For those who swear by self-checkout lines as a means of keeping human interaction at a minimum, one retail giant has just made your most misanthropic dream come true.
This week, Amazon unveiled Amazon Go, a new kind of grocery shopping experience that requires no barcode scanning, cash, or small-talk. The mysterious project first came under speculation in August, when the company began construction in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, but wasn't revealed in its entirety until the release of this explanatory video.
"What would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want, and just go?" a breezy voice asks over images of a bearded, trucker hat-donning guy (who looks just like you and your bros, right?) grabbing a wrap on the go. From the outset, Amazon wants to establish this isn't a regular grocery store; this is a cool grocery store.
The futuristic shopping system is the latest in the consumer juggernaut's endless quest to eliminate the need to spend virtual dough anywhere else, which has included enlisting pizza-delivering drones to ensure maximum pie access with minimal personal contact.
At the inaugural Amazon Go location, the company weaves "the most advanced machine learning, computer vision, and [artificial intelligence] into the very fabric of the store," guaranteeing "no lines, no check-outs, no registers." The magic equation for this high-tech brand of shopping is a mix of "computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion," also known, for the less tech-inclined, as "just walk out technology."
Comparing their own pioneering technology to that of self-driving cars, the company explains that all that's required of shoppers is a tap of the Amazon app at the store's entry. When their shopping is complete, customers can "just walk out," letting the combination of sensors and other technological doodads calculate the tab. A virtual receipt is then sent to the individual's app for easy review.
Though the establishment of an IRL, interaction-free shopping option doesn't bode well for the average retail worker, their job security will likely remain intact for a while as Amazon plots the next move in their total commercial takeover. The first Amazon Go location on 7th Avenue in Seattle is currently in Beta mode and only accessible by select company employees. The store is slated to open to the public in early 2017.
In the meantime, checkout folks and bag boys might want to start updating their LinkedIns.