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eBay is building a data-mining AI to learn what products to show you

The better eBay knows you, the better it can serve you.


Posted on Jun 3, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 4:19 pm CDT

eBay will soon be picking your brain to learn what products to show you.

The auction site is working on taking advantage of demographic data and complex algorithms to create artificial intelligence that can personalize your shopping experience. The AI will help eBay learn everything there is to know about your buying habits.

“It’s all about customer relevance,” eBay CEO Devin Wenig said at Recode’s Code Conference. “When I go on eBay, I want to feel like it’s mine.” 

More controversially, eBay will also look for your other online profiles and show you what it thinks are useful suggestions for ways to spend money on the site. 

“It’ll find you where you are,” Wenig said. “You may be in a social network, you may be in a messaging application, you may be living in other digital properties. As long as you express intent, I’d like eBay to come to you and bring you the right item.”  

Data mining has become an incredibly useful tool for companies to make sure they aren’t wasting money by offering the wrong things to the wrong people. Designing an AI that knows you—what you like, where you are, how you spend your money—represents the next step in intelligent data-mining efforts.

“I want to see eBay [be] ubiquitous where people spend their time,” Wenig said. 


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*First Published: Jun 3, 2016, 1:32 pm CDT