I haven't seen them yet because they're currently being test-marketed in Cincinnati, but I AM curious about these new Kroger smart carts.

The brand name is "KroGO" and they're called "Caper Carts" because of the company--Caper, Inc.--with which Kroger has partnered.

I'm not sure they're a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere as a reason for this new technology. But it really sounds fascinating...with an asterisk, and we'll get to that.

According to Supermarket News, the carts will function as a sort of "personal shopper" in that, while you're shopping, they'll have screens that will offer shopping list recommendations and promotional offers. The carts will also allow shoppers to scan items and pay AT THE CART. No checkout lines.

Here's a demonstration:

Now, to the asterisk.

This is all being accomplished due to AI (artificial intelligence). I have to admit that dabbling in AI makes me a little nervous. And, hey, I'm not manufacturing this uncertainty. The late genius Stephen Hawking warned us about it.

Don't get me wrong. Technology is GREAT. I embrace it. It's made our lives easier and has given us more time to do other things. It's just that it seems so "science-fictiony." The uncertainty of it, I guess, is where I hesitate.

But, I guess I might have felt like that in the past about other giant leaps forward, too, and shouldn't jump to conclusions. Frankly, it DOES sound fascinating and, well, like a great big TOY that I can't wait to get my hands on.

Who knows if or when we'll get them around here, but I will look forward to trying it out. But if those carts start telling me things about myself that not even my closest friends and family members know, well then I'll have to rethink my enthusiasm.

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