Marketplace Tech

By Marketplace

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 Aug 16, 2018

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Description

Hosted by Molly Wood, “Marketplace Tech” demystifies the digital economy. The daily show 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.

Episode Date
China wants to ban foreign computers and software from government offices
00:07:00

A report this week in the Financial Times suggests that China might be moving to ban all foreign computer hardware and software from government agencies and public organizations within three years. The move could hurt American tech companies, but what’s tricky is that China doesn’t really have the technology to replace a lot of the software it’s trying to kick out. “Marketplace Tech” host Molly Wood talks with Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Dec 10, 2019
Microsoft’s president reflects on a decade of antitrust investigations
00:07:30

Microsoft is one of the world’s biggest tech companies, but it’s mostly been left out of controversies and investigations around privacy, data protection and antitrust. It’s ironic since the company spent about a decade fighting antitrust allegations in the 1990s. Microsoft is still developing many of the technologies that are under scrutiny now.

Dec 09, 2019
Voila! Trade war turns to Big Tech, wine and cheese
00:10:30
Dec 06, 2019
Making clean water from sunshine and air
00:05:15

This week, world leaders are meeting at the United Nations climate summit in Madrid, talking about how to keep global warming in check. One thing that’s going to become increasingly valuable in the future is drinking water. Droughts, storms and sea level rise all affect the availability of potable water. India, in fact, is already running out. One startup is working on it with tech that collects water vapor from the air and stores it as clean water.

Dec 05, 2019
What “Blade Runner” got right — and wrong — about our 2019 tech
00:10:35

The 1982 science fiction classic “Blade Runner” was set in November 2019 in Los Angeles. But the LA envisioned by director Ridley Scott is very different from the LA you’d recognize today. For one thing, it’s raining all the time, and it’s a dystopian hellscape with flying cars, pervasive technology and artificial humans, or replicants, who are almost indistinguishable from real humans. Also, almost everyone smokes. Aside from the obvious, how far off is the movie from present-day 2019?

Dec 04, 2019
Happy? Holidays! Worker injuries spike at Amazon warehouses seasonally, data shows
00:10:53

Amazon is by far the largest online retailer in the United States. Chances are you’ve clicked the buy button for holiday shopping or just some daily staples recently. Reporter Will Evans said he obtained records on injury rates from 23 Amazon fulfillment centers around the country and found the rate of serious injuries is more than double the average for the industry. At some warehouses, it’s as much as six times higher.

Dec 03, 2019
Buying property is emotional. Tech can help people understand their home’s climate risk.
00:06:00

We’re revisiting some of our stories looking at how technology can help us adapt to climate change.  In this piece (which originally aired October 1), we look at the digital tools available to figure out a home’s flood risk.

Dec 02, 2019
As climate change brings more fires, how do we keep the air clean?
00:05:00

This week, we’re revisiting pieces on how technology can help us adapt to climate change, from our series “How We Survive.”  This story (which originally aired August 5), looks at how technology can help us keep our indoor air clean when wildfires cause intense smoke outside.

Nov 29, 2019
Nature: the next big thing in climate adaptation technology?
00:06:00

This week, we’re revisiting several stories on how technology can help us adapt to climate change as part of our series “How We Survive.” This piece (which was originally published on July 18) looks at how a unique levee in the Bay Area utilizes nature to increase flood protection while restoring wetlands.

Nov 28, 2019
AI for Earth helps researchers get more granular with climate data
00:04:00

This week, we’re revisiting several stories on how technology can help us adapt to climate change. In this piece, which originally aired June 18, we look at how using Microsoft’s AI computing power can help the environmental nonprofit Chesapeake Conservancy make better decisions about the watershed.

Nov 27, 2019
Don’t worry about robots taking your job — worry about AI
00:07:00

Using new data, a new report from the Brookings Institution estimates that the higher you’re paid, the more your job may be at risk from artificial intelligence. We talk with Mark Muro, co-author of the report.

