Recently, there has been speculation regarding Amazon’s position in the race to dominate the field of artificial intelligence (A.I.). Reports of flagging demand for Amazon’s A.I.-powered digital assistant, Alexa, have led some industry experts to question whether the tech giant has fallen behind its competitors, including Google and Apple.
In response to this speculation, Amazon Web Services has launched a 10-week AWS Generative AI Accelerator program aimed at boosting the company’s A.I. capabilities. The program offers participants access to a range of A.I. resources, including mentorship and $300,000 in AWS credits.
Despite concerns that Amazon may have lost its competitive edge, industry insiders suggest that the company’s strength lies in its suite of AWS applications that power a significant portion of the internet. Anish Mitra, former Vice President of Growth at Goldman Sachs, has argued that rather than trying to develop applications for end consumers, Amazon is positioning itself as a provider of computing power, selling the “shovels” that other businesses need to dig for A.I. “gold.”
Alexa has fallen short of Amazon’s goal of creating the next big platform in tech. Even onetime believers in the technology say innovation has stalled on Alexa, a sentiment that has grown since ChatGPT set the tech world ablaze when it came out in Nov 2022
— Srinivasan G (@srinicaps) March 23, 2023
While Alexa remains a crucial part of Amazon’s A.I. offerings, Mitra notes that the most advanced A.I. tools are currently limited to white-collar professionals, with everyday consumers yet to widely adopt them. However, he believes that this could change in the future, with Amazon continuing to invest in user-friendly A.I. platforms that allow developers to build and train increasingly sophisticated models.
Amazon has made significant investments in A.I., particularly through its AWS cloud computing platform, which offers a range of A.I. and machine learning services to businesses. The company also uses A.I. in its e-commerce business, employing recommendation engines, inventory management, and logistics.
In line with this strategy, Amazon is partnering with A.I. companies such as Hugging Face to make A.I. development more accessible and user-friendly. Tiago Amaral, founder of A.I. education company Inevitable, predicts that Amazon will focus on becoming a platform, allowing third-party developers to build and train A.I. models on AWS.
The AWS Generative AI Accelerator program is just one example of Amazon’s efforts to support early-stage technology startups by providing them with resources, mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding. The company plans to select ten generative A.I. startups to participate in the program, with mentors providing guidance on the intricacies of A.I. development.
We are excited to announce the AWS Generative AI Accelerator! 🚀🤖
This 10-week program is designed to help early-stage startups using Generative AI solve big challenges to scale and grow.
— AWS Startups (@AWSstartups) April 4, 2023
In conclusion, despite concerns about Amazon’s position in the A.I. race, industry experts believe that the company’s focus on providing computing power and developing user-friendly A.I. platforms could allow it to pull ahead of its competitors in the long term. With ongoing investment in A.I. research and development, Amazon is well-positioned to lead the charge in this rapidly evolving field.