No Writer's Block Ever At JD.com

(On JD.COM and Artificial Intelligence)


Meet a writer who won’t suffer writers’ block, able to work non-stop, creating a 1000 pieces of content daily.

Powered by AI-based natural language generation (NLG) technology, JD’s writing robot Li Bai draws on the company’s massive trove of customer reviews and content from the internet to generate product descriptions and tailored shopping guides. He can generate more than a thousand pieces of content per day for JD’s app.

Just so you don’t have to lean on Google’s AI to translate, the above copy was:

These shoes have highly wear-resistant soles and are made of breathable material for a cool and comfortable fit even in the most sultry weather, allowing you extra energy on the field. They are designed to more precisely mold to your feet, with a high-top design and soft fit to protect you from sports injuries.”

JD.com is one of the biggest players in China, having come a long way over the last two decades, starting as a sole proprietor selling electronic parts and evolving into China’s version of Amazon. And just like Amazon, JD.com is making use of A.I. to enhance its platform internally to enhance customer experiences.

“JD.com, Inc. (Chinese: ; pinyin: Jīngdōng), also known as Jingdong and formerly called 360buy,[5] is a Chinese e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. It is one of the two largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume and revenue, a member of the Fortune Global 500 and a major competitor to Alibaba-run Tmall.[6][7] As of September 2017, the platform has 266.3 million active users.[8]

The company was founded by Liu Qiangdong in July 1998, and its B2C platform went online in 2004. It started as an online magneto-optical store, but soon diversified, selling electronics, mobile phones, computers and similar items. The company changed its domain name to 360buy.com in June 2007 and then to JD.com in 2013. The latter purchase is understood to have cost $5,000,000.[9] At the same time, JD.com announced its new logo and mascot. It is partly owned by Tencent, which has a 20% stake in the company.[10]

JD.com is the world’s leading company in high tech and AI delivery through drones, autonomous technology and robots, and possesses the largest drone delivery system, infrastructure and capability in the world. It has recently started testing robotic delivery services and building drone delivery airports, as well as operating driverless delivery by unveiling its first autonomous truck.”

To get a sense of how big JD.com’s ambitions are with this Natural Language Generation A.I., Li Bai’s name is from one of the greatest poets of Chinese literary history:

“Li Bai (701–762), also known as Li Bo, Li Po and Li Taibai, was a Chinese poet acclaimed from his own day to the present as a genius and a romantic figure who took traditional poetic forms to new heights. He and his friend Du Fu (712–770) were the two most prominent figures in the flourishing of Chinese poetry in the Tang dynasty, which is often called the “Golden Age of Chinese Poetry“. The expression “Three Wonders” denote Li Bai’s poetry, Pei Min‘s swordplay, and Zhang Xu‘s calligraphy.”

This virtual poet writes copy within seconds and is also being trained with images constantly as well, and apparently, like his namesake, is capable offer fancy prose albeit of a mercantile nature. When asked about wedding rings, A.I. Li Bai responded: “When the vow has been sealed, the wedding ring symbolizing holy matrimony drops from the sky.” Still, once in a while, his descriptions include odd cultural references that may raise some eyebrows, like his description of clothing that “befits a mature woman, exhibiting a unique Eastern glamour.”

It’s not all that strange. “This all began in the 1990s when there was interest in using NLG to summarise financial and business data. For example, the SPOTLIGHT system developed at A.C. Nielsen automatically generated readable English text based on the analysis of large amounts of retail sales data.”

CEO Richard Liu is definitely running with this tech. ““I hope my company would be 100% automation someday … no human beings anymore, 100% operated by AI and robots.

Writers shouldn’t panic… well, not just yet. JD.com’s PR team said, “the JD public relations team said it was “impressive… but we’ll keep writing our own blog posts for now.” The share price of JD.com below and an English language interview with the CEO are shared below.


Originally published at big-stack.com on June 6, 2018.