How artificial intelligence may be making you buy things

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If you are getting told off for spending too much on wine, maybe you can blame it on artificial intelligence

The shopping lists we used to scribble on the back of an envelope are increasingly already known by the supermarkets we frequent.

Firstly via the loyalty cards we scan at checkouts, and more and more so from our online baskets, our shopping habits are no longer a secret.

But now more retailers are using AI (artificial intelligence) – software systems that can learn for themselves – to try to automatically predict and encourage our very specific preferences and purchases like never before.

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Amazon is rolling out grocery carts that let shoppers skip checkout lines, bag their groceries and walk out

Amazon launching smart grocery carts that track shoppers’ items

Amazon is launching smart shopping carts at its Woodland Hills, California, grocery store in 2020.

Dash Carts are embedded with cameras, sensors and a smart display that automatically track a shopper’s order.

Similar to Amazon’s cashierless Go stores, Dash Carts allow shoppers to avoid checkout lines as they exit the store.

Amazon is launching shopping carts that track items as shoppers add them, then automatically charges them when they remove the grocery bags, allowing them to skip the checkout line.

The Dash Carts will roll out at Amazon’s new Los Angeles-area grocery store, which is slated to open this year, the company announced Tuesday.

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How coronavirus set the stage for a techno-future with robots and AI

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The coronavirus pandemic has fast-forwarded the functions and roles of robots and artificial intelligence

Not so long ago, the concept of a fully automated store seemed something of a curiosity. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of relying on computers and robotics, and checking out groceries by simply picking them off the shelf doesn’t seem so peculiar after all.

Part of my research involves looking at how we deal with complex artificial intelligence (AI) systems that can learn and make decisions without any human involvement, and how these types of AI technologies challenge our current understanding of law and its application.

How should we govern these systems that are sometimes called disruptive, and at other times labelled transformative? I am particularly interested in whether — and how — AI technologies amplify the social injustice that exists in society. For example, unregulated facial recognition in the United States affects almost 120 million adults, with no independent testing for biased error rates; this effectively creates a virtual, perpetual line-up for law enforcement.

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Amazon is expanding its cashierless Go model into a full-blown grocery store

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The first Amazon Go Grocery opens today in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district

Amazon is getting more serious about its brick-and-mortar retail ambitions with its first-ever Amazon-branded grocery store. The store opens today in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district, confirming reports from last year that Amazon was developing a more ambitious version of its cashier-less Go model. The new store, which The Verge toured late last week, is indeed modeled after a standard Amazon Go location, but it has been expanded to include a wide array of grocery items you’d find at, say, Amazon-owned Whole Foods.

In fact, the store does source a number of its items, including some produce and meat and other fresh food, from Whole Foods suppliers. It also carries Whole Foods’ 365 brand for certain items. But Amazon’s store offers other products, like Kellogg’s breakfast cereal and Coke products, that you won’t find at Amazon’s higher-end, organic-focused subsidiary.

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Amazon is working to develop biometric scanners to link handprints to credit cards, allowing shoppers to buy with the swipe of their palm

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  • Amazon is working with credit card companies to create terminals to allow users to pay for items with biometric data from their handprint.
  • The online retailer previously patented such technology, which had been presumed to be used at its Whole Food stores
  • Amazon currently allows shoppers at its Amazon Go grocery store to pay for items without ever going through a checkout process by downloading the Amazon Go app.
  • The technology could give Amazon more information about consumer spending habits, which could allow them to charge a higher rate to advertisers.

Amazon has plans to create payment terminals that would allow shoppers to link a credit card with their own handprint, allowing them to pay at brick-and-mortar stores by simply waving their hand across a scanner, according to a report Saturday from The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ reported that discussions to create the pay-by-hand terminals are in their early stages, though Amazon has already begun the development process with Visa and is in talks to work with MasterCard.

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Walmart unveils an AI-powered store of the future, now open to the public

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Walmart this morning unveiled a new “store of the future” and test grounds for emerging technologies, including AI-enabled cameras and interactive displays. The store, a working concept called the Intelligent Retail Lab — or “IRL” for short — operates out of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y.

The store is open to customers and is one of Walmart’s busiest Neighborhood Market stores, containing more than 30,000 items, the retailer says, which allows it to test out technology in a real-world environment.

Similar to Amazon Go’s convenience stores, the store has a suite of cameras mounted in the ceiling. But unlike Amazon Go, which is a grab-and-go store with smaller square footage, Walmart’s IRL spans 50,000 square feet of retail space and is staffed by more than 100 employees.

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As cashless stores grow, so does the backlash

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Hembert Figueroa just wanted a taco.

So he was surprised to learn the dollar bills in his pocket were no good at Dos Toros Taqueria in Manhattan, one of a small but growing number of establishments across the U.S. where customers can only pay by card or smartphone.

Cash-free stores are generating a backlash among some activists and liberal-leaning policymakers who say the practice discriminates against people like Figueroa, who either lack bank accounts or rely on cash for many transactions.

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7-Eleven unveiled a store of the future complete with scan-and-go tech, craft beer, and tacos as it prepares to fend off Amazon Go

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The store’s also got made-to-order smoothies. Courtesy of 7-Eleven

7-Eleven launched a lab store in Dallas on March 22.

The store features plenty of new additions, like in-store baked cookies and a craft beer station.

“7-Eleven stays at the forefront by pushing the boundaries and being unafraid to try new things,” Chris Tanco, 7-Eleven’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Via BusinessInsider

 

 

Amazon Go, one year old, has attracted a lot of cashierless imitators

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Mighty AI spent much of its first five years building software that helps self-driving cars recognize real-world objects. The Seattle startup went so far as to open a Detroit office to cozy up to the auto industry.

Then last February, Mighty AI’s sales team received an unusual request: Instead of identifying pedestrians and cars, could they track items plucked from store shelves by shoppers? A few months later, Mighty AI signed a deal to do just that, joining the race to help brick-and-mortar retailers keep pace with Amazon.com Inc.

A year ago, the e-commerce giant opened a cashierless convenience store called Amazon Go, marking its biggest effort yet to change the way people shop in the physical world. Today a fleet of companies are working to replicate elements of Go or invent other ways of streamlining store operations.

Many are startups like Mighty AI, but established giants are wading in, too. Walmart has been testing Go-style technology, and Kroger and Microsoft recently announced a joint venture to bring elements of the e-commerce shopping experience to the grocery store.

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