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Amazon rolls out Just Walk Out checkout - 'AI triumph' turns out to be the work of thousands of Indian workers

Amazon rolls out Just Walk Out checkout - 'AI triumph' turns out to be the work of thousands of Indian workers
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The Just Walk Out technology allowed people to make purchases without cashiers - instead, they simply scanned a QR code upon entering, and Amazon relied on sensors and cameras that tracked what people were leaving the store with.

Overall, more than half of Amazon Fresh stores relied on Just Walk Out. The company positioned the technology as something close to an AI triumph - although it turned out not to be fully automated. According to The Information, over a thousand workers from India watched and tagged videos to ensure accurate calculations - in fact, cashiers were simply moved outside the stores.

Instead, Amazon plans to launch Dash Carts technology - a smart shopping cart with built-in scanner and screen.

Amazon Dash Cart

Just Walk Out was first introduced in 2016 and although it seemed highly modern - it was not without problems. Customers often received receipts after leaving the store only hours later - sometimes for items they didn't purchase. The system of scanners and video cameras in each of the stores also turned out to be incredibly expensive.

The Information reports that as of 2022, 700 out of 1000 Just Walk Out sales required reviewers (Amazon's internal goal is 50 out of 1000) - however, the company denies this data.

“The main role of our machine learning data processing specialists is to annotate video images, which is necessary for continuous improvement of the core machine learning model,” said a representative of Amazon to Gizmodo.

Amazon Fresh, the e-commerce giant's grocery store, first opened in 2007, has about 40 locations in the USA. Interestingly, the company plans to retain Just Walk Out in some Fresh stores in the UK, Amazon Go stores, and in some stadiums.

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