Automation may be replacing human hires at Amazon, companies are secretly rating shoppers and the newest MacBook’s microphone detaches for privacy, but is it useful?
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First up from Reddit: It’s that time of year again, malls are full of Christmas decorations and retailers are hiring more workers to help with the holiday rush. Except for Amazon that is…the e-commerce giant is hiring fewer workers this holiday season and some are arguing its because robots are replacing them. An analyst from Citi told CNBC on Friday that “an acceleration in the use of robots (and automation) within their fulfillment centres…has corresponded with fewer workers.” This year Amazon plans to make 100,000 holiday hires, down from 120,000 workers in the past couple years. This marks the first year that holiday hiring has decreased. Amazon responded saying, “it’s a myth that automation replaces jobs…since the time we started introducing robotics at Amazon in 2012 we have added nearly 300,000 full-time jobs globally.”

Next from LinkedIn: Companies are secretly rating their customers, according to a Wall Street Journal report. It states that companies are increasingly using a secret score to calculate the financial value of customers. The rating, known as a customer lifetime value metrics or CLV has a correlation between the prices you pay, how digital ads and products are presented to you, the perks you are offered and even how long you are put on hold for a customer service call. CLV ratings have long been used by companies and are calculated by taking the revenue earned per customer and subtracting the money spent on acquiring and serving them.The data analysis is meant to improve how companies treat loyal customers for example at airlines a higher score could enhance your chance of an upgrade. Though it’s understandable that secretly rating shoppers may also create as many issues at it solves.

Finally from Reddit: Apple’s newest MacBook physically disconnects its microphone when the lid is closed. The idea is to make it impossible for malware to access your built-in microphone while your not using your laptop. However that doesn’t solve the problem when laptops are at their most vulnerable…when you’re using them. Critics are arguing that the microphone disconnect doesn’t stop malware, like FruitFly which can secretly turn on MacBook camera and microphone to record while the laptop is open and on. Comments online were mixed between its a cool new feature and laments that ‘privacy is dead’ so what does it matter anyway. This new privacy feature was unveiled last week with the new Retina MacBook air and is available with all new MacBooks.

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