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Newegg’s AI-generated reviews might be the worst use of ChatGPT yet

Published Aug 9th, 2023 3:54PM EDT
Newegg's homepage.
Image: Newegg

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There were always going to be growing pains as tech companies figured out how and where to deploy generative AI. Some of these experiments have been embraced by users, but others are doomed from the start. I’m afraid Newegg’s new AI-generated review summaries (as spotted by Digital Trends) will end up being the latter, as they fail to include any of the crucial context of an individual review while occasionally contradicting themselves.

On its surface, a summary of user reviews sounds like a smart use of artificial intelligence. After all, some of Newegg’s best sellers have hundreds or even thousands of reviews to read through. Rather than spend your afternoon deciding which random reviews to trust and which to ignore, why not let AI do the heavy lifting and summarize them all for you?

In practice, the results vary wildly. The AI summaries only appear on select product pages at the moment, and the first one I saw was reasonably helpful. AMD’s Ryzen 7 5700X has a stellar 4.8 out of 5 eggs rating on Newegg. According to the AI-written summary, reviews praise the CPU’s “fast performance, low power consumption, and easy installation.” It also notes that the 5700X “doesn’t come with a stock cooler.” Informative, effective, and to the point.

Then I saw the following AI summary for a Team 64GB microSDXC memory card:

Newegg's AI-generated review summaries don't always hit the mark.
Newegg’s AI-generated review summaries don’t always hit the mark. Image source: Newegg

Notably, with its solid 4.3 out of 5 rating, more customers than not have been satisfied with their purchase. On the other hand, the laundry list of complaints doesn’t suggest the memory card “is a reliable product with a great price and good performance.”

As much of a hassle as it can be to make your purchasing decision based on user reviews, they can and often do provide immense value. But the reason user reviews are so helpful is that they offer a unique viewpoint from a single customer. An aggregate summary provides no value when it prominently features issues that have only impacted the slimmest minority of reviewers or fails to include an issue that comes up in reviews repeatedly.

Worst of all, there’s no indication that this feature is a work-in-progress for Newegg. Instead, the online retailer passes the buck by noting in a pop-up that “AI-generated content is provided as-is, without any warranties or guarantees of any kind, either expressed or implied.”

Digital Trends reports that Newegg has confirmed the summaries are powered by ChatGPT. This isn’t the retailer’s first collaboration with OpenAI’s chatbot, as Newegg previously added a “Build with AI” tool to its custom PC builder, which Digital Trends also ripped to shreds. It just goes to show that AI is not a miracle solution for every problem.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.