Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood 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
Marketplace Tech with Ben Brock Johnson

Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood

From American Public Media

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: @MarketplaceTechMore from Marketplace Tech with Molly Wood »

Most Recent Episodes

Ten years later, what we learned from WALL-E

Ten years ago this summer, the Pixar film "WALL-E" came out. It's about a future where humans have ruined earth's environment with trash, so they live in space, captive to screens, self-driving chairs, and robot servants. One little robot is left on Earth to clean up the mess, until he finds love — and ends up saving humanity from itself. As part of our summer entertainment series, we're pondering the critiques and lessons of Wall-E with sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson, who also happens to be a big fan of the film. (07/16/2018)

Twitter is in a big game of "bot or not"

This week, Twitter announced that it's removing locked accounts from its platform. That's in an effort to clean up its bot problem. Bots are fake Twitter accounts that spread propaganda and intimidate people. A New York Times story in January suggested that up to 15 percent of Twitter's user base could be bots. Twitter says it was more like 5 percent. But now, as the company is trying to clean up the bot problem, some investors are worried that Twitter may have fewer human users than they thought. Kevin Roose follows social media for the New York Times. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about how bots became a business problem for Twitter.

Yes, lots of people are still playing "Pokemon Go"

"Pokemon Go" was one of 2016's most popular mobile games, but it seemed to lose players just as quickly as it gained them. That may have been due to some technical glitches, but "Pokemon Go" appears to be back. That's at least in part thanks to some new social features. Those are what got Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood back in the game, and got her thinking about who else is playing "Pokemon Go."

Tesla's China plant will serve the world's biggest electric car market

China is a huge market for electric cars. Tesla is looking for a place to build and sell lots of electric cars. But the U.S. is in a trade war with China and right now there's about a 40 percent tax on American-made cars being sold in China. That hurts all automakers, but if you're trying to become the dominant electric car maker in the world you need to sell cars in China. Dan Sperling is the founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about how the Chinese government is changing the market for electric cars. (07/11/2018)

Tesla's China plant will serve the world's biggest electric car market

Why Uber and others see a billion-dollar future in e-scooters

On Monday, Uber announced a partnership with the electric scooter rental company Lime. Uber already owns Jump Bikes, an electric bike startup. Lyft just bought a bike rental company as well. All these moves are about creating one-stop shopping for all kinds of transportation and also about solving a pretty basic problem. The average cab ride is less than three miles and using a car to make that trip is expensive and inefficient, especially in traffic. Hence this new investment trend in what's being called micro-mobility. Ralph Buehler is a professor of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what he refers to as multimodality.

Making the web easier to access for people with disabilities

About 20 percent of Americans have one or more disabilities. And just like the the physical world, the digital one is not always readily accessible. So, how do we make the internet a place everyone can enjoy? It starts with design. Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary spoke with Mikey Ilagan, an accessibility specialist with the design firm Think Company, about the challenges people with disabilities face online and how to solve them.

What's Dell up to? Going public again

The computer company Dell is going public again later this year. Just five years ago, Dell did the opposite and went private. Back then, company leaders decided they had to retool in order to survive. Making the personal computers that every other kid in your dorm had probably wasn't going to cut it. Dell and its future are the topic we chose for this week's Quality Assurance, where we take a second look at a big tech story. Klint Finley is a reporter with Wired and has written about Dell. He spoke with Marketplace's Lizzie O'Leary about the company's motivations for going private in the first place.

The International Space Station has an AI assistant. No ... it's not evil

Robots have a long sci-fi history with humans in space. Now the International Space Station is getting a robotic assistant of its own: CIMON. Short for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion, it arrived on the International Space Station on the back of a SpaceX rocket on Monday and looks like a floating soccer ball with a digital face. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Matthias Biniok of IBM, one of CIMON's designers, about how the robot will help astronauts aboard the ISS.

The International Space Station has an AI assistant. No ... it's not evil

Is politics tearing apart the FCC? A recent commissioner who left says yes

The Federal Communications Commission didn't used to get so much attention. But the five-person commission that was mostly known for regulating TV and radio is now essentially in charge of managing how the internet works in the United States, and what used to be wonky policy discussions about net neutrality and broadband subsidies have gotten a lot more political. Back in April, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn announced she was leaving after serving for nine years. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke to her in May, and asked her why she decided to step down when she did.

Is politics tearing apart the FCC? A recent commissioner who left says yes

Is Bitcoin a currency, security or commodity? Depends who you ask

As cryptocurrency evolves, it's less about buying things and more about investing. Regulators are trying to figure out how to protect investors as prices have swung from $20,000 to less than $6,000 in just a few months. But no one has yet decided how to classify bitcoin and other digital currencies. That's because they're not really currencies. They're not exactly securities, to be regulated like stocks and bonds. And they're not exactly commodities, since there's no physical product. Nathaniel Popper covers cryptocurrencies at the New York Times and wrote a book called "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money." He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about how both regulators and investors are thinking about bitcoin. (07/03/2018)

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