Amazon has been working on ChatGPT-like AI for a long time, says Amazon CEO

"Most large, deeply technical companies like ours, have been working on these very large, generative AI models themselves for a long time," Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said.
Deena Theresa
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty 

Ever since OpenAI's AI chatbot ChatGPT reared its head almost three months ago, tech companies have wasted no time in releasing their half-baked chatbots (we're looking at you, Bard) to keep their investor confidence afloat.

Microsoft released Bing with ChatGPT-like powers, and the search engine finally looks impressive. In the latest news, Microsoft has started rolling out new Bing early access to waitlisted users. As for Google, Bard failed to show promise after a goof-up during the demo. Employees expressed their disappointment with the "early launch" of Bard and said that the announcement was handled in a "botched" manner.

Artificial intelligence has been the buzzword for a while. Now, e-commerce giant Amazon has revealed that they have been working on such models for a long time.

In an interview with Financial Times published on Monday, Amazon's CEO Andy 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."

Is Amazon falling behind in the generative AI race?

Now even though AI and machine learning technology can be found across Amazon Web Services and Amazon's operations (Amazon has voice assistant, Alexa, and code recommendation generator, CodeWhisperer), the company's supporters are concerned that it is trailing behind in the "generative" AI race, FT reported.

"Microsoft is clearly in the lead and has won a lot of mindshare here," Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, a major, early investor that has worked closely with Amazon over two decades., told FT.

"Amazon has to be cognizant of this massive trend towards intelligent and generative apps. Amazon needs to have its strategic response," said Mcllwain.

Jassy said that he sees “opportunities” to work with smaller companies in the space but would not elaborate. One of them, Stability AI — a competitor to the Microsoft-backed OpenAI — is already integrating its software with the AWS platform. “

An example would be Stability AI — a competitor to the Microsoft-backed OpenAI — which has declared Amazon its "preferred cloud partner" to train and build its AI models.

'ChatGPT lacks Alexa's personality

Insider reported in January that Amazon employees had used internal Slack channels to enquire about how they should use ChatGPT at work. A company lawyer has asked workers not to share any confidential company data with ChatGPT as responses could look similar to Amazon's internal data. The lawyer told Insider that Amazon is developing similar technology to ChatGPT.

Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices and services, told The Times that "competition is generally healthy" and dismissed ChatGPT stating that it lacked Alexa's personality, memory, and knowledge of current events.

"If you were to ask Alexa details about the World Cup, who scored what goal in what match, Alexa would know. ChatGPT right now 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," he said.

Limp said that GPT and Alexa are pretty "transactional" (Put a query in, and Alexa responds), and upcoming large language models will make AI more conversational.

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