Amazon became the indisputable winner of the retail universe by engineering a self-perpetuating, data-crunching colossus. From diapers and cat food to batteries and books, Amazon has clearly mastered cost and convenience for a massive range of commodity items. Is it really possible that machines — no matter how much data is available — can accurately capture all our wants and desires?

For all those items that aren’t commodities, the bigger purchases that aren’t rote, will we ever give up needing the wisdom of human tastemakers? Will cost and convenience always outweigh service and experience for non-commodity items?

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