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  • Writer's pictureJohn Ennis

Eye on AI - October 18th, 2019

Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!


This week, we’ll discuss two important topics previously covered in our Eye on AI series: First, an article from BuzzFeed on how sellers are turning to AI to cheat Amazon’s online rating system, which will be followed by two articles on how agriculture AI helps increase production efficiency and emission reduction with the help of human training.

Amazon Sellers Using Chatbots to Cheat the Rating System

We begin with an article out of BuzzFeed titled “Amazon Sellers Are Using Facebook Chatbots To Cheat Their Way To Good Reviews,” which outlines a troubling new approach sellers have adopted to cheat Amazon’s rating system.

“Amazon sellers looking to boost sales have turned to buying advertisements on Facebook, touting “FREE!” samples of different products — keto snacks, phone chargers, Halloween toys — on users’ News Feeds,” writes reporter Nicole Nguyen. “But the products aren’t exactly free. The sellers offer full refunds for the products, but only after buyers have left 5-star reviews on the Amazon listings.”

Adds direct potential buyers to direct message companies selling products they’re interested in, opening a Facebook Messenger window where the chatbot is triggered. From there, the chatbot leads users through a series of questions that purposefully mislead users to provide five-star ratings to products they’ve yet to try.

The problem is twofold, according to Nguyen: not only do these fake ads and chatbots benefit sellers, but they benefit Facebook as well:

“Inauthentic positive reviews don’t just benefit third-party sellers, who commission them for higher sales, and Amazon, which earns revenue,” Nguyen continues. “Facebook is profiting from the fake review economy too: According to WordStream, an online advertising adviser, the average cost per Facebook click for the retail industry is 70 cents.”

An Amazon spokesperson stated that, according to a recent report, 99% of Amazon are authentic, which is misleading in itself as the report doesn’t account for Amazon reviews that originate outside of Amazon’s system – like in the case of Facebook chatbots.

This is a much bigger problem than people perceive, as Amazon’s rating system has the power to make or break rising companies. Which goes to show: you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, Amazon product ratings included. Watch this space.

Reports Show Agriculture AI Reduces Emissions & Raises Efficiency

Next, let’s turn to more optimistic news with two articles on precision farming, a topic we’ve covered extensively in this series. First, an article out of CustomerThink, titled “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture Sector,” reveals how AI is helping the agriculture sector manage climate change.

“The agriculture industry strongly and openly embraced AI into their practice to change the overall outcome,” writes author Jyoti Gupta. “AI is shifting the way our food is produced where the agricultural sector’s emissions have decreased by 20%. Adapting AI technology is helping to control and manage any uninvited natural condition.”

The article goes on to list a number of ways AI is helping improve agriculture in areas like harvesting, crop production and management, collect forecasting data, managing soil health and pesticide usage, among others.

Couple that with more precision farming news out of Forbes, with their article titled “Artificial Intelligence is Learning with Farmers,” which discusses how the success of AI in agriculture largely has to do with AI systems training alongside human farmers.

“AI-based digital tools are enhancing decision-making in almost every field,” writes reporter Naveen Singla. “... Time and again, we have seen that combining human ingenuity with artificial intelligence is more powerful than artificial intelligence on its own.”

That last sentence I think is worth repeating: “Time and again, we have seen that combining human ingenuity with artificial intelligence is more powerful than artificial intelligence on its own,” a lesson it would behoove all users and developers of AI to take to heart.

Other news:


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