Amazon’s next big thing may redefine big

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“I see Amazon as a technology company that just happened to do retail,” begins Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer.

“When Jeff [Bezos] started Amazon, he wasn’t thinking about starting a bookshop. He was really fascinated by the internet.”

Only “mortal humans”, he tells me in an interview, ever saw Amazon as merely a retailer. So the question now is: what will Amazon become next? And are mere mortals ready for it?

Its recent Re: Mars event in Las Vegas demonstrated clearly – through presentations about machine-learning, robotics and space – that the firm is going through a transition phase that, if successful, will redefine its relationship with the public.

Amazon’s incredible, sophisticated systems are no longer being used just to serve up good deals, fast delivery times, or cheap web storage. Its big data capabilities are now the tool of police forces, and maybe soon the military.

In the corporate world, Amazon is positioning itself to be the “brains” behind just about everything.

In short, New Amazon could make today’s Amazon look quaint in both scale and power

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