Quoting Nelson Mandela during her Amazon Innovation Day-opening Welcome to Country, Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Ann Weldon said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” At Amazon we see these as words to live by. They give us the drive to pursue innovations that others won’t in order to fulfill our customer obsession promise.

Amazon Innovation Day 2019 celebrated this pursuit by bringing together global and local leaders from industry, science, and our own team to share how technologies are being used to solve problems for customers today and how these technologies will evolve to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

With 8,000 in attendance at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, we explored how artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robotics are changing our world.

As Chief Technologist for Amazon Robotics Tye Brady explained, we’ve only just started our exploration of this technology: “We’re in our infancy with robotics. It truly is day one. I think we’re underestimating the benefits of robotics in the long term. When you consider the benefits of humans and machines working together, like a symphony, it can really change your mindset.”

Leading research and industry experts also helped attendees to ‘think big’ by showcasing how AI and robotics can transform traditional industries like agriculture and aviation; how technology protects people and autonomous vehicles in high density urban areas; and how AI and ML are taking us to new frontiers in space exploration.

Attendees were encouraged by Neil Lindsay, Amazon’s Vice President, Global Marketing, Prime & Engagement, to pursue big ideas like these regardless of how they may clash with conventional wisdom: “When you have a big idea, when you’re working back from a compelling customer promise, it’s quite common to get a lot of no’s. Naysayers are common with big ideas. And it’s important to work hard to get to yes.”

With other presenters including Jenny Freshwater, Leader of Forecasting & Capacity Planning, Amazon; Tom Soderstrom, IT Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Qantas CEO Alan Joyce; Rob James, Group Chief Technology Officer, Qantas; AI Futurist Dr Jordan Nguyen; Dominic Price, Futurist, Atlassian; Salah Sukkarieh, Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, University of Sydney; and Baraja co-founders Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril, it was easy to come away inspired by the diverse ideas being explored, and we’re only just getting started.

As Amazon Australia Country Manager Rocco Braeuniger summarised it, “We are here for the long run. It is just the beginning.” With that in mind, we would like to thank all who attended and contributed to Amazon Innovation Day 2019 and we look forward to seeing everyone for Innovation Day 2020 and beyond.