Technology Tidbit

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I have switched to ebooks. I am reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland and although my iPad says I have read just 13% of the book, I know it won’t take me long to reach 100%. The story is pretty good.

As someone who collected bookmarks, I never thought that I could read a book and not need those collectibles. As a kid, I had one with Goofy’s head sticking out of the top. It was my favorite. Well, ebooks remember where you left so no need for that strip of paper, a paper which often had fun quotes and jokes on them. It’s all very disconcerting and wonderful at the same time.

As technology is the future, I have decided to write about emerging trends in this space on a regular basis. For example, this Amazon Go. Isn’t it awesome? Yes it is. If you leave out the implementation hiccups and job loss. From a purely technological standpoint, it is pretty cool.

Also on some level, it’s somewhat intrusive. So, does Amazon now know that it took me fifteen minutes to decide on a packet of chips? Will I now be seeing ads for self-help books like “How to make Best Use of your Time.” I made up the title just now and hopefully there’s no book by that name. #TooLazyToGoogle

We already know that when it comes to Facebook and Google, we are not the customers. We are the products. They need to know my likes and dislikes to help target appropriate ads at me. That’s why they are so nice and free. They are like the friend who always wants to know more about you, every excruciatingly boring detail. They seldom say anything about themselves. If you have a friend like that, please get a restraining order. That’s the definition of a stalker, not a friend.

We humans love to talk about ourselves. That’s why the most common dating advice is listen. And when we talk, the internet listens. Anyway, I digress. Back to this technological breakthrough, this modern marvel, this Amazon Go. Their ads use words like computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. We see people scanning, buying, contemplating, bagging, and walking out. So fast, so devoid of human interaction, and a bit too smug if you ask me. I am not sure how quickly this will catch on, or even if it will at all. The concept is advanced and neat, and I thought, worth sharing.

Of course, we already have self-checkout in various stores, but given the time it takes me to scan and bag, I opt for that lane only when I have a few items. And a bad mood.

With a cartload of groceries and an okay mood, you will see me chatting with the cashier. I like the small talk. I also like the stickers. Of course, I get those only when shopping with my son. Nothing for my shopping acumen or my patience. But lollipops and stickers for the kid who whined at every step. Such is life. #AdultingisHard

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