Amazon surpassed 153,000 full- and part-time employees in California in the fourth quarter of 2020, rapidly outpacing the more than 80,000 Amazon employees in the company's home state of Washington, the latest numbers from the company show.

Driving the trend: While Amazon has tech, engineering and product development operations in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, the surge coincides with the build-out of its distribution network, Prime Now Hubs, Amazon Pantry and Fresh facilities, and physical retail stores. California is also one of the first states where Amazon is opening last-mile delivery stations in rural areas.

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Alexa-maker Amazon is creating a machine learning and artificial intelligence research lab at USC as the retail giant grapples with growing privacy concerns around its products. The Center for Secure and Trusted Machine Learning, part of USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, will support research that looks at new ways to secure and preserve privacy in machine learning and can be applied at scale "to support billions of users."

Amazon's artificial intelligence systems extend beyond its smart home devices; the company automates much of its processes using machine learning; including product recommendation, the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Go store (a brick and mortar location that runs without cashiers). Amazon also recently launched Halo, a wearable fitness tracker comparable to the Fitbit that also connects with Alexa and the rest of its smart devices.

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The time for online shopping is now.

The pandemic has ushered in the era of ecommerce as Americans embrace curbside pickup, next day deliveries and grocery pick-up services. There's likely no going back as an increasing number of consumers get accustomed to shopping online.

Now, retailers are taking experience to another level with streaming, data personalization, augmented reality and other features that are only likely to grow digital shopping habits.

Here are three trends sweeping ecommerce and the Los Angeles companies that are fueling it:

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