Amazon’s walk-out grocery store AI was actually just Indian contractors

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Amazon has seemingly abandoned their “walk-out” grocery store model, where customers could just pick up what they need and walk out of the building without interacting with a cashier.

The plan was for users to enter the store and swipe an app or card, meanwhile Artificial Intelligence would track the customer and charge them for the items they picked up once they left. However it turns out this AI was actually just a thousand guys in India.

Far from the high-tech fantasy we were promised, it seems individuals were manually watching cameras around the clock in order to follow users and bill them for their items. While it definitely cut out cashiers, we’re not sure if being camera-stalked by someone half a world a way is a better alternative.

Instead, Amazon is reportedly pivoting to a new “Dash Cart” system. The Dash Cart is basically a “smart” cart where customers can scan and pay for their items at the cart, as well as link to their Amazon account and check their shopping lists. Frankly it sounds like only a small step up from those hand-scanners that we never see anyone use in the front of Food Lion.

Amazon is currently testing Dash Carts in Whole Foods locations and will reportedly begin bringing them to Amazon Fresh stores in the near future (if they haven’t already).

It was an ambitious project from Amazon, and every day individuals are finding new and useful ways to utilize AI, letting a computer follow us around and bill us is still a ways away. For now, we’ll just have to settle for using AI to make anime women.

This is Niche Gamer Tech. In this column, we regularly cover tech and things related to the tech industry.



A basement-dwelling ogre, Brandon's a fan of indie games and slice of life anime. Has too many games and not enough time.

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