Amazon is Listening

Posted on December 27, 2018

Amazon had a holiday season for the ages, boasting “tens of millions of new Prime subscribers” and “over a billion items shipped for free.” Among these items sold though, none did better than the Amazon Echo. The Echo Dot was the best selling object on Amazon for the third year in a row, and the Amazon Alexa app was the most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store. This matters, because it means Amazon’s increased hunger for market share now includes … you.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, robber barons hoarded resources and used them to hold power over the American public. Those resources were commodities like oil and coal. Now robber barons still exist, but their commodity of choice is data, and it’s more valuable than ever. The Echo is a perfect way to consensually gather customer data. The device is always listening and is a way to better understand consumers with a level of intimacy that is rarely granted. This has led to some disconcerting glitches, such asEcho devices laughing for seemingly no reason, all because they “thought they heard ‘Alexa laugh.'” Echo communicates to Amazon, and provides suggestions for games, apps, and even products that you can purchase on Amazon. 

This is not to sound too paranoid, or like I’m crafting out my tin-foil hat, but it’s a simple truth. By consenting to possess services like the Echo, you’re consenting to Amazon having a microphone in your home. Based on the sales trends from this holiday, that’s not going to go away. People have opted for convenience.

So what now? Now, your business needs to cash in on this by developing skills for Alexa. The setup process is intuitive, and a plethora of guides can be found online. If Amazon is getting that level of intimacy, your business should too.

Until the Echos develop sentience and enslave us all, that is …