- Amazon won't hold its annual robotics and AI conference, called re:MARS, this year.
- Launched in 2019, the conference morphed out of a private, invite-only event hosted by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos that showcased the latest developments in robotics, AI and space.
- Amazon used re:MARS to show off its own cutting-edge technologies, including delivery drones.
Amazon doesn't plan to host its re:MARS conference on cutting-edge technologies like robotics and space this year, the company confirmed on Friday. It will incorporate the subjects into its existing lineup of Amazon Web Services events.
The tech giant launched re:MARS, which stands for "Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space," in 2019 as a way for startups, academics, researchers and executives to discuss the latest developments in these technologies. It morphed out of a private, invite-only version of the event, called Mars, that attracted tech elite and was hosted by Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos.
The decision to cancel re:MARS was not made for budgetary reasons, Amazon said.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has been taking a hard look at costs across the company as it confronts slowing sales growth and a gloomy economic outlook. The company has undergone the largest layoffs in its history and Jassy has cut a number of initiatives, including the Amazon Care telehealth program, touring "treasure truck," Glow children's videoconferencing device and Explore virtual tours service.
Amazon used re:MARS to spotlight some of its futuristic innovations, such as delivery drones, warehouse robots, and its first home robot. Bezos also held talks on space colonization, and tested out a pair of giant remote-controlled robotic hands. At last year's conference, Amazon demonstrated a feature where its Alexa digital assistant impersonated a deceased relative.
An Amazon Web Services spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: "AWS hosts hundreds of thousands of customers and partners every year at hundreds of events around the world. These events provide an invaluable opportunity to connect with our customers. Their time is precious and we take seriously the responsibility to make each event valuable for every attendee, whether that's through developing new skills, identifying new solutions that will transform an organization, or building new connections that can advance a career. We consulted with customers and the community as always, and for 2023, decided to incorporate re:MARS topics — machine learning, automation, robotics, and space — into a well-funded lineup of existing AWS events."