Amazon’s empire rests on its low-key approach to AI

  • “Yes, its Alexa competes with Siri and the company offers predictive services in its cloud. But the algorithms most critical to the company’s success are those it uses to constantly streamline its own operations.
  • The feedback loop looks the same as in its consumer-facing ai: build a service, attract customers, gather data, and let computers learn from these data, all at a scale that human labour could not emulate.
  • Aws’s chief use of machine learning is to forecast demand for computation. Insufficient computing power as internet users flock to a customer’s service can engender errors—and lost sales as users encounter error pages.
  • AI body-tracking is also popping up inside fulfilment centres. The firm has a pilot project, internally called the “Nike Intent Detection” system, which does for fulfilment-centre associates what Amazon Go does for shoppers: it tracks what they pick and place on shelves.”

I just discovered today that the Ecomomist has a special enrollment where you can read 5 articles per month without enrolling for a paid subscription. Very cool.

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