Marketplace Tech 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.
Marketplace Tech

Marketplace Tech

From American Public Media

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.

Most Recent Episodes

Can we print our way out of the affordable housing crisis?

Can we print our way out of the affordable housing crisis?

The cost of building a new house has gone up sharply over the past year. Not just because of lumber, but because steel, insulation, windows and appliances are all harder to get and more expensive because of high demand and delays. A number of startups have promised to revolutionize construction with new materials and technologies. It's not easy — the modular construction startup Katerra filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. But there are others looking to disrupt the housing industry. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Sam Ruben, the co-founder and chief sustainability officer of Mighty Buildings, which uses an enormous 3D printer in a warehouse in Oakland, California, to build houses.

What the failure of a construction startup tells us about SoftBank

What the failure of a construction startup tells us about SoftBank

SoftBank launched its first, $100 billion Vision Fund in 2017. Just last month, the Japanese conglomerate led by Masayoshi Son said the fund had delivered record profits for the quarter. But there have been some big failures too. The modular-construction startup Katerra filed for bankruptcy last week. SoftBank had invested more than $2 billion in the company. Katerra had borrowed money from Greensill Capital, which also received about $2 billion of SoftBank money. Greensill also collapsed earlier this year. That, of course, follows the WeWork debacle a couple of years ago. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Sarah Kunst, managing director of the venture firm Cleo Capital. She said SoftBank's strategy has been to make huge bets on relatively unproven companies.

How tech might clean up concrete

How tech might clean up concrete

Las Vegas hosted its first in-person convention this week since the pandemic. It's called World of Concrete, which normally attracts some 60,000 engineers, architects, masons and contractors. Not quite a full turnout this year, but Marketplace senior reporter Matt Levin was there. Marketplace's Amy Scott asked Levin what kind of tech he's seen there.

A boost for TikTok and those who make money from it

A boost for TikTok and those who make money from it

President Joe Biden on Wednesday rescinded a series of executive orders from the Trump administration that had tried to ban the Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat here in the United States. The orders had been blocked by federal judges. Instead, the Biden administration plans a security review of those and other apps. Many turned to the short-form video app TikTok for entertainment during the pandemic or to create their own content. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Charley Button, a talent manager at Select Management Group, where she manages some TikTok creators.

Massive online courses got a boost during the pandemic. Will it last?

Massive online courses got a boost during the pandemic. Will it last?

When a couple of Stanford professors founded Coursera in 2012, they promised to democratize access to higher education by making courses from prestigious colleges available online. Nearly a decade later, many of us were thrust into the world of online education by the pandemic. Tens of millions of new users joined Coursera's platform, some just looking for lectures to occupy their time, others seeking new skills in areas like machine learning and data science. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Jeff Maggioncalda, the CEO of Coursera. He said states like New York and Tennessee have also paid the company to provide free courses for unemployed residents.

Massive online courses got a boost during the pandemic. Will it last?

Amazon's Ring changes how police get doorbell footage

Amazon's Ring changes how police get doorbell footage

More than 2,000 police and fire departments have partnerships with Amazon to use surveillance video from its Ring security cameras. This week, the company changed the way law enforcement can access that video. Now, departments will have to post public requests on Amazon's Neighbors app and include some details about the relevant investigation. Police used to be able to directly email users without making the request public. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law professor at American University and author of the book "The Rise of Big Data Policing."

Big Tech is mining our medical records for patterns

Big Tech is mining our medical records for patterns

Hospitals and other health care systems are eager to find patterns in their patient data that can help treat and prevent illness and cut costs. In England, the National Health Service is collecting the medical histories of up to 55 million patients to share with third parties. Here in the U.S., Google will help the hospital chain HCA Healthcare store and analyze health data. Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have similar partnerships. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Deven McGraw, chief regulatory officer at the health records startup Ciitizen. She's also an adviser to Verily, a sister company to Google. McGraw says predictive analytics can help providers anticipate things like which patients are at risk of coming back to the hospital after surgery.

Insurance for ransomware payments is getting harder to come by

Insurance for ransomware payments is getting harder to come by

Throughout the pandemic we've seen hospitals, pipelines and other critical infrastructure hit with ransomware attacks. Just this past week, meat processor JBS and a ferry operator in Massachusetts were targets. Hackers often target companies with insurance because they know they're more likely to pay their often multimillion-dollar demands. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with James Rundle, who covers corporate cybersecurity at The Wall Street Journal. He says the increase in attacks has had a real impact on the cyber insurance market. Premiums are rising, and some insurers won't cover ransom payments anymore.

More houses are being sold without ever hitting the market, furthering inequality

More houses are being sold without ever hitting the market, furthering inequality

One promise of technology is open access to information –– if that information is shared. The tight housing market has led to a rise in what are called "pocket listings," where a home is for sale but only offered to select clients. It's common with celebrities seeking privacy. But one big real estate site, Redfin, is not taking part. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Glenn Kelman, Redfin chief executive, about why his company stopped using pocket listings in 2018. Kelman is on a bit of a campaign to end the practice. A Redfin analysis found that 4% of homes nationally were sold this March without being marketed. In Kansas City, Columbus and Minneapolis, more than 10% of sales were pocket listings. In Chicago, about 15%.

More houses are being sold without ever hitting the market, furthering inequality

3 years after Europe's GDPR, what's changed in tech privacy?

3 years after Europe's GDPR, what's changed in tech privacy?

It's been three years since the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect. At its core, the law was meant to give consumers more control over how companies collect, share and use their personal data. It was the first major privacy law with real teeth in the form of potentially large fines for companies that didn't comply. But that didn't really happen until recently. Marketplace's Amy Scott speaks with Jessica Lee, who advises companies on privacy as a partner with the law firm Loeb & Loeb. She said consumer advocates tracking enforcement have been somewhat disappointed.

Back To Top