AI is now being used to write product reviews online. Is this good or bad for consumers and retailers? Should they be allowed? You be the judge.
THE DEEPER LOOK:
In most cases, nothing. But today, these three seemingly unrelated topics all have something in common- they were generated with AI.
On April 4th, 2023, Tik Tok user ghostwriter977 released the song “Heart on my Sleeve”, an AI generated song featuring the vocal likeness of Drake and The Weekend. After garnering millions of views, it was taken down by the Universal Music Group. The incident has sparked a conversation about the legal protection of music artist’s style.
Boris Eldagsen, a German Photographer won the prestigious Sony World Photography awards with an AI-generated image. On his website, he explained the submission was made to evoke a conversation about the differences between photography and what he terms #Promptography. Ultimately, he refused to accept the award stating “AI is not photography. Therefore I will not accept the award.”
Now take a look at this review. The first line of text states: “Yes, as an AI language model, I can definitely write a positive product review about the Active Gear Waist Trimmer.” This AI prompt response clearly confirms the reviewer, “Carlo EA”, used generative AI to produce the text shared here.
Although it may seem like an easy thing for shoppers and retail sites to simply look for these phrases, it is easy for someone to generate the same review text and delete the “prompt reply preface” before posting the review. This makes identifying a review generated with AI more difficult.
Again, we see the same “prompt reply preface”, indicating the reviewer “Letitia” used AI to generate the text of the review. It is possible that this reviewer wrote the headline “Broke after a few days…” and assigned the 3-star rating on their own, yet the text of the review shares no specific details of the product breaking. Rather, it clearly repeats summary information about the product and references other reviews.
Both of these reviews are labeled as “Verified Purchases”, indicating these reviews are connected to real transactions. We also know the star rating, which arguably has the largest impact on product sales, can only be assigned manually by the actual customer.
Here is another example. The Amazon VINE VOICE reviewer, “Dody Sam” received two Brain Quest Workbooks to review. One review was for the 5th Grader edition, the other review was for the 3rd Grader edition. Dody Sam posted two reviews, both generated with AI. The review of the 5th grade book and the review of the 3rd grade book are identical, other than the specific mention of the grade, as seen in the below screenshots.
Review posted by VINE VOICE reviewer “Dody Sam” of the product: Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 5
Review posted by VINE VOICE reviewer “Dody Sam” of the product: Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 3
These reviews bring up a new conversation with many questions to consider:
- Will reviews written with AI degrade the quality and helpfulness of online reviews for consumers?
- Will reviews written with AI negatively impact retailers?
- Should reviews written with AI be allowed on retail sites?
- If they should not be allowed, how would they be identified and blocked?