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Preview: APM: Future Tense

Marketplace Tech with Ben Brock Johnson

Marketplace Tech®, hosted by Ben Brock Johnson, tackles the business behind the technology that's obsessing us and changing our lives. With the listener in mind, this weekday segment examines everything from video games and robots to consumer protection

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Public Media

07/21/2017: One big threat to self-driving cars? Kangaroos

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 04:56:28 -0500

We're starting off our show today by playing Silicon Tally, the game where we try to stump each other with numbers from the week's news. Our guest for this episode: Marketplace reporter Ryan Kailath. Afterwards, we'll examine an unexpected threat to the computer vision systems in autonomous vehicles: kangaroos.  

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S02-7: Technology Crossing Borders

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 18:57:12 -0600

The gadget that saved a refugee in the middle of the Aegean Sea, how an agent uses technology to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico, and how a journalist in exile broadcasts the news with WhatsApp. Listen, decode, and decide: Can technology crossing borders save us?

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S02-6: Encryption

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:01:00 -0600

How encryption hides all around us, how it was used in 18th century Paris to separate merchants from their money and the difference between your brain and your fingertip. Listen, decode, and decide: Can encryption save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-5: World Building

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:01 -0600

A proposal to bioengineer shorter humans with cat eyes, a decades-old idea for a totally new kind of power, a battery made from trash and Bill Nye the Science Guy tries to get us in gear. Listen, decode, and decide: Can world-building save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-4: Watching

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 02:30:08 -0600

A small city known for its Amish population and surveillance cameras, an old lady in Northern Ireland who watches video feeds in Brazil and getting footage from the fin of a shark. Listen, decode, and decide: Can watching save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-3: The Augmented Self

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 01:09:37 -0600

The man who collected too much data, cyborgs who want to make their body-hardware mainstream, robots that rebuild your hairline and a conversation with Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge aka LeVar Burton. Listen, decode, and decide: Can the augmented self save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-2: Alternate Reality

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600

A therapist who creates virtual reality experiences for people with dangerous disorders, a grandmother who uses a headset to escape her surroundings and Ernest Cline on virtual reality in fact and fiction. Listen, decode, and decide: Can alternate realities save us? Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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S02-1: Recognition

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:00:00 -0600

A toddler who saved her mother's life with Siri, a man whose mysterious ailment opened up a world of voice recognition technology and a dating service that wants to scan the faces of all your exes. Listen, decode, and decide: Can recognition software save us?Stay updated on all things Codebreaker.

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07/20/2017: A new way of cleaning your house

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 05:07:42 -0500

They may not be the most anticipated items in the world, but transparency reports are important because they reveal how companies disclose information about the way they deal with the U.S. government. On today's show, we'll talk with Michee Smith, a product manager at Google, about the changes the company is making to its report. Afterwards, we'll look at the model behind Up & Go, a service that connects those in New York City who need cleaning services with small business owners.

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07/19/2017: A chipmaker's challenges

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 05:20:29 -0500

Qualcomm may not be a household name, but its chips are inside a household item: your phone. On today's show, we'll look at the company's ubiquity, along with the struggles it's been facing as smartphone makers decide to find solutions in-house. Afterwards, we'll discuss the announcement of Bluetooth Mesh, the idea that eventually all your Bluetooth devices may be able to talk to each other separately from your Wi-Fi network. 

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07/18/2017: It's a supercomputer that may not be pulling in enough money for IBM

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 05:30:01 -0500

What is Watson? As IBM prepares to announce earnings this afternoon, investors are claiming that the artificial intelligence — which has made appearances on Jeopardy and even has its own cookbook — isn't raking in as much as it should be. Jefferies analyst James Kisner joined us to talk about why IBM invested in Watson and why he thinks it isn't working out for the company right now. Afterwards, we'll chat with entrepreneur Cindy Whitehead about her tech incubator Pinkubator, which aims to help female entrepreneurs with access to capital and mentorship.

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07/17/2017: A streetcar not named desire

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 04:22:16 -0500

That's right: today is world emoji day. And there are plenty of companies that are trying to turn these symbols into a business, like Inmoji. On today's show, we'll chat with the company's CTO, Jarrod Mclean, and head of engineering, Chris Nagle, about its services and their involvement. Afterwards, we'll talk with Ian Bogost, a professor at Georgia Tech, about the declining appeal of cars as "fashion objects."

