Amazon launches artificial intelligence research centre in Germany
Thu 26 Oct 2017
Amazon is launching an artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in Germany’s Cyber Valley, in an attempt to improve customer experience.
Germany’s Cyber Valley, in a region near Stuttgart and Tübingen, a traditional university town, was created through a collaboration between the Max Planck Society, universities, and six major companies including Facebook and BMW.
The collaborative effort focusses on advanced research in robotics and machine learning. Now, Amazon has joined the hub, as it pursues AI research to improve the way customers interact with its services.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Stack of the importance of artificial intelligence to its business, saying: “Machine Learning is central to all of Amazon’s businesses – ranging from demand forecasting in our retail business to automatic extraction of characters and places from books and videos in our digital business and enabling developers with predictive analytics in Amazon Web Services.
“Machine Learning methods are crucial to drive automation in all our businesses, helping our customers to benefit from lower prices, wider selection, faster delivery and more delightful digital experiences.”
The company also recently acquired Body Labs, a company that specialises in creating 3D body models with business applications, such as virtually trying on clothes, suggesting further interest in pursuing AI for business.
A co-founder of Body Labs, Michael J. Black, is also a director at the Max Planck Society, which helped create the Cyber Valley hub and will work with Amazon at its research centre. The Society is a leader in artificial intelligence research.
Society president Martin Stratmann commented: “With Amazon joining the Cyber Valley, our idea to create a fruitful environment for business activities will gain momentum by expanding AI research in the Stuttgart and Tübingen area.
“Only by bringing together world-class research and entrepreneurial spirit can we create the breeding ground for innovations that may prove to be technological breakthroughs in the future.”
On the decision to build the centre in Germany, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Germany is one of the most important markets of Amazon. Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than 8 billion Euro (approx. £7.15 billion) in its German infrastructure and sites to further expand its local operation.
“Amazon also does important research in Germany, especially in the field of artificial intelligence, with our Machine Learning research headquartered in Berlin.”