When it comes to shopping at supermarkets, the most dreadful part of the experience is undoubtedly, lengthy checkout lines. Stores have been getting bigger and inventories are growing more diverse; the ease of billing however, hasn’t changed much over the last decade.
However, things are about to change. Amazon – apart from revolutionizing the world of cloud services and of course, online shopping – has been busy working with deep machine learning and algorithmic computation to come up with what they call ‘Amazon Go‘.
Picture a supermarket of the future – all the products you need, only, no checkout counters! All you need is the free Amazon Go app to enter the store and their “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience means you pick up what you want and head out without having to stand in line to bill.
With their purpose built algorithms and deep machine learning, sensors and RFIDs will know what products you drop into your shopping cart and what you leave behind. When you are done shopping, the app automatically credits your amazon account and sends you a receipt.
What none of us know yet is how well this technology is going to work and how long its going to take to be foolproof. Shopping is a tricky act and being able to predict or chart how an individual will behave is rather difficult. Shoppers tend to pick up items and leave them in wrong shelves if they don’t want them. It remains to be seen how Amazon plans to solve such problems. However, like most experts are saying, Amazon has created a completed autonomy by being able to choose what they stock – items that are easy to by identified by the RFIDs and algorithms. With Amazon’s Alexa picking up steam, there’s a large scope of where this technology can head and how it will change the way we shop.
With the concept of Amazon Go relying heavily on accessing user information such as WiFi addresses or account details to identify and bill each customer, it is difficult to ignore the security hazards that it might create. Amazon isn’t new to being hacked and allowing billing to happen on the go will create the need to tackle security more rigorously.
At the moment, the only functioning Amazon Go store is located in Seattle and is spread across a modest area of 1800sft. It is open to the Amazon employees and the store is said to open to public in early 2017.
Everything said and done, it’s hard not to look at Amazon Go from an optimistic stand-point. With the increased use of apps and algorithms, we are reducing the amount of p2p interaction but somewhere, it is paving the way for smarter ways to get things done. Whether our dependency on AI is going to cost us heavily is only a matter of speculation…