Amazon's AI-powered "Just Walk Out"checkout option turns out to be 1000 workers watching you shop

I was wondering the same thing.

AI? Sure. It’s just a synonym for machine learning which is just a synonym for fancy statistics that know when one thing looks like another anyway.

But generative AI?




The UK has had hand-held scanners for years. I suspect the reason they have not been put in the shopping trolleys themselves is that trolleys go outdoors (electronics not good in rain and weatherproofing them would be disproportionately expensive for limited benefit), and trolleys also tend to mysteriously go AWOL. Plus people also use baskets. The number of trolleys and baskets per store is far in excess of the number of hand-held scanners needed.

I scan each item as I go around the shop, can see my purchase listed and total cost at any time, can remove items I’ve already scanned and to check out I scan a barcode at the self-service till and then pay. I really don’t see how ‘just walk out’ offers sufficiently more ‘convenience’ to justify trying to make it work given what hand-held scanners already offer.

And UK supermarkets live in one of the most competitive and experienced grocery store markets around. They are (largely) good at this stuff. Amazon should take note and not try reinventing a wheel that just isn’t going to be much more perfectly round than the ones already rolling.


It could well boil down to just snorting VC cash and enjoying the ride; but I assume that there’s at least some delta between what it costs to get someone behind the wheel in an urban area dense enough to have plenty of taxi customers and what a homebound worker in some really depressed location will run you.

Depending on how tight the latency requirements are it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to discover that service is, mysteriously, offered in cities with acceptable ping times to parts of Mexico or the Caribbean; but not so much on the northern border.


As I’ve written before, hallucinations are a feature not a bug. These models do not “know” anything. They are mathematical behemoths generating a best guess based on training data and labeling, and thus do not “know” what you are asking it to do. You simply cannot fix them. Hallucinations are not going away.*

e/ actually, in my view its not frightening, but rather encouraging; hopefully they all will abandon the shit they cant fix. but thats of course wishfull thinking I guess.


They also bought whole foods, which never had this feature.


Yeah, and also, 1000 people seems like nowhere near enough to actually be the whole staff watching everyone in every store. I wonder if it’s more “these are the people who review footage when there’s a discrepancy”?


In short, Argus was important because his ancestors were important, and anything he did after he was conceived is beyond the scope of this one-box.

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I am getting post Butlerian Jihad vibes…


I’m not altogether unconvinced that this isn’t also the secret behind Tesla’s FSD. The driving errors happen when the remote pilots get up to go to the bathroom or get a cup of coffee.


Yes, but if it’s a worker in India, minimum wage is about $2-3 there. Per day.


dan olson last year;


I consider this to be the end of a successful experiment. They tested an idea: can we use AI for this? They then backed it up with “NI” – Natural Intelligence – to step in when the machines were unsure. And they were fully invested in it, deploying to half their stores, and stuck with it long enough to yield meaningful results.

The outcome was that despite years of work, machine vision wasn’t good enough for this use case. But just because the outcome didn’t deliver the desired results doesn’t mean the experiment itself wasn’t done well.

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You expected it to? Human nature preceded capitalism by millennia.

You’re confusing capitalism with human nature. They’re not the same thing. Humans are certainly prone to selfishness and greediness, but we’re also very much creatures of community. If we had not, we would not have lasted nearly as long as we have. It doesn’t make any sense to be an individualistic, greedy asshole when that can get yourself and others killed. Humans very much had to work together for much of our history, often for basic survival. If we had had a capitalist mindset back when we were mostly hunter-gatherers, some of other creature would be dominating the planet right now.

So, believe the propaganda that we’re all self-centered greed assholes if you’d like. But history tells us a different story. :woman_shrugging:


Bleak opinion.


Pop Tv Yes GIF by Schitt's Creek

And not really one backed up by much facts, IMHO… of course people can be self-interested jerks, but we can also be gloriously kind, empathetic, and communal. Humans are complicated, yo!


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I concur.

The only reason our species still exists, (let alone ever advanced) is because of many instances of mutual cooperation by many groups, over many millennia.

Mutually assured survival is a greater motivation than ‘mutually assured destruction,’ IMO.


The greedy assholes keep trying to tear us all down and hoard all the goods for themselves, and we keep refusing to let them do that… It’s likely going to be a dynamic that’s an engine of history until we no longer exist, but that tells us far more about the complexity of humanity than some “common sense” about the supposedly naturalness of greed and by extension capitalism…