 05, 2020
Airbnb is offering lots of experiences. Results may vary.

The company known mostly for its short-term rentals wants an even bigger share of the roughly $180 billion tours and activities industry. Airbnb just hired a former top Disney executive to run its Experiences business, all while it’s gearing up for an IPO expected later this year and grappling with concerns about safety and fraud. Marketplace’s Amy Scott spoke with Aric Jenkins, a staff writer at Fortune, about Airbnb’s challenges ahead of its potential IPO.

Feb 04, 2020
Harvesting tech shows up down on the farm as Brexit labor shortage looms

As it turns out, there are jobs where a human touch is — or has been — irreplaceable, like fruit picking. Soft, delicate fruits must be assessed for ripeness and then gently plucked without smooshing. But in Britain, one looming effect of Brexit is a shortage of cheap human labor, which has spawned a new flurry of interest in robots that can do the job.

Feb 03, 2020
What Facebook’s $550M facial recognition settlement might mean for users

About a decade ago, Facebook started automatically tagging people whose faces its algorithms had recognized in uploaded photos. It almost seemed like magic. This week, Facebook agreed to pay $550 million over claims that the tool violated privacy rights. The settlement was in Illinois, which has strict laws protecting biometric data. The social giant revealed the settlement agreement at the same time as its quarterly financial results this week. Natasha Singer, a tech reporter for the New York Times, explains to host Jack Stewart what the settlement means.

Jan 31, 2020
Is the highly engineered Nike Vaporfly just a shoe?

World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, is set to announce whether it’ll ban certain types of shoes. In particular, Nike’s Vaporfly shoes have been prominently on the feet of athletes responsible for tumbling race records recently. Nike says that the $250 sneakers shave up to 4% off a runner’s time. But is that technology some sort of doping?

Jan 30, 2020
Off-Facebook is here, but you’re still there

Airbnb, Tinder, British Airways, Duolingo, Spotify and even Marketplace are just some of the hundreds of websites that Facebook says have shared my data with the social network. Just from those you can probably work out more about me than I might want to share. This is all part of Facebook’s Off-Facebook Activity, its new tracking tool that went into wide release yesterday. It lists all of the companies and websites that share activity, like views, purchases or even just when you open an app. Facebook uses all that data to allow advertisers to create messages that are tightly targeted to you and your interests.

Jan 29, 2020
Yes, tech is changing everything. A new book might encourage you to embrace that change.

We’re in a moment right now where we’re sort of mad at technology. Our phones are sucking up all our time and data; our social media platforms are spreading misinformation and divisive arguments; there are privacy and ethical dilemmas around every corner. But there are those who still believe that technological innovation will change our lives for the better.

Jan 28, 2020
Sure, you can have your data … after reaching out to 150 brokers

Now that the California Consumer Privacy Act is in place, lots of researchers and consumers are testing out their new rights under the law to find out what information data companies have about them. It’s now possible to ask companies to delete that data if you so desire, but to really scrub yourself out of the data machine, you’re going have to put in some work. Luckily, Laura Noren, a vice president at Obsidian Security, is using her machete to hack through the data privacy jungle for us.

Jan 27, 2020
The next wave of driverless cars won’t have pedals or steering wheels. Is that allowed?

This week, Cruise, the self-driving car subsidiary of GM, introduced Origin, a fully autonomous vehicle that has no driving controls whatsoever. It’s meant to be a rolling pod that carries passengers on demand, almost like a small bus or train car. But are companies allowed to operate cars without steering wheels on public roads? Both Cruise and Waymo have pushed the federal government to lift requirements on equipment like pedals, steering wheels and mirrors, and they are allowed in certain conditions. States have their own rules. Although carmakers and safety advocates have been hoping for some clear guidance on what will and won’t be allowed nationwide, Jack Stewart, who covers transportation for Marketplace, says that’s not coming anytime soon.

Jan 24, 2020
Why nonprofits are wary about a private firm buying the dot-org domain

Right now, registrations for websites that use dot-org — like Marketplace — are overseen by a nonprofit organization called the Internet Society. But in November, the Internet Society suddenly announced that it would sell control of those registrations to a one-year-old private equity firm called Ethos Capital for $1.1 billion. That made people worry about the future of nonprofits online due to possible interference with speech or even big price hikes. A group of internet pioneers proposed an all-new nonprofit group to run dot-org. Overseeing all of this is ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which can approve or reject the sale. Andrew McLaughlin, who helped found ICANN, talks to host Molly Wood about it.

Jan 23, 2020
In William Gibson’s new novel, AI is actually the good guy

This week, Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai argued that we need to regulate artificial intelligence and also suggested a temporary ban on facial recognition technology. Microsoft President Brad Smith, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also said we need to create ethical guidelines and rules for how AI should be used. In a new novel out this week by legendary sci-fi author William Gibson, the tech is good enough to decide for itself. The book is called “Agency,” and it’s a sequel to Gibson’s 2014 novel “The Peripheral.” In that book, a super technologically advanced future society can create new alternate histories called stubs for fun or influence the timeline leading to their own present. Gibson talks about “Agency” and the upcoming TV series based on “The Peripheral” with host Molly Wood.

Jan 22, 2020
Less, please! Google responds to pressure to eliminate cookies collecting our data

Google recently announced some big privacy changes for its internet browser Chrome. It’s planning to make obsolete what are known as third-party cookies. Cookies are the trackers that advertisers plant so when you shop for shoes one time, you’ll then see ads for them … forever. It’ll also put a limit on the amount of data websites can collect. Other browsers have already made moves to cut tracking and preserve privacy, but what Google does might be significant in that it may change the way the whole web works.

Jan 21, 2020
Can we count on tech to protect the online 2020 Census?

This year’s census is going digital — the first one in history to be available to complete online, instead of on paper. That’s fitting in a world that’s much more connected, compared to 10 years ago, but our online lives mean there’s some risks, too. Disinformation is a big one — mainly fake news designed to influence people’s thinking, which led to intense criticism of social media platforms after the 2016 elections. The Census Bureau is warning that false information could affect the number of people who take part in the upcoming Census.

Jan 20, 2020
Microsoft’s billion-dollar investment in carbon removal

A lot of tech companies have pledged that their operations are — or will — become carbon neutral. But this week, Microsoft announced plans to become carbon negative in the next 10 years. That means it will invest $1 billion in technologies to remove carbon from the atmosphere in addition to using more renewable energy or offsetting the emissions it creates. In fact, Microsoft announced that by 2050, it wants to remove the equivalent of all the carbon that the company has ever emitted in its 44-years. Ikea is the only other major company that’s made a similar promise, which, let’s be honest, sounds expensive.

Jan 17, 2020
Qualcomm is at the center of 5G. We’re still, almost, there.

When it comes to rolling out 5G, there are a lot of moving parts. At the heart of the 5G story sits Qualcomm, the company that makes wireless chips for your phone and develops and licenses other technology in the wireless industry. Qualcomm has been pushing 5G hard, but there are aspects of the 5G rollout it can’t control. The company is also the subject of a Federal Trade Commission investigation over whether it abused its monopoly position in 4G technology. Host Molly Wood spoke with Cristiano Amon, the president of Qualcomm, about all this at CES in Las Vegas last week.

Jan 16, 2020
Delta’s CEO wants to use tech to make airports happier places

This year at CES, the big electronics and tech show in Las Vegas held every January, the kickoff keynote presentation for the first time was by an airline CEO, Delta Air Lines’ Ed Bastian. He talked about how tech should help take the stress out of flying and, of course, make you want to pay more to fly Delta. The airline announced a few new features, like updates to its app to include other parts of the trip, like ride-share and hotel. Also, artificial intelligence to improve scheduling, investment in updating airports, including something called “parallel reality” and high-tech displays in airports that can show personalized flight information to lots of different people at the same time.

Jan 15, 2020
Quibi spending more than a billion wading into streaming wars. Luring subscribers will be key.

These days, we’ve all got a Las Vegas buffet of subscription streaming services to pick from. One new one called Quibi — short for quick bites — will launch in April and is only for your phone. Quibi was founded by former Disney executive and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Meg Whitman is CEO. They gave a big presentation about the service last week at CES in Las Vegas. They’ve raised more than $1 billion and signed up a lot of big-name talent to create all new shows and movies. But no video will be longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Jan 14, 2020
New California homes must have solar panels. Not everyone’s feeling so sunny about that.

California’s home solar mandate, which says that newly constructed homes must have panels on the roofs, is now in effect. In a state known for its sunshine, that seems like a sensible idea, but it’s been a contentious path putting this law into place. Builders say that at $8,000 to $10,000 per house, solar energy will drive up prices, potentially making the housing affordability crisis even worse. Advocates say the expense will be offset by lower bills, and then there are the environmental benefits. But some are already looking for loopholes, including an option in the law to build so-called community solar projects, piping in energy from remote solar installations.

Jan 13, 2020
CES 2020: What happens in Vegas? More and more of the next big thing

Your regular host, Molly Wood, has been in Las Vegas this week — at CES, to be more precise. So we’re going to check in with her and her big takeaways from the show this year. She called into our Marketplace studios from the CES show floor between interviews and panels. First, we started by talking about the big theme this year, 5G — the super-fast mobile broadband tech that’s supposed to revolutionize our online lives — and why we still don’t have it. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Jan 10, 2020
VR is always a coming attraction, but this movie deal might make it happen

In the not-too-distant future, you could have your own Mystery Science Theater 3000-style experience — watch films with your friends and make all the sarcastic comments you want. But do it remotely. That’s the latest promise of virtual reality. Paramount Pictures recently signed a deal with Bigscreen to allow you to go to the movies with your friends — from home — just by slipping on your clunky goggles. Imagine geeking out over “Star Trek Beyond” with a fellow trekkie on the other side of the world.

Jan 09, 2020
How US businesses can prepare for an Iranian cyberattack

Intelligence and security experts say there is a real risk of cyberattacks on American businesses as retaliation after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. It’s not exactly clear how this new front in warfare could play out. It could, however, be a big, bold attack on symbolic targets, like government websites or the power grid, which Iran openly claims responsibility for. The attacks could even be much more subtle, damaging but not immediately apparent.

