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Preview: APM: Future Tense

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 br

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Public Media

12/14/2017: How drones are being used to prevent wildfires

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:07:00 -0600

Los Angeles is in its second week of trying to contain the Thomas fire that has spread through two counties. Millions of acres have burned across the U.S. this year, and one fire killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in California wine country in October. What role is technology playing in preventing harm from wildfires? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Brandon Collins, a research scientist at UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach, about fire prevention technology – and its limits. 

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S02-7: Technology Crossing Borders

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 18:57:12 -0600

The gadget that saved a refugee in the middle of the Aegean Sea, how an agent uses technology to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico, and how a journalist in exile broadcasts the news with WhatsApp. Listen, decode, and decide: Can technology crossing borders save us?

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S02-6: Encryption

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:01:00 -0600

How encryption hides all around us, how it was used in 18th century Paris to separate merchants from their money and the difference between your brain and your fingertip. Listen, decode, and decide: Can encryption save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-5: World Building

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:01 -0600

A proposal to bioengineer shorter humans with cat eyes, a decades-old idea for a totally new kind of power, a battery made from trash and Bill Nye the Science Guy tries to get us in gear. Listen, decode, and decide: Can world-building save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-4: Watching

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 02:30:08 -0600

A small city known for its Amish population and surveillance cameras, an old lady in Northern Ireland who watches video feeds in Brazil and getting footage from the fin of a shark. Listen, decode, and decide: Can watching save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-3: The Augmented Self

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 01:09:37 -0600

The man who collected too much data, cyborgs who want to make their body-hardware mainstream, robots that rebuild your hairline and a conversation with Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge aka LeVar Burton. Listen, decode, and decide: Can the augmented self save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-2: Alternate Reality

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600

A therapist who creates virtual reality experiences for people with dangerous disorders, a grandmother who uses a headset to escape her surroundings and Ernest Cline on virtual reality in fact and fiction. Listen, decode, and decide: Can alternate realities save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-1: Recognition

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:00:00 -0600

A toddler who saved her mother's life with Siri, a man whose mysterious ailment opened up a world of voice recognition technology and a dating service that wants to scan the faces of all your exes. Listen, decode, and decide: Can recognition software save us?Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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12/13/2017: Ajit Pai on what his internet will look like

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality rules. Those regulations were created under the Obama administration, and prevent internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from favoring certain content over others. The current FCC says companies should be able to do what they like, as long as they are transparent about it. This is controversial, and the public comment system on the FCC’s proposed rules was overtaken by spam and fake accounts. Democrats, consumer groups, and even a few Republicans have called for the vote to be postponed. But FCC chairman Ajit Pai is leading this charge—and plans to go ahead.

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12/12/2017: What would city-sponsored internet look like?

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

The FCC is poised to overturn net neutrality this week. Part of that conversation is about competition – what if an internet provider becomes too expensive or provides poor service? San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston are promising municipal broadband as an alternative. What would that look like and how much would it cost? On this episode of Marketplace Tech, Molly Wood talks with Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable community development.

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12/11/2017: Bitcoin had a dramatic rise. What will happen when it falls?

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Bitcoin’s price soared to more than $15,000 last week. And as of yesterday afternoon, investors can trade bitcoin futures on a major public market — the Chicago Board Options Exchange. What’s behind the cryptocurrency’s incredible rise? And what will happen when it falls? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kevin Werbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School about the sensational rise of bitcoin and what could happen when the bubble bursts.

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12/08/2017: Is the U.S. losing power in the race to create a new battery?

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Building a better battery is hard and takes lots of funding. President Donald Trump has proposed major budget cuts to research on advanced energy technology. And taking away that funding could give other countries a competitive edge to create a better battery first. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kristin Persson, who works on developing new battery technology in a lab that is funded by the Department of Energy, about the countries that could leap ahead in the race to develop a better battery.

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12/07/2017: Why battery technology is so hard to perfect

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 07:32:00 -0600

Battery technology is hard. We need batteries that last longer, charge faster and take up less space. And that’s important when it comes to not just our devices, but also renewable energy, electric cars and electrical grids. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Kristin Persson, an engineer who works in a lab funded by the Department of Energy, about why lithium-ion batteries can’t get much better and what the next battery looks like.

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12/06/2017: Do 6-year-olds need to be on Facebook?

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Facebook released its new Messenger Kids app this week. It allows parents to monitor exactly who their children are communicating with on the app. It's aimed at kids ages 6 to 12.  (Under federal law, kids under 13 aren't allowed to have Facebook accounts.) And it keeps everything inside the Facebook ecosystem — the new app would require parents to be Facebook friends if their kids want to chat. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Amanda Lenhart, deputy director of the Better Life Lab at the think tank New America, about how this could affect kids’ online presence — and privacy.

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12/05/2017: Why only the wealthy may be able to avoid death

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Some of tech’s most powerful players are investing money in life-extension technologies. The founders of Amazon, Oracle, and Google are just some of the elite looking to live forever. That has some people wondering, will only the rich be able to escape death? On this episode of Marketplace Tech, host Molly Wood talks to author Stanley Bing. His new sci-fi novel “Immortal Life” looks at how anti-aging technology could shape society.

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12/04/2017: Don't people still want to pinch the peaches in an era of shopping online?

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods is making a lot of grocery chains rethink their strategies. Albertsons, the country's second-largest grocer (after Walmart), just announced a partnership with the on-demand grocery delivery company Instacart. Kroger is also testing delivery with Instacart. But that isn't the only change in the works.  Grocers have also created something called “click and collect,” where customers order online and then pick up the groceries at the store. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about shopping for groceries in the digital age with Jennifer Bartashus, a senior analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

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12/01/2017: In China, even panhandlers accept digital donations

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Cash is becoming a thing of the past. More than one-third of Americans don’t carry it anymore, according to a recent survey by the bank ING. The U.S. hasn’t totally embraced a truly cashless society, but China has. People use WeChat to pay for taxis, groceries and rent. Even panhandlers on the street accept digital contributions. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with our correspondent Jennifer Pak, who recently spent a whole month living without cash in Shanghai.

