Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Whoa! Technology is SMART!

Braved the U-scan machines at Fred Meyer, as I occasionally do, and at times the system asked me just to put an item -- an unlabeled item like the Walla Walla sweet onion I'd gotten -- on the scanner. After a few moments, "ONION" appeared as the item on the screen. To be exact, "YELLOW ONION 0.68 lb, 0.46," as 46 cents was the cost.

I hadn't put in that it was an onion yet.

Before, I'd looked through the options -- choose item by picture, choose an item not pictured -- and not seen Walla Wallas as an option. That's when the system asked for a look. Somehow it recognized the onion.

How did that work? Is there a video camera and a visual database of unlabeled items that the system uses as a backup?

Maybe. It also meant that I didn't need help from an attendant, though the U-Scan seemed to want to send an attendant to me. (It told me a couple of times to wait for an assistant, then reverted back to the "Scan Next Item" step so I could keep going.)

Should I be worried about the intelligence of a U-Scan?

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