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Jeff Bezos interrupted by protester, says space exploration is necessary to 'save the Earth'

Key Points
  • At Amazon's Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, an animal rights protestor rushed up on stage where CEO Jeff Bezos was engaged in a "fireside chat" interview by Amazon's Director of Forecasting, Jenny Freshwater.
  • Bezos talked about the importance of what's not going to change in the future.
  • He also said that he believes space exploration is necessary to save the Earth.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle for the Moon, during a Blue Origin event in Washington, DC, May 9, 2019.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

At Amazon's Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, a protester rushed up on stage where CEO Jeff Bezos was engaged in a "fireside chat" interview by Amazon's Director of Forecasting, Jenny Freshwater.

The protester was quickly apprehended by a security team after she shouted to Bezos that she had been inside of Amazon-affiliated chicken farms. She was later identified as Priya Sawhney, an animal rights activist with Direct Action Everywhere, and the organization said Thursday that she had been arrested on a trespassing charge.

A remarkably unfazed Bezos picked back up with a "Where were we?"

This is the first year that Amazon has hosted Re:MARS, a publicly accessible version of its closed conference on machine learning, automation, robotics and space technologies.

Freshwater asked Bezos about both Amazon and Blue Origin, his space company, during the fireside chat.

Before the disruption by the protester, Freshwater asked Bezos if he would share some of his tech and business predictions for the next ten years.

Bezos said, "Predictions on a ten year-time frame are hard to make and often wrong. The only good thing is nobody goes and checks." But then he offered a few broad predictions anyway.

He said he believes robots will soon be able to grasp objects as well as humans within a decade, including in commercial settings. And he said he expects great advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence and biotech over the next decade.

But Bezos added:

"I do get asked, quite frequently 'What's gonna change in the next 10 years?' I'm rarely get asked, and it's probably more important — and I encourage you to think about this — is the question what's not going to change? The answer to that question can allow you to organize your activities. You can work on those things with the confidence to know that all the energy you put into them today is still going to pay dividends in the years to come."

As an example, he said in Amazon's e-commerce business, in a decade people will still want low prices, fast shipping and a big selection. "Nobody's going to say Jeff, I love Amazon I just wish you'd deliver a little more slowly. I love Amazon, I just wish your prices were a little higher," the CEO quipped.

Freshwater asked Bezos why Blue Origin is focused on lunar exploration. The company is building a lunar lander, and aims to help return astronauts to the moon.

Bezos said, "The reason we go to space in my view is to save the Earth." He said while he doesn't expect this to happen in his lifetime, he believes that in future generations, humankind needs to move heavy industry off Earth, and leave Earth as our residence.

Freshwater asked Bezos, "Do you think we'll ever have Amazon Fulfillment centers on the moon?" He responded, wryly, "That's a very, um, good question. I've never really contemplated that. We'll start out delivering liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. It's going to be a very small selection, albeit a very important one."

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