Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth seated at a table in front of a large chalk board.
Michael Kearns, left, and Aaron Roth, right, are the co-authors ofThe Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design. Kearns and Roth are leading researchers in machine learning, University of Pennsylvania computer science professors, and Amazon Scholars.
University of Pennsylvania

Amazon Scholars Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth discuss the ethics of machine learning

Two of the world’s leading experts on algorithmic bias look back at the events of the past year and reflect on what we’ve learned, what we’re still grappling with, and how far we have to go.

In November of 2019, University of Pennsylvania computer science professors Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth released The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design. Kearns is the founding director of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, and the faculty founder and former director of Penn Engineering’s Networked and Social Systems Engineering program. Roth is the co-director of Penn’s program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering and co-authored The Algorithmic Foundations of Differential Privacy with Cynthia Dwork. Kearns and Roth are leading researchers in machine learning, focusing on both the design and real-world application of algorithms.

Their book’s central thesis, which involves “the science of designing algorithms that embed social norms such as fairness and privacy into their code,” was already pertinent when the book was released. Fast forward one year, and the book’s themes have taken on even greater significance.

Amazon Science sat down with Kearns and Roth, both of whom recently became Amazon Scholars, to find out whether the events of the past year have influenced their outlook. We talked about what it means to define and pursue fairness, how differential privacy is being applied in the real world and what it can achieve, the challenges faced by regulators, what advice the two University of Pennsylvania professors would give to students studying artificial intelligence and machine learning, and much more.

Q. How has the narrative around designing socially aware algorithms evolved in the past year, and have the events of the past year altered your outlooks in any way?

Aaron Roth: The main thesis of our book, which is that in any particular problem you have to start by thinking carefully about what you want in terms of fairness or privacy or some other social desideratum, and then how you relatively value things like that compared to other things you might care about, such as accuracy—that fundamental thesis hasn't really changed.

Now with the coronavirus pandemic, what we have seen are application areas where how you want to manage the trade-off between accuracy and privacy, for example, is more extreme than we usually see. So, for example, in the midst of an outbreak, contact tracing might be really important, even though you can't really do contact tracing while protecting individual privacy. Because of the urgency of the situation, you might decide to trade off privacy for accuracy. But because the message of our book really is about thinking things through on a case-by-case basis, the thesis itself hasn't changed.

Michael Kearns: The events of the last year, in particular coronavirus, the resulting restrictions on society and the tensions around these restrictions, and all of the recent social upheaval in the United States, clearly has made the topics of our book much more relevant. The book has focused a lot of attention on the use of algorithms for both good and bad purposes, including things like contact tracing or releasing statistics about people's movements or health data, as well as the use of machine learning, AI, and algorithms more generally for applications like surveillance.

Since our book, at a high level, is about the tensions that arise when there's a battle between social norms like equality or privacy and the use of algorithms for optimizing things like performance or error, I don't think anything in the last year has changed our thinking about the technical aspects of these problems. It's clear that society has been forced to face these problems in a very direct way because of the events of the last year, in a way that we really haven't before. In that sense, our timing was very fortunate because the things we're talking about are more relevant now than ever.

Q. How does that affect your ability to define fairness? Is that something that can ever be a fixed definition, or does it need to be adjusted as events or specific use cases dictate?

Kearns: There's not one correct definition of fairness. In every application you have to think about who the parties are that you're trying to protect, and what the harms are that you're trying to protect them from. That changes both over time and in different scenarios.

Roth: Even before the events of the last year, fairness was always a very context- and beholder- dependent notion. One society might be primarily concerned about fairness by race, and another might be primarily concerned about fairness by gender, and a different community might have other norms. The events of the last year have highlighted cases in which not only will things vary over space or communities, but also over time.

People's attitudes about relatively invasive technologies like contact tracing might be quite different now than they were a year ago. If a year ago I told you, “Suppose there was some disease that some people were catching and the most effective way of tamping it down was to do contact tracing.” Many people might have said, “That sounds really invasive to me”, but now that we've all been through one of the alternatives—being on lock down for six months—people's minds might be changed. We’ve definitely seen norms around privacy for health-related data change.

Q. Standard setting bodies have a significant challenge when it comes to auditing algorithms. Given the scope of that challenge, what needs to happen to allow those groups to do that effectively?

Roth: Although it hasn't happened yet, regulatory agencies are thinking about this, and are reaching out to people like us to help them think about doing this in the right way. I don't know of any regulatory agency that is ready yet to audit algorithms at-scale in sensible ways of the technical sort we discuss in the book. But there are regulatory agencies that have gotten the idea that they should be gearing up to do this, and those agencies have started preliminary movements in that direction.

Kearns: Many of the conversations we've had with standard setting bodies make it clear they're realizing that, collectively, they've technologically fallen behind the industries that they regulate. They don't have the right resources or personnel to do some of the more technological types of auditing. But in these conversations, it's also become clear to us that, even if you could snap your fingers and get the right people and the right resources, it will only be part of a broader framework.

