Unboxing Amazon – How Amazon is taking over (public) infrastructures and why we should care

Maja-Lee Voigt

Tech companies like Amazon have quietly become our neighbors in cities. They are gaining governmental power and are often perceived as a standard. But there is hope. Glitches allow us to hack privatized public infrastructures, helping us care for and change the code our society is built on.
Stage 10

Today, Amazon is way more than just a ‘virtual warehouse’ sitting on a mythic cloud (provided by themselves); tech companies have quietly, but surely become our neighbors in cities, influencing urban design, infrastructures, and even futures. By ‘conveniently’ taking over logistical operations, the provision of essential goods as well as administrative cloud services, Amazon is gaining governmental power and is often perceived as indispensable – a standard. Amazon, thus, is not only increasingly understood as infrastructural. Its techno-solutions offer a monopolized, homogenous, and privatized (smart) ‘city of certainties’ only Amazon profits from. But there is hope. Glitches of all kinds allow workers, activists, artists, and researchers to hack, and thus participate in, care for, and eventually break with Amazon’s otherwise opaque infrastructures, offering a chance to reflect on protocols, standards, and politics inscribed into the mechanisms underlying our societies.

weiblich gelesene Person in einem korallenroten Mantel mit weißer Hautfarbe, braunem Haar und Brille, lächelnd, vor einer Glasfassade in grau
Stadtforscherin und wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin