Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

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“Año tras año, Black Friday tras Black Friday, Amazon consolida su poder”, resume el periodista Ekaitz Cancela, autor de El despertar del sueño tecnológico y colaborador de El Salto. La tesis de Cancela es que, tras la caída de Lehman Brothers en 2008, la economía mundial encontró en la economía de las grandes plataformas un modo de mantener a flote el sistema capitalista, en crisis de rentabilidad desde los años 70. Cancela denomina a la economía de Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon y Microsoft “tecnologías de supervivencia”, en tanto están diseñadas para “ampliar los espacios de nuestra vida sometidos a la mercantilización”.

Yes, fuck, I have Amazon’s app on my phone. I’m that addicted to this company. And I’m not alone: Amazon reportedly controls 50 percent of online commerce, which means half of all purchases made online in America, which is obscene.

Launched in 2006, AWS has taken over vast swaths of the internet. My VPN winds up blocking over 23 million IP addresses controlled by Amazon, resulting in various unexpected casualties, from Motherboard and Fortune to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s website. (Government agencies love AWS, which is likely why Amazon, soon to be a corporate Cerberus with three “headquarters,” chose Arlington, Virginia, in the D.C. suburbs, as one of them.) Many of the smartphone apps I rely on also stop working during the block.

Amazon has launched a new service that uses machine learning to extract key data from patient records and can potentially help healthcare providers and researchers save money, make treatment decisions, and manage clinical trials. The company announced the service, called Amazon Comprehend Medical

Amazon’s other recent forays into healthcare include paying almost $1 billion to acquire online prescription service PillPack

It joins other large tech companies that are increasingly focused on healthcare. For example, earlier this year Apple launched a feature that lets customers view their hospital medical records on their iPhones, while Google recently hired former Geisinger CEO David Feinberg to unify and lead the healthcare initiatives across its businesses, including search, Google Brain, Google Fit, and Nest.

Of course, the uploading of medical records to the cloud for machine-learning analysis might questions from patients about how Comprehend Medical will ensure their privacy. Amazon says patient data is encrypted and can only be unlocked by customers who have a key, and that no data processed will be stored or used for training its algorithms. Comprehend Medical complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Even if Amazon optimized solely for consolidation and fuel efficiency, consumers are shopping so often that it makes sustainable, efficient delivery difficult.

Free and fast shipping has always been a Prime membership’s marquee perk — one that’s drawn in over 100 million subscribers who pay $119 annually. A 2017 study by UPS found that nearly all (96%) US customers had made a purchase on a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart, and over half (55%) said free or discounted shipping was the primary reason.

That convenience is encouraging people in the US to buy more, and to make more individual purchases rather than placing a single order for several items.

people aren’t offsetting the traffic to shopping malls and grocery stores by buying online. “The problem is we are still doing both, meaning there are more emissions and more congestion,”

Amazon is only speeding up customers’ options. In addition to free two-day shipping for Prime members, Amazon added free two-hour delivery with a new service, called Prime Now, in 2014, and it increasingly relies on hundreds of thousands of independent contractors with passenger cars to make those deliveries. Amazon’s Flex program, which operates in 50 US cities, is an app-based platform like Uber, but instead of dropping off people, Flex drivers drop off Prime packages or groceries.

Those drivers’ cars are typically smaller than commercial delivery vehicles, so they can’t fit as many packages or complete as many deliveries per tour. They’re taking longer routes, too. “Drivers are going from their home base to a warehouse to your house, and back to their home base. And warehouses are farther than the store you would have gone to,” Goodchild said.

Amazon Go, the «human-free» grocery store from, watches your every move with hundreds of cameras and sensors. And ties everything to an account with your smart phone and credit card. This is absolutely terrifying on multiple levels. Let me walk you through why and the related services that make this abomination possible.