Archive for AI

Now You Can Search eBay Via A Photo

Ebay has launched Image Search in the UK, an AI-based technology that means you can now enter a photo into the search box to help find the product you’re looking for.

Smart Phone Camera Search

With so many of us now using smart-phones, this innovative new feature means that users can take a photo on their phone of a product they’re inspired by and interested in, and use the machine learning technology that’s been added to eBay’s 1.1 billion item catalogue to quickly search for that product.

Technology Push at eBay

This latest addition to eBay’s search is part of a general push by eBay to bolt-on more technologies and forge alliances to increase the reach of its platform and to take the fight to competitors.

For example, eBay recently collaborated with worldwide media and entertainment company for culture and tech ‘Mashable’ so that an eBay widget could be introduced into Mashable. The widget allows Mashable’s audience to see and use a small eBay shop window overlaid on the page, and populated by products that are featured in Mashable articles, thereby allowing people to instantly buy what they they’re reading about. The benefit for eBay (according to eBay) is that eBay’s marketing team will be able to use it to better understand the factors that matter most to buyers making purchases off the eBay platform e.g. seller reputation and delivery time, and to use learned consumer insights from the pilot to deliver scalable solutions that accelerate eBay’s growth.

Smart Search Benefits

The sheer size of eBay’s catalogue means that it can sometimes take a long time for users to find the item they’re looking for, particularly if that item is very difficult to describe. Also, the watching and waiting aspect of eBay, its reputation as an auction site, and its lack of ability to actively engage have appeared to put it slightly at odds with a generation who simply want to quickly find what they’re looking for via their smart-phone, and purchase it. eBay also needed to find a way to get the most out of the vast number of user-generated images and item data that they’d accumulated through the years, and to capitalise on the instant product inspiration that people get e.g. from their social media feeds.

It is believed that the Image Search feature will be able to address all of these challenges, and will allow users to quickly find what they’re looking for while on the move. It may also encourage more seller to take to platform.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This is another illustration of how AI / machine learning is being put to practical and value-adding use as a medium for brand / company growth and user convenience. For businesses in retail such as for fashion and apparel, this new feature could bring increased sales and brand recognition, and could help new lines to generate sales rapidly.

For eBay, this innovative search feature could kill many birds with one stone towards the aim of delivering scalable solutions that can accelerate eBay’s growth.

Visual search is a growing trend, particularly in retail e.g. ASOS, Zalando and John Lewis have adopted visual search into their apps to save customers time, to make themselves more socially discoverable, to drive up-sell activity, and to ultimately increase app revenue. Visual search technology is likely to find its way onto many more platforms, retail websites and apps yet.

NHS Booking App and Doc Bot

In the NHS’s 70th year, and as part of the push for digitisation, the introduction of an appointment-booking app has been praised, while a GP chatbot has been given the thumbs-down by The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Book Appointments With A Free NHS App

A free app, due to be launched at the end of this year, will enable NHS patients to make GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and access the 111 helpline for urgent medical needs.

The app, which is being jointly developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, and is part of NHS England’s wider strategy to digitise the health service, will be made available through the App Store or Google.

Other Options

As well as booking appointments and ordering prescriptions, the app will also give patients other options such as allowing them to opt-out of sharing their personal information for research and planning purposes across the health service, mark their preferences on organ donation, and register their choices for end-of-life care.

Helpful

Many commentators have praised the idea of the app as something that could provide extra convenience to patients e.g. reducing the 8am scramble for GP appointments, and take some of the increasing load off some areas of the NHS.

Security Caution

Some commentators have stressed the need to ensure that the security, reliability, and the identity verification processes of the app are of the highest international security standards in order to protect the personal details and medical history of patients.

Big No for Doc App

While the NHS appointment-booking app has been receiving cautious praise, the new Babylon AI chatbot that can diagnose medical conditions (and offer health advice based on what users tell it) got the thumbs-down at an event held by The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Accuracy?

One of the main aspects of the bot that upset physicians were claims by Babylon that the bot has achieved medical exam scores of the same level as or higher than a human doctor. The company says that according to its robust testing program, which includes relevant sections of the MRCGP exam, which is the final test for a trainee GP, Babylon’s AI bot’s average pass mark was 81%. This mark is higher than the 72% average pass mark achieved by real doctors over the past five years.

These claims have been disputed by RCGP, which has stressed the point that no app or algorithm is able to do what a GP does.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Apps are being used in useful and value-adding ways in so many other sectors, it is no surprise that they are being developed for healthcare, and with the purpose of taking some of the burden off the NHS. For most people, the NHS is s trusted organisation anyway, and an app that can essentially perform administrative functions, such as booking appointments, sounds as though it could be very useful. The trust that many have in the NHS may also be enough to minimise security concerns. One criticism may be, however, that it may exclude the older members of society, many of whom are regular users of NHS services.

Even though an AI app may be able to pass theoretical exams (such as the Babylon AI app) getting people to trust it to make a diagnosis and then health suggestions, particularly when it has been criticised by real doctors, may be a step too far at the current time. That particular app company, however, has faced criticism in the past over its ‘GP at Hand’ app for the NHS, which allows patients at five London clinics to consult with their GP via a video call. The RCGP criticised it for cherry-picking patients, and leaving GPs to deal with the most complex patients without sufficient resources.

Either way, the NHS is committed to digitising some aspects of its services, and in introducing technology, a balance needs to be struck between adding real value in a fair way to all, while not being to the detriment of any NHS users and practitioners.

Bank Uses AI To Screen Job Applicants

A Singapore bank is reported to be using an AI-based system to make savings in the process of recruitment by automating the pre-screening of job applicants.

‘JIM’

The new AI screening platform, Jobs Intelligence Maestro (JIM) has been part of a pilot scheme that has been running at the DBS bank in Singapore since April.

JIM has been developed by Singapore start-up Impress.AI and DBS’ Talent Acquisition team, and has been used to support staff in the sometimes lengthy process of reviewing CVs, collecting responses to pre-screening questions, and conducting psychometric tests.

Savings

The main reason for the development of JIM is to save man-hours, to lighten the workload of the bank’s recruiters, and to enable the recruitment process to fit in more easily with the schedules of candidates who may be busy in normal office hours.

Wealth-Management Planning Roles

The AI system is intended to be used for screening candidates for wealth management planning roles in the bank in its main markets of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. This will enable the bank to meet its target of target 40% growth in staff advising its high net worth customers.

High-Volume Roles

JIM will also be used in other ‘high-volume’ roles within the bank, such as the bank’s management associate and graduate associate programmes, where more than 7,000 candidates can apply for 20 just roles.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Up until now, banks have made the news for using AI bots to make savings in the customer service side of the business. Once again, but in a different role, AI is being deployed to essentially make savings in man-hours, and to enable the 24-hour provision of a service.

JIM the AI program is being used in a supporting, time-saving, pre-screening role, and it is in these types of roles that AI is making in-roads into the world of business, and providing cost savings for those companies / organisations that can afford to and need to deploy them to add real value areas of their business e.g. for high-volume, intelligent processing work.

Automation using AI-based systems is likely to be an increasing trend, and back in 2017 the EU even voted to give a Bill of Rights to ‘robots’ that will give them “electronic personhood” status in the eyes of the Law in anticipation of a new kind of industrial robot revolution.