Amazon Halo

Alexa, Am I Too Fat? Amazon Wants to Help

Are we ready for our Alexa smart speaker to tell us exactly how much body fat we have? Just in case we are, Amazon has some new technology to take us in that direction. It’s called Halo. Now for only $65 (discounted from a list price $99.99) we can get a smart band, an app, and analytics. There’s no screen on that band – too distracting. Instead, it just hugs our wrist, measures our movements, heart rate, and the tone of our voice. That’s right – Halo can let us know if the tone of our voice is annoying. Or bored, or simply rude.

But wait, it gets better. With the app, we can take pics of ourselves in minimal clothing and it will tell us our body composition. Amazon claims it’s “nearly twice as accurate” as home smart scales. It builds a 3D model of our body let’s us track our progress in reshaping it. Wheee!

Earn That Health Halo

The branding is interesting. Certainly, food marketers have figured out that putting a health halo on their products is a good thing. So why shouldn’t people who want to feel virtuous plunk down $99 plus $4 per month to have Alexa – or rather Halo – tell them how fat they’re not.

The technology reviewer for the Washington Post, Geoffrey Fowler, is not totally convinced. He calls it “creepy” and outlines three issues:

– Mirror, mirror on the wall, Amazon thinks you’re fat.

– The artificial intelligence would like you to stop sounding overwhelmed now.

– That nagging voice inside your head is now on your wrist.

He seems to have some good points to make. Nonetheless, he’s waiting eagerly in line to get one of these things.

Does Halo Like Our Tone of Voice?

Perhaps the most interesting claim for this band is that it help us with relationship health. This band will listen in all day long and then tell us how we may sound to others. So now we don’t need a partner or loved one to tell us to stop being so annoying. Amazon can do it for us.

Underneath all of this is a simple premise. If we’re healthy (and wealthy enough to spend our money on this gizmo), we’ve made good choices. So we’re a good person. We get a halo. For a certain segment of the population, it will have great appeal.

For others, it’s poppycock.

P.S. When we ask our Google assistant if we’re too fat, she knows the right answer. “I like you the way you are.”

Click here for more on the Halo by Amazon and here for more perspective from Fowler’s review.

Halo Band and App, product illustration © Amazon

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August 28, 2020

3 Responses to “Alexa, Am I Too Fat? Amazon Wants to Help”

  1. August 28, 2020 at 11:33 am, Mary-Jo said:

    Why couldn’t they come up with a gizmo that could provide some great CBT instead an AI armchair critic?!

  2. August 28, 2020 at 2:57 pm, Debera Gau said:

    Pretty sure I won`t be earning or getting a halo any time soon. I have however earned my wings and am flying right on by this opportunity, I know when I sound annoyed, it’s because I am. Seriously with all that technology can do this is what they are selling? I invested too much time and energy to develop skills to avoid self shaming, this would be too great a set back. Thanks but no thanks

    • August 28, 2020 at 4:04 pm, Ted said:

      What she said. I’m with Deb.