Marketplace Tech

By Marketplace

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Subscribers: 1983
Reviews: 4

 Mar 16, 2023
Some decent reporting with a lot of far left propaganda thrown in.

A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 16, 2018

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 Jul 27, 2018


Monday through Friday, Marketplace demystifies the digital economy in less than 10 minutes. We look past the hype and ask tough questions about an industry that’s constantly changing.

Episode Date
The human labor behind AI chatbots and other smart tools

Every week it seems the world is stunned by another advance in artificial intelligence, including text-to-image generators like DALL-E and the latest chatbot, GPT-4. What makes these tools impressive is the enormous amount of data they’re trained on, specifically the millions of images and words on the internet. But the process of machine learning relies on a lot of human data labelers. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Sarah Roberts, a professor of information studies and director of the Center for Critical Internet Inquiry at UCLA, about how this work is often overlooked.

Mar 21, 2023
How AI chat search could disrupt online advertising

Almost every service we use on the internet is basically a platform for advertising, especially search engines. Advertisers pay to get their sites at the top of search results, have their businesses show up on digital maps or populate their products at the top of shopping carousel pages. The search engine companies are not only paid, but get data about what users want, which they can then turn around and use to sell more advertising. But how does all this work if, as chat-based artificial intelligence permeates web search, the results become less like a big list and more like a one-on-one conversation? That’s where it looks like Microsoft and Google are headed with their Bing and Bard chatbots. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Garrett Johnson, assistant professor of marketing at Boston University, about how this new approach could really shake up the online ad space.

Mar 20, 2023
What the bank failures mean for crypto

Are you keeping up with those other two banks that both start with an “S” and failed the same week as Silicon Valley Bank? Silvergate Bank announced March 8 that it was shutting down of its own accord and regulators took over Signature Bank on Sunday. All three of these institutions were known for catering to a specific clientele. For SVB, it was tech startups. For Silvergate and Signature, it was cryptocurrency companies. So what does the collapse of two of the crypto-friendliest banks mean for that industry? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino talked about it with Laura Shin, a crypto journalist and host of the “Unchained” podcast.

Mar 17, 2023
Silicon Valley gets a taste of what the public thinks of the tech sector

During the chaos last weekend after Silicon Valley Bank was taken over by federal regulators, but before they guaranteed customers access to their deposits, there was panic in the tech world and pleas for the government to step in and help thousands of businesses that could have been crushed. But cries of victimhood from the tech sector were often met by the internet’s smallest violin, and the government’s actions to stabilize the situation were sometimes derided as a “billionaire” bailout for privileged tech bros. Sarah Kunst, a general partner at venture capital firm Cleo Capital, talks to Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino about Silicon Valley’s image problem.

Mar 16, 2023
What are the ethical hazards in the effort to commercialize AI?

Microsoft’s Bing chatbot has displayed some strange, sometimes inappropriate responses. Could training in ethics help? Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Arvind Narayanan, a computer science professor at Princeton University, about the ethical concerns he sees increasing around artificial intelligence.

Mar 15, 2023
The SVB-sized hole in Silicon Valley  

Did you hear that giant whooshing sound? That was the collective exhale of tens of thousands of startup founders, workers and investors after federal regulators assured customers of the failed Silicon Valley Bank that they would have access to all of their deposits. Most of the bank’s 40,000 customers are tech startups, which spent much of the weekend bracing for the worst: that their money would be tied up or lost for good. That’s off the table now, but there’s still an SVB-sized hole in the tech landscape, according to Natasha Mascarenhas, a senior reporter at TechCrunch. She spoke to Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino about how this one bank became so embedded in the startup scene.

Mar 14, 2023
Can AI learn to understand human emotions?

It’s getting easier and easier to talk to machines, from digital voice assistants like Siri and Alexa to the latest generation of AI chatbots. Natural language processing technology has made it possible to engage in pretty humanlike conversations with some forms of artificial intelligence. But can a bot ever really “get” us? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Aniket Bera, an associate professor of computer science at Purdue University, who is trying to teach emotional intelligence to artificial intelligence.







Mar 13, 2023
AI is hard at work in Hollywood

The 95th Academy Awards on Sunday is sure to feature plenty of glitz, glam, awkwardly cut-off speeches and artificial intelligence. The technology is becoming a bigger and bigger part of filmmaking, in ways that not everyone is thrilled about. It’s something Joshua Glick, a visiting associate professor of film and electronic arts at Bard College, wrote about recently for Wired. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Glick about the many ways Hollywood employs artificial intelligence.

Mar 10, 2023
Can a chatbot be an effective search engine? We tried it out.

Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Joanna Stern, a technology columnist at The Wall Street Journal, about her experience with Bing’s AI-powered search bot. Stern searched test questions about what to make for dinner, and the results were helpful, though not entirely accurate to the query. Also, how does Bing compare to the Siris and Alexas of the world?

Mar 09, 2023
What happens when robots write sci-fi?

It seems very meta — a tool seemingly straight out of science fiction writing its own science fiction stories. But it’s not all fun and games for the online magazine Clarkesworld, which had published short fiction sent in by writers in the sci-fi and fantasy community. Editor Neil Clarke said last month that the magazine was closing down submissions because it had been inundated with material generated by artificial intelligence.

Mar 08, 2023
Some U.S. cities are using cameras to crack down on noise pollution

Cities from New York and Washington, D.C., to Knoxville, Tennessee, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, are studying a new way to address noise pollution by installing what looks like an army of radio reporters on the streets. They’re commonly referred to as noise cameras. When a loud car passes by — typically one exceeding 85 decibels — these noise cameras snap a photo of the car’s license plate and a ticket is mailed to the driver. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Erica Walker, a noise researcher and epidemiologist at Brown University, about her skepticism of this new surveillance system.


Mar 07, 2023
Big retail companies are paying influencers to help them with their TikTok presence

Social media influencers are on lots of platforms: Instagram, YouTube and, more and more these days, TikTok. Amazon and Walmart are getting help from content creators to keep their brand present on TikTok, all while the creators become influencers and earn money in the process.

Mar 06, 2023
How space tech is being deployed in Ukraine

It’s been just over a year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and we’ve been looking at the role technology has played, from government apps repurposed for crowdsourced reconnaissance to wide-scale cyberattacks. But space-based technology, largely from private companies, is also making a difference in Ukraine. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Miriam Kramer, senior space reporter for Axios, about how satellites hundreds of miles above the Earth are bringing visibility and transparency to events on the ground.

Mar 03, 2023
ChatGPT is a content host and creator. Does that make it liable for what it produces?

So much of the internet today rests on the bedrock of a federal law that shields tech companies from liability for the content users post online. Everything from the AOL chatrooms of yore to modern social media likely wouldn’t exist without Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The idea is internet platforms aren’t acting like traditional publishers in creating content; they’re merely hosting it. But new generative artificial intelligence tools like DALL-E or ChatGPT that generate images or text are kind of different, says Matt Perault, director of the Center on Technology Policy at UNC Chapel Hill. He spoke with Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino about the implications of these tools falling outside Section 230 protection.

Mar 02, 2023
The broadband gap leaves behind people with disabilities, study finds

Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris was in South Carolina touting the Biden administration’s push to expand affordable high-speed internet there with programs funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Tens of millions of Americans still don’t have access to broadband internet, and the problem is particularly acute for people with disabilities, according to the Urban Institute. Jon Schwabish, a senior fellow at the institute, spoke to Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino about the findings.

Mar 01, 2023
Could AI write our laws next?

Legislators across the U.S. use the software LegisPro to assist in drafting bills and tracking amendments, but they have largely stayed away from the ethical concerns that generative AI programs might raise. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Mohar Chatterjee, a computational journalist at Politico, about how this software is used by legislative bodies and what some of its limitations are.

Feb 28, 2023
Now we’re paying for social media … but for what, exactly?

Meta has jumped on the blue badge bandwagon. Last week, the company announced a verification service for Facebook and Instagram at a price of $11.99 a month, per app. It’s part of a trend of social media platforms turning to user fees instead of relying just on advertising dollars. They used to say that if you’re not paying for the product, the product is you. But if you’re now paying for social media, what exactly is the product? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Shirin Ghaffary, a correspondent at Vox, about the benefits and trade-offs of the blue badge.


Feb 27, 2023
A year of war, and years of cyberwar, in Ukraine

When Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, many security experts braced for an unprecedented escalation in cyberwarfare in addition to the physical assault. For years before the large-scale invasion, Ukraine was hit by massive cyberattacks that disrupted financial systems, transportation, energy and politics — disruptions that were expected to only intensify. But things haven’t exactly played out that way, according to Adam Meyers, chief of intelligence at the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.


Feb 24, 2023
How mobile apps continue to help many in Ukraine

This week marks a year since Russia began its devastating invasion of Ukraine, and throughout that time, technology has shaped the conflict, from satellites beaming internet service from space to the mobile phones in people’s pockets. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino recently spoke to Roman Osadchuk, a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, who is also based in Ukraine, about how mobile apps have become an essential lifeline there as citizens navigate the daily realities of war.

Feb 23, 2023
Algorithms may start deciding who gets fired

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing how we work and how we lose work. Not just chatbots that are coming for human jobs, but software that can determine which employees get pink slips when companies decide to downsize. Whether any employers used algorithms to conduct layoffs in recent months has been a topic of speculation, though none have disclosed it. But Capterra, a business-oriented tech review platform, recently surveyed 300 leaders in human resources, 98% of whom said they would rely on software and algorithms to reduce costs during a recession. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Brian Westfall, the author of that Capterra report. He said HR is much more data driven today than it was during the Great Recession 15 years ago.