Other important pieces involve becoming more precise about best practices, and also thinking carefully about what those specifications should look like. Let me give a concrete example: One of the things that we argue in our book is that there are many laws and regulations in areas like consumer finance, for instance, that try to get at fairness by restricting what kinds of inputs an algorithm can use. These laws and regulations say, “In order to make sure that your model isn't racially discriminatory, you must not use race as a variable.” But, in fact, not using race as a variable is no guarantee that you won't build a model that's discriminatory by race. In fact, it can actually exacerbate that problem. What we advocate in the book is, rather than restricting the inputs, you should specify the behavior you want as outputs. So instead of saying, “Don't use race”, say instead, “The outputs of the models shouldn't be discriminatory by race.”

Q. Differential privacy has progressed from theoretical to applied science in significant ways in the past few years. How is differential privacy being utilized? How does that help balance the trade-off between privacy and accuracy?

Roth: In the last five years or so, differential privacy has gone from an academic topic to a real technology. For example, the 2020 US Decennial Census is going to release all of its statistical products for the first time, subject to the protections of differential privacy. This is because, by law, the Census is required to protect the privacy of the people it is surveying. The ad hoc techniques used in previous decades to protect the statistics have been shown not to work.

I think that what we will see is that the statistics that the Census releases this year will be more protective of the privacy of Americans. However, in the theme of trade off, using rigorous privacy protections is not without cost. Certain kinds of analyses, such as detailed demographic studies that rely on having highly granular Census data, might now be unavailable under differential privacy. We've seen this play out in the public sphere between downstream users of the data and folks at Census who actually have to hammer out the details.

We've seen other interesting uses of differential privacy during the pandemic too. Some tech companies have utilized differential privacy when releasing statistics about personal mobility data gathered during the pandemic. What differential privacy is best at is releasing those kinds of population level statistics: It's exactly designed to prevent you from learning too much about any particular individual. If you want to know how much less people are moving around different cities because of coronavirus restrictions, these data sets let you answer that question without giving up too much privacy for individuals whose mobile devices were providing the data at the most granular level.

Q. So how does differential privacy help protect individual information?

Roth: Oftentimes the things that you will most naturally want to know about a data set are not facts about particular people, but are population level aggregates like, how many people are crowded into my supermarket at 6 a.m. when it opens. If you tell me sufficiently many aggregate statistics, I can do some math and back out particular people's data from that. The fact that aggregate statistics can be disclosive about individual people's data is an unfortunate accident that actually doesn't have too much to do with what you really wanted to learn.

At its most basic level, differential privacy does things like add little bits of noise to the statistics that you're releasing so that what you're telling me is not the exact number of people who were in my local supermarket at 6 a.m., but roughly the number of people who were in the supermarket plus or minus some small number of people. The fortunate mathematical fact is that you can add amounts of noise that are relatively small that still allow you to get good estimates, but are sufficient to wash out the contributions of particular people, making it impossible to learn too much about any particular individual. It lets you get access to these population level questions that you were curious about without incidentally or accidentally learning about particular people, which is the dangerous side.

"We are bullish about algorithms"
Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth talked to Oxford Academic about the future of AI.

Kearns: To make this slightly more concrete, say what I want to do is each day tell everybody how many people were in the supermarket a couple blocks from me at 1 p.m. If you happened to be at that supermarket at one o’clock, then your GPS data is one of the data points that goes into the count. You may consider your presence at supermarket at 1 p.m. to be the kind of private information that you don't want the whole world to know. So then let's say that, on a typical day, there might be a couple hundred people at the supermarket, but that I add a number which is an order of magnitude, plus or minus 25. The addition of that random number mathematically and provably obscures any individual’s contributions to that count. I won't be able to look at that count and try to figure out any particular person who was present. If I add a number that's between minus 25 and 25, I can't affect the overall count by 100. I'll still have an accurate count up to some resolution, but I will have provided privacy to everybody who was present at the supermarket and, actually, all the people who weren't present as well.

Q. How are topics like fairness, accountability, transparency, interpretability, and privacy showing up in computer science curriculum at Penn and elsewhere within higher education?

Kearns: When Aaron and I first started working on the technical aspects of fairness in machine learning and related topics, it was pretty sparsely populated. This was maybe six or seven years ago, and there weren't many papers on the topics. There were some older ones, more from the statistics literature, but there wasn't really a community of any size within machine learning that thought about these problems. On the research side, the opposite is now true. All of the major machine learning conferences have significant numbers of papers and workshops on these topics; they have workshops devoted to these topics. There are now standalone conferences about fairness, accountability, and explainability in machine learning that are growing every year. It's a very vibrant, active research community now. Additionally, even though it's still early, it's an important enough topic that there are now starting to be efforts to teach this even at the undergraduate level.

