Amazon Aims to Open 3,000 New Cashierless Stores
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is doubling down on his bet that consumers are ready for the age of cashierless stores, according to several reports.
"Amazon.com Inc. is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo cashierless stores in the next few years ... an aggressive and costly expansion that would threaten convenience chains like 7-Eleven Inc., quick-service sandwich shops like Subway and Panera Bread, and mom-and-pop pizzerias and taco trucks," writes Spencer Soper of Bloomberg.
Has Amazon correctly gauged the strength of consumer demand for stores with no cashiers or cash registers? Will Amazon be able to lure enough customers into the new stores to earn healthy returns on its investments in the hardware and software required for cashierless operations?
The questions are tantalizing. From my perspective, it would be unwise to bet against Bezos. He's already disrupted and transformed huge segments of the retail industry. I have a feeling he'll find a way to make the cashierless experiment pay off.
Facebook Leads Twitter in Battle Against Fake News
Facebook and Twitter are fighting the rise of fake news, but Facebook is apparently doing a better job, according to a new study.
"Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media," a new study from authors at Stanford University and New York University, analyzed the performance of stories posted on fake news sites from January 2015 to July 2018," explains Casey Newton in The Verge.
The study seems to indicate that Facebook's aggressive efforts against fake news are bearing fruit, while Twitter seems lagging. Both social media platforms were inundated by fake news in 2015 and 2016. As the study notes, fake news was also a problem on mainstream news sites, but has subsided somewhat.
It's clear, however, that the risks posed by fake news extend far beyond the worlds of politics and social media. Techniques used by purveyors of fake news also can be used to damage and disrupt business organizations, much the same way that cyber attacks can wreak havoc on corporate databases. Keep an eye on this phenomenon - it's not going to disappear soon.
Salesforce Chairman Buys Time Magazine
I'm including this last item because it underscores the increasingly close relationship between modern technology and the media.
Marc Benioff, the co-founder of Salesforce, and his wife Lynne Benioff, are buying Time magazine for $190 million in cash, according to reports. Time is currently owned by Meredith Corporation, a large media and marketing company.
"The Benioffs are purchasing Time personally, and the transaction is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Benioff is chairman, co-chief executive and co-founder. The announcement by Meredith said the Benioffs would not be involved in day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions at Time. Those decisions will continue to be made by Time's current executive leadership team," according to an Associated Press dispatch published in The Guardian.