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Amazon’s ‘automated’ ‘Just Walk Out’ service relied on low-paid Indian workers manually adding items and making bills, not AI: Report

While it was introduced as an automated checkout service, it has turned out that around 1,000 low-paid Indian workers were employed by Amazon to manually watch the videos of customers in Amazon Fresh stores and create bills, ensuring accuracy in checkouts.

On Tuesday (2nd April), The Information reported that Amazon is phasing out its AI-based “Just Walk Out” technology from its checkout-less grocery stores. While it was introduced as an automated checkout service it has turned out that around 1,000 low-paid Indian workers were employed by Amazon to watch and labelling videos of customers in Amazon Fresh stores to ensure accuracy in checkouts. The cashiers were just shifted off-site and observed the consumers while they shopped.

On its website, however, Amazon claimed that “sensors, cameras and deep learning tools sense what a consumer takes off the shelf”, the company did not specify that it is employing 1,000 India-based workers to watch and label videos of customers to ensure accurate bills.

Source:aws.amazon.com

Just Walk Out was introduced in 2016. The technology, reports suggest became more of a burden on the company. Customers often had to wait hours for receipts after leaving the store, owing to offshore cashiers rewatching recordings and assigning items to different customers. The system of scanners and video cameras at each store is also extremely costly.

The Information reported that 700 out of 1,000 Just Walk Out sales required human reviewers as of 2022. This fell well short of Amazon’s internal target of receiving less than 50 reviews for every 1,000 purchases. Amazon has termed the representation misleading and disputed how many transactions require reviews.

Amazon Fresh grocery store which debuted in 2007, has just over 40 outlets across the United States. The e-commerce giant also owns Whole Foods, and many of Amazon Fresh’s experiments are regarded as forerunners for the larger chain, Gizmodo reported.

After phasing out “Just Walk Out”, Amazon will introduce its smart shopping cart, “Dash Cart”. Dash Carts will have a screen and a scanner embedded in the customer’s shopping carts to allow them to check out as they shop.

While Amazon is discontinuing the Just Walk Out technology in the United States, certain Fresh outlets in the United Kingdom and Amazon Go convenience stores will continue using it.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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