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For a brief while Tuesday morning, a dozen members of the Santa Barbara press were allowed behind the curtain of the great and powerful Amazon and into its new State Street offices. Though it had been an open community secret for more than a year, the tech giant publicly confirmed only this week that, yes, it has expanded its 500,000-member U.S. workforce to the South Coast.
“We don’t talk to the media until we make an official announcement,” explained Kevin Davis, a senior manager and Amazon’s Santa Barbara site lead. “We generally don’t share our future plans.”
The State Street workers will focus on the “Alexa information domain,” Davis said, by identifying and filling gaps in the AI’s catalog of knowledge. “We’re always trying to find ways to make her smarter.” The 48,000-square-foot building, formerly a Saks Off 5th store, is home to only 75 workers at the moment, Davis said, though the company will add another 150-200 in the coming years. As such, the open-air workspaces felt unusually quiet and static during the press tour, with the occasional employee looking up curiously from their desks at the passing group.