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Marketplace Tech

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Monday through Friday, Marketplace’s Molly Wood demystifies the digital economy in less than 10 minutes. Reporting from Oakland, California, she looks past the hype and ask tough questions about an industry that’s constantly changing.

601 Episodes
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There’s been a surge in the buy now, pay later space, which is exactly what it sounds like: Get something you maybe can’t quite afford and pay it off in installments. You might not even need to have your credit checked. By some counts, more than half of Americans have used it. There are concerns that this new method of payment could be confusing us about what we want versus what we need. And now Affirm, a leader in this space, is partnering with Amazon. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Max Levchin, CEO of Affirm. Levchin believes the new model of buying is necessary.  
You’d look so good in these Ray-Bans, and you could capture the envious stares of people who can’t believe how good you’d look. Because these glasses are built through a partnership with Facebook. They allow you to take photos and share video via cameras in the frame. It’s the latest attempt by Silicon Valley to reap bundles of money by using tech to make glasses more than glasses. Google and Snap have also attempted it. We here at “Marketplace Tech” are a camera-shy group, and the prospect of many more cameras makes us nervous. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Susan Landau, a cybersecurity and policy professor at Tufts University. Landau says there’s a reason we’d be uncomfortable.
Apple’s streaming event from California happens today and many expect there’ll be an announcement of a new iPhone model. Speculation always abounds, because Apple is notoriously tight-lipped with these events. One thing that they have announced is a new feature in iOS that pays attention to how we walk, or our gait. The idea is that it’ll be able to tell if something’s changed about a senior citizen’s gait and that could give early warning of a fall. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Dominic Endicott, a partner and director at Northstar Ventures, which invests in “age tech.” Endicott says Apple has already introduced a feature in its watches that can tell if you’ve fallen, and it helps you call 911.
Bug bounties. They’re an important security tool in the arsenal of many tech companies. Here’s how they work. Give ethical hackers the chance to probe your systems for weaknesses, pay them for exploits they find and fix said exploits before ne’er-do-wells find and use them. Bounty programs vary from company to company. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Reed Albergotti, a tech reporter for The Washington Post who wrote about widespread dissatisfaction with how Apple pays its bounties and the ways it limits communication about the bugs hackers find — all problems that may hurt security for Apple users.
Friday marks the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which has already been a very active and destructive one. Marketplace’s Jed Kim continues his discussion with Paul Robinson about how tech can help us cope with flooding. Robinson’s executive director of RISE Resilience Innovations, a nonprofit tech accelerator in Norfolk, Virginia. It supports a wide range of startups that are focused on climate resilience. Some aim to train up a workforce that’s ready to do flood-resistant construction. Others try to aid our adaptability, like developing apps that predict and monitor flooding and map it in real time.
Water infrastructure — it’s boring. Invisible. We only care about it when things go wrong, and things have been going wrong. Punishing storms have caused catastrophic flooding in New York, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere. But water systems are expensive, time consuming and hard to fix. Technology may provide some relief. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks to Paul Robinson, the executive director of RISE, a nonprofit accelerator in Norfolk, Virginia, that helps develop climate tech. Robinson says one of the companies they fund is StormSensor, which puts sensors in storm and sewer pipes
When you’re sick, you can get treated with medicine or surgery. There’s a growing field, though, that looks at our own cells as treatment delivery systems. Many see it as the future of medicine, and that’s prompting a lot of investment in the field. This year, the industry is on track to raise more than $20 billion dollars, a record. That’s according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, an advocacy group whose members include universities, foundations and major biopharma companies like Pfizer, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks to Janet Lambert, their CEO.
Starting today, bitcoin is an official national currency in El Salvador, along with U.S. dollars. To use the cryptocurrency, Salvadorans need to download an electronic wallet. If they use the government-sanctioned wallet, they’ll get $30 worth of bitcoin to use. Stores have to accept bitcoin, provided they have internet access and can do so. They’ll still take American dollars. In the past six months, the value of a bitcoin has fluctuated by as much as $30,000, so how it’ll go is anyone’s guess. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with George Selgin, who directs the Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives at the Cato Institute.
This episode originally aired July 19, 2021. The Federal Trade Commission is turning its attention to the right-to-repair movement — a pushback against manufacturers limiting who can repair the equipment they make. The agency put out a report on this in May that found “the burden of repair restrictions may fall more heavily on communities of color and lower-income communities.” One group watching this debate is farmers, as some companies that make farm equipment only allow repairs at their own dealerships. Kimberly Adams speaks to Terry Griffin, an agricultural economist with Kansas State University. He grew up on a farm in northeast Arkansas and says back then, DIY equipment repairs were just a part of life.
