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Silicon Valley Moves Closer to a World Without Jobs

December 7, 2016

by : vanityfair – excerpt

Amazon’s new retail concept store does away with cashiers entirely.

mazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos’s plan to expand his digital dominion to the physical world continues apace. Not content with opening traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts alone, the e-commerce giant on Monday unveiled an 1,800-square-foot convenience store in Seattle that sells snacks, staples like milk and bread, pre-made meals, and meal kits. But unlike a normal 7-Eleven, Amazon’s store lacks both cashiers and checkout counters. The store—which is called Amazon Go and is currently only available for Amazon employees, though it will open to the public next year—uses sensors to track the items customers take out of the store, and charges them accordingly.

“We asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” Amazon says on its official Go site. “Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?”…

The Los Angeles Times reports, Amazon has added 50,000 warehouse workers but also more than 30,000 robots, causing hiring to slow at its warehouses. Nor is Amazon the only tech company with plans to eventually automate as many jobs as possible. Earlier this year, Uber bought an automated trucking start-up called Otto, which recently completed its first delivery—a beer run—largely without the assistance of its human driver. … (more)

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