If you’ve ever asked a chatbot a question and received nonsensical gibberish in reply, you already know that “artificial intelligence” isn’t always very intelligent.

And sometimes it isn’t all that artificial either. That’s one of the lessons from Amazon’s recent decision to dial back its much-ballyhooed “Just Walk Out” shopping technology, a seemingly science-fiction-esque software that actually functioned, in no small part, thanks to behind-the-scenes human labor.

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