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Today's Smart Brevity count: 981 words, a < 4-minute read.
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
In recent years, Amazon has made a series of investments, acquisitions and R&D moves in the smart home industry. None seemed particularly consequential on its own, but with a real estate deal last week, Amazon appears to have captured first-mover advantage in one of the most important new industries on the planet, Erica writes.
Why it matters: With the deals, Amazon has taken a pioneering lead in what has come to be called "surveillance capitalism," which includes some of the biggest businesses of the future, like 5G, autonomous vehicles and smart cities. Now, Amazon, with its edge in this new economy, is positioned to explode its revenue.
"Amazon has entered the surveillance capitalism domain with a very big bang," says Shoshana Zuboff, author of "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism." "Once you have this as your lens, and you look at Amazon, you will never look back."
What's happening: Amazon's newest offering, a deal announced last week with Realogy, connects homebuyers to real estate agents and gives them $5,000 in smart devices and services when they close the deal. The huge upside for Amazon is unchecked access to the data-rich interiors of our homes.
Speaking to Axios, Amazon says that its speakers and cameras can be turned off at will and come with lights that signal when they are recording. It also says customers can log onto portals and delete whatever they want.
And there's more.
The result, per Webb, is "Amazon in literally every nook and cranny of our home because either it built us the home, or it has got devices in the home, or it helped sell us the home."
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty
At a time when the U.S. population is getting older on average, about 80% of Americans say they are somewhat or extremely anxious that they have insufficient savings for retirement, according to a new survey.
What's happening: In a study released today by the Alliance for a Lifetime Income, 58% of Americans said they don't expect their income to last their lifetime.
The findings align with polls earlier this year by Gallup.
The bottom line: 18% of non-retired Americans are "largely unprepared" for when they are no longer earning an income, says Gallup.
The 10 hottest years in the U.K. since 1884 have all occurred over the last decade and a half — including the hottest single day in recorded history, according to the U.K.'s Met Office.
The rest of Europe, too, has been ultra-hot — in France, the temperature reached 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit on June 28.
Asteroid Vesta. Photo: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Chinese parents prefer Lego to Barbie (The Economist)
The trouble with asteroids barreling toward Earth (Miriam Kramer — Axios)
The upside of imaginary friends (Allie Volpe — The Atlantic)
Do people really want weed concoctions? (Amanda Chicago Lewis — The Verge)
P.T. Barnum's America (Elizabeth Kolbert — The New Yorker)
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty
The 2020 presidential race is full of regional accents and characteristic intonations: Bernie Sanders has his "millionaires and billionaires," President Trump twangs off words like "China," and Joe Biden loves his avuncular turns of phrase, Kaveh writes.
But despite the Brooklyn drawl, the Vermont senator's speech is the clearest of them all, according to an analysis from Trint, a software company that automatically transcribes audio.
At the bottom of the pile: Trump, Beto O'Rourke, and Biden, who was misunderstood by the software 5% of the time.
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