Jan 08, 2020
Keep returning stuff for free, and ultimately it will cost us all a lot

This season’s online holiday sales were worth some $138 billion to e-retailers, and nearly a third of that stuff is expected to be returned, according to new research from CBRE, a real estate research group. That’s actually typical for 30% of online shopping to be returned, whereas 8% of other stuff bought in shops is returned. All of those returns come with a cost, even if they’re free to us, the shoppers. There’s the emissions from the trucks and planes, the waste from packaging and discarded products, the cost of finding space for it all, or even just chucking it out.

Jan 07, 2020
CES 2020: Let’s see how tech envisions the new decade

It is the start of a new year, and here in the land of tech and business, that means CES –– the massive consumer electronics show that dominates the tech industry for the week that it hits Las Vegas in early January each year. I’ll be there this week covering the event, and so will a lot of other tech journalists, including WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson. Historically, CES has been a fizzy and fun celebration of gadgets, TVs, drones and phones, but in the last couple of years, the sentiment toward tech has turned a bit. I asked Thompson whether a new focus on privacy and the “techlash” would be felt at the show this year.

Jan 06, 2020
Is there a way to use facial recognition that isn’t a dystopian nightmare?

This week, we’re talking with Marketplace reporters about what tech topics they’re watching on their beats as we look ahead to 2020. One issue we can expect to see in the news a lot is facial recognition. In 2019, San Francisco banned police and public agencies from using it over civil rights fears, but it’s become widespread in China, where it’s used for daily surveillance and to track and detain the minority Muslim population there, the Uighurs.

Jan 03, 2020
Tech platforms, on the hook to clean up political advertising, take different approaches

This week, we’ve been interviewing Marketplace reporters about what we should expect in tech in 2020. Today, we’re taking a look at one major event happening in 2020: the U.S. presidential election. It is no secret that there was a boom in social media misinformation campaigns during the 2016 election with the goal of influencing how we vote and who we vote for. Tech platforms are in the spotlight on the subject of digital political ads, targeted ads and the security of our election.

Jan 02, 2020
Congress isn’t going to let Facebook’s cryptocurrency happen without a fight

This week, we’re talking to Marketplace reporters about what to expect from tech in the year ahead. Regulation is a big part of that conversation, and today we’re going to chat about cryptocurrencies, specifically Libra, the digital payments system and cryptocurrency proposed by Facebook earlier this year. It seemed like it might be dead on arrival considering all the backlash, but lawmakers haven’t forgotten about it. There are a few bills being considered by Congress that could have an impact on Libra’s future, including who might regulate it.

Jan 01, 2020
Some tech employees turned on their employers this year. Will 2020 bring more tensions?

It’s prediction season. This week we’re asking our Marketplace beat reporters what to expect in tech in 2020. Today, we’re talking labor in the tech industry, specifically about the trend of workers protesting their own companies. In 2019, employees from Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other tech giants walked out, signed petitions or went public with complaints about military contracts, tech for oil and gas companies and internal problems with culture and discrimination. Google employees even joined the United Steelworkers Union to formalize their organizing.

Dec 31, 2019
EV sales might accelerate in 2020. Maybe.

A new decade is almost upon us, which means this week we’re going to be talking about what to expect from the tech world in 2020. Today, let’s kick the tires — pun intended — on the transportation tech that seems prepared to go big in 2020, electric vehicles. This tech has been around for a while, but at least here in the U.S., the EV market hasn’t had its boom and there hasn’t been much mainstream competition to Tesla.

Dec 30, 2019
When tech unicorns stumble, prices go up for everyone

This holiday week, we’re taking a look back at some of our shows from 2019 that deal with topics we’ll be thinking about in the year ahead. That includes the way tech companies are valued and how it can affect all of us. Tech valuations were soaring, then in the fourth quarter of this year things got messy. Earlier this year, I asked Alex Wilhelm, editor in chief at Crunchbase News, why these private valuations have risen so high.

Dec 27, 2019
A visit to X: The tech moonshot factory is working on climate change

As we look ahead to 2020 and think about tackling giant problems, climate change is high on the list. So, we wanted to re-air an interview with the leader of a company that thrives on tackling giant problems. X, Formerly Google X, is the division of Alphabet devoted to moonshots. Its climate-related graduates include Dandelion, which harnesses heat from geothermal energy, and Malta, which uses salt to store excess energy produced from solar and wind farms.

Dec 26, 2019
An app that pays you for your data? Yes, actually.

This holiday week, we’re taking a look back at some of our shows from 2019 that touch on topics we’ll definitely be thinking about in the year ahead, and data is at the top of the list. When it comes to trading your data for free services are you getting a fair deal? is an app that lets you connect all your various online accounts. It scoops all the data they have on you and puts it in one encrypted location that you can control. And then a new company called Universal Basic Data Income, can, with your permission, pay you to share some of that data with companies or researchers.

Dec 25, 2019
VCs are leaving trillions on the table by bypassing diverse leaders, study says

When we first aired this story earlier this year, I said to stop me if you’ve heard this before: 91% of venture capital investment goes to men, and almost 80% of those men are white. It’s probably because 90% of venture capitalists are men — mostly white. But new data shows that VCs are leaving a lot of money on the table by only investing in people who look like them. Morgan Stanley put out new information this past fall saying venture capital as an industry could be missing out on as much as $4 trillion in value by not investing in more diverse founders.

Dec 24, 2019
Lawyer argues product liability claims in Facebook suit over sex trafficking

Of all the battles Facebook is fighting right now, it probably didn’t expect Annie McAdams of Houston, Texas. She’s a personal injury lawyer and is arguing on behalf of her clients that Facebook is legally liable for what it is not doing to protect minors from being sex trafficked on its sites. She’s intent on forcing a conversation, if not a ruling, on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that shields internet companies from liability for a lot of what happens on their platforms. McAdams filed three lawsuits in Texas and one in Tennessee. Facebook is asking that the cases not move forward, citing immunity under Section 230.

Dec 23, 2019
Lawsuit says tech giants use child labor in cobalt mining

Earlier this week, six U.S. tech companies were named in a lawsuit that accuses them of endangering the lives of child laborers in the mining of cobalt for their products. Several children have been maimed or killed in pursuit of this rare element, most of which comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lawsuit, the first of its kind, names Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla. “This is the first time that tech companies have been on the hook for this,” Roger Cheng of CNET tells host Molly Wood.

Dec 20, 2019
Your kids’ data is already online. How much do you want to add to that?

The author of a new book wants us to think before we post about our kids. She says that between social media, tech in education and the vast system of government, advertising and digital data collection that we live with every day, our kids are getting an online history that they didn’t choose and can’t escape.

Dec 19, 2019
Great interface design is often invisible. But maybe it shouldn’t be.

When it comes to design — whether it’s for apps, websites, phones, TVs or computers — we throw around the term “user friendly” a lot. User-friendly design makes using a product easy and painless, which means we don’t notice it, we just enjoy using it. Sometimes, when a design is really good and easy to use, we don’t notice that we’re kind of addicted to an app, game or phone — or that we’re becoming increasingly dependent on those things. Cliff Kuang, a longtime user-experience designer and journalist, explains how the best design comes from empathy.

Dec 18, 2019
California’s new privacy law will touch companies and protect consumers, if you ask

California’s big consumer privacy law goes into effect on Jan. 1. It’s the first law in the U.S. that demands that companies give consumers more control over their information and more power over what they can do with that information once they have it. On the consumer side, you can now ask companies to show you everything they have on you for free up to twice a year. You can ask companies to delete the data, and the law requires companies to give you an easy way to opt out of having your personal information sold. Jessica Lee, a partner at the law firm Loeb & Loeb and co-chair of the privacy, security and data innovations practice there, helps us understand the new law.

Dec 17, 2019
Active wildfires are fast-moving disasters, and the fallout can be terrible, too

NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory are launching flights to gather more data about the lingering pollutants from fires by flying straight into the smoke plumes. We can’t actually see these super tiny pollutants, but they’re big enough to affect our breathing, especially for those who have asthma. Both NASA and JPL are learning more from studying the plumes during a fire, as well as the air after a fire, to help understand how these pollutants will affect us long term.

Dec 16, 2019
The law that built the internet economy is going international

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says tech platforms can’t be held liable for most things their users post on those platforms. The same section has been under attack recently from politicians and others who say it gives companies too much protection in this age of harassment, radicalization and misinformation. But even as the debate is happening, the law is being exported, so to speak. Language similar to Section 230 is part of U.S. trade agreements with Japan and made the cut in the recently agreed upon deal with Mexico and Canada.

Dec 13, 2019
Do female CEOs get called out more often for creating a toxic work culture?

Earlier this week, Steph Korey resigned as CEO of the trendy luggage company Away after a report on the company’s toxic workplace culture. Recently, there have been several negative stories about female CEOs, too. Sara Mauskopf, CEO and co-founder of Winnie, wrote about this and said the negative coverage of female CEOs compared to their male counterparts is noticeably disproportionate.

Dec 12, 2019
Machines need to be funny if they want to sell stuff

Chatbots are growing in importance as a way of bringing in revenue: Juniper Research estimates that by the year 2023, retail sales through chatbots will reach $112 billion. But those bots can lose customers if they can’t keep up with conversations. So to make chatbots witty and even funny, tech companies are turning to entertainers.

Dec 11, 2019
China wants to ban foreign computers and software from government offices

A report this week in the Financial Times suggests that China might be moving to ban all foreign computer hardware and software from government agencies and public organizations within three years. The move could hurt American tech companies, but what’s tricky is that China doesn’t really have the technology to replace a lot of the software it’s trying to kick out. “Marketplace Tech” host Molly Wood talks with Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Dec 10, 2019
Microsoft’s president reflects on a decade of antitrust investigations

Microsoft is one of the world’s biggest tech companies, but it’s mostly been left out of controversies and investigations around privacy, data protection and antitrust. It’s ironic since the company spent about a decade fighting antitrust allegations in the 1990s. Microsoft is still developing many of the technologies that are under scrutiny now.