Nov 26, 2019
Human biases are baked into algorithms. Now what?
00:11:41

Recently, regulators began investigating the new Apple Card and Apple’s partner Goldman Sachs after several users reported that in married households, men received higher credit limits than women — even if the women had higher credit scores. Safiya Noble, an associate professor at UCLA who wrote a book about biased algorithms, said data algorithms used to evaluate credit reflect a long history of women having little financial independence or freedom.

Nov 25, 2019
Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera is pretty much the Trojan horse of home privacy
00:10:27

Doorbell security cameras are a hot item and hot topic when it comes to privacy and security. Amazon owns the Ring security camera company, and the company will give police camera footage with the customer’s permission. Andrew Ferguson, author of the book “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement,” was asked how this is different from traditional security systems that involve police and other agencies.

Nov 22, 2019
A Nobel Prize winner in economics uses AI to make poverty research go even further
00:09:00

Esther Duflo is one of this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. She and her colleagues at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab won for their unique approach to tackling poverty. They try to break up huge problems like immunization or educational opportunity into smaller problems. Their team comes up with questions about what might work and then uses randomized controlled trials that are traditionally used in medicine and hard sciences to compare the impact of specific ideas. She says the team also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deploy the findings of their research in the most efficient way possible.

Nov 21, 2019
Can we trust Amazon with our health records?
00:10:00

Amazon bought a couple of health care startups that range from prescription drug distribution to telemedicine. It setup Haven, a consulting group that wants to bring down the cost of health care. Its Echo devices can sync with Fitbit for fitness and sleep data, and it’s filed for patents on tech that would let Alexa detect when you’re sick and recommend medicine. Do people want to give their medical data to Amazon? If so, is it worth it?

Nov 20, 2019
Gen Zers bring retro looks back with an app
00:05:30

Gen Zers, the generation after millennials, are wearing looks from the ’90s. And they’re not finding them at their local thrift shops — they’re shopping at a digital marketplace that specializes in vintage wear, the Depop app. It’s kind of an Etsy-Instagram mashup. Buying and selling used clothes is a simple act, but it’s going to help us with our fast-fashion problem during this climate crisis.

Nov 19, 2019
The promise of renewables in remote Central Africa
00:06:15

Less than half of the population of Africa can rely on flicking on a switch for light, heat or cooking, and that also limits technological advances in banking, education and health care. A recent International Energy Agency report says microgrids powered by solar and wind energy have real potential for accelerating development, particularly in Central African countries. Michaël Aklin, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who researches energy policy, said that the renewable-first approach can work — with some caveats.

Nov 18, 2019
Could sharing health data with Big Tech be a good thing?
00:08:15

The world learned this week that Google is amassing health data from millions of Americans via a contract with the huge health care system Ascension. As trust in tech companies seems to continue ebbing, concerns about the “Project Nightingale” contract seem inevitable. But maybe this data gathering isn’t something we should feel too freaked out about. To find out, host Jack Stewart speaks with Deven McGraw, an attorney who was formerly a HIPAA enforcer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Nov 15, 2019
Winning the self-driving race means lots of tech support
00:06:15

There’s a lot of money being poured into the self-driving space right now. Building a robot driver capable of fully replacing a human on the wheel is a mission that has everything that Silicon Valley loves: a lot of tech and a huge potential prize. Tradition has it that you have to win the race to take any of the prize. But companies are increasingly realizing that they might not get there alone. To see what that means in practice, Marketplace’s Jack Stewart took a trip to Arizona, where several companies are taking advantage of the state’s welcoming regulatory attitude toward self-driving testing.

Nov 14, 2019
Frictionless payment is easy, but it’s costing consumers
00:08:00

Today, it’s almost possible to leave your wallet at home and not pay using your phone. In the not-too distant future, stores could even use facial recognition, or fingerprint scanning, so you don’t even need a device — just grab your items, and walk out. Consumers seem to want this frictionless payment as much as retailers do, but why?

