Liat Clark, The Everywhere Store: Amazon’s AI-powered masterplan to be the world’s biggest company – Wired – August 4 2017
In June, it bought supermarket chain Whole Foods, with its 400-plus retail sites, for $13.7 billion.
AI has long been at the core of Amazon’s business. “A lot of the value we’re getting from machine learning is actually happening beneath the surface,” Bezos said at the Internet Association’s annual gala in May. “It is things such as improved search results, improved product recommendations, improved forecasting for inventory management and hundreds of other things.”
With the introduction of Alexa in November 2014, Amazon has entered what Bezos calls AI’s “golden age”. Alexa is the public face of Amazon’s AI efforts; the facilitator that will help customers navigate – and consume – Amazon’s empire.
Through the WI Lens
This article is an essential read in two respects. (1) It helps debunk the myth that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has to do with wellness. Not much – even if it makes organic food cheaper. It is rather a way to introduce Alexa (Amazon’s virtual voice assistant) in Whole Foods’ 400 plus retail sites where it is now sold alongside organic kale and responsibly farmed salmon. (2) It helps explain how Amazon is entering the “golden age” of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will revolutionize retail and hospitality to an unprecedented degree. Thanks to Alexa and the power of machine learning, Amazon will soon be able to sell customers whatever they want, wherever they are, whenever they need it. In addition, it will connect Alexa to Amazon’s vast logistics and retail empire.
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