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How Artificial Intelligence Will Completely Transform the Economy

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was interviewed at the 2016 Code Conference by Walt Mossberg and he offered interesting insights on the “gigantic” potential of artificial intelligence to change everything from shopping to self-driving cars.

Said Bezos: “It’s probably hard to overstate how big of an impact it’s going to have on society over the next 20 years. It has been a dream since the early days of science fiction to have a computer that you can talk to in a natural way and actually ask it to have a conversation with you and ask it to do things for you. And that is coming true.”

Bezos also said that he is “deeply committed” to AI being a huge part of Amazon’s business and that the company has worked secretly on it for four years. But, even though Amazon has jumped out ahead in voice-controlled smart assistants with its Echo hardware powered by its Alexa AI platform, Bezos predicted that “all the major tech companies will do this, but there’ll also be hundreds of startup companies.” He predicted that people will use different AI “agents” for different things.

Still, he added, it’s very early. It’s not just the first inning for AI, he said, “it might even be the first guy’s up at bat.”

Also interesting is how Bezos lit up when asked about his private space company, Blue Origin. He said he’s been “passionate about space and rockets since I was a 5-year-old.”

For more on how artificial intelligence can give your business a strategic advantage, see the conversation between Martin Reeves, of the Boston Consulting Group, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger of IBM.