Incident 56: AI-Designed Phone Cases Are Unexpected
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In 2017, the third-party Amazon merchant named “my_handy_design” was found to be marketing thousands of unique cell phone cases printed with bizarre images. The seller is believed to be a bot trained to create product listings based on image search popularity. Their products include many images that human designers would be unlikely to select, ranging from banal to lewd and illegal, with a predilection for stock photos of medical procedures.
A third-party Amazon merchant named “my_handy_design” was suspected of using a bot to generate cell phone case designs based on the bizarre and unattractive designs being offered.
AI System Description
my_handy_design' is a third-party Amazon merchant speculated to use image seach data and a database of open source images to autonomously generate cell phone case designs.
Sector of Deployment
Wholesale and retail trade
Relevant AI functions
In what's either the best art project, the best business move, or both, someone has made what I presume is a bot that's churning out thousands of unique iPhone cases for sale on Amazon. Pretty much all of them are masterpieces.
Bots mocking up one-off products in the hope that just the right person comes along to buy it are nothing new. The bot behind "my-handy-design" is really, really, exceptionally terrible. And in its quest to slap stock photos onto cheap cases, it has succeeded in being the best smartphone case maker around.
Plenty of the image choices are banal, like "fishing on a lake before sunset cell phone cover case Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime G5306" or "Woman using a washer dryer macine cell phone cover case Samsung S5." Sometimes the banal ones acheive a sort of aesthetic beauty that could pass for found art. I'm a fan of the colours and composition on "mini fridge full of bottles of juice, soda and fruit isolated cell phone cover case iPhone5." User ratings on that particular model are split. One user says "very pixelated, bad quailty it broke :(," while another says "I like I like a lot ;)." I have to lean towards the user who used the winky face, they seem more trustworthy.
My-handy-design gets more disturbing when you get into all the medical stock photos. These are the cases for a special sort of person who doesn't care what people think of them, or enjoys making people uncomfortable. This is where my-handy-design really shines.
Also, there are a lot pictures of gutters.
I've combed through the catalogue and pulled some of my favourites below. You can browse for yourself here. And for the sake of clarity, this is not a sponsored post. The owners of this operation are definitely not investing in sponsored posts.
Some images might not be safe for work. You've been warned. NSFW.
Styrofoam, polystyrene thermal insulation of house wall install cell phone cover case iPhone5
adult diaper worn by an old man with a crutch cell phone cover case iPhone6
Beautician hands doing depilation in woman armpit with wax strip cell phone cover case iPhone6
International Certificate of Vaccination cell phone cover case Samsung S5
Cheese wheel on bady instead of table cell phone cover case iPhone6
Varicose veins treatment cell phone cover case Samsung S5
Purple strapon with thongs for role play games cell phone cover case Samsung S5
New rain gutter on a white home against blue sky cell phone cover case Samsung S5
pager in hand cell phone cover case Samsung S5
sick old man suffering from diarrhoea, indigestive problem cell phone cover case Samsung S5
[Amazon via Andy Baio]
An Amazon AI bot that was created to design smartphone cases has gone delightfully and hilariously wrong. The Amazon bot is supposed to generate phone cases based on popular image searches, but unfortunately the bot seems to have gone awry and is now designing some bizarre phone cases, largely of a medical nature.
As a result, the phone cases from My-Handy-Design are pretty ridiculous. Some of our favorites include "cheese wheel on bady" and "adult diaper worn by old man with a crutch". The photos would perhaps be useful in articles about cheese wheels or as adverts for adult diapers, but they don't look so great on an iPhone 6.
The Amazon bot has generated thousands of phone cases, much to the bewilderment of shoppers. One reviewer, commenting on a phone case of someone preparing heroin for injection, stated: "Seriously? Come on!! This is ridiculous. You should be ashamed to offer this product. Trying to profit on the pain of others. And shame on Amazon for allowing this."
The phone case currently has 3 stars.
At some point, the bot seems to have started to focus on medical search terms, as amongst the photos are endoscopes and several different kinds of foot conditions.
The out-of-control algorithm currently lists over 31,000 products on Amazon, the quality of which varies wildly. You can check out the rest of the products here, but be warned, some of them are even more NSFW than a cheese wheel being pressed against a "bady".
What do a collection of wooden spoons, a newly installed rain gutter, and a dialysis machine have in common? They’d all look fantastic on your next smartphone case according to my-handy-design — a bot on Amazon that’s currently going hog wild with algorithmically generated product designs.
First spotted by data artist Russell Jurney (and shared more widely by technologist Andy Baio), the bot seems to be pulling in stock photos from some unknown source and then automatically generating a product page and price.
The source of the photos isn’t clear, but the images do fall into some recurring categories, including medical procedures (“Varicose veins treatment cell phone cover case Samsung S5”), beauty treatments (“Eyebrows tinting treatment with natural henna dye cell phone cover case Samsung S5”), drugs (“Medical Cannabis Marijuana oil ready for consumption cell phone cover case iPhone5”), and DIY (“Plumber hands fixing water tap with spanner, faucet and tool cell phone cover case iPhone5”).
So, really covering the four main areas of human interest then. Here are a few more of our favorites:
What exactly is going on here is a bit of a mystery. (Think you know? Shoot us an email or speculate in the comments.) One theory is that my-handy-design is a twisted marketplace bot that was designed to make products in response to popular search terms. But, for some reason, instead of making smartphone cases with Taylor Swift’s face on them or whatever, it dived into the weird-already world of stock photos. Or, it could be run by humans who are just masquerading as bots, aka a Horse_ebooks situation.
They may look fake, but these phone cases can actually be bought. Although, according to this review they’re terrible quality — poorly printed and made out of cheap plastic. This, plus the fact that each listing says the product is out of stock or that only one item is available, suggests that whoever’s behind the bot is printing each case to order. Buy one before the seller realizes they’re now internet art, and jacks up the prices even more.
