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Marketplace Tech

American Public Media

Hosted by Molly Wood, “Marketplace Tech” demystifies the digital economy. The daily radio show and podcast uncovers how tech influences our lives in unexpected ways and provides context for listeners who care about the impact of tech, business and the digital world. Transforming breaking news to breaking ideas, Marketplace Tech uncovers themes that transcend the hype in an industry that’s constantly changing. Reporting from Oakland, California host Molly Wood asks smart questions that connect the dots and provide insight on the impact of technology to help listeners understand the business behind the technology rewiring our lives.

Hosted by Molly Wood, “Marketplace Tech” demystifies the digital economy. The daily radio show and podcast uncovers how tech influences our lives in unexpected ways and provides context for listeners who care about the impact of tech, business and the digital world. Transforming breaking news to breaking ideas, Marketplace Tech uncovers themes that transcend the hype in an industry that’s constantly changing. Reporting from Oakland, California host Molly Wood asks smart questions that connect the dots and provide insight on the impact of technology to help listeners understand the business behind the technology rewiring our lives.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Description:

Hosted by Molly Wood, “Marketplace Tech” demystifies the digital economy. The daily radio show and podcast uncovers how tech influences our lives in unexpected ways and provides context for listeners who care about the impact of tech, business and the digital world. Transforming breaking news to breaking ideas, Marketplace Tech uncovers themes that transcend the hype in an industry that’s constantly changing. Reporting from Oakland, California host Molly Wood asks smart questions that connect the dots and provide insight on the impact of technology to help listeners understand the business behind the technology rewiring our lives.

Language:

English

Contact:

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


Episodes

As if fighting disinformation wasn’t hard enough, there’s a language gap, too

4/16/2021
Facebook and other social media companies get plenty of criticism for allowing too much disinformation on their platforms, especially when it comes to elections, pandemic misinformation and untruths about COVID-19 vaccines. Now, critics say, even as the platforms are taking steps toward cracking down, there’s a huge hole in their already spotty enforcement. Not all of the disinformation is in English. There are more than 40 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., and critics say they’ve been...

Duration:00:04:59

Microsoft’s latest acquisition shows speech recognition is big business

4/15/2021
Microsoft this week announced it will acquire Nuance, a Boston-based speech recognition and artificial intelligence company, for around $16 billion. It’s the company’s largest acquisition after LinkedIn and a big bet on speech recognition technology. Nuance is used most in health care, and about 10,000 health care facilities worldwide use it to capture conversations between patients and doctors and transcribe them in real time. Molly speaks with Daniel Hong, a research director at Forrester....

Duration:00:10:30

What new regulations for Chinese giant Ant Group mean for the fintech industry abroad

4/14/2021
The Chinese company Ant Group does a lot of things. It provides loans, mobile payments through Alipay, credit scores, and it acts as an investment platform. Last year, it was headed for what might have been the biggest initial public offering in history, until the Chinese government abruptly canceled it. The government on Monday forced the company under the control of its central bank and demanded that it restructure as a financial holdings company. All this happened after founder and tech...

Duration:00:06:35

Don’t look now, but Bitcoin is going mainstream

4/13/2021
Cryptocurrency is still kind of niche and a little confusing. The fact that it’s so beloved by eccentric tech billionaires doesn’t make it seem totally normal. But despite being developed as a decentralized alternative to government-created currencies, cryptocurrency is getting increasingly legit. The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is going public Wednesday on the Nasdaq. PayPal is now allowing users to pay merchants with cryptocurrency. Visa will accept one type for payments. You can now...

Duration:00:12:01

Amazon beat back a union. But questions about the role of technology at work remain.

4/12/2021
As you’ve probably heard by now, the effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, was unsuccessful, though the union said it will challenge the vote. It would have affected just a fraction of Amazon’s workforce, but it captured the attention of the country at a time when e-commerce has become a lifeline and the welfare of essential workers has come under threat. Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Janice Fine, a professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers...

Duration:00:05:12

Another day, another Facebook data leak

4/9/2021
Last weekend, a user in a hacking forum published the personal data of about 500 million Facebook users: their email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays and more. In a blog post Tuesday, Facebook said the recent data leak wasn’t a hack, but was from “malicious actors” scraping and saving publicly available information in 2019. Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Wired senior writer Lily Hay Newman. Even she has a hard time keeping track of all the data leaks from Facebook.

Duration:00:07:11

What if gig workers could train the algorithms that determine their pay?

4/8/2021
A couple of drivers for the delivery app DoorDash may have found a way to trick the algorithm that serves them jobs into offering better pay. Bloomberg profiled their effort, which is called #DeclineNow. They encourage other drivers to decline all the lowest-paid jobs to get the app to offer more money. But to make it work, they need a lot of drivers on board, and that can be tricky with gig workers. They don’t share a break room, after all. Instead, they’re getting together online in...

Duration:00:06:54

Work tools feel like social media but without the moderation

4/7/2021
For those of us lucky enough to work remotely this past year, talking with colleagues has felt sort of like being in a chatroom with workplace messaging platforms full of GIFs and emoji. But bringing the culture of the internet to work can also be toxic. A recent study from Project Include found that some tech workers experienced more harassment on those platforms, particularly women, people of color and transgender and nonbinary workers. Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Caroline Sinders,...

