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eBay hires chief scientist for AI efforts

Jan Pedersen will be VP and chief scientist for artificial intelligence.

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Jan Pedersen (eBay)

eBay on Tuesday announced it has hired Jan Pedersen to join the company as vice president and chief scientist for artificial intelligence. He will lead eBay's AI efforts, including strategy, computer vision, natural language understanding, and machine learning to bring more AI tools to commerce.

eBay said Pedersen will be based in its San Jose, CA headquarters and report to CTO Steve Fisher. He will officially start on Feb. 20. In his role, Pedersen will also lead AI R&D investments, and a team of research, data, and applied scientists.

See also: What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence

Prior to eBay, Pedersen served as VP of data science at Twitter leading investment in data analytics and machine learning infrastructure.

"Jan is a true pioneer in the industry, with over thirty years developing search, deep learning, machine learning and AI technologies at scale," Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay, said in a statement. "He joins us at a pivotal moment when AI sciences including computer vision and deep learning are now capable of transforming personalized, immersive shopping experiences. eBay runs on AI and our continued innovation under Jan's leadership will transform each meaningful moment we have with our buyers and sellers."

Pedersen is credited with numerous patents, having worked at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, AltaVista, Yahoo, and A9.

In July 2017, eBay introduced an AI-powered search tool that uses computer vision and deep learning to compare images that a shopper uploads to the eBay app to the images of live listings on eBay to find listings.

On Tuesday, eBay said it looks to further its leadership in AI with Pedersen's hiring.