Self-checkout lanes at grocery stores were, in the early 2000s, supposed to herald a robot revolution. Soon, everything in retail would be done by robots! Teenagers would have to find new gainful employment! Needless to say, if you’ve been to a grocery store lately, you know it didn’t really work out that way. But Amazon wants to try again, by turning the whole store into a giant self-checkout lane, called Amazon Go.
The idea, on the consumer level, is simple: Boot up the Amazon Go app, scan the barcode at the subway-esque turnstiles, walk into the store, and start dumping stuff into your bag. The store will track what you pick up, create a virtual cart for you, and charge your credit card when you walk out the door with your food. Amazon claims it does this with a mix of machine learning, computer vision (i.e. cameras tracking your every move) and other technology.
It all looks so good, doesn’t it?