Facial Recognition Technology Can Minimize Racial Discrimination Against Shoppers

Daniel Castro Michael McLaughlin December 28, 2018
December 28, 2018

In an op-ed for InsideSources, Daniel Castro and Michael McLaughlin explain how the rise of cashierless stores, enabled by facial recognition technology, may help reduce racial discrimination while shopping. Stores such as Amazon Go, one of Amazon’s cashierless stores, use cameras, computer vision technology, and sensors to track who takes what items off shelves. Many retailers are moving in this direction, with over 150 companies, including 7-Eleven and two of China’s largest e-commerce businesses, Alibaba and JD.com, are using experimenting with using facial recognition and other biometrics to make their stores cashierless. As a result, store employees are not looking for potential shoplifters because the technology automatically charges customers for what they take when they leave the store. Without a physical checkout, former CNET senior associate editor Ashlee Clark Thompson, an African-American journalist that visited Amazon Go, wrote: “No one cared what I was doing. Is this what it feels like to shop when you're not black?”