Amazon's AI Agents and AGI Acqui-hire

TECH IN THE NEWS

Supreme Power - The Supreme Court gave Trump effective immunity for all acts committed in his role as president, and sent two cases on state social media moderation laws back to the lower courts for 1st amendment review.

Antitrust Wars - The EU charges Meta over its pay or consent model and France prepares to charge Nvidia for anti-competitive practices.

Biggest Ever - SpaceX is doing a tender offer at a $210b valuation, a record tender for an American company and up on its last value of $180M.

BlackRock Indexes - BlackRock acquired U.K.-based VC and markets data provider, Preqin for $3.2b. It now aims to ‘Index the Private Markets’.

Apple Gemini - Apple will integrate at least one other AI model this fall, likely Google’s Gemini models and maybe Anthropic's Claude models.

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THE HOTTEST THING IN TECH
Amazon Acquihires Adept for AI Agents and AGI Strategy

Amazon turns 30 on July 5th. To celebrate it has just passed $2T in market cap as well as making a major AI acquisition to support its AGI and AI agent ambitions. The E-commerce giant changed the online shopping world indelibly. Can it do it again with AI and robotics? The acquisition of Adept AI will certainly help. Amazon has hired Adept’s cofounders to join its AGI autonomy team and licensed key AGI-and-AI agent-related technology.

Why the Adept Deal Matters

Amazon expects to sell ~$554b of goods in the US this year per JPMorgan Chase - a 42% share of all e-commerce. But until recently it has lagged in its adoption of AI compared to other tech giants like Google and Microsoft.

The Adept deal is expected to help change that. Adept’s vision is to create AI agents that enhance productivity and enable creative problem-solving. It does this by navigating systems, extracting information, populating forms, and interacting with various web apps. The tech has potential uses across industries like supply chain management, financial services, and healthcare, which are all areas in which Amazon is aggressively innovating.

The acquisition is significant for several reasons:

  1. The tech licensed includes advanced multimodal models and datasets that unlock digital agents for software tasks.

  2. This AI agents tech aligns with Amazon's goal of developing practical AI solutions for both consumer and enterprise customers.

  3. This strengthens Amazon’s AGI ambitions to build AI systems that can think and operate more like humans internally and in services.

  4. It supports product development to enhance Alexa and develop other new AI services and tools like a consumer-focused chatbot.

Amazon Robotics

Another key area Adept’s AI agent systems will likely help with is robotics. To meet its supply chain needs efficiently, Amazon has doubled the number of robots deployed in its fulfillment centers and warehouses over three years to 750,000+, replacing 100,000 jobs. Amazon also began piloting Agility Robotics systems in its warehouses in October 2023. Agility just won an industry-first Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) deal with GXO, the world’s largest pure-play contract logistics provider and Spanx underwear owner. It’s unclear if the Adept deal signals Amazon moving towards an in-house robotics strategy, or if it will continue its Agility partnership.

Catching Up

Amazon is positioning itself to compete more effectively with other tech giants like Microsoft and Google in the AI space. It is making moves to accelerate its AI capabilities in AGI and autonomous agents both internally and for consumers and enterprise. When Amazon moves it moves fast, so this could lead to a radical shake-up in the E-commerce sector and to even more fierce competition in the foundational AI market.

“[Adept’s] expertise in training state-of-the-art multimodal foundational models and building real-world digital agents aligns with our vision to delight consumer and enterprise customers with practical AI solutions.”

Rohit Prasad, Amazon AGI Team Executive

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TRENDING TOOLS AND BUZZY TECH
Tools

Robinhood - Acquired Pluto’s AI-powered research to add AI trade tools.

Google - Expands Translate with PaLM 2 & launches Gemma 2 models.

Apple - 1. To launch AI features for Vision Pro | 2. Launching AirPods with cameras. | 3. Developing way to more easily replace iPhone batteries.

Tech

Harvard/Tokyo U. - Living robot skin can be manipulated to smile.

Holoconnects - Texas Hospital trials “Holobox3D hologram doctor visits.

Agility Robotics - 1st Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) deal for its humanoids.

DEALS WE’RE WATCHING
Closed Deals:

Next-gen Lithium-ion Batteries - Alameda EV Battery company Sila raised a $375M Series G round co-led by Sutter Hill and T. Rowe Price, with Bessemer and Coatue. Scaling production for Mercedes & Panasonic.

Disrupting Employer Health Plans - California health InsurTech startup Sidecar Health raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive, with GreatPoint, BOND, Cathay, Drive, Duke U, Menlo, & Morpheus.

Deals to Watch:

Cloud-Native HR Platform - Tokyo HR tech startup SmartHR will raise a $140M Series E co-led by KKR and Teachers’ Venture Growth.

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