Amazon Ditches 'Just Walk Out' Checkouts at Its Grocery Stores

submitted by Zagorath edited

gizmodo.com/amazon-reportedly-ditches-just-walk…

Though it seemed completely automated, Just Walk Out relied on more than 1,000 people in India watching and labeling videos to ensure accurate checkouts.

3

Log in to comment

13 Comments

Jolteon

It turns out that paying people to observe every second of a shopping trip is a lot more expensive than paying people just to check customers out.

Zagorath [OP]

It's trivially obvious that that would be the case. Paying people to do the checkout costs maybe 5 minutes per customer, total. Paying them to constantly watch the customer is going to be 20–40 minutes per customer.

I'm guessing that they *thought* they could develop the technology to remove the need for people to observe constantly, and have just now decided that it's impractical.

NABDad

What they thought was that they had come up with a way to move the checkout cashier job to people in India so they wouldn't have to pay minimum wage workers in the U.S.

Pretty stupid idea, but it seems to me that it was just Amazon trying to ship jobs overseas to cut labor costs. Perhaps they thought eventually they'd be able to use AI to screw over the Indian workers too.

Shadywack

It's also cheaper to just pay someone to work IN the store than hiring people outside of the country watching video feeds.

blackfire

So the AI wasn't good enough and now they are going to do what? Self checkouts?

Zagorath [OP]

Sounds like they're doing a "scan & go" type technology. You scan things yourself *as you put them into your basket*, then you can just walk out, so no need to line up at the self-checkout.

pedroapero
Frosty

ISTG - Technology feels like a bunch of bots just spamming articles from all the tech rags. :(

Zagorath [OP]

Weird, that post doesn't seem to have been federated to my instance properly.

AutoTL;DR

This is the best summary I could come up with:

Amazon is phasing out its checkout-less grocery stores with “Just Walk Out” technology, first reported by The Information Tuesday.

The technology allows customers to skip checkout altogether by scanning a QR code when they enter the store.

Though it seemed completely automated, Just Walk Out relied on more than 1,000 people in India watching and labeling videos to ensure accurate checkouts.

However, the spokesperson acknowledged these associates validate “a small minority” of shopping visits when AI can’t determine a purchase.

Amazon Fresh, the e-commerce giant’s grocery store first launched in 2007, has just over 40 locations around the United States.

Amazon’s push away from expensive tests like Just Walk Out may be a sign the company is looking to further expand its presence as a supermarket.

The original article contains 512 words, the summary contains 126 words. Saved 75%. I'm a bot and I'm open source!

nivenkos

It's sad, this could eventually be automated.

Now people have to waste their lives just manning checkouts.

Zagorath [OP]

You can get effectively the same thing via "Scan & Go" technology. Here in Australia, one of our two main supermarkets has it. You download their app, and when you enter one of the stores that supports it, you click the "Scan & Go" button in the app, and then scan the barcode of things you want to buy (or scan the digital scales after weighing your fresh produce), and then when you leave, you click pay, scan your phone, and walk out. It sounds way worse when I explain it like that than it really is. In reality, it's enormously convenient and I will now go out of my way to go to one of these stores rather than the competitors which *don't* support it. It's only been here for about a year now, but according to this video something similar (using a specific hand scanner, rather than a phone app) has been around in the Netherlands for at least 5 years.

And if I'm reading the article correctly, even these Amazon stores already support the same kind of thing.

So as cool as it would be for convenience if this really worked purely through technology, that technology is not needed to reduce the labour required in supermarkets.

PipedLinkBot

Here is an alternative Piped link(s):

according to this video

Piped is a privacy-respecting open-source alternative frontend to YouTube.

I'm open-source; check me out at GitHub.