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Thank you Kamau for a great article! I really enjoyed reading it, particularly the dramatic description of our protagonist Jihone Du. Echo the comments that technology is a key lever to reducing labor costs. However, it would take years for U.S. retailers to rebuild supply chains devastated by sudden tariff hikes and develop technology to displace human workers. All this comes at a cost that retailers may choose to pass on to consumers. In the meantime, foreign countries can impose retaliatory tariffs that further hurt US consumers. Retailers may have solutions for this in the long term as case alluded to, but it’s a gloomy outlook for short term.

Thank you Sarah for a great piece! I really enjoyed learning about this issue. Many of the suggestions to address this labor shortage issue will undoubtedly increase cost for LFPs (e.g., additional training, additional recruitment efforts, raising wages to attract labor). Given many LFPs already have thin margins, they may choose to pass on this cost to consumers. Not only would this hurt the LFPs and their labor supply, consumers may be impacted also.

On December 1, 2017, Amia Liu commented on The Bees are Dying! :

Thank you Jonathan for a great article! I had a great time reading it. My first reaction echoed the great points Damir and Michelle brought up. Robobees! (Reminds me of the Black Mirror episode about robotic bees as a human killing weapon) After all, our current society has a fascination with using artificial intelligence and robotics to resolve challenges of mankind. On another note, I am saddened by the investment worldwide scientists and institutions are putting into the develop of robobees. It could potentially be a huge distraction to the real problem – the disappearance of bees is detrimental to our ecosystem which has profound impact beyond Chipotle’s avocados. Chipotle needs to be an active citizen in addressing this problem (vs. go into this solving for its avocado problem). Real problem is we need to address the disappearance of natural bees NOT the need for robobees. As such, I have my reservations about capital investment from Chipotle into robobees technology. Also what message would that send to the public about Chipotle’s intentions?

On December 1, 2017, Amia Liu commented on Automated warehousing systems at Amazon :

Great post Angel! I really enjoyed reading it. I’m also very glad you brought up the question of human displacement as a result of Amazon’s automated technology. It is a timely question considering Amazon is in the middle of the HQ2 selection process. As part of the process, Amazon has received 200+ RFPs from different cities. Among the different negotiation points, the promise of bringing additional jobs to the HQ2 city is a key incentive for cities that have submitted RFP to provide benefits in exchange. In addition, bringing local jobs also increases the local wages and supports local economy. This, then, creates a more “livable” city which attracts more talent to the city. Amazon needs to consider not only the efficiencies but also the externalities of human displacement.

On December 1, 2017, Amia Liu commented on Starbucks: How to Save Our Coffee from Climate Change :

Coffee Lover, thank you for a great article! I really enjoyed the read. Undoubtedly coffee producers need to address the issue of coffee beans production being negatively affected by climate change. After it is their #1 raw material cost. However, reading this article triggered a couple of questions. Will Starbucks be most negatively affected by this widespread phenomenon affecting the entire coffee industry? In some ways, Starbucks can leverage its huge volume, steady demand, and relationship with coffee beans suppliers to maintain consistent coffee beans supply. However, small coffee producers (e.g., local coffee shop, small coffee shop) may not have the scale and position to do so. This might mean that small / fragmented coffee producers, not Starbucks, could be the first “victims” of this climate change impact. As such, if the impact on Starbucks is relatively lower than the impact on other smaller coffee producers (potentially competitors), doesn’t it create misaligned incentives for Starbucks to combat the impact of climate change on coffee beans? I believe Starbucks, as an industry giant, has the corporate social responsibility to take actions against climate change, but how do we make sure we align incentives to make sure that Starbucks is willing and eager to take this leadership role in the industry?

On November 30, 2017, Amia Liu commented on The Digitization of Beauty at L’Oréal :

Thank you MRA for a great post! I enjoyed reading it. Many beauty companies are also using this digital disruption to gather data on customer preferences and predict future beauty trends – as a potential way of competitive advantage. However, I reserve some skepticism about the application of digital disruption to an industry such as beauty. As we see in the Dove beauty campaigns, there is a trend towards “natural beauty”, the idea that we don’t need excessive accessories added to our face. It’s beautiful in its true colors. This digitization app, if not done carefully, can potentially affect the public image of beauty companies such as L’Oreal. In the image in the article, the app is using our face as a base to apply colors and altered features to. What message is this sending to customers (e.g., teenagers who are learning the concept of beauty)? Very interesting points you brought up. Look forward to the discussion in class.