What the Adept Hires Will Mean for Amazon’s AI Development

The tech giant aims to accelerate its AI roadmap
As Amazon hires executives directly from AI startup Adept, including its co-founders, it's clear that the tech giant is looking to boost its AI development

It was recently announced that Amazon is hiring the co-founders of Adept, in addition to some of its team.

The new recruits are joining the tech giant’s AGI organisation to continue in its mission to build useful general intelligence models. Amazon is also licensing Adept’s agent technology, its family of multimodal models and a few datasets.

Adept CEO David Luan is included in the Amazon hires, in addition to other talent from the Adept team. The startup has stated that it will operate independently of Amazon.

This move by Amazon is similar to that of competitor Microsoft, which hired Google DeepMind and Inflection AI leader Mustafa Suleyman in March 2024 alongside several of Inflection’s top executives. This hiring strategy is perhaps designed to enable leading technology corporations to remain competitive.

Adept: Building “useful” general intelligence

Adept is a leading company that creates AI agents, which are tools that can carry out complicated functions and tasks without the need for human supervision.

The company describes this general intelligence as “useful”, as it can enable people and computers to work together. With an ‘AI-as-copilot’ mindset, its overall plan since launching in 2022 has been to train progressively larger and smarter multimodal foundation models and then build products around them that help people complete their work responsibilities better.

Having been founded by David Luan, Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar, the company is currently training a neural network to enable employees to spend more time on strategic thinking and creative endeavours.

“We’ve made significant progress, with both state-of-the-art performance with our models and happy beta customers,” the company said via a recent blog post. “We’ve deployed the Adept product in mission-critical production environments and achieved automating end-to-end workflows that have up to dozens of steps.”

The startup continues to attract significant attention as a result of its approach to AI. In March 2023, it raised US$350m in a Series B funding round that valued the company at more than US$1bn. 

Adept’s continued ambition has led to the company being cemented as an exciting figure in the evolving AI industry, as the potential use cases of its technology extend across key sectors like supply chain management, financial services and healthcare. 

Amazon’s hiring bid seeks to boost its AI development

With Amazon having hired plenty of Adept staff in connection with the proposed licensing deal, the tech giant aims to accelerate its AI roadmap - building digital agents that can automate software workflows.

Other similar corporations have completed similar actions in recent months, with Microsoft for example having hired plenty of Inflection AI and OpenAI staff over the past year. Companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo have also engaged in what is known as ‘acqui-hiring’, recruiting employees rather than acquiring a company to gain control of its products and services.

According to Reuters, Amazon is investing towards training a large language model (LLM) that it wants to succeed against competitor models from the likes of Microsoft and Alphabet. Hiring executives from Adept suggests the company’s priorities shifting towards developing AI agent tools.

Amazon has made big plays for AI development in recent months, having widely invested into its subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS) to power new innovations. Last year, the company launched Amazon Q, its most capable generative AI (Gen AI) assistant for accelerating software development. 

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The model can answer questions, provide summaries, generate content and complex tasks based on data and information within company systems.

Amazon also boasts its Amazon Bedrock service that provides a foundation for businesses to build and scale secure Gen AI applications. It has quickly emerged as a go-to platform for AI innovation, offering access to leading foundation models from the likes of Anthropic, Cohere, Meta and Amazon itself.

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