Over the last 10 years, America’s five largest tech firms have flooded Washington with lobbying money to the point where they now outspend Wall Street two to one. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon spent $49m on Washington lobbying last year, and there is a well-oiled revolving door of Silicon Valley executives to and from senior government positions.

In 2016, the corporate PACs associated with Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Amazon broke ranks with the traditional allegiance of the broad tech sector to the Democratic Party. All four donated more money to Republican Congressional candidates than they did to their Democratic opponents ... $2.1 million went to Republicans, and $1.5 million went to Democrats. These PACs did not contribute to presidential candidates.

Consumers and regulators also have a role to play in determining how voice computing develops. Even in its current, relatively primitive form, the technology poses a dilemma: voice-driven systems are most useful when they are personalised, and are granted wide access to sources of data such as calendars, e-mails and other sensitive information. That raises privacy and security concerns.To further complicate matters, many voice-driven devices are always listening, waiting to be activated.

antitrust regulators are stuck in an outdated view of the world, while the internet giants are more attuned to their nascent competitive threats. The deal for Jet.com is just the latest defensive internet acquisition of an emerging start-up that will preserve the hegemony of a select few ... it cements the positions of Walmart and Amazon as the only players in town ... This is the modus operandi of the big internet behemoths. They live in fear of new technology disrupting their businesses

There were 856,000 warehouse workers in May ... About half the human labor in warehouses slogs away on simple, arduous tasks that involve...doing work that's the equivalent of restocking shelves in a grocery store. It's strenuous work, with employees often walking more than a dozen miles a day as part of their job. As new robots become available, particularly to e-commerce warehouses with vast inventories and complex packing operations, these are the people whose jobs will be most at risk.

The “click to ship” cycle used to be around 60-75 minutes when employees had manually to sift through the stacks, pick the product, pack it, and ship it. Now, robots handle the same job in 15 minutes ... These robots are not only more efficient but they also take up less space... That means warehouse design can eventually be modified to have more shelf space and less wide aisles ... Each Kiva-equipped warehouse can hold 50% more inventory per square foot than centers without robots

In several cities where the same-day service area encompasses the vast majority of all residents, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Tampa, a higher percentage of blacks live in ZIP codes eligible for same-day delivery than whites. Overall, though, in cities where same-day service doesn’t extend to most residents, those left out are disproportionately black... In the six cities with disparities...Hispanics are less likely than whites to live in same-day ZIP codes, but more likely than blacks.

Twitch...can be hard to explain...to nongamers... but at its core, it’s a place where people watch other people play video games...only four years old, Twitch already has 100 million viewers who consume 20 billion minutes of gaming every month. According to one 2014 study, Twitch is the fourth-­most-­visited site on the Internet during peak traffic periods, after Netflix, Google and Apple and above Facebook and Amazon. (Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for about $1 billion, all of it cash.

Amazon now employs about a hundred and fifty thousand people around the world, many of whom are temporary employees who don’t receive medical benefits or paid leave ... Amazon, for its part, has long resisted efforts to unionize its workforce, both in the U.S. and abroad.