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Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ tech was just one big fat stupid lie

Discover how Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech was actually powered by human contractors in India, revealing a different side to AI innovation

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Image: KnowTechie

Welp, it turns out Amazon’s daring leap into the future of grocery shopping—y’know, the one where you grab what you want and stroll out like you own the place—was less about AI innovation and more about good ol’ human exploitation.

According to a piece by Futurism via The Information, Amazon’s highly touted “Just Walk Out” tech was actually powered by a thousand human contractors tucked away in India, so much for the AI revolution.

Imagine a bunch of people sitting in a room manually checking what you grabbed off the shelves because the tech couldn’t quite cut it. Cameras and sensors? Please, those were just the eyes and ears for the remote brigade, forced to play catch-up with your shopping spree.

This Just Walk Out tech—gimmicky at best—winds down with few tears likely to be shed. Instead of this over-hyped, privacy-invading snooze fest, Amazon’s betting on something they call Dash Carts—literal carts with scanners and screens. Riveting.

Video: YouTube

In 2018, with much fanfare, Amazon rolled out this Just Walk Out system across its fresh stores, luring other companies like Walmart to pull similar stunts.

Of course, humans aside, Just Walk Out had other problems to deal with. According to The Verge and Yahoo News, the system is overtaxing and burdensome.

The expenses are high due to slow technology, and the receipts took hours to reach the shoppers as contract cashiers could only transmit back data after substantial delays

Just walk out just keeps getting better and better

Topping off this debacle, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project slapped Amazon with a class action last year. Why? Amazon sold some of its customer data to the next highest bidder and didn’t even bother to inform its customers.

Despite the whole charade, Amazon’s store footprint in the U.S. remains a minuscule shadow compared to Walmart and Co.

Whether Dash Carts save face or fall flat remains a spectacle yet to unfold. I mean, it can’t be that bad, unless, you know, we find out five years later down the line that Amazon somehow seemed to mess that up too.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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