Walmart has a vision for its store of the future.
Sure, it includes the kinds of things you'd expect — clean floors, well-stocked aisles, and plenty of shopping carts at the entrance — but the remarkable part of this vision is how the retail giant plans to monitor all of those things: using an omnipresent artificial intelligence.
In 2017, Walmart launched Kepler, a team focused on reimagining the shopping experience using the latest tech innovations. A small Walmart in Levittown, New York serves as the team's testing laboratory.
According to TechCrunch, Kepler's next project will be the creation of a Intelligent Retail Lab right inside the Levittown location. This lab will explore how AI could help retail associates quickly identify spills, misplaced items, and cart shortage — basically, if we read things right, laying the groundwork for a retail panopticon.
Walmart isn't ready to launch the IRL just yet, but it has already started installing the hardware and software for it.
Once the lab is up and running, Walmart can use what it learns from the Levittown location to inform how it incorporates AI into its other stores. Eventually, such systems could help the retail giant improve the shopping experience for customers across the globe — or track everything about their shoppers like Walmart's online competitors.
READ MORE: Walmart Is Building an AI Lab Inside One of Its Stores [TechCrunch]
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