How Amazon is Dazzling the World with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning - Great Learning
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How Amazon is Dazzling the World with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

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“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, desire” – Aristotle

Since the days of antiquity, these terms have governed and explicated human behavior. One would assume that the use of such terminology is reserved to the characterization of Homo sapiens in philosophy or even everyday banter, but technology today is analyzing these exact attributes to determine our personality, predict our actions, and influence our behavior. The biggest example is e-commerce giant Amazon that exploits Artificial Intelligence to determine its customer’s behavior.

Amazon has been deeply investing in AI for the past 20 years and applied it to each aspect of their business right from supply chain, forecasting, to capacity planning. Machine learning algorithms have enabled Amazon to predict and ‘mould’ customer behavior. This employs analyzing and collating data from multiple sources like customer’s search history, browsing patterns, social media activity, real world positioning, etc. Amazon’s persistent investment in data scientists has enhanced the capabilities and competencies of the company’s products. They have led by example and as a result, Amazon may soon become the world’s first trillion dollar company!

3 Amazing Products and One Super-Amazing Goal

Amazon has always been the frontrunner when it comes to innovation. Alexa – Amazon’s voice assistant – is fueled by natural language processing and automated speech recognition. Deep learning will soon enable Amazon to simplify buying with minimum machine interaction. Amazon is also working on enhancing its capabilities for integration with drone delivery platform – Prime Air and retail experience – Amazon Go. Amazon Prime Air will ensure that an order is delivered under 30 mins (if all the parameters are met – such as distance from an inventory, the weight of the package, and dimensions) by an unmanned air vehicle (drone). Its first successful delivery was made on Dec 6, 2016, in Cambridge, England. Amazon Go, on the other hand, is the first ever grocery store that will allow customers to shop without cash counters or assistants. Amazon Go store opened for public on 22 January 2018 and 20 more stores are in the pipeline in the next two years.

Amazon Wonderful (Web) Services

Amazon has already shocked the world with its AWS offerings by dominating almost 34% of all cloud computing in comparison to Google, IBM, and Microsoft’s 8%, 6%, and 11% respectively. One would argue why a mention of Amazon is incomplete without its cloud computing offerings, especially when we speak of Amazon’s AI and Machine Learning capabilities exclusively. The truth is that AWS has brought AI and deep learning to a million+ developers around the world thanks to its IaaS and PaaS subscription-based offerings. Technology has never felt more accessible and cheaper in the hands of a developer even as their pay-as-you-go model garners Amazon trillions of dollars in future. There isn’t an important product that AWS doesn’t include in its customizable packages ranging from IoT to analytics to machine learning, AR, and VR. Hence, AWS is enabling customers to avail such deep learning capabilities with minimum investment, bringing data analysis services to small and medium enterprises, start-ups and individual corporate consumers.

Amazon Lex and Polly – Our New Best Friends

These applications have the potential to re-define the customer services industry. They provide services like intelligent chatbots, text-to-speech conversion, and image recognition, which are driven by deep learning capabilities. Amazon Lex is an AWS service that builds interfaces for applications using voice and text. In their own words, “With Amazon Lex, the same conversational engine that powers Amazon Alexa is now available to any developer, enabling you to build sophisticated, natural language chatbots into your new and existing applications. Amazon Lex provides the deep functionality and flexibility of natural language understanding (NLU) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) so you can build highly engaging user experiences with lifelike, conversational interactions, and create new categories of products.” In contrast, Amazon Polly is a text-to-speech service that finds its application in building speech-enabled applications for personalized user experiences. Polly uses deep learning technologies to bring text to lifelike speech.

Amazon Rekognition Recognized!

Amazon Rekognition is another genius service powered by deep learning that can detect scenes, objects, faces, text, activities, and inappropriate content in images and videos. Facial analysis and facial recognition can be integrated with several applications to identify persons-of-interest automating several human tasks. Pinterest, CTO, Vanja Josifovski said, “As a visually-driven platform, Pinterest relies heavily on the speed and quality of images, but the text behind those images is just as important, as it provides context and makes Pins actionable for our 200M+ active Pinners. In working with Amazon Rekognition Text in Image, we can better extract the rich text captured in images at scale and with low latency for the millions of Pins stored in Amazon S3. We look forward to continuing to develop the partnership with AWS for high quality and fast experiences for Pinners and businesses on Pinterest.”

Amazon’s Machine Learning (AML) – The Mecca of Machine Learning

Without having to learn complex algorithms and technologies, AML provides a platform to every developer to create machine learning models, obtain predictions, and use visualization tools and wizards, irrespective of their proficiency level with any of these.  It works by finding trends and patterns in your existing data and then using the same model to process a new dataset. Generating predictions has never been simpler with AML capable of generating billions of predictions every day. The platform helps deploy complex machine learning algorithms with an API based platform hence bringing ML accessibility to the average data scientist and developer. No strings attached – no hardware or software investments – and no complications. Pay-as-you-go and use-as-you-like!

Amazon is a classic example of how developments in the digital economy are blurring the lines between the physical and technological world at a faster rate. They are not only transforming how consumer behavior will shape in future but also hint towards a major shift in the competencies required for the future workforce. As a result, data analyzing and big data understanding competencies are now imperative for a developer who is future ready! According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution driven by AI and automation, combined with other socio-economic and demographic changes, will transform labor markets in the next five years, leading to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies.

Amazon’s capabilities and current status in AI, machine learning, and automation provide a sneak peek into the future of mankind. Reminiscent of all the science-fiction movies we all grew up on, I would love for the drone to drop off my parcel in 30 minutes. Superman, you are no longer my hero!

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