Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
I thought, then, that I'd try to help those who are sure they want to express their love with a gadget, but don't know which gadget really, truly says love. How can I help? I can ask Amazon's infallible algorithm.
I was spurred to this after a PR representative had insisted that Shokz headphones were the perfect Valentine's gift.
That couldn't be right, could it? Headphones? Headphones whose bone conductivity suggests it's hard to get things into your lover's skull?
Surely, Amazon would have some better answers.
I searched "Valentine gadget" on the world's premier shopping site and goodness did the machine have answers. Answers that disturbed me beyond reason.
The very first was a multi-tool pen set. Or, in Amazon jargon: "ZOOI Valentines Day Gifts for Him, 9 in 1 Multitool Pen, Men Valentines Day Gifts, Tools Cool Gadgets for Men, Birthday Gifts for Men Who Have Everything, Women, Husband, Grandpa, Engineer, Handyman."
Note the detailed lexicon. For men who have everything and, um, women. There are no women who have everything? There are no handywomen?
Amazon's next suggestion was no less sexist: "RAK Magnetic Wristband for Holding Screws -- Christmas Gifts for Men Who have Everything -- Wrist Magnet Tool or Screw Holder for Handyman, Tech Geek, Mechanic, Electrician, Robotic."
There's that "men who have everything" again. Did ChatGPT write that? And wait, did that say Christmas gifts? Is Amazon's algorithm having problems? I do believe it might be.
"Darling, I love you so much I bought you a screw holder." Romance at its finest.
Please don't worry. The sexism rolled right on. Even though I'd not specified whether the Valentine's gadget was for a man or a woman, the algorithm was sure it knew.
The next Amazon idea? Oh, hark at this: "PARIGO LED Flashlight Gloves Gifts for Men -- Valentines Day Gifts for Him Birthday Gifts for Dad Husband Him, Car Guy Unique Tool Cool Gadgets for Men Camping Accessories Fishing Gifts for Men." (Yes, I copy-pasted that whole thing.)
Seriously. Your man needs a glove that says love. A glove that has flashlights on it, so that he can see where he's going. The algorithm clearly doesn't believe love is blind, then.
I really wonder about what we're being presented by algorithms and how it's being presented. I really wonder, too, about the deterioration of Amazon. A site that was once lovable for its efficiency has now been taken over by a curiously crass commercialized cynicism.
It's not pretty. And it's most certainly not lovable.