January 5, 2021

More than one third of American households have a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest that can be activated by thousands of different voice commands. But in order to hear what we say, these devices also need to listen. This video looks at what big tech companies do with recorded smart speaker commands and how customers can opt out of sharing their data. 

Questions:

  1. Why does Amazon collect recordings of voice commands made by customers to Continue reading
Continue reading...

April 16, 2020

With thousands of stores closed around the country, U.S. retailers saw sales plunge by 8.7 percent in March. That represents the worst monthly decline on record as millions of consumers stopped visiting restaurants, bars, and shopping malls due to stay-at-home orders for coronavirus containment. While sales of cars, furniture, and electronics all experienced double digit drops, spending at clothing stores plummeted by more than 50 percent. Manufacturing capacity and oil production also fell to their lowest rates since the end Continue reading

Continue reading...

March 19, 2020

With millions of people across the country staying home and practicing social distancing, it’s no surprise that many are doing their shopping online through Amazon. As a result, the e-commerce giant has seen demand for household items and medical supplies increase dramatically over the last couple of weeks. In order to ensure that no essential products go out of stock, this week Amazon announced that its U.S. and European warehouses will now only hold “vital supplies.” This includes baby products, Continue reading

Continue reading...

January 23, 2020

In 1933 Nathan Glickberg opened a fruit and vegetable stand in Manhattan before eventually moving into a nearby storefront. His grandson Howie expanded the store in the 1970s, adding more groceries and specialty items as well as a new name: Fairway. In the years since, the store became a staple for many New Yorkers drawn by Fairway’s low prices and wide selection of quality products. Then in the early 2000s a private equity firm bought a controlling stake in the Continue reading

Continue reading...

January 9, 2020

In recent years, many Silicon Valley tech firms have pledged to make sustainability a top priority. But as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft develop environmentally friendly operations, oil companies are also using their technology to extract more petrochemicals from the earth. The video below takes an in-depth look at the history of oil extraction and how modern tech companies are risking their reputations by getting involved with the fossil fuel industry. 

Questions:

  1. How does machine learning help tech companies become Continue reading
Continue reading...

December 3, 2019

Analysts at Adobe estimate that consumers spent more than $29 billion online last week between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Although brick-and-mortar sales rose slightly as well, e-commerce sales surged to record highs as consumers increasingly turned to online retailers for their holiday shopping needs. In fact, experts predict that companies like Amazon earned as much as $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday alone. 

But while Amazon enjoyed another successful start to the festive season in the U.S., the e-commerce giant Continue reading

Continue reading...

October 22, 2019

The last couple of years have not been kind to brick-and-mortar retailers: since 2017 more than 50 companies have gone bankrupt and 21,000 locations have closed across the country. Instead of heading out to stores, many modern consumers now depend on Amazon for their shopping needs. Along with providing convenience, the e-commerce giant also offers everyday low prices as well as major sales events like Prime Day. In response, many traditional retailers have started offering deep discounts in an effort Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 20, 2019

In 2018 users on the video streaming platform Twitch watched more than 505 billion minutes of live streams, up from 355 billion minutes the previous year. At some point many of those viewers likely tuned into Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a streamer of the video game Fortnite who once boasted more than 14 million followers on Twitch. Along with earning ad revenue and subscription money from streaming, Ninja also made millions from lucrative endorsement deals with companies like Uber Eats and Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 8, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a video about the rise of rush shipping and its effect on the environment. Along with impacting the health of the planet, the recent push to deliver products as fast as possible has also altered the balance of power in the shipping industry. Over the past few years, Amazon has developed its own delivery network of trucks and planes in order to decrease its dependency on outside shipping firms. As a result, Continue reading

Continue reading...

July 26, 2019

For major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, few matters are more important than quickly shipping products out to customers. But while free two-day shipping has largely become the norm in e-commerce, all those packages moving across the country can have a major impact on the environment. This video looks at the ecological effects of rush shipping and how retailers could seek to limit its use in the future. 

Questions:

  1. In what ways does rush shipping harm the environment? Continue reading
Continue reading...