The last two years at Penn, for example, I have piloted a course called The Science of Data Ethics. It’s deliberately called that and not The Ethics of Data Science. What that represents is that it’s about the science of making algorithms that are more ethical by different norms, like fairness and privacy. It's not your typical engineering ethics course, which at some level is meant to teach you to be a good, responsible person in that you look at case studies where things went wrong and you talk about what you would do differently. This class is a science class. It says: Here are the standard principles of machine learning, here's how those standard principles can lead to discriminatory behavior in my predictive models, and here are alternate principles, or modifications of those principles and the algorithms that implement them, that avoid or mitigate that behavior.

Q. Is there a more multidisciplinary approach to this set of challenges?

Roth: It's definitely a multidisciplinary area. At Penn, we've been actively collaborating with interested folks in the law school and the criminology department. So far, we don't really have interdisciplinary undergraduate courses on these topics. Those courses would be good in the long run, but at the research and graduate level we've been having interdisciplinary conversations for a number of years.

In particular, one critique that we try to anticipate in the book, and that we’re very aware of, is that technical work on making algorithms more ethical is only one piece of a much larger sociological, or what some people would call socio-technical, pipeline.
Michael Kearns

Kearns: Not just at the teaching level, but even in the research community, there's a real melting pot of viewpoints on these topics. Even though our book is focused on the scientific aspects of these issues, we do spend some time mentioning the fact that the science will only take us so far. In particular, one critique that we try to anticipate in the book, and that we’re very aware of, is that technical work on making algorithms more ethical is only one piece of a much larger sociological, or what some people would call socio-technical, pipeline. Machine learning begins with data and ends with a model. But upstream from the data is the entire manner in which the data was collected and the conditions under which it was collected.

One of the things that's very interesting, exciting, and necessary about the dialogue around these kinds of issues is that, even when there's quite a bit to say on them scientifically, you don't want to just put your head down and look at the science. You want to talk to people who are upstream and downstream from the machine learning part of this pipeline because they bring very different perspectives, and can often point out perspectives which can help you change the way you look at things scientifically in a positive way.

Q. If I were a student exploring AI or ML and I wanted to influence this particular conversation, beyond technical skills, what kind of skills should I be developing?

Kearns: What I would very strongly advocate is: think widely, think broadly, think big. Yes, you're going to be doing technical work in particular models and frameworks, and you know you want to get results in those frameworks. But also read what people who are from very, very different fields think about these problems. Go to their conferences, don't just go to the machine learning conferences and to the sub-track on fairness and machine learning. Go to the interdisciplinary conferences and workshops that are deliberately meant to bring together scientists, legal scholars, philosophers, sociologists, and regulators. Hear their views on these problems, keep an ear out for whether they even think you're working on a problem that's relevant or even has a solution.

That's the way I have approached my career: focus on what I'm good at and what I think is interesting from a scientific standpoint, but not in a scientific vacuum. I deliberately expose myself whenever possible to what people from a completely different perspective are thinking about the same set of topics. The good news is that there's a lot of opportunity for that right now. If you work in some branch of material science, it may not be possible to wander out in the world and get diverse perspectives, but everybody has an opinion on AI and machine learning ethics these days, so there is no shortage of sources from which this hypothetical student could go out and find their own technical views challenged or broadened.

Roth: One trap that is very easy for a new PhD student, or even an established researcher, to fall into is to write the introductions to your papers motivated by some kind of fairness problem, but then find yourself solving some narrow technical problem that ultimately has little connection to the world. I am sometimes guilty of this myself, but this is an area where there really are lots of important problems to solve. It's an area where theoretical approaches, if wielded correctly, can be extremely valuable. The thing that’s valuable is to be, sort of, multilingual. It can be difficult to talk to people from other fields because those fields have different vocabularies and a different world view. However, it's important to understand the perspective of these different communities. There are interdisciplinary groups looking at fairness, accountability, and transparency, which bring people together from all sorts of backgrounds to actively work on developing, at the very least, a shared vocabulary—and hopefully a shared world view.

Q. You've become Amazon Scholars fairly recently. What inspired you to take on this role?

Roth: I've spent most of my career as a theorist, so the ways I've been primarily thinking about privacy and fairness are in the abstract. I've had fun thinking about questions like: What kinds of things are, and are not, possible in principle with differential privacy? Or what kinds of semantic fairness promises can you make to people in a way that is still consistent with trying to learn something from the data? The attraction of Amazon and AWS is that it's where the rubber meets the road. Here we are deploying real machine learning products, and the privacy and the fairness concerns are real and pressing.

My hope is that by having a foot in the practice of these problems, not just their theory, not only will I have some effect on how consequential products actually work, but I’ll learn things that will be helpful in developing new theory that is grounded in the real world.

