Amazon CEO Worries about Lack of Innovation from Western Countries

By: Georgia | Published: Feb 11, 2024

On January 18, 2024, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, engaged in a conversation with Alan Murray of Fortune. 

Their conversation covered a range of topics, including differences in leadership style from Jeff Bezos, and Jassy’s vision for Prime Video, artificial intelligence (AI), and healthcare, positioning Amazon at the forefront of technological innovation and strategic planning.

Generative AI as a Key Focus for Amazon

During the conversation, Jassy highlighted generative AI as a critical area for businesses in the upcoming year, stressing its transformative potential. 

Advertisement
A robotic hand with white and silver finishes is displayed against a light blue background, with a digital AI emblem glowing between its fingers

Source: rawpixel.com

Amazon is not just participating in conversations about AI; it is actively contributing to the field through the development of groundbreaking technologies, including custom AI chips. “Generative AI… you can’t get through any conversation without talking about…” said Jassy.

Advertisement

Innovating with Custom AI Chips

Jassy explained that Amazon’s advancements in AI technology are powered by its custom chips, Trainium and Inferentia.

Advertisement
Two men seated in conversation at a Fortune-branded event. The man on the left is casually listening with a slight smile, dressed in a blazer and shirt, while the man on the right, wearing glasses and a similar outfit, appears to be speaking. The backdrop features the Fortune logo repeated across a patterned yellow background

Source: Fortune Magazine/Youtube

These chips are integral to Amazon’s strategy, enhancing its ability to process and implement AI solutions effectively.

Upgrading Alexa for a Comprehensive Assistant Experience

Jassy also shared plans for expanding Alexa’s capabilities during the conversation, aiming to transform it into the world’s most efficient personal assistant. 

Advertisement
An Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker sits on top of a stack of books with a red and black cover. The top book is titled 'SHOE DOG' with the Nike logo below

Source: Find Experts at Kilta.com/Unsplash

This expansion reflects Amazon’s ambition to advance AI’s role in improving everyday life, making interactions with technology more intuitive and versatile. “Alexa… is one of the many businesses that is building a significant large language model,” Jassy mentioned.

Reflecting on Leadership Styles and Amazon's Evolution

Having spent over two decades at Amazon, Jassy shared insights into his leadership approach and its evolution from Jeff Bezos

Advertisement
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is pictured in a headshot. He is bald, wearing a dark blazer over a light blue shirt

Source: Getty Images

His tenure at Amazon has been marked by adaptability, vision, and a deep understanding of the company’s operations and culture. “I’ve been in Amazon for 26-and-a-half years, and I’ve done so many different jobs there,” Jassy explained, emphasizing his extensive experience and unique perspective on leadership.

Amazon's Ambitious AI Projects

Under Jassy’s leadership, Amazon is actively expanding its AI initiatives, working on applications that promise to redefine user interaction and efficiency. 

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is captured mid-sentence, speaking into a microphone at a Fortune event. He is wearing a dark blazer over a blue button-up shirt. In the background, the Fortune logo is prominently displayed on a yellow backdrop

Source: Fortune Magazine/Youtube

The company’s focus on developing AI technologies, including chatbots and coding tools, demonstrates its commitment to leveraging AI for practical, transformative solutions. Jassy stated, “We’re building 60-ish applications right now.”

Advertisement

Emphasizing Sustainability in Tech Innovation

Jassy addressed the environmental implications of technological advancements, particularly AI. He highlighted Amazon’s Climate Pledge, which commits to achieving carbon neutrality, showcasing the company’s dedication to sustainable innovation. 

Exterior view of an Amazon warehouse with a large Amazon logo on the facade. The building is painted in dark gray with yellow accents

Source: Getty Images

This approach reflects a balance between advancing technology and preserving the environment, ensuring that Amazon’s growth does not come at the planet’s expense.

Advertisement

Expanding Amazon's Reach with Prime Video and Project Kuiper

During the conversation, Jassy also expressed enthusiasm for Amazon’s initiatives beyond e-commerce, particularly Prime Video and Project Kuiper.

A flat-screen television on a dark stand displays the Prime Video logo centered on a white background. The TV is in a dimly lit room with a blue wall behind it, illuminated by backlighting from the screen

Source: Thibault Penin/Unsplash

These projects aim to redefine entertainment and global connectivity, with Project Kuiper focusing on providing internet access to underserved regions. “We’re trying to build the place as the best selection of streaming video,” Jassy said, indicating Amazon’s ambitions in content and connectivity.

Advertisement

Revolutionizing Healthcare with One Medical

They also discussed how Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical represents its foray into healthcare, with the aim of streamlining and improving patient experiences.

A stethoscope and a notepad lie on a wooden surface, accompanied by several blister packs of medication. The notepad is open but blank, ready for medical notes or patient information

Source: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Jassy described this initiative as offering a more efficient, user-friendly approach to healthcare, integrating digital communication and access to services. “It’s a very different experience,” he explained.

Advertisement

The Delicate Balance of Regulation and Innovation

Jassy highlights a significant challenge: the need for Western countries to carefully balance regulation without stifling innovation. He points out the trend of industry consolidation and warns against the unintended consequences of stringent regulations that could disadvantage Western companies on the global stage.

Close-up image of Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, captured mid-conversation against a dark background

Source: Getty Images

He said, “We need to be careful in Western countries not to kill innovation and not, you know, there’s a lot of consolidate in various industries, and if we only, you know, have strong regulations in Western countries, you’ll leave the playing field open in other spots you don’t mean to.”

Advertisement

Jassy's Perspective on Leadership and Change

Reflecting on his time as CEO, Jassy discussed how he has navigated challenges and seized opportunities to drive Amazon forward.

The Amazon Spheres, part of Amazon's Seattle headquarters, are shown in daylight

Source: Wikimedia Commons

His leadership is characterized by a blend of continuity and innovation, drawing on Amazon’s core principles while adapting to new realities. “It’s a trick question,” he commented on comparisons with Bezos, focusing on his contributions to Amazon’s growth and evolution.

Advertisement

Looking to the Future with Optimism

As the discussion concluded, Jassy reiterated his optimism for Amazon’s future, driven by ongoing innovation in areas such as AI, healthcare, and digital connectivity.

A graphic illustration depicting a microchip labeled 'AI' for Artificial Intelligence. There are lines which are illuminated in blue and purple tones on a dark background

Source: rawpixel.com

 “It is so early… but our customers really like what we’re building,” he reflected, expressing confidence in Amazon’s direction and its ability to continue shaping the future of technology and commerce.

Advertisement