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An A.I. bot created by Amazon to specifically design smartphone cases has outdone itself in ways you cannot even imagine. This bot is supposed to be generating cell phone cases based on trending and popular images searches. However, the programming of the bot has been flubbed, and the designs pouring from the machinery are nothing short of hysterical.
Because of this bot-gone-wrong, Amazon has generated thousands upon thousands of phone cases being sold on their website that has both amazed and shocked online shoppers. Many reviewers have gotten in on the hilarity by posting satirical reviews of the product before the images come down, but some shoppers have taken to shaming the company into better standards.
“Seriously? Come on!! This is ridiculous. You should be ashamed to offer this product. Trying to profit on the pain of others. And shame on Amazon for allowing this.”
That was a review on a case that featured someone preparing a spoonful of heroin for injection.
And yes, you read that right.
Other fan favorites have become “adult diaper worn by old man with a crutch” and “beautician hands doing depilation in woman armpit with wax strip.”
So, here’s the real question everyone wants to ask: did you have to look up “depilation” like I did to make sure you knew what it was?
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay/Public Domain.
Amazon truly is the website where you can buy anything and everything: books, games, wine – and a Samsung Galaxy S5 case decorated with a pixelated image of a “doctor adjustable angle knee brace support for leg or knee injur”. Yes, missing the trailing y.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest ‘doctor adjustable angle knee brace support for leg or knee injur’. Photograph: my-handy-design/Amazon
That last product comes courtesy of the third-party seller “my-handy-design”, which has caused a stir in tech circles after the bizarreness of its product line was first noticed on Sunday.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest ‘beautician hands doing depilation in woman armpit with wax strip’.
The company has more than 30,000 phone cases available for sale on Amazon.com, including an iPhone 6 case with a picture of “Male hands with soap dispenser use in the restroom”, another featuring an “Irrigation pipe in dirt trenches for sprinkler system” and – for those with a particularly weird taste, even in these weird times – one illustrated with an “adult diaper worn by an old man with a crutch”.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest ‘Blue pills for erectile dysfunction treatment – white background’.
Why do it? Because the power of scale can be a lucrative thing. The company’s algorithm takes royalty-free images from any source it can find, automatically mocks up a phone case using them, and throws them up on Amazon in their thousands. Sure, the vast majority will never sell, but it costs nothing to make the listing.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest ‘Concrete septic tanks under construction’.
And if, through random chance, you happen to create a phone case that someone searching Amazon actually wants – perhaps decorated with a “New chrome faucet in master bath tub” – then it’s the work of minutes to print a case with the picture and post it, making a small profit in the process.
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Amazon Prime Day is nearly here, but there's something else catching people's attention on Amazon this week.
A seller that appears to be a bot is making cases for iPhones and Samsung phones with bizarre stock images — and they're quite possibly the best cases we've ever seen.
The seller's store was first spotted and shared on Twitter by Data Artist Russel Jurney.
I present an Amazon case bot AI gone mad https://t.co/xL0UHcZ2jU — Russell Jurney (@rjurney) July 9, 2017
The phone cases take stock photos of everyday scenes like, oh... you know, someone getting their armpits waxed, construction workers placing insulation on a house wall, or veterinarian implanting a microchip in a dog, and plaster them on cases for the iPhone or popular Samsung phones.
Some of the covers feature more sexually explicit images, or just plain weird ones including "doctor adjustable angle knee brace support for leg or knee injur" and "Pregnant woman putting headphones on her belly"
The product description from one of the phone cases says:
You would like your cellphone to have a very special personal look? Then this is the right place for you. Design the look of your cell phone cover to your very personal taste. You’ve got the choice: We offer you a vast variety of images you can add your own personal message to, or you may use your own photos to design your unique cover.If you need help to design your cover, contact us via Amazon and we will help you without any charge. It’s so easy! You choose your type of smartphone, create your design and we supply you with a fancy outfit.
The account uses images from stock photo sites like Fotolia. Most of the products don't seem to have any reviews or ratings, but a few like "Girl with a hearing aid. hearing aid in the ear close up " have superlative, probably joking reviews:
"For the last 20 years, I've been fantasizing about owning a cell phone case featuring an ear with a hearing aid. It has always been one of my life's aspirations; in fact, I wanted it more than anything in the world - even world peace. Who would've thought that such a beautiful design concept would ever come to fruition? The moment I saw this case, I almost fell out of my chair. It's so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. As an added bonus, it looks like I have a sideways ear on my cheek whenever I'm holding the phone up to my head. Whoever designed this case is a veritable genius."
Other reviewers are not as happy with their purchases - one reviewer was extremely disappointed with the quality of the purchase.
The cases sell for between $15 and $30 each, and from the looks of it are totally worth the cost. You can see the full list of cases for yourself here.
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Amazon seller My Handy Design, uses artificial intelligence to create designs for their phone cases, however, as you scroll through its product gallery, it’s evident that things have seriously gone out of hand. The bot is supposed to generate phone cases according to the most searched images in the internet, but they actually look like they came from the mind of some kind of crazy prankster. Results range from the most randomly hilarious, to the most ridiculously inappropriate phone cases you’ve ever seen. Since the news went viral on the web most of these hilarious phone covers disappeared from their store, but you still can check our favorites out in the gallery below.
Toilet Paper Tube Collections phone cover
Galvanized Steel Wheelbarrow phone cover
Asthma Inhaler phone cover
Teenage Girl with Pregnancy Test phone cover
Armpit Waxing phone cover
Man in Wheelchair phone cover
Old Woman with Asthma Inhaler phone cover
Examining Ear with Otoscope phone cover
Botox Injection phone cover
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