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Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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From computerized carts to "Chef Bots," how AI is becoming a bigger part of grocery shopping

(Salon) In 1937, two decades after founding his first Piggly Wiggly, supermarket entrepreneur Clarence Saunders opened Keedoozle, a "fully-automated grocery store." Groceries were offered at a steep discount and sample items were displayed in glass cabinets.

"To purchase, the customer will insert a key in a hole in the showcase beside the sample article, press a button," TIME Magazine reported at the time. "In the stockroom the proper article will drop on a conveyor belt leading to the cashier's desk. Simultaneously the purchase price is recorded on an adding machine. After all purchases are made, the customer sticks his key into the adding machine, gets his bill. Using another key, the cashier releases the purchases all wrapped for the customer."

The idea was an ambitious one, but the three Keedoozle locations failed to last even a year. The mechanical technology was not capable of handling the high traffic loads and customers began to flock back to groceries staffed by a team of humans. Since then, supermarkets have flirted on and off with new technology to further automate the grocery shopping experience; for instance, by 2025, it is predicted that 1.2 million units will be installed worldwide.

But over the last year as more and more Americans looked for alternatives to traditional grocery shopping amid the novel coronavirus pandemic there's been an uptick in the development and popularity of supermarket services that utilize artificial intelligence.

Lindon Gao is the chief executive officer of Caper, a technology company that created the Caper Cart, the "world's first AI-powered shopping cart." Originally launched in 2019 at the New York-based supermarket Foodcellar & Co., the Caper Cart looks like a typical shopping cart. However as customers place items in the basket, they are weighed, measured and priced; additionally, a screen affixed to the cart offers shoppers basket-based recommendations and nearby deals. ...............(more)


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