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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.

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.


Los Angeles, CA


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.




261 South Figueroa Street #200 Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 621-3500


Tesla’s full self-driving mode is actually not fully self-driving

Tesla will soon allow more drivers to have access to “full self-driving” mode, according to tweets by CEO Elon Musk. Drivers will pay $10,000 upfront or between $100 and $200 a month to use the software. Up until now, a beta version has been available to a select group of people. And the name “full self-driving” kind of implies that the car will drive itself. But, as Tesla notes on its website, that is not the case right now — these cars will not be autonomous. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra...


Splashy tech events are still splashy … even online. By design.

Amazon hosted its annual hardware event Tuesday, where it announced updates to some products, like its Ring home security system, and debuted some new ones, like a home security drone. Microsoft and Apple hosted similar events recently. You know the kind of event we’re talking about, right? The kind pioneered by Steve Jobs. Big screens, fancy visuals, open bar, fancy food — maybe they’ve got an omelet station going. That’s how they used to be in person. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks...


Consider the curated life: Facebook pauses Instagram Kids rollout

Facebook just announced that it’s pausing the rollout of Instagram Kids, a version of the platform for children under 13 years old, while it works to “demonstrate the value and need for this product.” The pause comes after a Wall Street Journal story a couple of weeks ago about the company’s research on how Instagram affects teens. One finding? A third of teen girls who have body image issues say Instagram makes them worse. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Jean Twenge, author of...


Tired of robocalls? The FCC is stillllll trying to stop them.

In the U.S., about 20% of calls to cellphones and 40% to landlines are robocalls — many of them scams. Tuesday is the deadline for voice service providers, including some phone companies, to show the Federal Communications Commission what steps they’re taking to stop robocalls. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Brad Reaves, a professor of computer science at North Carolina State University. Reaves said the FCC is telling these companies to be on the lookout for clear signs of...


Hey kid, see you in the metaverse?

Next month, Epic Games will shut down Houseparty — the group video-chatting app that became popular in the pandemic — to focus instead on the metaverse. But, what is that, exactly? That is a topic for “Quality Assurance,” where we take a second look at a big tech story. While there are different visions of the metaverse to come, most digital builders and watchers believe the metaverse is essentially the next evolution of the internet, a virtual world that you’d move through with, some say,...


New emoji are about to drop, but where do they come from anyway?

Emoji users: Your vocabulary is about to grow. The Unicode Consortium, a group that approves emoji, has added 112 new ones, including a melting smiley face, a coral reef, an X-ray and more skin tone and gender options, like a pregnant man and pregnant person. The new icons will start appearing on your phones later this year. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra speaks with Jeremy Burge, chief emoji officer at Emojipedia, an encyclopedia for emoji. Burge talked about how emoji get approved and what...


Wearable technology keeps hooking people as COVID lingers

During the pandemic, especially with gyms shut down or just less appealing, people bought a lot of wearables. Those are smart devices that you wear on your body — in your ear, on your wrist or as a patch, even — that track your activity in some way. Look at sales of smartwatches. They jumped by almost 18% in 2020, according to Gartner. The research firm also forecasts that spending on wearables will grow to more than $81 billion by the end of this year. Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra talked...


Amid massive rainfall and deadly flooding, how does tech help identify risk?

World leaders are gathering for meetings this week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Among the topics they’ll discuss is the ravages of climate change. This year, climate damage across the U.S. included devastating flooding, and while some people know they face flood risk, many do not. That’s largely because the official federal flood maps are often outdated and may not account for the effects of increasingly powerful storms. We wanted to know how technology is advancing...


Patent applications reveal how tech companies may further threaten privacy for people in prison

For those in prison, privacy is already hard to come by. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking at patent applications from some companies that provide communication services to prisons. Some of the applications they’ve seen include ideas to incorporate ads on tablets that would be given to incarcerated people and plans for systems that would identify and disable drones suspected of bringing in contraband. Marketplace’s Jed Kim speaks with Beryl Lipton, an investigative...


Now we know some of what Facebook knows about how it’s hurting us

Facebook knows a lot about how it affects its users, because it’s investigated possible negative impacts. For instance, internal research showed that one of its algorithms actually encourages angrier content. Or that Instagram, which it owns, makes body image issues worse for teen girls. And even though it knows all this, it doesn’t share the information, either with Congress or its own oversight board. That’s the finding of an investigation out this week from The Wall Street Journal, called...


There’s still a lot to learn about buying now and paying later

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...


Facebook is taking a run at the whole cameras-in-glasses thing

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...


Big Tech is finally seeing the dollar signs seniors represent

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...


Looking for worms in Apple leaves a bad taste in ethical hackers’ mouths

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...


Storms are getting stronger. So how do we adapt?

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...


Flooding is getting worse. Can tech help us deal with it?

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...


The business of editing genes to battle disease is bringing in record funding

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...


El Salvador becomes the first to make bitcoin a national currency

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...


The right to repair broken tech is key to farmers

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...


Apple and Google’s app stores have been fortresses of commerce. South Korea fired a cannonball.

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,...