Jeff Bezos just perfectly summed up what you need to know about artificial intelligence


Jeff Bezos

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

New advances in artificial intelligence promise to make some jobs obsolete through automation and change our world forever, experts say.


It's hard to put into words what AI is - many of the techniques being used are very technical - but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just summed up everything most people need to know about artificial intelligence in his latest shareholders letter.

Bezos wrote:

Over the past decades computers have broadly automated tasks that programmers could describe with clear rules and algorithms. Modern machine learning techniques now allow us to do the same for tasks where describing the precise rules is much harder.

This is a great way to describe the promise of AI.


Computers were able to simplify and automate tasks with clear rules, such as taxes or other paperwork. (For example, "If your gifts of capital gain property are more than 20% of income, use line 38.")

But AI lets a computer automate tasks that you can't really put into clear "if-then" rules, such as, how do you drive a car? Or which photos contain a cat? That's what AI can already do.

Bezos points out several projects in which Amazon uses AI, including Amazon's Prime Air delivery drones, its new futuristic grocery stores, and its virtual home assistant, Alexa.

Bezos' entire letter is worth reading in full.