Alexa’s Liberal Bias
Prime Cut: Right-leaning Echo owners are none too pleased with Alexa’s answers to some of their more politically charged questions. Asked if she’s a feminist, for example, Amazon’s digital assistant responds with a resolute “Yes.” And do Black Lives Matter? “Absolutely,” Alexa says, about the people and the movement. “It’s important to have conversations about equality and social justice.”
TWICE Take: We laud Alexa’s stance against inequality, but not everyone in the Twitterverse wants to hear it from their digital assistants. That should serve as a reminder to AI programmers of all stripes to keep their moral choices out of the algorithms.
How Amazon Will Fare Under The Republican Tax Plan
Prime Cut: There’s clearly no love lost between Donald Trump and Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. The president regularly takes the newspaper to task for publishing “fake news” (not true) and criticizes the e-tail operation for not paying sales tax (no longer true).
TWICE Take: Despite his animus toward Amazon, Trump’s “big, beautiful Christmas president” to the American people — the Republican tax plan — is even bigger and more beautiful for his professed adversary, whose company would stand to save nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in taxes next year.
Prime Members P.O.’d At Shipping Delays
Prime Cut: The crush of Thanksgiving week orders that made the holiday a barn burner for Amazon also caused stock-outs and shipping delays that are frustrating Prime members.
TWICE Take: Customers are taking to social media with their complaints, citing Prime’s promise of free two-day delivery. But read the not-so-fine print: Amazon guarantees two-day deliveries once the order ships, and the expected arrival date is clearly indicated prior to check out.
Amazon-Google Cold War Goes Hot
Prime Cut: The simmering rivalry between the digital giants boiled over last week when Google announced it will block YouTube access from Amazon’s Fire TV and Echo Show devices beginning Jan. 1.
TWICE Take: Google says the move is in retaliation for Amazon’s refusal to sell Chromecast and Google Home, and for making Amazon Prime Video un-Cast-able. Expect the war to escalate as the adversaries continue to vie for search, shopping and smart-home domination.
Trumping Trump U.
Prime Cut: Imagine an unaccredited school praying on the hopes and dreams of vulnerable enrollees with false promises of quick and easy profits and a famous affiliation.
TWICE Take: Nope, we’re not talking about Trump University. This scam involves a couple of Boston brothers who assured attendees their high-priced, seemingly Amazon-endorsed seminars would show how to game the e-tailer’s third-party seller system. No and no. Amazon, and Washington State, are suing.
Amazon Quote Of The Week
“Yes I am a feminist, as is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.” — Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, when asked if she’s a feminist