Amazon’s re:MARS conference has brought a whole range of headlines during the four days it has taken place in Las Vegas from June 4-7. The event is described as “a new global AI event on Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space” on the accompanying homepage and tried to give a glimpse into the future.
Over the course of the conference, Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Inc's chief executive and founder, took to the stage and predicted the challenge of building robots for commercial use that can grasp items as efficiently as a human hand would be solved in the next 10 years. A remark that underscored how quickly technology is being developed to further the use of robotics for essential tasks in retail and other business fields.
The prediction seemed in line with Amazon’s previous announcement that it expects to begin large-scale deliveries by drone in the coming months. The newest designs for a "Prime Air" fleet were unveiled on Wednesday. The drones are supposed to play a role in ramping up efforts to shorten delivery times for many items to just one day for Amazon Prime members, AFP reported.
The company also responded to recent criticism during the event. Amidst growing scrutiny of the technology sector, Amazon faced calls to break up the company, according to Reuters. Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Amazon's consumer business, also appeared as a featured speaker at the event. During a press conference at re:MARS he said, "Substantial entities in the economy deserve scrutiny, and our job is to build the kind of company that passes that scrutiny."
The simple message being represented was this: we welcome any review. With that, Wilke followed an approach to the scrutiny taken by other executives before him. Jeff Bezos made similar comments, and Apple's CEO Tim Cook said that huge companies deserved oversight, in an interview aired recently by CBS News. "With size, I think scrutiny is fair. I think we should be scrutinised," he said. But, he added, "I don't think anybody reasonable is gonna come to the conclusion that Apple's a monopoly."
Another famous name on the list of key-note speakers at re:MARS was that of Robert Downey Jr. The actor and producer, whose best known for playing Iron Man in several Marvel movies, caused big cheers when he announced the launch of a new initiative called Footprint Coalition. The goal of it was declared to be to use robotics, artificial intelligence, and technology to clean up the Earth and reverse its carbon footprint in a decade.
Business Insider reported from the conference that the coalition was still “so new, its website hasn't even been set up yet,” but that Downey Jr. promised the Coalition would be officially off the ground in April 2020.