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Amazon uses machine learning to show you more helpful reviews


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Let's be blunt: Amazon's reviews sometimes suck. Many of them are hasty day-one reactions, others are horribly misinformed and a few are out-and-out fakes. The internet shopping giant thinks it knows how to sort the wheat from the chaff, however. It just launched a new machine learning system that understands which reviews are likely to be the most helpful, and floats them to the top. The artificial intelligence typically prefers reviews that are recent, receive a lot of up-votes or come from verified buyers. Amazon hopes that this will show you opinions that are not only more trustworthy, but reflect any fixes. In other words, you'll see reviews for the product you're actually likely to get.

The learning technology is only active in the US at the moment, and it may take a while before you notice the difference. Also, it's unclear as to how well the system will work in practice. While it might downplay that impulsive one-star review, it's not going to know which opinions are the most thoughtful -- that's more likely up to you. And, as Recode suggests, there's a worry that this algorithmic approach will mess with the joke reviews that have become a staple of Amazon. Who doesn't want to read feedback on TVs that cost as much as a luxury car, or networking cables that open wormholes?

[Image credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan]

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