How Amazon won the “AI” race

I have often heard the term “AI changing the world” but have often stumbled when trying to find “Who did it the best”.

In this article I would like to share about how Amazon did AI right before anyone else.

So what exactly is AI?

I am not gonna go in depth about what AI is but in a nutshell in it’s heart AI is about predicting an outcome by looking at similar past scenarios and trying to find the underlying pattern behind them. How these predictions are made is an entirely different topic.

So what does Amazon do with AI?

Amazon has been into AI long before people often know. Amazon was into integration of AI into their architecture back in 2010’s long before the buzzword has taken over the masses. This gave them an edge over rest of the market since they matured much before anyone else.

Product recommendation is one of the most common AI integration that we can relate to. Whenever we try to buy a new phone Amazon quickly recommends us similar devices and also phone cases and maybe a charger if you trying to buy iphone 12.

Product recommendation might sound a very subtle integration of AI but it actually has a very major impact on sales because a user might not have planned to buy a 5 dollar accessory with a product but when it gets recommended before payment he is tempted to add that to the cart too. Imagine this being done to millions of user every day. That is some serious hike in sales to be honest.

In one of the previous article I talked about the AWS. In layman terms the AWS provides the architecture for the firms and companies depending upon the type of uses they have. AWS is the world’s leader in terms of market share in public cloud services.

The company now sells its machine-learning approach through Amazon Web Services to clients including NASA and the NFL. By taking advantage of AI advancements and applications in other areas of the company, it offers personalized AI solutions to large and small businesses.

Hey Alexa, is the AI enabled?

All the hands free voice assistants like Alexa are AI enabled to understand the voice of the users so that they can perform the actions, the almost zero latency response of Alexa is all thanks to a finely tuned AI model that is trained to understand your voice.

Amazon did face a challenging task as they were one of the firsts to try building the virtual assistant but it was worth the time and risk.

Once the technology started to come together, divisions across the company realized that Alexa could be beneficial for their products. Some of the first skills for Alexa were integrations with Amazon Music Prime.

Have you all heard of Amazon Go?

Back in 2016 I first heard that Amazon has opened a new concept of convenience store where a customer just buys stuff and leaves. It sounded too gimmicky to me at first but today in 2020 there are 27 Go stores.

When a customer goes to an Amazon Go store he simply enter using the Amazon Go app to browse and take the products they want and then leave. The store is partially-automated, with customers being able to purchase products without using a cashier or checkout station.

The cashier-less Amazon Go store takes advantage of the wealth of data to track customer shopping trends. Data from customers’ smartphone cameras tracks shopping activities not only helps Amazon Go, but is also shared with the machine learning team for continued development.

Conclusion

I pondered on the fact that why I chose Amazon to write about and not the likes of facebook, netflix or microsoft even though they have a very mature AI architecture themselves.

The reason is simple. Amazon made bold decisions at the right time be it with the AI or a complete cloud ecosystem i.e. AWS. In this fast growing technology centered world a time gap of couple of years determines where the market shares land for a company.

What a man he is.

Thanks :)

Tech enthusiast