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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


States take on Google with antitrust investigation. This won’t be quick.

This week, attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced they’re joining forces to investigate whether Google has engaged in anti-competitive behavior. Some of those AGs are also part of another investigation into similar questions about Facebook.


Drivers wanted: EVs are all over the Frankfurt Motor Show

The Frankfurt Motor Show opened this week in Germany, and automakers are showcasing their hot, new electric vehicles. As always, prices for many of the electric cars run well above the means of a humble public radio employee. You’ve got your Porsche, your Mercedes-Benz, your BMW. But in Europe, there are also a lot of other offerings with prices closer to the range of what the average consumer could buy.


Pindrops work. But if you (or your drone) require location precision, there’s an app for that.

What3words is a company that has divvied Earth into 57 trillion squares, each with its own unique string of three identifying words. Anyone with the company’s app or website can translate locations from those words.


It’s happening in Knoxville: Time, money and marketing make smaller cities viable tech hubs

For smaller cities outside of the epicenters of tech, developing as a hub is a long process with a lot of things that must go right. Jed Kim speaks with Jim Biggs, who worked in Silicon Valley for years before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he’s an executive director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, a business accelerator. He laid out the hurdles his city and others face.


It’s not a given that tech in the classroom improves learning

Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with Daniel Willingham, who’s a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and researches how we learn. He said balancing tech’s promises and its realities has been a learning experience of its own. (9/9/2019)


For U.S. Navy destroyers, old controls might be safer than new tech

The USS Fitzgerald collided with a Phillipine container ship in June 2017, killing seven sailors. Then, just two months later, the USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian merchant vessel, killing 10 sailors. Megan Eckstein, deputy editor for USNI News, part of the U.S. Naval Institute, told me the National Transportation Safety Board found the USS McCain collision was caused by a helmsman who was confused by his touch-screen displays. The Navy has taken note, and, Eckstein says, is...


How much longer until people want to date Alexa?

The 2013 Spike Jonze film “Her” imagined a not-too-distant future where digital voice assistants become super lifelike. And then it becomes a love story between a man and a machine, which seemed crazy, maybe a little gross. Since then, we’ve seen Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant evolve and spread to more devices. (9/5/2019)


Detroit’s first director of digital inclusion helps a divided city get online

Detroit is one of the least-connected big American cities. According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, less than half of homes there have broadband internet. That means hundreds of thousands of Detroiters stand on the losing side of a growing digital divide. Jed Kim talks to Joshua Edmonds, the city’s first director of digital inclusion. (9/4/2019)


Australia is figuring out its own way to wrestle with tech giants

This summer, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission delivered the results of a big investigation on the impacts of Big Tech — especially Google and Facebook. It looked at competition and privacy, and how social media has crippled local journalism, among other issues. The result? Twenty-three recommendations that the government can use to regulate — or not. (9/3/2019)


Electric vehicles are getting noisier, for safety’s sake

In the European Union, new models of electric vehicles must make some sort of noise to address some safety concerns. Some carmakers are already doing that, and they’re taking it as an opportunity to craft signature sounds. Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with BBC journalist Chris Vallance, who reported about some of the things designers need to think about when making new car sounds. This is a re-air episode, which originally was published on Jul. 15, 2019. (9/2/2019)


“Amazon’s Choice” does not vouch for product quality

“Marketplace Tech’s” Jed Kim spoke with Nicole Nguyen, who is a technology reporter at BuzzFeed News. The “Amazon’s Choice” label helps boost items’ sales, which also helps Amazon, since it gets a cut. But Nguyen said there’s not much known about how the designation gets awarded. (8/30/2019)


Plug-in planes are coming, faster than ever

“Marketplace Tech’s” Jed Kim spoke with Graham Warwick, executive editor of Aviation Week. They talked about the rapidly evolving electric plane sector and how electric flight could potentially reinvigorate regional air travel. (8/29/2019)


More schools are analyzing students’ online lives in the name of safety

As a new term begins, a growing number of schools will be scouring students’ social media posts and emails for warning signs that they may pose a safety threat. (8/28/2019)


Teens on screens might be a good thing

It feels like we’re constantly bombarded with news stories about how screens and technology are destroying our kids’ mental health. Turns out, though, when it comes to adolescents, those negative impacts of screen time may be overblown. (8/27/2019)


How the economy, energy and tech show up in “Mad Max”

Marketplace’s Jed Kim spoke with Matthew Kahn, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, about the energy, technology and economics on display in “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.” He said that for him, the movie shows how free markets falter in a post-apocalyptic world. (8/26/2019)


Apple Health: Once the company’s ambition, now has stalled

For a while in 2018, it seemed like Apple was going to upend the health industry. The company announced an app that could monitor your heart rate and detect irregularities. It was bringing your medical records to your iPhone. It even launched its own health care clinics for employees and families, which people saw as a trial balloon for understanding the industry.


If you don’t like Facebook, try building your own social network

If you don’t like Facebook, you can just leave, but maybe you can leave — and build your own social network. One programmer wrote a guide on how to create your own DIY platform for that. Molly Wood talks to Darius Kazemi about the demand for such a service, and why he’s worked on it.


Patreon lets fans support online creators directly. Its CEO wants to keep service personal.

Increasingly, creators are turning to platforms with a membership model as a way to earn a living. Patreon is a website with such a model. It lets fans support projects of their choosing with recurring donations in exchange for everything from shoutouts to free stuff or exclusive content. Host Molly Wood speaks with Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte, who says the platform works because it’s not about expanding at all costs.


Before driverless cars come driverless office park shuttles?

There’s no one way forward for autonomous car technology. Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car company, is still testing fully autonomous cars as taxis in the Phoenix area. Tesla is putting semi-autonomous features into its own cars for consumers to buy. And some companies, like Boston-based Optimus Ride, are thinking the immediate future may be a little more contained.


How fake Twitter accounts spread misinformation and distort conversation

It’s easy to create a fake account on social media. Facebook admitted that billions of accounts on its platforms could be fake. Last year alone, Twitter suspended more than 70 million bots and fake accounts, but they keep appearing. The more bots there are, the more they can manipulate the online conversation.