Amazon’s approach to artificial intelligence (AI) is called a flywheel. In engineering terms, a flywheel is a deceptively simple tool designed to efficiently store rotational energy. It works by storing energy when a machine isn’t working at a constant level. Instead of wasting energy turning on and off, the flywheel keeps the energy constant and spreads it to other areas of the machine.
At Amazon, the flywheel approach keeps artificial intelligence innovation humming along and encourages energy and knowledge to spread to other areas of the company. Amazon’s flywheel approach means that innovation around machine learning in one area of the company fuels the efforts of other teams. Those teams use the technology to drive their products, which impacts innovation throughout the entire organization. Essentially, what is created in one part of Amazon acts as a catalyst for artificial intelligence and machine learning growth in other areas.
Amazon is no stranger to AI. The company was one of the first to use the technology to drive its product recommendations. But as artificial intelligence and machine learning grow, the flywheel approach has become a keystone to Amazon’s expanding business – a central stone at the summit of the company, connecting the organization together. This is particularly unique at a time when many companies silo their AI efforts and don’t integrate them into the overall company.
Source: Blake Morgan - Forbes