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18 Nov 2023
Amy Furr

NextImg:Amazon Slashing Hundreds of Jobs in Alexa Unit to Focus on AI

Amazon is throwing out hundreds of jobs, including American ones, from its Alexa unit to focus more on artificial intelligence (AI), a company leader told workers on Friday.

Amazon’s Vice President of Alexa and Fire TV Daniel Rausch said the job cuts are because the company is not moving forward with certain initiatives, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“As we continue to invent, we’re shifting some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities, and what we know matters most to customers — which includes maximizing our resources and efforts focused on generative AI,” he said.

In this photo illustration, the American electronic commerce and cloud computing company Amazon logo is displayed on a smartphone with an Artificial intelligence (AI) chip and symbol in the background (Photo illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images).

The job cuts will affect workers in America, Canada, and India, the AP article noted.

The announcement comes as Amazon is reportedly building its own AI system called Olympus, Breitbart News reported November 8, noting it will compete with other AI platforms.

The article continued:

The Olympus model is reportedly designed to have two trillion parameters, making it twice as large as OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. An increase in parameter size is hoped to produce a more accurate AI model, leading to AI companies to engage in an arms race of offering larger and faster executing systems.

Amazon claims its goal is to improve its customer experience through more advanced AI. For example, the model could power a chatbot on Amazon’s shopping site to help customers find products.

The chair of the marketing department at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University spoke about the issue with King 5.

“I think everyone at this point realizes that almost whatever business you’re in that you’re probably going to be affected or influenced in some way or another by the emergence of AI,” he said:

In November 2022, Amazon reportedly began gutting the internal team working on Alexa, and one former worker deemed Alexa a “colossal failure of imagination,” according to Breitbart News.