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.

  • Jolteon
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    6110 days ago

    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.

    • ZagorathOP
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      2510 days ago

      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.

      • @[email protected]
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        3810 days ago

        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.

    • @[email protected]
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      39 days ago

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

    • ZagorathOP
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      18 days ago

      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.

  • AutoTL;DRB
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    510 days ago

    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!

    • Frosty
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      410 days ago

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

    • ZagorathOP
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      110 days ago

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

  • @[email protected]
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    110 days ago

    It’s sad, this could eventually be automated.

    Now people have to waste their lives just manning checkouts.

    • @[email protected]
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      210 days ago

      You’re acting like the people who would be manning the checkouts would be able to live peacefully without a worry now that they don’t have a job as a cashier.

      • @[email protected]
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        110 days ago

        They should be able to get free education and training.

        But more automation is always a good thing - more productivity and freedom.

        • @[email protected]
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          210 days ago

          Except… Capitalism. The more productivity, the more profits for companies and more work load and work hours for the employees. Tech does not buy you more free time in a capitalistic society, at least, not in the way we’re currently utilizing capitalism.

        • @[email protected]
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          110 days ago

          Productivity is actually a bad thing, in the current economy increases in productivity has a positive correlation with increases in poverty. Look at how groceries are more expensive than ever while self-checkout only becomes more pervasive.

    • ZagorathOP
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      210 days ago

      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.

    • @[email protected]
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      29 days ago

      For the sake of completeness, I will point out that Amazon also owns the “Whole Foods” brand of grocery stores. Not particularly relevant to this article, but Amazon indeed has quite a lot of grocery stores as a result.

    • ZagorathOP
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      110 days ago

      Yes, in America they own grocery stores under the “Amazon Fresh” brand, some of which were famous for their “Just Walk Out” technology, where you scan on your way in, and then seemingly-magically got charged for everything you bought just by putting it in your trolley and walking out. When they first started out, there were news stories about how people even tried tricking it but still got charged correctly. It was never, until now, revealed how they actually did it, with people believing it was probably done via automated camera detection.