When algorithms go bad: Zillow, Amazon, Facebook and the pitfalls of rampant automation

GeekWire Illustration

The downfall of Zillow’s iBuying business is a reminder of the downsides of relying too much on automation and machine learning algorithms at this stage in the evolution of technology.

On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, a conversation about the pitfalls of real estate valuations leads John Cook and me into a larger discussion about the continued importance of human judgment and attention in the modern world.

Plus, cat vs. coyote: the crazy scene on my Ring camera this week. 

And in our final segment, we test a new feature: Tech Crank, in which we each offer a rant about something irksome in the tech world this week.

Listen below, subscribe in any podcast app, and continue reading for links to the stories we discuss.

  • Why the iBuying algorithms failed Zillow, and what it says about the business world’s love affair with AI
  • Redfin CEO explains how its iBuyer home buying program avoided pitfalls that sunk Zillow Group
  • NYT: Inside Amazon’s Worst Human Resources Problem
  • Bloomberg: Highly Paid Union Workers Give UPS a Surprise Win in Delivery Wars
  • Forget porch pirates, our Ring camera captured video of a cat escaping a coyote in Seattle
  • Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian races to huge stock market debut after IPO
  • Microsoft serves up a Google Chromebook rival with $250 Surface Laptop SE for students

Podcast produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell

See also  Robots, automation, AI, and the Pirate Parrot: Insights from our return to the epicenter of robotics

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