When buying apps or making in-app purchases, you’re pretty much limited to either Apple or Google’s systems, and those companies are paid a commission of up to 30% on your purchase. South Korea this week passed a law that will force them to allow alternative payment systems — ending commissions when developers sell things directly. It comes as Apple and Google are under pressure from antitrust regulators around the world. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Nick Statt, a reporter at Protocol, who says South Korea’s law is a big deal for developers.
Schools across the country are opening their doors to students again. Many have remote options for those who need it. But a handful of states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, have largely banned remote learning, saying it’s just not effective enough. But as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more kids may need to quarantine at home — and without remote options, they could miss weeks of school. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Michael Horn, the founder of the think tank Clayton Christensen Institute. Horn says many school districts face a lot of uncertainty.
Sex workers are planning to demonstrate outside of several major banks in New York City on Wednesday. They say Bank of New York Mellon and others are discriminating against them by refusing to process payments for companies like OnlyFans. That is the social media subscription site made popular by sex workers that recently said it was going to ban adult content, then backed off amid criticism. Jed Kim speaks with his Marketplace colleague Kimberly Adams, who has been reporting on the topic. She said payment processors push decisions on what can happen online.
The gender gap in tech starts pretty early. Look at computer science students: Roughly 4 out of 5 bachelor’s degrees in that field go to men. That’s why the nonprofit Girls Who Code aims to get girls interested at a young age — as early as third grade. Since the organization was founded in 2012, hundreds of thousands of girls have gone through its clubs and summer immersion programs. When COVID-19 canceled in-person classes, they moved totally online. That actually allowed Girls Who Code to grow, and enrollment went up 200%. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Tarika Barrett, who took over as CEO this year. She said they had to design their new model with the hardest-to-reach girls in mind.
It’s the age-old mantra of parents who won’t let their kids have gaming consoles — too many video games hurt your brain! But last summer, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever prescription video game. It’s called EndeavorRX, and it’s meant to help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in kids age 8 to 12. It’s not a standalone treatment — it’ll be prescribed along with other, more traditional medication. Without insurance, it costs about $100 a month. A year later, developers are just starting to reach out to doctors and potential patients. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Ian Bogost, who directs the film and media studies program at Washington University in St. Louis.
The trial of Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO and founder of the blood test company Theranos, is set to begin next week. Holmes is charged with wire fraud, having allegedly defrauded investors about the accuracy of Theranos’ technology. She’s pleaded not guilty. Many other women founders — especially in biotech and health care — have been getting compared to Holmes. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Erin Griffith, a reporter who covers startups and venture capital for The New York Times. Griffith says investors often ask female entrepreneurs to prove they’re not another Theranos.
What drives you nuts about surfing online? Maybe it’s news sites that autoplay videos or cooking pages that bury their actual recipes below expanding ads. Or maybe it’s your dad, who keeps sending you links to Hampster Dance. Well, for some of the things that make you pull your hair out while browsing, there may be hope. By the end of the month, Google will change how it ranks websites, so that ones that are harder to load are ranked lower. Will that make websites less annoying? Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks to Simon Schnieders, founder of the search engine optimization agency Blue Array.
The electric vehicle market got a little shake-up this month after Chevy recalled all of its Bolts due to the risk of battery fires. The recall comes as the EV market is getting hot … uh, no. It’s set to explo — nope! There are going to be a lot more sales in the future. Like many people, Marketplace’s Jed Kim would like to know how a lithium-ion battery goes pear-shaped. He asked Kristin Persson, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
There’ve been lots of big security breaches recently. Like in the recent case of T-Mobile, where about 50 million people’s personal information got exposed. And attacks on critical infrastructure, like the Colonial Pipeline hack. Remember those gas shortages along the East Coast? As hacks go up, so does the demand for help preventing and responding to them. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Lesley Carhart, an incident responder for the industrial cybersecurity company Dragos. Carhart said nowadays, people understand what she does — including her grandma.
Early in the pandemic, Sidewalk Labs — an offshoot of Google — announced it was shutting down a big project in Toronto called Quayside. It was meant to be a testing ground for smart-city concepts, a hyperconnected neighborhood from the ground up, with things like an underground network of package-delivery robots. But even before the pandemic, it ran into the same problems that have dogged smart-city projects around the world. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Shannon Mattern, who focuses on this topic in her new book, “A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences.” Mattern said optimizing cities for connectivity often means giving up privacy.      
This week, some Microsoft apps, like Outlook, started their slow march to no longer working in Internet Explorer. Next year, the browser itself won’t be supported anymore, as Microsoft moves users to its Edge browser instead. It’s the end of an era for Internet Explorer, which was created back in the ’90s during the browser wars and was the focus of the big antitrust case against Microsoft. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Margaret O’Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington. O’Mara said the first major browser was Netscape Navigator, co-developed by Marc Andreessen, who saw browsers as the future of everyday computing.
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Comments (14)

Nimrah imran

During the pandemic many people lost their jobs and some missed the opportunity of getting into a new job because of a virtual interviewing session. They faced certain problems of having an unstable internet connection and much more.Best tips to get hired after a zoom interview includes always keeping a backup of the internet and connectivity, Never assuming that the casual attitude and dressing will work as it is an interview conducting from home and nobody is going to notice it. Few days back i came across with a very detailed and well explained article on a guest posting website https://uaestudents.ae/tips-to-get-hired-in-a-virtual-interview/ Many people get rejected because they often feel like not dressing up formally as done during the physical or walk in interviews.

Aug 30th
Reply

Lee Hyde

6jj8jo9oo-unoi8⁸j'ai 8TH oublié il 00AM Mme 00AM m1er4credi mercredi 00AMukh9iiiooop jpkh9jhkmnjmmm9p0pmm98iioooii889oo999998gv;gci8gkgwwiiujpimmx8vuei.

Jul 14th
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Maciej Czech

Episode 8 mins long, more than 1 of commercials :/ Plus intro, outro and it would be 2 mins in total

Aug 3rd
Reply

Maciej Czech

This is all absurd, listen what she said, it's now just anti-white rhetoric

Jul 14th
Reply (1)

Sean Fontana

https://castbox.fm/vb/228695456 another insight into the vaporfly trainer. some facts and opinions 🏃‍♂️💨👍

Feb 9th
Reply

Maciej Czech

Oh please stop with that constant complaining about mens.

Jan 26th
Reply (1)

Maciej Czech

Apple more repairable? xD Pure lies!

Oct 5th
Reply

Maciej Czech

So what, you want to force everybody to put womens anywhere? Norway tried to regulate this and it became absurd because there are womens which just sit in the meetings. That stupid law just objectified them even more xD

Aug 5th
Reply (2)

Maciej Czech

Really just can't stand so many commercials and stuff about donations :/ It's up to 40% of episode, every day the same clips.

Jul 1st
Reply

Gerry M.

I'm currently in a 4-month hiatus from FB. I deactivated my account. I usually take a couple of breaks annually for 1 to 2 months, but this is my longest hiatus ever. I deactivated my Twitter account a week ago. Instagram is not really a distraction because I rarely engage there. The common theme - heavy-handed algorithms creating a drone-like experience. I'll re-engage at some point, but I'm definitely past peak usage of social media.

Aug 17th
Reply
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