OpenAI has ChatGPT. Google has the Bard chatbot. Microsoft has Copilots. This Tuesday (28), Amazon entered the chatbot race and announced its artificial intelligence assistant: Amazon Q.
Developed by Amazon’s cloud computing division, the feature is focused on work environments and is not intended for consumers. Amazon Q aims to help employees with everyday tasks like summarizing strategy documents, filling out internal data, and answering questions about company policies. It will compete with other enterprise chatbots including Copilot, Google’s Duet AI, and ChatGPT Enterprise.
“We believe Q has the potential to become a work companion for millions and millions of people in their professional lives,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services.
The company has been racing to dispel the impression that it is falling behind in the AI competition in a year since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, and big techs like Google and Microsoft have entered the fray by releasing their own chatbots and investing heavily in the development of AI.
Amazon had been more discreet about its AI plans until now. In September, it announced that it would invest up to US$4 billion in Anthropic, a startup competing with OpenAI, and would develop advanced computing chips. Amazon has also started a platform that allows customers to access different AI systems.
As a leading cloud computing provider, Amazon has enterprise customers storing large amounts of information on its cloud servers. Companies were interested in using chatbots in their work environments, Selipsky said, but wanted to make sure the assistants protected corporate data and kept their information private.
Many companies “told me that they banned these company AI assistants because of security and privacy concerns,” Selipsky said.
In response to that request, Amazon built Q to be more secure and private than a consumer chatbot, the CEO said.
Amazon Q, for example, can have the same security permissions that enterprise customers have established for their users. In a company where a marketing employee may not have access to confidential financial forecasts, Q can perform this operation without providing this financial data when requested.
Companies can also give Amazon Q permission to work with their corporate 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 several artificial intelligence systems, including Amazon’s own Titan, as well as those developed by Anthropic and Meta.
The name Q is a play on the word “question,” given the nature of the chatbot, Selipsky said. It is also a reference to the character Q from the James Bond film series, who creates stealthy and useful tools, and a powerful figure from “Star Trek.”
Amazon Q pricing starts at $20 per user per month. Microsoft and Google charge each user of enterprise chatbots $30 per month.
Amazon Q was one of several announcements made by the company at its annual cloud computing conference in Las Vegas. The company also announced the extension of its partnership with Nvidia, the leading supplier of AI chips, including the construction of what the companies called the world’s fastest AI supercomputer.
Most of these systems use standard microprocessors along with specialized chips from Nvidia called GPUs, or graphics processing units. Instead, the system announced Tuesday will be built with new chips from Nvidia that include processor technology from Arm, the company whose technology powers most cell phones.