Dec 09, 2019
Voila! Trade war turns to Big Tech, wine and cheese
Dec 06, 2019
Making clean water from sunshine and air

This week, world leaders are meeting at the United Nations climate summit in Madrid, talking about how to keep global warming in check. One thing that’s going to become increasingly valuable in the future is drinking water. Droughts, storms and sea level rise all affect the availability of potable water. India, in fact, is already running out. One startup is working on it with tech that collects water vapor from the air and stores it as clean water.

Dec 05, 2019
What “Blade Runner” got right — and wrong — about our 2019 tech

The 1982 science fiction classic “Blade Runner” was set in November 2019 in Los Angeles. But the LA envisioned by director Ridley Scott is very different from the LA you’d recognize today. For one thing, it’s raining all the time, and it’s a dystopian hellscape with flying cars, pervasive technology and artificial humans, or replicants, who are almost indistinguishable from real humans. Also, almost everyone smokes. Aside from the obvious, how far off is the movie from present-day 2019?

Dec 04, 2019
Happy? Holidays! Worker injuries spike at Amazon warehouses seasonally, data shows

Amazon is by far the largest online retailer in the United States. Chances are you’ve clicked the buy button for holiday shopping or just some daily staples recently. Reporter Will Evans said he obtained records on injury rates from 23 Amazon fulfillment centers around the country and found the rate of serious injuries is more than double the average for the industry. At some warehouses, it’s as much as six times higher.

Dec 03, 2019
Buying property is emotional. Tech can help people understand their home’s climate risk.

We’re revisiting some of our stories looking at how technology can help us adapt to climate change.  In this piece (which originally aired October 1), we look at the digital tools available to figure out a home’s flood risk.

Dec 02, 2019
As climate change brings more fires, how do we keep the air clean?

This week, we’re revisiting pieces on how technology can help us adapt to climate change, from our series “How We Survive.”  This story (which originally aired August 5), looks at how technology can help us keep our indoor air clean when wildfires cause intense smoke outside.

Nov 29, 2019
Nature: the next big thing in climate adaptation technology?

This week, we’re revisiting several stories on how technology can help us adapt to climate change as part of our series “How We Survive.” This piece (which was originally published on July 18) looks at how a unique levee in the Bay Area utilizes nature to increase flood protection while restoring wetlands.

Nov 28, 2019
AI for Earth helps researchers get more granular with climate data

This week, we’re revisiting several stories on how technology can help us adapt to climate change. In this piece, which originally aired June 18, we look at how using Microsoft’s AI computing power can help the environmental nonprofit Chesapeake Conservancy make better decisions about the watershed.

Nov 27, 2019
Don’t worry about robots taking your job — worry about AI

Using new data, a new report from the Brookings Institution estimates that the higher you’re paid, the more your job may be at risk from artificial intelligence. We talk with Mark Muro, co-author of the report.

Nov 26, 2019
Human biases are baked into algorithms. Now what?

Recently, regulators began investigating the new Apple Card and Apple’s partner Goldman Sachs after several users reported that in married households, men received higher credit limits than women — even if the women had higher credit scores. Safiya Noble, an associate professor at UCLA who wrote a book about biased algorithms, said data algorithms used to evaluate credit reflect a long history of women having little financial independence or freedom.

Nov 25, 2019
Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera is pretty much the Trojan horse of home privacy

Doorbell security cameras are a hot item and hot topic when it comes to privacy and security. Amazon owns the Ring security camera company, and the company will give police camera footage with the customer’s permission. Andrew Ferguson, author of the book “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement,” was asked how this is different from traditional security systems that involve police and other agencies.

Nov 22, 2019
A Nobel Prize winner in economics uses AI to make poverty research go even further

Esther Duflo is one of this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. She and her colleagues at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab won for their unique approach to tackling poverty. They try to break up huge problems like immunization or educational opportunity into smaller problems. Their team comes up with questions about what might work and then uses randomized controlled trials that are traditionally used in medicine and hard sciences to compare the impact of specific ideas. She says the team also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deploy the findings of their research in the most efficient way possible.

Nov 21, 2019
Can we trust Amazon with our health records?

Amazon bought a couple of health care startups that range from prescription drug distribution to telemedicine. It setup Haven, a consulting group that wants to bring down the cost of health care. Its Echo devices can sync with Fitbit for fitness and sleep data, and it’s filed for patents on tech that would let Alexa detect when you’re sick and recommend medicine. Do people want to give their medical data to Amazon? If so, is it worth it?

Nov 20, 2019
Gen Zers bring retro looks back with an app

Gen Zers, the generation after millennials, are wearing looks from the ’90s. And they’re not finding them at their local thrift shops — they’re shopping at a digital marketplace that specializes in vintage wear, the Depop app. It’s kind of an Etsy-Instagram mashup. Buying and selling used clothes is a simple act, but it’s going to help us with our fast-fashion problem during this climate crisis.

Nov 19, 2019
The promise of renewables in remote Central Africa

Less than half of the population of Africa can rely on flicking on a switch for light, heat or cooking, and that also limits technological advances in banking, education and health care. A recent International Energy Agency report says microgrids powered by solar and wind energy have real potential for accelerating development, particularly in Central African countries. Michaël Aklin, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who researches energy policy, said that the renewable-first approach can work — with some caveats.

Nov 18, 2019
Could sharing health data with Big Tech be a good thing?

The world learned this week that Google is amassing health data from millions of Americans via a contract with the huge health care system Ascension. As trust in tech companies seems to continue ebbing, concerns about the “Project Nightingale” contract seem inevitable. But maybe this data gathering isn’t something we should feel too freaked out about. To find out, host Jack Stewart speaks with Deven McGraw, an attorney who was formerly a HIPAA enforcer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nov 15, 2019
Winning the self-driving race means lots of tech support

There’s a lot of money being poured into the self-driving space right now. Building a robot driver capable of fully replacing a human on the wheel is a mission that has everything that Silicon Valley loves: a lot of tech and a huge potential prize. Tradition has it that you have to win the race to take any of the prize. But companies are increasingly realizing that they might not get there alone. To see what that means in practice, Marketplace’s Jack Stewart took a trip to Arizona, where several companies are taking advantage of the state’s welcoming regulatory attitude toward self-driving testing.

Nov 14, 2019
Frictionless payment is easy, but it’s costing consumers

Today, it’s almost possible to leave your wallet at home and not pay using your phone. In the not-too distant future, stores could even use facial recognition, or fingerprint scanning, so you don’t even need a device — just grab your items, and walk out. Consumers seem to want this frictionless payment as much as retailers do, but why?

Nov 13, 2019
Will “artificial scarcity” of library e-books push sales?

Some 94% of libraries offer e-books to borrowers, but now Macmillan, one of the five biggest book publishers in the United States, said it’s going to limit each library to just one copy for the first eight weeks after publication. So get ready for longer waits to borrow them. Jessamyn West, a librarian in Vermont, said it’s reflective of a lot of upheaval in the book world right now.

Nov 12, 2019
Can artificial intelligence identify guns fast enough to stop violence?

Some entrepreneurs think technology can help prevent gun violence. A handful of companies are creating artificial intelligence to identify active shooters. The problem is AI requires a lot of data to learn what is a weapon and what isn’t. One startup is creating its own data by holding film shoots.

Nov 11, 2019
Microgrids can help us be more energy resilient

PG&E has said it could take a decade to upgrade its infrastructure so it’s less likely to spark deadly fires. On Thursday, the utility reported a $1.6 billion loss in the third quarter related to fire charges. A group of California mayors think PG&E should be turned into a publicly owned cooperative utility. Is the answer here just to get off the grid or for utilities to split up into lots of smaller microgrids?

Nov 08, 2019
Return of the JEDI contract

After a very dramatic bidding process, U.S. Department of Defense last month awarded a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft. Several companies, including Oracle, claimed the process was rigged and that President Donald Trump threatened to personally intervene in the choosing process because he’s been a critic of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Nov 07, 2019
Your “cloud” data is making noise on the ground

As the amount of data coursing through the internet grows, so does the infrastructure needed to keep all that data flowing. Huge data centers are popping up around the country, but data centers don’t always make good neighbors due to their noise. Bianca Bosker, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, wrote about Chandler, Arizona, where a group of neighbors have taken on data center giant CyrusOne.

Nov 06, 2019
Google bought Fitbit for the data, of course

Google announced plans to buy Fitbit for more than $2 billion, and make no mistake, it’s not for the wristbands. Last year, it announced an effort to use artificial intelligence to scan electronic health records to make predictions about what might happen with hospitalized patients. Kirsten Ostherr, the director of the Medical Futures Lab and the medical humanities program at Rice University, said Fitbit’s trove of data is all about social determinants.

Nov 05, 2019
The neobank’s promise: No branches near you

The tech industry is coming for traditional banking. Digital payment apps are changing how we move money around. A wave of so-called neobanks — all-digital services that let people do everything on a smartphone without any branches — is cropping up in the United States. Molly Wood speaks with Jelena McWilliams, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., best known for providing federal insurance to licensed banks. The agency also has oversight and consumer protection responsibilities. McWilliams said that there’s a lot going on.

Nov 04, 2019
Twitter bans political ads, but is that all good?

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the social giant would ban political ads whether they’re about candidates or political issues. The move put even more of a spotlight on Facebook, which is not only taking political ads but is also not fact-checking them. While most people cheered Twitter’s move, critics said it puts a company in charge of deciding what’s political and could shut smaller groups or candidates out of a cheaper way to reach people.

Nov 01, 2019
Zombie apocalypse!? Here’s the tech you’ll want on hand.

Molly Wood speaks with Max Brooks about what kind of tech can save us during a zombie apocalypse. He wrote “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead.” But this isn’t just metaphorical planning, in some ways. Brooks is also a fellow at the Modern War Institute and advises the military on how his fictional ideas translate into real-world readiness for whatever form the zombie apocalypse actually takes.

Oct 31, 2019
Suit up! Civilian space travel is almost here.

There are a lot of companies out there wanting to take rich thrill-seekers to the edge of space, and they’re ready to convince investors there’s money to be made. Virgin Galactic made its stock market debut on Monday. It’s offering suborbital rides for about $250,000, although it has yet to fly paying customers.

Oct 30, 2019
Does rural broadband tech made in China pose a national security threat?

