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eBay will use AI to show off the random crap you never knew you needed

The online auction and commerce site is just the latest to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon.


eBay CEO Devin Wenig speaks at the Code conference.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

That obsession you have with '80s-era vintage Transformers? eBay will eventually be able to figure it out with artificial intelligence.

AI and predictive learning will be critical to allowing eBay to set up a truly personalized experience for each consumer, according to CEO Devin Wenig, who spoke Thursday at Recode's Code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. He said the company has been working on taking advantage of demographic data and sophisticated algorithms to offer more relevant products.

Wenig is just the latest executive to talk up the promise of AI at the Code conference, with high-profile figures such as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates all talking up its potential. eBay has been working on this for the past decade, but has gotten serious in the last year.

"It's all about customer relevance," he said. "When I go on eBay, I want to feel like it's mine."

Wenig stressed that this wouldn't be intrusive, instead calling it "seamless" and "personal."

Eventually, Wenig sees eBay beyond just a simple website, envisioning it sitting in Facebook messenger or other social networks.

"I want to see eBay ubiquitous where people spend their time," he said.