TECHNOLOGY

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: RETAIL

INTRODUCTION

Technology is in the process of completely transforming all aspects of 4 industries – construction, medicine, retail, and transport – with a significant reduction in the need for human labor. Here is the impact on the Retail Industry:

  • Product manufacture (including food preparation) is being automated, using such technologies as robotics, CAD, and additive (3D or 4D) manufacturing. Many products are being customized to specific customer specifications.
  • The supply chain that transports products to warehouses and onward to stores or customer locations will be automated by the use of autonomous robots, cars, trucks, trains and ships – with tracking based on paperless blockchains.
  • Fully-automated warehouses are already in use, which replace workers with robots and conveyor belts to stock and retrieve products, and to fill orders
  • Retail stores are changing their primary functions from the traditional look-touch-buy to look-touch-pickup (soon with the use of augmented reality technology), with ordering and payment via the internet. For groceries, look-touch-buy is being achieved without cashiers or sales staff or couriers. Most products sold on the internet will be delivered directly to customers’ homes by autonomous systems (vehicles or drones or robots).
  • Customer support is using AI to handle automatically the majority of queries and concerns, while in-store support (including restaurant wait staff and hosts) will be provided by robots.

The number of jobs in the retailing process is being significantly reduced. There is already limited need for cashiers, sales staff, and warehouse workers. Fast food workers and restaurant wait staff will be replaced by robots. Supply chain workers (such as truck drivers and dispatchers and document handlers) will no longer be needed. This is already starting in a few places, but, as the cost of the new technologies drop (which will happen at an accelerating rate), expect much of this to be standard in 5-10 years (and earlier if the minimum wage keeps increasing).

LEARN FROM THESE YOUTUBE VIDEOS

... AND LEARN MORE FROM THESE ADDITIONAL VIDEOS

4 trends that are changing the way we shop (AI/Retail- 2018-07 – ZDNet)

6 more cashier-free Amazon Go stores could be coming in 2018 (AI/Stores – 2018-02 – TechRepublic)

What it’s like to shop at an Amazon Go store (AI/Automated Store – 2018-01 – ZDNet)

REVIEW THESE INFORMATIVE ARTICLES - AND READ THOSE THAT INTEREST YOU

US grocery giant Kroger has started making completely autonomous deliveries (AI - 2018-12 - MIT Technology Review)

The US grocer Kroger is trialing one autonomous delivery vehicle with no human supervision from one store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Almost 1,000 test deliveries have been made with some human assistance. Customers will pay $5.95 to request the robotic delivery van, and will have to come out to unload it when it arrives.

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Amazon's Go stores will use biometrics instead of cashiers to perform checkout (AI - 2018-11 - Biometric Update)

Amazon plans to open <3,000 Go stores by 2021. Alipay in China has released "pay-with-a-smile" facial payment. Retail specialists predict biometric payment systems will be used regularly by 2.6B people globally by 2023. Show full article

Alibaba's Tmall and Ford have a vehicle 'vending machine' (AI - 2018-11 - ZDNet)

Customers can browse the cars (Ford or other makes) stored in the massive vending machine via their smartphones, make their purchase, and have the vehicle delivered at ground level – or qualify for a 3-day test drive.

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Providing customers with any groceries, anytime, and anywhere in U.S. (AI - 2018-11 - MIT Technology Review)

The Kroger Co. and UK online supermarket Ocado announced an exclusive partnership agreement in the United States that will accelerate Kroger’s creation of a seamless shopping experience for America’s families.

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7-Eleven is piloting cashier-less stores (AI - 2018-11 - TechCrunch)

7-Eleven is piloting cashier-less payments in 14 Dallas stores, and will expand to more cities in 2019.

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The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens (AI - 2018-10 - TechCrunch)

Venture capitalists are funding start-ups that offer shared kitchens, storage facilities, and pickup counters for established chains and new food entrepreneurs. This creates major reductions in overhead costs, and allows for fast implementation of new concepts in fast food and casual dining.

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New York City’s first Amazon Go cashierless store will open near the World Trade Center (AI - 2018-10 - Recode)

Amazon’s 7th cashierless convenience store is going to be located inside a shopping and office complex across from the World Trade Center in New York. The store will likely offer prepared foods, such as sandwiches and salads, alongside a small selection of packaged groceries, like soups and condiments.

