Amazon pushes back on public perceptions of “Just Walk Out” technology

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Amazon is pushing back against perceptions that its “Just Walk Out” technology is exaggerating the capabilities of its AI.

Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology allows shoppers to pick items and leave the store without traditional checkout processes, using a combination of sensors, cameras, and AI. However, recent reports from Gizmodo and The Information suggested that the technology relied more on human oversight by off shore labour than AI and automation.

Jon Jenkins, Amazon’s VP overseeing the product, clarified that the technology does not involve live monitoring by Amazon employees. Contrary to the viral report suggesting over a thousand people in India were labeling shopping videos for accuracy, Jenkins confirmed that any video analysis by human reviewers is primarliy used for training the AI, not for monitoring consumers.

Despite rumours that Amazon was stepping away from this solution, the company says it is set to double down on “Just Walk Out” in various third-party venues like stadiums and convenience stores, with plans to operate in over 240 locations worldwide by year-end. This move signifies a broadening of the technology’s application, far beyond its own Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods stores.

“Just Walk Out” functions as a sophisticated cash register that identifies what shoppers pick from the shelves. In smaller retail formats, this system facilitates a quick shopping experience. Jenkins emphasized the non-intrusive nature of the technology, aimed at efficiency rather than surveillance.

As Amazon continues to integrate this technology into more stores, it faces the challenge of balancing technological innovation with consumer privacy. The company remains committed to enhancing retail efficiency while ensuring that its methods of data collection and analysis respect shopper privacy and trust.

 

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