Presenting intelligent fashion: IBM’s Watson and Vogue unveil the world’s first AI-inspired saree

10th Oct 2017
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Artificial intelligence could soon be helping you dress for success.

If you are still not convinced, then IBM and Vogue are here to change your mind. At the recent Vogue Women of the Year (WOTY) Awards 2017 held to commemorate 10 years of Vogue in India, and celebrate trailblazing women from across the globe, the two came together to showcase a first-of-its-kind AI-inspired saree gown created by noted fashion designer Gaurav Gupta and IBM Watson.

Talking tech

IBM Watson has made quite a few headlines for its achievements; some of them in the fashion circuit. In 2016, it co-created Karolina Kurkova’s cognitive LED-laden Met Gala dress along with Marchesa, and made heads turn with the elegant gown that showed off Watson’s processing power. The platform analysed Marchesa’s social media to translate sentiments into colours. During the gala, Watson processed the tweets surrounding the event, and changed the colour of the dress according to the emotions gathered from the tweets.

Similarly, IBM Watson used its Personality Insights API and smart IoT integration to create a LED-embedded saree that changes colours based on each WOTY 2017 winner’s dominant personality traits. Watson was tasked with finding dominant patterns and colours from the regions that the winners belonged to, by examining the hashtags of those regions on social networks and crawling through more than 5 million photographs to gather data.

Findability Sciences, an IBM ecosystem partner, used Watson’s Visual Recognition API to extract specific context around patterns and colors that were most dominant. Gaurav Gupta used this data via a custom-built IBM application, to design a never-before-seen saree-gown that was worn by the event’s MC and Emmy Award winning actress, Archie Panjabi. The designs embodied the achievements of every woman and two men, yet were unique to each individual winner.

AI gets creative

Data can create magic, and that’s exactly what happened at the WOTY 2017 ceremony. The team analysed each winner’s personality from their Twitter handles and mapped it against seven traits which included:

  • Effectiveness in organising thoughts
  • Open-mindedness and originality
  • Confidence in problem solving
  • Action orientation
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to possibilities and alternatives
  • Social energy

Each of these were then assigned a colour that is most associated with them, applying the accepted guides around colour and 

psychology. So when a winner was on stage to receive her trophy, the saree glowed in the colors of her most dominant personality trait.

The saree was further used as an interactive art installation at the event. The audience could find the colour that best described them by entering their Twitter handle or picking one from a pre-populated list of celebrated Indian women like Gul Panag, Sushma Swaraj, Barkha Dutt, Kiran Bedi, and P.V Sindhu among others.

A genius at work

Applications of AI today are primarily driven by the tech sector, with use cases ranging from enhanced information security to mobile ad placement, to autonomous vehicles. For

instance, all the AI-powered saree needed was the Twitter handle, and Watson could identify the individual’s dominant personality trait. This collaboration is a culmination of a much bigger picture - the important role that data plays across industries, and how AI is becoming an integral part of creative spaces like fashion.

It’s a new era of thinking that is redefining the relationship between man and machine. AI helps us look at vast amounts of information in new ways, facilitating better decision making and to augment human intelligence. IBM’s Watson is an example of this - it can sift through large amounts of data, learning as it goes. Over time, it’ll be able to help us do everything - from identifying skin cancers to creating appealing new flavour combinations, predicting faults in power stations and even the latest fashion trends. In other words, we can use AI to discover new paths and improve the quality of life, and in the process, transforming the world in which we live in.

Watch the AI magic unfold at the WOTY 2017!

Know more about this unique fusion of fashion and technology between IBM India and Vogue here.

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