There’ll be a meter on your bed
That will disclose what everybody knows
Amazon’s creepy plan to put a camera and microphone in every BEDROOM with launch of its £120 Echo Spot ‘smart alarm’
Products like the Amazon Echo are proof of a strange new shift in our culture. Suddenly people are okay with having a device in their homes that they know is listening to them. They’re voluntarily inserting electronic devices into their private lives, which are capable of spying on them and sending the data to private corporations and governments.
At some point our society accepted the idea that trading our privacy for a minor convenience is totally worth it, which is something that would surely be mind-blowing to previous generations. However, that social acceptance is about to be pushed to a whole new level. Today, Amazon introduced a new device to their Echo line of products, called the Echo Look.
It’s basically a camera that you stick in your bathroom or your bedroom or wherever you dress, and it takes full length images of what you’re wearing. It’s being called a “style assistant.” It has a service that “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists,” presumably to give you feedback on what you’re wearing. I’m guessing that at some point, it’ll make suggestions for clothes you should buy on Amazon.
Let that sink in. Amazon thinks that millions of people are going to spend $199 on a camera that is supposed to be placed in their bedrooms, stores images of them, and is probably going to criticize their fashion sense before hawking products to them. I’m not sure what’s scarier. Is it that this thing even exists, or that Amazon’s assumption that millions of people are going to buy this product, is probably correct?
I take the occasion to say again that Leonard Cohen was by no means some kind of progressive, left-wing person. He saw things through a religious prism. Almost every week I find some resonance between one of Cohen’s darker prognostications and what is happening today. “Everybody Knows” was written in 1988.