Duration:00:07:27

Google’s Supreme Court win could actually benefit the little guy

4/6/2021
For years, courts have been trying to hash out whether Google stole code from Oracle. Way back when Google was creating its Android mobile operating system, it decided to use some Java code that would make the system compatible with a lot of programs. But the Java code was owned by Oracle, which then sued, and it’s been in the courts ever since. The Supreme Court this week finally ruled that what Google did was allowed and didn’t infringe on Oracle’s copyrights. Meghan McCarty Carino speaks...

Duration:00:08:40

High-speed internet is the new space race. But do the economics work?

4/5/2021
The White House’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan proposes $100 billion for broadband. Right now, however, it is hard to get broadband to big parts of this country unless the infrastructure is in space. Low-Earth-orbit satellite constellations could bring high-speed internet access to those areas. Elon Musk’s Starlink is the best known, but there are a few other companies in the mix. Starlink is in beta with about 10,000 users. “Marketplace Tech” host Molly Wood speaks with Sascha Segan, a...

Duration:00:09:25

Amazon had a weird week on Twitter. But the union vote is the big news.

4/2/2021
Votes are being counted in Bessemer, Alabama, this week from Amazon warehouse workers considering whether to unionize. Amazon has fought tooth and nail against the union effort and also against members of Congress. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren criticized its treatment of employees, and Amazon’s official Twitter account went on the attack. So did some Twitter users claiming they were very happy Amazon employees, and not all of them were real. Molly speaks with Jason Del Rey, who...

Duration:00:12:11

Creating diverse venture capital firms is possible, if you’re willing to do it

4/1/2021
Venture capital firms are known for being an incredibly exclusive group. The firms themselves are often small. Even smaller is the number of partners, the actual decision-makers who control hundreds of millions — sometimes billions — of dollars. At the biggest firms, there might be a dozen partners maximum. And if you’re an entrepreneur who wants some of that money, it definitely helps to have gone to college with one of those partners. Kapor Capital is trying to be more inclusive in whom it...

Duration:00:07:18

Tech investor Mitch Kapor is proving investing for social good can make money

3/31/2021
There’s an idea that’s long been gospel in the venture capital industry, that investing in companies that have a positive social impact is a money loser — impact investing is “concessionary.” But what if it isn’t? Mitch Kapor is a well-known tech investor. He helped create the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet and was an early Uber investor. But for the past decade, Kapor and his wife, Freada Kapor Klein, have focused on companies that they say fill a gap, whether it’s social, information or...

Duration:00:09:28

The corporate forces that helped shape AI

3/30/2021
“Artificial intelligence” is now a household term, whether it’s powering driving directions, spotting tumors in cancer patients or driving big discussions over ethics, bias, autonomous weapons or the future of work. But despite the fact that the first neural network was created in the late 1950s, a lot of those advancements have taken place over only about 10 years. In his new book, “Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World,” New York Times tech...

Duration:00:10:24

Investors are throwing money at mRNA and new medical technologies. What could go wrong?

3/29/2021
We’ve been talking about all the potential of mRNA technology — better vaccines and virus detection for all kinds of diseases. Now, let’s talk about the money because the rush is on to invest in mRNA and the whole field of synthetic biology, which approaches the body and natural systems as programmable platforms like computers. However, the history of Silicon Valley and medical tech is mixed. You remember Theranos. Just last week, the founders of a once-hot biotech firm called uBiome were...

Duration:00:08:32

How to imagine the worst possible use of your product, and then stop it from happening

3/26/2021
Slack rolled out a new feature this week to let people connect with anyone, even if they don’t work in the same company. One flaw became immediately obvious: Anyone with your email address could send you a connection invite and a message that could be harassing or harmful. Slack promptly changed the feature, and invites no longer contain customized messages. But it made us wonder: How can companies do a better job anticipating how features could be harmful and fix them before they get rolled...

Duration:00:09:59

Messenger RNA technology might kick-start a new age of vaccines

3/25/2021
The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are in many ways modern miracles. As you know by now, they were developed using technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, which basically gives the body instructions to create antibodies for the novel coronavirus. It’s the first time a vaccine has been developed in this way. And now that we have this technology, we can start using it on all kinds of viruses, like the flu. Molly speaks with Andrew Hessel, a geneticist and microbiologist. He...

Duration:00:08:31

Gig work has helped a lot of people get through this pandemic

3/24/2021
This pandemic is the story of lots and lots of deliveries, of groceries, packages and medicine. Companies including Instacart, Amazon and DoorDash use armies of independent contractors that aren’t employees to get those goods out. “Marketplace Tech” producer Stephanie Hughes rode along with a driver for Amazon’s Flex program before the pandemic began to give us a sense of what that work is like.

Duration:00:06:37

Misinformation about COVID-19 planted a seed for online hate speech

3/23/2021
Tuesday marks one week since the mass shootings in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian women. Police have not labeled the attacks a hate crime. But we know that hate crimes against Asian Americans have been on the rise. Researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, looked at police data from 16 American cities and found that anti-Asian hate crimes more than doubled in 2020. At the same time, online hate speech against Asians has spiked. So as we think about...

Duration:00:07:43

Bias in facial recognition isn’t hard to discover, but it’s hard to get rid of

3/22/2021
Joy Buolamwini is a researcher at the MIT Media Lab who pioneered research into bias that’s built into artificial intelligence and facial recognition. And the way she came to this work is almost a little too on the nose. As a graduate student at MIT, she created a mirror that would project aspirational images onto her face, like a lion or tennis star Serena Williams. But the facial-recognition software she installed wouldn’t work on her Black face, until she literally put on a white mask....

Duration:00:11:10