Feb 22, 2023
Big Tech is gaining Americans’ trust, but not when it comes to their kids’ data, survey says

Social media companies and other big technology firms have been under fire: President Joe Biden called for stricter regulations during his State of the Union address; FBI Director Christopher Wray has raised national security concerns about TikTok; and lawmakers are considering age restrictions for young social media users. Despite this, public trust in Big Tech companies is up, a new survey from The Center for Growth and Opportunity found. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke to Taylor Barkley, technology and innovation director for the CGO, about the surprising results.

Feb 21, 2023
Digital archivists race to preserve Ukrainian heritage (rerun)

This episode originally aired on March 11, 2022.

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has disrupted – and ended – many lives and destroyed homes, infrastructure and whole communities. But at the beginning of the war, the cultural heritage of Ukraine was also at high risk. Some Ukrainian museum websites went offline as the servers hosting them lose connections or are destroyed in attacks. To prevent that information and cultural memory from disappearing entirely, around 1,000 archivists, programmers and librarians have volunteered to form a group called Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online or SUCHO. They’ve been recording and archiving these websites before they go offline. Quinn Dombrowski is an academic technology specialist at Stanford University who’s been working on this project.

Feb 20, 2023
The pitfalls of letting an algorithm set the rent

Many large property owners use rent-pricing software to figure out what to charge their tenants. And that practice has come under scrutiny after an investigation last fall from ProPublica into the software company RealPage and its rental pricing algorithm. Several lawsuits have accused RealPage of colluding with landlords to artificially inflate rents and limit the supply of housing. The Department of Justice is also investigating. Marketplace’s Amy Scott spoke with Heather Vogell, a reporter at ProPublica who has been following the developments since her initial investigation on RealPage’s algorithm came out.

Feb 17, 2023
Black investors hit harder by crypto market slowdown
Feb 16, 2023
Big Tech diversity efforts stall as industry endures mass layoffs

We’ve reported on the mass layoffs in tech that have been happening since last fall. And that has many in the industry worried about what that means for diversity in tech. There are now indications a slowdown in hiring could affect industry efforts for more diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, according to Textio, a company that helps create job ads. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Christie Lindor, a diversity strategist and CEO of Tessi Consulting, who warns the tech industry in particular should be careful about cutting these roles.

Feb 15, 2023
What China’s spy balloon tells us about the state of international espionage

It’s been a little over a week since the U.S. military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon over the coast of South Carolina. Since then, the United States has downed at least an additional three unidentified crafts in North American airspace. The balloon saga has put a spotlight on foreign espionage operations, but Javed Ali said the practice is nothing new. Ali is a former senior national security and intelligence official, as well as an associate professor of practice at the University of Michigan. He spoked to Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams about what we can glean from this string of incidents about the technology and practices used in modern international espionage.

Feb 14, 2023
The role of technology in the Russia-Ukraine war

This month marks a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The toll has been devastating — cities turned to rubble, staggering numbers of deaths — and like every war, this one has often turned on technological advances. It can be a grim experience to delve into the dark side of innovation, but we wanted to look beyond traditional notions of military might and consider how technology off the battlefield is helping Ukraine fight back. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Steven Feldstein, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about the crucial advantages tech has provided in such arenas as cybersecurity.

Feb 13, 2023
Search engines powered by generative AI might be the next big thing

This week brought the opening salvos of a new battle of the bots. “It’s a new day in search. In fact, a race starts today,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when he introduced the new and improved Bing, now bolstered by ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot the internet can’t shut up about. Just a day earlier, Google announced Bard, its own AI chatbot-powered search tool. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Chirag Shah, a computer science professor at the University of Washington. He said AI chatbots process language more intuitively than older search models and could transform how people access information.

Feb 10, 2023
How dating apps are more and more “gamified”

It’s been about a decade since a new generation of mobile apps brought online dating out of the shadows and onto our phones. They turned swiping — right or left — into a kind of romantic roulette. Dating apps have become the most popular way for couples to connect, but they’re also a multibillion-dollar industry that relies on keeping users hooked. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, co-host of the podcast “Land of the Giants: Dating Games,” a collaboration between The Cut, The Verge and Vox Media, about how dating apps have been “gamified.”

Feb 09, 2023
Students are using ChatGPT to cheat. That’s a challenge for teachers and school districts.

ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot from OpenAI, has raised a lot of questions. Like, what could this mean for society? For art? For the future of human jobs? But one thing became immediately clear: Students are going to use it to cheat on their homework. That’s created a market for software that can detect text that was generated by artificial intelligence like ChatGPT. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Stephanie Hughes, Marketplace’s education reporter, about what teachers say the technology means for them.

Feb 08, 2023
Tech layoffs can trigger an identity crisis for workers who are let go

During the Meta earnings call last week, Mark Zuckerberg said something that seemed to perfectly capture the vibe in tech as layoffs continue to climb. The CEO said the company was in a “phase change” and that 2023 will be “a year of efficiency.” For tech workers, it’s a striking contrast to a mythology that had been building for more than a decade: the conspicuously cushy tech job.

Feb 07, 2023
The 2022 “Crypto Bowl,” then and now

It’s hard to believe it’s been just a year since cryptocurrency ads made a splash in the Super Bowl, because a whole lot has gone down (and down and down) in crypto since then. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino got journalist and book author Jacob Silverman on the line to look back at the ads from eToro,, Coinbase and FTX in the 2022 “Crypto Bowl.” They might not have aged so well.

Feb 06, 2023
California’s data protection law expands to cover employees

California has been a leader in consumer data privacy law. But those protections don’t mean much if they’re not being enforced. So, under a sweeping voter initiative that took effect this year, the state has created an agency dedicated to the task. It’s the first of its kind in the U.S., which, unlike Europe, has no comprehensive federal data privacy regulation. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Ashkan Soltani, the executive director of the new California Privacy Protection Agency. He said one of his goals is to educate the public about their rights under the newly expanded California Privacy Rights Act.

Feb 03, 2023
A theory of how internet platforms die

Many of the biggest tech platforms, from Amazon to Facebook, follow a similar pattern of transformation, according to a recent essay from the author and internet activist Cory Doctorow. First, he says, these platforms court users with artificially low prices on products or an exciting way to connect with friends. Then, they hook sellers, like advertisers or third-party retailers, with promises of reaching a captive audience. Finally, Doctorow says, as companies try to maximize their profits, they end up ruining the experience on their platforms through a process he describes with a four-letter word we can’t broadcast or publish.

Feb 02, 2023
U.S. Border Protection app causes tech headaches for asylum seekers

In January, the Joe Biden administration unveiled a new tool to help migrants seeking asylum at U.S. borders. An expanded smartphone app managed by Customs and Border Protection now allows asylum seekers to schedule appointments to enter the country. But since this function launched, thousands of migrants coming from Latin America have been scrambling to sign up, and many have encountered technical glitches in the process. KPBS reporter Gustavo Solis spoke with migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, as they tried out the new system.

Feb 01, 2023
Why visual misinformation online can be tough to stop

Technology is making it easier and easier to create and disseminate visuals, from text-to-image artificial intelligence models and sophisticated deepfakes to simple memes retweeted with hashtags. Visuals are the lingua franca of the internet, but their potential to easily spread misinformation — particularly about health topics — make them especially dangerous to the public. That’s according to an article published last year in the journal Science Communication. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Andy King, an associate professor of communication at the University of Utah. King co-authored the commentary titled “Missing the Bigger Picture,” which discussed what makes visual misinformation unique.

Jan 31, 2023
Rural communities are slow to adopt EVs — but a national charging network depends on them

Sales of electric vehicles have really picked up in the last year or so, but at just shy of 6% of all cars sold in the U.S. They’ve still got a long way to go before they hit mass adoption, like the long way to go to find a charger in many areas of the country. There are currently about 100,000 public chargers in the U.S. The federal government wants to reach about half a million chargers by the end of the decade, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill includes billions of dollars to help make that happen. Reporter Rae Solomon of KUNC in Colorado has this story about how rural areas fit into the electrification plan.

Jan 30, 2023
How two cases headed to the Supreme Court could change the internet

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced it was putting off hearing a pair of highly anticipated cases that could fundamentally change social media as we know it The cases concern laws in Florida and Texas, pushed by conservatives in those states, which basically make it illegal for social media platforms to block or hide content – like say from a former president – even if the post violates the companies’ terms of service. Both laws have been blocked from taking effect while the rest of the country waits for the high court to weigh in. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Daphne Keller, director of the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center, about why these cases could be consequential.

Jan 27, 2023
Amazon is remaking small businesses in its own image, report says

Amazon might seem anathema to small business, but the fact is, third-party sellers account for the majority of the e-commerce giant’s sales. These sellers range from independent artisans and designers to opportunistic resellers of products from big-box stores. A new report from the nonprofit Data & Society examines how Amazon is helping, hurting and generally transforming the small business retail model. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Moira Weigel, the author of the report and a professor at Northeastern University. She described the effect Amazon has on small businesses as a “trickle-down monopoly.”

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Jan 26, 2023
Carbon capture needs to scale up to make a dent in the climate crisis

A plant in Iceland recently became the first large-scale facility to remove carbon dioxide from the air on behalf of corporate clients paying to reduce their carbon footprints. The Climeworks operation uses a process called direct-air capture, or DAC. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Aniruddh Mohan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University. He said the technology could be key to averting the worst of climate change.

