Amazon CEO: generative AI 'may be the largest technology transformation since the cloud'

A once-in-a-lifetime transformation may be upon us.
Written by Don Reisinger, Contributing Writer
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This Echo Dot 4th Gen works as an Amazon Sidewalk bridge.

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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has joined the growing list of tech CEOs who firmly believe artificial intelligence could reshape the entire industry. In his annual letter to shareholders on Thursday, Jassy said that AI has become critical to Amazon's business, and will only increase in value over the coming years. In fact, he went so far as to say that AI could be the single most important advancement we've seen in years.

"Generative AI may be the largest technology transformation since the cloud (which itself, is still in the early stages), and perhaps since the internet," Jassy wrote. "Unlike the mass modernization of on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, where there's work required to migrate, this [Generative] AI revolution will be built from the start on top of the cloud. The amount of societal and business benefit from the solutions that will be possible will astound us all."

Jassy's letter naturally focused primarily on how Amazon is using AI to bolster its business. Jassy said that Amazon is building generative AI into most of its applications and products, and that Alexa, the company's virtual personal assistant, will only get smarter over time. Amazon's Rufus, its new AI-powered shopping assistant, will also play a crucial role in how Amazon does business going forward.

Also: Amazon's new AI tool lets sellers create listings using just a URL

Jassy's annual letter to shareholders is one of the more important missives from tech CEOs. In addition to discussing Amazon's business plans and how the company plans to compete in the coming years, it also sheds light on what some of the biggest tech companies in the world are thinking about with regards to the latest industry advancements. Critically, it also provides clues about what is in store for consumers in the coming years.

On that front, Jassy is decidedly bullish, saying that he believes Amazon, through its use of AI and other efficiencies, can reduce its cost burden and create a better, more affordable, and speedier customer experience. "We've challenged every closely held belief in our fulfillment network, and reevaluated every part of it, and found several areas where we believe we can lower costs even further while also delivering faster for customers," Jassy wrote.

Unsurprisingly, it's Jassy's bold words on AI that get the most attention in this year's letter. It's no secret that AI is transformational for most companies, but there's still some debate across the industry over just how transformational it could be. Comparing AI to the cloud, and more so, to the internet, suggests that Amazon and Jassy see AI not as an evolutionary improvement on existing technologies, but as a revolutionary technology that could change everything.

"There has never been a time in Amazon's history where we've felt there is so much opportunity to make our customers' lives better and easier," Jassy wrote to close his letter. "We're incredibly excited about what's possible, focused on inventing the future, and look forward to working together to make it so."

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