The Federal Communications Commission is moving ahead with plans to stop telecommunication companies buying equipment from foreign companies it considers to be a security threat. This move has Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in the crosshairs — telecom companies have to stop buying their equipment or even rip it out. Christopher Mitchell, who monitors community broadband at the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said that Huawei, in particular, has become a key provider in rural areas for a couple of reasons.

Oct 29, 2019
Geoengineering could help with climate change, but it’ll cost us

Sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is known as geoengineering — manipulating Earth’s climate to try to fix a climate problem. Solomon Hsiang, who directs the Global Policy Laboratory at UC Berkeley, said there are some promising lines of research.

Oct 28, 2019
VCs are leaving trillions on the table by bypassing diverse leaders, study says

Data shows that venture capital companies — typically led by all-white males — are leaving a lot of money on the table by only investing in people who look like them. Morgan Stanley put out new information this week that said venture capital as an industry could be missing out on as much as $4 trillion in value by not investing in more diverse founders.

Oct 25, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg works to convince Congress: Libra should exist

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in Washington yesterday trying to keep the dream of the global digital currency called Libra alive. When Facebook laid out a vision for Libra, not everyone believed it. Lisa Ellis, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, said that at a minimum Libra will have to win back partners like Visa, PayPal or Stripe if it’s going to survive.

Oct 24, 2019
The big business of China’s surveillance tech

In Hong Kong, protesters have used umbrellas and face masks to avoid cameras and pulled down what they thought was an internet-equipped lamppost to avoid being spied on. Cameras, artificial intelligence and databases of personal information are used to shame debtholders, track down dissidents and assign people a social credit score based on their activities. Jennifer Pak describes the daily surveillance.

Oct 23, 2019
Teachers are using Legos to get kids into STEM

In recent years, Lego has made a big push in education. It makes robotics kits, and kids can learn to code Lego robots on the company’s website. The company is working directly with schools by offering curriculum, teacher training and competitions to help get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Oct 22, 2019
Waze wants to make carpooling a thing

After a decade of trying to improve traffic, the real-time mapping app Waze has spent the last year trying to get its users to carpool. The app hooks riders up with drivers who are commuting in the same direction, and the riders pay a small fee that goes to the drivers. Waze said it’s gotten about half a million people using the carpool feature, but it’s not an easy sell. Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze, said everyone knows traffic is bad for your health, your life and the environment.

Oct 21, 2019
Free speech on the internet is: A) complicated B) complicated C) complicated D) all of the above

It has been quite the week for speech online. Twitter introduced new guidelines on how to deal with world leaders on its platform after Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris called on the platform to ban President Donald Trump. On this segment of “Quality Assurance,” Molly Wood takes a deep dive on platforms and regulating speech. She spoke with Daphne Keller, who is at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

Oct 18, 2019
Tesla’s new parked-car trick: Press a button on your phone, the car comes to you. Or close. Maybe.

Tesla’s latest over-the-air software update for its cars is perfect fodder for online viral videos. It added a feature the company calls “smart summon.” Owners use an app on their phone to summon their cars from about 200 feet away, and have it drive to them all by itself with nobody inside — just hold down a button. Ars Technica’s Timothy Lee, who watched 100 videos Tesla owners have uploaded using the smart summon feature, said the results seem to vary.

Oct 17, 2019
The U.S. is still exporting sensitive tech to China despite a White House clampdown

U.S. companies export tens of billions of dollars in sensitive technology every year — AI computer chips, drones or encryption software. They have to apply for licences to do it, and those approvals have dropped in recent years, while rejections have risen. Matt Drange, an investigative reporter at The Information, sifted through the data to see what it can tell us about tech trade.

Oct 16, 2019
Some ways to keep the power on in California’s fire season

PG&E cut power to more than 700,000 people and businesses last week in Northern California cities as a way to prevent fires from sparking in dry, windy weather. But is a chaotic blackout the best solution? Marketplace’s Ben Bradford tells host Amy Scott that there are alternatives that could prevent this kind of disruption in the future.

Oct 15, 2019
Can an app make the call on baseball umpires?

With the World Series just around the corner, we’re hearing a lot about players’ stats. But another issue is when an umpire gets a call wrong. Major League Baseball is trying to make those instances less frequent. Over the summer, robot umpires helped officiate a minor league game. The goal is not only to improve accuracy of the calls, but to speed up the game and get more butts in the seats. But Boston University finance professor Mark Williams thinks there’s a way to use an app to make human umpires better at their jobs before we turn the reins over to the bots. We talk with him about the idea behind it.

Oct 14, 2019
Do fake images need to look convincing to be convincing?

Christye Sisson, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, is working with the Department of Defense to help build a sophisticated tool that can identify fake images. She and her students act like the bad guys — doing painstaking work to develop the most convincing fake images they can. They’ve learned a lot about what it takes to fool people, including that maybe they don’t need to work so hard, at least on social media.

Oct 11, 2019
Amazon wants the public to know its warehouses are fun enough for the Girl Scouts

Amazon warehouses are key to the company’s operations. Items arrive, get sorted and are packaged and shipped off. But they don’t have a reputation for being great places to work. For example, last year, there were those reports about employees urinating in bottles at a U.K. warehouse to avoid taking bathroom breaks.  Now Amazon is offering more public tours of its warehouses. The company says it wants to be transparent about how it operates and to inspire kids. We tagged along with a bunch of Girl Scouts on a tour.

Oct 10, 2019
Does encryption help with privacy, or does it violate public safety?

Law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, including U.S. Attorney General William Barr, wrote an open letter to Facebook last week asking it to hold off on plans to expand end-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger. That kicked off a heated debate about privacy and public safety.

Oct 09, 2019
The best way to counter hate speech online might be to have a bot call it out

Researchers at Intel and University of California, Santa Barbara, are proposing a new idea to use AI to identify hate speech and then create an automated response to those messages, like pointing out that the words used could be offensive or warning people that they are violating terms of service.

Oct 08, 2019
YouTube isn’t fun for parents trying to shield their kids from scary stuff

There is a lot of appropriate content on YouTube for kids, and there’s a whole lot that is not appropriate for anyone. But kids are wily, and they will find ways to watch. Jed Kim spoke with Common Sense Media Editor-in-Chief Jill Murphy, who says a whole lot of families are struggling with this.

Oct 07, 2019
When tech unicorns stumble, prices go up for everyone

This might be the week that the tech valuation bubble finally popped. WeWork, valued at $47 billion, pulled its IPO, partly over corporate governance concerns, but also because it just isn’t making money. So why did people think these venture-backed companies were worth so much? We dig into this with Alex Wilhelm, editor in chief at Crunchbase News. (10/4/2019)

Oct 04, 2019
Did Amazon just kick electric vehicle production into a higher gear?

Electric vehicle maker Rivian hasn’t produced a commercial vehicle yet. Now it’s tasked with making 100,000 delivery trucks for Amazon.  What could this mean for the electric vehicle market overall?

Oct 03, 2019
Gun owners want smart guns on the market but don’t want to buy them

For decades, gun manufacturers have tried to figure out how to create a smart gun — one that could only be fired by the gun’s owner and could be activated by a fingerprint or a radio signal sent from the weapon to a wristband. Why haven’t they been successful in selling one? Wood spoke with Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and asked her what the barriers are.

Oct 02, 2019
Buying property is emotional. Tech can help people understand their home’s climate risk.

Lots of homes are dealing with an increased risk of flooding due to climate change, and lots of homeowners are still relying on the federal government’s FEMA maps, which were intended to be used by the insurance industry, not consumers. But tech companies are working to collect and distribute climate data in an understandable way. Coastal Risk Consulting is a Florida-based startup that crunches global climate data down to the individual property level.

Oct 01, 2019
Building a better algorithm to predict flood risk in the age of climate change

Residents of Charleston, South Carolina, hunkered down earlier this month as Hurricane Dorian struck the East Coast. They came out largely unscathed. But it was just the latest flooding threat in this low-lying coastal city. It’s the kind of place that could benefit from better flood maps made possible by new tools to process climate change data.

Sep 30, 2019
The WeWork IPO really didn’t work. Yet. Who is that affecting?

For WeWork it’s been a couple of weeks for the co-working unicorn — its valuation has dropped by tens of billions of dollars. WeWork delayed its move to go public. Its public IPO filings made people’s hair curl with stories of its CEO self-dealing and sketchy corporate governance. Earlier this week, that CEO, Adam Neumann, resigned but still leads the board.

Sep 27, 2019
An app that pays you for your data? Yes, actually.
00:12:00 is an app that lets you connect all your various online accounts. It scoops all the data on you and puts it in one encrypted location that you can control. Then, with your permission, a new company called UBDI pays you to share some of that data with companies or researchers.

Sep 26, 2019
Twitter hires social scientists to help figure out our conversation problem

Twitter commissioned a two-year study to help it create metrics for what is a healthy conversation and what isn’t. Host Molly Wood spoke with Rebekah Tromble, who teaches media and politics at George Washington University and is one of the research leads on this project. The team is looking at four categories: mutual engagement, diversity of perspective, incivility and intolerance.

Sep 25, 2019
Some iPhones are now made with recycled rare earth minerals. Will that change the rest of the industry?

New smartphones come out like clockwork every year, and most people buy new phones every two years. But that upgrade cycle is terrible for Earth. Smartphones are energy intensive to manufacture and involve mining dozens of different rare earth minerals. Very few parts of the phone can be recycled because extracting those metals is also difficult and energy intensive. But last week, Apple announced it’s cracked part of that nut. It found a supplier of recycled rare earth materials, and now Apple is putting them in its newest iPhones. The company says this is a first in the industry.

Sep 24, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom on California climate change and tech’s role in fighting it

For our climate tech series “How We Survive,” host Molly Wood spoke with California Gov. Gavin Newsom. She asked him if he saw the tech industry as having a role in helping communities adapt and preventing more disasters.

Sep 23, 2019
East Palo Alto: Next door to Big Tech, vulnerable to climate change

In Silicon Valley, the tiny town of East Palo Alto has not shared in the wealth of the tech boom. It’s sandwiched between Palo Alto, home of Stanford University, and Menlo Park, home of Sand Hill Road and venture capital millions. But it doesn’t really benefit from its wealthy neighbors, and that means the community needs to get more self-sufficient and resilient as it faces growing effects of climate change.

