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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 2018 American Public Media

03/19/18: How the video game industry thinks about violence

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0500

There’s more scrutiny around violence and video games at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. After the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida last month, President Donald Trump called the game industry to the White House and suggested that violence in video games could lead to real-world violence. However, research hasn’t found a link between the two. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Kate Edwards, executive director of Take This, a mental health nonprofit, to find out how game developers are thinking about this in their work. 

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03/16/2018: Is 5G really a national security issue?

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0500

This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order that put a halt on a merger between two giants in the microchip-making business. Singapore-based Broadcom was attempting to buy California-based Qualcomm. The president cited national security concerns in his order to block the merger. At issue was Qualcomm’s role in developing next-generation wireless connectivity, or 5G. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Roger Cheng, executive editor at CNET, about why 5G is so important to U.S. interests.         

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03/15/18: Why the government is suing AT&T and Time Warner

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0500

AT&T wants to buy Time Warner and the Justice Department isn’t having it. The Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against AT&T and Time Warner last November to prevent the merger. The government’s case rests on whether the merger would lessen competition in the entertainment marketplace and harm consumers. The case will go trial next week. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Michael Carrier, a professor of law at Rutgers, about what’s at stake. 

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03/14/2018: How hierarchy can lead to harassment among science researchers

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 05:30:11 -0500

Are scientists prioritizing data collection over reporting harassment? That’s one of the questions that caused University of Illinois anthropologist Kathryn Clancy to examine harassment in research laboratories and field sites.  She found that it’s prevalent in science as much as other fields, and that often researchers don’t know the procedures for reporting incidents. Clancy talks with Marketplace's Kimberly Adams about the harassment that exists in scientific research, and what universities can do to change it.

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03/13/2018: How technology is changing the Paralympic Games — and how much it costs

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:30:14 -0500

The winter Paralympics have been held for more than 40 years. Athletes compete in events such as alpine skiing, some using a sit ski, with a seat attached to a single ski. There's also biathlon, in which vision impaired athletes use sound to find targets. How has technology affected the evolution of the games — and what role does money play in who has that tech? Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams talks with Ian Brittain, a research fellow at Coventry University in the United Kingdom, where he studies disabilities and the Paralympics. 

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03/12/2018: Softbank's $98 billion venture fund is a rampaging gorilla

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0500

The Japanese multinational SoftBank Group launched its $98 billion VisionFund last year. Since then, it's dramatically changed the landscape in tech and venture capital. The fund has taken a majority stake in Uber, poured billions into WeWork, Nvidia, DoorDash, Slack and the dog walking startup Wag. SoftBank's influence is so big, it's pushing other venture capital companies to raise more money. Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley's best-known firms, is reportedly trying to raise more than $12 billion in new capital just to keep up. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood speaks to Anand Sanwal of CB Insights about how VisionFund is changing everything.

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03/09/2018: BlackBerry is pulling out the patent guns for Facebook

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0600

This week BlackBerry sued Facebook saying that all its messaging products — Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram — violate patents that BlackBerry filed when it built BlackBerry Messenger over a decade ago. Facebook responded, saying it intends to fight the lawsuit. Molly Wood speaks with Ina Fried of Axios about whether BlackBerry is after something more than just a really big settlement check.

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03/08/2018: Scott Kelly on the future of space travel and science

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0600

After spending almost a year orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station, the longest spaceflight by an American astronaut, Scott Kelly returned to our planet two years ago to much admiration and with a severe case of jelly legs. His mission was to better understand how living in space affects human physiology. Now he’s partnered with 3M to promote science awareness to the masses. Kelly spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about his life and the future of space travel.  

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03/07/2018: The law that built the internet as we know it

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Congress took a step toward tighter internet censorship last week, depending on how you look at it. The House passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which makes it easier to sue websites that allow sex traffickers to post on their sites. The bill changes previous legislation that made sure third-party providers, like websites, couldn’t be held liable for online posts by independent users. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was co-authored by then-Rep. Chris Cox, a Republican from California, and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon in 1996. Cox spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the legislation and why it may be time for an update.    

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03/06/2018: Online ads don't face much regulation, should they?

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 05:50:00 -0600

Among the list of banned advertising on Facebook you’ll find the usual suspects: guns, drugs, porn etc. Also, on that list? Bad grammar, and notably, cryptocurrencies. When it comes to political campaign ads however, the rules are few and far between. Unlike television, radio and print ads, online campaign ads don’t face federal regulations. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Phil Weiser, a professor of law and telecommunications at the University of Colorado, about the state of online political advertising.

