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.
How the pandemic has sped up the automation of some jobs
Even before the pandemic, the economy was seeing a shift to automation as companies looked for cheaper, more efficient ways to build their products or serve more customers. Now, the pandemic has led to staffing shortages in multiple industries and has accelerated the trend, which means in the future you may be more likely to order your food with a QR code, interact with a chatbot instead of a person for customer service or use a self-operating kiosk at a business that may never go back to the old way of doing things. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Kristen Broady, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, about how the pandemic is speeding up this shift. For many businesses, it’s an economic decision, Broady says.
In order to make room for the expansion into 5G, carriers are shutting down their 3G networks. AT&T plans to discontinue its 3G network by February 22, T-Mobile by July 1st, and Verizon by the end of the year. Commercial 3G networks first started popping up in the early 2000s and were about 30 times faster than their 2G predecessors. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Joanna Stern, senior personal technology columnist at the Wall Street Journal, who wrote about the coming shutdown.
Microsoft moves further into the gaming market with Activision Blizzard purchase
Microsoft announced plans this week to buy game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard, known for games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch, for an all-cash deal worth almost $69 billion. Both companies are big players in the gaming market — Microsoft makes the Xbox — meaning the massive deal is likely to attract scrutiny from antitrust regulators, even as Activision Blizzard continues to face allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Dina Bass, Seattle bureau chief and technology reporter for Bloomberg News, to get a sense of Microsoft’s strategy.
The next steps in the 5G rollout
AT&T and Verizon are set to turn on their newest 5G technology Wednesday. Both companies purchased rights to more of the spectrum last year and have been ready to deploy it for months. But those plans have been on hold over concerns the expansion into that bandwidth could interfere with the tech on planes, specifically an aircraft’s altimeter, one of the tools that help planes land safely. To mitigate those concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration released a list of 50 airports that will have 5G buffer zones. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Joe Kane, director of broadband and spectrum policy at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.
The FCC is poised to expand tribal broadband. It’s acutely needed. (rerun)
The government achieves a breakthrough in its case against Meta
A U.S. District Court handed Lina Khan, the head of the Federal Trade Commission, a win this week. The judge gave the go-ahead for the FTC to continue its antitrust suit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging that the company pursued an illegal “buy-or-bury scheme” to root out competitors. The court shot down the agency’s initial complaint in June, after the judge said the FTC failed to sufficiently define the social media market and the company’s share of it. Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams speaks with Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project.
Excellent, balanced and comprehensive analysis.
Largely through a grievance and progressive lens (Equity, tech is bad, what tech censorship, etc.)
Amazon Ring episode is a standout
Especially great reporting in this episode.
What a combination: ‘can of worms’, ‘Trojan horse’ and ‘pandora’s box’ these devices/systems are!
Their social and legal contexts are far from understood and settled. As in the Chinese proverb, I would prefer not to live in ‘such interesting times’! Also, don’t want to be the Guiana pig for some company money grab with their delusions of grandeur! They bring Big Brother under the guise of ‘doing good’ with cool tech on a road paved with good intentions. I prefer businesses to NOT play god with human playthings.