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Amazon may open 3,000 cashierless conveniene stores by 2021 (AI - 2018-09 - Bloomberg)

Amazon may open up to 3,000 AmazonGo cashierless convenience stores in the next 3 years, offering fresh prepared foods with or without a limited grocery selection.

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Zippin is the first Amazon Go rival to open an automated checkout store (AI - 2018-08 - FastCompany)

A San Francisco startup has launched a small public demo that will grow into a 500 sq.ft. AI-driven convenience store in the coming months – Amazon Go’s first rival store.

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AI is automating food preparation (AI - 2018-08 - TechRepublic)

Food industry jobs are increasingly being replaced by automation, starting with cashiers. McDonald’s plans to add mobile ordering and kiosks to 7-8,000 stores in the next 2 years. Food preparation is also being automated: Robots making pizza and ice cream; Self-cleaning robotic cooking pots; Food dispensed through automated machine.

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San Francisco is too expensive for restaurant wait staff to live in (AI - 2018-08 - New York Times)

Popular, even gourmet restaurants in expensive San Francisco can no longer find or afford servers. Clients scout their own table, order on-line, get their own water glass or wine, and silverware. Runners bring your order to the table, but there are no servers to wait on you.

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Product purchasing at Amazon done better by robots (AI - 2018-08 - MIT Technology Review)

Amazon’s buyers have been replaced by algorithms, which take in thousands of inputs and are always running, and are smarter than any human. This started with automating product ordering and inventory-tracking, but now includes negotiating with major brands.

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50,000 Las Vegas workers are ready to go on strike over fears of robots taking their jobs (AI - 2018-08 - Gizmodo)

The primary issue for >50,000 Culinary and Bartenders Union members is protection against robot replacements. They have voted to strike to secure their jobs. The culinary and hospitality industries are primary targets for automation in coming years.

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AI supporting buying decisions decimate the number of buyers needed (AI - 2018-07 - New York Times)

Clothing design is one way AI is transforming the fashion and retail industries. Companies also routinely use AI to decide which clothes to stock and what to recommend to customers.

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AI is automating food preparation (AI - 2018-06 - TechRepublic)

Food industry jobs are increasingly being replaced by automation, starting with cashiers. McDonald’s plans to add mobile ordering and kiosks to 7-8,000 stores in the next 2 years. Food preparation is also being automated: Robots making pizza and ice cream; Self-cleaning robotic cooking pots; Food dispensed through automated machine.

Show full article

San Francisco is too expensive for restaurant wait staff to live in (AI - 2018-06 - New York Times)

Popular, even gourmet restaurants in expensive San Francisco can no longer find or afford servers. Clients scout their own table, order on-line, get their own water glass or wine, and silverware. Runners bring your order to the table, but there are no servers to wait on you.

Show full article

Product purchasing at Amazon done better by robots (AI - 2018-06 - MIT Technology Review)

Amazon’s buyers have been replaced by algorithms, which take in thousands of inputs and are always running, and are smarter than any human. This started with automating product ordering and inventory-tracking, but now includes negotiating with major brands.

Show full article

50,000 Las Vegas workers are ready to go on strike over fears of robots taking their jobs (AI - 2018-06 - Gizmodo)

The primary issue for 50,000 Culinary and Bartenders Union members is protection against robot replacements. They have voted to strike to secure their jobs. The culinary and hospitality industries are primary targets for automation in coming years.

Show full article

Amazon to bring automated stores to Chicago, San Francisco as AI replaces human cashiers (AI - 2018-05 - TechRepublic)

After testing Amazon Go stores in Seattle, nationwide expansion is planned, starting with Chicago and San Francisco. In an Amazon Go store, customers walk in, scan an Amazon Go app, shop and leave. Amazon charges your account, and sends a receipt when you leave the store—no checkout line needed. The technology ‘Just Walk Out’ taps computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning tools to determine which items a customer put in their cart, and make the right charges.

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Walmart's automated pickup stations highlight future of digital transformation in retail (AI/Walmart - 2018-04 - TechRepublic)

By December 2018, Walmart will have added 500 Pickup Towers to the 200 used in a pilot project in late 2017. The Towers are colossal structures within Walmart stores, allowing online buyers to pick up goods bought from the company’s website, just by scanning a barcode. 40% of the US population will have access to the towers by the end of the year.

