Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood helps listeners understand the business behind the technology that’s rewiring our lives. From how tech is changing the nature of work to the unknowns of venture capital to the economics of outer space, this weekday show breaks ideas, telling the stories of modern life through our digital economy. Marketplace Tech is part of the Marketplace portfolio of public radio programs broadcasting nationwide, which additionally includes Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report and Marketplace Weekend. Listen every weekday on-air or online anytime at marketplace.org. From American Public Media. Twitter: @MarketplaceTech
Here's the Latest Episode from Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood – Marketplace:
Amazon has built its empire, in large part, on one transformative promise: Your stuff shows up in two days. This near-instant gratification was forecast to be a very large nail in the coffin for brick-and-mortar retail. But all those physical spaces still have some advantages over the online giant, mainly that they're already near people. Marketplace’s Jack Stewart talked with Chris Hess, director of supply chain solutions for Kenco Group, who used to design supply chains for Amazon. Today's show is sponsored by AVAST, the University of San Francisco and Evident.
On our show we've been looking into the still very new economy of space. But while the space economy might be new to us, science fiction has explored it in great detail. Host Molly Wood talked with Daniel Suarez, the author of near-future sci-fi books like "Daemon" and "Freedom™." His most recent book, "Delta-v," is out next week. It’s about a group of asteroid miners recruited by an eccentric billionaire to kick-start the space economy. Today's show is sponsored by Acquia and Clickshare.
Recently none other than Prince Harry waded into the debate about whether video games are addictive. He said he thought "Fortnite" “shouldn't be allowed” and that it's designed to keep kids in front of a computer as long as possible. Last year, the World Health Organization classified game addiction as a mental health disorder for the first time. But many psychiatrists still disagree with that assessment. Host Molly Wood talked with Lindsay Grace, a Knight chair in interactive media and associate professor at the University of Miami School of Communication. Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and Ultimate Software.
It's been called "'American Idol' for science geeks." The George Barley Water Prize will award $10 million to the team that develops the most promising technology to remove excess phosphorus from freshwater lakes and streams. Phosphorus pollution from chemical fertilizers and septic tanks has led to the growth of toxic blue-green algae in the Florida Everglades and elsewhere. Marketplace’s Amy Scott talked with Loren Parra, director of the George Barley Water Prize. She says the goal is to spark innovation. Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and Panopto.
This week the European Parliament passed a law establishing basic rights for workers in the gig economy. It could apply to some 3 million people, everyone from Uber drivers to couriers for the United Kingdom's Deliveroo. The law requires companies to pay when work is canceled last minute or for mandatory training. It also bans "exclusivity clauses," which prevent freelancers from "gigging" for other companies. It's supposed to make working short-term gigs a little more stable. Marketplace’s Amy Scott talked with Joe Miller, a business and tech reporter with the BBC who's been following this law.Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and Ultimate Software.
Last year, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires companies to be more careful in the way they handle consumer data. It doesn't go into effect until next year, and it's still a work in progress. Host Molly Wood checked in with Jessica Lee, a partner at the law firm Loeb & Loeb advising clients on data privacy regulations. She said some companies are plowing ahead while others are trying to remake things in their favor. Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage and Logi Analytics.
In a new book, Janet Napolitano, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, says it is "impossible to overstate the urgency of improving our country's cybersecurity." She says we're vulnerable all over the place, from critical infrastructure like utilities and 911 dispatch systems to our elections and our personal data. Host Molly Wood spoke with Napolitano about her new book "How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11." Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University and Acquia.
Today, most video conference calls are full of pauses, delays, garbled audio and unusable interfaces. Last year a Gallup Poll found that 70% of employees around the world work remotely at least once a week, and more globalization means more remote offices and bureaus. Video conferencing company Zoom goes public on Thursday, promising to make customers happier with their meetings. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked to Nick Barber, an analyst at Forrester Research, about the current state of video conferencing. Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.
Tesla announced late last week that all its cars will now come with its semi-autonomous driving technology, called Autopilot, as a standard option. And Tesla is pushing hard toward fully self-driving cars. It will hold an autonomy investor day April 22 to tell shareholders how it plans to get there. But other companies are pulling back. Host Molly Wood talked with Jack Stewart, Marketplace’s transportation reporter. He said next week is about Tesla staking its self-driving claim.
Are you ever really alone when talking to your smart speaker? It turns out there might just be someone on the other side listening to you as part of the platforms' quality assurance measures. So says Anthonio Pettit, who's worked on Microsoft's Cortana, Samsung’s Bixby and Amazon's Echo. He recently sat down with Joshua McNichols of KUOW’s "Prime(d)" podcast to talk about the work of quality assurance engineers for smart speakers and the many things they hear. McNichols shares some of Pettit's interview and chats with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the range of audio Amazon collects.Today's show is sponsored by Panopto and the University of San Francisco.
