We thought it was weird that Alexa will soon be able to detect your moods, and when we wrote about the hidden dangers of the Amazon Echo, we never dreamed that Amazon would up the ante by adding a hands-free video camera to the Echo! But that’s exactly what they’ve done with the Amazon Echo Look. And they expect you to use it in your bedroom, or bathroom, or wherever you get dressed, so that your Echo can give you wardrobe feedback with Amazon’s new Alexa-based ‘Style Check’ service.
Now, you may view the Amazon Look as an expensive selfie camera (it can take still images as well, which it darned well ought to be able to do, given how pricey it is, at $199).
But we view it as a serious privacy risk.
The way that it works, according to Amazon, is “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.” (They say that last like it’s a good thing.)
So make no mistake – in order for the camera and Style Check to work, your Echo Look has to upload your video or pictures to Amazon’s servers. Videos and images which will include, we have no doubt, women (and men) in various stages of undress. (“Alexa, do these panties go with this bra?”; “Alexa, do these boxers make my **** look bigger?”)
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And speaking of Amazon Style Check, here’s what they have to say about that:
Style Check keeps your look on point using advanced machine learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists. Submit two photos for a second opinion on which outfit looks best on you based on fit, color, styling, and current trends. Over time, these decisions get smarter through your feedback and input from our team of experienced fashion specialists.
We have just one question: WHO would use this thing?? Privacy considerations aside (and by all means you should not cast them aside), who is going to pay $199.00 to allow an Internet-connected and automatically Internet-uploading camera in their bedroom. Or, anywhere in their house?
Perhaps more to the point, who is going to pay $199.00 for the same service that someone else in your house or office – or a mirror – can provide for free? It seems to us that only those with the most massive lack of self-confidence when it comes to dressing themselves would use the service at all, let alone intentionally overlook the privacy considerations.
In fact, we find the whole thing so preposterous that at first we thought that it might be a late-breaking April Fool’s joke that Amazon had posted on April 1st, but nobody had actually discovered until April 26th. But a search of Archive.org shows that, indeed, the Amazon Echo Look page has only been live since April 26th.
The Amazon Echo Look is presently available only by invitation; if you absolutely have to have one, you can request an invitation here, but before you go, drop us a comment telling us why you absolutely have to have one. Inquiring minds want to understand.
And all that said, we will of course get our hands on one so that we can review it for you. So, here’s, uh, Looking at you, kid.
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