Bloomberg published an article on November 17, 2023 that Amazon will probably lay off over a hundred employees from the department responsible for the voice-controlled Alexa assistant. According to Bloomberg, this information comes from a memo that was sent to employees on Friday.
Daniel Rausch, Amazon Smarthome Vice President and responsible for the responsible Alexa teams, explained it this way: The company also wants to direct its efforts and focus on building skills that are powered by generative, artificial intelligence.
In other words, Alexa should become competitive with existing AI assistance systems such as ChatGPT. Currently, Alexa can only perform simpler functions.
That’s about to change – and will probably cost hundreds of employees who were working on other priorities their jobs. However, Rausch did not specify which Alexa areas would be affected by the layoffs.
For comparison: With Alexa you can do simple tasks like
What’s the weather like? or
Play me music from Spotify complete. So far, Alexa has only been able to answer questions in depth to a limited extent or not at all. The emergence of AI chatbots like ChatGPT has made this weakness more than clear.
Amazon’s wave of layoffs in 2023
At the beginning of 2023, Amazon announced in January that it would cut 18,000 jobs worldwide. A further 9,000 job cuts followed in March.
Now the Alexa department will probably be further reduced in size. Shortly before, the Reuters news agency announced on November 14, 2023 that the company had also cut an additional 180 jobs in its games division.
Nevertheless, Amazon’s voice assistant will probably continue to play a major role in the company. The internet and shipping giant is working internally on an AI upgrade for Alexa.
What do you think about these stark savings? Of course, every job means the fate of someone in the background. Will it even be possible for Amazon’s Alexa to catch up with ChatGPT in development? Do you use Alexa regularly and are you satisfied with it? Feel free to write us your thoughts in the comments.