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03/05/2018: What does a corporate merger have to do with national security?

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0600

There is high drama in the semiconductor world. That’s not a typo. Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom has made a hostile takeover bid for it’s competitor Qualcomm. Qualcomm refused the offer, and Broadcom is trying to stack the Qualcomm board to force a yes vote. The deal, should it go through, would be the biggest ever in the tech industry at over $140 billion. All that is just the tip of the silicon iceberg. There are growing national security and privacy concerns coming from the U.S. and the European Union over the deal. Not to mention how it will affect competition. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, to unpack the deal’s implications. 

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03/02/2018: Why you should care about cobalt

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 05:46:00 -0600

Modern electronics rely heavily on one thing: lithium ion batteries. With carmakers gearing up to increase electric vehicle production, the demand for lithium ion batteries doesn’t appear to be slowing down. These batteries rely on an increasingly important supply of the metal cobalt. Most cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa under brutal conditions. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga about Apple’s reported talks to buy cobalt directly from miners and whether it will reduce human rights concerns. 

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03/01/2018: Whom should you tell when your company gets hacked? Ask the SEC

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 05:30:00 -0600

So, your company was hacked. What do you do? Turns out there isn’t much you have to do legally when it comes to informing consumers and investors. That all may be about to change. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued new guidance for public companies asking for faster and more specific notification about hacks. The SEC also laid down new rules about post-hack insider trading. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Michael Greenberger, professor of law at the University of Maryland, about the impact of the SEC’s new rules.

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02/28/2018: Elizabeth Warren on why we're not done talking about Equifax

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has earned a reputation as a fierce consumer advocate. She's gone after big banks and financial institutions, but now she's setting her sights on credit-rating agencies. Specifically Equifax, which endured a massive security breach last year. Over 100 million consumers had their personal information, like Social Security numbers and addresses, compromised in the hack. Now Warren and Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, are introducing legislation that would levy harsh penalties for similar types of security breaches at Equifax and other rating agencies. Last year, Warren sponsored a bill that would allow consumers to freeze their credit any time for free, a service that rating agencies, including Equifax, have traditionally charged for. (Equifax waived these fees for a limited time after the Sept. 2017 breach.) Warren spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about her office's recent report on the Equifax hack and her proposals to combat the cyber threat to consumers.

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02/27/2018: When bots attack

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

The war of disinformation is raging online, and bots are the foot soldiers. Bots are fake social media accounts that work together to amplify messages online. That’s how fake news started trending on social media during the 2016 presidential election. In response, U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller recently filed charges against a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency that had hundreds of employees operating fake accounts during the election. Social media companies have also been trying to fight the army of bots on their platforms but without much luck. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke about bots, and who’s behind them, with Jonathon Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge, a company using artificial intelligence to protect companies from disinformation attacks.       

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02/26/2018: The coming cardboard apocalypse

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

E-commerce is creating a cardboard nightmare. The rise of Amazon and the like has left a deluge of packing waste in many of the world’s largest economies. None more than China, where more than 40 billion packages were shipped last year. That number will likely increase as the Chinese economy grows. There is some pressure on retailers to use less material in their packaging and to switch to reusable alternatives. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with our China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, about how China will cope with the pending cardboard apocalypse.  

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02/23/2018: Can Silicon Valley solve tech addiction?

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

The tech industry has a bit of a PR problem. From tech addiction to online bullying and foreign influence over elections, consumers are getting skeptical about tech’s impact on our lives. There’s even a push from within Silicon Valley to find solutions to these and other issues. Former employees of Google, Facebook and other tech firms have founded the Center for Humane Technology to address tech addiction, a problem they helped create. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with author and education researcher Audrey Watters about her recent blog post asking whether technologists should be trusted to solve technology’s negative externalities.      

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02/22/2018: What Trump's budget proposal means for NASA

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

The Trump administration wants more privatization in space — specifically, the International Space Station. The administration’s latest budget proposal would see the ISS funded and run by private industry instead of the U.S. government. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with our Kimberly Adams to unpack the most important aspects of the president’s budget proposal.   

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02/21/2018: Watching the Olympics in 4K is almost as hard as winning a gold medal

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Watching the Olympics on your phone is great and all, but if you’ve spent a pretty penny on an ultra-high-definition TV, an iPhone probably won’t cut it. How, then, does one watch the winter games in glorious 4K? Well, it’s complicated. NBC is delivering 4K video of some events the day after they air, but that video is difficult to access even with the right TV and set-top box. Sam Machkovech wrote about this problem for Ars Technica. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about the Olympic 4K rigmarole.  

