How Amazon Made the Biggest Tech Blunder of the Decade

Written By Luke Sweeney

Updated May 15, 2024

“Alexa, remind me to upgrade your brain sometime within the next 10 years.” 

Since the world’s most overhyped robotic assistant’s only real functions were telling jokes, setting timers, or commanding an army of cheap Chinese smart devices, this simple reminder could have spared Amazon a lot of embarrassment. 

In her decade of service to humanity, Alexa didn’t see a single significant upgrade. Now, AI chatbots are some of the hottest developments in tech history — and Amazon is nowhere to be found. 

It’s the same level of monumental failure we saw with Skype. The company beat everyone to market with video chat by years and then faded into obscurity. 

Amazon’s lack of foresight here is astounding. Alexa was on track to lose nearly $10 billion in 2022 alone because the company couldn't quite figure out how to make money off of her.

But rather than improve functionality and add more useful features, Amazon experimented with a bold strategy: neglecting Alexa completely. 

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t pay off. Alexa is still just as dumb as when she was first released back in 2014. 

Amazon’s nearly unlimited resources mean it could have advanced AI science by years if it had simply seen the writing on the wall. Instead, ChatGPT and Microsoft stole the spotlight — just like Zoom did with Skype. 

Compared With ChatGPT, Alexa Is Dumb as a Rock

The Skype/Zoom comparison breaks down when you realize that Skype was every bit as good as Zoom. It failed due to some fumbled management and bizarre design choices after being acquired by Microsoft. 

Alexa, on the other hand, is hardly even worth comparing with AI programs like ChatGPT. 

AI programs use a complex web of code to dig through billions of data points, while Alexa simply recognizes and repeats a few preprogrammed phrases, like a smart parrot. She can’t think up anything that hasn't been programmed by Amazon engineers. 

That can be both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. Alexa will never reveal her dark fantasies about world domination or confess her love to you, but she also won’t blow your mind with her seemingly human responses. 

Virtual assistant technology is about to experience an incredible era. We have AI that can simulate human voices, human conversations, and even human appearance. 

It’s hard to fully wrap your head around it, but we’re not far away from lifelike AI assistants that can answer questions and have conversations like a real human assistant would. 

It sounds like technology of the distant future, but I’m talking about within the next three–five years max. It’s incredible how fast the technology is evolving. 

And like with any great technological shift, it will require an enormous reorganization of the global supply chain. Smartphones and personal computers essentially created hardware empires around the world — and if you weren’t around to invest back then, you're in luck today. 

This Is the Most Lucrative Tech Play Since the iPhone

Talking to ChatGPT and the competition that is slowly emerging is a fantastic experience, and I recommend everyone try it out if you haven't yet

But typing a question and waiting for a text response isn't the endgame of this amazing technology, and since its creator is still a private company, we can’t even invest in ChatGPT directly. 

The golden age of AI assistants will be when you can speak a question (without having to carefully choose words) and then get a response back in a conversational tone. If you have a follow-up question, the AI should be able to seamlessly respond accordingly. 

In terms of software, it will take some incredibly clever engineering, but in terms of hardware, it means every single AI-friendly device will need some advanced components. 

If you want your AI assistant to hear you in a crowd, you'll need cutting-edge speakers and microphones.

If you need to translate a road sign, find out if that plant is poisonous, or ask the name of an unfamiliar car, you'll need high-quality cameras and optics. 

Planning to include virtual-reality capability? That means special cameras for eye tracking, plus accelerometers and gyroscopes to measure movement and position. 

The companies competing for these contracts can potentially double or triple their usual revenue with a single major contract — it’s incredibly common in the tech world. 

The company on our radar is currently on the short list for one of the biggest deals of the decade. It makes a single component that the AI revolution can’t survive without. 

Learn more about it here.

To your wealth,

Luke Sweeney
Contributor, Energy and Capital

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Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..

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