“I think it’s exciting, what’s possible with generative AI,” Jassy told the FT. “And it’s part of what you’re seeing with models like ChatGPT. But most large, deeply technical companies like ours, have been working on these very large, generative AI models themselves for a long time.”
Amazon already has AI and machine learning technology like its voice assistant Alexa and CodeWhisperer, a code recommendation generator. The company supporters are concerned that the tech giant is falling behind in the generative AI department, according the FT. Generative AI refers to algorithms trained to produce new text, images, code, video, or audio.
“Microsoft is clearly in the lead and has won a lot of mindshare here,”
Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, an early investor in Amazon, told the FT. He added that Amazon has to be aware of the trend towards intelligent and generative apps. It “needs to have its strategic response,” he said.
Andy Jassy focused out that the company is also pursuing opportunities to integrate with smaller firms to develop this area of the business but he did not share the details.
The most prominent example is Stability AI a competitor to Microsoft-backed OpenAI which recently declared Amazon its “preferred cloud partner,” to train and build its AI models.
Amazon’s ventures into generative AI include Alexa that launched in 2014. David Limp, senior vice president for devices and services at Amazon, told the Times of London that the company is upgrading Alexa by making it more conversational because it is currently very “transactional” and can only respond to questions.
Limp said that while ChatGPT is a “healthy competitor” to Alexa it lacks the personality, memory, and knowledge of current events that Alexa has.
“If you were to ask Alexa details about the World Cup, who scored what goal in what match, Alexa would know,” he said, adding that as of now, ChatGPT doesn’t.
“Real-time knowledge is equally as important as the ability to write a screenplay, which GPT does pretty well. Alexa is pretty personalized today. It remembers things like your favorite music”
Amazon employees have recently used internal Slack channels to seek guidance about how they should use ChatGPT at work. A company lawyer advised workers not to share any confidential company data with ChatGPT after instances of responses looking similar to Amazon’s internal data. Kim reported that some employees have used the chatbot as a “coding assistant” by requesting that it improves internal lines of code. At the time, the lawyer said that Amazon is broadly developing similar technology to ChatGPT, Kim reported.