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02/20/2018: Using augmented reality to sell everything from couches to cocktails

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

In the tech world, we talk a lot about the applications for virtual reality, when you’re immersed in a totally different world.  But there may be more business applications for AUGMENTED  reality, where you add something to the scene around you.  Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about it with Tim Merel, managing director of the tech consulting firm Digi-Capital.

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02/19/2018: A conversation with Oath CEO Tim Armstrong

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Less than a year ago, Yahoo and AOL officially merged after AOL’s parent company, Verizon, bought Yahoo for more than $4 billion. Since then, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has moved on to an unannounced venture. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has had the job of blending the two companies into a digital content behemoth named Oath, vying to challenge Facebook and Google for advertising revenue. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Armstrong about how Oath fits in the digital media landscape at the Makers conference in Los Angeles. The early February conference was sponsored in part by Oath.  

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02/16/2018: How Black Twitter is influencing America

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Twitter has the power to shape global conversation. And it’s become a way for marginalized communities to garner attention for the issues that matter to them. Case in point: Black Twitter. According to Pew Research, young black Americans use Twitter more than any other platform. And they’re discussing topics like racial injustice, police shootings and representation in entertainment. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with the author and activist known as Feminista Jones about the cultural significance and influence of Twitter as a platform for black activism. 

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02/15/2018: Ads are annoying. But they can also be invasive.

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Google Chrome’s built-in ad blocker is set to start blocking some of the most annoying ads — pop ups, automatic players and the like. But while ads can be irritating, ad-tracking software might actually be worse. To get a closer look at this kind of tracking and why it should matter to consumers, Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood speaks with Casey Oppenheim, co-founder and CEO of the privacy software company Disconnect. 

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02/14/2018: Stitch Fix's Katrina Lake talks Silicon Valley and sexism

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Tech, like a lot of other industries, is dominated by men. Women get $3 in venture capital for every $4 that men do, according to tech site Crunchbase. And only 17 percent of startups have a woman as their CEO. Katrina Lake, the founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, has experienced that sexism first hand. In 2017, she was the only female CEO to take a company public in the U.S. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Lake at the Makers conference in Los Angeles about navigating Silicon Valley’s sexist culture.  

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02/13/2018: Are computers racist? No, but people still are.

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Facial recognition software has made huge advancements in accuracy, but it has a long way to go — specifically when it comes to recognizing people of color. Commercially available software can tell the gender of a person using a photograph. According to researcher Joy Buolamwini, of the MIT Media Lab, that software is correct 99 percent of the time when it’s looking at a white male but is less than half as accurate when looking at a darker-skinned female. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Buolamwini about her research and the human biases that creep into machine learning. 

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02/12/2018: Bitcoin might be getting easier to use ... or at least faster

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

Buying and selling things with cryptocurrencies is hard. Every time you make any transaction, it's recorded in the blockchain, a digital ledger. That takes up a ton of resources, such as hard drive space. But a new technology called the Lightning Network could offer a way to speed up the process. It's a huge change in how cryptocurrencies could work. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke about it with Timothy Lee, a reporter at the tech news site Ars Technica.   

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02/09/2018: Can we blame algorithms for market volatility?

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

When the markets are extremely volatile, it is common to want to find a scapegoat. And you might be thinking: It’s got to be the algorithms, right? Two kinds are used in Wall Street trading: those that optimize trades that humans make and those that take risks on their own. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Michael Kearns, a professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, who creates algorithms that are used on Wall Street. He said that generally, the algorithms are not to blame for drops in the market. 

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02/08/2018: Why you don't want to be too clever with your URL

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

At the heart of every new business is its name — domain name, in fact. We might be a mobile internet kind of world, but the website is still king, and your URL still matters.  Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Jen Sale, a domain broker for Evergreen, which specializes in acquiring and selling premium one-word domain sites, like robot-dot-com.  

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02/07/2018: What will make a great phone five years from now?

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

In the future, what will make us choose one product over another? It probably won’t be things like screen size or brightness. It’ll be more subtle attributes, like which phone is “smarter” than another. Apple is a company that's known for making great products, but will those devices continue to be the best five years from now? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about it with Forrester analyst Julie Ask. 

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02/06/2018: Who's responsible for regulating Equifax?

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 05:30:00 -0600

When hackers broke into the credit reporting agency Equifax last year, they stole the Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers of over 140 million people. There was speculation that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would crack down on credit agencies and require better data handling. But this week, we found out that while there still might be consequences over the Equifax breach, they won't come from the CFPB. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks about it with Patrick Rucker, who had the exclusive for Reuters.

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