The Seattle Times reports that Amazon is cutting "several hundred" jobs from its Alexa division as it places more attention on artificial business as a driver of its business.
The email to employees from Daniel Rausch, vice president of Alexa and Fire TV, said, in part, that "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 … These shifts are leading us to discontinue some initiatives, which is resulting in several hundred roles being eliminated."
Company insiders say that the company is shifting focus to "generative AI, the buzzy artificial intelligence that is able to create its own content, like text or images; and large language models, or LLMs, a type of algorithm that is trained on data sets to recognize, summarize and predict content."
These are not the first cuts of this kind made by Amazon: "Amazon began making cuts to its Devices division, the business unit responsible for the Alexa voice assistant, as well as Kindle, smart-home products, Echo speakers and its home robot, Astro," the Times reports.
- KC's View:
Sounds to me more like a shift than a cut - clearly AI, in all its iterations, is going to play an enormous part of Amazon's business going forward. It seems pretty obvious that its Alexa-powered systems can be an integral part of that.
There have been a lot of questions about the potential and profitability of the Alexa systems. Probably the best answers to these questions will come in the form of a technological advance.