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Jeff Bezos and robot dog
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes a stroll with a SpotMini robot dog. (Jeff Bezos via Twitter)

Amazon’s annual invitation-only event on machine learning, automation, robotics and space — known as Mars — has become a high-tech highlight for insiders, featuring billionaire founder and CEO Jeff Bezos riding a giant robot or walking a robot dog.

Now a wider circle of tech leaders can get in on a spin-off experience called re:MARS, which is due to make its debut June 4-7 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

The event will shine a spotlight on the leading lights and cutting-edge advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Amazon said today in a blog posting.

“We’re at the beginning of a golden age of AI. Recent advancements have already led to invention that previously lived in the realm of science fiction — and we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible,” Bezos said. “AI is an enabling technology that can improve products and services across all industries. We’re excited to create re:MARS, bringing together leaders and builders from diverse areas to share learnings and spark new ideas for future innovation.”

Like Amazon’s re:Invent conference, re:MARS is likely to touch on the Seattle company’s tech initiatives, particularly in AI. But while re:Invent has been focused on Amazon Web Services, re:MARS will show off frontier technologies ranging from Amazon’s plans for drone deliveries to Blue Origin’s work in commercial spaceflight.

There’ll be plenty of tech gurus coming in from outside Amazon as well, as has been the case for the hush-hush MARS conference that got its start in 2016.

Among the speakers already on the agenda are Jeff Wilke, worldwide consumer CEO at Amazon; Andrew Lo, director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering; Tom Soderstron, IT chief technology and innovation officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Kate Darling, research specialist at the MIT Media Lab and affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Center.

Amazon says the event is designed for business leaders and technical builders — including developers, engineers, data scientists, machine-learning experts and roboticists — who want to learn, share and use AI to initiate change in organizations.

“AI has great potential to help diverse groups of people work together in new ways. This requires experts from academia, technology, research, and business to learn from each other, which MARS pioneered for a small group of innovative thinkers,” Berkeley engineering professor Ken Goldberg said in today’s announcement. “I’m excited to engage with a much broader group of leaders and builders at re:MARS to accelerate AI innovation across industries.”

Amazon promises further information about speakers, logistical information and pricing when re:MARS registration opens in March. There’s a signup form for re:MARS updates, and a contact email for potential sponsors.

But some folks don’t have to worry about all those details: Amazon says astronauts can attend for free.

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