Amazon Onboards Adept Amazon adds majority of Adept AI staff to boost agentic AI capabilities

Jul 10, 2024
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2 min read
Amazon Onboards Adept: Amazon adds majority of Adept AI staff to boost agentic AI capabilities

Amazon hired most of the staff of agentic-AI specialist Adept AI in a move that echoes Microsoft’s absorption of Inflection in March.

What’s new: Amazon onboarded most of the leadership and staff of Adept AI, which has been training models to operate software applications running on local hardware, GeekWire reported. Amazon licensed Adept’s models, datasets, and other technology non-exclusively. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. (Disclosure: Andrew Ng serves on Amazon’s board of directors.)

How it works: Amazon hired two thirds of Adept’s former employees. Those who remain will “focus entirely on solutions that enable agentic AI” based on proprietary models, custom infrastructure, and other technology. 

  • Amazon hired Adept CEO David Luan and four of his fellow co-founders, all Google or Open AI alumni. They joined Amazon’s artificial general intelligence (AGI) autonomy team, which reports to Amazon head scientist for AGI Rohit Pradad. The autonomy team will build agents that can automate software workflows.
  • Adept built agents that control applications on a user’s desktop in response to natural-language commands based on proprietary language and vision-language models. For example, a recruiter could use Adept’s technology to find promising job candidates on LinkedIn and import their profiles into a Salesforce database. 
  • The startup found that the high cost of building foundation models was unsustainable without further fundraising. Although Adept had planned to release a full-fledged agentic tool this year, it also explored an outright sale to several companies including Meta.
  • As of March 2023, Adept had raised a total of $415 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Behind the news: Amazon’s agreement with Adept is one of several moves to compete in AI for both businesses and consumers. In March, the company completed a $4 billion investment in Anthropic in exchange for a minority share in the startup. It’s reportedly developing new models and overhauling its longstanding Alexa voice assistant.

Why it matters: Luan and his team say they’re aiming to automate corporate software workflows, a potentially valuable and lucrative market. Although Amazon Web Services’ Bedrock platform already enables users to build AI agents, Adept’s talent may bring expanded agentic and interactive capabilities.
We’re thinking: AI agentic capabilities are blossoming, and Adept’s work is a notable example.


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