Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Amazon Go & automation

The Amazon Go store concept is an interesting innovation in retail. Following the opening of Amazon's Seattle store, I noticed some websites stating their fear for the future of retail in the loss of human interaction and more importantly jobs. The latter issue of job loss is common sense, in market economies, as wage labour is ascribed ultimate value as a means to a living and social standing - it doesn't matter if many jobs are actually needed.

In my view, automated technologies are just material means that make adaptation to our natural order less dependent on direct human activity. Thus technologies offer positive possibilities in freeing human activity and resources in other directions. The real issue is the value orientation that informs how these technologies are used. In the case of Amazon Go, these technologies operate in a market economy centered on exponential growth. In contrast, in the context of mutual alternatives the use of these technologies could mean a positive re-thinking of social goals in ways that are responsive to more human possibilities of living.

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