The Future of Customer Service: Human Intelligence (HI) or Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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I have been slow to accept that, from a service perspective, humans will ever be replaced by computers. I've suggested that customers will resist "robots" and I've based my thinking in part on the "uncanny valley" hypothesis which postulates that the more robots look like humans the less humans will feel comfortable with them. I am starting to rethink my assumptions and my conclusion. While humans may not be fully replaceable, I do believe artificial intelligence and robots will displace a lot of service providers. Café X is now open in Hong Kong and San Francisco.


A robotic barista is now serving -- really fast

USATODAY

The first robotic barista opened in San Francisco on Monday. SAN FRANCISCO -- Something futuristic is brewing in a shopping complex here. The first robotic barista in the U.S., named "Gordon," started serving up to 120 coffee drinks an hour today-- ironically, just several thousand fee away from a Starbucks in the same complex. "A lot of us spend a lot of time in line waiting for coffee," says Henry Hu, CEO of Cafe X Technologies, the local start-up that created the robot. "And we decided to do something about it."


Will No-Checkout Stores Like Amazon Go Be Commonplace By 2025?

Forbes Technology

Employees stand outside the new Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them -- in one stroke eliminating the checkout line. Are no-checkout stores like Amazon Go going to become common-place by 2025? Why or why not? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. There is little doubt, many if not all of the concepts from the Amazon Go store will be adopted by A-level retailers over the next 5 years.


In these stores of the future, you grab stuff and leave

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Until this fall, Chintan Maniar managed nearly 200 employees at a Target store in San Jose, California. Now, after 20 years at the big-box retailer, he manages a much tinier storefront in San Francisco. It's staffed by many more cameras than people, and shoppers can walk in, grab a bag of Doritos or a pump-bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day hand soap, and just walk out. Standard Store, operated by a San Francisco-based startup called Standard Cognition, is open to the public and meant to showcase the company's autonomous checkout technology. When you enter, you use an app to check in.


How Amazon Go will revolutionize retail convenience

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Amazon Go stopped the world in its tracks. The Dec. 5 introduction of Amazon's revolutionary convenience store looms among the most surprising and compelling retail announcements in recent memory: The Seattle pilot location -- which Amazon describes as "roughly 1,800 square feet of retail space that is conveniently compact, so busy customers can get in and out fast" -- advances far beyond existing self-checkout systems by eliminating the checkout process entirely. Amazon Go offers c-store staples like milk and bread, along with meals and snacks made by on-site chefs and local suppliers, as well as Amazon Meal Kits. Shoppers (a segment currently comprised exclusively of Amazon employees) scan a QR-code based mobile application upon entering the store. The e-commerce giant's Just Walk Out technology then detects when items are removed from or returned to store shelves, tracking purchases in a virtual cart, and totals the final cost when customers exit the premises.