Devin Wenig on how Artificial Intelligence will change the world

By Chris Dawson January 11, 2017 - 10:53 pm

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.

  • james
    8 months ago

    the man’s an idiot. he’s the last person you want pumping money into AI, and probably the reason elon musk et al are pumping millions into ensuring AI doesnt go rogue and wipe us all out.

    the man manages ebay, and cant keep ebay ticking over, this is the person who should help fabricate sentience ffs?

    I know devin generally follows the “word soup” methodology to conversation, where rather than issue smart, well though out, coherent sentences, he just throws out buzzwords in random order, but he really does not have a f**ing clue what he’s talking about.

    “In several areas, such as automated image recognition and AI-powered speech recognition, machines are already leapfrogging human capabilities”
    – 5 year old children can read comic books and understand natural spoken language, the most powerful of supercomputers struggles with these basic tasks.

    like claiming ebay leapfrogs amazon for innovation, when ebay can barely spell innovation.

    maybe devon doesnt know what the word leapfrog means?

    (although he does put in additional completely redundant buzzwords to qualify his nosense – ie, AUTOMATED image recognition, does that disclude anything thats not a machine? ergo machines do better machining than non-machines, would be the meat of this statement? AI-POWERED speech recognition, if discluding anything not AI powered, renders this entire paragraph about AI vs non-AI capabilities meaningless? what is a human’s capability for AI-powered speech recognition? does nobody else notice his words are completely meaningless?)

    then things like:
    “With AI, we can infer information based exclusively on visual cues like color and design [in product images]”
    – you dont need AI for that, you can do stupid things without computers, you can say things like “37% of images on ebay contain the colour blue, therefore we can infer that ebay is cool”.
    that’s just moronic, it’s still moronic when you have a computer do it for you. there aint much of use you can infer EXCLUSIVELY from visual clues like colour.
    – we have this place called an item description, where the person selling the item describes it, so rather than infer maybes, you can actually know things. ebay’s doing their best to eliminate this.

Recent Comments

8 hours ago
Tom: This is not a new program, it is just a rebrand. It was previously called Amazon...
8 hours ago
Chang: With split payment; Produce the purchase invoice for highest amount and claim back the VAT...
8 hours ago
Chang: The non UK sellers will find the way around it by using the reverse system. For...
10 hours ago
Paul: LOL, my eBay account is run as a Ltd Company (in England & Wales). I used...