The age of artificial intelligence (AI) is here and will change they way we experience art,
fashion, and design. Experts in the field of AI claim it is about to make the single biggest
change to humanity. With essentially unlimited applications of its use, we seek to
understand what the next 10 years look like in fashion and technology.
At an international conference for machine learning, computer vision and other cognitive
computational technologies, a team of European researchers presented an algorithm that,
quite incredibly, had the ability to predict consumer trends. The predictive mechanisms are
crafted from the ability to process thousands upon thousands of pictures in mere seconds,
as the computer essentially trains itself to see and infer patterns from the images. This
particular model analyzed well-known fashion bloggers’ Instagram posts to generate its
fashion forecasting. One example of this technology use is for apps that take an image of
an outfit and link each article of clothing to an online retailer selling a similar product. Just
imagine what other potential products could be made from the enormous amount of data
that is posted online.
Globally, 1.8 billion images a day are uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and
Snapchat (Edwards). Dr. Fei-Fei Li, an expert in artificial intelligence at Stanford’s AI Lab
and Google Cloud, explains by “using easily obtainable visual data, we can learn so much
about our communities, on par with some information that takes billions of dollars to obtain
via census surveys. More importantly, this research opens up more possibilities of virtually
continuous study of our society using sometimes cheaply available visual data” (Myers). In
other words, social media has given us a great gift, which is an endless supply of training
data we can use to better understand the world. There is a whole world of information just
waiting at our fingertips.
Perhaps one of the most startling discoveries of AI’s computational power was found by
researchers at Rutgers University. They designed an experiment which tested peoples
ability to identify a painting made by humans, or one that had been generated by a
computer. During an exhibit at the world-famous event, Art Basel, the researchers
displayed paintings created by their algorithms and asked attendees to comment on the
pieces. “Since the dawn of Artificial Intelligence, scientists have been exploring the
machine’s ability to generate human-level creative products such as poetry, stories, jokes,
music, paintings, etc., as well as creative problem solving,” the researchers wrote in their
paper. “The results [of our study] show that human subjects could not distinguish art
generated by the proposed system from art generated by contemporary artists and shown
in top art fairs.” And the most petrifying find “is when respondents were asked to rate
how intentional, visually structured, communicative, and inspiring the images were. They
‘rated the images generated by [the computer] higher than those created by real artists’”
Given how powerful these tools have become, you might be wondering what use it will
provide in the future. For one, marketers will be able to fine-tune their campaigns by using
something known as micro-targeting. This area that is just beginning to be explored. By
using “like” data sold by Facebook, some companies have been able to collect
“psychographics” on targeted clients that use machine learning to tailor unique
advertisements. Even just staying logged into Facebook will allow your data to be collected
as you browse to other sites. If you’ve done any recent online shopping, you will notice
more Facebook advertisements for items you’ve looked at previously.
As for advancements in fashion, there are many projects using AI to augment personal
styling. From San Francisco, data scientists at Amazon are teaching algorithms about
fashion, style, and trends, and then request the AI to create their own trendy outfits based
off its lesson. Amazon also extended its product line with Echo Look, the hands-free
camera and style assistant. Using newly developed services, Style Check, your outfit can
be critiqued by Alexa (Cakebread).
Not only will the way our perception of fashion change, we will also experience it
differently. Imagine every device you’ve ever owned connected to the internet on a global
grid. This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) attempts to accomplish and has been present
in shopping centers for decades through the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID)
tags. Lululemon is an example of a well-known brand using this technology and has
connected and tagged over 3.5 million garments to this system, allowing sales associates
to track a specific item’s location and inventory level. The company has found this helps
customers find products faster than ever before. Besides improved customer satisfaction
ratings, it also increased Lululemon’s inventory accuracy to 98%. (McClain). Nordstrom,
too, uses IoT in their fitting rooms to offer new exciting customer experience. Customers
are invited to engage with “smart mirrors” – touchscreen, interactive, and responsive
mirrors that detect the RFID signals from merchandise brought into the fitting room to
display product information on material, color options and size availability (Duryee).
Through the mirror interface, customers may stay connected with associates to retrieve
items or closeout their purchase. Within the next 10 years, retailers will continue to
revolutionize the shopping experience to drive shoppers back in traditional brick and mortars.
Technology is a tool to augment our experiences. These are just a few trends in fashion
and art that will occur in the next 10 years. The most important takeaway from these
cases is to understand how you can harness it as a tool to expand your brand, company,
or personal style.
Cakebread, Caroline. “Amazon Is Looking to Use AI to Become a Fashion
Maven.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 24 Aug. 2017,
Cascone, Sarah. “AI-Generated Art Now Looks More Human Than Work at Art Basel,
Study Says.” Artnet News, Artnet News, 12 July 2017, news.artnet.com/art-world/rutgersartificial-
Duryee, Tricia. “Nordstrom Partners with EBay to Test Futuristic Fitting Rooms, Complete
with Touchscreen Mirror.”GeekWire, 25 Nov. 2014, www.geekwire.com/2014/nordstrompartners-
Edwards, Jim. “PLANET SELFIE: We’re Now Posting A Staggering 1.8 Billion Photos
Every Day.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 28 May 2014,
McClain, Alan. “Is RFID Finally Ready for Prime Time at Retail? – RetailWire.” RetailWire,
6 May 2016, www.retailwire.com/discussion/is-rfid-finally-ready-for-prime-time-at-retail/.
Myers, Andrew. “A Neighborhood’s Cars Indicate Its Politics.” Stanford News, 28 Nov.