Do you love to go shopping in a store or night market? Lots of people do, but no one likes waiting in a long line to check out. Now technology is making this part of shop¬ping easier. Using artificial intelligence (AI), computers and cameras, stores all over the world are adding cashier-less services. This means you won’t need to wait in line to give someone your money.
Some stores have self-check-out counters where you swipe your own groceries and pay a machine. In 2016, Amazon removed the checkout all together when it opened the grocery store Amazon Go in Seattle, USA. Using hundreds of cameras on the ceiling, sensors on the shelves and an app on your phone, the Amazon Go system tracks you while you shop. This means when you’re finished, you can just walk out.
有些商店開設自動結帳櫃臺，你只須刷過購買的商品，然後對機器付費。全球電子商務龍頭亞馬遜2016 年在美國西雅圖開設零售店Amazon Go時，即把結帳手續全數撤除。透過天花板上的數百臺攝影機、貨價上的感應器，以及購物者手機上的app 程式，Amazon Go 就能追蹤購物者。這意謂拿取需要的商品後，不需排隊結帳，購物者就能走出大門，完成購物。
Amazon tested their new system for more than a year before opening three stores in Seattle. After those stores proved successful, Amazon opened another in Chicago, USA this past Sep¬tember. These stores are a lot like 7-Elevens here in Taiwan, with ready-made meals, snacks and drinks—but without the wait to pay. Amazon says they want to open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021.
Now, Amazon Go has new competition from Sam’s Club. That’s a member-only store like Costco. Following the Amazon Go model, Sam’s Club will open their own cashier-less store called Sam’s Club Now in Texas. The difference is that you will use an app on your phone to scan things you want. Before you walk out the door, an employee must perform one final scan on your groceries.
很快的，市場上出現了Amazon Go的競爭對手，名為Sam’s Club，是一家類似Costco（好市多）的會員制大型倉儲式商店。Sam’s Club 循Amazon Go的模式，它的免結帳商店Sam’s Club Now近期將在美國德州開幕。但它比較不一樣的是，購物者須下載它的app，購物時自行用手機掃描商品，買完、走出大門之前，會有該公司員工最後再幫客人掃描一次。
Other tech companies, like Microsoft, are joining the race to develop cashier-less technology. But even as more are putting their efforts into this, there are some downsides. The technology is still very expensive. What’s more, relying too much on a new system can be dan¬gerous. What if the system has a major problem? Also, some consumers simply prefer asking a person questions if they need help or advice.
Of course, big stores aren’t doing this just to keep customers happy or protect themselves from thieves. There’s another reason to think about. All those cameras used to track the items you buy are also used to collect data about your shopping habits. Retail stores and companies all want to know what things you like to buy. That way they can better sell you other products!