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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


What does it mean to be "employed" in the gig economy?

This week the European Parliament passed a law establishing basic rights for workers in the gig economy. It could apply to some 3 million people, everyone from Uber drivers to couriers for the United Kingdom's Deliveroo. The law requires companies to pay when work is canceled last minute or for mandatory training. It also bans "exclusivity clauses," which prevent freelancers from "gigging" for other companies. It's supposed to make working short-term gigs a little more stable. Marketplace’s...


Big Tech is prepping for California's tough new privacy law

Last year, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires companies to be more careful in the way they handle consumer data. It doesn't go into effect until next year, and it's still a work in progress. Host Molly Wood checked in with Jessica Lee, a partner at the law firm Loeb & Loeb advising clients on data privacy regulations. She said some companies are plowing ahead while others are trying to remake things in their favor. Today's show is sponsored by the...


Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: cybersecurity is national security

In a new book, Janet Napolitano, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, says it is "impossible to overstate the urgency of improving our country's cybersecurity." She says we're vulnerable all over the place, from critical infrastructure like utilities and 911 dispatch systems to our elections and our personal data. Host Molly Wood spoke with Napolitano about her new book "How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11." Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University...


Is video conferencing worth all the trouble?

Today, most video conference calls are full of pauses, delays, garbled audio and unusable interfaces. Last year a Gallup Poll found that 70% of employees around the world work remotely at least once a week, and more globalization means more remote offices and bureaus. Video conferencing company Zoom goes public on Thursday, promising to make customers happier with their meetings. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talked to Nick Barber, an analyst at Forrester Research, about the current state...


Tesla is moving ahead on driverless tech while others are slowing down

Tesla announced late last week that all its cars will now come with its semi-autonomous driving technology, called Autopilot, as a standard option. And Tesla is pushing hard toward fully self-driving cars. It will hold an autonomy investor day April 22 to tell shareholders how it plans to get there. But other companies are pulling back. Host Molly Wood talked with Jack Stewart, Marketplace’s transportation reporter. He said next week is about Tesla staking its self-driving claim. Today's...


Your smart speaker may capture your voice-activated fails

Are you ever really alone when talking to your smart speaker? It turns out there might just be someone on the other side listening to you as part of the platforms' quality assurance measures. So says Anthonio Pettit, who's worked on Microsoft's Cortana, Samsung’s Bixby and Amazon's Echo. He recently sat down with Joshua McNichols of KUOW’s "Prime(d)" podcast to talk about the work of quality assurance engineers for smart speakers and the many things they hear. McNichols shares some of...


Your side hustle may not look so great come tax time

Depending on which research you read, somewhere between 30% and 35% of American workers are part of the gig economy, many of them working through digital apps. Or as tax professionals put it, they're self-employed. That means they're responsible for their own taxes. Come Monday, when tax filings are due, some of these independent contractors are in for a rude awakening. Host Molly Wood talked with Amy Wall, a tax preparer based in Tucson, about taxes and the digital economy. Today's show is...


Who knew a space agency could go viral?

NASA communicates directly with the public more than ever. Veronica McGregor directs news and social media at the agency's Jet Propulsion Lab. Host Molly Wood visited JPL to talk about how social media fits into NASA's public mission. And she got the backstory on one of McGregor's first big viral successes, the 2008 Twitter account for the Phoenix lander on Mars. Today's show is sponsored by Oregon State University, Acquia and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage.


You might put things online to make them permanent, but internet archives can disappear

Here's a list of things that exited the internet in just the past few weeks: The social network Google Plus shut down, taking all its archives with it. That included the profile pages of Google's founders, removing access to insights about the company's history and decisions. Facebook said it "mistakenly" deleted posts by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but also changed how it archives corporate announcements and blog posts in a way that makes them harder to find. MySpace accidentally lost 12 years of...


Now that states can make sports betting legal, venture capital wants in

Without naming basketball tournament names, it's safe to say there's a lot of sports betting happening today. In the future it's going to be a lot more… legal. A Supreme Court decision last spring opened the doors for betting on sports in all states, not just Nevada. Now every state can make its own betting rules, and a handful have legalized it already. At least 20 states are considering new legislation, which is likely to lead to a lot more online gambling. And venture capitalists can...


