The First Item Sold On Amazon Was A Book On Artificial Intelligence

In 2024, Artificial Intelligence appears poised to upturn the world. It promises to bring about incredible new technologies, create untold wealth, but also cause job losses and create massive new companies. But in an interesting quirk of fate, Artificial Intelligence was how one of the world’s biggest companies had got its start, nearly 3 decades ago.

The first item sold on was a book that centered around Artificial Intelligence. In 1995, Amazon had started operations as an online bookseller. At that time, the internet was relatively new, and only technologists and computer enthusiasts were on it. At that point, John Wainwright, an Australian software engineer based in Sunnyvale, California, heard about the new website. In July, he placed an order for a book titled “Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought” by Douglas Hofstadter on Amazon. This became Amazon’s first ever order, and John Wainwright became its first ever customer.

The first book sold on Amazon with an original copy of the bill. The book was Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought” by Douglas Hofstadter, and the customer was John Wainwright. The bill shows Amazon’s original logo with the Amazon river.

Interestingly, the book was on a topic that’s exploded into public consciously three decades later. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought explored the mechanisms of intelligence through computer modeling. It contends that the notions of analogy and fluidity are fundamental to explain how the human mind solves problems and to create computer programs that show intelligent behavior.

Cut to now, and Artificial Intelligence is the hottest sector in town. Artificial Intelligence’s theories have been around for a while, but it was only in the last decade that the computational power to implement them was developed, and as that happened, it’s led to an explosion in developments in the field. Amazon is also on the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon, and is actively investing in AI companies and projects. And given how its first order was a book on Artificial Intelligence, Amazon seems to be going back to its roots.