Kearns: I've had a kind of second life in the quantitative finance industry up until I joined Amazon. While I spent time doing practical things in the world of finance, it was more just using my general knowledge in machine learning. The opportunity to come to Amazon and really think about the topics we've been discussing in a practical technological setting seemed like a great opportunity. I'm also a long-term fan and observer of the company. I’ve known people here for many years, and have had great conversations with them. So I’ve watched with great interest over the last decade plus as Amazon grew its machine learning effort from scratch and gradually grew it to have wider and wider applications. It’s now at a point where not only is machine learning used widely within the company to optimize all kinds of processes and recommendations and the like, but it’s also used by customers worldwide in the form of services like Amazon SageMaker.

I have watched this with great interest because when I was studying machine learning in graduate school back in the late 80s, trust me, it was an obscure corner of AI that people kind of raised their eyebrows at. I never would have thought we would reach the point where not only does The Wall Street Journal expect everyone to know what they mean when they write about machine learning, but that it would actually be a product sold at scale.

I've watched these developments from academia and from the world of finance.  It seemed like a great opportunity to combine my very specific current research and other interests with an inside look at one of the great technology companies. Like Aaron, my expectations, which were high, have only been exceeded in the time I've spent here.

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Job summaryAre you inspired by invention? Is problem solving through teamwork in your DNA? Do you like the idea of seeing how your work impacts the bigger picture? Answer yes to these questions and you'll fit right in here at Amazon Robotics. We are a smart team of doers who work passionately to apply cutting edge advances in robotics and software to solve real-world challenges that will transform our customers’ experiences in ways we can't even image yet. We invent new improvements every day.Amazon Robotics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, empowers a smarter, faster, more consistent customer experience through automation. Amazon Robotics automates fulfilment center operations using various methods of robotic technology including autonomous mobile robots, sophisticated control software, language perception, power management, computer vision, depth sensing, machine learning, object recognition, and semantic understanding of commands. Amazon Robotics has a dedicated focus on research and development to continuously explore new opportunities to extend its product lines into new areas.This role is a 3-month internship to join AR full-time (40 hours/week) from May 2021 to August 2021. Amazon Robotics internship opportunities will be based in the Greater Boston Area, in our two state-of-the-art facilities in Westborough and North Reading, MA. Both campuses provide a unique opportunity for interns to have direct access to robotics testing labs and manufacturing facilities.Job OverviewAmazon Robotics is seeking a talented and motivated Engineering student to join the Advanced Robotics team for a summer internship. The candidate will have the opportunity work with senior engineering staff to conduct research, develop, and test software and hardware for next-generation robotic manipulation solutions used in Amazon.com fulfillment operations. Ideal candidates are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program related to software engineering or robotics, and have strong mechanical and or electrical aptitude, embedded programming, enjoys problem solving and can potentially handle multiple parallel tasks.The Advanced Robotics Intern will be responsible for:· Work as part of an interdisciplinary team to design and analyze mechanisms, modules or systems· Identifying creative solutions for challenging problems in robotics and computer vision· Developing software solutions to test hypotheses and demonstrate new functionality· Building models, prototyping concepts, conducting tests, collecting data to quantify performance· Creating milestones and deliverables and tracking status with team· Developing design documentation and leading reviews with other engineers or interns· Writing code and unit tests and integrating code with other software and hardware components· Utilizing Amazon Robotics and Amazon engineering tools, processes and technologies
US, WA, Seattle
Job summaryAre you excited about influencing the payment experience of millions of customers worldwide ? The moment a customer makes a payment on Amazon is when trust is established – trust that the item is delivered on time, a refund is provided quickly if needed, a digital movie purchased will play immediately, a seller receives their disbursement, and hundreds of other experiences across Amazon when a customer completes a payment. The Payment Acceptance & Experience (PAE) team, within the Consumer Payments organization, has the mission to build the most trusted, intuitive, and accessible payment experience on Earth. Applied Science & Machine Learning Engineering (PAE ASMLE) is the core machine learning team within PAE. The team has a mission to enhance customer payments experience that requires advancing the state of the art in machine learning. We work backwards from the customer to create value for them by leveraging an underlying applied science methodology. We deploy our solutions through Native AWS services that operate at Amazon scale. We strive to publish our solutions and share our findings so that the broader Amazon scientific community can benefit.As an applied scientist on our team, your role is to leverage your strong background in Computer Science and Machine Learning to help build the next generation of our model development and assessment pipeline, harness and explain rich data at Amazon scale, and provide automated insights to improve machine learned solution that impacts Payments experience of millions of customers every day. This role requires a pragmatic technical leader comfortable with ambiguity, capable of summarizing complex data and models through clear visual and written explanations. The ideal candidate will have experience with machine learning models and applying science to various business contexts. We are particularly