PBS's Frontline will be dissecting the near unchecked reign of Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos in a documentary set to air Tuesday night.The documentary details the rise of Amazon, from its humble bookstore beginnings to its existence now as one of the largest online retailers in the world. It shows Amazon's unwavering continuous growth along the way and how it became a technology conglomerate, as well as "how Amazon convinced millions of people to welcome 'listening devices' into their homes." “Alexa is one more way for Amazon to gather extremely valuable data,” Meredith Whittaker, co-director of the A.I. Now Institute at NYU, told Frontline. “And this data collection is extremely important to this business model. It’s extremely hard to do… convincing people to just deploy something like this in their home is – it’s a brilliant trick.”The documentary alludes to the necessity for government regulations to be placed upon Amazon. One of the experts interviewed stated that while Amazon is not a monopoly, it could very well be in breach of anti-trust laws, since the company has an unfair advantage in the US marketplace.
An example is one given by NYU professor Scott Galloway, that the health insurance industry lost billions of dollars in stock value the morning after Amazon declared a possible interest in healthcare costs.“Amazon has these Darth Vader-like abilities to just look at a sector and begin choking it of oxygen,” he said, according to The Washington Post.The documentary will also examine whether the company did enough to warn Alexa customers of the privacy implications that could occur by installing the listening device – as well as the "revelation" that Amazon has thousands of employees transcribing voice recording to improve the algorithm.The film is supposed to also give insight into Bezos' own life and how he transformed himself from an optimistic online bookstore owner into the billionaire founder, CEO and president of Amazon and so much more.While the documentary does not actually interview Bezos himself, the "Rise and Reign" of Amazon gives a broader explanation of the company's dealings and what it means to the wider public and the worldwide marketplace.Frontline: Amazon Empire — The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on WETA and MPT.