eBay has hired a new high-level executive in an attempt to leverage their artificial intelligence efforts throughout their e-commerce platform. The company has appointed Jan Pederson as its new VP and chief scientist for AI. Pederson, who will be officially assuming his role at eBay on February 20, will be leading the company’s strategy which includes computer vision, natural language understanding, and machine learning to help deliver new customer experiences across the eBay platform.
Pederson will be working out of the San Jose, California headquarters and will be reporting directly to CTO Steve Fisher. Pederson will also be responsible for leading the AI R&D investments and a team of research, data, and applied scientists.
“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.”
Most recently, Pederson was working as the vice president of data science at Twitter and was responsible for leading Twitter’s investment in machine learning infrastructure and data analytics. Prior to Twitter, he spent close to a decade with Microsoft in different search-related leadership roles. He began his career at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and subsequently worked as chief scientist with AltaVista, Yahoo and Amazon’s A9. He has a Ph.D in statistics from Stanford University.
In July 2017, eBay increased its AI efforts by introducing new computer vision search features that allows users search for items by uploading existing photos. Recently, the ecommerce giant also revealed support for voice-shopping through Google Assistant.
“If you’re not doing AI today, don’t expect to be around in a few years,” said Japjit Tulsi, VP of engineering at eBay, in an interview with VentureBeat last year. “It really is that important for companies to invest in — especially commerce companies.”