Sep 20, 2019
Where is Big Tech on solutions for climate change adaptation?

To find out what the tech industry is doing to develop solutions to climate change, Molly Wood asked: Is it fair to expect private companies to make adapting to climate change part of their jobs?

Sep 19, 2019
A visit to X: The tech moonshot factory is working on climate change

Host Molly Wood speaks with Astro Teller, who leads X and whose official title is captain of moonshots. Formerly Google X, it’s the division of Alphabet devoted to moonshots — big, crazy technology bets that hopefully turn into companies. Its climate-related graduates include Dandelion, which harnesses heat from geothermal energy, and Malta, which uses salt to store excess energy produced from solar and wind farms. Teller talks about the areas of X’s work focused on climate.

Sep 18, 2019
With all of Silicon Valley’s startup money, where’s the investment in climate tech?

We’re in the heart of the tech industry this week, the Silicon Valley, which is also the home of the huge venture capital funds that back a lot of the innovation here. And those are concentrated in a quiet office park on one little street called Sand Hill Road. So what are they doing to invest in climate tech?

Sep 17, 2019
At the intersection of tech, climate and the land of Silicon Valley

We’re taking our climate tech series, “How We Survive,” to the epicenter of technology: Silicon Valley. It’s not just a metaphor for the tech industry, it’s a real place. Cities, businesses and people are surrounded by a rising sea and are at risk from increasingly extreme weather. This all comes to a head on Stevens Creek Trail, a popular commuter route for tech workers that’s also seeing climate change impacts. It’s a great setting to kick off an exploration of what Big Tech is doing to adapt and maybe help the rest of us, too.

Sep 16, 2019
States take on Google with antitrust investigation. This won’t be quick.

This week, attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced they’re joining forces to investigate whether Google has engaged in anti-competitive behavior. Some of those AGs are also part of another investigation into similar questions about Facebook.

Sep 13, 2019
Drivers wanted: EVs are all over the Frankfurt Motor Show

The Frankfurt Motor Show opened this week in Germany, and automakers are showcasing their hot, new electric vehicles. As always, prices for many of the electric cars run well above the means of a humble public radio employee. You’ve got your Porsche, your Mercedes-Benz, your BMW. But in Europe, there are also a lot of other offerings with prices closer to the range of what the average consumer could buy.

Sep 12, 2019
Pindrops work. But if you (or your drone) require location precision, there’s an app for that.

What3words is a company that has divvied Earth into 57 trillion squares, each with its own unique string of three identifying words. Anyone with the company’s app or website can translate locations from those words.

Sep 11, 2019
It’s happening in Knoxville: Time, money and marketing make smaller cities viable tech hubs

For smaller cities outside of the epicenters of tech, developing as a hub is a long process with a lot of things that must go right. Jed Kim speaks with Jim Biggs, who worked in Silicon Valley for years before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he’s an executive director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, a business accelerator. He laid out the hurdles his city and others face.

Sep 10, 2019
It’s not a given that tech in the classroom improves learning

Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with Daniel Willingham, who’s a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and researches how we learn. He said balancing tech’s promises and its realities has been a learning experience of its own. (9/9/2019)

Sep 09, 2019
For U.S. Navy destroyers, old controls might be safer than new tech

The USS Fitzgerald collided with a Phillipine container ship in June 2017, killing seven sailors. Then, just two months later, the USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian merchant vessel, killing 10 sailors. Megan Eckstein, deputy editor for USNI News, part of the U.S. Naval Institute, told me the National Transportation Safety Board found the USS McCain collision was caused by a helmsman who was confused by his touch-screen displays. The Navy has taken note, and, Eckstein says, is making changes. (09/06/19)

Sep 06, 2019
How much longer until people want to date Alexa?

The 2013 Spike Jonze film “Her” imagined a not-too-distant future where digital voice assistants become super lifelike. And then it becomes a love story between a man and a machine, which seemed crazy, maybe a little gross. Since then, we’ve seen Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant evolve and spread to more devices. (9/5/2019)

Sep 05, 2019
Detroit’s first director of digital inclusion helps a divided city get online

Detroit is one of the least-connected big American cities. According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, less than half of homes there have broadband internet. That means hundreds of thousands of Detroiters stand on the losing side of a growing digital divide. Jed Kim talks to Joshua Edmonds, the city’s first director of digital inclusion. (9/4/2019)

Sep 04, 2019
Australia is figuring out its own way to wrestle with tech giants

This summer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission delivered the results of a big investigation on the impacts of Big Tech — especially Google and Facebook. It looked at competition and privacy, and how social media has crippled local journalism, among other issues. The result? Twenty-three recommendations that the government can use to regulate — or not. (9/3/2019)

Sep 03, 2019
Electric vehicles are getting noisier, for safety’s sake

In the European Union, new models of electric vehicles must make some sort of noise to address some safety concerns. Some carmakers are already doing that, and they’re taking it as an opportunity to craft signature sounds. Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with BBC journalist Chris Vallance, who reported about some of the things designers need to think about when making new car sounds. This is a re-air episode, which originally was published on Jul. 15, 2019. (9/2/2019)

Sep 02, 2019
“Amazon’s Choice” does not vouch for product quality

“Marketplace Tech’s” Jed Kim spoke with Nicole Nguyen, who is a technology reporter at BuzzFeed News. The “Amazon’s Choice” label helps boost items’ sales, which also helps Amazon, since it gets a cut. But Nguyen said there’s not much known about how the designation gets awarded. (8/30/2019)

Aug 30, 2019
Plug-in planes are coming, faster than ever

“Marketplace Tech’s” Jed Kim spoke with Graham Warwick, executive editor of Aviation Week. They talked about the rapidly evolving electric plane sector and how electric flight could potentially reinvigorate regional air travel. (8/29/2019)

Aug 29, 2019
More schools are analyzing students’ online lives in the name of safety

As a new term begins, a growing number of schools will be scouring students’ social media posts and emails for warning signs that they may pose a safety threat. (8/28/2019)

Aug 28, 2019
Teens on screens might be a good thing

It feels like we’re constantly bombarded with news stories about how screens and technology are destroying our kids’ mental health. Turns out, though, when it comes to adolescents, those negative impacts of screen time may be overblown. (8/27/2019)

Aug 27, 2019
How the economy, energy and tech show up in “Mad Max”

Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with Matthew Kahn, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, about the energy, technology and economics on display in “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” He said that for him, the movie shows how free markets falter in a post-apocalyptic world. (8/26/2019)

Aug 26, 2019
Apple Health: Once the company’s ambition, now has stalled

For a while in 2018, it seemed like Apple was going to upend the health industry. The company announced an app that could monitor your heart rate and detect irregularities. It was bringing your medical records to your iPhone. It even launched its own health care clinics for employees and families, which people saw as a trial balloon for understanding the industry.

Aug 23, 2019
If you don’t like Facebook, try building your own social network

If you don’t like Facebook, you can just leave, but maybe you can leave — and build your own social network. One programmer wrote a guide on how to create your own DIY platform for that. Molly Wood talks to Darius Kazemi about the demand for such a service, and why he’s worked on it.

Aug 22, 2019
Patreon lets fans support online creators directly. Its CEO wants to keep service personal.

Increasingly, creators are turning to platforms with a membership model as a way to earn a living. Patreon is a website with such a model. It lets fans support projects of their choosing with recurring donations in exchange for everything from shoutouts to free stuff or exclusive content. Host Molly Wood speaks with Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte, who says the platform works because it’s not about expanding at all costs.

Aug 21, 2019
Before driverless cars come driverless office park shuttles?

There’s no one way forward for autonomous car technology. Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, is still testing fully autonomous cars as taxis in the Phoenix area. Tesla is putting semi-autonomous features into its own cars for consumers to buy. And some companies, like Boston-based Optimus Ride, are thinking the immediate future may be a little more contained.

Aug 20, 2019
How fake Twitter accounts spread misinformation and distort conversation

It’s easy to create a fake account on social media. Facebook admitted that billions of accounts on its platforms could be fake. Last year alone, Twitter suspended more than 70 million bots and fake accounts, but they keep appearing. The more bots there are, the more they can manipulate the online conversation.

Aug 19, 2019
Wired gets the tea on three years of struggle at Google

Google, as a company, has a long history of internal disagreement and activism. But in recent years that internal culture, where employees are encouraged to argue with executives, with each other and to protest decisions and policies they don’t like has become an external culture, too. Employees have visibly protested Google over politics, hiring, how the company deals with sexual harassment and business decisions; for example, whether the company should do business in China or make deals with the Pentagon.

Aug 16, 2019
Robots help humans save water as climate change makes every drop count

As the effects of climate change grow, the market for technology to monitor and adapt to those impacts grows as well. In this installment of our series “How We Survive,” reporter Daniel Ackerman explores the use of robots in service of a problem that’s going to be more important as climate change increases drought and water scarcity. Pipes that carry drinking water in the United States are not doing so great. Many are over a century old, and on average, 1 in every 6 gallons of water leaks before it reaches anyone’s tap. A robotics startup has new technology for detecting leaks to help utilities fix them.

Aug 15, 2019
How networking can lead to more diversity in tech

There’s been more attention lately on who’s part of the tech boom and who’s not. At Facebook, Google and Apple about three in four technical employees are men — the coders, engineers and developers. African Americans make up a tiny share of that workforce — just 1.5% at Facebook, 2.8% at Google and 6% at Apple, according to these companies.

Aug 14, 2019
The CES tech conference aims to improve its reputation with women

We’re months away from the next CES, the huge tech trade show that draws almost 200,000 people to Las Vegas every January. In 2020, for the first time, sex tech startups will be officially included at the conference and booth babes will not.

Aug 13, 2019
Money doesn’t exist in the “Star Trek” universe. So how’s that work?

A lot of science fiction shows present a darkly dystopian view of the future, where humans battle for limited resources and are starkly divided between the haves and have-nots. But some views of the future are far more utopian and techno optimistic. In “Star Trek,” members of the federation live in a post-money society: Everyone has the basics, nobody must work, and ordering what you need is as easy as telling a replicator “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” (8/12/2019)

Aug 12, 2019
Are new electric vehicle models real competition for Tesla?

