Amazon Strengthens AI Development, Recruits Executives from Adept Startup and Expands Technology Licensing

Amazon is intensifying its artificial intelligence efforts by recruiting top talent from AI startup Adept and licensing its technology. In a memo to employees, Rohit Prasad, senior vice president overseeing Amazon’s artificial general intelligence (AGI) unit, announced the hiring of Adept co-founder and CEO David Luan along with several key team members for their AGI team.

Luan will lead Amazon’s “AGI Autonomy” division and report directly to Prasad. This move underscores Amazon’s strategic push to bolster its AI capabilities amid fierce competition from rivals like Microsoft and Google, who are rapidly advancing their AI technologies and cloud offerings.

Amazon’s AI initiatives include substantial investments in Anthropic, a competitor to OpenAI, and plans to enhance its Alexa voice assistant with new generative AI features. Prasad, formerly head scientist for Alexa, was appointed last year to spearhead Amazon’s AGI development, aimed at achieving AI capabilities approaching human-level intelligence.

The tech industry is currently witnessing heated talent wars, with Microsoft recently hiring Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of Google’s DeepMind, and acquiring startup Inflection AI, prompting scrutiny from regulators.

Founded in 2022 by ex-OpenAI and Google engineers, Adept has quickly garnered support from major tech players like Microsoft and Nvidia, achieving a valuation surpassing $1 billion in early 2023. Specializing in AI agents, Adept focuses on creating tools capable of autonomously performing complex tasks, such as navigating webpages and data logging.

Under the agreement, Amazon will license Adept’s technology, multimodal models, and datasets to accelerate the development of digital agents capable of automating software workflows. Adept will maintain its independence as a standalone company while Luan and his team join Amazon.

In a blog post, Adept expressed that partnering with Amazon allows them to focus on advancing digital agents without the need for additional capital. This collaboration aligns with Amazon’s strategy to deliver innovative AI solutions for both consumer and enterprise customers, leveraging Adept’s expertise in developing state-of-the-art AI models and digital agents.

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