You're shopping for an item on Amazon and want to see what other buyers think of it. But it's a popular product that's triggered hundreds or even thousands of individual reviews. Instead of reading them all, you'll now be able to view an AI-generated summary designed to encapsulate the opinions of all those shoppers.
On Monday, Amazon announced the official rollout of its new AI product review option. Now available to a cross-section of mobile shoppers in the US, the generative AI technology will serve up a short paragraph on a product's detail page highlighting the core features and summarizing the overall customer sentiment. The AI-generated highlights will also let you choose a specific product attribute, such as "ease of use" or "reliability" to see excerpts of reviews mentioning that factor.
The company started testing the new feature in June but has now rolled it out on a more widespread basis. If the option is available on a product you're viewing, a customer reviews section will appear above the actual reviews with a short summary and a notice that it's AI-generated from the text of customer reviews. Selecting one of the attributes below the paragraph displays a summary focused on that factor and brief snippets from several customer reviews.
Amazon isn't the only online retailer to offer AI-generated summaries of product reviews. Last week, fellow vendor Newegg announced that it's been using ChatGPT to condense customer reviews into small snippets known as "Review Bytes" accompanied by longer paragraphs created by AI. For now, the option is accessible only on the desktop version of the Newegg website and only for products that have a certain minimum number of reviews.
But using AI to generate review summaries triggers a couple of questions. First, can you trust that the AI is accurately reflecting the many reviews that it summarizes? Second, how does the AI avoid or exclude fake and false reviews?
To address the first question, Amazon said only that it continues to test and fine-tune its AI models to improve the experience. As for the second question, phony reviews are a problem that has plagued Amazon and its customers for years. And it's an issue that the company keeps trying to combat.
Amazon said that it continues to invest in resources to stop fake reviews before they pop up. To detect fraudulent reviews and unusual behavior, the company uses machine learning models to analyze thousands of data points, including relationships to other accounts, sign-in activity, and review history. Further, investigators use fraud-detection tools to analyze and prevent fake reviews. And for the new AI summaries, Amazon said that it incorporates only trusted reviews from verified purchases.
The company has also filed lawsuits against fake review brokers who contact customers through websites, social media, and messaging services and push them to write fake reviews in exchange for money or free products. In 2022, Amazon blocked more than 200 million suspected fake reviews from appearing online.