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Technology Community Submitted

Are "Just Walk Out" stores the way of the future & for who?

Launch of Amazon Go leads critics to questions of rise in theft, shopping efficiency and more.

Amazon just took the convenient store concept to a whole new level on Monday, unveiling its plans to open its new check-out free grocery store Amazon Go in Seattle, Washington.

What's Amazon Go? 

Amazon Go allows customers to simply “Just Walk Out” (no cashiers, no lines, no wait)  using censored technology to charge guests for their purchases upon exit of the store. Guests enter, exit and pay using the Amazon Go app and in true start up nature, the platform will use computer vision and censored fusion to be able to tell what customers are purchasing and aggregate customer’s buying habits.

This groundbreaking advancement tagged as the “Future of Retail,” is definitely the way of the continued millennium, making mundane tasks such as shopping even faster for consumers. Perhaps this could be followed by server-less restaurants and attendant-less t-shirt shops, but critics question logistics, posing queries around theft, charging guests for the wrong product and further invasion of privacy.

How Amazon Go could impact racial profiling

On the positive, could this advancement eliminate or lessen racial profiling? Perhaps it combats situations like the recent case of two black Richmond, Virginia male students who had the police called on them by CVS employees while simply shopping through the store. The employees hid in the back room, as the two men searched for them for over thirty minutes so they could pay for their merchandise and leave.

But, what about jobs?

 Amazon Go expands the need for technology and digital operations but seems to eliminate most of the low income or minimum waged positions, posing a threat to the unemployment rate President Obama worked so hard to lessen. 

Will this be offered all over the United States, or developed in the selected and privileged areas for only high society to enjoy? If we can’t expect an Amazon Go or something similar in less wealthy areas, we can expect for impoverished communities to continue to fall behind the technological curb.

What's next?

Amazon Go follows amazing innovations like the Google Car that drives itself or Powerfelt, a clothing fabric that produces electricity using the wearer’s body heat. As exciting as it will be to propel into the Jetson age, my hope is that each new invention not only fixes the problem it was invented for but makes strides to eliminate the problems it could create.

The grocery store serves ready made, locally sourced breakfast lunch and dinner options, artisanal cheeses and snacks. Currently open in Beta for Amazon employees, Amazon Go will open to the public in early 2017, and  if it doesn't cause a rift in the racial or economical divide,  or make shop lifting excusable, it just might get us home a few minutes early to Netflix and Chill.


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