Artificial Intelligence hub will be based in Tübingen, near the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems’ campus.
Machine learning research just got an unlikely ally in Amazon, who announced the construction of its German-based AI lab this week, one that will add about 100 further highly-skilled engineering jobs over the course of the next five years. The lab joins a current project, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, which already has some high profile support from BMW, Facebook, Bosch, and more.
Way past books
Amazon may have started out as a great online bookstore, but the company has expanded its reach into a wide variety of both retail and tech fields. AI isn’t that far a stretch for a company like Amazon, though; after all, predictive behavior mechanisms are at the heart of what makes the company successful, since they’re constantly recommending new products to their customers based on algorithms surrounding their purchasing, their search histories, and even their social media behavior.
3D body model startup
However, just last month TechCrunch uncovered a different angle to Amazon’s interest in AI research. The retailer acquired a 3D body model startup, which puts a new spin on how Amazon plans to move forward with its research. “TechCrunch has learned that Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a company with a stated aim of creating true-to-life 3D body models to support various B2B software applications — such as virtually trying on clothes or photorealistic avatars for gaming.”
Black and Max Planck
It’s worth noting that Body Labs’ co-founder is Dr. Michael J Black, who also serves as director of the Department of Perceptive Systems at the aforementioned Max Planck Institute. This collaboration with both Black and Max Planck may be a “two birds, one stone” approach to reaping the benefits of machine learning.
According to Reuters, “Black is a specialist in computer vision and founder of Body Labs, a company acquired by Amazon that has developed AI to analyze three-dimensional human body motion and shape.”