Sunday, December 01, 2019

The Blob

Remember the 1958 SF flick, THE BLOBa fearsome alien creature not only indescribable and indestructible but also cannot be stopped? Well, to this rube, Amazon's the 21st-century equivalent as it is everywhere, relentless to the max and impacting the world in ways unimagined just 5 years ago.

BALTIMORE — Another big Prime Air 767 takes off from Baltimore-Washington International Airport — where Amazon’s shipping last year eclipsed that of FedEx and U.P.S. put together — and wheels above the old industrial city. Below, the online giant seems to touch every niche of the economy, its ubiquity and range breathtaking.

To the city’s southeast stand two mammoth Amazon warehouses, built with heavy government subsidies, operating on the sites of shuttered General Motors and Bethlehem Steel plants. Computers monitor workers during grueling 10-hour shifts, identifying slow performers for firing. Those on the floor earn $15.40 to $18 an hour, less than half of what their unionized predecessors made. But in Baltimore’s postindustrial economy, the jobs are in demand.

Near the Inner Harbor are the side-by-side stadiums of the Ravens and the Orioles, where every move on the field is streamed to Amazon Web Services for analysis using artificial intelligence. Football players have a chip in each shoulder pad and baseball players are tracked by radar, producing flashy graphics for television and arcane stats for coaches.

And this excerpt from the NYTimes piece is just part of Amazon's reach into Baltimore.

The original. :)

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