eBay Joins Partnership on AI to Boost eCommerce Voice

Artificial Intelligence

Partnership on AI is an industry non-profit organization to support research, discussion, identification, sharing, and recommendation of best practices in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

eBay was among 8 for profits that joined Partnership on AI alongside Intel, McKinsey & Company, Salesforce, SAP, Sony, Salando, and Cogital. This group is in addition to founding members such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM as well as non-profits like the ACLU, EFF, Human Rights Watch and others.

A full partner list of for-profits, NGOs, academia, and non-profits is available on PAI’s website.

The goal of the Partnership on AI is to build a diverse, balanced, and global set of perspectives on AI. This initiative is described in the organization’s core Thematic Pillars.

IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON ECOMMERCE

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence is creeping into our daily lives. We have seen it in Google or Bing web searches, autonomous cars, and in online retail.

The Partnership on AI includes three main players in the eCommerce game with Amazon, eBay, and Zalando.

The first wave of AI in online retail has been for years improvements in suggested selling. Searches on online retailer sites are increasingly providing better results based on user and community search patterns.

Amazon with Alexa and Echo are leading the voice controlled device market, and Google is rapidly trying to catch up. Google’s developer conference is making a big splash around AI, and that will include more voice-enabled devices and apps.

While large online retailers like Zalando and Amazon and marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy have the resources to improve AI for search, the question remains how standard eCommerce platforms will integrate the technology.

SaaS platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify will have an easier time to integrate AI. But what about Magento, Prestashop, or WooCommerce stores?

It is unlikely going to be a simple extension. Hence AI search results will likely have to come from a third party SaaS solution via an extension.

Can there be an integration into Google Home or Amazon Echo? Amazon is not likely going to want competitors in their eco-system, so do smaller online retailers have to rely on Google or Microsoft Bing/Cortana?

PARTNERSHIP ON AI NEEDS ECOMMERCE PLATFORM PARTNERS

When one looks at the partnerships between non-profits and for-profits, the non-profits are often in the realm of data security, privacy, and safety. AI will require a good standard of best practices to become acceptable for users.

Maybe we will see PAI seals like SSL certificate or PCI compliant seals down the road in eCommerce? A good set of acceptable standards will make consumers feel more comfortable as AI further integrates with eCommerce searches.

Since eBay and Amazon will lead in marketplace AI integration, it would be good to see eCommerce platforms join PAI. Because now there is no voice for individual online retailers that will have different challenges versus marketplaces.

Let’s hope Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, or someone in that realm sees the necessity to join of PAI as well.

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