The Potential Problems Of Amazon Go

The Potential Problems Of Amazon Go

The futuristic shopping method may come with a variety of issues.
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Last Monday, Amazon delivered the news of plans for an enhanced grocery shopping center that could be the future of retail. With no check-out kiosks and no lines, they hope to create a better and faster experience for all. Through deep learning algorithms, computer vision and sensor fusion (something Amazon calls "Just Walk Out" technology) customers will be able to enter the store and check-in with their smartphone. From there, you grab what you need and walk out.

The store will charge your Amazon account for the items and send you a receipt with no wait. Amazon is currently testing out their new 1,800 square foot shopping facility on Amazon employees in Seattle, Washington, and if all goes well, it will open to the public in early 2017. You can watch a video and check out the FAQs on the Amazon website here.

While I think this has potential, there are quite a few aspects that Amazon is staying eerily quiet about, including how exactly they are going to pull it off. Ignoring the hype, I can only think about the potential problems for this futuristic concept. How does it work?

In March 2015, Recode posted an article about a patent application filed by Amazon that outlined some of the ideas that would make the new store run smoothly. The article suggests we may have a reason to be concerned about our privacy with this system. They say, "the application describes the use of cameras that would snap photos to show, for example, when a person entered the facility, when she removed something from a shelf and when she left with an item in her hand. There is mention of facial recognition... User information may include, but is not limited to, user-identifying information (e.g., images of the user, height of the user, weight of the user), a user name and password, user biometrics, purchase history, payment instrument information (e.g., credit card, debit card, check card), purchase limits, and the like.” This is the same idea as an employee following you around the entire store, watching what you pick up, and writing it down, but through cameras, computers and technology we don't understand. Another theory introduces the use of RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, which lets retailers identify products just like bar codes do, but through a wireless network. With the little information we have on the technology, Amazon claims it's similar to the specifics of self-driving cars.

But the problems don't end with the potential privacy invasions. The gist of Amazon's store has what we know as "shoplifting" as their selling point. How easy will it be to enter the store and just not scan your smartphone, essentially keeping yourself out of the system altogether?

What about the individuals who don't have smartphones? No smartphone, no sale. And something that happens to many as a regular occurrence--what if your phone dies while you're shopping? How will groceries be bagged, if at all? How will they handle a return policy? Picture this. Amazon Go opens up to the public and a father and his two young daughters decide to go shopping. The girls are tossing into the cart--this snack and that snack--while Dad shops, too. A perfectly logical and realistic situation. If a human being watching diligently behind a camera isn't involved, how will Amazon track multiple people putting multiple items in a cart? Do each of the daughters need a smartphone and Amazon account or can they somehow be "linked" to the main account? How will this technology know the girls belong to the father in the first place?

There are many unanswered questions about the specifics of Amazon Go. For now, all we can do is watch and wait for more information.


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Social Media Is A Trivial Part Of Our Lives Because It Makes Us Addicted To Unimportant Matters

As someone who was told to this under an incentive, this experience gave me an understanding about an addiction that I had.

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Recently I took it upon myself to go on a social media cleanse, and from this I learned more about self control and who I am when I left social media. During this time period I began to see how my life would have been if I lived in an earlier time period or if I didn't have my phone. I took it upon myself to leave social media for a period of five days. I knew these five days would be hard as I would be more and more tempted, but I went cold turkey and only kept iMessage as my connection to others. I knew that if I kept anything else, I would continue to be tempted to go ahead and click the re-download button.

My family and I were able to communicate better as I had convinced them to do the challenge with me. The first two days were hard as we all continued to click on the empty location where Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever used to be. However, toward the end of the week, we all began to be happier without these social media in our phones. My family and I were able to talk about issues and current events that were happening in the world without having biased opinions that social media might bring.

This entire experience helped me realize that my opinions can be shaped without those on social media. I read more news about events happening around us. I was especially intrigued about the Superbowl that was coming up and what were the rumors and opinions surrounding the game. This helped me look at news in a new perspective and helped me realize there is more than just the glance at my phone.

In relation to my friends, for the first couple days, I felt extremely out of touch with them. I felt like I was missing out on important information or "tea" as my friend would refer to it as. I was especially worried about my Snapchat streaks and what would happen to them in my absence. However, by the end of the week, my entire mentality had changed for the better. I began to understand how trivial such stuff like Snapchat streaks were. My friendships were not defined by factors such as how long our streak was' it was more about how we felt about each other and how close we were.

Events that were covered on social media also began to have a negative effect for me as I would begin to see the dogmatic view that came with such a personal thing like media. I began to see that I was only seeing what I wanted to see and had to explore my boundaries to learn more about the world around us. As the week ended, I noticed that my screen time on my phone had gone down by 75 percent and that I was sleeping close to an hour earlier than usual.

These statistics shocked me as I realized how bad my addiction had gotten. While I did re-downloaded the apps, I noticed that I am not dependent on them as I was eight days ago.

At the end of this whole experience, I can say that I felt like a person coming out of rehab. I felt a lot better as a I realized that I wasn't constantly checking my phone every five seconds to check for that latest Snapchat or twitter update. This experience helped change me into the better person I am, even though this challenge only lasted for a short period of time.

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