Since its launch many of us have become familiar with Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service. Built in the cloud, Alexa is a device that gets smarter the more you use it. By adapting to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and preferences, Alexa has the ability to answer questions, play music, hear the news, get weather and traffic reports and control your smart home. Recently, Amazon upgraded their device with a camera and introduced us to Alexa Echo Look.
Only $20 more expensive than the camera-free Echo speaker, Amazon’s Alexa Echo Look is priced at an affordable $200. With the ability to act as a kind of smart mirror, the device has the power to “make sure your outfits pop.” Promising to provide users with an impressive voice assistant, I must admit that Amazon’s IoT breakthroughs have definitely gotten us, hook line and sinker.
“A smart mirror with the power to make sure your outfit pop.”
Along with this fashionable innovation, the company also introduced a service for the Echo Look app called “Style Check,” which uses machine learning and tips from fashion experts to offer customers style recommendations. The concept is similar to the company’s Outfit Compare feature in the Amazon shopping app.
As exciting as it all is, privacy is an issue. On this Peter Swire, who specializes in privacy law at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business shared with Wired, “A lot of consumers see the convenience and don’t think about the long-term records that are being kept.” His point got us thinking. Amazon’s nifty gadget not only keeps a record of the audio taken from our Alexa requests, but it presumably also takes a ton of data that includes our body and face, and whatever objects happen to be in the background. This means that there is an overwhelming potential for invasive data collection, a problem that can only be resolved when Amazon introduces a clearer policy on how it might prevent that. So be sure to read the small print before investing.
Privacy issues aside, I am quite excited about the Amazon Alexa Echo Look. It has the kind of technology destined to be applied to more facets of our lives. Echo Look not only gives us a glimpse into what the future of personal styling could look like, it also allows consumers the chance to experience how machine learning works when it comes to fashion. Which leaves us to question, are we ready to invite this kind of AI into our lives?