Amazon Go? No!

By Jeremy Blake on July 17, 2018

Machine Learning, Computer Vision, AI and so on goes the voiceover introduction of the Amazon Go Video, click Solo Experience to watch It.


I feel this is a step in the wrong direction for AI. It has a number of reasons beyond the consumer experience that makes it a potentially dangerous exercise.


Let us start with the employees. It gets rid of the folk on the tills. If you take the UK this will be hundreds of thousands of people, out of work. In the US if this takes hold it could be as many as 3.5 million cashiers out of work.  If we re-deploy them in the aisles to engage and support the shopper then that might be a saving grace.


Many of these people on the tills are the most skilled in human conversation of all the supermarket workforce

If we lose them from the workplace we will end up paying for it somewhere else, with higher taxation, unemployment benefit and more.


You can buy your groceries online and have them delivered to your home, and you can scan as you go, but getting rid of many of the people from within the supermarket altogether?


The Future Supermarket Roles
A children’s lunch box specialist. The gluten free and food intolerance advisor. The sugar free fairy. The balanced diet team. The Switcher! - someone skilled in enabling you to switch a craving/addiction for another food less harmful. There is so much you could do. The habits of shoppers is ingrained. Not just by their knowledge but by the time they have to shop. Being given quick support and encouraged to try new foods would be a sure fire way to get people coming back and interacting.


So while the person on the till blips your purchases, consider how their future and yours could change in the blip of an eye if this new type of experience is embraced.