interested in experience applying predictive modeling, natural language processing, deep learning, and reinforcement learning at scale. Additionally, we are seeking candidates with strong rigor in applied sciences and engineering, creativity, curiosity, and great judgment.Your responsibilities include:. Analyze the data and metrics resulting from traffic into Amazon Consumer Payments experiences.. Design, build, and deploy effective and innovative ML solutions to improve various components of the Consumer Payments experience, using predictive modeling, recommendations, anomaly detection, ranking, and forecasting.. Evaluate the proposed solutions via offline benchmark tests as well as online A/B tests in production.. Publish and present your work at internal and external scientific venues in the fields of ML/NLP/IR/Forecasting.Your benefits include:. Working on a high-impact, high-visibility product, with your work improving the experience of millions of customers.. The opportunity to use (and innovate) state-of-the-art ML methods to solve real-world problems.. Excellent opportunities, and ample support, for career growth, development, and mentorship.. Competitive compensation, including relocation support.The PAE ML team operates primarily out of Amazon's Seattle office. We are a new and expanding team where you will have an opportunity to influence our goals and mission. We collaborate with Software Engineering, Data Engineering, Product Management and Marketing teams within Amazon Consumer Payments to solve and deploy machine learning solutions at scale.Please visit https://www.amazon.science for more information
US, WA, Seattle
Job summaryAre you excited about influencing the payment experience of millions of customers worldwide ? The moment a customer makes a payment on Amazon is when trust is established – trust that the item is delivered on time, a refund is provided quickly if needed, a digital movie purchased will play immediately, a seller receives their disbursement, and hundreds of other experiences across Amazon when a customer completes a payment. The Payment Acceptance & Experience (PAE) team, within the Consumer Payments organization, has the mission to build the most trusted, intuitive, and accessible payment experience on Earth. Applied Science & Machine Learning Engineering (PAE ASMLE) is the core machine learning team within PAE. The team has a mission to enhance customer payments experience that requires advancing the state of the art in machine learning. We work backwards from the customer to create value for them by leveraging an underlying applied science methodology. We deploy our solutions through Native AWS services that operate at Amazon scale. We strive to publish our solutions and share our findings so that the broader Amazon scientific community can benefit.As an applied scientist on our team, your role is to leverage your strong background in Computer Science and Machine Learning to help build the next generation of our model development and assessment pipeline, harness and explain rich data at Amazon scale, and provide automated insights to improve machine learned solution that impacts Payments experience of millions of customers every day. This role requires a pragmatic technical leader comfortable with ambiguity, capable of summarizing complex data and models through clear visual and written explanations. The ideal candidate will have experience with machine learning models and applying science to various business contexts. We are particularly interested in experience applying predictive modeling, natural language processing, deep learning, and reinforcement learning at scale. Additionally, we are seeking candidates with strong rigor in applied sciences and engineering, creativity, curiosity, and great judgment.Your responsibilities include:. Analyze the data and metrics resulting from traffic into Amazon Consumer Payments experiences.. Design, build, and deploy effective and innovative ML solutions to improve various components of the Consumer Payments experience, using predictive modeling, recommendations, anomaly detection, ranking, and forecasting.. Evaluate the proposed solutions via offline benchmark tests as well as online A/B tests in production.. Publish and present your work at internal and external scientific venues in the fields of ML/NLP/IR/Forecasting.Your benefits include:. Working on a high-impact, high-visibility product, with your work improving the experience of millions of customers.. The opportunity to use (and innovate) state-of-the-art ML methods to solve real-world problems.. Excellent opportunities, and ample support, for career growth, development, and mentorship.. Competitive compensation, including relocation support.The PAE ML team operates primarily out of Amazon's Seattle office. We are a new and expanding team where you will have an opportunity to influence our goals and mission. We collaborate with Software Engineering, Data Engineering, Product Management and Marketing teams within Amazon Consumer Payments to solve and deploy machine learning solutions at scale.Please visit https://www.amazon.science for more information
US, WA, Bellevue
Job summaryAre you an exceptional science leader who is interested in building innovative products that optimize a global supply chain? Within Amazon's Supply Chain Optimization Technology (SCOT) team, the OSS team owns the systems that target to maximize supply availability for Amazon and/or reduce total sourcing costs, by deciding from which vendor and at what cost Amazon should target to source a product; what is the ideal supply chain setup for a product; costs negotiation decisions, future inventory commitments, and supply risk and vendor’s lead times predictions.The science leader is expected to identify and scope the supply risks that are with significant business impacts and could be mitigated or reduced with reasonable cost. A science leader is needed to own the design of the vendor collaboration and incentives and modeling of the supply signals in the appropriate formats.This individual will need to influence multiple teams to build the end-to-end system. The problem is multi-disciplinary which requires supply chain, mechanism design, and machine learning knowledge. The science leader is expected to scope and identify the appropriate technical talents to solve it.The ideal candidate will be a proven sciences leader who is a self-starter comfortable with ambiguity, demonstrates strong attention to detail, and thrives in a fast-paced environment. You will have