Regular NoodleMac readers will appreciate my penchant for finding privacy and security holes here and there in modern technology gadgets. Apple’s devices don’t bother me as much or catch my hair on fire as often as devices from Google or Amazon. The latest from the latter is so bad it can see you naked. And tell Amazon what it found while it was looking at you.
This new Echo device is called the Echo Look. Just think of an Echo with a camera. Yes. Alexa can see you now. All of you. And make comments on what you’re wearing. At least, that’s what Amazon’s promotional material says. I can’t be the only Apple customer who can see a problem with this, right?
With Echo Look, you can take full-length photos of your daily look using just your voice. The built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera let you blur the background to make your outfits pop, giving you clean, shareable photos. Get a live view in the Echo Look app or ask Alexa to take a short video so you can see yourself from every angle. View recommendations based on your daily look and use Style Check for a second opinion on what looks best. And, because Alexa is built in the cloud, she’s always getting smarter—and so will Echo Look.
On the surface, this could be a good idea. There are plenty of people who buy clothing and accessories from Amazon, and using Prime means you’re down to a single click to get what you think might look good and could even fit your frame. Echo Look lets you take full-length photos or short videos so you can view your outfit.
Echo Look has a feature called Style Check which supposedly uses advanced machine learning algorithms and advice from supposedly human fashion specialists (which, for all we know, could be the night shift in an Amazon warehouse somewhere). Get two photos and Echo Look will tell you which one Amazon thinks is the one for you.
Of course, over time, Echo Look captures plenty of photos and videos and all that goes into Amazon’s digital cloud dossier about your personal dressing habits, what kind of furniture you have, how healthy you look, and whether or not you need to exercise more.
Notice the promiximity of Echo Look in the closet? This must be the battery powered version because there’s no wire.
Here’s where I see this going. For some of us, those with what remains of a paranoid gene, will find it creepy and scream to high heaven about the dangers of Amazon in your life. Others will find Echo Look to be cute. Laughable. But cute. And use it anyway. And there’s a whole generation of millennials and under who already may be under Amazon’s spell and they’ll lap it up like the shopping lapdogs they are.
In time, what we non-millennials think won’t matter because we’ll be in the vast minority and Amazon will have purchased Apple and Alexa will live inside every device that uses electricity and Skynet will take over the world but you won’t know it because shopping is fun.
Amazon has a cute, clever, unassuming device that works like Echo but captures photos and videos and makes fashion statements and can order products for you while it collects personal and private information to help you choose.
What could go wrong?