May 8, 2017

Jeff Bezos on using AI to power government and small business

Susan Walsh / AP

Jeff Bezos said last week that the "golden age" of artificial intelligence and machine learning had enabled new products like Amazon's Alexa and sharpened the company's core businesses by improving search results, product recommendations, and inventory management.

Bezos now wants to bring techniques enabled by AI to businesses large and small, as well as nonprofit and government institutions. "Right now, deploying these techniques . . . is difficult," he said. "It takes a lot of expertise, and so you have to go compete for the very best PhDs in machine learning and it's difficult for a lot of organizations to win those competitions."

Why it matters: AI is the latest front in the "cloud wars," with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and IBM competing for market share in the rapidly growing market for leased computing infrastructure and services that enable businesses to manipulate and leverage data stored there. The first-mover advantage in this space is mind-bogglingly large, as these firms effectively compete to own what will be the most important infrastructure in the 21st-century global economy.

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What to watch in tonight's debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina β€” especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.

Bob Iger to step down as CEO of Disney

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday that it had named longtime Disney executive Bob Chapek as CEO Bob Iger's successor, effectively immediately. Iger will remain executive chairman of the company through 2021.

Why it matters: Iger is credited with having successfully turned around Disney’s animation and studio businesses and with the strategic acquisition of Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox. Most recently, he was the person behind Disney's successful launch of its Netflix rival Disney+.