Amazon's Just Walk Out technology



  • Introducing Amazon Go and the world’s most advanced shopping technology – 01:50
    — amazon

    I have so many questions.

    • What happens if their algorithms make a mistake? Is there a dispute process? Can you get away if the mistake is in your favor like with normal stores?
    • They've gotta pay for this tech somehow, so if they raise the price, will it be worth the convenience and time saved?
    • I'm assuming there's typical store security to handle people who Just Walk In and don't scan their code?
    • Will I ever be able to do this without it feeling super awkward?
    • Will people not like having unseen algorithms watching them all the time and instead prefer to have unseen security guards watching them all the time?
    • Do the scannable codes rotate so people can't steal your code?

    I know they probably spent millions answering all those questions and more but I'm still a bit surprised that this is really happening so soon.

    EDIT: found some answers...



  • After I finished watching the video you posted, YouTube suggests I watch "The Mummy - Official Trailer", or "Man punches a kangaroo in the face to rescue his dog".

    Relevant as always.


  • BINNED

    @Zecc said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    "The Mummy - Official Trailer", or "Man punches a kangaroo in the face to rescue his dog".
    Relevant as always.

    Well... it kinda is. After seeing that trailer I had an urge to do a lot of punching of everyone involved...


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    Here in Africa we have had a similar system for years, just without the app. You also just walk in, take what you want and walk out again.


  • Fake News

    @Vault_Dweller They do have that here in the States, too. It's called the Five-Finger Discount.



  • So it uses machine vision and all other kinds of stuff to tell what you grab?

    Seems like massive overkill. I'm assuming the main "advantage" is that they require everyone to sign in and configure their payment settings in advance so you don't have to do it every time.

    Once that's done, you could just put RFID tags or something and scan the whole basket at once, or have you simply push a button to grab the item, or something.


  • BINNED

    @anonymous234 But then you have to embed a hard to remove RFID chip into every item. Also, you'd probably need to make them unique, so you don't charge for, let's say, a packet of gum the customer bought the day before twice.

    In the long run, if it works, this system will probably turn out to be cheaper.



  • In .nl, an increasing number of supermarkets have 'self-scan' systems. This typically involves manually scanning bar codes as you go through the shop, and paying at the exit subject to random checks.


  • SockDev

    @PleegWat Tesco in the UK has a system like that in its larger stores too



  • Potential theft and losses are of course accounted for as "shrink factor". It's a Capitalistic self-balancing process (:hammer_pick: :muscle: now!), more theft/loss, and Amazon will increase security measures to maintain profitability. Less theft/loss, Amazon will back off since they can save more money.



  • @PleegWat said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    supermarkets have 'self-scan' systems. This typically involves manually scanning bar codes as you go through the shop, and paying at the exit.

    We have that here too. So you have the choice of going to a cashier and make him/her work, or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.

    Yeah, like I'm gonna do your cashier's work and not get paid for it.

    File under: Fuck you, give me money™



  • @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    @PleegWat said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    supermarkets have 'self-scan' systems. This typically involves manually scanning bar codes as you go through the shop, and paying at the exit.

    We have that here too. So you have the choice of going to a cashier and make him/her work, or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.

    Yeah, like I'm gonna do your cashier's work and not get paid for it.

    File under: Fuck you, give me money™

    I'm actually really enjoying this in sams club. In and out, no lines. Only problem is if you want to buy alcohol or use a gift card.



  • @Vault_Dweller said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Here in Africa we have had a similar system for years, just without the app. You also just walk in, take what you want and walk out again.

    We have that too, but only on special occasions, like when a police officer of one group shoots a criminal of another group.



  • @Sumireko said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Amazon will increase security measuresprices for honest customers to maintain profitability. Less theft/loss, Amazon will back off since they can save more moneypocket the extra profit.

    @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    We have that here too.

    It sounds to me like the system @PleegWat described is a little different — scan as you shop, instead of scanning everything at the exit.

    @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    So you have the choice of going to a cashier and make him/her work, or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.

