Amazon’s newly-announced Echo Look uses the company’s Alexa AI to take photos and videos of you and make judgements on outfits.
But experts have expressed concern over the privacy issues surrounding a camera that regularly takes and stores pictures of users and their homes.
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Amazon has released the Echo Look, which is an Alexa-powered camera that takes full-length photos and short videos of you and your home. Experts have warned that many Echo Look customers do not fully understand the data that they are handing to Amazon
Amazon’s Echo Look smart camera is priced at $200.
It is not yet available to buy in the UK, and those who want to buy it in the US can do so on an invite-only basis.
Powered by Alexa, the device takes full-length photos and videos from all angles to help users pick the right outfit.
The app lets users create a personal lookbook, browse your outfits, and use computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop.
The new feature, called Style Check, uses advanced machine learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists to let users know whether their choice in clothing was a do or a don’t.
One researcher warned that many Echo Look customers do not fully understand the data that they are handing to Amazon.
‘A lot of consumers see the convenience and don’t think about the long-term records that are being kept,’ Professor Peter Swire, who specialises in privacy law at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, told Wired.
‘Amazon doesn’t say anywhere in any kind of clear language what the risks are,’ Dr Susan Liautaud, an ethicist at Stanford University, told Wired.
‘Risks more generally about what it might accidentally pick up, and the privacy risk.’
As machine-learning technology like Amazon Look improves, one researcher told Wired that companies need to change the way they pass key information to customers.
‘If people don’t know what is recorded, or when it is recorded, and what information is recorded, then it brings more anxiety and more questions,’ said Professor Louis-Philippe Morency, a machine learning expert at Carnegie Mellon University.
‘The challenge for us moving forward is to be more transparent, to be able to explain better what data is recorded.’
Amazon recently added its Alexa AI to the Echo Look this week, which takes full-length photos and short videos of your outfit from every angle.
It helps you create a ‘personal lookbook’ and designs shareable photos.
There is also a service, called Style Check, that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists to give you a second opinion on your clothing choices.
But all of this interaction creates a lot of data, including images of users’ faces and the inside of their homes.
The Echo Look, which is priced at $199.99, is currently available by invitation only – but users are able to request an invitation to purchase the device.
Users can take photos using a built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera that lets them blur out the background so their outfits are front and center. The app lets users create a personal lookbook and browse your outfits
Users can take photos using a built-in LED lighting and depth-sensing camera that lets them blur out the background so their outfits are front and center – resulting in clean and shareable photos.
And they can also prompt Alexa to take a live video of them from every angle.
Consumers just say ‘Alexa, take a picture’ or ‘Alexa, take a video’, and the device will get to work.
‘Take full-length photos or short videos so you can see a 360-degree view of your outfit,’ Amazon wrote in the product’s description.
‘Use the app to create a personal lookbook, browse your outfits, and use computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop.’
Style Check is similar to Amazon’s ‘Outfit Compare’ feature that was added to the app in March – it gives US Prime members fashion advice. Users can send two images of themselves wearing different outfits and receive advice on which to wear minutes later