What if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? This is what Amazon was asking itself when it started development on a little thing called Amazon Go four years ago. Here’s the lowdown.
I wrote a little piece here on how robots are capable of even replacing us when it comes to creative writing, so it’s no surprise to see robots replacing more menial jobs.
How are they going to do it? Amazon says by pushing the boundaries of machine learning, sensor fusion, computer vision, and a bunch of other technological mumbojumbo, they will create a store where people can just pick up stuff and go. Put simply their new tech can detect when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual cart. Shortly after leaving the store your Amazon account will be charged and a receipt sent to you.
All one will need is an Amazon account and the free app (and a phone that can run it). Amazon Go will be the name of app, whilst Just Walk Out Shopping seems to be the name of technology behind it all.
The first Amazon store fitted with this technology has already technically opened in my birthplace – Seattle, Washington! At the moment it’s exclusively open to Amazon employees, but it’s due to open to the public in 2017.
Of course some of the internet has already erupted in techno-phobic hysteria due to possibility of more job losses, despite the fact that new technology will create new and different kinds of jobs and more importantly even the majority of people working in retail are simply not happy in retail, at least not behind a cash register at a grocery store working for minimum wage.
I reckon it will be many years before we see this technology in the big-name supermarkets, but hell maybe with this new technology Amazon Go will come to even replace the likes of Walmart in the US and become a big name supermarket, regardless, it will surely make our lives just that bit more convenient and change the lives of the countless people who are misemployed, allowing them to do more valuable things, for themselves and society, as opposed to the operation of a cash register – even if it’s working exclusively on the store-floor of the same grocery store talking to & helping customers – it’s more rewarding than having the job of an automaton.