Why We Shouldn’t Assume Amazon Has It All Figured Out



This is where I add that it’s possible I will look like an idiot for writing this. Groceries, robots for the home, pharmaceutical drugs and health insurance are all areas worthy of innovation. It’s just helpful to think of Amazon’s efforts as experiments — sometimes bad ones — rather than fully baked marvels of creation.

Mostly, I worry that we’ll put too much faith in what may be low-stakes tinkering for tech giants but high-stakes problems for the rest of us. It’s not helpful if some policymakers are holding off on transit projects to see if driverless cars might be the answer to transportation nightmares. (They won’t.)

I write a lot about the power of big technology companies and the harm that can result. But believing tech superpowers have it all figured out can be harmful, too.

You know what’s not awesome? Australians getting stuck in the middle of a business negotiation between Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.

Do you remember a month ago — I know, these days it feels as if time has no meaning — when Facebook blocked all news from the app in Australia? This came after a new law in the country required Google and Facebook to pay news organizations for links to their articles.

The law may be misguided or it might be clever. I don’t know. Certainly, Google and Facebook didn’t like it — but they took opposite approaches, at least at first.


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