Skip to Content
Uncategorized

The Machines of Walmart Have Had a Banner Year

December 21, 2017

It has been Walmart’s year of emerging technologies, and so far, it seems to be paying off.

In 2017, shelf-scanning robots began patrolling the retail giant’s aisles, VR was used for employee training and tested for digital shopping, and Walmart partnered with Google to use AI to bolster online shopping. 

As if that weren’t enough, Recode reported Wednesday that the company is now developing a cashier-less store—sound like anyone we know? (Cough, “Amazon’s Grocery Store Doesn’t Have a Single Checkout,” cough). Referred to as Project Kepler, the technology to create the store is being developed through its startup incubator, Store No. 8.

Investors, at least, seem quite happy with the focus on technological innovation, as Walmart’s shares jumped to an all time high last month after third quarter earnings were published last month.

Of course, the past year has been kind to Amazon and the corporate world in general, so it’s difficult to say whether Walmart’s happy returns are the result of its investments in cutting-edge technology. Many of the moves are, after all, meant to pay dividends down the road, rather than in the short term. The raft of whizz-bang announcements certainly attracted its fair share of headlines, though—so in 2018, it’ll be interesting to see if the company for which the term “big box store” was basically invented has truly pulled off a technological transformation.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This grim but revolutionary DNA technology is changing how we respond to mass disasters

After hundreds went missing in Maui’s deadly fires, rapid DNA analysis helped identify victims within just a few hours and bring families some closure more quickly than ever before. But it also previews a dark future marked by increasingly frequent catastrophic events.

What are AI agents? 

The next big thing is AI tools that can do more complex tasks. Here’s how they will work.

What is AI?

Everyone thinks they know but no one can agree. And that’s a problem.

What’s next for bird flu vaccines

If we want our vaccine production process to be more robust and faster, we’ll have to stop relying on chicken eggs.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.