In a recent interview with CNBC, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy expressed his belief that Amazon should not be overlooked in the artificial intelligence (AI) race. Contrary to the notion that Amazon has fallen behind companies like Microsoft and Google, who have incorporated chatbots into their consumer products, Jassy compared the current state of AI to a “hype cycle” preceding a “substance cycle.”
While acknowledging the significance of AI applications like ChatGPT, Jassy emphasized that generative AI encompasses three major layers, all of which hold great importance. He reiterated Amazon’s commitment to investing in AI across the company, stating that AI has the potential to enhance virtually every customer experience. Jassy specifically highlighted Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a business poised to benefit from the AI buzz in the long run.
AWS recently introduced Bedrock, a generative AI service that allows clients to leverage language models from Amazon and other startups to create their own chatbots and image-generation services. Additionally, AWS has developed its own AI-specific chips, Inferentia and Trainium, designed to facilitate the execution of large AI language models in the cloud. These chips position Amazon as a competitor to Nvidia, a dominant player in the AI chip market. Jassy expressed confidence that Amazon’s chips would offer superior price performance compared to other options.
Jassy emphasized that Amazon’s AI prowess extends beyond Bedrock and custom chips. The company’s services like CodeWhisperer, which generates and suggests code for developers, further contribute to its competitive advantage in AI.
While AI represents a significant area of investment for Amazon, Jassy has also taken steps to curtail risk and reduce costs in response to slowing sales and a challenging economic outlook. The company recently implemented its largest-ever layoffs, affecting 27,000 employees. Additionally, Amazon has paused the expansion of its Fresh supermarket and Go convenience store chains, discontinued a virtual tours service and a video calling device for kids, and terminated its Care telehealth service.
Overall, Jassy’s interview highlighted Amazon’s commitment to AI and its belief that the company possesses the capabilities to excel in this field, particularly through its AWS offerings and custom chips. Despite cost-cutting measures in other areas of the company, Amazon views AI as an area of continued investment and opportunity.