Jan 25, 2023
It’s in Big Tech’s DNA to overhire in the boom and deflate in the downturn

The mea culpas from tech CEOs announcing massive job cuts have become a familiar refrain: “We hired too many people.” “We were much too optimistic.” “This did not play out the way I expected.” That’s a mashup of statements from Salesforce, Stripe and Meta. The tech industry continues to shed jobs: Google and Microsoft announced thousands of layoffs last week and Spotify this week. So, why did so many tech companies make the same mistake of overhiring? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Anup Srivastava, a Canada research chair and professor at the University of Calgary. He said going big during boom times is baked into the business model of the industry.

Jan 24, 2023
How solar panels might help fix California’s drought

A California project that’s harnessing solar power to save water may seem a bit counterintuitive, given the dousing the state just received from a series of giant storms. But most of the state is still technically in a drought. That trend is expected to only intensify in the long term because of climate change, as warmer average temperatures increase evaporation. Take California’s vast system of open canals, which transport water across the state from reservoirs to agricultural lands and metropolitan areas. Scientists at the University of California, Merced, estimate that the waterways lose tens of billions of gallons of water to evaporation every year. A new project aims to shield the flows from the heat and sun by covering canals with solar panels while  helping the state meet its renewable energy goals.

Jan 23, 2023
Text-to-image AI tools are taking the internet by storm. But is it art? Or the end of art?

Images created by artificial intelligence programs, like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E, are just about everywhere now, dazzling users with their ability to instantly create any image that can be dreamed up. The AI works by scraping billions of images from the internet, which are often created by artists who may not be thrilled that their life’s work is helping to build technology that could threaten their livelihoods. Steven Zapata, a designer, illustrator and art teacher in New York City, has concerns about what this means. It makes no sense, he told Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino, that these machine-learning systems may go on to compete with the creators whose work the models trained on. He also believes that an ethical version of these artmaking systems can be developed and would be valuable.

Jan 20, 2023
Affordable-housing hopes are building around 3D printed homes

To make housing more affordable in the U.S., we need more of it. Millions of additional units, by most estimates. This shortage of housing has a range of complex causes, but the high cost of construction — which rose even further thanks to pandemic-driven labor and supply constraints — is definitely not helping. An idea from the tech world holds the potential to make the building process more efficient: 3D printing. Startups have been experimenting with the technology in large-scale construction, and now there’s a push to take it mainstream. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with journalist Rachel Monroe, who took a deep dive into the topic in this week’s issue of The New Yorker.

Jan 19, 2023
Why AI is not coming for our jobs — yet

Now that so-called generative artificial intelligence models, such as DALL-E and ChatGPT, can create impressive visuals and formulate complex responses, will human artists, writers, radio hosts, and all sorts of creative and knowledge-based jobs, go extinct? Mark Finlayson, an associate professor of computer science at Florida International University, offered his perspective on this zillion-dollar question in a recent essay for The Conversation. Finlayson believes that these tools are likely to change creative work, but not always for the worse. He told Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino that he expects disruption as some people prosper in future work environments and others fail to adapt.

Jan 18, 2023
Understanding the tech behind the gas vs. electric stove debate

Like the Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles, “Star Wars” vs. “Star Trek” or cats vs. dogs, the question of gas stoves vs. electric has somehow become a character-defining one. The discourse was ignited last week by a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Richard Trumka Jr., who suggested his agency was considering a ban on gas stoves. He has since stepped that back a bit. But the debate continues to simmer. Electric partisans say their ranges are healthier for people and the environment, while gas stove lovers say flames are just better to cook on and resilient in power outages. So how do modern electric stoves work? And would we have the infrastructure to support them? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Ethan Elkind, director of the Climate Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment. He said there are a lot of misperceptions based on outdated models.

Jan 17, 2023
AI used for hiring and recruitment can be biased. But that’s changing.

Artificial intelligence is commonly used in automated recruitment programs. It helps narrow down large pools of applicants using algorithms to match job seekers to open positions. But there are growing concerns that this technology is disproportionately excluding certain groups, like women, people of color or those who don’t have college degrees, even when they’re perfectly qualified.

Jan 16, 2023
TikTok bans could cause headaches for government employees

TikTok is under a lot of scrutiny from federal, state and local governments. Congressional lawmakers recently banned the social media platform from most federal government devices. More than a dozen states, including New Hampshire, South Dakota and Texas, passed similar measures due to growing concerns about data security and privacy on the platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Joshua Scacco, associate chair of the University of South Florida’s department of communication. He said this blacklisting can make it harder for some, like researchers, to do their jobs.

Jan 13, 2023
Louisiana law requiring proof of ID for porn site access has privacy advocates worried

Louisiana’s new law, HB 142, requires users in that state to prove they’re 18 or older before accessing sites that contain pornographic material. If a website’s content is a least one third porn, you have to show an ID. And the reason that’s possible is because Louisiana is one of the few states in the U.S. that allows residents to store government-issued ID digitally on their smartphone. This new law has many privacy advocates worried, and some researchers are warning about unplanned ripple effects of the law’s implementation. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Jordan Taylor, an internet and social media researcher and PhD student at the Human-Computer Interactive Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jan 12, 2023
How private images captured by a robot vacuum ended up online

Sure, robot vacuums are convenient and they make for great cat videos. But these devices  have the potential to collect a lot of data from the private setting of our homes. Images of children’s faces, the layout of a house, even someone sitting on the toilet were all captured by iRobot vacuum test models in North America, Europe and Asia. Those photos found their way into a private Facebook group for Venezuelan gig workers, where they were then leaked to journalists at MIT Technology Review. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke to Eileen Guo, a senior reporter at MIT Technology Review, who has been investigating this.

Jan 11, 2023
How new tech could put more EVs on the road

CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, wrapped up Sunday in Las Vegas. There was a lot to process. The annual event showcased plenty of smart home technology, virtual reality gadgets, health trackers and even a tech friend for kids — a robot that recognizes facial expressions and moods. There was also a focus on energy, given the urgency of the climate crisis and the geopolitical events of the last year. Marketplace reporter Lily Jamali was at the convention looking into some of the latest technology in the energy sector. She spoke to Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino about what she observed.

Jan 10, 2023
Chaos at Twitter has brands questioning their association with the platform

Some two months after Elon Musk closed his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter, we’ve seen information leaks, layoffs at the social media company, and that day everyone thought Twitter was going to shut down, but it didn’t. With reports of hate speech on the platform rising, many brands are eyeing Twitter cautiously, with some suspending their advertising altogether. But through the Twitter tumult, there’s a larger, deeper question brands are confronting: should they even be on Twitter in the first place?

Jan 09, 2023
This year’s CES puts the smart in smart home

CES is underway in Las Vegas this week. The annual consumer electronics event attracts tech companies large and small, along with developers, journalists and policymakers. Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, who covers smart home technology for The Verge, is attending the convention. She spoke with Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams about the new gadgets and the announcements being made in the smart home realm.

Jan 06, 2023
What’s ahead for crypto in 2023?

2022 was not a great year for crypto. It started with a bang as crypto ads went mainstream in the Super Bowl. And then the year ended with an implosion. Crypto hacks piled on scandals and sliding valuations, one company fell and then another, culminating with the spectacular collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is now under investigation for fraud. So will this crypto winter start to thaw in 2023 or head into deep freeze? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with crypto journalist and host of the “Unchained” podcast, Laura Shin, about what she thinks is in store for the industry this year.

Jan 05, 2023
A clock for the next civilization — what could it say about the past and future?

Deep inside a mountain, a full day’s hike from any road, in a dry, deserted part of West Texas, a foundation funded by Jeff Bezos is building a giant clock that’s hundreds of feet tall. It’s been called the Millennium Clock, the 10,000 Year Clock and the Clock of the Long Now. Like the Pyramids, Stonehenge and the Colosseum, its makers hope it will outlast our civilization and tick for 10 millennia. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Alexander Rose, executive director of the Long Now Foundation, which has been building the roughly $40 million prototype of the clock in Texas.

Jan 04, 2023
How AI is disrupting the trucking sector

Trucking can be dangerous job – long, often tedious hours behind the wheel, the unpredictability of the weather and of course, other drivers. And yet, trucking is an essential part of supply chain. 72% of the nation’s freight gets from point A to point B in a truck, according to the American Trucking Associations. Most of those holiday gifts you might be enjoying right now got to you on a truck. So truck drivers are an essential part of our economy. The companies that hire and manage those drivers have started bringing a lot more technology into big rigs, including artificial intelligence and sometimes automation. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Karen Levy, author of “Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance” about how these tools are being used in the industry.

Jan 03, 2023
How does copyright law affect the sale and distribution of NFTs? (rerun)

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are basically digital certificates of ownership, a virtual claim that an image, GIF or even a song belongs to you. And while some artists were initially happy to jump into this new space, others have been surprised or furious to find that people, not themselves, beat them to it. Last year, several musical artists publicly complained after the website HitPiece temporarily listed NFTs for their songs or albums without the artists’ permission. But does selling someone else’s art as an NFT break the law? Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Aram Sinnreich, a professor and chair of the communication studies division at American University, around the time of this dust-up. He said all this gets into a gray area, at least when it comes to existing copyright law.

Jan 02, 2023
Fractured tech policy, easy-to-use AI and emotional recognition: stories to watch in 2023

It’s been a big year in tech: the race to build the metaverse, the rise and fall of NFTs, chaos in the crypto sector, amazing views of galaxies far, far, away and research breakthroughs that will change the way we live. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams and Marketplace Tech producers Jésus Alvarado and Daniel Shin discuss what stories they’ll be following in 2023.