Tesla still swings wildly between profits and losses from quarter to quarter. But sales of its more affordable Model 3 sedan are strong. It was Western Europe’s biggest selling battery car in the first half of 2019. In the U.S., it’s outselling luxury gas-powered competition from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus. For the past few years, journalists who cover transportation have been wondering: Is this the time that electric cars finally become a major part of the market?

Aug 09, 2019
On the fence: Are gig workers contractors, employees or other?

Uber and Lyft report earnings this week, and the biggest long-term threat to profits for both of their businesses is drivers. Currently, of course, drivers aren’t classified as employees with benefits, overtime or workplace protections. They’re technically independent contractors with none of that.

Aug 08, 2019
Cloud over Pentagon plan to move all data to one network

The Department of Defense is looking for a company that can turn its patchwork quilt of cloud networks into one giant cloud. There’s a big contract on the line — $10 billion. Amazon was the front-runner until last week when President Donald Trump intervened and asked the DOD to investigate whether the process was unfair.

Aug 07, 2019
When online forums become terrorist networks, how do we deal with them?

The online forum 8chan was mostly offline yesterday. It was booted from several big web platforms after the weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The Walmart rampage was at least the third mass shooting this year to be announced in advance on 8chan, which has become a haven for far-right extremists.

Aug 06, 2019
As climate change brings more fires, how do we keep the air clean?

The effects of last year’s Camp Fire stretched far beyond the Northern California town it destroyed. The smoke traveled hundreds of miles, exposing millions to toxins and pollutants. As climate change extends wildfire season, keeping indoor air clean and healthy will be all the more important. That’s the focus of this installment of “How We Survive,” our series on tech and adapting to the changing climate.

Aug 05, 2019
We know tech is designed to be addictive, but should there be a law against it?

This week, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, introduced a bill that would ban features that are supposed to keep us using tech for longer periods of time — like endless scrolling, autoplay videos and techniques like the Snapstreak in Snapchat. Host Molly Wood spoke with Adam Alter, who wrote the 2018 book “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” He said before we ban the features, we need to know the harm.

Aug 02, 2019
SoftBank’s Vision Fund remade the tech industry. What will the sequel bring?

The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank shook the tech and investment landscape over the last two years with its $100-billion Vision Fund. This week, SoftBank announced Vision Fund 2, which aims to raise $108 billion. Previously, a good-sized venture fund was less than a quarter of that amount — maybe $200 million tops. This fund could have a huge impact on the direction of future technology. It’s focused on artificial intelligence and data analysis, and of course, it’s making waves in venture capital all over again.

Aug 01, 2019
To get broadband to every American, you need to know the rules in all 50 states

The digital economy depends heavily on access to the internet, and that is still not a solved problem here in the United States. Over 30% of Americans don’t have access to broadband internet — defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 25 megabits per second or higher — according to research released Tuesday by The NPD Group. The Pew Charitable Trusts wants to figure out why. Today, the organization’s Broadband Research Initiative is launching a new tool that lets anyone browse through broadband policies and funding in any state in the U.S.

Jul 31, 2019
Creators have more ways to make a living than just YouTube

There are a lot of different ways to have a career on YouTube that go beyond cat videos or comedy. Kati Morton found that out when she started uploading videos about mental health. She’s a licensed therapist and had a private practice. But over the past eight years, she’s shifted almost entirely away from it to bring her expertise to the masses via YouTube. Her channel has about 1,200 educational videos on mental health.

Jul 30, 2019
The Trump administration wants access to encrypted messages

Law enforcement officials generally aren’t fans of what’s called end-to-end encryption — messages that can only be read by the sender and the recipient. They call it “going dark” and argue that encrypted communications make it harder to investigate or uncover crimes. Host Molly Wood spoke with Moxie Marlinspike, founder and CEO of the private chat app Signal Messenger, about what a ban on encryption — or giving law enforcement a back door to messages — might mean.

Jul 29, 2019
U.S. regulators are getting serious about Big Tech. Or are they?

This week, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook $5 billion, ordered changes to the company’s board and handed down some data security requirements that Mark Zuckerberg personally must monitor and confirm. The FTC is also investigating Facebook for potential antitrust violations, and the Department of Justice is probing tech companies for anti-competitive behavior.

Jul 26, 2019
How do private companies get research projects into space?

A new resupply mission is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Friday. But these days, missions to the ISS are as much about business as they are about science. Seventy percent of the cargo in this week’s rocket is private-sector research projects — as in companies sending products to the space station for testing in microgravity.

Jul 25, 2019
Celebrating the wisdom that comes with age, in a youth-obsessed industry

The tech industry has well-known diversity issues around gender and race. Its lesser known, but age is the industry’s huge blind spot. In fact, 40 is the top age curve at a lot of tech companies. Google just settled more than 200 claims of age discrimination, and the complaint is becoming much more common.

Jul 24, 2019
Payment apps are all fun and easy, until you get burned by a typo

PayPal reports quarterly earnings tomorrow. We’ll get an update on Venmo, the popular peer-to-peer payments app that PayPal owns. But as services like Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle have gotten more popular, there have been some growing pains. Fraud and scams, for sure, but also a lot of accidental payments; for example, typing in the wrong email address. When that happens, as people have sadly discovered, the money is gone.

Jul 23, 2019
The design legacy of Apple’s Jony Ive is iconic, but eco-problematic

Apple is known for beautiful, expensive products that get replaced often, either for status or because the battery is dying. When longtime designer Jony Ive left Apple last month to form his own design company, a lot of people reflected on his time at Apple: his influence on creating products that were hard to repair, prioritizing thinness and beauty over reliability, and whether, as Apple gears up to announce new iPhones this fall, that might change now that Ive is gone. (7/22/2019)

Jul 22, 2019
The U.S. is talking, and the EU is regulating. Is any of it slowing down Big Tech?

This Friday’s “Quality Assurance” segment takes a deeper look at the different approaches the United States and European Union are taking to regulate Big Tech.

Jul 19, 2019
Nature: the next big thing in climate adaptation technology?

To many, the term infrastructure conjures roads, pipes and walls—pretty much the antithesis of nature. But some scientists and engineers want to reverse that impression by harnessing nature as infrastructure. The idea that plants and soil can prevent flooding and purify water is gaining traction in an era of rising seas and severe storms.

Jul 18, 2019
A tailored ride-hail service with special needs in mind

It seems like Uber and Lyft are everywhere these days. And for many people, it’s great because those services make it easier — and often cheaper — to get where you need to go. But they don’t work for everyone.

Jul 17, 2019
If you love Amazon Prime Day, you probably don’t work in a fulfillment center

It’s Amazon’s fifth annual Prime Day. Or days? It’s 48 hours this time. Customers are expected to spend more than $5 billion, which means millions of orders processed in giant warehouses, which Amazon calls fulfillment centers. This work is increasingly automated, but there are more than 100,000 human workers in its North American centers because humans are more economical for some things, especially if they must work unceasingly. (7/16/2019)

Jul 16, 2019
Electric vehicles are getting noisier, for safety’s sake

One of the strangest things to get used to about electric vehicles is how eerily quiet they are. It makes you realize how much we associate engine noise with driving. That lack of sound can be problematic — even deadly. Think about the visually impaired, or anyone oblivious to vehicles because they’re staring at their smartphones.

Jul 15, 2019
YouTubers, influencers and big business converge at VidCon 2019

The masses have flocked on Anaheim, California, for VidCon, where industry executives and fans get to interact with their favorite influencers. And, of course, take selfies with a giant rainbow slide and Barbie’s glittering Dream House. Marketplace’s Jed Kim also spoke with Taylor Lorenz, who covers internet culture for The Atlantic. She said Instagram and TikTok are gaining ground on YouTube among creators.

Jul 12, 2019
Margaret O’Mara’s book “The Code” brings hidden Silicon Valley history to light

Marketplace’s Jed Kim continues his conversation with Margaret O’Mara, whose book “The Code” is out this week. Think of it as a biography of Silicon Valley — all the circumstances over more than half a century that made it what it is today.

Jul 11, 2019
We love stories about Silicon Valley success, but what is its history?

We’re fascinated with tales of visionary entrepreneurs, trillion-dollar companies, the American tech success story. Foreign leaders are keen to understand and replicate the innovation juggernaut that is Silicon Valley. But little has been written about the entirety of it — the economic ecosystem of Silicon Valley and how it evolved. Margaret O’Mara’s new book, “The Code,” offers a more comprehensive look at the American tech industry dating back to the 1940s.

Jul 10, 2019
Biomimicry draws on nature’s billions of years of R&D for design solutions

If you’ve got a design problem you need to fix, you could lock a bunch of engineers into a room to help brainstorm. Or you could look to the natural world, which is called biomimicry, the practice of replicating adaptations found in nature. Jed Kim talks to Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute.

Jul 09, 2019
On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11: How did the space race influence today’s tech?

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew landing on the moon. PBS is releasing a six-hour documentary series about it, “Chasing the Moon.” Marketplace’s Jed Kim watched the whole series and calls it thrilling, even though we all know how it ends, right? Kim spoke about this and more with the filmmaker Robert Stone.

Jul 08, 2019
When Facebook bought Oculus did it make the VR firm less relevant?

Virtual reality company Oculus was going to revolutionize VR for gaming back in 2014. The Oculus Rift headset was for gamers by gamers, end of story. But then Facebook bought the company for about $2 billion because it had a much bigger vision for virtual reality as the future of engagement: people hanging out in VR like they did on the news feed, having a good time and watching ads for hours. This is an encore of part two of Molly Wood’s March 2019 interview with Blake Harris, author of “History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution that Swept Virtual Reality.”

Jul 05, 2019
We were all supposed to have virtual reality headsets by now, but Oculus stalled

Virtual reality is the technology that keeps on promising. For the past decade, the promise has seemed so much closer, especially when Oculus came along looking like such a game-changer that even Facebook invested $2 billion on it in 2014. Host Molly Wood spoke with Blake Harris in March, the author of “The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality.” This is a re-air of that conversation.

