A new artificial intelligence (AI) research hub is set to open in the German university city of Tuebingen shortly, which over the next five years will create more than 100 jobs. The new centre will be opened on behalf of amazon.com as it joins others including Facebook, Porsche BMW, and Bosch in an attempt to push forward areas such as machine learning (ML), computer vision and robotics.
The hub itself self will be located adjacent to the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, so will also benefit from the expertise of two of its top scientists, Professor Michael J. Black, and Professor Bernhard Schoelkopf. Professor Schoelkopf is one half of the duo that created the technology needed for computers to be able to understand causality – the relationship between cause and effect. “It’s at the heart of every decision taken by machine learning,”said Ralph Herbrich, director of machine learning for Amazon.
Black is founder of Body Labs (now owned by Amazon) and a specialist in computer vision. His company was originally founded in 2013 and focuses on developing AI to analyse three-dimensional body motion and shape. By understanding causality, AI systems can easily predict customer behaviour in response to automated decisions, said Hebrich. This includes being able to reorder online search results to customise it for each user improving overall user experience.
For Amazon it’s simply another investment under its belt. Although it’s yet to be confirmed, some rumors have suggested that the online retail giant may have invested As much as $100 million on the startup. But hey, what’s another $100 million for the largest online retailer and the fourth most valuable retailer in the world. With assets amounting to more than $80 billion in 2016, and over 40 subsidiaries including Zappos, IMDb, Audible, and Shopbob, Amazon clearly has the money and resources to invest in upcoming technologies.
In another attempt to push forward the use of AI, Amazon said it would also contribute $1.5 million to Cyber Valley, a German collaborative research project in addition to $500,000 in individual research award funds.
Original source Reuters