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Business News/ Companies / News/  Amazon's AI-based 'just walk out' checkout tech was powered by 1,000 Indian workers manually, say reports

Amazon's AI-based 'just walk out' checkout tech was powered by 1,000 Indian workers manually, say reports

Amazon's celebrated ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, allowing customers to seamlessly bypass checkouts, had a surprising reliance on an overseas workforce. The Information revealed that around 1,000 employees in India manually reviewed up to 70% of Just Walk Out transactions in 2022

Amazon touted the 'just walk out' technology as a groundbreaking achievement driven entirely by computer vision

Amazon's celebrated 'Just Walk Out' technology, which allowed customers to bypass traditional checkouts at its stores, secretly relied on Indian human workers manually doing the job, according to a recent report in Business Insider.

Approximately 1,000 workers in India were tasked with reviewing what customers picked up, set down, and ultimately walked out with from Amazon's Just Walk Out-enabled stores, as per The Information.

While Amazon touted the technology as a groundbreaking achievement driven entirely by computer vision, the reality was that a significant portion of Just Walk Out sales required manual review by the team in India. In 2022, the report stated around 700 out of every 1,000 Just Walk Out transactions had to be verified by these workers, citing an unnamed source familiar with the technology.

However, an Amazon spokesperson disputed this claim, asserting that the India-based team primarily assisted in training the model used for Just Walk Out. “Associates may also validate a small minority of shopping visits where our computer vision technology cannot determine with complete confidence an individual's purchases," the spokesperson said, as quoted by Business Insider.

The revelation comes as Amazon plans to phase out Just Walk Out technology at its Amazon Fresh stores in favour of its Dash Carts, according to the report in The Information. These smart shopping carts will allow customers to avoid checkout lines by automatically tracking and charging for their selections, providing an alternative to the Just Walk Out experience.

An Amazon spokesperson explained the motivation behind the transition, stating that customers desired additional features like easily locating nearby products and deals, viewing their receipts while shopping, and knowing their savings – capabilities offered by the Dash Carts, the Business Insider report further added.

Just Walk Out technology first debuted in Amazon Go convenience stores. It enabled customers to enter by identifying themselves with their Amazon account, pick up items, return items to shelves, and walk out with their final selections without interacting with a cashier.

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