Jul 04, 2019
“The Weather Machine” explores the army of scientists and supercomputers behind our forecasts

We couldn’t always predict the weather. It took huge strides in physics, atmospheric science, computer science and engineering to connect the dots between what’s going on in the sky at any given moment to whether we’ll have a rainstorm next week. And that effort has become bigger: more international and more expensive, involving supercomputers, the International Space Station, satellites and advanced models. Amy Choi talks to Andrew Blum, author of “The Weather Machine.”

Jul 03, 2019
Amazon is 25 years old. What will the company’s next chapter look like?

Amazon turns 25 this week. Who would’ve thought back in 1994 that a tiny online retailer that just sold books might turn into a company that touches pretty much every aspect of our lives — what we buy, how we compute, how we watch movies? Molly Wood talks to futurist Amy Webb about the next 25 years of the giant tech firm.

Jul 02, 2019
Bot? Or not? New California law requires disclosure

A new California law goes into effect today, requiring any online chat bot that’s trying to sell you something or get you to vote a certain way to disclose that it’s a bot. No pretending to be a person trying to sell you an extended warranty in a customer service chat. Or no posing as a real person posting on Twitter about voting in an upcoming election.

Jul 01, 2019
When a tech columnist digs into the secret life of his data

Most of us have this kind of vague sense that our devices and tech services are trading our data for advertising. But it’s still shocking to find out exactly how much our gadgets and services, and even our browsers, are tracking what you do. Host Molly Wood talks with Washington Post Tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler about what he found out when he started tracking how his data is flowing.

Jun 28, 2019
Tech takes the field at World Cup soccer

It takes very little to get a soccer game started. Two or more people kicking at something, make a goal out of some chairs or maybe even just a gap between trees, and it’s on. Soccer can be very low tech. But clubs looking for an edge over the competition keep turning to high tech to analyze game play and help with training. Tech advances are noticeable for those who are glued to the TV this World Cup tournament as referees frequently use instant replay to make calls.

Jun 27, 2019
2020 campaign update: Targeted ads are definitely following you

Wednesday and Thursday night in Miami, the Democratic presidential candidates will gather to debate on TV. But that’s the old-school version of how presidential candidates will try to reach you. Campaigns are already spending a lot more on digital advertising in this election, especially programmatic advertising, which automatically targets people based on habits, age and other information.

Jun 26, 2019
If we live forever as digital souls, how would we treat our digital world?

Science fiction author Neal Stephenson has a new book out called “Fall,” exploring how technology might mean the end of death. In the book, a billionaire who made his fortune in video games has his digital conscious uploaded after he dies. Stephenson says he was inspired in part by John Milton’s 17th century poem “Paradise Lost,”  about the afterlife and the forming of the world.

Jun 25, 2019
Is social media tearing us apart?

Author Neal Stephenson joins host Molly Wood to discuss his new book, “Fall,” and how he had previously underestimated the dark side of social media.

Jun 24, 2019
What happens if the trade war hits the tech industry?

If a fourth round of tariffs is imposed on goods from China, tech companies will be targeted. That means the prices of our gadgets could go up.

Jun 21, 2019
Forced tech transfers happen. But how do they actually work?

Forced technology transfer is hard to track. For example, there’s usually no explicit request from a Chinese official to hand over a trade secret… or else. Instead, it’s murkier, perhaps a verbal request for sensitive information behind closed doors as part of the Chinese government’s licensing or approval process.

Jun 20, 2019
Facebook’s crypto dream

Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency in 2020. It’s called Libra, and Facebook already has a bunch of high-profile partners lined up — Uber, Spotify and, notably, big players in the payment space, like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal. The partners will jointly manage the currency through a nonprofit association. And Facebook says there’ll be a firewall of sorts between users’ finances and the social network. It won’t use financial data to improve ad targeting on Facebook. So why create a new digital wallet? And why do it with a cryptocurrency? Lisa Ellis covers payments and cryptocurrencies at the research firm MoffettNathanson. She says Facebook wants to be a commerce platform.


Jun 19, 2019
AI for Earth helps researchers get more granular with climate data

Marketplace Tech has been covering how technology helps us adapt to climate change through the series “How We Survive.” To start, you have to understand the problem and create smart solutions. Host Molly Wood spoke with Jeffrey Allenby, director of conservation technology at the Chesapeake Conservancy, a grantee of Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, and Lucas Joppa, head of that initiative.

Jun 18, 2019
Sharing cars with ride-hailing was supposed to cut congestion. It hasn’t.

There’s a saying that you’re never in traffic, you are traffic. The early vision of companies like Uber and Lyft was that they’d help pull drivers away from using their own cars, but in today’s reminder of the power of unintended consequences, recent studies show ride-sharing services made traffic worse in San Francisco. There are other factors, too — the city has been booming recently, there are more people and more online shopping and food deliveries.

Jun 17, 2019
Would you buy cellphone service from your cable company?

Cable companies are some of the new players in the cellphone business. Since 2017, Comcast has offered cellphone service with Xfinity Mobile. Charter Communications offers Spectrum Mobile and Altice will soon be offering cellphone service as well. The service is cheaper than standard cellphone services, with about $45 being the maximum cost per month. However, you can’t necessarily use any phone you want.

Jun 14, 2019
Looking back at what the movie WALL-E has to say about how we live

This summer we’re bringing back our tech-in-entertainment series. To kick it off, here’s an interview we love on the lessons of the 2008 Pixar film “WALL-E.” Host Molly Wood talks with great sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of “New York 2140,” which also imagines a world transformed by environmental collapse. As it happens, WALL-E is one of his favorite movies.

Jun 13, 2019
On the ground at Huawei’s headquarters: anger and polite robots

Huawei is the world’s second biggest smartphone maker and the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications gear. Huawei is also the face of the Trump administration’s trade war and economic tensions with China. The U.S. has mostly banned American companies from doing business with Huawei and pressured other countries to stop using Huawei’s networking gear, saying it could be used to spy for the Chinese government. Not surprisingly, Huawei is on a PR offensive. The company invited several journalists, including Marketplace Senior Correspondent Scott Tong for a factory tour and meetings at its Shenzhen headquarters. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood asked Tong how executives are feeling about the situation.

Jun 12, 2019
Video games went from virtual currency to real money, and it changed the business

This week is E3, the huge video game trade show. People spent something like $138 billion on games in 2018 according to various analysts. The game industry has been growing in double digits for a decade, which is almost unheard of. Part of the reason is way more people are playing games, mostly thanks to mobile gaming. But also, people spend a lot more money in games on virtual currencies and virtual goods, like digital outfits called skins, upgrades and accessories. Host Molly Wood talked with Vili Lehdonvirta, an economic sociologist at the Oxford Internet Institute who studies digital economies. He said for a long time games had their own complex economies that were entirely virtual, and then a big shift happened.

Jun 11, 2019
SpaceX satellites lit up the night sky… too brightly

SpaceX launched about 60 small satellites in May, the first batch in its Starlink project designed to provide cheaper satellite internet access all over the world. But those first 60 satellites were bright, visible in photographs and even the naked eye. Astronomers freaked out, worried they could interfere with both visual and radio astronomy. As the satellites settled into position they dimmed, but thousands more are coming.

Host Molly Wood talked with Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He said scientists didn’t know what to expect from the SpaceX launch.

Jun 10, 2019
Are YouTube’s excuses for terrible content finally wearing thin?

Like most big tech platforms, Google-owned YouTube has been struggling, or maybe not struggling enough, with how to deal with awful, hateful or violent videos on its network. This week YouTube waffled on how to handle videos from creator Steven Crowder, who repeatedly mocked a journalist for his race and sexual orientation. First YouTube said the videos didn’t violate its policies, then it did de-monetize Crowder’s channel, and on the same day YouTube announced new policies for dealing with hateful videos.

Host Molly Wood talked with Julia Wong, a senior technology reporter for the Guardian. She said we should think of YouTube less like Facebook or Twitter and more like a company that pays entertainers and benefits from their work.

Jun 07, 2019
Automation could make ports more efficient and eco-friendly, but with fewer jobs

More consumer goods come into the Port of Los Angeles than any other U.S. port. A plan to use more unmanned, electric vehicles would bring major changes to the port and its surrounding economy. Union workers are pushing back hard against automation. At a protest this spring, workers held signs that said: “Robots don’t pay taxes” and “Where will American labor work?” But port owners say automated technology will cut costs in LA and help California meet its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases. Today, the port is noisy and polluted, a massive system of ships, cranes and more than 1,700 trucks passing through a day, most of them diesel. Automation could change that picture.

Host Amy Choi talked with Romy Varghese, reporter for Bloomberg, about what an automated Port of Los Angeles could look like.

Jun 06, 2019
The future of phone use is group chat and messaging

Messaging is the future of smartphones, and not just plain old texting but things like WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage that let you send videos, group chat, see when someone is typing and send GIFs and animations. China’s WeChat is the ultimate messaging dream. It’s a service that lets its users do all of that and shop and make payments and order food delivery. That’s what Facebook wants to become with its new plan to combine all its messaging platforms. But most people are still just texting, and that technology needs an upgrade. One possibility is RCS, rich communication services, which would bring fancy chat features to the texting app on everyone’s phone.

Host Molly Wood talked with Sam Barker, a lead analyst following mobile at Juniper Research. He says we might still use WhatsApp or iMessage to chat with friends, but RCS is a huge business opportunity.

Jun 05, 2019
How to get venture capital for your startup: know somebody

If you’re a would-be startup founder looking for venture capital, it’s there — but you’ll have to work for it. The world of venture capital is pretty mysterious, especially if you’re an entrepreneur trying to make your startup dream a reality.  The center of the VC world is one street in Menlo Park, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s called Sand Hill Road. Host Molly Wood talked with Scott Kupor, managing partner of one of the most famous firms, Andreessen Horowitz. He has a new book out called “Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It.”

Jun 04, 2019
Four women who conquered venture capital and are paying it forward

Only about 11% of venture capitalists at firms in the U.S. are women, and 71% of firms don’t have a single partner who is a woman. “Alpha Girls,” the new book from journalist Julian Guthrie, tells the story of four women who did succeed in Silicon Valley’s VC culture: MJ Elmore, Magdalena Yeşil, Sonja Perkins and Theresia Gouw. Together they built household-name companies, broke VC barriers, became mentors and investors in other women and had to endure some pretty absurd stuff along the way. Host Molly Wood talked with Guthrie.