excellent business, technical, analytical and strategic thinking skills. You are effectively able to work with product, business and technology leaders to define and prioritize key customer problems, build data acquisition and integration pipelines to create data sets, develop statistical and machine learning models and deliver analyses and insights that answer these problems. You will have strong quantitative modeling skills and expertise using data mining and statistical analyses at web-scale to coach and guide the team to produce actionable insights and recommendations. You will lead by example and are comfortable taking on projects and delivering results as an individual contributor.We are looking for a Sr RS that enjoys solving complex supply chain problems and demonstrates strategic thinking, leading the team to success. As a leader in SCOT, you will own and drive improvements in the Amazon's supply chain, continually raising the bar by delivering Supply Chain efficiencies. There are no textbook solutions to the problems we are solving and very few attempts have been made to solve at Amazon's scale, which necessitates an analytical thinking to solve problems.
US
Job summaryThe Market Intelligence team for Workforce Staffing applies science, data and insights to optimize hiring for Amazon’s largest candidate population – Tier 1 Associates. Amazon's hourly workforce brings the magic of Amazon’s industry-leading customer fulfillment to life. The pace at which job creation, hiring, and growth must happen to support the scale and complexity of Amazon businesses is a problem Amazon is uniquely qualified to solve and innovate on. Workforce Staffing literally hires by the hundreds of thousands across multiple business lines, job types, and shift configurations. The Market Intelligence team in particular focuses on applying labor market, competitor, and candidate preference intelligence to enhance job offerings, mitigate operational risk, and sustain Amazon position in the market. Come join a team that is continually shaping and writing the future of the hourly worker landscape.Amazon is seeking an industry-leading Economist as a senior advisor on its most pressing labor and staffing challenges to grow and innovate its singular customer fulfillment experience 10x into the future. In this role, you would build models, frameworks, and serve as a senior science advisor and consultant across a broad science portfolio comprising labor market intelligence, candidate research, employer branding, and marketing analytics. This individual will brief and influence C-suite and VP-level decisions on billion-dollar operational and strategic decisions. This role resides within a unique cross-functional science, engineering and product organization that is vertically integrated to deliver innovative intelligence and scenario analysis solutions to Amazon operations. Influence the roadmap and raise the bar on the science and innovations on Amazon's path to being earth's best and safest employer.
US, VA, Arlington
Job summaryOur group is developing advanced technologies that enhance the experience of shoppers in physical stores. Designed and custom-built by Amazon, existing products such as the Amazon Dash Cart and Amazon Go integrate a variety of advanced technologies including computer vision, sensor fusion, and advanced machine learning.Key job responsibilitiesAs an Applied Scientist, you will research, implement and deploy scientific techniques that span the domain of Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Sensor Fusion. You will tackle challenging situations every day and have the opportunity to work with multiple technical teams at Amazon. You should be comfortable with a degree of ambiguity that’s higher than most projects and relish the idea of solving problems.A day in the lifeOn a typical day, you will research on possible approaches in the literature for a given problem or implement Computer Vision/Machine Learning algorithms that demonstrates the feasibility of an approach, or implement the same in production. In addition, scientist also periodically apply for patents, give presentations on their research to the wider scientific community and expand their influence.About the teamThis is a fast growing computer vision, machine learning and research engineering team that continuously questions the status-quo of Customer and Merchant experience in Physical Stores, striving for disruptive innovation and defining the next generation of Physical Stores technology.
US, WA, Seattle
The Team: Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no lines and no checkout—you just grab and go! Customers simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take what they want from our selection of fresh, delicious meals and grocery essentials, and go!Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by our Just Walk Out Technology, which automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt. Check it out at amazon.com/go. Designed and custom-built by Amazonians, our Just Walk Out Technology uses a variety of technologies including computer vision, sensor fusion, and advanced machine learning. Innovation is part of our DNA! Our goal is to be Earths’ most customer centric company and we are just getting started. We need people who want to join an ambitious program that continues to push the state of the art in computer vision, machine learning, distributed systems and hardware design.The Role: Everyone on the team needs to be entrepreneurial, wear many hats and work in a highly collaborative environment that’s more startup than big company. We’ll need to tackle problems that span a variety of domains: computer vision, image recognition, machine learning, real-time and distributed systems.As a Computer Vision Research Scientist, you will help solve a variety of technical challenges and mentor other engineers. You will tackle challenging, novel situations every day and given the size of this initiative, you’ll have the opportunity to work with multiple technical teams at Amazon in different locations. You should be comfortable with a degree of ambiguity that’s higher than most projects and relish the idea of solving problems that, frankly, haven’t been solved at scale before - anywhere. Along the way, we guarantee that you’ll learn a ton, have fun and make a positive impact on millions of people.
US, WA, Seattle
