Not many news this week (mainly due to having so little time to read), but quite interesting topics. Let’s start!
This is nice. I will sell it from now on
Something I’ve heard many times before, but now with some exhibits. If you are selling something on Amazon and have quite some success, prepare to be copied by Amazon, then you will be removed from the search results (which will show first the Amazon version), and of course you will be out-priced (what did you expect, Amazon can build stuff cheaper than you do).
The people at Reuters wrote a very thoughtful piece showing these practices in India. I recommend the read, but I think the most important thing you can do is really think about where you buy your stuff. Where do you want to place your money, on the original creators of some product, or on the company of the man that wants to burn money going into space for fun, while its workers are being exploited?
As a last note, I could not help but think on how terrible it is when you, as a company or a creator, loose the control over your business or the content you create. This applies to so many aspects of our current lives. What happens when all your Youtube/Twitch/TikTok videos get removed without notice? What happens when you stop selling your goods through your store and Amazon ends destroying your business? How about posting all your texts on your Facebook page? Do you like storing your pictures on the cloud? Nice, we will use them to train our AI algorithms. Please, stop gifting your stuff to billion dollar companies.
Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands, documents show, on reuters
How Slack changed the world
Really interesting article on how a single app can change so many social/professional interactions. We saw the same some time ago with instant messaging services (Whatsapp, etc.). However, they are right that it might be the first time a business-oriented service has changed so many things. It is super easy now to work remotely with many people. We have almost stopped sending e-mails, which is a big thing (although I still like the good things that asynchronous communication brings to the table). Also, Slack has gathered workers together in a way that is quite hard to control for employers. Before, it was quite difficult to know which were the problems of some of your co-workers (specially on really big companies). Now, you can easily message with people in different departments, or even with branches in other countries, without your boss even noticing.
We have recently seen how people working at big tech companies have rallied on Slack to complain about their work environment. Nowadays, it is very easy to ask co-workers doing your same job how much money do they earn, which has also raised protests. However, not everything has been so nice. Instant messaging apps can make very difficult to disconnect from work, thus generating burnout in the mid/long run. Also, usually you have these apps installed on your personal devices, and it is not nice to get notifications in the middle of the night or during the weekend, because not all the people share the same work schedules…
SLACKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!, on the atlantic
Saga is finally coming back
One of the coolest SciFi comic books I have read in a while is coming back soon, and we will have a good ride till the end, with another 54 issues. I can’t wait!!!
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga Returns in January 2022, on tor.com
Just have a seat, pre-criminal
This is a terribly sad story, but I think the best we can do is to share, so everyone gets to know how some countries treat their own civilians. With the excuse of controlling infected from Covid-19, China has been using face recognition software to oppress minorities (Uyghurs in this case). You can always think that there are some terrible places doing stuff like this, but until you read the stories, you never know how real they can be.
It is also worth noticing that the same technology used in China is being developed both in Europe and the US, so the future does not look very bright, I’m afraid.
For sure, I know that this book will be one of my following reads.
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state, on the MIT technology review
In The Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony, by Columbia Global Reports
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!
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