GEE AND URSULA

Amazon Go Grocery launches in Seattle’s Capitol Hill with no cashiers

Feb 29, 2020, 7:50 AM

Amazon launched its newest project with “Just Walk Out” shopping technology this week at Amazon Go Grocery in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Amazon looking to open a new nationwide grocery chain

“While it, admittedly, may be creepy, it’s also run by some “pretty impressive technology,” GeekWire Managing Editor Taylor Soper told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show earlier in the week.

“It can figure out if you’re holding a banana, or if you put the banana back on the rack, or if you take a box of cereal,” Soper said. “It knows everything you’re doing, which can be really convenient. But like I said, really kind of creepy, especially as we move toward this kind of surveillance state with facial recognition and all these technologies.”

Guest host Mike Lewis wondered if you could hold a banana, eat the banana, and put the peel back on the shelf in an attempt to trick the system. While Soper hadn’t tried it himself, he suggested Lewis give it a go and report back.

Amazon has reported that there is no plan to move this technology to Whole Foods, which it owns, yet.

As with anything where machines are doing what was once a human’s job, there are concerns as to what this means for the grocery store clerks and cashiers, but Amazon does still have human employees in the Amazon Go stores.

“It does [pose a question] in the larger context of artificial intelligence and, you know, are the machines going to take our jobs?” Soper asked. “This is a great kind of test case to see what happens.”

Other major retailers have been testing similar cashier-less technology, according to Soper, though Amazon remains the leader in this project.

Plenty of ‘privacy implications’ when you enter Amazon Go store

To shop at an Amazon Go store, customers walk in, scan a smartphone app, and start shopping. Cameras and sensors are present to track your every move, aware of what you’re putting in your cart. Once you’re done shopping, you just exit the store — all items are charged directly to the customer’s Amazon account.

Amazon Go Grocery is located at 610 East Pike Street.

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