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07/14/2017: What to do when a continent gets a completely new coastline

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 04:58:56 -0500

A trillion-ton iceberg broke off the western coast of Antarctica this week. The news raised questions like: Will the chunk disrupt shipping routes? But aside from the physical consequences, there are also digital ones: like the changes mapping services will now have to make. On today's show, we'll chat with Denis Dean — a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas — about what services do in situations like these. Then, we'll cap off the week by playing Silicon Tally with Sara Fischer, a media reporter with Axios. 

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07/13/2017: Let's travel in a vacuum tube

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 05:06:17 -0500

We're getting closer and closer to ultra-fast travel. Hyperloop One recently completed a test that sent a vehicle down a vacuum track at 70 miles per hour. On today's show, we'll talk to the company's co-founders about their goals and what this technology can actually be used for. Next, we'll speak with Tina Sharkey, cofounder of the new online grocery store Brandless, about their company's unique business model — everything at the store is just 3 bucks. 

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07/12/2017: A net neutrality debate

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:29:03 -0500

Several tech giants are coming together today to protest a roll back of net neutrality rules. Advocates for net neutrality support the idea that internet service providers should treat all websites the same — without favoring or blocking certain ones — while opponents say that the price of a resource should reflect its value. On today's show, we'll get some perspective on the issue from the president and CEO of the Internet Association, Michael Beckerman, and the president of the Technology Policy Institute, Scott Wallsten.

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07/11/2017: How pizza can explain the big net neutrality debate

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 05:04:59 -0500

We are now officially in the midst of Amazon Prime Day, the company's invented online shopping holiday. A lot of people who are buying electronics from the retail giant may not know how to immediately install them, which is why Amazon has started a service that will provide in-person help. On today's show, we'll talk about why the company is dipping its toes in this area. Afterwards, we'll discuss a payment startup called Stripe that will allow companies from all over the world to take payments — whether we're talking credit cards or apps. And finally, we'll look at how ordering pizza can help us understand the debate over net neutrality. 

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07/10/2017: Like a freeway with a special lane for Hondas, but not Toyotas

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 04:48:54 -0500

It's Christmas in July for Amazon. The retail giant is kicking off its summer online shopping sale this week: Prime Day. (Which you've probably seen the advertisements for.) But how sweet will the deals actually be? Adam Burakowski, deals editor at The Wirecutter, joined us to discuss whether all the hype is worth it. Plus: we'll look at news that thousands of tech companies are engaging in a day of action on the 12th to prevent the roll back of net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers should give equal access to all information and websites. To get a better idea of how this concept works, Charles Duan, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, gave us some analogies. And afterwards, we'll hear from one company — Vimeo — about how they're preparing for this day of action.

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07/07/2017: Combating sexual harassment in the workplace

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 04:17:25 -0500

The tech industry has been rocked yet again by revelations about a culture of sexual harassment and unwanted advances. Sarah Kunst, founder and the CEO of the sports media company Proday, joined us to talk about these issues and what companies can do to prevent them. Plus: We play this week's Silicon Tally with David Gura, the co-host of Bloomberg Surveillance and the anchor for Bloomberg Television.

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07/06/2017: The meme economy

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 05:37:56 -0500

By now, you've probably seen the video of President Donald Trump beating up a man with the CNN logo superimposed on his face. The whole controversy got us thinking about memes: can someone own a meme? Can it be copyrighted? Corynne McSherry, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stopped by to break it all down for us. Afterwards, we'll chat with Enigma CEO Hicham Oudghiri about his company's service, which promises to be a powerful tool for accessing and understanding publicly available data sets. 

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07/05/2017: The growing smart-speaker market in China

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 05:23:24 -0500

You've probably heard of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but what about the DingDong? Or the Little Fish? Turns out there are a series of smart speakers that are specifically designed for Chinese buyers. And Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth based in China, wants in on that market. On today's show, we'll discuss how much of a threat the company's new device could pose to Google and Amazon, and then examine some of the challenges associated with Chinese-language voice assistants. Plus: A look at the world of video-game modding.

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07/04/2017: IBM Watson vs. video editors

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 04:08:39 -0500

Microsoft has increased its focus on cloud computing, and there are rumors that thousands could be laid off in its plans to reorganize. What direction is Microsoft trying to go, and can it compete with the likes of Amazon? Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, stopped by chat with us about the tech giant's future. Afterwards, we'll look at IBM Watson's latest appearance: the Wimbledon courts as part of the All England Lawn Tennis Club tournament. Watson's tech will measure different data to create highlight reels — which IBM says will take half the time of human video-highlight editors. 