Depending on which research you read, somewhere between 30% and 35% of American workers are part of the gig economy, many of them working through digital apps. Or as tax professionals put it, they're self-employed. That means they're responsible for their own taxes. Come Monday, when tax filings are due, some of these independent contractors are in for a rude awakening. Host Molly Wood talked with Amy Wall, a tax preparer based in Tucson, about taxes and the digital economy. Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.
NASA communicates directly with the public more than ever. Veronica McGregor directs news and social media at the agency's Jet Propulsion Lab. Host Molly Wood visited JPL to talk about how social media fits into NASA's public mission. And she got the backstory on one of McGregor's first big viral successes, the 2008 Twitter account for the Phoenix lander on Mars. Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University, Acquia and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.
Here's a list of things that exited the internet in just the past few weeks: The social network Google Plus shut down, taking all its archives with it. That included the profile pages of Google's founders, removing access to insights about the company's history and decisions. Facebook said it "mistakenly" deleted posts by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but also changed how it archives corporate announcements and blog posts in a way that makes them harder to find. MySpace accidentally lost 12 years of posts from its users, including their estimated 50 million original songs. Host Molly Wood talked with Jason Scott of the Internet Archive about what's at risk when sites disappear. Today's show is sponsored by Clickshare and the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.
Without naming basketball tournament names, it's safe to say there's a lot of sports betting happening today. In the future it's going to be a lot more… legal. A Supreme Court decision last spring opened the doors for betting on sports in all states, not just Nevada. Now every state can make its own betting rules, and a handful have legalized it already. At least 20 states are considering new legislation, which is likely to lead to a lot more online gambling. And venture capitalists can smell opportunity. Host Molly Wood talked with Paul Kedrosky, one of the VCs betting big. Kedrosky, who works with SK Ventures, says he expects online sports betting to evolve into a new investment ecosystem. Today's show is sponsored by Ultimate Software and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.
India holds its national elections next week. As voters get ready to head to the polls, they're being targeted with false and misleading information. The platform of choice? WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook that allows users to send encrypted messages to other individuals, groups of people, and forward messages they've received. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 64 percent of Indians reported they've encountered fake news. Marketplace Tech host Tracey Samuelson caught up with BBC's Kinjal Pandya-Wagh to talk about the role of WhatsApp in India's election. Pandya-Wagh said misinformation has influenced life in India, despite efforts by the Indian government to regulate fake news. Today's show is sponsored by Panopto and the Portfolio Group.
Homework is a big part of any child's education. Today, that means getting online to watch a video the teacher assigned, do research or fill out forms and worksheets. But Pew Research says almost a quarter of students from low-income families often struggle to finish their homework because they lack a dependable computer or internet connection. It's what experts refer to as "the homework gap." As part of Marketplace Tech's Evenly Distributed series, we turned to New Orleans, a city where nearly 40 percent of children live in poverty. Jess Clark is an education reporter at New Orleans Public Radio. She shares one student's experience. Today's show is sponsored by Acquia, Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage and the Rochester Institute of Technology.
People who try to build a career as creators on YouTube may put all their creativity and time and identity into the platform. On the other end of the screen, an algorithm can take away their ability to make money by what's called demonetizing videos, or just giving them a lower priority in its recommendation engine. One year ago today, a YouTube creator shot three people at the company's San Bruno, California, headquarters before killing herself. A police investigation concluded that when YouTube demonetized her channel, it took away a "critical part of who she was." Host Molly Wood talked with Katherine Lo, a visiting researcher at the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Lo said the relationship can feel very one sided. Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University and Ultimate Software.
The Federal Trade Commission is the agency that can fine or prosecute tech companies over unfair or anti-competitive consumer practices. The current FTC Chair Joseph Simons has said he will set up a task force to address tech issues. But there is one empty chair at the agency: the chief technologist, who is supposed to give advice on tech and policy. The role has existed since 2010, but it's been empty for about a year, and some critics are worried. Neil Chilson had the job last. He's now a research fellow at the Charles Koch Institute. Host Molly Wood asked him if he thought the FTC is missing some important tech expertise. Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University and Panopto.
