AI, Visual Data, Semantic Search and the Fashion Industry

“Major technology companies and new startups are at war over having the most valuable artificial intelligence and at the core of this war is having unique high quality visual data.
Fei-Fei Li, Director of the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Lab and Chief Scientist AI/ML at Google Cloud says, ‘As nature discovered early on, vision is one of the most powerful secret weapons of an intelligent animal to navigate, survive, interact and change the complex world it lives in…The only path to build intelligent machines is to enable it with powerful visual intelligence…While many are searching for the ‘killer app’ of vision, I’d say, vision is the ‘killer app’ of AI and computing.’
Computer vision expert and Professor Computer Vision at Cornell Tech, Serge Belongie says ‘A majority of the human brain involves processing of visual data, for purposes such as scene interpretation and spatial navigation. Visual data is central to the way we learn about the world, and it follows that the pursuit of intelligent machines will require substantial advances in our ability to process and interpret visual data.’”
“Two separate research studies, funded by Apptus and carried out by IMRG and Hive, have found that fashion retailers are planning significant investment in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next two years, as they seek to deliver the ‘real time relevant’ customer experiences that are vital to improving sales performance.
– 52% will invest in AI for online merchandising in the next 12 month
– 67% of respondents said AI would help to improve organisational efficiency
– 62% said it would enable them to deliver an enhanced customer experience
– 58% said it would help them to make more effective use of big data
Asked to identify the areas of their businesses that will benefit the most from automation in the coming 3-5 years, scoring each out of 10, they awarded personalisation a score of 7.9 and online merchandising: 7.8. By contrast customer service scored five out of ten.”
“Semantic search uses both Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence to understand long search terms (like chocolate bars under 5 dollars). By using Machine Learning techniques it can also develop an ability to understand the customer’s’ intent (i.e. identify the typos, recognize synonyms, show related products) as opposed to focusing only on specific keywords.
The concept of Semantic search not entirely new. Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Assistant use similar technology to understand people’s speech.
Apart from improved ability to present relevant products to the customers, there are many other benefits of Semantic search over the traditional Textual one.”
“Alibaba has also used artificial intelligence to handle the volume of inquiries from consumers through chatbots. As of March, AI technology was handling millions of customer inquiries daily.

During the quarter, Alibaba made its AI technology available to merchants on its marketplaces through a service called ‘store concierge.’ It uses natural language processing to help merchants handle consumer inquiries such as returns and refunds, especially during peak promotional seasons. It also supports personalized recommendations and promotions and discount information.”

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