Monday, 22 January 2018
Go, amazon, go!
It's official, I think. The store of the future is here today. Well, not here in downtown Bruchköbel, but in - where else? - Seattle. Amazon have launched their first no queues, no check-outs Amazon Go grocery convenience store. To get into this cornucopia of convenience, all you have to do is scan your Amazon Go app and it's 'Open Sesame.'
In you go, pick stuff off the shelves, put it in your bag and out you go again. Change your mind? Dither? It's all covered, via the crafty technology (computer vision, sensor fusion, deep learning - as used in self-drive cars) There are loads more photos here.
Part of me is excited about this, but part is alarmed. Not so much by the shot in the link of that flock of cameras, but by seeing the Amazon branding all over those food products and meal ideas. Being a little behind the times, I still associate Amazon primarily with books and stuff.
I suppose the source of the alarm is the audacity of it - the assumption from the Amazon people that they have a right to infiltrate every area of my life, including those where their competence is questionable. What'll be next? Pharma?
I read another article this week, in The Economist, about Google, Facebook, Amazon and Co. These brands have such power in terms of data held that they do pose a threat to healthy competition. What is the solution? Difficult to say.
But I have a feeling that, in the end, people need something more than convenience alone. However fast and seamless 'shopping' (if I can call it that: it seems more like shop-lifting) at Amazon Go is, if those make-a-meal kits taste as bland as they look, people will vote with their stomachs and seek out fresh ingredients, or their friendly local bistro, or a greasy junk-food fix. At least for some of the time.
I do wonder at what point the tide of opinion will turn that Amazon has Gone Too Far?