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In The Booming Artificial Intelligence Market: Who’s In? Everybody!, I wrote that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a bit of a “big boy” game. By that, I meant that not every company has the capital for investments in AI, machine learning, natural language processing and related efforts, and in some instances, many business leaders aren’t yet paying much attention.
At the Internet Association’s 2017 Annual Charity Gala held in Washington D.C., IA’s president and CEO Michael Beckerman interviewed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in a fireside chat. Among the many things they discussed and topics explored was AI, and where the internet behemoth is headed as it relates to AI. Bezos echoed my sentiments on the accessibility issue—and pointed to it as one he intends to address as part Amazon’s overall AI strategy. Here are some highlights from the conversation:
Bezos: AI is “a Renaissance”
It’s an understatement to say that Bezos realizes the importance of AI and machine learning, pointing to the many advancements that were either in the realm of science fiction or in or imaginations for the last few decades and which are now becoming reality. Bezos pointed to the s-curve of rapid progress made by researchers over the course of the last ten years into what he termed “a horizontal enabling layer.” Bezos made it clear that he believes AI and machine learning will improve every institution and organization in the future—including his own.
From Amazon Echo to AI Accessibility
Bezos mentioned that Amazon’s activities in the realm of AI are obvious: Alexa, Echo, and natural language processing, to name a few. But as is expected, there’s much going on behind the scenes at Amazon that is public knowledge. Yet. This includes the use of AI for obvious things, as it relates to the shopping (and buying) experience, and the improvement of search results, product recommendations, forecasting, and more.
Amazon’s AI initiatives are aimed at making machine learning techniques accessible for organizations that could not otherwise afford to employ the best machine learning developers. Bezos was passionate about his commitment to using AI to build Amazon’s business, as well as enabling other organizations to leverage the game-changer that is machine learning. Amazon’s AWS offerings include AI and machine learning, and API services that make it clear the top public cloud vendor is an attractive business partner for companies of all sizes.
Here’s the full video interview—watching it might be the best 37 minutes you’ll spend this week:
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Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”