    It can (sometimes) be quicker — if the system is working right, and if you don't have anything that needs an age/ID check, and you don't take too long to get an item into the bagging area after you scan it (so that the register decides you didn't want to bag it then complains about an unexpected item when you do put it there, which requires a cashier to come over and clear the error), and you don't have any items that are too light for the scale to detect (e.g., gift cards), and you don't ...     It works well when it works, but that seems to be maybe half the time.



  • @Zecc The recommendations are tailored to your tastes.


  • BINNED

    @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    So you have the choice of going to a cashier and make him/her work, or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.
    Yeah, like I'm gonna do your cashier's work and not get paid for it.

    It would almost be like not paying your waiters and expecting your customers to pay them in tips!



  • @HardwareGeek said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    It sounds to me like the system @PleegWat described is a little different — scan as you shop, instead of scanning everything at the exit.

    Upon re-reading it, yes. Never saw this around here.

    It can (sometimes) be quicker — if the system is working right, and if you don't have anything that needs an age/ID check, and you don't take too long to get an item into the bagging area after you scan it (so that the register decides you didn't want to bag it then complains about an unexpected item when you do put it there, which requires a cashier to come over and clear the error), and you don't have any items that are too light for the scale to detect (e.g., gift cards), and you don't ...     It works well when it works, but that seems to be maybe half the time.

    That's my experience too. Why bother with it ?


  • area_can

    The idea of a multibillion-dollar corporation deciding whether or not I'm a thief with machine learning computer vision serverless hacker functional microservices in cloud-based containers does not appeal to me



  • @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.

    The reward is you get to skip social interaction.



  • @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Why bother with it ?

    When they were first introduced, hardly anybody used them and they were almost always quicker than waiting in line for a human cashier. I guess now it's mostly habit, except that a lot of the time nowadays I do a full week's grocery shopping in one trip, for which the self-checkout is not so practical, so I go to the live cashier.



  • @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    What happens if their algorithms make a mistake?

    They will, all the time. They'll be skewed to making mistakes in favour of the store. Onus will be on the customers to check their statements carefully. 99% won't, so Amazon wins.

    Is there a dispute process? Can you get away if the mistake is in your favor like with normal stores?

    Effusive automated apologies and account credits will be the way almost all disputes play out. Amazon understands better than anybody that repeat business is all, so the 1% of customers who do bother checking their statements and disputing errors will be treated with kid gloves.

    They've gotta pay for this tech somehow

    Same thing pays for this as pays for self-scan checkouts: reduced employee count. Really all one of these stores needs is shelf stackers, and you can bet they're next on the list.

    I'm assuming there's typical store security to handle people who Just Walk In and don't scan their code?

    I'm assuming there's incredibly tight face-matching surveillance from parking lot to rear shelves. I'm also assuming that all the stores will be sharing a central database of faces and that law enforcement will also have unfettered access to that.

    Why pay for a house dick when you can outsource your security requirements to taxpayer-funded police?

    Will I ever be able to do this without it feeling super awkward?

    Without it feeling super awkward, I expect so. Without being creeped the fuck out by having an inkling about how it works, I trust not.

    Will people not like having unseen algorithms watching them all the time and instead prefer to have unseen security guards watching them all the time?

    99% of people won't even think about it and will continue to feed happily on the giant and benevolent corporate overlord's tasty, convenient pap.

    Do the scannable codes rotate so people can't steal your code?

    Of course not. They rotate so people can't spoof Jeff Bezos's account. Nobody gives a shit about yours.


  • SockDev

    @TimeBandit said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Yeah, like I'm gonna do your cashier's work and not get paid for it.

    I will, because there's never a line for the self checkout registers, and there is for the cashiers, so i get out of your store faster by doing self checkout.



  • I can't wait to see what goes wrong with it. I tend to avoid stores with self-checkout lanes because inevitably those are the only ones open, half of them are broken down, and the other half are barely functioning and everyone has to wait for the single cashier assigned to all the self-checkouts to run around and override everything.

