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The Robots Are Coming! The Robots Are Coming!! (And We Trained Them)
 
 
(Bernie here) A recent shopping experience brought to mind “Singularity” and my ongoing discussions with Ron Segiel and others about the threat of advanced technology. The premise of Singularity is that technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become so advanced that technology will turn on humans, rendering us obsolete. (My thoughts on that later…)
 
Last weekend I was experimenting with a new system called “Scan, Bag, Go.” Using a special device, or phone app, shoppers scan and bag their groceries as they go about the store. Several large chains (including Amazon) are testing prototypes to streamline their brick and mortar operations, eliminating a pet peeve - lines at the checkout stands. The advantage of this system is, just like online shopping, you check out and pay when you are ready. No standing in line. (The irony of using a virtual shopping cart to check out a real one did not escape me!)  
 
What does this have to do with Singularity? As I moved about the store, it dawned on me - I was probably training some AI system with my shopping patterns. GPS-enabled devices can teach AI how to analyze shoppers’ movements, configure store layouts, replicate the shopping experience, then eventually replace human ... more

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