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Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Retail Evolves with AI-Equipped Cashierless Checkouts


"Just Walk Out" is a system that eliminates product confirmation and payment at cash registers. | Image by Gigazine

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Currently being rolled out in shops across the United States, particularly in Amazon shops like Whole Foods, is a new technology that will make it so there will no longer be a need to stand in line and have your wallet on hand.

This tech consists of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence systems (AI), which rely on cameras and sensors to monitor what you pick up and put back.

By scanning your phone or credit card when you enter the store, the technology itemizes what you place in your shopping cart, backpack, or pockets. It will then automatically charge your credit card upon your exit.

These technologies developed after the U.S. last suffered labor shortages; the massive advancement in AI in the past several years has helped fill some of those vacant positions. While developers wax optimistic about the advanced checkout system and the lack of queues, consumers are concerned about the change.

The new systems leave some customers feeling watched, monitored by a faceless entity assuming the uninvited role of “big brother.” With AI systems monitoring what and when we purchase, it is safe to say our privacy is all but gone.

Currently located in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), LaGuardia, and several other airports throughout the U.S., Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” (JWO) technology allows customers to enter a turnstile-protected shop and leave with products at their leisure. The bill will follow, of course.

As previously reported by CNN, self-checkout machines are notoriously bulky. They also too often break down, requiring expensive maintenance — not to mention frustrating customers.

As Amazon rolls out more and more of these sensors and cameras, competitors are taking notice. It is safe to say AI systems will eventually be utilized by new grocers and retailers worldwide, revolutionizing the retail industry.

While work on the technology began in 2012, it was not widely tested until it was made accessible to Amazon employees in 2016. The product first hit AmazonGo’s public shops in 2017.

With the AI systems in use since 2017 and AI being a system that can learn from its mistakes and make corrections, today, the JWO system is far superior to its competition. Walmart’s use of the Wegmans app-based system — which was meant to compete with Amazon’s JWO, has since been scrapped.          

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