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3 Apr, 2024 13:21

Amazon hires 1,000 Indian workers to support flagging AI push – media

The retailer is reportedly planning to ditch its self-service checkout systems that were designed to work without humans
Amazon hires 1,000 Indian workers to support flagging AI push – media

US retail giant Amazon has hired human workers in India to help its grab-and-go checkout systems, news outlet Engadget reported on Monday. The tech-focused site added that that the company is planning to ditch the unprofitable technology.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out self-checkout tech relies on a host of cameras and sensors, as well as on human input to track what people take from stores and charge them accordingly.

However, the company reportedly had to hire more than 1,000 people in India to scan the camera feeds to ensure checkout tallies were accurate. Installing and maintaining all the necessary equipment is also proving too expensive and makes using the systems unprofitable.

Just Walk Out systems have been installed in 27 of Amazon's 40 Fresh stores across the US, Engadget claims.

Using the systems has also reportedly resulted in a wide range of frustrating issues for Amazon’s consumers, from receipts being sent out hours after purchase to completely mismanaged orders.

In addition, the company is facing confidentiality challenges, as cameras and sensors are collecting biometric information on shoppers. In September, Amazon was hit by a class-action suit in New York, where plaintiffs accused the company of collecting biometric identifier information without properly disclosing the practices to consumers.

The Seattle-based company is reportedly planning to focus on offering Dash Carts, which allow customers to scan items while shopping, in grocery stores after testing the carts in Whole Foods and Fresh outlets, where the Just Walk Out system is currently used.

Just Walk Out technology will continue to be offered in select stores in the UK.

Founded as an e-commerce business, Amazon opted to enter the physical retail sector five years ago. The company opened its first Amazon Fresh store in 2020, and operates more than 40 around the country. In 2017, Amazon bought the Whole Food grocery chain, which caters for a wealthier clientele. The corporation has also added Amazon Go cashier-less stores to its portfolio.

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