Job summaryAre you excited to help customers discover the hottest and best reviewed products?Through the enablement of intelligent campaigns that leverage machine-learning models, you will help to deliver the best possible shopping experience for Amazon’s customers all over the globe.We are looking for experienced scientist who will work with business leaders, scientists, and engineers to translate business and functional requirements into concrete deliverables. Your domain spans the design, development, testing, and deployment of data driven and highly scalable solutions using data processing and machine learning in product recommendation. You will partner with scientists, product managers, and engineers to help invent and implement scalable Data processing and ML models while inventing tools on our customers behalf.A day in the lifeThis is a unique, high visibility opportunity for someone who wants to have business impact, dive deep into large-scale problems, and work closely with scientists and engineers. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience building large scale machine learning solutions and working with distributed systems to 1) help us build robust ensemble of ML systems that can drive classification and recommendation of products with a high precision and recall utilizing various signals and scale to new marketplaces and languages and 2) design optimal or near optimal supervised and unsupervised machine learning models and solutions for moderately complex projects in business, science, or engineering.About the hiring groupThe Discovery Tech team helps customers discover and engage with new, popular and relevant products across Amazon worldwide. We do this by combining technology, science, and innovation to build new customer-facing features and experiences alongside cutting edge tools for marketers. You will be responsible for creating and building critical services that automatically generate, target, and optimize Amazon’s cross-category marketing and merchandising.Job responsibilitiesAs a Senior Applied Scientist, you bring business and industry context to science and technology decisions. You set the standard for scientific excellence and make decisions that affect the way we build and integrate algorithms. Your solutions are exemplary in terms of algorithm design, clarity, model structure, efficiency, and extensibility. You tackle intrinsically hard problems, acquiring expertise as needed. You decompose complex problems into straightforward solutions.
US, CA, Santa Clara
Job summaryAWS AI/ML is looking for world class scientists and engineers to join its AI Research and Education group working on building automated ML solutions for planetary-scale sustainability and geospatial applications. Our team's mission is to develop ready-to-use and automated solutions that solve important sustainability and geospatial problems. We live in a time wherein geospatial data, such as climate, agricultural crop yield, weather, landcover, etc., has become ubiquitous. Cloud computing has made it easy to gather and process the data that describes the earth system and are generated by satellites, mobile devices, and IoT devices. Our vision is to bring the best ML/AI algorithms to solve practical environmental and sustainability-related R&D problems at scale. Building these solutions require a solid foundation in machine learning infrastructure and deep learning technologies. The team specializes in developing popular open source software libraries like AutoGluon, GluonCV, GluonNLP, DGL, Apache/MXNet (incubating). Our strategy is to bring the best of ML based automation to the geospatial and sustainability area.We are seeking an experienced Applied Scientist for the team. This is a role that combines science knowledge (around machine learning, computer vision, earth science), technical strength, and product focus. It will be your job to develop ML system and solutions and work closely with the engineering team to ship them to our customers. You will interact closely with our customers and with the academic and research communities. You will be at the heart of a growing and exciting focus area for AWS and work with other acclaimed engineers and world famous scientists. You are also expected to work closely with other applied scientists and demonstrate Amazon Leadership Principles (https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles).Strong technical skills and experience with machine learning and computer vision are required. Experience working with earth science, mapping, and geospatial data is a plus. Our customers are extremely technical and the solutions we build for them are strongly coupled to technical feasibility.About the teamInclusive Team CultureAt AWS, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust.Work/Life BalanceOur team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives.Mentorship & Career GrowthOur team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded scientist and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future.Interested in this role? Reach out to the recruiting team with questions or apply directly via amazon.jobs.
US, CA, San Francisco
About Us:Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate and grow their personal interests and passions. We're always live at Twitch.About the Role:Data scientists play a central role in Twitch's data-driven decision-making process. As a DS at Twitch, you will shape the way product performance is measured, define critical questions that guide product strategies, and scale analytics methods and tools to support our growing business.More specifically, Twitch's Community Foundations Analytics team is looking for an experienced DS to help develop new programs aimed at improving viewer experience and unlocking new opportunities for creators. As part of the team, you will help product managers, engineering leads, designers, and executives, make better product decisions faster. You'll recommend and implement metrics to measure user behavior, run experiments to test product hypotheses, and produce insights for your partners. You will report to the CF Analytics Lead.You Will:· Become a domain expert at the product surfaces you support, building trust with your product partners.· Ensure your product, engineering, and design partners understand and use the insights you produce.· Translate product and strategy questions into metrics, and collaborate with data engineers to dashboard these metrics.· Distill ambiguous product or business questions, find clever ways to answer them, and to quantify the uncertainty.· Mentor junior team members and drive analytics and experimentation best practices throughout the company.
US, CA, Manhattan Beach
