…a new breed of automated seller has smarts, too–these machines can detect your age and gender and offer drink suggestions accordingly.
Run by a company under the JR East railway group, the "next-generation drink machines" are imposing enough, but fortunately they don't talk to you. They have cameras that use facial-recognition algorithms to match customers' faces to a database of people types.
When you stand in front of the machine, it takes a second to process your image. It will then recommend some of the roughly 35 drinks displayed on its large touch-screen panel by showing little cartoonish speech bubbles next to them…
At one machine on the main concourse of Shinagawa, I saw a Japanese businessman being offered Coke as a suggested beverage, while a Japanese woman was offered a water-like vitamin drink.