AI Translation Boosted eBay Sales More Than 10 PercentMay 17, 2019
We often hear that AI is important for economic growth, and while that claim makes intuitive sense, there isn’t a lot of hard data to back it up. A recent study [PDF] from economists at MIT and Washington University in St. Louis offers some proof, though, showing how AI tools boost trade by allowing sellers to cross the language barrier. From a report: Looking at data scraped from eBay, the researchers compared sales between the US and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries before and after the shopping platform introduced AI-powered translation for product listings in 2014. (Specifically, the translation tool affected the titles of listings and search queries, but not product descriptions.) Prior to this eBay offered automatic translation, but the use of AI significantly improved the service’s accuracy. You would expect that better translations would lead to greater sales, and that’s exactly what the researchers found. Their data showed that sales from the US to countries affected increased 10.9 percent after the launch of the tool.
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