Job summaryAmazon is looking for a creative Applied Scientist to tackle some of the most interesting problems on the leading edge of Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Information Retrieval (IR) with our Alexa Artificial Intelligence (AI) team. Alexa AI is part of our ongoing efforts focused on reinventing information extraction and retrieval for a voice-forward, multi-modal future.A successful candidate will develop novel ML/NLP/IR/Deep Learning technologies to make Alexa smarter. They will have a true passion for working in a collaborative, cross-functional environment that encourages thinking about optimized solutions to unique problems that do not have yet a known science solution.If you are looking for an opportunity to solve deep technical problems and build innovative solutions in a fast-paced environment working within a smart and passionate team, this might be the role for you. You will develop and implement novel algorithms and modeling techniques to leverage and advance the state-of-the-art in technology areas that are found at the intersection of ML, NLP, IR, and Deep Learning. Your work will directly impact Amazon products and services that make use of speech and language technology. You will gain hands on experience with Alexa and large-scale computing resources.In this role you will:· Work collaboratively with scientists and developers to design and implement automated, scalable NLP/ML/IR models for accessing and presenting information· Drive scalable solutions from the business, to prototyping, production testing and through engineering directly to production· Drive best practices on the team, deal with ambiguity and competing objectives, and mentor and guide junior members to achieve their career growth potential.About the teamOur team tries to have a healthy balance between work and play. We celebrate our successes and milestones and we are not afraid to take risks, even if it causes unintentional mistakes along the way. We believe in learning from our mistakes and moving forward.
US, WA, Seattle
Job summaryAt Alexa Shopping, we strive to enable shopping in everyday life. We allow customers to instantly order whatever they need, by simply interacting with their Smart Devices such as Amazon Show, Spot, Echo, Dot or Tap. Our Services allow you to shop, no matter where you are or what you are doing, you can go from 'I want that' to 'that's on the way' in a matter of seconds. We are seeking the industry's best to help us create new ways to interact, search and shop. Join us, and you'll be taking part in changing the future of everyday lifeWe are seeking a Data Scientist to be part of the ASR science team for Alexa Shopping. This is a strategic role to shape and deliver our technical strategy in developing and deploying ASR, Machine Learning solutions to our hardest customer facing problems. Our goal is to delight customers by providing a conversational interaction. These initiatives are at the heart of the organization and recognized as the innovations that will allow us to build a differentiated product that exceeds customer expectations. If this role seems like a good fit, please reach out, we'd love to talk to you.This role requires working closely with business, engineering and other scientists within Alexa Shopping and across Amazon to deliver ground breaking features. You will lead high visibility and high impact programs collaborating with various teams across Amazon. You will work with a team of Scientists and SDEs to launch new customer facing features and improve the current features.
US, WA, Seattle
Job summaryAre you interested in big data, machine learning, and product recommendations? If so, the Product Semantics team in Amazon Product Graph might be the right place for you. We are a team in a fast-paced organization with a huge impact on hundreds of millions of customers. We innovate at the intersection of customer experience, deep learning, and high-scale machine-learning systems.As the world’s most customer-centric company, Amazon heavily invests in inventing and applying state-of-art technologies to build world-class product recommendation systems to improve shopper experience. We break fresh ground to create world-class customer-facing features to help customers discover high quality products that meet their needs, and provide most relevant product information to help customers make confident shopping decisions. We are a highly motivated, collaborative, and fun-loving team with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and bias for action. With a broad mandate to experiment and innovate, we have a very wide range of new opportunities to explore.The Product Semantics team in Amazon Personalization, based in Seattle and New York City, is looking for scientists who love big data, are passionate about understanding products and product relationships from product profiles, reviews, and search log, and who are capable of inventing and applying Machine Learning, NLP, and Computer Vision techniques that will leave no valuable data behind. Our applied scientists work closely with software engineers to put algorithms into practice. They also work in partnership with teams across Amazon to create enormous benefits for our customers.If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, know how to deliver, love to work with data, are deeply technical, highly innovative and long for the opportunity to build solutions to challenging problems that directly impact the company's bottom-line, we want to talk to you.Key job responsibilities· Use machine learning and analytical techniques to create scalable solutions for business problems· Analyze and extract relevant information from large amounts of Amazon's historical business data to help automate and optimize key processes· Design, development and evaluation of highly innovative models for predictive learning· Work closely with software engineering teams to drive model implementations and new feature creations· Establish scalable, efficient, automated processes for large scale data analyses, model development, model validation and model implementation· Research and implement novel machine learning and statistical approachesAbout the teamOur mission is to delight every Amazon customer with a personalized shopping experience. We achieve our mission through investments in UX, Science, and Systems with the purpose of delivering the future of shopping on Amazon. We are seeking an Applied Scientist to work on step function science improvements across the recommendations space.