AI Armageddon: Can Amazon.com slay tech giants Google, Microsoft?

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Amazon.com’s cloud division Wednesday said that it had successfully attracted thousands of customers, putting it in direct competition with Microsoft and Google in the crucial field of artificial intelligence.

According to Reuters, in addition to this, the company unveiled a range of new AI tools during an announcement on Wednesday.

These tools include a programme designed to construct more interactive and conversational customer-service agents, as well as providing access to technology from the startup Cohere.

Organisations including Ryanair and Sun Life have tried out Amazon Bedrock, a service the company announced in April that lets businesses create applications with a range of AI models, Vice President Swami Sivasubramanian said.

Such generative technology can produce new text, images and other content on command.

“Our mission is to make every company an AI company,” said Sivasubramanian, in an interview pegged to a summit the cloud provider hosted in New York.

Amazon Bedrock serves as Amazon’s response to the AI services offered by its cloud competitors, Google and Microsoft.

These rival companies have been gaining substantial public attention due to their advancements in AI technology.

However, Amazon’s recent revelation of having thousands of Bedrock users, a detail not previously disclosed, indicates that their efforts are also capturing significant interest in the market.

Earlier this month, an Amazon official said “a key way that Amazon’s cloud division aims to set itself apart from rivals perceived to have a leg up on artificial intelligence is by competing on price”.

“The AI models behind a viral chatbot like ChatGPT require immense computing power to train and operate, the kinds of costs Amazon Web Services (AWS) is good at lowering,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president overseeing its applications group.

A potential boost is that the company, like Google, has proprietary chips for AI.

“These models are expensive,” Kumar said at the Reuters MOMENTUM conference in Austin. “We’re taking on a lot of that undifferentiated heavy lifting, so as to be able to lower the cost for our customers.”

The world’s largest cloud provider by revenue faces a tall challenge. Rivals Microsoft and Google have marketed higher profile, proprietary technology, capturing mindshare and some business in the sector’s potentially lucrative AI contest.

Amazon’s competition has likewise focused on reducing costs and has marketed free previews of such technology, though final pricing remained unclear.

On quality, Kumar did not answer how Amazon’s own family of AI models known as Titan stacks up against its more famous counterparts such as the GPT series from Microsoft-backed OpenAI or Google’s PaLM.

He instead pointed to other Amazon traits, such as “our specific way of dealing with privacy, our specific way of dealing with accuracy,” at a time when concerns abound about what happens to confidential data given to AI and the technology’s tendency to generate incorrect information.