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Many supermarkets now have so few "manned" checkouts that customers are forced to use the self scan and pay machines.
These are impersonal and annoying but they could be improved with some AI learning. Supermarkets already gather information on their custmomer's spending behaviour, so all that's needed
to make the idea work is to extend that information, and place it into the domain of artificial intelligence.
Now instead of the usual mechanical commands, a customer would be greeted by name and a cheery comment about the weather, followed by some simple personal chit-chat. A person buying cold remedies might be told "hope you feel better soon", and next time they visit the supermarket the checkout machine will have remembered them and enquire as to "how's that pesky cold?" The next big difference is that this is a two way communication with the checkout able to listen and engage in conversation on a totally individual basis.
Of course the whole process could be taken one step further and customers could opt in for extended "gossip mode".
In "gossip mode", much more personal comments such as "guess who's buying Viagra by the bucket load?" are spoken to you in a hushed voice by the checkout machine. Other private messages can be left with the machine to be passed on to friends and the checkout will know who they all are and never forget anything such as birthdays and other noteable events.
Once you make friends with your checkout machine, a type of loyalty will develop and if you travel to another place with the same supermarket chain, the checkouts there will inquire as to how much you enjoyed your trip and even suggest great places nearby to visit, based on analysis of your purchasing patterns.
It's coming - just remember where you read about it first.
Also available at self-service petrol stations
[a1, Nov 02 2022]
||// just remember where you read about it first //
||Genuine People Personalities, predicted by Doug Adams in HHGTTG back in the 1970s.
||"Would you like to purchase a hammer?"
||This would be great if AI were good enough. Alas. There is an uncanny valley of interaction similar to the uncanny valley of appearance. In this valley lies the AI smart enough to know you want to close your account but too stupid to apologize and make amends for the company's mistake. The AI that knows you bought cold medicine but too stupid to have seen your unhappy sniffling daughter in tow when you bought it. Smart enough to know you were at the bar five of the last ten days but too stupid to realize you only bought a couple of beers but this time you're asking for a double whisky and you look like you've had a really bad day. Too stupid to recognize you're busy flipping through your coupon book. That can't see your "Fuck off, this is not the time" face and offers a cheery greeting when it's not wanted. That can't see your arm brace and keeps popping up the "do you need more time?" icon as you struggle to extract your wallet. AI that can get past this uncanny valley will, I think, need to be strong AI.
||"Insult Mode" or "Lying Compliments" are other options: as in "So, your arse isn't fat enough already? - You just had to buy the jumbo sized deep fried pizza!" or "You're so kind to buy that extra large pizza to share with your nice friends and family"