This week in data, we saw a variety of shopping, streaming, and social media activity. The news continues to report some of the biggest data contributions we make that affect our future. It might feel like these contributions are nothing more than trends, but the data says otherwise. And it’s imperative we stay educated so we can make decisions to improve our lives.

Prime participation

Amazon launched its annual Prime Day promotion (for Prime users only) for 2 days this week. It reached record breaking numbers and engaged 18 countries, twice the number since the first Prime Day 5 years ago. Amazing sales and revenue is a great thing, right?  Well, only if you’re Jeff Bezos. For the rest of us, even if you got a nice deal and fast deliver, just the consequences a damaging. More success for Amazon means more damage to our livelihoods because of delivery emissions and wasteful packaging and forcing people out of their own neighborhoods.

Many employees protested on the key sales days because of exploitative treatment of warehouse employees. Despite claims of fair compensation and public tours, warehouse employees continue to assert grueling labor that adheres to strict rules and impossible quotas that threaten grounds for termination if not achieved. The issue of unsafe job conditions and corporate greed has become a heated political topic. Worker data is collected and used in algorithms in order to enforce extreme quotas that are inhumane. Prime delivery is great, but we’re simultaneously choosing damage for the sake of convenience (and lining Jeff Bezos’s pocket).

Why did Netflix stock fall?

Data told us Netflix has gained 2.7 million new subscribers at the end of the second quarter, less than the predicted 5 million. Profit fell, revenue increased, and stocks fell 12%. Why? Netflix is notoriously secretive with data and analytics so we don’t know what they might be thinking, but people are speculating. Was it the rise of streaming rivals? Is it the impending loss of 2 popular series? Anyone who invested in Netflix stock might be worried about the future, while new channel investors might want to jump in.

Netflix surmises there was less gain from their content slate, but it might have something to do with all the new streaming platforms with competing rates.While the content isn’t the same everywhere, consumers might very well find themselves paying for more subscriptions to enjoy all their favorite shows. Do you have the budget to support all the new platforms?

Old faces for data mining?

Old faces have been popping up on social media this week, thanks to FaceApp. FaceApp has made headlines before for its questionable filters, but its talent in seamless and realistic filters is amazing. How did it get so good at transforming our faces? AI technology and the growing collection of user data. While FaceApp assures privacy with its protected cloud storage and the 48 hour limit before getting deleted, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about AI. The app isn’t what should worry the public, it’s the way smart data can be used. We already have privacy concerns with smart home systems and virtual assistants that seem to spy on us. And then governments or corporations use our data to further invade our privacy.

 


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