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Investors are worried whether Amazon can keep up with Microsoft and Google in the AI race

Andy Jassy
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, in an interview with the Financial Times, recently commented about the company's efforts in the field of generative artificial intelligence. Jassy acknowledged the potential of generative AI like ChatGPT, and highlighted that Amazon, like other big tech, has also been working on developing large generative AI models for a long time.

Jassy said,

“I think it’s exciting, what’s possible with generative AI, 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.”

However, investors have raised concerns that Amazon may be falling behind in the AI race compared to its competitors, particularly Microsoft and Google.

Matt McIlwain, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group, said to the Financial Times, "Microsoft is clearly in the lead and has won a lot of mindshare here. Amazon has to be cognizant of this massive trend towards intelligent and generative apps. Amazon needs to have its strategic response". Madrona Venture Group is a major and early investor that has worked closely with Amazon for more than two decades.

Jassy, on the other hand, said that Amazon has been pursuing opportunities to partner with smaller firms to develop this area of the business, but did not disclose further details.

Amazon has been venturing into generative AI through its popular voice assistant Alexa. David Limp, Senior Vice President for Devices and Services at Amazon, mentioned to the Times of London that the company is improving Alexa by making it more conversational, which is currently quite transactional and can only respond to specific questions.

According to Limp, although ChatGPT presents itself as a "healthy competitor" to Alexa, it lacks Alexa's unique personality, memory, and knowledge of current events. For instance, while Alexa can provide information about the World Cup, including who scored what goal in what match, ChatGPT is currently unable to.

Limp emphasized that real-time knowledge is as critical as the ability to write a screenplay, an area in which GPT performs remarkably well.

Source: Financial Times, the Times of London (paywall)

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