    The last time I used one the weight sensor was bad so I had to pause for 15 seconds after scanning each item for it to think I didn't bag it even though I did, and then click "I don't want to bag this item" to get it to shut up so I could scan the next item. It would not scan any items until the weight sensor timeout had expired. What a waste of time.



  • @lucas1 said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    @Zecc The recommendations are tailored to your tastes.

    "My tastes" on this browser profile are based on whatever you people post on TDWTF.

    So "Man punches a kangaroo in the face" seems about right.



  • @flabdablet said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    I'm assuming there's incredibly tight face-matching surveillance from parking lot to rear shelves. I'm also assuming that all the stores will be sharing a central database of faces and that law enforcement will also have unfettered access to that.

    Facial recognition doesn't work well on woman anybody wearing a nikab/burka





  • @PleegWat said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    In .nl, an increasing number of supermarkets have 'self-scan' systems. This typically involves manually scanning bar codes as you go through the shop, and paying at the exit subject to random checks.

    Those are very common here (CA). Typically there's one employed monitoring several (4-6) stations. But you can't use them if buying alcohol. (I still use the which-is-shortest-line algorithm to select)



  • @tharpa said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    @Vault_Dweller said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Here in Africa we have had a similar system for years, just without the app. You also just walk in, take what you want and walk out again.

    We have that too, but only on special occasions, like when a police officer of one group shoots a criminal of another group.

    I've only seen this system in the larger cities. I believe it's almost a daily occurrence in Oakland.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I really don't understand the constant bitching about self-check. I use them all the time, and at most I've run into 3 incidents per checkout, with at most one of them requiring someone to come help me. Most of the time I'm in and out without any trouble whatsoever. They've gotten better over the years, for sure.



  • @Yamikuronue said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    They've gotten better over the years, for sure.

    Thanks to all the beta-testers like you :wink:


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @TimeBandit Happy to help! :smiley_cat:


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @mott555 said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    I can't wait to see what goes wrong with it. I tend to avoid stores with self-checkout lanes because inevitably those are the only ones open, half of them are broken down, and the other half are barely functioning and everyone has to wait for the single cashier assigned to all the self-checkouts to run around and override everything.

    The last time I used one the weight sensor was bad so I had to pause for 15 seconds after scanning each item for it to think I didn't bag it even though I did, and then click "I don't want to bag this item" to get it to shut up so I could scan the next item. It would not scan any items until the weight sensor timeout had expired. What a waste of time.

    FWIW, the only bad experience I've had with self-checkouts in stores was when the cashier they picked was an old lady who really didn't computer that good. Pretty much everyone needed her for something, and she took about 2 minutes per person to fix it.

    Fortunately she got moved back to regular cashiering the next day.

    Most of the time though, it's much faster.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Yamikuronue said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    with at most one of them requiring someone to come help me.

    Yah, when you're buying alcohol at one (hi @sloosecannon's dad!), it can be a bit slower.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @sloosecannon Yeah, that's true. I tend to scan alcohol first, so the cashier has time to come by and card me while I scan the rest of it.

    But it also takes me longer to get alcohol in the normal lanes, too: most of the time I somehow end up with an underaged cashier, who has to put in a call for an "adult" to come scan the bottle (which the underaged cashier is legally not even allowed to touch!) and bag it before the transaction can complete. Alcohol is kind of just awful to buy.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Yamikuronue said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Alcohol is kind of just awful to buy.

    Yeah... That's one of the several reasons I don't really buy alcohol...

    Also it makes me feel totally and completely sick...

    Hooray....



  • @Yamikuronue I have never understood it either. I can only recall a few times over the years where I experienced a problem with them.
    The only thing I wish is that you could select the don't bag once and have it apply to the entire purchase. When I am only buying a few things why would I need a bag?


  • SockDev

    The only issue I have with self-scan is being held up by luddites who can't follow the clear instructions the till is giving them. Other than that, it's age checks and the odd glitch. And now I pay with contactless, I have even more reason to use self-scan.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election Banned

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    What happens if their algorithms make a mistake? Is there a dispute process? Can you get away if the mistake is in your favor like with normal stores?

