New AR Tools Can Have A Dark Side

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At the company's MARS 2019 event Amazon showed off a number of new products and sefrvices. Amongst those were AR tech that lets people try clothes on virtually. Dubbed StyleSnap respectively, the new tool sounds like a good idea but there may be a dark side to these emerging technologies.

Last year, L'Oreal acquired a tech called ModiFace that allows people to use a picture of their own face to try different lipsticks and other cosmetics. That's fine but there are other apps that use software to make other changes to your face, like the shape of your lips and removing blemishes. And there's a growing body of research that suggests this is leading people towards body dysmorphia issues.

There are also reports that people are applying Snapchat and Instagram filters and using those as their idealised images that they show to cosmetic surgeons when looking at procedures to alter their appearance.

And while it hasn't happened yet, it's possible someone could take StyleSnap and use it to not only show you how that new shirt or pants will look but how you might look if you were a size smaller, or if some part of your body was larger or smaller.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting Amazon is doing anything wrong. They've created a technology that could have broad application. I can imagine it being used to help patients see how different prosthetics look. But the businesses that use this tech to sell more products need to be responsible and ensure they do what they can to not draw people towards issues of negative body image.

There's a huge upside to the adoption of these new technologies but it's important to take a breath and think about the consequences of how these innovations are used.


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