After blowing the lid off the largest data harvesting operation in history, getting scrubbed completely from the internet, and being blacklisted by every major tech company in Silicon Valley, where do you go? Like most millennials in need of that required ten years experience for their resume the answer is obvious; H&M.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, has agreed to come on board as a consultant for the clothing giant to help them develop better ways to understand their customer. A spokesperson for the company further specified that Wylie will be there "to help H&M group improve its capabilities within consumer, product and market insights. Besides that, he also supports our work on sustainable and ethical AI."
And while H&M and "ethical AI" seems like an odd pairing to lump together in the same sentence, the retailer is hoping that Wylie's expertise in the field will help them to better predict future fashion trends. For H&M the move is a welcome one given that they are currently sitting on a surplus of $4.3 billion in unsold apparel that even their wildly successful Moschino capsule couldn't fix.
Speaking at the Business of Fashion's VOICES event last year, Wylie demonstrated just how much of an impact data analysis in the clothing industry can have on the world at large, explaining that "fashion data was used to build AI models to help Steve Bannon build his Insurgency and build the Alt-Right. We used weaponized algorithms; we used weaponized cultural narratives to undermine people and undermine their perception of reality, and fashion played a big part in that."