In the last two months, Amazon has spotlighted two new products that allow shoppers to add items to their shopping list without ever typing anything into a search bar. This isn’t a coincidence.
The most recent one is Amazon Dash — a thin, wand-like device, revealed on Friday, that includes both a microphone and a barcode scanner. Speak into it or scan a box of cereal or pack of toilet paper to automatically add that product to your AmazonFresh shopping list.
For now, it is available only on a trial basis to Amazon customers in San Francisco and Los Angeles who pay for Amazon’s new Prime Fresh membership, which includes grocery delivery.
Before Dash, Amazon announced in February that it was adding a technology called Flow to its main shopping app on mobile phones. A user taps on the Flow feature in the app, points the phone at a product in their home — say, a book or a bottle of shampoo — and Flow is supposed to quickly display the product page on the phone’s screen.
Both Dash and Flow seem a bit gimmicky now. And I have no idea whether either will ever move past that stage and toward mass adoption. But they are both signs that Amazon is seriously thinking about how to remove as much friction as possible for people who are looking to buy a specific item from Amazon, but are on the move and not sitting behind a desk staring at a computer screen.
Keeping secrets in a world of spies and mistrust
Artur Ekert, co-inventor of quantum cryptography, explains in Nature what it takes to keep our secrets secret, even when faced with the double challenge of mistrust and manipulation.
Want to learn more? See the article “The ultimate physical limits of privacy” in Nature:
Or this summary on CQT’s website: http://www.quantumlah.org/highlight/1…
Artur Ekert is Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies and Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor, National University of Singapore, Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK
Abstract of Nature paper
Among those who make a living from the science of secrecy, worry and paranoia are just signs of professionalism. Can we protect our secrets against those who wield superior technological powers? Can we trust those who provide us with tools for protection? Can we even trust ourselves, our own freedom of choice? Recent developments in quantum cryptography show that some of these questions can be addressed and discussed in precise and operational terms, suggesting that privacy is indeed possible under surprisingly weak assumptions.
Why’d you stop wearing it?" I asked him. "Oh," he said. "I keep forgetting.
“It’s not a question of whether technology can do it — it can,” said Gerd Leonhard, a Swiss author and futurist. “Now the question is what is our ethics?” It becomes a question of what should or should not be allowed and, eventually, of what is human. Technology will progress to the point where artificial intelligence will eclipse that of its makers. Mr. Leonhard believes this will have enormous impacts on society, and on death. “When you can use social media to such an extent that you can become a super human, and continue a virtual life after you cease to exists, that is not a desirable direction. It’s an aberration,” he said. Mr. Leonhard wonders what will become of a society that never has to learn to say goodbye — where nothing is ever forgotten and nobody ever really disappears. “The next five years are going to bring a lot of possibility, and questions about ethics,” Mr. Leonhard said. “People are not yet arguing whether or not it’s ethical to tweet after I die.” (via How We Die Now: People will be forced to consider their posthumous digital reputations | National Post)
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