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Marketplace Tech

American Public Media

Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.

Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.
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Los Angeles, CA


Marketplace Tech is a daily radio segment and podcast produced by Marketplace from American Public Media exploring the world of technology and the Internet.




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


Your next TV will very likely be internet-ready

All this week we're partnering with CNET Reviews to talk about the big trends in consumer technology. TVs, which used to be in the pipe dream category of holiday gift ideas, are now more in the stocking stuffer price range. Television prices have been in free-fall for over a decade, and manufacturers tried to keep people buying with gimmicks like 3D and ultra high-resolution 4K, except there still aren't many shows being broadcast in 4K. As a result, TV prices just keep getting lower, and...


A smart home for the holidays?

All this week we're partnering with CNET Reviews, talking about the big trends in consumer technology as we head into the holiday shopping season. And it appears that the smart home is finally coming home to a lot more people. In 2017, almost 25 million smart speakers were sold, according to the Consumer Technology Association. So far this year, 19 million smart speakers have shipped, and holiday shopping has just begun. And once they're in a house, they can act like a gateway drug. People...


The consumer electronics industry is ready for the most shopping-ful time of the year

It is Thanksgiving week and the official start of the 2018 holiday shopping season. All this week we're partnering with the online tech reviews and news site CNET to talk about the big trends in consumer technology. This year CNET did a holiday survey asking its users what they're thinking about when it comes to tech. And this year the research bears out what the retail industry has already been saying: It's going to be a big year for shopping, especially in tech. Molly Wood talks with...


Palantir may go public, but can it turn a profit?

The data analytics company Palantir is reportedly considering going public. Palantir is the company co-founded by controversial Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, formerly of PayPal. It's named after an all-seeing artifact in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The company promises police departments, governments, even the IRS, that it can take in huge amounts of data and make artificial intelligence-informed guesses to help track down criminals and cheats, among other things. In a secret...


Meet the company training up more diverse startup founders

Only about 1 percent of venture capital-backed startup founders are black, according to CB Insights data. Even fewer are black women or Latino. There's not a lot of age diversity and geographic diversity, and underrepresented founders don't always have access to the networks or training programs that can help them get startup funding. Mandela Dixon is a former public school teacher and startup founder, and she was a mentor for entrepreneurs at the VC firm Kapor Capital. About a year ago, she...


A young digital media company sees an opportunity in black millennials

Black millennials are tech savvy, influential and spending about a $162 billion a year, according to a 2016 Nielsen study. And yet, black people are incredibly underrepresented in tech and media. Enter Blavity, a digital lifestyle brand for millennials of color. It started in 2014 and raised $6.5 million in venture funding earlier this year. Blavity's founders say its advantage is its community members. They'll pay to come to events, and companies will pay to interact with them. Jeff Nelson...


An argument against Big Tech being so big

Part of the reason there's a backlash against Big Tech these days is because some of these companies are so big. They're big in terms of users (see: Facebook's 2 billion plus), big in valuation (Amazon and Apple have both topped a trillion dollars) and big in market share (more than 90 percent of all web searches happen on Google). The United States is taking baby steps toward possible regulation. Europe is taking more like Paul Bunyan-sized steps. But critics like Tim Wu argue these...


Can apps help veterans suffering from PTSD?

Justin Miller served for 11 years in the U.S. Army and deployed twice to Iraq. After being medically retired, he suffered from severe PTSD. He almost became one of the 20 military veterans and active service members who die by suicide every day. But he was saved, in part, by a serendipitous phone call from his friend Chris Mercado, a fellow vet, who helped talk him back. Now Miller and Mercado have collaborated with a team to build the app, Objective Zero, using social networking technology...


How the midterm elections could shape tech policy

The midterm elections could have a big impact on the tech industry. That’s because the backlash against Big Tech is one of the only issues out there that is pretty bipartisan. And on top of that, a couple of newly elected legislators have specifically made tech part of their agenda, be it net neutrality, privacy regulations, or even whether platforms are suppressing political voices. We dig into this in Quality Assurance, the segment where we take a deeper look at a big tech story. Issie...


A 20-year-old digital copyright law is still being fought about (and copied) today

Think of a music video you love to watch over and over on YouTube, or the hilarious meme you shared last. Proposed digital copyright laws in Europe and other countries kind of want to make those a little less common, and they have their roots in a 20-year-old American copyright law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Cory Doctorow is a writer and activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He and the EFF have been talking about and litigating over the unintended consequences...


