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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Amazon launches business chatbot powered by generative AI

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Tech giant Amazon has said it will launch Q, a business chatbot powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI).

The announcement, made in Las Vegas at an annual conference the company hosts for its AWS cloud computing service, represents Amazon’s response to rivals who have rolled out chatbots that have captured the public’s attention.

San Francisco start-up OpenAI’s release of ChatGPT a year ago sparked a surge of public and business interest in generative AI tools that can spit out emails, marketing pitches, essays, and other passages of text that resemble the work of humans.

That attention initially gave an advantage to OpenAI’s chief partner and financial backer, Microsoft, which has rights to the underlying technology behind ChatGPT and has used it to build its own generative AI tools known as Copilot.

But it also spurred competitors such as Google to launch their own versions.

These chatbots are a new generation of AI systems that can converse, generate readable text on demand and even produce novel images and video based on what they have learned from a vast database of digital books, online writings and other media.

Amazon said Q can do things such as synthesise content, streamline day-to-day communications and help employees with tasks such as generating blog posts.

It said companies can also connect Q to their own data and systems to get a tailored experience that is more relevant to their business.

The technology is currently available for preview.

While Amazon is ahead of rivals Microsoft and Google as the dominant cloud computing provider, it is not perceived as the leader in the AI research that has led to advancements in generative AI.

A recent Stanford University index that measured the transparency of the top 10 foundational AI models, including Amazon’s Titan, ranked Amazon at the bottom.

Stanford researchers said less transparency can make it harder for customers that want to use the technology to know if they can safely rely on it, among other problems.

The company, meanwhile, has been forging forward.

In September, Amazon said it would invest up to $4 billion in the AI start-up Anthropic, a San Francisco-based company that was founded by former staff from OpenAI.

The tech giant has also been rolling out new services, including an update for its popular assistant Alexa so users can have more human-like conversations and AI-generated summaries of product reviews for consumers.

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