Incident 56: AI-Designed Phone Cases Are Unexpected

Description: 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.


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Alleged: my_handy_design developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed my_handy_design.

Incident Stats

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Incident Date
Sean McGregor

CSETv0 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

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.

Short Description

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.

System Developer


Sector of Deployment

Wholesale and retail trade

Relevant AI functions


AI Techniques


AI Applications

content generation



Named Entities

my_handy_design, Amazon

Technology Purveyor


Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss




Lives Lost


Data Inputs


CSETv1 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Harm Distribution Basis


Sector of Deployment

wholesale and retail trade

An Amazon Bot Is Making The Greatest Smartphone Cases · 2017

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…

Amazon AI Designed To Create Phone Cases Goes Hilariously Wrong · 2017

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 …

A bot on Amazon is making the best, worst smartphones cases · 2017

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 wi… · 2017

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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 b…

The automated Amazon seller making the worst phone cases ever · 2017

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 …

This Amazon bot is making the best phone cases we've ever seen · 2017

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 poss…

Amazon Seller Uses AI To Create Phone Cases, But Things Go Hilariously Out Of Hand · 2017

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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 bo…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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