Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am Launches High-Tech Mask

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday April 7, 2021

will.i.am wearing the XuperMask
will.i.am wearing the XuperMask  (Source:Honeywell)

Does your mask need a makeover? Multi-talented singer, producer and entrepreneur will.i.am of Black eyed Peas has been giving a lot of thought to the future of mask-wearing and recently partnered with N95 mask manufacturer Honeywell to create the XuperMask (pronounced "Super Mask).

According to Axios, the mask (which released April 8) will feature Honeywell's HEPA ventilation filters along with Bluetooth connectivity and an earbud docking system so you can listen to Black Eyed Peas' latest studio release, "Translation," dance with the devil to Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)", or take a bite out "Peaches," the first single release from Justin Bieber's latest album "Justice."

When the pandemic broke out, it quickly became apparent that masks were going to be a new must-wear item, like shoes or a jacket when it's cold outside," says will.i.am. "When masks first became a must, there was a shortage situation, so people started making their own. Rather than looking 'medical,' regular people wanted to keep safe and also try to look a bit styling, a nod to being fashionable and functional."

The multi-faceted entrepreneur's interest in technology dates back to elementary school, and now will.i.am is also focusing on AI. "For every job category that goes away, AI will create a whole class of new roles we don't even know about yet. One emerging job is teaching computers to recognize the human voice, the tone, the accents and multiple languages," says will.i.am. "Another role is Bias Prevention — if machines are making decisions, but they are using flawed logic, or contain innate bias, the current state of discriminatory behavior will just perpetuate itself."

As previously reported on EDGE, minorities generally don't have a seat at the virtual table, even if they are early tech adopters. Todd Myers, co-founder of BRANDthro, a minority-owned consultancy working in Next-Gen consumer insights, AI and neuroscience, says online equality will be achievable once AI develops the ability to pick up on the nuances of identity.

"We know emotion is a significant driver of consumer behavior. Only when a brand moves consumers to feel will it move them to act," says Myers. If you're queer and your AI doesn't acknowledge that, your virtual experience will be impacted.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

Comments on Facebook