In the Forbes article, Robots are Taking the Store at Kroger, Walmart and Whole Foods. What Could Go Wrong?, contributor Bryan Pearson writes about “how the grocery industry is stepping up its investment in shopper-facing robot technology ambitiously, and evidently with much confidence, as it strives to offset the costs of online delivery and pressure from non-supermarket competition.”

Pearson cites a study from Juniper Research outlining plans by retailers to invest an estimated $3.6 billion in artificial intelligence technology globally. Many of the plans for grocery store AI include having them work in warehouses such as Amazon, with an estimated 45,000 robots eventually working in its warehouses and distribution centers.

Kroeger, which plans to add 20 robot-automated warehouses in the U.S., will also have robots working directly with shoppers.

Robots working in Walmart will scan and sort inventory, and Giant Food Stores will feature a robot named Marty (featured in the video above) who “scopes the aisles for hazards such as spills and runs price checks.”

BTW, googly-eyed Marty is getting mixed reviews that range from creepy to cool…

texas jennsaw massacre on Twitter

Apparently my supermarket has just gotten a robot. Its name is Marty. It detects spills. Doesn’t clean them, just starts shouting if it sees one. https://t.co/xnRuV8LBCU

There’s always ‘robot life problems…’

farnazIr on Twitter

The other day, we heard the googly eyed and friendly stop& shop robot alerting (in two different languages) of a found hazard! We braved it out to find out what this hazard was: a bottle cap! #robotLifeProblems https://t.co/h965nscTy7

And maybe something about being followed by a googly-eyed robot in the grocery store is just a little, well, creepy.

meaghanbrophy on Twitter

Met Marty the robot in my local Stop & Shop last night. He followed me around the store. Still not sure how to feel about it. ? #retail

So what will possibly go wrong? Pearson suggests that three potential fails could be: they creep out shoppers, they don’t always save the right face, and they could take your job.

And what could possibly go right? Pearson points out three potential benefits: they’ll get the price right, they’ll show you the way, and they’ll do the grunt work without complaining.

So brace yourself, whether you find them creepy or cool, they’re coming…

Like what you read? Check out more from my WorkingNation blog, The Looming Robot.

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