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”Farmer’s

Farmer’s Fridge offers conveniently-accessed fresh, wholesome meals in over 100 unmanned fresh food vending units across the Chicago and Milwaukee metro regions. The units are maintained by the company, which monitors and restocks them daily, with any unsold product donated to community members in need. Selections include salads, sandwiches, bowl meals, and snacks – with everything scratch-made using seasonal ingredients from local partners whenever possible.

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Autonomous vehicles will transform urban life by 2020, if Waymo’s time line is correct (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - The Atlantic)

Waymo is purchasing 20,000 sporty, electric self-driving vehicles from Jaguar for its ride-hailing service. With additional orders for thousands of Chrysler minivans, Waymo will be capable of doing vast numbers of trips per day. They estimate that the Jaguar fleet alone will be capable of doing a million trips each day in 2020.

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A look inside London’s ongoing experiment with autonomous shuttles (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - The Verge)

Pods could be the future of urban transport. They’re quiet, compact, and maneuver easily through winding streets. Since April 2017, London has been trialing these autonomous vehicles. Over 5,000 people have used the service as it ferries people about a 3.4km stretch of the Thames. A recent survey had 43% positive, 46% undecided, and 11% negative.

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Airbus’s Silicon Valley lab, took an idea for a pilotless electric plane from concept to flight in just two years (AI/Flying taxis - 2018-03 - FastCompany)

Within five to 10 years, pilotless, electric-powered VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) flying taxis may whisk everyday commuters over congested megacities. Airbus’ Vahana competes with >12 companies. They take off like helicopters, then transform mid-air into planes that can fly farther, faster, and more quietly than traditional choppers. Once Vahana gets high enough, its wings tilt forward, parallel to the ground, for a quick commuter flight of up to 60 miles, then tilt back up for descent, all powered by lithium-ion batteries. FAA-certification is expected by 2022.

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80% of all items will be delivered autonomously within a decade (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - Bloomberg)

Early discussion about driverless cars has focused on robot taxis, as removing a human driver seems like the quickest path to profitability. But an increasing number of companies—automakers, tech giants, startups, parcel services—are seeing autonomous delivery as the more lucrative venture. Consultant McKinsey & Co. predicts that in less than a decade, 80 percent of all items will be delivered autonomously.

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Waymo is offering free driverless taxi rides around Phoenix (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - TechnologyReview)

Waymo is offering trips to so-called “early riders”—the first people to have signed up to use its robotic Chrysler Pacifica taxis. The minivans don’t have a safety driver behind the wheel, but someone can take control remotely if necessary.

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Waymo’s self-driving trucks will start delivering freight in Atlanta (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - The Verge)

Waymo is expanding the scope of its self-driving experiments, announcing that its autonomous trucks would soon begin delivering freight for Google’s data centers in Atlanta. The trucks won’t be completely driverless but will be operating on public roads during the pilot.

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Autonomous, VTOL, electric, flying taxi can travel at 150 kph for 100 km (AI/Flying taxis - 2018-03 - TechRepublic)

Kitty Hawk, an autonomous flying taxi company backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page, unveiled its Cora commercial plane. The plane is completely autonomous, fully electric (quiet emission-free), and can travel at 150 kph for 100 km. It can take off and land vertically. The government of New Zealand is interested.

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Uber’s self-driving trucks are making deliveries in Arizona (AI/Autonomous Vehicles - 2018-03 - Engadget)

Uber’s self-driving trucks have been operating via two main transfer hubs in Arizona since January 2018, and have completed thousands of rides. Uber made its first delivery with a self-driving truck in 2016, transporting 2,000 cases of Budweiser in Colorado.

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Walmart files patent applications for drone shopping assistants and smart shopping carts (AI/Walmart - 2018-03 - The Verge)

Walmart has filed a host of patents, including a sensing device to make shopping carts smart and communicate with mobile devices; Tracking users through wearables; Drones that would assist customers shopping in-store with price verification and product location; and a method for detecting items placed in a container.

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Amazon Go launches: The automated retail revolution begins (AI - 2018-01 - TechRepublic)

Amazon Go, the automated grocery store with no cashiers or checkout lines, is now open to the public in Seattle. To shop at the store, visitors simply walk into the 1,800-square foot space, scan their Amazon Go app, pick up the items they want, and leave. Amazon will charge your account and send a receipt when you leave the store.

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