Behold the Amazon Echo Look, which the company is billing as a "hands-free camera style assistant," but which could, before you know it, end up being a creepy talking robot that watches your every move. Trying not to make any reference to 2001's HAL, Wired delves into the troubling possibilities presented by the intersection of machine learning, corporate greed, and a camera you allow to take photographs of you in your bedroom every day. "Previously, Alexa lived inside speakers. Now, it’s in a camera," Wired writes. "That progression belies just how much more the Echo Look could know about you than other Alexa hardware does especially if Amazon ever unleashes the full power of its machine learnings smarts."
On its surface, for now, the Echo Look can simply be called upon to photograph you in a few different outfits, tell you what works best, and offer advice based on the fashion advice of style experts. Then, of course, it can suggest clothing for you to buy on Amazon.
For the fashion-conscious and insecure, Amazon explains, "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." And then it's the Style Check feature that offers advice on which outfit to choose based on "current trends."
But, Wired asks, what if the Echo Look's mandate ever changes, and it notices, through its machine-learning smarts, other things about your living space, or things you like based on the posters on your wall. The example they give, based on spotting a KISS poster, some blue bed sheets, and an empty toilet paper roll: "it could use all of that to try to sell you toilet paper, bedsheets, and a Gene Simmons bobblehead doll."
But what happens when Alexa sees something she can't unsee, or sees something you didn't want her or Amazon to see? What happens when Alexa starts observing your moods, or your drug problem, and starts telling you to go to therapy?
Also, are you really going to entrust your fashion choices to a robot who's just trying to sell you stuff?