Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey has said the generative AI will probably be the “most transformational technology for the retail industry since the arrival of the internet”.

John Boumphrey at LIVE 2024

Source: Gomes Photography

Boumphrey said Gen-AI has broken into the collective consciousness in the last 18 months and “every single team at Amazon” is looking at how this tech could transform the business for customers, sellers and employees. 

Speaking at LIVE 2024, he said: “It’s also why investing in chips, in large language models and applications, while also working on responsible development and deployment of Gen-AI across our business.”

Gen-AI is already being used by Amazon for summaries of customer reviews and an AI-powered shopping assistant has been introduced in the US.

Thousands of small and large businesses, including The Very Group, are also working with Amazon Web Services on Gen-AI.

As well as generative AI, Boumphrey said drones will be launched in the UK “later this year” and robotics continues to be an area of investment as it “creates” jobs.

“Fear suggested that robotics would replace people; in fact, the opposite has happened,” he said.

“Robots have enhanced the life of workers, not replaced them.”

Worldwide over the past 10 years, 500,000 robots have been implemented across Amazon, while “1 million jobs” have been created alongside this.

While Boumphrey said Amazon is “a few steps into a marathon”, he concluded that “investment in capital, such as spending on robots or Gen-AI should always be looked at alongside investments in people”.