Sunday, April 30, 2017

Echo of the Future

Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.

— George Orwell, 1984

Amazon this week announced Echo Look, an intelligent camera that uses machine learning to act as a personal style assistant.

Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard.

Powered by Amazon's voice control system Alexa, the Echo Look acts as a "smart mirror," taking full-length photos and videos that let you check your outfit.

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. 

The device also connects to an app with a “style check” feature that lets you compare and rate different outfits.

It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.

Fashion-forward users will love Echo Look. And because cloud-based Alexa is always getting smarter, so will the Echo Look.
You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
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