Dinner Table Conversation: How Can You Use Technology to Make Things Easier?

December 9, 2016

Can you walk into a store, grab an item, and simply walk out? No, because that’s stealing, right? But what if that’s how grocery stores worked? Amazon.com (an online store) is launching a new type of grocery store called, “Amazon Go.” This store will allow customers to walk right in, grab what they need, and walk out. Wait a minute — sounds like they’re just letting customers take things for free! No, they’re still charging people for the items that they take — they’re just trying to make it easier and faster for people to shop for groceries!

Here’s how an Amazon Go store would work. Before walking into a store, you’d turn on the Amazon Go app on your phone. As you’re walking, your phone is tagged. When you pick an item, that item will be recorded on the app. Once you’re done shopping and walk out the door, the app will add up all that you bought and send you a bill. No lines at checkout. No waiting for the cashier to scan your items; simply shop and leave!

Amazon Go was created to eliminate a problem that shoppers have at traditional grocery stores: waiting in line to pay for their items. Cool, right? But if you ask some people, Amazon solved one problem by creating another: eliminating jobs. After all, no cashiers mean no jobs for those needing work.

The first Amazon Go market has already opened up in Seattle, but they’re testing it out with their own employees first. If you want to shop at an Amazon Go market, you’ll have to wait at least until next year to check one out.

Discussion question: What are some other things that can be made easier using technology? What will that mean to the humans who are doing that job right now? Can you solve one problem without creating another?