I’ve been to many tech conferences or conventions, and Amazon Re:Mars 2019 is by far the best conference I’ve ever been thus far.

I’m not talking about the food, and the swags that they give. The swags are nothing to snuff at though; a Bose bluetooth headset worth a few hundred bucks, and a retro Pacman handheld game.

But the quality of the conference has been spectacular.

Too many times when I visit a tech conference, it’s like a TV show getting bombarded with advertisements. Speakers would try to pitch their services to you rather than discuss and share knowledge. It gets very annoying because I learn nothing and wasted my company’s money to watch advertisements.

I was so sick of those tech conferences that even when my boss asked me if I want to go for a conference last year, I said no. Waste of money and time.

Not so with Amazon Re:Mars. Even though it is a very high-level discussion because they have to cater to everyone with varied skillsets, they discuss about mathematics, about algorithms, about how they deploy and the challenges of implementing different methods to solve a significant problem. It allowed me to compare what I’ve been doing thus far, and see if I can improve on what I’ve done versus what others have done.

This is what I expect from a tech conference. Sure, pitch your services during the tech show room, or give an idea of what kind of services you offer from your company. But don’t stop there! This is a tech conference, not an advertisement slot. Discuss tech. Explore ideas. Inspire and bring value.

Otherwise, people like me will get annoyed and bored.

So what was the focus in Re:Mars? MARS stands for Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Space.

There are only 2 things that strike out to me. Amazon is leaning heavily on Alexa and Robotics. It’s not like the workshops or the talks were not on the other facets of MARS, but the workshops and the talks lean heavily on Alexa and Robotics as a whole.

And it’s very practical. Amazon is selling many devices with Alexa, and they are building robots to improve their efficiency in their facilities.

So if you’re a budding robotics engineer, you’re definitely going to be highly sought after. Robotics in the early 2000s was primitive and insignificant, but it’s going to change dramatically moving forward.

Data Science is maturing and finding its saturation point. Amazon has successfully lowered the barrier of entry to get into machine learning and AI. You don’t even need to know algorithms to start in Data Science. Use one of their algorithms which they have prepared, and you can be in that space.

However, for those who really want to dive deep into Data Science, it got a lot harder. Amazon made it easy for budding engineers to take on Data Science and AI, but if you want to be spectacular, you’ll need to go into pure research to stand out. Otherwise, you’re just one of the many who can use APIs and algorithms that others have already come up with.

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