CNBC has an interview with Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz in which he says that he can see a future in which his coffee shop chain will be “cashless … that time is nearer than you think.”

However, he also said that a priority for the company is to continue to focus on its people as a differential advantage. "I don't see a day where artificial intelligence or robotics is going to replace the humanity of Starbucks,” he says. "The equity of the brand is based on that intimacy between our customers and our people. That's why we invest so much in our people … If you don't put your people first, and invest in your people, I don't think you can have that customer experience that customers are going to want to be attracted to and loyal to.”

KC's View: The way I see it, most retailers will eventually be cashless. The degree to which they can retain their personality and humanity, well, that’s sort of up to them.