Amazon will reportedly bring its cashierless retail tech to Whole Foods in 2021

Polycount

Posts: 2,519   +549
Staff member
In context: Amazon's Go stores have popped up across the US, utilizing the power of machine learning, computer vision, and sophisticated camera and sensor technology to bring cashierless shopping to the public.

While the Go stores themselves are on the smaller side -- there's only one 10,000 square foot storefront in Seattle -- the technology powering them can be scaled up for far bigger locations, and that's precisely what Amazon intends to do in 2021, according to a new report from The New York Post.

Starting in the second quarter of 2021, Amazon will allegedly begin rolling out the technology to some of its Whole Foods locations. For reference, Amazon bought out the retail chain in 2017 to the tune of $13.7 billion, and it's been looking for ways to increase the stores' profitability ever since.

Cutting down on the cost of human labor through automation is certainly one potential method of accomplishing that goal; albeit a controversial one.

It's unclear how many Whole Foods locations will be receiving this technology initially, but we suspect Amazon will keep the initial rollout small to gauge customer and employee reactions.

Amazon, for its part, has not commented on this report, so this news should still be taken with a grain of salt for the time being.

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brucek

Posts: 499   +576
TechSpot Elite
"Bad news for human employees"

Maybe for particular employees for a specific period of time. But bigger picture, I believe advancement is almost always good news for humans. If the role of grocery cashier eventually becomes obsolete, I don't think we'll end up wanting it back any more than we do say lamp lighter, log driver, or switchboard operator.

And btw it was also good news for all the individuals who got good jobs working on this automation, good news for anyone who can get out of the store a little bit faster each time, and really good news for any community that cuts down the spread of disease during a pandemic by needing fewer workers to place themselves at risk for essential food distribution roles.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,343   +5,840
"Bad news for human employees"

Maybe for particular employees for a specific period of time. But bigger picture, I believe advancement is almost always good news for humans. If the role of grocery cashier eventually becomes obsolete, I don't think we'll end up wanting it back any more than we do say lamp lighter, log driver, or switchboard operator.

And btw it was also good news for all the individuals who got good jobs working on this automation, good news for anyone who can get out of the store a little bit faster each time, and really good news for any community that cuts down the spread of disease during a pandemic by needing fewer workers to place themselves at risk for essential food distribution roles.
Correct. The dias moves on to training people for new high skill jobs and providing a safety net for those out of work due to automation. Without either, the wealth gap will increase and the number of people living under poverty will increase as those with wealth eliminate the need to pay for services that used to be provided by the common man.

I should also mention that education needs to be accessible as well, to everyone. If jobs of the future require more specialized skills and a large proportions of your populace isn't able to afford them, you are putting those people in a poverty black hole with no way out. This is happening in the US to an extent, where people can either 1) Not afford the skills to be successful 2) Are saddled with large debt just to acquire those skills, which limits their upward mobility for decades.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,407   +5,854
But the now well seen outcome is that many of these jobs (not all or most) are filled by teenagers and younger workers that are "learning how to work". An essential skill as they go through higher education and life as well. I don't fault the company for the progress but think they fail to see the bigger picture .....
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,954   +2,345
Correct. The dias moves on to training people for new high skill jobs and providing a safety net for those out of work due to automation. Without either, the wealth gap will increase and the number of people living under poverty will increase as those with wealth eliminate the need to pay for services that used to be provided by the common man.

I should also mention that education needs to be accessible as well, to everyone. If jobs of the future require more specialized skills and a large proportions of your populace isn't able to afford them, you are putting those people in a poverty black hole with no way out. This is happening in the US to an extent, where people can either 1) Not afford the skills to be successful 2) Are saddled with large debt just to acquire those skills, which limits their upward mobility for decades.
There is a huge disconnect between those saddled with tons of debt from education and those getting a useful education. The people taking on debt in medical school are not suffering at all, and sensible people go to trade school for a fraction of the price and come out rocking 80K+ a year.

Those struggling with debt are the ones getting useless gender studies degrees or "business" degrees that hardly any successful businessman actually has, or those that take on $100k in debt to be a teacher for $35K a year starting wage. Not to mention the money they spend to go to big name colleges. Nobody cares about the prestige of your college unless you're going to be a brain surgeon.
But the now well seen outcome is that many of these jobs (not all or most) are filled by teenagers and younger workers that are "learning how to work". An essential skill as they go through higher education and life as well. I don't fault the company for the progress but think they fail to see the bigger picture .....
Much like how the internet has destroyed local meet ups and social hobbies, this is just another nail in the coffin for young people's social development.