• From the Boston Globe:
"Tech giant Amazon is giving an undisclosed amount of money to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study the use and impact of robotics.
"The effort will include new studies of how employees can interact with robots safely and efficiently in the workplace and a poll of public attitudes towards automation to be conducted by research firm Ipsos, Amazon and MIT said … The goal is to expand on the three-year 'Work of the Future' initiative that resulted in a 2020 report on how automation technologies could create better jobs for people, MIT professor Julie Shah, who leads the Interactive Robotics Group of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said in an interview."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"A consumer-rights group in the Netherlands sued Amazon on Wednesday over its alleged practice of tracking website visitors’ online activity, using recently expanded legal provisions allowing class actions.
"The lawsuit, filed in a Dutch court by Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland, or SDBN, said Amazon is violating the European Union’s privacy law by monitoring visitors to popular websites through cookies—the pieces of code that identify individual browsers to create targeted advertisements—without their permission.
"An EU law that took effect in June requires the bloc’s 27 member nations to introduce legislation that will make it easier for consumer groups to bring class-action cases against companies. Corporate lawyers are bracing for a wave of similar complaints representing large groups of consumers.
"SDBN said the class-action lawsuit represents around five million Amazon account holders residing in the Netherlands. The organization is seeking damages for consumers and a court order to put a stop to Amazon’s data tracking. The lawsuit partly mirrors a 2021 regulatory penalty that Amazon was issued by Luxembourg’s privacy regulator, which fined the company $887 million over its use of personal data for advertising. Amazon is appealing that penalty."
• From the Seattle Times:
"Amazon employees have long worked alongside robots — but the company is now testing a very lifelike, two-legged machine to help its human co-workers with some tasks.
"Amazon announced Wednesday it had begun testing a bipedal robot in its BFI1 experimental facility in Sumner. The robot is in the very early stages of development, Amazon said, so it’ll be some time before it is on operational warehouse floors.
The robot, named Digit, has two arms, two legs, a blue chest and two square lights for eyes. It moves forward and backward, turns around, and bends. It can reach, grab and lift Amazon’s signature yellow totes that hold items as they move through Amazon warehouses. Digit will help its human counterparts with tote recycling, Amazon said, picking up and moving empty totes once all items have been removed."
• Amazon announced this week that it is teaming up with Microsoft and India's Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) to take "decisive action against perpetrators of technology support fraud. On Thursday, October 19, CBI announced it conducted multiple criminal raids in various cities spanning several states against illegal call centers in India that were set up to impersonate Microsoft and Amazon customer support. The illegal call centers impacted more than 2,000 Amazon and Microsoft customers primarily based in the U.S., but also in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, and the UK.
"This operation was supported by a joint criminal referral made by Amazon and Microsoft through joint prosecution agreements in the U.S. and India, as the same cyber criminals were targeting both our customers … This collaboration marks the first time Microsoft and Amazon have joined forces to combat tech support fraud."