Amazon introduces Q, an AI chatbot for businesses

Amazon introduces Q, an AI chatbot for businesses

OpenAI has ChatGPT. Google has the Bard chatbot. Microsoft has its co-pilots. On Tuesday, Amazon joined the chatbot race and announced its own artificial intelligence assistant: Amazon Q.

The chatbot, developed by Amazon’s cloud computing division, is focused on workplaces and not aimed at consumers. Amazon Q aims to help employees with daily tasks, such as summarizing strategic documents, filling out internal support tickets, and answering questions about company policy. It will compete with other enterprise chatbots including Copilot, Google’s Duet AI, and ChatGPT Enterprise.

“We think Q has the potential to become a working companion for millions and millions of people in their professional lives,” Adam Selipsky, general manager of Amazon Web Services, said in an interview.

Amazon has worked to get rid of the perception that it is lagging behind in the competition from AI. In the year since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, Google, Microsoft and others have gone into a frenzy, unveiling their own chatbots and investing heavily in AI development.

Amazon had remained quiet about its AI plans until more recently. In September, it announced it would invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, an AI startup competing with OpenAI, and develop advanced computer chips together. Amazon also introduced a platform this year that allows customers to access different AI systems.

As the leading cloud computing provider, Amazon already has business customers who store large amounts of information on its cloud servers. Companies wanted to use chatbots in the workplace, Mr. Selipsky said, but they wanted to ensure that assistants would protect these hordes of corporate data and keep their information private.

Many companies “have told me that they have banned these AI assistants from the company for security and privacy reasons,” he said.

In response, Amazon built Q to be more secure and private than a consumer chatbot, Mr. Selipsky said. Amazon Q, for example, can have the same security permissions that business customers already have configured for their users. In a company where a marketing employee may not have access to sensitive financial forecasts, Q can mimic this by not providing that financial data to that employee when asked.

Businesses can also allow Amazon Q to use their business data that isn’t on Amazon’s servers, such as connecting to Slack and Gmail.

Unlike ChatGPT and Bard, Amazon Q is not built on a specific AI model. Instead, it uses an Amazon platform known as Bedrock, which connects multiple AI systems together, including Amazon’s Titan as well as those developed by Anthropic and Meta.

The name Q is a pun on the word “question,” given the conversational nature of the chatbot, Mr. Selipsky said. It’s also a play on words on the character Q from the James Bond novels, who makes stealthy and useful tools, and on a powerful “Star Trek” action figure, he added.

Amazon Q pricing starts at $20 per user per month. Microsoft and Google both charge $30 per month for each user of enterprise chatbots that work with their messaging and other productivity apps.

Amazon Q was part of a series of announcements the company made at its annual cloud computing conference in Las Vegas. It also shared plans to strengthen its computing infrastructure for AI and expanded its long-standing partnership with Nvidia, the leading AI chip supplier, including building what the companies called the world’s leading AI supercomputer. fastest in the world.

Most of these systems use standard microprocessors as well as specialized chips from Nvidia called GPUs or graphics processing units. Instead, the system announced Tuesday will be built with new Nvidia chips including processor technology from Arm, the company whose technology powers most mobile phones.

This change is a worrying sign for Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, the major suppliers of microprocessors. But it’s good news for Arm in its long-running effort to break into data center computers.

Don Clark contributed reporting from San Francisco.

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David B.Otero

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