Today’s show is sponsored by Indeed, WordPress and Evident.

Jun 03, 2019
Why isn’t cybersecurity getting more attention?

Cybersecurity headlines are everywhere. Earlier this month, a cyberattack hit electrical systems in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Security research firm Digital Shadows said this week more than 2 billion files containing sensitive information have been exposed on various cloud servers that aren’t properly secured. Baltimore is still recovering from a ransomware attack in which hackers used tools stolen from the National Security Agency to compromise the city’s networks. And not for nothing, Robert Mueller reminded us all this week that Russians definitely hacked our election systems, and we’re still unprepared and barely even talking about it. Host Molly Wood talked with Nicole Perlroth, who covers cybersecurity for the New York Times. She asked Perlroth how exposed we are to hackers.

Today’s show is sponsored by Clickshare.

May 31, 2019
Could a challenger to iOS and Android come from China?

The Chinese electronics giant Huawei is the world’s second-biggest smartphone manufacturer, and it suddenly finds itself without an official mobile operating system. Google is scheduled to cut off Huawei’s access to its official version of Android as of August following a U.S. ban on doing business with that company. Huawei said it’s been working on its own mobile operating system. Meanwhile, the Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the hit social network TikTok, said it would explore launching its own custom phone with preloaded ByteDance apps. But many have tried to build alternatives to either Android or Apple’s iOS and failed. Host Molly Wood talked with Julie Ask, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

Today’s show is sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

May 30, 2019
Politics aside, climate data is a growing business

This week, the Trump administration took steps to limit climate science research within government agencies, according to the New York Times. It will reduce the time frame covered by U.S. climate models, and possibly stop including some kinds of projections, like worst-case scenarios. This is happening at a time when private industry is trying to increase climate intelligence.  One person working on this? Emilie Mazzacurati, founder and CEO of the climate data firm Four Twenty Seven, which helps businesses determine how extreme weather could impact them. She talks with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about her work as part of our new series “How We Survive: Using Tech to Adapt to Climate Change.”

Today’s show is sponsored by Clickshare.

May 29, 2019
When summer camp is about becoming a YouTuber

Summer might be time for… YouTube camp. Essentially these are places where kids can learn how to create slicker YouTube videos and channels. The demand has grown as kids want to emulate the online stars they watch. Jed Kim spoke with Julie Jargon, the family and tech columnist at the Wall Street Journal who wrote about the trend. She says kids learn how to light, shoot and edit videos. Also? How to develop their personal brands.

Today’s show is sponsored by the Rochester Institute of Technology, AVAST and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.

May 28, 2019
“Hollywood Dream Machines” exhibit explores sci-fi vehicles used on screen

The future of cars is always exciting, and always just around the corner. Things like self driving cars have been five years away for about 40 years now. But there are times when pure imagination is exactly what’s needed, when vehicles have to be as out-there as possible. Nearly incredible cars are a big part of science fiction TV shows and movies. They’re often characters themselves, and someone has to make them.

Marketplace’s Jack Stewart went to see some of the creations of writers, directors and designers at a new exhibition at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. It’s called “Hollywood Dream Machines,” and there are cars from “Mad Max,” “Blade Runner” and the classic “Star Wars,” among others. Bryan Stevens is exhibitions and creative director at the museum, and he started by explaining how a car designer works with a filmmaker.

Today’s show is sponsored by Evident and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

May 27, 2019
Are we entering a tech cold war with China?

The U.S. and China continue to lob salvos at each other over trade. The tech industries of both countries are kind of caught in the middle. Huawei, the jewel in China’s tech crown, is weighing options in the wake of Google’s decision to cut ties with the company. It comes after a decision by the Trump administration to ban dealings with Huawei. There’s been a temporary reprieve, which is just adding to the air of uncertainty for tech companies doing business in China. But there’s a wider question being asked: Are we entering a new tech cold war? Jed Kim talked with Ina Fried, chief technology correspondent for Axios.

Today’s show is sponsored by Clickshare and Ultimate Software.

May 24, 2019
Can tech help protect aging brains from online scams?

We’re all being hit constantly with spam callers, online phishing attacks, scams and other fraud attempts. But there’s medical evidence that otherwise healthy older people might become more vulnerable to these attacks. Molly Wood talks with David Brancaccio, host of “Marketplace Morning Report,” who has been reporting on how our defenses get weaker as our brains age. He said some researchers are figuring out how technology is used to scam people and how that same tech could be used to protect them.

Today’s show is sponsored by Indeed, Lenovo for Small Business and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.

May 23, 2019
Fake pictures of faces are getting much harder to detect

Artificial intelligence is bringing us so-called “deep fakes” — very believable pictures that aren’t just altered, they’re completely made up. Combating disinformation online is a mission for Professor Jevin West at the University of Washington Information School. He co-created the site It shows you two pictures at a time, and you pick which one is real. Marketplace’s Jed Kim asked West why it’s important to be able to spot fake people.

Today’s show is sponsored by Clickshare and Indeed.

May 22, 2019
“Ethical hacker” is a big and growing job

So, you’ve got your computer science degree, and you’re choosing your path. It might well lead to hacking … the “good” kind. Gary Rivlin is a journalist and author of the new book “Becoming an Ethical Hacker.” Jed Kim talks with Rivlin about getting to know several of the field’s top information security professionals, who are out to do good and earn practical rewards, too.

Today’s show is sponsored by Evident, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Indeed.

May 21, 2019
Startups looking for funding now have more options

Venture capital firms that were invested in Lyft, Uber and Pinterest just got paid when those companies went public. These big VC firms will now have more to invest, and they’ll get more powerful. But the venture industry is changing. There are lots more smaller players like angel investors, for one. Host Molly Wood talked with Jason Calacanis, a tech entrepreneur and angel investor who got in on Uber when it was still a pipe dream, about how startup funding is evolving.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Evident, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Indeed.

May 20, 2019
Why adapting to climate change can be a heated topic

It’s the final installment in our kickoff week of “How We Survive,” an ongoing series about how technology can help us adapt to climate change. It’s controversial to talk about using more money and technology to adapt versus efforts to mitigate, or slow down, global warming. Marketplace’s Scott Tong tells us how he’s seen the adaptation versus mitigation debate evolve in his years of reporting on climate change.

Today’s show is sponsored by Clickshare and Indeed.

May 17, 2019
In a changing climate, we need tech to adapt

We continue our series on how tech can help us adapt to climate change, called “How We Survive.” Tech solutions can involve a lot of things: transferring existing technologies to more vulnerable parts of the world, updating infrastructure, applying artificial intelligence, even (eventually) space colonies. Today a look at a few areas (on Earth) where innovation is already occurring around risk assessment, agriculture and water.

Today’s show is sponsored by AVAST and Logi Analytics.

May 16, 2019
Who pays for the tech to survive climate change?
May 15, 2019
Climate intelligence has to come before climate tech
May 14, 2019
In a changing climate, how can tech help us survive?
May 13, 2019
Nobel economist Paul Romer says the path to tech privacy may be taxes.
May 10, 2019
Will drivers cash in on Uber stock when the company goes public?
May 09, 2019
People in their 20s are injecting face fillers to look like their selfie filters
May 08, 2019
China’s retail sales are growing fast on social media
May 07, 2019
Nintendo’s Game Boy turns 30
May 06, 2019
Facebook’s version of privacy still collects plenty of data
May 03, 2019
How will the tech IPO boom change Bay Area real estate?
May 02, 2019
Will virtual reality films ever go mainstream?
May 01, 2019
Apple might make its own modem chips to get to a 5G iPhone
Apr 30, 2019
Who protects you from making a bad purchase … on your smart speaker?
Apr 29, 2019
After Facebook’s 15 months of “fresh hell” why is its business still so solid?
Apr 26, 2019
Online retail has all the advantages over brick-and-mortar stores, right?
Apr 25, 2019
In the novel “Delta-v,” asteroid mining gets us to move to space
Apr 24, 2019
Is ‘Fortnite’ any more addictive than Facebook?
Apr 23, 2019
Sometimes it takes a big prize to solve big tech problems
Apr 22, 2019
What does it mean to be “employed” in the gig economy?
Apr 19, 2019
Big Tech is prepping for California’s tough new privacy law
Apr 18, 2019
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: cybersecurity is national security
Apr 17, 2019
Is video conferencing worth all the trouble?
Apr 16, 2019
Tesla is moving ahead on driverless tech while others are slowing down
Apr 15, 2019
Your smart speaker may capture your voice-activated fails
Apr 12, 2019
Your side hustle may not look so great come tax time
Apr 11, 2019
Who knew a space agency could go viral?
Apr 10, 2019
You might put things online to make them permanent, but internet archives can disappear
Apr 09, 2019
Now that states can make sports betting legal, venture capital wants in
Apr 08, 2019
Social media, elections and fake news: India edition
Apr 05, 2019
Homework is much harder when you can’t get online at home
Apr 04, 2019
Creators build audiences online, but an algorithm can wipe it out in an instant
Apr 03, 2019
The FTC has no chief technologist as it weighs big tech investigations
Apr 02, 2019
What role does government play in innovation?
Apr 01, 2019
Lyft IPO makes it the ridesharing star, at least for today
Mar 29, 2019
Rocky past in tow, Fisker promises a new electric SUV
Mar 28, 2019
Norway sees a future in giant subterranean data centers
Mar 27, 2019
Tech is helping house cleaners get benefits
Mar 26, 2019
You can tidy up your digital life, too
Mar 25, 2019
Just what is Apple going to unveil Monday?
Mar 22, 2019
What if social media treated extremist content like junk mail?
Mar 21, 2019
How internet 'echo chambers' lead to faster radicalization
Mar 20, 2019
More extremists are getting radicalized online. Whose responsibility is that?
Mar 19, 2019
If Tesla makes a less fancy SUV... can it make it faster?
Mar 18, 2019
After deadly crashes, added scrutiny for Boeing 737 software
Mar 15, 2019