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07/03/2017: Setting off fireworks right from your phone

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 04:46:42 -0500

An estimated 44.2 million Americans are expected to travel around this Fourth of July, which is causing traffic on travel websites to soar. One of 'em: KAYAK, a service that allows customers to search for the best travel deals out there. Co-founder Steve Hafner stopped by to talk to us about the company's relationship with Google and how it tries to help users make smarter traveling choices. Afterwards, we'll chat with inventor Kevin Wu about his new app, FireFly, which enables you to shoot off fireworks.

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06/30/17: Battling a cyber attack...with an insurance policy

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 04:47:59 -0500

As this week's massive cyber attack continues to play out in more than 70 countries, we're looking at one area in which it could engender growth — the cyber liability insurance industry. Currently valued at 4 billion dollars annually, it's expected to reach 20 billion in coming years. But what exactly does a cyber liability policy cover? We talk to Smita Bhargava,  vice president of programs and special risk for the insurance company Clements. They're seeing an increase in inquiries about whether cyber liability policies would cover events like this week's attack. Plus, quiz yourself on the latest tech news in this week's installment of Silicon Tally featuring Katherine Gorman, co-host of artificial intelligence podcast The Talking Machines.

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06/29/17: What makes a tech company a tech company?

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 07:38:29 -0500

The cooking ingredient delivery service Blue Apron goes public today. They are listed as a startup tech company, but we discuss whether or not they really merit this status and the high value that comes with it. Plus, Nintendo re-releases more games from their coveted vault and we announce the winners from our audio quiz earlier this week on Atari 2600 game sounds.

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06/28/17: Another month, another malware attack

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 05:00:58 -0500

A ransomware attack hit servers around the world yesterday. The infected computers displayed a message in red type over a black screen that read, "Oops, your important files are encrypted," demanding a $300 bitcoin ransom from users to recover the data. This comes just one month after the WannaCry ransomware attack that affected more than 150 countries in May. We talk to Chester Wisniewski of the cybersecurity firm Sophos about this attack. Also on today's show: It's been 10 years since the first iPhone shipped out. It's been called the most unique and disruptive invention of all time, but just how original was it?

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6/27/17: Profile picture thieves

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:12:07 -0500

Profile hackers are stealing the photos and other profile information from a high rate of female Facebook users in India. To combat this issue, Facebook has built a tool that makes it harder to download or screenshot a person's profile picture. We talk to Ankita Rao from Motherboard who has been following this story. Plus: A check-in on rideshare drivers. After a lot of drama at Uber in the past couple of weeks and changes to the company's tipping policy, we ask how drivers are feeling right now. 

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06/26/2017: How Atari changed personal computing

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:32:02 -0500

Atari was born 45 years ago this week. Michael Z. Newman, the author of "Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America," says the gaming company didn't just change video game history, it changed the way people thought of personal computing. Plus: we learn about how one company, BioCatch, is using biometrics to detect fraud. CEO Eyal Goldwerger says the company can use your online behavior to identify you, adding a layer of security. It tracks your physical attributes, including how fast you scroll on a page or how you hold you phone, to build your profile.

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06/23/2017: Where does Trump stand with the tech world?

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:10:57 -0500

The Trump White House is wrapping up its tech week. Over the past several days, the administration discussed everything from emerging technology (like 5G networks) to ways it could modernize the government's workforce. Recode senior editor Tony Romm joined us to give his thoughts on whether the administration "gets" where tech is and knows how to move forward, and talked about a clash that went on between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Trump. Plus: To cap off the week, we're playing Silicon Valley with Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder of Dia&Co., a clothing delivery site for sizes 14 and up. 

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06/22/2017: The rise of cryptocurrencies

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:11:31 -0500

Uber is looking to the future after investors pushed CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. But with old lawsuits still trailing the company, we'll discuss whether Uber can truly move forward and if an IPO is in its near future. Afterwards, we'll look at Tesla's scramble to keep up in the self-driving car race, and then talk about the surge in cryptocurrency prices over the last few months.

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06/21/2017: Crowdsourcing our brains

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:33:32 -0500

President Trump has called for a "sweeping transformation of the federal government's technology," but is that achievable? Matt Cutts of the U.S. Digital Service — which works on modernizing tech, one crisis at a time — joined us to talk about what his team does and whether progress is possible. Afterwards, we'll look at Amazon's latest attempt at world domination: the launch of a clothes shopping service that will let you order clothes and return them for free if you don't like them. And finally, we'll chat with Louis Rosenberg, CEO of Unanimous AI, about "swarm intelligence," which groups people together so that they can come up with the best solutions possible.

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