Social media, elections and fake news: India edition

India holds its national elections next week. As voters get ready to head to the polls, they're being targeted with false and misleading information. The platform of choice? WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook that allows users to send encrypted messages to other individuals, groups of people, and forward messages they've received. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 64 percent of Indians reported they've encountered fake news. Marketplace Tech host Tracey Samuelson...


Homework is much harder when you can't get online at home

Homework is a big part of any child's education. Today, that means getting online to watch a video the teacher assigned, do research or fill out forms and worksheets. But Pew Research says almost a quarter of students from low-income families often struggle to finish their homework because they lack a dependable computer or internet connection. It's what experts refer to as "the homework gap." As part of Marketplace Tech's Evenly Distributed series, we turned to New Orleans, a city where...


Creators build audiences online, but an algorithm can wipe it out in an instant

People who try to build a career as creators on YouTube may put all their creativity and time and identity into the platform. On the other end of the screen, an algorithm can take away their ability to make money by what's called demonetizing videos, or just giving them a lower priority in its recommendation engine. One year ago today, a YouTube creator shot three people at the company's San Bruno, California, headquarters before killing herself. A police investigation concluded that when...


The FTC has no chief technologist as it weighs big tech investigations

The Federal Trade Commission is the agency that can fine or prosecute tech companies over unfair or anti-competitive consumer practices. The current FTC Chair Joseph Simons has said he will set up a task force to address tech issues. But there is one empty chair at the agency: the chief technologist, who is supposed to give advice on tech and policy. The role has existed since 2010, but it's been empty for about a year, and some critics are worried. Neil Chilson had the job last. He's now a...


What role does government play in innovation?

You can think of innovation as a ladder of sorts. It might start with imitation and then progress to adaptation, like tweaking a foreign idea to develop it for a local market. Finally, hopefully, you reach invention, perhaps even big, industry-changing ones. But the steps needed to climb that ladder, in any given country, can be elusive and murky. There's only so much governments can do, says Regina Abrami, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Marketplace’s Tracey...


Lyft IPO makes it the ridesharing star, at least for today

The ride-hailing platform Lyft goes public today ahead of Uber, which is expected to list in the coming weeks. Drivers from both companies went on strike in Southern California earlier this week to protest changes in how their pay is calculated. Lyft's reliance on drivers is a risk factor it mentioned in its paperwork to go public. Others include new regulations or the possibility it will never be profitable. For every dollar of revenue the company brings in, it winds up 40 cents in the red....


Rocky past in tow, Fisker promises a new electric SUV

Hot on the heels of Tesla's Model Y announcement came the news that carmaker Fisker Inc. also wants to make an electric SUV at about the same price of $40,000. But it would take a whole lot going right for the Fisker SUV announcement to mark any kind of real turnaround. Marketplace's Jed Kim talked with Chelsea Sexton, an electric vehicle industry adviser and advocate, about the company's rocky history. Today's show is sponsored by the University of Florida Warrington College of Business,...


Norway sees a future in giant subterranean data centers

If you're a tech company that wants to look good, you want to locate your energy-intensive data centers in places with lots of cheap renewable energy. That's why Norway is making a big push to get companies to build data centers there. Marketplace’s Jed Kim talks with Katie Prescott, a BBC journalist who reported on this from Norway. Today's show is sponsored by Evident, WordPress and Panopto.


Tech is helping house cleaners get benefits

Some might consider domestic employees the original gig workers. There are a lot of similarities, like intermittent income and no real safety net. It's a problem that affects millions of workers like nannies, caregivers and house cleaners, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance is working on solutions. The group's innovation arm, NDWA Labs, is bringing financial tech to domestic workers. Its new platform, called Alia, directs digital payments toward benefits for house cleaners....


You can tidy up your digital life, too

Since digital storage space is so cheap, it's easy to keep amassing files. But that can take a toll on our work and our well-being. Marketplace's Jed Kim talks to Deb Lee, a digital productivity coach who helps people weed out the virtual messes they've gotten themselves into. Today's show is sponsored by Lenovo for Small Business, Ultimate Software and WellFrame.