Amazon announced the re:MARS conference, an open to all conference on robotics, space and artificial intelligence, as well as to discuss future applications of emerging technologies.
The conference, to be held in Las Vegas, will include “visionary talks, interactive workshops, technical deep dives, roundtables, hands-on demos, and more.
MARS stands for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space. It grew out of a private, invite-only event hosted by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in recent years. Earlier, Bezos held an annual event invite-only event where billionaires, astronauts, and roboticists would rub shoulders and chat about the future of tech over gourmet nibbles. Now this event is being turned into a public conference— one that “embraces an optimistic vision for scientific discovery”. It will feature demos, workshops and talks about machine learning and space exploration. According to Bezos, the event would bring together “leaders and builders from diverse areas to share learning’s and spark new ideas for future innovation.”
What does this mean for Amazon ?
This would also be an opportunity for Amazon to showcase how the advances in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are being used by them. The general public might not be aware of that even though some of this work is highly visible, such as autonomous Prime Air delivery drones, eliminating checkout lines at Amazon Go and making everyday life more convenient for customers with Alexa. But even after that some of the big stuff they use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for isn’t visible to us.
It also seems there will be a clear, practical business focus. Bezos has said that the event will bring together “leaders and builders” to “share learning and spark new ideas for future innovation,” while the press release says attendees will be able to learn how AI can “drive business efficiency, streamline operations, improve automation.” For those worried about the affect of new technology on jobs, these buzzwords might not sound so cheery.
Also unknown is whether other tech companies with similar ambitions in AI will make a showing — companies like Google, Facebook, and Tencent. Also, speakers for the event also seem to be drawn mostly from the academic world, with figures like Ken Goldberg, a roboticist at UC Berkely, and Kate Darling, an expert in robot-human interaction at MIT.