David Bowie died, then Brexit, then Trump – now Amazon has launched a shop where you can just take stuff off the shelves and walk off.
When will the madness of 2016 end?
If it's all getting a bit much, chill out and read our handy guide to the new Amazon Go shop.
I've seen the video. Are people stealing from Amazon?
No, don't worry. It's just the format of the shop. People will be able pick up items and these will be billed to their Amazon Prime account automatically.
If you haven't seen the video, here it is:
Is it simple, like the ad says?
No. Forget baskets, and baskets on wheels (trolleys, invented 1937. Still useful). There's machine learning and AI involved in this, which are "weaved into the fabric of the store". We don't know what that means, but hopefully it doesn't mean the walls will talk to you. Anyway, it's complicated, and we should like that.
Key complicated things involved include:
- Computer vision
- Deep learning algorithms (no shallow computers here, people)
- Sensor fusion
But because Amazon is a no-nonsense tech company, it's called all of it "just walk out technology".
Where is the shop?
It's in Seattle so you probably can't go right now.
When does it open?
It will be open early next year, so even if you are free, you will have to wait.
Does Amazon have expansion plans?
No. Amazon does not.
Just kidding, it's Amazon, it wants to take over the world. And this shop is no exception. There are some leaked documents suggesting Amazon wants to open 2,000 of the stores in the US (none for the UK, sorry).
Is Amazon saying boastful things about its new initiative, like all the US tech companies do?
Yes, yes it is. The tech giant said the service was "the world's most advanced shopping technology".
How big is it and what can I buy there?
There's 1,800 square feet in Amazon's new see-it-take-it shop and it will sell most food items apparently. But you can't buy those things, because it's in Seattle (see above).
Why is it in Seattle?
Probably because Amazon is based in Seattle. I know, selfish, right?