Nov 13, 2019
Will “artificial scarcity” of library e-books push sales?
00:10:00

Some 94% of libraries offer e-books to borrowers, but now Macmillan, one of the five biggest book publishers in the United States, said it’s going to limit each library to just one copy for the first eight weeks after publication. So get ready for longer waits to borrow them. Jessamyn West, a librarian in Vermont, said it’s reflective of a lot of upheaval in the book world right now.

Nov 12, 2019
Can artificial intelligence identify guns fast enough to stop violence?
00:07:22

Some entrepreneurs think technology can help prevent gun violence. A handful of companies are creating artificial intelligence to identify active shooters. The problem is AI requires a lot of data to learn what is a weapon and what isn’t. One startup is creating its own data by holding film shoots.

Nov 11, 2019
Microgrids can help us be more energy resilient
00:07:30

PG&E has said it could take a decade to upgrade its infrastructure so it’s less likely to spark deadly fires. On Thursday, the utility reported a $1.6 billion loss in the third quarter related to fire charges. A group of California mayors think PG&E should be turned into a publicly owned cooperative utility. Is the answer here just to get off the grid or for utilities to split up into lots of smaller microgrids?

Nov 08, 2019
Return of the JEDI contract
00:06:00

After a very dramatic bidding process, U.S. Department of Defense last month awarded a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft. Several companies, including Oracle, claimed the process was rigged and that President Donald Trump threatened to personally intervene in the choosing process because he’s been a critic of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Nov 07, 2019
Your “cloud” data is making noise on the ground
00:05:39

As the amount of data coursing through the internet grows, so does the infrastructure needed to keep all that data flowing. Huge data centers are popping up around the country, but data centers don’t always make good neighbors due to their noise. Bianca Bosker, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, wrote about Chandler, Arizona, where a group of neighbors have taken on data center giant CyrusOne.

Nov 06, 2019
Google bought Fitbit for the data, of course
00:10:00

Google announced plans to buy Fitbit for more than $2 billion, and make no mistake, it’s not for the wristbands. Last year, it announced an effort to use artificial intelligence to scan electronic health records to make predictions about what might happen with hospitalized patients. Kirsten Ostherr, the director of the Medical Futures Lab and the medical humanities program at Rice University, said Fitbit’s trove of data is all about social determinants.

Nov 05, 2019
The neobank’s promise: No branches near you
00:15:30

The tech industry is coming for traditional banking. Digital payment apps are changing how we move money around. A wave of so-called neobanks — all-digital services that let people do everything on a smartphone without any branches — is cropping up in the United States. Molly Wood speaks with Jelena McWilliams, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., best known for providing federal insurance to licensed banks. The agency also has oversight and consumer protection responsibilities. McWilliams said that there’s a lot going on.

Nov 04, 2019
Twitter bans political ads, but is that all good?
00:10:41

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the social giant would ban political ads whether they’re about candidates or political issues. The move put even more of a spotlight on Facebook, which is not only taking political ads but is also not fact-checking them. While most people cheered Twitter’s move, critics said it puts a company in charge of deciding what’s political and could shut smaller groups or candidates out of a cheaper way to reach people.

Nov 01, 2019
Zombie apocalypse!? Here’s the tech you’ll want on hand.
00:08:01

Molly Wood speaks with Max Brooks about what kind of tech can save us during a zombie apocalypse. He wrote “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead.” But this isn’t just metaphorical planning, in some ways. Brooks is also a fellow at the Modern War Institute and advises the military on how his fictional ideas translate into real-world readiness for whatever form the zombie apocalypse actually takes.

Oct 31, 2019
Suit up! Civilian space travel is almost here.
00:06:00

There are a lot of companies out there wanting to take rich thrill-seekers to the edge of space, and they’re ready to convince investors there’s money to be made. Virgin Galactic made its stock market debut on Monday. It’s offering suborbital rides for about $250,000, although it has yet to fly paying customers.

Oct 30, 2019