Leaked emails show Amazon is cutting ‘several hundred’ jobs across Alexa business, including the newly launched Artificial General Intelligence team

  • Amazon is cutting ‘several hundred’ jobs, an email obtained by Business Insider shows.
  • The layoffs impact Amazon’s Alexa business, including the AGI team.
  • Amazon cut roughly 27,000 jobs since late last year, as part of a massive cost reduction effort.

According to Business Insider, Amazon’s Alexa division is laying off “several hundred” employees, including those on its recently launched artificial general intelligence team.

Amazon’s VP of Alexa and Fire TV, Daniel Rausch, informed his team of the layoffs on Friday, stating that the move is intended to shift the company’s resources to focus on generative AI.

“As we continue to innovate, we’re refocusing some of our efforts to better align with our business priorities and what we know matters most to customers — including maximizing our resources and efforts focused on generative AI.” “These shifts are causing us to discontinue some initiatives, which is resulting in the elimination of several hundred roles,” Rausch wrote in an email obtained by BI.

In a separate email, Rohit Prasad, SVP of the Artificial General Intelligence team, stated that his team, which launched in July, would also be impacted.

“Some of our teammates that work on Alexa-related efforts will be impacted by role reductions today, including members of the AGI organization,” Prasad said in a statement.

“While this was a difficult decision to make, we remain very optimistic about Alexa’s future,” an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider. “As we move forward, Alexa remains an incredibly important part of our business, and we will continue to invest and innovate to deliver on our vision.”

The broader job cuts were first reported by Geekwire, but the reductions affecting the AGI team were not previously reported.

The job cuts are the company’s latest round of layoffs. Amazon has cut approximately 27,000 jobs since late last year as part of a massive cost-cutting effort. Amazon’s game division cut 180 more jobs earlier this week.

The move has continued to have an impact on Amazon’s Alexa unit, which has been plagued by slow growth and low morale in recent years. The Alexa team was one of the hardest-hit units during the previous round of layoffs, and the unit is undergoing major changes as generative AI has taken precedence over the once-popular voice-assistant technology. Dave Limp, the company’s long-time leader of Alexa and the devices team, recently left and was replaced by ex-Microsoft executive Panos Panay. Amazon established the new AGI team this summer as part of the company’s effort to capitalize on the AI boom, which was spearheaded by OpenAI’s ChatGPT. As previously reported by BI, Prasad now reports directly to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Alexa’s VP, Rausch, stated in an email on Friday that Amazon remains “very optimistic” about Alexa’s future. He did, however, emphasize that the recent effort to incorporate more AI into Alexa’s voice technology has been a major challenge.

“While this was a difficult decision to make, we remain very optimistic about Alexa’s future.” “I want to emphasize that Alexa is still an extremely important part of our business,” Rausch wrote in an email. “Incorporating a new large language model into a voice-forward, personal AI, has been and continues to be an enormous scientific and engineering challenge.”

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