A tale from the near future: how clothes will be sold

Created: 2016/03/06 16:50:56+0000

One day soon you will walk down the street and a camera will see you. It will pass the image to a facial recognition service and identify you, probably from social media posts. It will reach out to another service to identify the brands and articles of clothes you are wearing. It will package the results and post them on a marketplace. Algorithms written by or for advertising and clothing companies will bid against each other for the package. The winner will pass the package to a recommendation engine that will judge what you are wearing. A few minutes after passing the camera your phone will buzz. You look and see that you have received an email suggesting a scarf that would go with your outfit or a shirt that would work a little better. This will be the first moment a person becomes involved.

What you choose to do next will be recorded and either kept secret or sold on. You could ignore it or there may be a button to let you buy it with a single click. Either way your response will be used to inform algorithms on how aggressively they should bid next time your name comes up.

There is some speculation in the post but not a great deal. Look into how the fashion industry is already using technology, augmented reality mirrors that allow people to try out clothes and makeup virtually. How online advertising can be sold with real-time bidding. The spreading use of facial recognition.

It's both exciting and a little frightening. The promise of a frictionless future goes hand in hand with extensive user tracking and detailed evaluation.