Amazon.com

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Outside Amazon’s headquarters in South Lake Union on Monday, activists chanted in German, “Wir sind Menchen; nicht Roboter.”

Translation: “We are people, not robots.”  

Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.

That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.

Amazon's business is built on three basic concepts: faster delivery, greater selection, and cheaper prices.

In service of that, it has built enormous warehouses staffed largely by robots that shuttle around, pulling goods out of bins at remarkable speed. It can take just a matter of minutes to go from order to shipment.

And lately it's pursuing a program where Amazon goes directly into manufacturers and manages their logistics and online retailing.

KUOW Photo

Brian Carver is one of two candidates challenging 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin in the August 6 primary. The other is Socialist Alternative Party candidate Kshama Sawant.

Carver holds the title principle product manager at Amazon's Kindle direct publishing division. He has an MBA and an engineering master's degree from the University of Washington.

Carver ran unsuccessfully for an open City Council seat in 2009. He's been a local Democratic Party activist in the 43rd Legislative District. He says improving the city's schools is his top priority.

On the web:

Brian Carver's campaign website

Why Does Amazon Support Online Sales Taxes?

Apr 2, 2013
AP Photo/Scott Sady

It's rare that you get Republicans and Democrats agreeing on taxes, but that's what's happening in the other Washington and it might impact us here in the evergreen state.

The tax bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would require Internet retailers who make more than $1 million in sales annually to collect sales taxes even if the retailer isn't physically located in that state.

What In The World Is Turkopticon?

Mar 20, 2013
Flickr Photo/Matt Wetzler

When we think of crowd sourcing, we often think about Wikipedia or Youtube, but  Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a different type of crowd sourcing.

Mechanical Turk is an online marketplace where employers can hire thousands of workers to complete tiny tasks such as identifying objects in a photo or editing a description.  Workers are offered no benefits and are not protected by minimum wage laws. They are paid per task, often as little as 20 cents, occasionally as much as $5. But sometimes, they aren’t paid at all.

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

The Mechanical Turk was a fake chess playing robot that fooled Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin. Today the Mechanical Turk is a service Amazon provides, linking workers with people who need tasks done. Some pay as little as a penny. Critics call Mechanical Turk a digital sweatshop. Ross Reynolds talks with Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, about working for points, Mechanical Turk and artificial-artificial intelligence.