Dec 30, 2022
The complications of trying to engineer life (rerun)

This is the time of year when we hear a lot about predictions for the year ahead, but futurist Amy Webb is known for looking to the future year-round. Not just for 2023, but even further out to the technology that will drive meaningful shifts in how we live and experience the world. Webb recently co-authored a book with geneticist Andrew Hessel called “The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology,” where she explores the role synthetic biology will play in shaping our world. In the not-so-distant future, Webb said, it will play an even bigger role in our health, what we eat and even how we have kids.

Dec 29, 2022
Women don’t wear bikinis to battle, and other things the gaming industry is learning (rerun)

Earlier this year, a report from Bloomberg said Grand Theft Auto 6 will be getting a female protagonist. It would be a notable change — there are far fewer playable female characters than male ones in video games. And for a long time, women have been typecast as damsels in distress, like Princess Peach from Super Mario, or as sex objects depicted with little clothing and exaggerated proportions, like Lara Croft from the 1990s Tomb Raider games. She’s an archaeologist who explores old ruins in teeny, tiny shorts and a tank top. This revisiting of an earlier episode of “Marketplace Tech” examines how the portrayal of women in video games has changed in recent years. 

Dec 28, 2022
Tech is speeding up the search for ships — and stories — from the trans-Atlantic slave trade (rerun)
Dec 27, 2022
The government would like to talk to you about UFOs (rerun)

This episode originally aired on May 19, 2022

2022 has certainly been a busy year for space news but it wasn’t all looking at what’s happening out there. Some of the news and research was about what’s happening on our own planet. Earlier this year, Congress held a public hearing on a topic that hasn’t been discussed openly in a congressional hearing in decades: unidentified flying objects. Yes, UFOs, or as the Pentagon is calling them, unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs. The hearing follows a report from the director of national intelligence released in June of 2021 that said there were over 140 recorded sightings of UAPs. Chris Impey, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, has been following these developments. Below is an edited transcript of his conversation with Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams about the hearing.

Dec 26, 2022
Smart rings, air-purifying masks and hearables — the wearable tech trends to watch in 2023

As we wind down the year, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to look back at some notable tech trends and maybe predict a few, especially those in the ever-growing wearable tech market. Smartwatches are much more common these days, but “wearable” is starting to expand beyond the gadgets you strap to your wrist. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Victoria Song, a wearable technology reviewer for The Verge, who explained what’s on the horizon for this stuff in the coming year.

Dec 23, 2022
How AI can connect you with your inner child

For some people, becoming a well-adjusted adult involves getting to know your inner child to help process old wounds or desires, and possibly gain insight into your needs and choices in life. But new technology may provide a more direct way to communicate with little you by using an artificial intelligence chatbot, informed by your own history, to play that role. That’s what creative technologist Michelle Huang did. She trained OpenAI’s ChatGPT-3 on who her younger self was and started having conversations.

Dec 22, 2022
How anti-trans hate speech online leads to real-world violence

We have far too many examples in recent years of hate speech sparking riots, mobs and individual attacks. One group at particular risk is the transgender community. This year, at least 35 people in the trans community were “fatally shot or killed by other violent means,” according to the Human Rights Campaign. And a recent report from the HRC Foundation found highly organized online attacks against hospitals and health care providers in 21 states targeting facilities and doctors that provide gender-affirming care. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Erin Reed, a legislative researcher and a trans rights activist who’s been following these patterns for the last three years.

Dec 21, 2022
ChatGPT can write English essays … quite well. How are teachers going to deal?

Teachers are a creative bunch. They have to be to come up with lesson plans and exams that help students grow their minds and prevent those same students from relying too much on technology to enhance their work or to cheat. Which is why the rollout of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has many teachers worried. The chatbot can answer almost any type of question, even if the answers aren’t always accurate. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Daniel Herman, an English teacher at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, California. He posed some of the essay prompts from his class to the chatbot and wrote about it for The Atlantic magazine.

Dec 20, 2022
What we can learn from an Indigenous approach to AI

Most of us interact with some form of artificial intelligence every day, whether it’s asking a smart speaker about the weather or being assigned shift work or served content by an app. But how many of us consider our relationship to those algorithms? Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Noelani Arista, an associate professor of history and classics and chair of the Indigenous studies program at McGill University. She collaborates with other Indigenous scholars to examine and develop AI models. Adams asked her about an Indigenous approach to these algorithms.

Dec 19, 2022
How the transistor helped create Silicon Valley

On this day in 1947, scientists at Bell Labs, owned by AT&T — which had a telephone monopoly at the time — tweaked a new gadget the size of a shot glass to produce, basically, amplification. It marked the invention of the transistor. My colleague David Brancaccio has been using the anniversary to tell the story of the transistor and how it led to the semiconductor revolution. Part of that revolution was getting the technology from Bell Labs in New Jersey to what eventually became Silicon Valley. One man who made that move across the country played a key role.

Dec 16, 2022
How the NSA and private sector are working together on cybersecurity

A government agency known for keeping its secrets has been attempting to be a bit more open when it comes to cybersecurity. Digital attacks are now a regular threat, not just the for private sector, like last year’s hack of the Colonial oil pipeline. They are also a threat for public infrastructure, like major ransomware attacks on hospitals and public schools. So the National Security Agency is expanding its work with the private sector, nearly tripling the number of industry partnerships to more than 300 in the past year, according to the agency’s 2022 Cybersecurity Year in Review report. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Rob Joyce, the NSA’s director of cybersecurity, about how the agency’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center is working with private companies.

Dec 15, 2022
The power of the sun is (nearly) within grasp

After more than 60 years of work, scientists have made a breakthrough that could potentially change the future of energy. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Department of Energy announced this week that they had successfully achieved energy-producing nuclear fusion that produced more energy than they put into it. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called it a huge achievement for science and for clean energy. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Carolyn Kuranz, an experimental plasma physicist at the University of Michigan’s department of nuclear engineering about how the experiment worked.

Dec 14, 2022
China extends “zero-COVID” surveillance methods to protests

China recently eased some of its strict zero-COVID policies after unprecedented protests erupted in several parts of the country. For weeks, there were demonstrations against three years of constant PCR testing and reporting, travel restrictions and citywide quarantines, nonstop tracking and surveillance of citizens. Now, Chinese authorities are deploying some of the same tools they used to limit the spread of COVID-19 to track down demonstrators who have been speaking out against the government in public and online. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Marketplace’s China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, who’s been covering this story from Shanghai. Pak gave Adams a quick rundown of how the surveillance is being carried out.

Dec 13, 2022
Real-world RoboCop: The ethics of using robots to apply lethal force

Last week, officials in San Francisco decided to scrap a plan that would have allowed law enforcement to use robots in situations that may require “deadly force.” Specifically, according to the language of the ordinance that the city’s board of supervisors initially approved, when “risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available.” The plan was rolled back after a public backlash, but the technology is out there and it may be just a matter of time before it’s used by local police departments. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Ryan Jenkins, a professor of philosophy and senior fellow at the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. There’s a concern, he said, that the deployment of robots would lower barriers to the use of force, making violence a more common occurrence in police work.

Dec 12, 2022
Unionization efforts are shaking up the gaming industry

Unions have come to the video game industry. They started small at just one indie developer about a year ago, then those efforts started to spread. Workers at some of the biggest names in the business have started organizing — at Activision Blizzard and recently at ZeniMax, a company owned by Microsoft. This sudden upswell is shaking up an industry that has long been known for grueling hours, low pay and a workforce that is not especially diverse. So how did the union movement go from 0 to 60, and where is it headed from here? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Nicole Carpenter, a senior reporter for Polygon, a gaming and entertainment news site. She recently wrote an explainer about unions in the industry. She said a turning point came in 2021 when California sued Activision for an alleged pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination, which set off a chain of investigations and lawsuits that brought the problems of the industry into the public eye.

Dec 09, 2022
Predicting natural disasters is complicated. Climate change makes it even more so.

Hurricane season is officially over. There were 14 named tropical storms this year, three of which made landfall as hurricanes on the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, including Hurricane Ian. The climate crisis, along with the boom in coastal development, have given hurricanes the power to cause more death and destruction. Marketplace’s Amy Scott spent a day with people who try to predict such disasters for our climate solutions podcast, “How We Survive.” She found out that climate change is making their job more complicated.

This episode originally aired Nov. 16 on the “How We Survive” podcast.

Dec 08, 2022
An environmentally friendly model for crypto mining shows promise

Despite the bankruptcies, hacks and general foul mood in crypto, one metric is moving in the right direction. As we talked about earlier this year, ethereum — the world’s second-largest crypto network — made a move to reduce the energy used in the “mining” process for authenticating transactions on the blockchain. In September, ethereum switched from the so-called proof of work method, in which a bunch of miners compete to solve an authentication puzzle with giant banks of supercomputers, to a method called proof of stake, in which just one miner validates a transaction. That requires much less electricity. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Alex de Vries, the founder of Digiconomist, a website that tracks cryptocurrency energy use, about just how much less energy the ethereum network is consuming, based on a paper that De Vries recently published.

Dec 07, 2022
Solving an old equation brings a new wave of AI

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have solved a particularly challenging differential equation that dates back to the early 1900s. The explanation gets pretty technical pretty fast, but the point is that solving this equation enabled researchers to create a new type of artificial intelligence system that can learn on the spot and adapt to changing patterns, as opposed to traditional systems in which the machine learning is based on existing patterns or expected outcomes. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with MIT researcher Ramin Hasani, who said it’s called a liquid neural network, and it kind of works like a human brain.

Dec 06, 2022
Meta’s pixel code helps businesses reach online customers, but shares sensitive data about them

Most websites have code running in the background to help the site run better and, of course, to target advertising. A recent investigation from “The Markup” found many tax-filing sites were sharing users’ financial data with Facebook using a code called Meta Pixel. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks to Simon Fondrie-Teitler, an infrastructure engineer at The Markup and co-author of this investigation.

