Victoria’s Secret’s new AI shopping partnership exposes new dangers, experts say

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Victoria’s Secret & Co. and Google Cloud announced a multi-year partnership that will allow the popular retailer to use Google’s artificial intelligence technology to create a personalized shopping experience.

“The integration of Google Cloud’s AI and generative AI technologies will not only improve the online shopping experience for our customers, but also will empower our internal teams to drive innovation across various business functions,” Victoria’s Secret chief customer officer Chris Rupp said of the deal, according to a report in PR Newswire.

The deal will see Victoria’s Secret use both Google Cloud’s AI and generative AI in a bid to enhance online shopping for customers. As part of the deal, Victoria’s Secret could use the new tech to create a new generative AI-powered conversational assistant, as well as an AI chatbot that would provide shoppers with personally tailored recommendations.

“It’s probably one of the more productive and least harmful business uses of AI models at this point in time.”

Christopher Alexander, chief analytics officer at Pioneer Development Group, was not surprised by the latest development, telling Fox News Digital that “AI assistants are going to be among the most important tech products of 2024.”

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“AI that supports consumers will look at every piece of data available about you and make recommendations on products or services to better customize your experience,” Alexander said. “This is very similar to how digital advertising has become so effective at anticipating what ad to show you for the most relevant product, only at a completely personalized level. This is an incredibly effective use of AI that will really help people become more comfortable using the technology.”

Alexander believes that consumers can “expect to see much more of” these types of partnerships in the future, a sentiment shared by Bull Moose Project President Aiden Buzzetti.

“Chatbots selling lingerie products… this is AI’s world now, we’re just living in it.”

“The key benefit of an in-store employee is to guide the preferences of those who visit and try on clothes, which is an experience difficult to replicate over a screen. It makes perfect sense that companies who want to improve customer satisfaction and limit returns online would implement tools to replicate a custom experience,” Buzzetti told Fox News Digital. “It’s probably one of the more productive and least harmful business uses of AI models at this point in time.”

The reason AI can be effective at improving that experience is because of its ability to process information, argued Federalist staff editor Samuel Mangold-Lenett.

google AI title screen on smartphone

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“AI can drastically reduce the time required to process logistical information. It can also more effectively process customer information alongside inventory data. It’s really just cutting out the middle man of customer service,” Mangold-Lenett told Fox News Digital.

Victoria’s Secret has hailed the partnership with Google as a “new era” for its business, something it believes will enhance the customer experience and “streamline our operations but also enable us to better meet the needs of our customers and associates.”

But not everyone is a believer in such AI partnerships, with American Principles Project policy director Jon Schweppe telling Fox News Digital that people “are not fully prepared for what the AI revolution will bring.”

“Chatbots selling lingerie products, personal assistants yelling at you to eat your vegetables, AI-powered cars refusing to allow you to go 60 in a 55 – this is AI’s world now, we’re just living in it,” Schweppe said.

Victorias Secret window

 

Heritage Foundation research associate Jake Denton shares some of those concerns, saying such partnerships should “set off alarm bells for anyone concerned about the potential for consumer exploitation.”

“As Al systems become more sophisticated, brands will gain an unprecedented ability to understand and sway consumer behaviors,” Denton told Fox News Digital. “While most Americans still do not fully grasp how their information is harvested and analyzed in the retail space, integrating Al could expand the power of companies to quietly manipulate purchasing or spending under the guise of personalization.”

Victoria’s Secret did not immediately respond to a FOX Business request for comment.

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