Today in Unnecessary Innovations, the Amazon Echo Look will take photos and record your outfits, then give you merciless style advice.
If you wanted a home robot that will photograph or video your outfit(s) and then tell you how you look, boy, does Amazon have the gadget for you. The Echo Look, intended to help you choose your outfit and look good for a retail price of $200, comes equipped with a camera and the potential to provide Amazon with a bottomless supply of data.
Here’s how it works. You set up the Echo Look in your bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet or anywhere that you could also place a mirror. Then, once dressed, you ask Alexa to take photo or a video. Then, you either ask Alexa what she thinks (?) or you proceed to try on multiple outfits for her to document. (It’s unclear if you have to tell her to stop photographing between outfits.) Then, Alexa sends those photos to your phone, to your friends, to wherever you want.
In theory, this is supposed to help you be your most stylish self. In addition to providing you – and Amazon, and anyone hacking you – with multiple angles of your short-list of outfits, the Echo Look also offers something called Style Check. Style Check is “a new service that combines machine-learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists.” This includes advice and, uh, feedback specific to your outfits.
According to CNET,
For Style Check, a user can submit two photos for advice on which outfit looks best, based on fit, color, styling and current trends. Amazon says that over time these second opinions will get smarter thanks to users’ feedback and input from Amazon’s fashion specialists.
Presumably, Amazon will eventually start tapping your own purchase history. After all, if they achieve even some of their fashion e-commerce aspirations, they will have quite the range of data on your style choices.
In fact, just how much data the Echo Look could provide Amazon is astounding, particularly when you consider the ways they can encourage your purchases. Consider this picture, painted by Patrick Moorhead at Forbes,
Remember, it captures and runs machine learning against everything it sees:
Clothing: “would you like to look at scarves that would look great with that sweater?”
Visualization: “would you like to see how that sweater would look with those pants?”
Fitting: “put on a tight t-shirt and we will scan in your body to make exact sizing measurements”
Weight: “interested in weight-loss books or exercise tapes?”
Pregnancy: “need diapers or a crib in the future?”
Sleep: Sees the bags under your eyes… “have you tried the new MyPillow.com?”
Age: “did you know Ibuprofen is good for osteoporosis?”
Teeth: sees my crooked teeth…. “did you know seven local orthodontists have specials going on for full braces for $1,000?”
Makeup: sees my age spots …. “have you heard about Vanishcream?”
Cologne: sees my cheap bottle on the counter and suggests something new to buy from Amazon
Toiletries: sees the tube of Crest toothpaste…. “have you tried Colgate’s new Beamwhite toothpaste?”
This kind of wanton data use is exactly what recent research suggests is so disconcerting to many people about e-commerce. But if you have already accepted our AI overlords and wish for their fashion advice, you may still have to wait. The Amazon Echo Look is available by invite – extended on a rolling basis – only.