Amazon Scout robots take to pavements in Washington State

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

Amazon is experimenting with delivery robots, starting with a little truck called Scout which is taking to the pavements in Washington State. Six of the autonomous electric trucks will deliver parcels “at walking pace” round Snohomish County. The robots will only operate during the day and will be accompanied by an Amazon employee initially. It… Read more »

How Alexa knows the difference between a breaking window and a wine glass

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Privacy.

For Amazon, getting Alexa’s new security-guard feature to work meant literally breaking a lot of windows. In December, the company started inviting Amazon Echo users to try out Alexa Guard, a new setting that turns the smart speakers into home security devices. It listens for suspicious sounds when you’re away and sends a smartphone alert if it detects, say,… Read more »

France to go it alone on digital tax

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Apple, FaceBook, Google.

France has said it will introduce its own tax on big technology firms from 1 January after EU-wide efforts stalled. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he expected it to bring in €500m (£450m) in 2019. France, along with Germany, had been pushing for the European Commission to agree measures by the end of… Read more »

Why tech is taking a hammering

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Apple, FaceBook, Google, Netflix.

Technology stocks have had a very bad week. For the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) which have led the charge in growth over the past decade, it was grim. At their lowest point, all five were down more than 20 per cent from their peaks. This translates to hundreds of billions of dollars… Read more »

Losing bid for Amazon HQ2 was still a win for Toronto, advocates say

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

“This was a list of places Amazon really thinks they’re going to put something. We should compete to get whatever that is but, in reality, the key to our long-term success is to create the next Amazons in Toronto, not lure the current Amazon.” Source: Toronto Star Date: November 15th, 2018 Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/technology/2018/11/13/toronto-loses-bid-to-host-amazons-second-headquarters.html Discussion 1) “I’ve told (Toronto officials)… Read more »

Amazon HQ2 process highlights the company’s data obsession

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Ethical Issues.

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters was never just about finding a new home. Throughout the process, Amazon skillfully obtained data from 238 cities and metro areas in North America for free, including proprietary information about real estate sites under development, details about their talent pool, local labor cost and what incentives cities and states were willing… Read more »

Amazon can sell you stuff. But can it clean your house?

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“They really didn’t listen to those of us who’ve been in the business for decades,” says Bobbie Moe. Customers would punch in their cleaning needs and the square footage of their house online, but the actual time and manpower required would vary wildly with the cleaning needs of the home.” Source: CNN Technology News Date: October 25th, 2018 Link… Read more »

How to make sure your Amazon Echo doesn’t send secret recordings

Posted by & filed under Amazon, App Economy.

It was Alexa’s equivalent of a pocket dial. A woman in Portland, Oregon, claimed her Amazon Echo smart-speaker secretly recorded a private conversation, then sent the audio file to an acquaintance. She told her story to a local news outlet and it spread, stoking fears about always listening devices invading privacy. Amazon confirmed the incident and claimed it was… Read more »

Civil Rights Group Criticizes Amazon Over Facial Recognition

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Civil Liberties.

Amazon.com Inc. drew the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday over a facial-recognition system offered to law-enforcement agencies that the advocacy group says can be used to violate civil rights. In marketing materials obtained by the group, Amazon Web Services said its Rekognition system uses artificial intelligence to quickly identify people in photos and videos,… Read more »