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Amazon Go - Friend or Foe?

Empty grocery store parking lot in Seattle by Amazon Go

What is Amazon Go?

For those of you who haven’t heard, the future has arrived in the form of a new grocery store concept: Amazon Go. This is a huge development in the world of digital communication. Why? Because you don’t have to communicate.

There are no cash registers, no lines, no wait at the Amazon Go Store. Basically, you install the app on your phone, then scan to enter the building, and it’s on from there. The app adds items to your “cart” when you pick them from the shelf. If you put those items back, the app then removes them. Once you have what you need, you simply walk out of the building and the app charges you and provides a digital receipt. It’s that easy.

But what has been hailed as the best part of the experience (the fact that you don’t have to talk to a single person) could be, we think, the the latest in a downward trend in human interaction.

The Amazon Go effect Woman posing for camera behind a blue tinted screen

The Social Divide

Let’s take a step back and analyze how this level of convenience can cause a social divide.

While we appear to be the most connected we’ve ever been, are we actually the most disconnected? Nowadays, the majority of people use social media to communicate. But how deep is that level of contact when it revolves more-so around the app from which we are communicating than the people to whom we are communicating? And this notion applies to Amazon Go, too. If this concept gains traction, it is because people value convenience over personal interactions. This is a scary thought.

We are curious about the negative psychological impacts this antisocial behavior may have on the way we build relationships. Today, we live in a digital age (duh), but is our attraction to technology creating antisocial habits?

We can literally go through an entire week interacting with people without actually being around them. And we are pushing this sense of isolation even further by adding Amazon Go to our daily routines,.

Three Amazon Go stock employees wearing bright vests in front of merchandise posing for camera

What's at Stake with Amazon Go?

Amazon Go is also limiting who we can interact with when visiting their stores (I.e., the neighborhood bag-boy, the girl in the floral department arranging bouquets, the familiar checkout clerk, etc.). By removing these micro interactions from the experience we are, in a way, being limited on the ways in which we can interact with our environment, and this may affect other relationships in various areas of our lives.

Let’s get this conversation started—we want to hear from you. How do you think Amazon Go will disrupt the human experience?

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