Devin Wenig on how Artificial Intelligence will change the world

The robots are taking over the world but not in the way science fiction predicted. Rather than machines resembling humans, the future is based around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and whilst the form may not be physical, the impact on the world will be just as great.

According to eBay President and CEO, Devin Wenig, in an article penned for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, says “We are in the midst of an extraordinary period of computing platform revolution, a renaissance in artificial intelligence, which is going to change the lives of billions of people around the globe“.

Devin points out that “These advances are likely to eventually eliminate many manual tasks, everything from driving to window washing. In several areas, such as automated image recognition and AI-powered speech recognition, machines are already leapfrogging human capabilities“.

eBay is of course obsessed with AI and for over five years has been investing in the technology driving everything from search to shipping to fraud detection, and risk to delivery time and predictions. eBay uses AI to determine which sellers are most trustworthy and to promote businesses who are judged to provide better buyer experiences. AI also drives eBay’s pricing and insights to sellers with inventory recommendations.

It’s not all bad news either, Devin explains how “With AI, we can infer information based exclusively on visual cues like color and design [in product images], which helps us better understand the inventory on our platform and, in turn, provide clearer options to our customers“.

Of course all powerful AI isn’t limited to eBay and driverless cars but it’s such a new technology no one is quite sure of the downsides and what happens with AI decides to do things which could harm human society.

Asimov and his Three Laws of Robotics don’t quite cut it when computers really are ruling the world, so eBay founder Pierre’s Omidyar Foundation along with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman have each just dropped $10 million dollars into a Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence pot, which swelled with a few other donations to $27 million aims to ensure that AI develops in a way that is ethical, accountable, and advances the public interest.