Dec 05, 2022
Irish regulators fine Meta for not safeguarding user data

Data regulators in Ireland fined Meta earlier this week for failing to safeguard the sensitive information of Facebook users. The tech giant was fined the equivalent of about $275 million for a 2019 data leak, when personal information from more than 500 million Facebook users was scraped off the site and then published in a hacker forum. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Adam Satariano, a tech correspondent for The New York Times based in London, who reported on this story. He says this recent punishment is just one of several fines the Irish government has imposed on Meta, and it’s part of a larger trend.

Dec 02, 2022
Black Twitter has been a cultural engine. Where will that community go if the site breaks?

While Elon Musk has been celebrating a bump in users and app downloads since he took over Twitter, many longer-term users say they’re seriously considering leaving. Some are even holding mock funerals anticipating the site would break down. This week, Twitter users discovered the company is no longer enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy. But if Twitter actually fell apart, what would happen to the distinct spaces there, like what’s commonly referred to as “Black Twitter”? Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Shamika Klassen, an information science Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She co-authored a research article about Black Twitter last year.

If you’re a regular listener of “Marketplace Tech,” thank you. We’d love to hear from you. You can drop us a line anytime at We’d also appreciate it if you took the time to leave us a rating and review wherever you listen to the show. It really helps people find us, so thanks.

Dec 01, 2022
Scientists aim to 3D bioprint human tissue in space

Earlier this month, the SS Sally Ride cargo capsule made its way to the International Space Station. The spacecraft was carrying hundreds of pounds of scientific experiments. One of them involves what’s called a 3D BioFabrication Facility, which can build human tissue and organs in space that scientists can’t make on Earth. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Rich Boling, vice president at Redwire, which manufactures the equipment for these experiments. She asked him about how 3D printing works when you’re printing something alive.

If you’re a regular listener of Marketplace Tech, thank you. We’d love to hear from you. You can drop us a line anytime at We’d also appreciate it if you took the time to leave us a rating and review wherever you listen to the show. It really helps people find us, so thanks.

Nov 30, 2022
Changes at Twitter put adult content creators in limbo

Some of the country’s biggest advertisers are balking at the new Twitter under Elon Musk. A recent report from Media Matters for America found at least half of Twitter’s  100 biggest advertisers have either announced they will stop running ads on the platform or just seem to be stopping more quietly. But not all businesses can easily walk away. Take sex workers. A recent survey from the website Sex Work CEO shows that Twitter is incredibly important for adult content creators, helping them connect with fans, find new ones and promote their legal businesses. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with MelRose Michaels, the founder of Sex Work CEO. Michaels explained how adult content creators are responding to all the recent changes at Twitter.

Nov 29, 2022
For disabled shoppers, some Cyber Monday deals are out of reach

Cyber Monday has become one of the busiest — and most lucrative — online shopping days of the year. The National Retail Federation estimates that almost 64 million people will be looking for deals today. But for shoppers with disabilities, it can be a lot harder to take advantage of sales and promotions online. A significant number of the biggest retail websites are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which lay out best practices to help make sites easier to navigate by people who are, for example, blind or hearing-impaired. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Josh Basile, community relations manager at tech accessibility company accessiBe, as well as a quadriplegic who uses assistive devices to help him navigate the internet, about how accessibility issues impact him when he shops online.

Nov 28, 2022
The new tech behind LeVar Burton’s crusade for child literacy (re-air)

Actor and producer LeVar Burton is famous for many things. His iconic roles on “Star Trek” and the miniseries “Roots,” for instance. But many of us got to know him as host of the PBS show “Reading Rainbow.” His run with the show ended in the mid-2000s, but Burton is still promoting literacy for kids. He’s now the “chief reading officer” at ed-tech company Byju’s Osmo. Together, they’re launching a reading program for kids ages 5 to 7 that uses an iPad and the Osmo app’s artificial intelligence and speech recognition to help kids grasp the fundamentals of reading. That program is set to launch next month. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Burton earlier this year about the unique reading challenges facing kids today. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Nov 25, 2022
Among the goals of Artemis I: launching the lunar economy (re-air)

Earlier this month, the highly anticipated launch of the Orion spacecraft finally happened at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The lift-off of that unmanned rocket was the first of a series in the agency’s Artemis missions, which aim to eventually establish a long-term human presence on the moon’s surface begin building a lunar economy including extracting precious metals and minerals to send back to Earth. But before sending humans, the agency has to test complex rockets, heat shields and life-support systems. And speed is of the essence. The U.S. and China are in a new space race to get humans to the moon. On this Thanksgiving holiday, we’re revisiting a conversation with Peter Garretson, a Senior Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council. He spoke with Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams about how the stakes are different this time around.

Nov 24, 2022
AI used for hiring and recruitment can be biased. But that’s changing.

Artificial intelligence is commonly used in automated recruitment programs. It helps narrow down large pools of applicants using algorithms to match job seekers to open positions. But there are growing concerns that this technology is disproportionately excluding certain groups, like women, people of color or those who don’t have college degrees, even when they’re perfectly qualified.

Nov 23, 2022
YouTube and content creators clash over the platform’s automated copyright tool

Every minute, people upload more than 500 hours of video to YouTube — cat videos, music videos, even videos of people recording their audio podcasts. And some of those clips include content the people uploading them don’t own, like clips of music from popular songs. YouTube, and its owner, Google, have an automated technology called Content ID that regularly scans for copyrighted material — including music — and flags it for copyright holders. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke about this with Marketplace’s Peter Balonon-Rosen, who explained why the system has some musicians frustrated.

Nov 22, 2022
A tool for creating an “unbreakable” internet under oppressive, censoring regimes

It may be called the World Wide Web, but in some parts of the world, big chunks of the web are blocked or censored. One nonprofit designed an app to get around that censorship called Lantern. The organization says its user base in Iran has grown about 400% since the start of protests there two months ago and that as much as 13% of  Iranian internet capacity is running through the app. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with one of Lantern’s developers. Because of his work in countries with oppressive regimes, we’re using the pseudonym “Lucas” to protect his identity. He said Lantern is part of a strategy to create an “unbreakable” internet.

Nov 21, 2022
FTX bankruptcy points to more difficult times for crypto

The crypto industry is in trouble — just look at the drama surrounding the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange, which is looking worse every day. Add to that the huge drop in value of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and the crash of stablecoin TerraUSD earlier this year. And now regulators and investors are wondering about the next shoe to drop. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Hilary Allen, a law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, about what’s next for the crypto sector. And Allen is not exactly optimistic about crypto’s future.

Nov 18, 2022
This lab experiments with disaster — to help create climate-resilient homes

There is no stopping natural disasters like hurricanes and fires. So one key to surviving a changing climate is making buildings more resilient. Amy Scott, host of “How We Survive,” visits a Florida lab focused on that challenge.

Nov 17, 2022
A critical update to the national broadband map is coming Friday

The Federal Communications Commission is set to release the first round of its updated national broadband map this week. It’s supposed to show more precise and detailed information on internet availability all over the country. Advocates have complained for years the old maps were full of inaccurate data, and getting those numbers right is a big deal because this new map will determine how the government spends the $42.5 billion in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Dustin Loup, program manager for the National Broadband Mapping Coalition, a digital advocacy group, about how the new map was developed, how the FCC will try to keep it updated and potential problems facing this updated version.

Nov 16, 2022
It’s been a wild ride for Twitter under Elon Musk. What’s next?

It’s been a wild ride these past two weeks with Twitter under the ownership of Elon Musk, including Musk showing up at Twitter headquarters with a sink and laying off half of the company’s global staff. Just about every day there’s a new headline about what’s happening in the company and on the platform: leadership changes, verification subscriptions rolled out and pulled back, threats to fire employees if they work remotely. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Alex Heath, a deputy editor at The Verge, who says Musk wants to change just about everything at Twitter, even if it’s messy.

Nov 15, 2022
The NLRB is keeping electronic surveillance of workers in check

The National Labor Relations Board is a federal agency tasked with making sure workers can organize to improve their working conditions, wages or form a union. But the NLRB says some employers are using technology to prevent or discourage workers from doing just that. The agency released a public memo on Oct. 31 saying it plans to protect employees from “intrusive or abusive electronic monitoring and automated management,” practices the NLRB says are increasingly happening as the technology gets better and companies seek more oversight of their workers, especially with more people working remotely. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Jennifer Abruzzo, general counsel for the agency and author of the memo, about some of the new surveillance methods that concern her.

Nov 14, 2022
Inside the high stakes of the quantum computing race

Quantum computers are considered by many to be the next big thing in technology. The promise – in theory – is they could complete extremely complex calculations very quickly by harnessing what Einstein called the “spooky” nature of quantum mechanics. So while regular computers work with bits that are either 1’s or 0’s, quantum computers use “qubits” that can store combinations of 1’s and 0’s at the same time. This week, IBM announced it has developed the largest quantum processor in the world. It’s called Osprey and IBM says it has triple the processing power of its previous versions – a potentially huge leap. Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour recently explored the multi-billion dollar race to develop quantum computers. He explained why some of the world’s biggest companies and governments are competing against each other.

Nov 11, 2022
What Silicon Valley’s boom-and-bust history tells us about its latest slowdown

The bad news just keeps coming. It started with hiring freezes, then moved to layoffs. A lot of them. Twitter, Lyft, Stripe, Salesforce and, of course, Meta are cutting thousands of jobs. It’s a turn of events that felt almost inconceivable a year ago, after a two-decade run during which the industry seemed unstoppable. But tech is notorious for booms and busts — and not just the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Margaret O’Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington who studies the links between technology and politics, about key similarities and differences between the tech sector’s current downturn and those of the past.

