Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ tech relied on low-paid Indian workers, not AI

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A recent report has revealed that Amazon’s revolutionary ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, initially touted as a breakthrough in cashierless shopping, relied heavily on manual labor rather than advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Introduced in Amazon Fresh stores in 2018, the system allowed customers to enter, pick up items, and exit without the need for traditional checkout.

Contrary to Amazon’s claims of employing sophisticated camera and sensor systems to track customer purchases, the report from The Information exposed that the company utilized a workforce of remote cashiers based in India to monitor customer activity within stores. 

These workers, numbering over 1,000, were tasked with manually tracking what customers were buying and leaving the store with, effectively undercutting local job opportunities and opting for lower-paid labor abroad.

According to the report, the reliance on outsourced workers in India led to significant delays in compiling the data necessary for generating receipts, with the process taking hours to complete. Amazon has acknowledged the inefficiencies of this approach and has decided to phase out the ‘Just Walk Out’ technology from its Amazon Fresh stores, citing the increasing time consumption involved.

In place of the cashier-less system, Amazon has announced the introduction of smart carts, designed to provide customers with a seamless checkout experience while addressing their desire for real-time spending updates and receipts. The smart carts will allow users to bypass traditional checkout lines while enabling them to monitor their purchases and savings in real-time, offering both convenience and transparency.

This move signifies a shift in Amazon’s approach to in-store shopping technology, emphasizing the importance of customer feedback and the company’s commitment to delivering innovative yet efficient solutions. 

While the ‘Just Walk Out’ technology may soon be a thing of the past, Amazon remains at the forefront of retail innovation, continuously adapting to meet the evolving needs and preferences of its customers.

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