You Shouldn’t Have

Amazon has acquired a patent for “anticipatory shipping,” a system that predicts your future purchases based on previous buys, site searches, and how long you linger on a particular item. Then they ship the item to a warehouse nearest you before/in case you order it. In the future, they may even load it on a truck before you click “buy.”

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  • «In the future, they may even load it on a truck before you click “buy.”» In the future – in the unlikely event that there is a future – Ted, they will probably deduct the cost of the purchase, plus freight, from your bank account before you even load the web page on which the offer to «buy» is displayed….


  • I’m a frequent Amazon shopper, and it’s downright eerie the way that my ‘recommended purchases’ are so often spot on. I’ve never browsed for lacy pink panties …. so how did they know?

    I’m also an avid science fiction fan. So much of this has been predicted – a news service that knows what I’m interested in, targeted advertising, etc. Sounded good in the stories, but for some reason the reality bugs me.

    Now Bezos is talking about near-instantaneous delivery via robots. Toffler was right, the future does get here too soon & in the wrong order. Unfortunately, Orwell was right as well: Big Brother is watching me via my telescreen.

  • The software patent of something that’s been around for years but no one thought was patentable seems ‘new’ to someone my age, since it’s only about 20 years old.

    Back in the ’70s, I’d dial up Sabre with my 300 baud modem, log in, type in the codes for two airports, get a numbered list of available flights and prices, type in the number I wanted, and my ticket would arrive the next day. Then, twenty years later, Amazon patented one-click buying. (Sabre didn’t have clicks, since the ’70s computers didn’t have mice with which to click, but I had already entered my credit card, flight preferences, and mailing address, so it was LIKE one-click to buy a ticket).

    It’s not the Amazon data-based marketing technology that I find obscene, but the fact that this technology was written up in the ’80s, and the fact that Amazon was the first to think, ‘Hey, let’s patent it!’, and the Patent Office gave them the patent for an idea they stole from someone else.

    As Comrade Rall says in his book (that I just bought) The Anti-American Manifesto, the US is badly broken. (A sentiment shared by Al.)

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