Nov 10, 2022
Social media has evolved as a crucial tool during election cycles — but it can also be misused

Good luck trying to escape political news this week. Election coverage is everywhere — on the airwaves and online. And every election cycle seems to reveal more and more about the growing, pivotal and sometimes controversial role of social media. Like in the run-up to elections and, like now, during the aftermath. Campaigns can use social media to boost voter turnout and build community, but others use it to try to mislead voters. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Pinar Yildirim, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies media, technology and information economics. She explained why the technology underlying these platforms can amplify misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Nov 09, 2022
How platform rules shape where people “live” online

People see and absorb a lot of election information — and misinformation — on the web. But we are not all getting the same information about politics and policymakers, and certainly not from the same sources. So understanding where people gather and communicate online can be crucial to understanding the political polarization in the United States, especially when some people are migrating to newer platforms that cater to specific political beliefs or content moderation rules. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Kate Klonick, a law professor at St. John’s University, who studies online communities and speech. Klonick says people decide where they “live” online these days based on the rules of the platform.

Nov 08, 2022
Voting tech for people with disabilities has expanded — but more is still needed

There are an estimated 38 million disabled eligible voters in the U.S., but many of them face unique obstacles when trying to cast their ballots. Federal and state laws require polling stations provide in-person accommodations, like machines with larger screen displays or text-to-speech interfaces inside voter booths. But individual polling places don’t always make it easy, says Mark Lindeman, Policy and Strategy Director with the nonpartisan organization Verified Voting.

Nov 07, 2022
A new machine learning model could help public health officials get ahead of the next crisis

Diagnosing and containing a disease outbreak, or the health effects of a disruptive event like a natural disaster, can be a huge task. A study out Friday from New York University suggests that a new machine learning model could improve health officials’ ability to respond to future pandemics and other public health crises. The research was done in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Daniel Neill, a computer science professor at NYU and the director of its Machine Learning for Good Laboratory, which released the study. He explains how this machine learning model works.

Nov 04, 2022
How will Netflix’s new ad-supported tier shake up the streaming landscape?

Starting today, Netflix users in the U.S. will have the option to sign up for a cheaper subscription. But, of course, there’s a catch. If you want to pay $6.99 a month, rather than $9.99 a month or more, your TV and movie binge sessions will be interrupted by ads, which runs counter to the original premise of Netflix and many other streaming services. But now, that’s changing. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Brandon Katz, an entertainment industry strategist at Parrot Analytics, who says Netflix needed to make a move like this.

Nov 03, 2022
Tech to help older people is a young and growing field

The U.S. is experiencing a massive demographic shift as the baby boom becomes the senior boom. According to the Census Bureau, more than 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older in 2030. The tech industry is catching on. Big companies and small startups are increasingly developing products with older users in mind. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Keren Etkin, a gerontologist and creator of the blog The Gerontechnologist, where she writes and podcasts about the latest in age tech. Etkin said the idea that older people don’t “get” technology is just a tired stereotype.

Nov 02, 2022
Deepfake videos on TikTok can be fun. They can also be malicious.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok have banned deepfakes, which are realistic but fabricated or manipulated representations, often of public figures. Yet a TikTok video in which a fake Tom Cruise serenades the real Paris Hilton went viral. That video is one of dozens from the account @DeepTomCruise. The account has racked up almost 4 million followers with its digital simulations of the famous actor singing, golfing and, of course, laughing in a slightly too intense way. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Anjana Susarla, professor of responsible artificial intelligence at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. She said we can thank TikTok’s algorithm for keeping deepfakes alive.

Nov 01, 2022
Under Elon Musk’s leadership, Twitter faces content moderation challenges

It’s an uncertain Monday at Twitter because Elon Musk has taken over and started shaking things up. Last week, according to Bloomberg, he reassured employees that he did not plan to discard three-quarters of the staff, as he reportedly told investors earlier. But the self-described free speech absolutist has made no secret of his desire to make some personnel cuts, particularly around content moderation. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Sarah Roberts, a professor and director of the Center for Critical Internet Inquiry at the University of California, Los Angeles, who also worked previously on Twitter’s health research team. She said that while content moderation is often framed as a political issue, it’s much more than that.

Warning: This interview references abusive online material involving children.

Oct 31, 2022
Tech earnings this week were a bit … gloomy

We’ve seen layoffs, hiring freezes and now some cold, hard numbers that show the tide is turning in the tech industry. After booming during the pandemic, big companies like Microsoft, Alphabet and Meta may now be feeling the pinch of a tighter economy. At least that’s the signal from a series of disappointing earnings reports this week. Apple was the exception, boasting record revenues, but sales of its new iPhone 14 were slower than expected. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research. And he says companies that rely on advertising are taking the biggest hit.

Oct 28, 2022
Cryptocurrency has a trust problem

It’s a world of big promises, big personalities and, lately, big failures that can seem inscrutable and often ridiculous. But cryptocurrency has moved into finance, tech, even sports arenas. And according to Bloomberg Businessweek, it demands to be understood. This week the magazine has dedicated an entire issue to what it calls “The Crypto Story: Where it came from, what it all means, and why it still matters.” Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Bloomberg opinion columnist Matt Levine, who wrote the article. He says crypto and the blockchain technology behind it started as a reaction to traditional banking, which, of course, relies on trust in institutions.

Oct 27, 2022
Candidates turn to TikTok to woo young voters

TikTok, with its quirky dances, is sometimes thought of as a Gen Z platform. Yet if you use the app, you’ve probably come across videos from distinctly older political candidates. Since 2020, the number of users on TikTok has increased by about 40%. And candidates have taken note. They post TikToks to reach younger audiences, make themselves seem likable and encourage people to vote.

Oct 26, 2022
Voting security still depends on low-tech paper trails

Since the 2020 election, there’s been a lot of attention on, misinformation about and lawsuits over the technology many jurisdictions use in voting. It’s rare for a voting system in the U.S. to be “paperless.” Typically, these systems use a combination of high-tech and low-tech, like a voting machine that prints out a paper ballot with your electronic choices. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently discussed the shift away from paperless systems with Lawrence Norden, senior director of the Elections and Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonprofit law and policy institute.

Oct 25, 2022
High-tech farming helps automate the job — except when the equipment gets hacked

Tractors, combines and other farm equipment have become computers on wheels. They are both bluetooth-enabled and connected to the internet which, as Dina Temple-Raston of the “Click Here” podcast explains, makes them incredibly vulnerable to hackers.

Oct 24, 2022
Some formerly redlined neighborhoods get the worst deal on internet, The Markup reports

At the beginning of the pandemic, we did a lot of reporting on how the internet is everything, and how your access to it — or lack thereof — can shape how you learn, how you work and whether you can get ahead in this economy. But a recent investigation from The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom, suggests we’re still pretty far away from equitable access. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Leon Yin, an investigative data journalist at The Markup and one of the authors of “Dollars to Megabits: You May Be Paying 400 Times as Much as Your Neighbor for Internet Service.”

Oct 21, 2022
Election misinformation in Spanish is circulating on YouTube

Of the estimated 62 million Hispanic or Latinx people living in the U.S. today, about 41 million of them are Spanish speakers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And as we get closer to Election Day, misinformation campaigns targeting this group are ramping up. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Brennan Suen, deputy director of external affairs at Media Matters for America, where he researches social media accountability efforts. He and his team recently looked at dozens of YouTube videos that he says are spreading misinformation about elections.

Oct 20, 2022
Can your workplace store your fingerprint or facial scan data?

They have our Social Security numbers and probably our Amazon shopping lists. But should employers be collecting data on, say, our fingerprints, voices or retinas? After all, these things are unique physical identifiers. And if they were somehow stolen in a data breach, they’re not easily changed like a password. A legal case in Illinois provided one of the first tests to a state law that protects this type of data — the Biometric Information Privacy Act, or BIPA. Last week 45,000 truck drivers won their suit against BNSF Railway for collecting their fingerprints without consent. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino recently spoke with Alan Butler, executive director and president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit research organization. He said Illinois is at the forefront of a growing movement to regulate biometric data.

Oct 19, 2022
Why the Internet of Things needs a cybersecurity label

In a world where so many of our tools and gadgets — security cameras, watches, refrigerators — are connected to the internet, shoring up cybersecurity is a collective effort. That’s why the Biden administration is proposing a labeling system for consumer products, sort of like a nutrition label. But instead of calories and fat, the label would tell you how secure that smart device is. This week the White House is gathering representatives from the cybersecurity sector, consumer product groups and manufacturers to get input on how to design such a label. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Jean Camp, a professor of informatics at Indiana University about why providing consumers this type of information is increasingly important as the Internet of Things continues to expand.

Oct 18, 2022
What the era of “doorbell surveillance” means for delivery drivers

They seem to be everywhere now. Smart doorbells like Amazon’s Ring are catching porch pirates in the act and revealing nocturnal animal hijinks. But they’re also constantly monitoring delivery drivers who essentially work on our doorsteps. A new report from the nonprofit research group Data & Society explores how this “doorbell surveillance” is affecting delivery drivers. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Aiha Nguyen, program director for Data & Society’s Labor Futures Initiative, on how the proliferation of these cameras is influencing delivery jobs that are increasingly being done by gig workers with few protections.

Oct 17, 2022
How the gig economy could change as the nature of work evolves

Platform- or app-based gig work has seen its share of ups and downs in recent years, and this week brought a new twist. The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a rule that would push companies to classify many gig workers as employees — with all the rights and benefits that entails. Platforms like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have pushed to keep workers independent contractors, saying it’s essential to their business models. So where could the gig economy go from here? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Arun Sundararajan, a business professor at New York University, who explained that gig work is now part of the fabric of our economy and how it should change to meet modern demands.

