Amazon Just Legalized Shoplifting, Sort Of

Walk in, take stuff, leave.

By Kirk Miller

 
Amazon Go
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05 December 2016

No lines. No checkout. No human interaction whatsoever.

A dream for New Yorkers, but now a reality in Seattle. Unveiled today, Amazon Go allows shoppers to enter and leave a new Seattle storefront without doing any of the normal store things, like opening up a wallet or checking out.

Dubbed “Just Walk Out Shopping,” it feels like shoplifting, but legal! You will eventually pay, but in an unobtrusive way.

How it works: You download the new Amazon Go app, then scan in with your app upon entering the store. Utilizing similar tech as self-driving cars, an array of computer vision monitors, sensors and deep learning algorithms work together to detect what you pick up in the store and keep track of everything in a virtual cart.

Then, walk out. Whatever you take is charged to your Amazon account.

What can you buy? The store seems dedicated to lunchtime convenience: ready-to-eat meals, snacks, groceries, meal kits and such. Right now, it's only available to Amazon employees, with a public open for the store scheduled for 2017.

We wouldn’t be worried (yet) if we were in retail: so far, this seems like a somewhat advanced version of self-checkout lanes in grocery stores and drugstores — and we all know how well those work.

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