Amazon’s Alexa just keeps getting smarter. While the term “artificial intelligence” still sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, AI is increasingly common at work and at home. At DOMO, we recently announced two new AI features: The Alert Center, which learns about your data preferences and then serves up the info you need, and Data Science, which helps business decision makers forecast future challenges.
Meanwhile, we’ve also been fascinated by how consumer products companies are bringing AI into our homes. The most recent example is the Echo Look, featuring your new best friend Alexa (sorry Siri!).
The Echo Look combines a camera with AI and machine learning to help you track what you wear, provide style recommendations, and even second opinions on your outfits. It’s like having your best friend live in your closet, but possibly better, because the style suggestions are backed by real data.
How the look works
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Alexa, she is the Echo’s voice-activated assistant. The original Echo has garnered a massive following since its debut in 2014. That’s largely due to the growing number of tasks that you can ask Alexa to do, from checking on the weather to playing your favorite music to ordering you a pizza.
The Echo Look adds a personal stylist to Alexa’s ever-expanding skill set. TechCrunch calls the Echo Look “an interesting and unexpected addition to the company’s wildly successful product line.” The inclusion of a camera means that you can now ask Alexa to take your picture or take a video of your outfit.
You can see the photos on your phone; the device doesn’t have a screen. Amazon notes that you can then save your pics and create a “look book” of your favorite outfits. That’s handy for ensuring you don’t wear the same outfit twice a week (no judgement here). But where the Echo Look gets really interesting is with its Style Check feature.
Where AI and fashion meet.
If you’ve ever dreamed of having Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear tell you whether your outfit works, then Style Check is for you. To use it, you have Alexa take photos of two different outfits.
The camera automatically blurs the background, so that your outfits stand out. Then using “machine learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists,” Amazon reports, Alexa will tell you which outfit is better based on current fashion trends, fit, seasons, and styling. Amazon hasn’t divulged much more about how Style Check determines what’s hot (and what’s not) or identified the fashion stylists that are inputting their recommendations.
But this next iteration of the Echo highlights the rapid evolution of AI technology—and its promise. Consider that Alexa launched three years ago as an assistant who primarily responded to simple commands. Now, the Echo Look constantly learns more about you and combines that information with hard data to actually tell you what to do. As CNN points out, the technology can raise some questions about how much influence machines will have on our personal choices in the future. That’s something to noodle on, but for now, we’ll be happy to know if our favorite outfit is objectively on point.