    Excellent questions

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    They've gotta pay for this tech somehow, so if they raise the price, will it be worth the convenience and time saved?

    Probably cheaper in the long run versus having to employ cashiers

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    I'm assuming there's typical store security to handle people who Just Walk In and don't scan their code?

    Probably robot assassins

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Will I ever be able to do this without it feeling super awkward?

    Maybe

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Will people not like having unseen algorithms watching them all the time and instead prefer to have unseen security guards watching them all the time?

    Google's existence seems to indicate that No, they do not mind.

    @LB_ said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Do the scannable codes rotate so people can't steal your code?

    Hopefully


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election Banned

    @Yamikuronue said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    @sloosecannon Yeah, that's true. I tend to scan alcohol first, so the cashier has time to come by and card me while I scan the rest of it.

    But it also takes me longer to get alcohol in the normal lanes, too: most of the time I somehow end up with an underaged cashier, who has to put in a call for an "adult" to come scan the bottle (which the underaged cashier is legally not even allowed to touch!) and bag it before the transaction can complete. Alcohol is kind of just awful to buy.

    My local stores don't even bother letting you buy alcohol at the self-scan ones. But underaged cashiers are allowed to touch alcohol here so it's not such a pain in the ass.



  • @TimeBandit said:

    We have that here too. So you have the choice of going to a cashier and make him/her work, or do the work yourself without any reward/rebate.

    Yeah, like I'm gonna do your cashier's work and not get paid for it.

    The advantage for the customer is that you’re on your way more quickly. You don’t have to put all your groceries on the conveyor belt and wait for the cashier to scan them, you hand the self-scan device to the cashier¹ who then tells you what you have to pay. No more waiting for people with shopping trolleys packed to the brim to unload and repacks all of it before it’s your turn.

    ¹ At least, I assume you do — I only know one supermarket in my area that uses this system and I’ve never tried it myself.



  • @anonymous234 said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    I'm assuming the main "advantage" is

    I'm assuming the main advantage is Amazon gets free publicity, raises from VC, possibly gets some marketing data from some early adapters, and then never launches the product.



  • @Fox said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    robot assassins

    PUT DOWN THE CUPCAKES

    YOU HAVE THREE SECONDS TO COMPLY


  • BINNED

    @flabdablet Amazon EC209?


  • SockDev

    @Onyx and when it takes out a customer, it's just a minor glitch.

    inb4 YOU CALL THAT A GLITCH?



  • @Arantor It's no big deal, in case of fatal accident the customer's family will be compensated with $500,000 in Amazon gift cards.



  • @accalia said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    there's never a line for the self checkout registers

    No repro. The other night at Walmart, the self-check line was twice as long as the others. Of course, the self-check customers were being processed more than twice as fast as the other lines, so it was still a win.

    @mott555 said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    inevitably those are the only ones open

    No repro. One store I used to shop at regularly was open 24 hours, but closed the self-check registers at about 21:00. Now, if you want to say there aren't enough other lanes open, I won't argue with that. Walmart, in particular, never has enough lanes open to handle their customer volume, with or without self-checkout.

    @mott555 said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    I had to pause for 15 seconds after scanning each item for it to think I didn't bag it

    No repro. At Walmart, the timer is more like 0.15 seconds. You have to pretty much just stick your items in the bagging area instantly, and actually put them in bags after you're all done and it's repeating "Please remove your items" over and over; otherwise, you get the "Unexpected item in bagging area," and have to wait for the cashier to override it.



  • Wondering how many cameras to put in one store. is Amazon put it for every single rack of stuff or something?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @21emon said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    Wondering how many cameras to put in one store.

    Are you selling cameras wholesale?


  • SockDev

    @dkf will Amazon remember it for you, wholesale?


  • BINNED

    @Arantor said in Amazon's Just Walk Out technology:

    @dkf will Amazon remember it for you, wholesale?

    Damn it! I was thinking of making that joke but I was like "Nah, stretching it...".

    Nope, it still works, should've done it :P


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