Written by Yitz Fink, Product Expert at Loom Systems
We all witnessed something on social media recently that is straight out of the movies.
Amazon unveiled its latest project, Amazon Go and almost broke the internet. For those of you who live in a bubble, or were in North Korea in the past week and had no internet service, Amazon Go is a supermarket that will be opening in Seattle next month, where you can just go into the store, take what you like, and leave.
All charges for items will be automatically added to your Amazon cart, by way of facial recognition, Artificial Intelligence, and data from multiple sensors to allow customers to be charged only for items that they picked up.
No need for cashiers, and no need to walk around with a credit card or cash. Everything gets charged to your Amazon account.
This technology, by the way, can be used not only for groceries, but for a large range of services.
While an enormously ambitious and bold move, there are 2 trains of thought here:
- Machines are taking over.
- We are not ready for this just yet, It won’t succeed so quickly.
I’ll play devil’s advocate to both.
Machines are taking over. They are able to recognize our face, expressions, height, weight and buying preferences. So in a world where data rules, I don’t have a chance, because the machines know what to sell me, when to sell me. Personally, I bought my wife a pair of fluffy emoji slippers today, and my AliExpress app knew somehow to offer them to me at a cheaper price. I hadn’t even checked my phone while buying them in the store. Seriously creepy.
We are not ready for this yet! How will companies like Amazon ensure that there is no fraud, like walking in with a ski mask and a stolen phone? Or swapping an item on one shelf with another? How will they fail safe this process? What do I do if I am not charged or overcharged? What is the return policy?
The New York post even went as far as to say that Amazon Go is a Job Killer. I’m not sure I would agree with that. For every job that is obsolete, there is another one that is created. Just like Social media killed off print, but the title “Social Media marketer” did not exist 15 years ago.
Both Schools of thought have a point, and Amazon isn’t the only one who is cashing in on AI. Companies like Tesla, Google, Facebook and other giants are harnessing AI to improve user experience, usability and innovation.
But I believe there is a 3rd option. Artificial Intelligence is here to make our lives easier.
Tesla’s self-driving cars are becoming more common on the road. They are improving the driver’s experience (even if passively) in driving a car and making the road safer for the rest of us as well. Even though I love driving, I am always worried about the nutjob on the road who did not get enough sleep, or isn’t focused, or drives maliciously. The Tesla car(or any other smart car from Google or Uber for that matter), even though not perfect, can compute much more data in much less time and will be improved on constantly. They are focused on one thing and one thing only. Driving safely. Human driving has reached a glass ceiling. Like the car below who was taking the footage and knew to stop before the accident even happened.
This is also true for the Amazon Prime Drone which made it’s debut this week. Amazon filled and delivered an order in the UK 13 minutes after the order was completed. Mind Blown. It’s amusing to think that the drone I ordered took a month to be delivered by the postal service.
Giving a machine one job to do, means that they are fully dedicated to that job.
And the idea again is simple. There are some tasks that are done better by technology. Over 100 years ago, Western Union denied Alexander Graham Bell’s idea of a telephone because who would use that? We have ponies and morse code. We all know how that turned out.
Fast-forward 120 years later, everyone has a smartphone. Steve Ballmer, CEO of a small company call Microsoft, thought that a phone with no keyboard would be ridiculous to the business world. Who would buy such a thing for $500? Windows phones are great (for those of you who are under 10 years old, yes there used to be a Windows phone).
It’s all about innovation. About being the next thing that will improve our lives and make our jobs better.
AI is that thing.
Will you be on the curve of adoption as the innovator or the one that lags behind and is late to evolve technologically?
Don’t agree with this article? Think you have something to add?GREAT! Let’s discuss this in the comments below.