Amazon is a company that has really Reorganized itself and restructured itself to really leverage artificial intelligence in every part of their organization. So we see this now in things like their recommendation engines and in fact, amazon recommendations are now driving 35% of total sales. We see this in their Alexa capabilities, their smart speakers, we see this in their warehouses that are now being automated using artificial intelligence and smart robots.
How have they used Artificial Intelligence in Amazon?
They have approached artificial intelligence with their Flywheel Approach. Flywheel is basically this engineering tool that helps us to conserve energy and keep momentum. So if you think about a Potter’s wheel for example, that we press and then it actually keeps spinning nicely all the time and every time we then add a little bit of energy.
Their approach is basically that artificial intelligence has to it’s a momentum that has to be kept up so the entire organization is humming with artificial intelligence where it can also spread from one part to the other so in the engine the flywheel keeps different parts of the engine going So you have to switch it on and off. Again in amazon what they’re saying is that innovations that take place in one team or in one part of the organization has to be transferred to others where others can learn from this.
AI is absolutely fundamental for everything they do and it’s not located just in one office where one part of the organization is in charge of AI but it’s completely dispersed into the organization. Really important in order to use AI is to have data available right because we use Artificial Intelligence to train our machine learning algorithms and the same thing amazon used.
What Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon made very clear back in 2002?
Is that they want to make sure data is not kept by someone and data has to be shared across the organization so this imperative to share data and create APIs that basically connect your data sets to other data sets in the organization and make sure that it can be externalized from the ground up and basically in his email to all employees. He said that if you don’t do this you will get fired, so there are no back doors there’s no hiding of information and data we need to make sure we feed this into the organization.
Obsession with Customers
Another Amazon Approach is an obsession with customers, so what they’re not doing is they’re starting with this customer obsession saying we want to deliver an amazing experience, and then we need to leverage Artificial Intelligence to make this an amazing experience for everyone. With this, they can do the recommendation engines and the one-click buying process, and the automated warehouses.
One thing that demonstrates this very well is, How they have reinvented physical shopping experiences in their amazon go stores? They said is as a customer what you want to do when you go shopping, is you want to walk into the store put the thing straight into your shopping bag and then walk out and then somehow get charged for this would be ideal. This is about someone that would think about this that is really obsessed with customers.
Amazon then say okay How can we use technology like Artificial Intelligence?
So they introduce Machine vision that recognizes someone’s face that then also monitors using artificial intelligence and machine learning, what you have taken off the shelf to put straight into your shopping bag, and because they recognize that you’re a registered user, they have your credit card details so you simply fill you back and you walk out.
This for me is applying artificial intelligence well and this is what amazon has been doing really well with their flywheel approach their customer obsession and the data sharing that enables that they can use AI in every part of the organization.