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We created 300,000 jobs with AI: Tye Brady of Amazon Robotics

We created 300,000 jobs with AI: Tye Brady of Amazon Robotics

“Simply put, we couldn’t achieve our customer obsession without adding robotics and automation,” says the chief technologist of Amazon Robotics

We want to be the world's most customer centric company...Our robotics helps us enable this

Tye Brady, Amazon Robotics

If robotics were a baseball game, “we are just in the beginning,” says Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics.

He sees robotics playing a greater, if positive role, in the future of work.

“Work in the future is done collaboratively, humans and machines working together,” says Brady.

“Humans are really good at problem solving, abstraction, creative thinking, using common sense,” he points out.

The machines that they develop, meanwhile, “are really good at crunching numbers, assessing databases, remembering a myriad of things, repetitive tasks, moving with precision and heavy lifting.”

“If you can blend these together in order to achieve something that is stronger than any one of them alone, you are now achieving the symphony of humans and machines working together, and when done right, this creates jobs.”

“AI is a game changer, you have seen it in systems all over Amazon,” he says.

He cites what is happening at Amazon’s fulfillment centres.

“Since we’ve heavily invested in robotics in 2012, we have created over 300,000 jobs,” says Brady, who spoke on robotics and the future of work at the AWS Innovation Day in Sydney.

He says Amazon’s goal is to help shape robotics to what it can be.

He says their robotics enables efficiencies which means lower cost, and expands human capabilities.

“We use machines to do more things, when we do more things, we become more productive.”

“Simply put, we couldn’t achieve our customer obsession without adding robotics and automation. We’ve just got to do it. To me it’s simple, the more robots we have, the more jobs we’re creating.”

“We can combine machine labour with human labour in smart ways.

When you do that, you have more productivity.

“But this productivity should have value in your customers,” he says.

“You have to have customer delight, having the right good at the right time and at a low cost.”

“We will always start and end with customer experience (CX),” he says.

“A great CX will bring more traffic and when you have more traffic you have more sellers, if you have more sellers,  you have more selection. Having more selection is great for the customer.

“Humans and machines working together in symphony really changes your thinking,” he says.

“We want to be the world's most customer centric company,” he says.

“Our robotics helps us enable this.”

“I am excited by AI,” he says.

“It makes us humans smarter, it allows us to gain insights from our data to make better decisions and we create jobs.

Robots at work at an Amazon fulfillment centre
Robots at work at an Amazon fulfillment centre

He is forthright that jobs definitely will be changed by new technologies.

Robotics is creating some jobs that could never have been imagined 20 years ago, he states.

He cites at least three roles they have recruited over the past two months: software development engineer II - core Android based in Massachusetts, blockchain architect based in Chicago, and senior social media manager for Prime Video in Madrid.

He talks about Amazon’s investment in skills needed for the AI era, for students and their staff.

“Our workforce should evolve with our robotics,” he says.

He says Amazon also provides robotics grants to 100 schools serving students from underrepresented and underserved communities in 21 states, across the United States. The programme includes teacher professional development to learn about robotics and funds to expand access to computer science education in the schools.

The programme will begin in autumn this year in the US, and is expected to benefit thousands of students.

Humans and machines working together in symphony really changes your thinking

Tye Brady, Amazon Robotics

The focus on developing people for the evolving workplace is also highlighted by Jenny Freshwater, leader of forecasting and capacity planning at Amazon.

“We’ve talked a lot about automation,” she says, “but it’s really still about the people.”

“We have deep learning algorithms that actually learn for themselves, but we still need people, smart scientists, to code those algorithms. And when we have a great model we move on and invent a better one.”

“In our world and in likely yours, machine learning is not just a buzzword, it’s our future.”

Amazon fulfillment centre Credit: Supplied
Amazon fulfillment centre

The author attended AWS Innovation Day in Sydney as a guest of AWS

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Tags retailoperationsamazonAIdisruptionfuture of workskills shortagesmachine learningcxDXcustomer-focused#AWSSummitcontinuous learning@spaceguytyeTye BradyAmazon fulfillment centresAWS innovation

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