Amazon Lands Artificial Intelligence Brainiac From Carnegie Mellon

June 16, 2016, 1:26 PM UTC
Photograph by NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft, Google, and the rest of the tech pantheon are building up their artificial intelligence arsenal. Now, Amazon has hired Alex Smola, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s widely respected machine learning department.

Smola announced his move to Amazon (AMZN), where he will lead the company’s Cloud Machine Learning Platform starting July 1, on his blog. His group will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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The news comes just as Google (GOOG), a leader in machine learning and AI, announced a new machine learning research group of its own in Zurich. Late last year, Google made its Tensorflow machine learning software library available to anyone who wanted to try it out.

Machine learning aims to endow computers with the ability to learn from the data they are exposed to without too much human intervention.

Amazon’s Echo virtual assistant, a home appliance which listens for questions and commands and then responds by performing tasks for its owner, has been a huge hit for the company while exhibiting some of the promise of machine learning. Cortana is Microsoft’s (MSFT) virtual assistant.

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