Science-Fiction meets reality – Amazon boss hails “golden age” of AI
Posted: 10 May 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields
“We are now solving problems with machine learning and artificial intelligence that were in the realm of science fiction for the last several decades.”
That was the message from Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos who was speaking this week during a ‘Fireside Chat’, at the Internet Association’s annual gala in Washington, where he also described the world as entering a ‘golden age’ of technology for solving problems.
Bezos, who was answering questions from Internet Association President & CEO Michael Beckerman on stage, described AI as an “enabling layer” that will “improve every business.” He also discussed Amazon in the early days of the internet, addressing success and failure in business, and his hopes for the future of humanity.Amazon’s feelings towards AI and machine learning have never been in doubt.
Amazon, described by the Association as a ‘pioneer’ in AI, has made its feelings clear around the use of breakthrough technologies and machine learning, both from an operational and product point of view for more than a decade.
Internally Amazon is said to have more than 45,000 robots in use across its global warehouses, operated various ways to fulfil orders and is already testing drones in the UK for future deliveries.It was also one of the first, if not the first, retailer to use AI and machine learning to provide predictive analytics on every individual customer, enabling its platform to predict what else the customer might want to buy – thus boosting sales. This is enabled through Amazon Web Services, which is now 10 years old.
The firm is also one of the market leaders in the personal assistance space, with its Amazon Alexa voice controlled products.
According to forecasts from VoiceLabs.co, both the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers will account for more than 24 million unit sales combined by the end of 2017. More than 8 million Amazon Echo speakers had been sold as of February this year, according to Tech.co
Bezos, who joked that he “dances into work” everyday, says he is already working so far ahead, that his business plan is based on quarters in 2020 – although refused to provide details.
‘It really is an amazing renaissance,” he concluded.