When Amazon teased its automated convenience store, Amazon Go, late last year, reactions ranged from fascination with the new technology to mortification at AI’s continuing takeover of the workplace. Using machine learning, cameras, and other sensors, Amazon would track what people take off shelves and charge them for what they walk out with—no cashier needed. While Amazon Go has been held up with knotty technical glitches, along stumbled in Bodega, a kiosk startup for convenience items that was instantly despised as an existential threat to corner-store institutions in cities like New York.

Now, into that charged environment steps San Francisco startup Poly, one of several companies developing a camera system and machine-learning models to track shoppers’ purchases. Poly gave Fast Company an exclusive preview of the technology, which is essentially Amazon Go for the rest of retail. The company has signed on one “big chain” retailer for a pilot project, says cofounder Alberto Rizzoli. The client doesn’t want to be named until the pilot begins in the coming months, says Rizzoli, although he mentioned having meetings with 7-Eleven.

For inspiration, Rizzoli looks not just to Silicon Valley but to the Tuscan seashore, where he shopped at stabilimento balenare—seaside bodegas—during family holidays. “What I would do, I would grab a pack of popcorn and I would just show it to the clerk … and she would just write it down on a piece of paper,” he says. At the end of the vacation, Rizzoli settled his tab for popcorn and whatever else he had picked up. “God knows how many lira I got scammed…

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