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11/30/2017: How an Olympic luger and commercial pilot invests in travel tech

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 06:08:00 -0600

An increasing number of big companies are starting their own investment branches. One of them was formed just last year — JetBlue Technology Ventures. It’s led by Bonny Simi, who was an Olympic luger and TV sportscaster, as well as a commercial pilot, before she became an investor. JetBlue invests in travel-related startups, such as electric airplanes — technology that JetBlue might be able to use. Simi spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the company’s approach to investing. 

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11/29/2017: Your phone tracks your whereabouts. Who's entitled to that information?

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

You take your cell phone everywhere you go. And the whole time, it’s keeping a digital record of your location. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case about whether law enforcement needs a warrant to access that information. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has been trying to pass his GPS Act, which would establish rules around the use of location information. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Wyden about what the bill would do.

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11/28/2017: Why welding might be a required skill on the moon

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

As we get closer to sending humans to Mars, there’s been more talk about the technology and money it will take to colonize the planet. But science fiction writers have been pondering this for some time. Andy Weir is author of “The Martian,” which showed us how to survive on Mars. His new book, called “Artemis,” is about a colony on the moon. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Weir about the real research that went into his science fiction. 

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11/27/2017: Turning the data about where you drive into cash

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Americans spend 293 hours driving each year, according to AAA. That’s more than 12 days worth of data on where we go, what we listen to, and where we stop for lunch. And make no mistake, our cars are “watching” us. John Ellis, a former global technologist with Ford and author of a new book called “The Zero Dollar Car,” imagines that we’ll be able to trade in that data for cars one day. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Ellis about the value of car data.

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11/24/2017: Is it OK to be mean to your digital assistant?

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 05:30:27 -0600

Digital home assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google are becoming more common. eMarketer estimates the number of people using virtual assistants will grow nearly 25 percent this year. With all these new talking machines around, does it matter how we speak to it?  Do we need to be polite? Does it matter if we’re mean? We pose those questions to Michael Littman, a professor of computer science at Brown University, who has thought a lot about how we treat artificial intelligence.

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11/23/2017: How smartphones help get cranberries from the bog to your turkey dinner

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Americans eat and drink about 400 million pounds of cranberries each year. Twenty percent of that is during Thanksgiving. The technology that goes into growing, harvesting, and selecting cranberries has changed significantly in the last handful of years. Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks with Hilary Sandler, director of the Cranberry Station, a research center at UMass Amherst, about how cranberry farming has changed.

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11/22/2017: Bringing out the digital elements in board games

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

For a lot of folks, Thanksgiving means family time. And for some folks, family time means board games. AdWeek reports sales of board games are up 28 percent in the last year. We might think of that industry as being very separate from technology. But it turns out, more digital elements are being incorporated into board games. Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks with professor Mike Sellers, who directs the Game Design Program at Indiana University, about how board games might look in the future.

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11/21/2017: Retail tech, from the good to the gimmicky

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

The National Retail Federation estimates that shoppers will spend around $680 billion this holiday season, up 4 percent from last year.  In an effort to compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are trying to figure out what tech they can add to enhance the shopping experience, like phone charging kiosks and interactive "magic mirrors." Marketplace’s Adriene Hill spoke with Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru about how tech is changing how we shop in stores. 

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11/20/2017: Planning for the 2028 Olympics

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Los Angeles will host the Summer Olympics in 2028. That gives the city more than a decade to plan the international event. But how do you do that if no one knows what technology will look like in 2028, and how it will affect the way athletes compete, judges judge and viewers at home watch? Marketplace’s Adriene Hill talks with Proday’s Sarah Kunst about everything from body-enhancing technology to LA’s notorious traffic.

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11/17/2017: The $10 billion deal that could reshape Uber

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Earlier this week, Uber announced progress toward a massive investment from the Japanese conglomeration SoftBank. If the deal goes through, it will be worth about $10 billion. But that’s not all. The deal would require changes to the board that would take power away from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with analyst and venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky about what the deal means and if it’s likely to move forward.

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11/16/2017: Smart cities are collecting your data

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

Smart-city technology is becoming more common, from Singapore to San Jose. The latest city to incorporate this technology into its infrastructure is Toronto. It recently partnered with Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs to redevelop a section of city waterfront. Lots of sensors will collect data on traffic, noise and temperature. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked with Toronto Mayor John Tory about the city’s tech investments and how data collection will be regulated.

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11/15/2017: Ellen Pao and the bad apples of venture

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

This week, venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson left that firm following allegations of inappropriate behavior and an internal investigation. The company said he left by mutual agreement. Ellen Pao is a venture capitalist who sued another well-known firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination in 2012. She lost the case, but it inspired other women to come forward. Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood talked with Pao about how her public battle shined a light on venture capital’s culture.

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11/14/2017: Should tech investors be chasing zebras instead of unicorns?

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 05:30:00 -0600

In the tech world, the word “unicorn” refers to a startup company that investors value at more than $1 billion. Unicorns include companies like Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest. But a group of women founders said venture capitalists are too focused on the exponential growth that unicorns provide. They’re pushing back, and have come up with a new term, “zebras,” which they call companies that are both profitable and good for society. Marketplace’s Amy Scott talks with Mara Zepeda, one of the founders of the Zebra Movement.

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