You can think of innovation as a ladder of sorts. It might start with imitation and then progress to adaptation, like tweaking a foreign idea to develop it for a local market. Finally, hopefully, you reach invention, perhaps even big, industry-changing ones. But the steps needed to climb that ladder, in any given country, can be elusive and murky. There's only so much governments can do, says Regina Abrami, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Marketplace’s Tracey Samuelson talked to her about China's efforts at state-sponsored innovation. Today's show is sponsored by Kronos, the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and EquityZen.
The ride-hailing platform Lyft goes public today ahead of Uber, which is expected to list in the coming weeks. Drivers from both companies went on strike in Southern California earlier this week to protest changes in how their pay is calculated. Lyft's reliance on drivers is a risk factor it mentioned in its paperwork to go public. Others include new regulations or the possibility it will never be profitable. For every dollar of revenue the company brings in, it winds up 40 cents in the red. Still, Lyft has been able to pick up more riders in the last couple of years, thanks in part to big public stumbles by Uber, which prompted some users to look for alternatives. Marketplace's Tracey Samuelson asked Faiz Siddiqui, a tech reporter covering transit for the Washington Post, where Lyft goes from here. Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University and Panopto.
Hot on the heels of Tesla's Model Y announcement came the news that carmaker Fisker Inc. also wants to make an electric SUV at about the same price of $40,000. But it would take a whole lot going right for the Fisker SUV announcement to mark any kind of real turnaround. Marketplace's Jed Kim talked with Chelsea Sexton, an electric vehicle industry adviser and advocate, about the company's rocky history. Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, Brother Printers and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.
If you're a tech company that wants to look good, you want to locate your energy-intensive data centers in places with lots of cheap renewable energy. That's why Norway is making a big push to get companies to build data centers there. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks with Katie Prescott, a BBC journalist who reported on this from Norway. Today's show is sponsored by Evident, WordPress and Panopto.
Some might consider domestic employees the original gig workers. There are a lot of similarities, like intermittent income and no real safety net. It's a problem that affects millions of workers like nannies, caregivers and house cleaners, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance is working on solutions. The group's innovation arm, NDWA Labs, is bringing financial tech to domestic workers. Its new platform, called Alia, directs digital payments toward benefits for house cleaners. Marketplace's Leila Goldstein talked with one cleaner who uses it. Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and Brother Printers.
Since digital storage space is so cheap, it's easy to keep amassing files. But that can take a toll on our work and our well-being. Marketplace's Jed Kim talks to Deb Lee, a digital productivity coach who helps people weed out the virtual messes they've gotten themselves into. Today's show is sponsored by Lenovo for Small Business, Ultimate Software and WellFrame.
On Monday, Apple is holding a special event tagged with the line "It's showtime!" That's led to wide speculation the company will finally reveal its streaming service. But it may not be the Apple-takes-on-Netflix battle some were hoping for. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talked with Brian Wieser, who leads business intelligence for advertising firm GroupM. He says if you were paying attention to Apple's reported budget for original content, around $1 billion, you could've guessed its latest play isn't becoming a giant entertainment studio. Today's show is sponsored by Evident, Brother Printers and EquityZen.
What can the biggest social media platforms in the world do to radicalization online? Host Molly Wood talked with Dipayan Ghosh, who used to work on global privacy and public policy issues at Facebook. Now he's a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School. He says, yes, it's hard for big platforms to minimize that content. But he says it's also not that hard. Today's show is sponsored by Evident, EquityZen and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.
The man accused of killing at least 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, last week seems to be, in many ways, the ultimate example of online radicalization. Researchers and social media experts have warned for years that there is a playbook for turning trolls into terrorists. Host Molly Wood talked with Becca Lewis, a research affiliate at the nonprofit institute Data & Society, who studies extremism online. Today's show is sponsored by WellFrame and Brother Printers.
Elon Musk has unveiled Tesla's newest vehicle, the Model Y, essentially an SUV version of the Model 3. Marketplace's Jed Kim talks with Jack Stewart, Marketplace's transportation reporter, who was at the unveiling. Stewart says the Y is really similar to the 3. Today's show is sponsored by Lenovo for Small Business, Kronos and EquityZen.
The fatal crashes of two Boeing 737 Max 8s within the past six months have prompted a global grounding of the aircraft and questions about design. Demand for Boeing aircraft has put pressure on the Chicago-based aviation giant to churn out about 50 planes a month. How does the demand to deliver so many planes impact the design process and flight software development? Marketplace's Jed Kim talked with Alwyn Scott, manufacturing and technology correspondent at Reuters. He's been covering aviation for years and says making new planes entails a lot of oversight. Today's show is sponsored by Pitney Bowes and Panopto. Correction (March 15, 2019): Previous versions of this episode misidentified the location of Boeing's headquarters. It has been corrected.