The Dummies Are Watching You

“It’s spooky,” said Luca Solca, head of luxury goods research at Exane BNP Paribas in London. “You wouldn’t expect a mannequin to be observing you.”

How do you feel about stores using mannequins with cameras embedded in their eyes to profile customers? The cameras use the same facial recognition technology used by police to identify criminals at the airport, and records the age, gender, and race of shoppers in the store. One clothing company used the data to introduce a children’s line after it discovered that there were a lot of children in the store during the afternoons. Another store hired Chinese-speaking staff after learning that one-third of shoppers who came in after 4 p.m. were Asian (and all Asians speak Chinese, of course!).

Am I creeped out by the idea of a bionic mannequin profiling me? Um, yes! At the very least, I’d like to be told that the mannequins are watching me, and that they have relationships with Andrew McCarthy at night.

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