Google offers more secure email for journalists, politicians, activists ... and you?

Email can be a vulnerable way to communicate, especially if you're sending around valuable information because you're a politician or a journalist or an activist. High-profile email users are targets for hackers, trying to get them to click the wrong link and give up their passwords. Google offers a version of Gmail with extra security — you need a physical USB key to log in. Anyone can use it, but Google markets it to high-profile users. Mark Risher, head of Google's Account Security team...


That time it was illegal to fix your own electronics for almost 20 years

Once upon a time, when something you owned broke, you fixed it. We never even considered whether we were allowed to fix our products until the year 2000, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act went into effect, making it illegal to circumvent any tech that locked up devices without authorization. So John Deere started telling farmers it was a copyright violation to fix their tractors. And Apple said it was a copyright violation to fix our iPhones or even open a repair shop. Just last...


Why it's so hard to stop all those spam calls

The Federal Communications Commission estimates that Americans get 4 billion unwanted automated calls every month. And they work. We get scammed out of $9.5 billion every year. But if we can filter out most of the spam in our email, why haven't we solved robocalling? Because it’s a deceptively complicated problem to solve. (11/05/18)


Britain to major tech companies: You do business here, you pay taxes here

Europe and the United Kingdom have been coming hard at the tech industry lately: tough privacy laws, fines for anti-competitive behavior, new types of copyright laws, and earlier this week, something called a "digital services" tax from the United Kingdom. Starting in 2020, the U.K. will take 2 percent of online revenue from tech companies, specifically Facebook, Amazon and Google, that make over $600 million a year. The rest of Europe is planning a similar tax, and the idea has even spread...


Should Big Tech pay more to help the homeless in San Francisco?

In San Francisco next week, voters will decide whether the city's largest companies, most of them tech, should pay a tax that will raise money to help homeless families. Other cities have tried similar efforts. Voters in Seattle recently overturned a tax on large employers that would have funded affordable housing efforts, and the city's biggest tech employer, Amazon, strongly objected. But in San Francisco, the city's biggest tech employer is for the measure. Marc Benioff is the co-CEO of...


An argument for algorithms that reflect our highest ideals

Earlier this week, Google announced $25 million in grants for organizations working on “artificial intelligence for social good." The included things like wildlife conservation, stopping sex trafficking and eliminating biases in algorithms that perpetuate racism and gender discrimination. It's an admission that algorithms and AI are not neutral, and more care must be taken with their design. Molly Wood talks with Jamie Susskind, author of the new book “Future Politics: Living Together in a...


"The Facebook Dilemma" documentary explores the company's global impact

Yesterday on the show, we talked with the fact-checkers trying to clean up Facebook. Today we're looking at how misinformation on Facebook affects democracy here in America and the social fabric of many other countries, from India to the Philippines to Myanmar. That's the topic of a two-part Frontline documentary called "The Facebook Dilemma," airing this week on PBS stations and online. It explores Facebook's growth and how it has responded to warnings that it can be used for propaganda,...


Meet the fact-checkers trying to clean up Facebook

We're a week away from midterm elections, and it's time to talk about social media. After the 2016 elections, it became clear that a lot of divisive, misleading and flat-out false information was being shared via Facebook. A study earlier this year said Facebook was responsible for the spread of more false news than any other platform. And once the bad information was out there, fact-checking couldn't do much to reverse its impact. After the 2016 election, Facebook partnered with a handful...


The privacy debate is starting to pit tech against tech

This week in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook lambasted what he calls the “data-industrial complex” created by the tech industry, calling for the United States to adopt comprehensive digital privacy regulations. Apple has stressed privacy as a selling point over the past couple of years, but this was a broadside at a couple of the other biggest tech firms in the world, namely Facebook and Google. It's worth noting that it's easy for Apple to tout privacy when the option it's offering is a closed...


What if the weakest link in election security is ... confidence?

This week, we've been looking at election security. We talked about how voting machines are vulnerable to hacking, but an even easier target is voter registration databases. They’ve got the names, addresses and voting histories on all kinds of people. The Illinois' voter registration database was hacked in 2016. The attack exposed the data of more than 70,000 voters, but stealing that information wasn't necessarily the goal. Matt Dietrich, public information officer at the Illinois State...