Amazon Ditches ‘Just Walk Out’ Checkouts at Its Grocery Stores

Maxwell Zell, writing for Gizmodo:

Amazon is phasing out its checkout-less grocery stores with “Just Walk Out” technology, first reported by The Information Tuesday. The company’s senior vice president of grocery stores says they’re moving away from Just Walk Out, which relied on cameras and sensors to track what people were leaving the store with.

Just over half of Amazon Fresh stores are equipped with Just Walk Out. The technology allows customers to skip checkout altogether by scanning a QR code when they enter the store. Though it seemed completely automated, Just Walk Out relied on more than 1,000 people in India watching and labeling videos to ensure accurate checkouts. The cashiers were simply moved off-site, and they watched you as you shopped.

It was The Information, too, that broke the story about how labor-intensive “Just Walk Out” was, reporting last May:

For its part, Amazon still relies on a significant amount of human staffing to power Just Walk Out behind the scenes, according to a person who has worked on the technology. Amazon had more than 1,000 people in India working on Just Walk Out as of mid-2022 whose jobs included manually reviewing transactions and labeling images from videos to train Just Walk Out’s machine learning model, the person said. The reliance on backup humans explains in part why it can take hours for customers to receive receipts after walking out of a store, the person said.

Molly White, back in January, regarding the purported AI-generated George Carlin comedy special:

Need to start keeping a list of all the times some big supposed display of bleeding edge technology turns out to just be A Guy.

Tuesday, 2 April 2024