Author: Aditi Chandrasekar
It is hard to believe that there was a time when e-commerce seemed like a shaky concept-today, online shopping is the way to go. Retailers and brands are pushing in enormous amounts of labour and money in digital marketing, and it is only increasing by the day. Vue.ai, an artificial intelligence company in the retail industry, launched VueModel in 2018. VueModel is the world’s first artificial intelligence-based human model generator. It studies the images of the product that has been uploaded, and mainly analyses the image of the garment laid out on a completely flat surface. Using AI, it then generated an on-model image, predicting how the garment would fit. Unlike pre-existing solutions in the industry, which uses 3D body scanners that require special hardware, Vue.ai uses generative adversarial network (GAN) which is a class of machine learning systems that’s extremely efficient when it comes to generating realistic images. Once the image is generated, it can be downloaded and used as required. Clearly, this is a highly cost-effective method that generates high quality and consistent product catalogue images allowing retailers to scale their businesses while saving time. It also offers customisations to enhance the process include personalising the model’s pose, body type and accessories to cater to every customer. Other products like VueTag, VueStyle and VueFind are offered by the company to automate product tagging, personalised recommendations, customised product delivery etc. With increasing revenue, the company plans to further build its team and expand itself in terms of locations and development areas like advertising. This would lead to human workers for these jobs getting eventually replaced, and this puts forth the bigger question-can the quickly advancing technology and humankind co-exist? As the domains of robotics and AI see giant leaps taken everyday, automation is increasingly taking over what we typically viewed as human jobs. Anuj Bihani, the managing director of Alstrut India Private Limited which is a company that is coming up with automation solutions for manufacturing companies, weighed in on the debate by saying, “Every machine that has been introduced to automate mundane and tedious manual jobs has been treated with scepticism-automobiles replacing horses; mechanised-looms replacing artisans; computerised accounting software replacing conventional book-keeping. However, historically it has been established, each ‘robot’ or automated machine/process has only lead to creation of multiple new jobs.” Similarly, the deployment of Vue.ai’s products and services does not imply curators would lose their jobs. Their work will be managerial as manually performed functions switch to automation. Seeing the demand and the growing trust of sellers and buyers alike, it would not be inaccurate to say that the future of retail and garment industry lies in consumer experience and AI is out of the labs to prove it.