While the devices we rely on today may seem commonplace, it would have been considered science fiction just a few years ago – be it taking calls on a smartwatch, asking a speaker in your home to play one of millions of songs, or having robotic lawnmowers that quietly cut our grass.

So, when you hear about how we’ll be performing one of our most common tasks in the near future – shopping – don’t write it off as fantasy, because it’ll be here before you know it.

If you thought it was high-tech to tap your phone or smartwatch to buy something, wait until you get a load of the following half-dozen scenarios to roll out over the next few years.

Stores with no checkout

Talk about “convenience” stores. As we saw earlier this year with the launch of the first Amazon Go store in Seattle, waiting in line to pay for items may be a thing of the past.

Thanks to hundreds of cameras and sensors, and smart artificial intelligence (A.I.) behind the scenes, you can grab items off the shelf and simply walk out when you’re done – and your account will be automatically billed, followed by an emailed receipt.

Even if you place items back on the shelf, the technology will keep track and adjust your order accordingly. Just last week, Bloomberg reported that Amazon is planning to open 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021, while Microsoft is also said to be readying cashier-less stores.

Virtual shopping

Say you don’t want to fight the crowds to visit a supermarket or shopping mall, or if you’re physically unable to do so. Well, you may be donning a lightweight virtual reality (VR) headset at home and simulating a shopping experience.

As demonstrated in a recent Tesco concept video out of the UK, you’ll walk the virtual aisles from a first-person perspective and can even virtually touch and manipulate items with your hands, such as taking an item off the shelf to inspect it closer, before placing it in a virtual cart.

You may be able to virtually shop alongside an online friend in real-time and chat at the same time. The items you’ve selected will then be delivered to your door.

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