Whether it’s earning extra money as a student or working your way up the ranks, working at a supermarket is a steady form of employment for the most part. It’s a type of job that is going to come under attack by technology in the next few years, though, specifically by Amazon in the corporation’s never-ending search for shopping efficiency. According to an announcement earlier today, Amazon has begun trialing a store in Seattle with Amazon Go branding that has no check-outs and no queues.
So how does this Amazon Go thing work? Well, you walk into the store as you normally would, picking up a basket and choosing the items you want. Through the magic of technology (computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning), the Amazon Go app can sense which item you have taken off the shelf, and places it in a virtual basket on the app. When you walk through the scanners by the exit, the app is able to tell which items you kept and which you placed back on the shelf, and a bill is totaled up which is paid through your Amazon account. And that is about it.
There are no queues to stand in, and no cashiers to make small chat to as they wave your products through the scanners. You don’t even need your wallet, just a smartphone.
On the face of it, the idea of going to a store, picking up the items you want and simply walking out while the amount is automatically deducted via the Amazon Go app is very appealing. After all, who hasn’t been annoyed standing in queues as someone stalls the line searching for a coupon or change. But…it’s yet another sign that traditional supermarkets and their employees need to step up their game in order to head off the retail juggernaut known as
SkyNet Amazon. It’s also another sign that humans are needed less and less in the world of ours.
The first store has 1,800 square feet of floor space, is located in Seattle, and is currently open in beta format to Amazon employees only. Amazon says the store will open to the general public in early 2017. It offers basic groceries such as milk and bread as well as ready-to-eat meals, and cook-at-home meal kits.
Let us know what you think of Amazon Go in the comments below.