Like It or Not, AI Models Are Coming to Levi’s

The full scope of the project is unclear

Levi's store
What effect will AI have on style and fashion?
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Earlier this week, Intelligencer published a new article by Eric Levitz outlining both the state of AI technology and Levitz’s anxieties about its impact on various industries. The prospect that technologies like GPT-4 could lead to the loss of countless jobs in industries from the media to technology is alarming for countless reasons. But there’s another field that AI threatens to “disrupt” that might not come to mind as obviously — modeling.

According to a new report from Engadget, Levi’s plans to use AI to create some of the models in its promotional materials. The company’s announcement of its partnership with has the effect of prompting more questions than it answers.

For starters, there’s the explanation that’s technology will “enable fashion brands and retailers to create hyper-realistic models of every body type, age, size and skin tone.” Levi’s seeking to “[increase] the number and diversity of our models” is a laudable goal, but doing so by using AI rather than hiring more diverse models feels like a strange way of going about it.

The announcement doesn’t get too specific as to how many models might end up being virtual under this new partnership. Levi Strauss & Co.’s global head of digital and emerging technology strategy, Dr. Amy Gershkoff Bolles said that “AI will likely never fully replace human models for us.” As noted by Engadget’s Will Shanklin, that “likely” speaks volumes.

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In a discussion of real people and AI technology, it might be most apropos to close by quoting a fictional character. This feels like yet another example of what one Ian Malcolm said in the film Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Levi’s is a long way from dinosaur-themed theme parks, but the saying feels equally applicable.

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