Oct 14, 2022
Controlling a video game with your mind isn’t just science fiction

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but now it’s just science. Brain-computer interfaces are making it possible for people and other sentient creatures to control technology with their brains. Last year, Neuralink, the brain device company owned by Elon Musk, claimed it had trained a monkey to play the video game Pong using this technology. Now there are a number of private companies and academic researchers trying to improve this technology for broader use. AE Studio, a software development firm, works in this space. “Marketplace Tech” producer Daniel Shin recently visited its offices in Venice Beach, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, to test out a fun experiment playing a video game with just his brain.

Oct 13, 2022
How political campaigns gather online data about voters

They say all politics is local, and targeted advertising makes it hyper-local. Campaigns have increasingly used troves of personal online data about voters to narrowly tailor political messages — sometimes in malicious ways. For example, providing false information about how to vote based on neighborhood, race or ethnicity. But this kind of microtargeting is getting trickier. Twitter and TikTok have banned political ads completely. And Facebook has added new limits on how and when political ads appear. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino speaks with Samantha Lai, a research analyst at the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution. Lai says the way social media platforms allow campaigns to microtarget users has evolved.

Oct 12, 2022
Silicon Valley faces tough realities in this economic landscape

Layoffs. Hiring freezes. Falling valuations. The headlines coming out of the onetime land of the unicorns have been pretty unromantic lately. It’s a dramatic turn for an industry that has been all about growth. Over the last two decades, and especially the first couple of years of the pandemic, tech exploded as more of the world moved online. But that seems to be changing. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Kari Paul, a tech reporter for The Guardian, who recently wrote about whether Big Tech is past its prime. Paul said that with the economy in flux, the tech industry is not immune.

Oct 11, 2022
How to ensure fairness in machine learning models for diagnosing illness

Physicians and medical experts are starting to incorporate algorithms and machine learning in many parts of the health care system, including experimental models to analyze images from X-rays and brain scans. The goal is to use computers to improve detection and diagnosis of patients’ ailments. Such models are trained to identify tumors, skin lesions and more, using databases full of reference scans or images. But there are also potential biases within the data that could result in skewed diagnoses from these machine learning models. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke to María Agustina Ricci, a biomedical engineer who is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires in Argentina. She has studied how the disparities between low-income and developed countries could worsen, or create, these biases.

Oct 10, 2022
Are platforms liable for user content? Supreme Court may reset the rules.

Much of the social media ecosystem — love it or hate it — has been made possible by a federal law from 1996 called the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of that law shields online publishers like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from liability for much of the content posted on their platforms. This week, the Supreme Court announced it will hear challenges to that law. One of the cases, Reynaldo Gonzalez v. Google LLC, questions whether Section 230 protects platforms that use algorithms to recommended content to users. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. He said there are a few ways the decision could go.

Oct 07, 2022
With Elon Musk’s deal back on, what’s ahead for Twitter?

It’s a drama fit for a social media platform that loves drama. First Elon Musk was joining the board, then buying the company, then backing out, then getting sued. Now, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX appears to be back in, reviving his original offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion. It’s not clear yet what will happen to the court case over this whole deal, but for now it seems that Musk will be taking control of the social media platform after all. So, what might he do with it? And why the change of heart? Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Kurt Wagner, a tech reporter for Bloomberg News who’s been following the saga.

Oct 06, 2022
Meet the ITU, the tech agency that helps the world communicate

Since 1865 a special agency, now part of the United Nations, has had a major influence on global communication standards. The International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, ensures tech from the telegraph to the internet plays nicely across international borders. Last week, ITU member states elected a new secretary-general, Doreen Bogdan-Martin. She’s an American and has worked with the agency for decades. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Mallory Knodel, chief technology officer at the Center for Democracy and Technology about the ITU’s history.

Oct 05, 2022
The CHIPS Act could relieve some semiconductor chokepoints — but how quickly?

Semiconductor chips are part of the technology we use every day — electric toothbrushes, mobile phones, computers. And there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them in new vehicles. But since the COVID-19 pandemic began, chips have been in short supply, causing, for example, some automakers to pause production lines. Some big tech firms predict the shortage will last into next year and perhaps beyond. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Chris Miller, author of the new book “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology.” He explains why this shortage happened.

Oct 04, 2022
In an age of rising costs, tech is helping make farming an exact science

Technology is one way farmers are managing labor shortages, and the rising costs of seed and fertilizer.  “Precision ag,” as it’s known, is being used to get the most out of limited resources. Emil Moffatt of WABE reports from a family farm in central Georgia.

Oct 03, 2022
For blind people, technology can offer a way to perceive images through touch

For almost 200 years, the Braille system has turned the written word into raised bumps that blind people can read. But what about images? A device called an embosser pricks and crimps 3D dots and lines on paper to produce a tactile image, allowing people to perceive pictures through touch. Chancey Fleet is a technologist at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York City. She’s Blind and teaches low-vision and blind patrons to print their own images.

Sep 30, 2022
This book explains how understanding math helps you understand the universe

Mathematics can be a subject that’s a bit unrelatable for some. Perhaps you recall sitting in a math class at some point wondering, “When am I ever going to use quadratic equations?” But a new book wants us to reconsider math as something that gives us fundamental building blocks for not just the technology we use every day, but also the natural world around us. That book is called “The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math.” Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with author Manil Suri about his book and what motivated him to write it for the mathematically uninterested.

Sep 29, 2022
Social media users flock to unfiltered BeReal app for authenticity

The No. 1 social networking app on Apple’s U.S. app store right now is called BeReal, as in being your real self online. No filters, no carefully staged shots. The concept, and the format, are so popular, TikTok launched its own version — both on its home app and as a standalone — called TikTok Now. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Erica Bailey, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University Business School, who studies authenticity and marketing. On BeReal, Bailey said, you can only post once a day and only when you receive an alert, which can come at ANY time.

Sep 28, 2022
Why NASA’s first planetary defense mission sent a spacecraft crashing into an asteroid

Last night NASA completed a first-of-its-kind mission to steer a spacecraft into an asteroid. The asteroid was not hurtling toward Earth, threatening to wipe out civilization, and the goal was not to blast it to smithereens, “Armageddon” style, but rather to give it enough of a bump to slightly change course. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, took aim at a small asteroid called Dimorphos, which is about 11 school buses wide. It’s orbiting a bigger asteroid called Didymos, about 7 million miles from Earth. Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Nancy Chabot, DART mission coordination lead at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, about the mission.

Sep 27, 2022
Cory Doctorow: Tech companies squeeze artists for profit in “chokepoint capitalism” 

Painters, musicians, writers — artists in virtually every medium — often struggle to make enough revenue to create their art because there are so many layers between them and the people who buy their work. We’re talking gallery commissions, record label contracts, even bookstore overhead costs. Increasingly, tech companies add another layer. And many argue that’s bad for the arts. Activist-journalist Cory Doctorow and law professor Rebecca Giblin addressed these issues in their book, “Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We’ll Win Them Back.” It will be out Tuesday. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Doctorow about what chokepoint capitalism entails.

Sep 26, 2022
How Texas’ social media law could affect online speech

A Texas law banning social media companies from applying certain content moderation policies was recently upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 2021 law prohibits platforms from banning or restricting content based on the “viewpoints” of users. Now, tech companies will have to appeal to the Supreme Court if they want to avoid legal risk in the state. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke about this case on the show back in May, when the Supreme Court put the implementation of the law on hold while the case ran its course. Issie Lapowsky, chief correspondent at Protocol, helped Adams back then and joins her again for an update. She says tech companies are in a tough spot.

Sep 23, 2022
Puerto Rico’s power grid fails again. What innovations could help?

When Hurricane Fiona recently hit Puerto Rico, the storm brought wind, water and major flooding to the island. Local authorities are still assessing the damage, but so far we know that some people died, others lost their homes and just about everyone lost electricity. Unfortunately, we’ve been here before. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, billions of federal dollars went to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Julio López Varona, co-chief of campaigns at the advocacy group Center for Popular Democracy, about whether that technology investment did anything.

Sep 22, 2022
How memes became a problematic influence on American politics

The word “meme” might bring to mind a viral picture of a weird-looking cat with silly text, a tweet or video showing up everywhere online. But some political memes can be downright dangerous, according to a new book — “Meme Wars: The Untold Story of the Online Battles Upending Democracy in America.” Its authors argue that memes have inspired cultural battles over the last decade both on- and offline. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Emily Dreyfuss, a senior editor at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and one of the book’s co-authors, about how far-right or extremist groups use memes as weaponized tools in their attempts to influence American politics.

Sep 21, 2022
After Roe, what happens when the rules for online speech are different in each state?

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade back in June, many states have been working on new laws related to digital privacy and access — or restricting what kind of information can be shared online. This trend highlights the increasing disparity between states in terms of what’s legal online and what might be in the future. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Matt Perault, director of the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a consultant on technology policy issues. He wrote an essay for Wired on what might happen when the rules for what you can say and do online are different from state to state. Perault says this kind of digital fragmentation is a relatively new concept in the U.S., but some people already know what it’s like.

Sep 20, 2022
Big Tech battles antitrust cases at home and abroad

A European Union court had bad news for Google last week, upholding an earlier ruling against the web search giant. It accused the company of engaging in anti-competitive behavior. That ruling also upholds much of the record fine the EU imposed on the company, equivalent to more than $4 billion. And in California, Amazon was hit with yet another lawsuit last week focused on the company’s price-setting power. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, about how the Google case in Europe might affect things here in the U.S.

Sep 19, 2022
Incubator members say an experiment to create community went very wrong

This week, Vox released an investigation into Launch House, a “professional social club” for tech founders, which among other activities, hosts members at a luxury property in Beverly Hills. But Vox reports that Launch House was, at times, more like a frat house with members alleging excessive partying and sexual assault. Launch House disputes some of these allegations. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Vox senior correspondent Rebecca Jennings, who reported the story.

Sep 16, 2022
Apple and Starlink compete to turn your smartphone into a satellite phone

When far away from cellphone towers, people in remote locations or in emergencies rely on satellite phones, devices that connect to satellites in orbit to send messages or make calls. Last week, Apple announced a feature for its newest iPhones that will allow some users to send emergency texts through a satellite connection. Elon Musk’s Starlink also has a plan to turn your cellphone into a sat phone. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Tim Farrar, president of consulting firm Telecom, Media and Finance Associates, about why big tech and telecom companies are getting into satellite communications and how much consumer demand there is for sat phones.

Sep 15, 2022
Why the First Amendment also protects code

The First Amendment serves as a check on government intervention into our public expression through, for example, spoken or visually signed speech, writing, protesting and coding languages like JavaScript, HTML, Python and Perl. Computer code as free speech is a relatively new legal concept but has a complicated history. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with technology lawyer Kendra Albert, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, about the history of code as protected expression.

Sep 14, 2022
California’s grid withstood the heat wave with texts, batteries and conservation

Last week, Californians were hit with a scorching heat wave, and as households blasted their air conditioners in the afternoons to keep cool, it placed extreme stress on the state’s power grid. So, for the first time, Californians received an emergency text alert asking citizens to conserve electricity to avoid blackouts. And it worked. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Severin Borenstein, who researches energy markets at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Sep 13, 2022
Signal’s new president on the messaging app’s long-term sustainability

There have been a lot of conversations here on “Marketplace Tech” about digital privacy. More folks are paying attention to things like encryption and the security of their messaging apps. Signal consistently ranks as one of the more popular choices for privacy advocates, and the app is increasingly being used by people beyond the cybersecurity crowd. Signal’s staff is small compared to that of messaging apps like Telegram, WhatsApp or iMessage — which comes pre-installed in iPhones — but it’s growing. Former Google researcher and digital privacy advocate Meredith Whittaker just signed on as Signal’s new president and today is her first day on the job. She’s been on Signal’s board since 2020 and says she plans to continue the company’s focus on encryption. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Whittaker about the future of the company, how she’d like to grow Signal without monetizing its users’ data and digital privacy issues at large.

Sep 12, 2022
Ethereum’s “merge” could help clean crypto’s dirty energy reputation

Cryptocurrency mining is basically verification that transactions on the blockchain are legitimate. One method to do that is “proof of work.” But that takes a lot of electricity. So soon, blockchain platform ethereum will shift to a different method: “proof of stake.” Instead of multiple miners expending energy at the same time, one “validator” wins a lottery to verify the transaction. “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams speaks with Alex de Vries, founder of Digiconomist, about what the shift means.

Sep 09, 2022
Who gets a kidney transplant? The algorithm that decides could be a model

Organ donations and who gets those organs can be a morally fraught process. And that organ transplant network in the United States has been criticized for its outdated technology that has led to some deadly mistakes. But one part of that system could potentially serve as a model of success, according to David G. Robinson, author of the new book “Voices in the Code: A Story About People, Their Values, and the Algorithm They Made.” Since 1987, kidney recipients have been chosen by an algorithm. And Robinson says it could be an ethical “model” for other algorithms and potentially artificial intelligence. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Robinson about how this algorithm works and how a long process of input from nonexperts and people directly affected by kidney transplant decisions shaped it into what it is today.

Sep 08, 2022
From farm to fork, thanks to … AI and robots?

Much of the western United States dealt with scorching temperatures over the past week, with some parts of California reaching more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That state is in a multiyear drought, and some residents are allowed to water their gardens and lawns only one day per week. Texas, Nevada and New Mexico are also experiencing severe droughts, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, farmers have to be especially careful about how they use precious resources like water. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Jill McCluskey, a professor of sustainability at Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences, about how smart tech in agriculture can help.

Sep 07, 2022
The FTC gets serious about data privacy with new lawsuit

The Federal Trade Commission is suing data analytics firm Kochava, alleging the company sold sensitive geolocation data from hundreds of millions of mobile devices. The FTC argues that the data could reveal users’ visits to sensitive places, like abortion providers or addiction recovery centers. It’s the latest step in FTC Chair Lina Khan’s mission to increase government oversight of companies that traffic in consumer data. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams recently spoke with Megan Gray, founder and CEO of GrayMatters Law & Policy to discuss the significance of this case.

Sep 06, 2022
The ABCs of AI, algorithms and machine learning (re-air)

Advanced computer programs influence, and can even dictate, meaningful parts of our lives. Think of streaming services, credit scores, facial recognition software. As this technology becomes more sophisticated and more pervasive, it’s important to understand the basic terminology. On this Labor Day, we’re revisiting an episode in which we explore the terms “algorithm,” “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence,” which are often used interchangeably. There is some overlap, but they’re not the same things. We decided to call up a few experts to help us get a firm grasp on these concepts.

Sep 05, 2022
California’s online privacy bill for kids would force tech companies to redesign services

California’s Legislature passed the Age-Appropriate Design Code Act this week. The bill would add website design and age verification requirements for apps and sites likely to be used by kids under the age of 18. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Jen King, a privacy and data policy fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.

Sep 02, 2022
Among the goals of Artemis I: launching the lunar economy

This week, NASA postponed a highly anticipated rocket launch after discovering an issue with one of the engines. It delayed a key stage of the space agency’s Artemis missions, which aim to eventually establish a long-term human presence on the moon’s surface and begin building a lunar economy. Part of that is extracting precious metals and minerals to bring back to Earth. NASA hopes to get the Artemis 1 rocket off the ground in the coming days, and speed is of the essence. The U.S. and China are in a new space race to get humans to the moon. “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams speaks with Peter Garretson, a senior fellow in defense studies at the American Foreign Policy Council.

Sep 01, 2022
Now, software can replicate your boss’s voice and tell you what to do

If you’re listening to or have already listened to the beginning of this episode, you probably noticed that the voice introducing Kimberly Adams sounded a bit off, right? That’s because it’s an audio “deepfake,” and it was created by Yisroel Mirsky at the Offensive AI Research Lab through a process called voice cloning. It uses software to study a short sample of someone’s voice and create a deepfake, which in this case took only 15 seconds to generate, according to Mirsky. It’s far from a perfect replica, but it turns out that scammers recently started to use deepfake audio for phone scams and in some cases have even succeeded. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams spoke with Kyle Alspach, a cybersecurity reporter with Protocol, about how the tech behind audio deepfakes works and how they’re being used in phone scams.

Aug 31, 2022
“Deprinting” technology could cut carbon emissions in the pulp and paper industry

The pulp and paper industry is ranked the fourth-biggest contributor to global warming among manufacturing sectors in the United States. That’s not just because it destroys a large number of trees that would otherwise be capturing huge amounts of carbon. The whole cycle of felling trees, transporting them and using coal- and gas-fired processes to turn them into pulp is highly polluting. Marketplace’s European correspondent, Stephen Beard, has the story of the “deprinter” device that seeks to reduce the industry’s carbon emissions.

Aug 30, 2022
Thought you unsubscribed? Digital tactics that deceive consumers are often designed to be sneaky.

Online shopping can be full of pop-ups and distractions, as well as some traps and misdirection. If you can find the Unsubscribe or Cancel button, even that tool might not release you completely. And that’s intentional. “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams speaks with Harry Brignull, a user-experience specialist based in the United Kingdom. He calls these design strategies “dark patterns,” and he’s been documenting them for over a decade.

Aug 29, 2022
Big Tech is still struggling to earn the public’s trust

Bashing Big Tech has become something of a rare, unifying pastime in these divided times. But more nuanced views, in our world of thumbs up and crying emoji, can be harder to pin down. Researchers from the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University want to shed more light on the attitudes of Americans more broadly and how they view our biggest tech firms. The Center worked with YouGov on its latest poll, which found there’s plenty of distrust. But in the words of a Facebook relationship status — it’s complicated. Marketplace Tech received exclusive, advance access to the center’s latest poll results. Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with Taylor Barkley, technology and innovation director at CGO to discuss which companies people trust or distrust and the various distinctions behind those trust issues.

Aug 26, 2022
In one state, a video gaming app for kids’ well-being is now covered by Medicaid

As much as parents worry about children and screen time, there’s a growing market of video game-based apps designed to help kids work through their feelings. Now the Medicaid program in Wisconsin will cover the cost of at least one of those apps. We talked to a family in the state who tried it out.

Aug 25, 2022
Why a blood screening program for newborns is at the center of a genetic data controversy

Throughout the U.S., usually right after a baby is born, a doctor or nurse takes a pinprick of blood from the newborn — often from its cute, little feet — to screen for diseases or genetic defects. These blood tests are mandatory and create a health and genetic database. But who gets access to that genetic information, and for what purpose, is at the center of several legal fights. In New Jersey, the Office of the Public Defender recently sued the state testing program after police allegedly used a newborn’s blood sample to help them obtain a warrant for the father’s DNA. “Marketplace Tech’s” Kimberly Adams spoke with reporter Nikita Biryukov at the New Jersey Monitor, who broke the story.

Aug 24, 2022