Amazon CEO Andy Jassy enthused about the potential of generative AI technology to cut costs and create brand-new user experiences — saying every team in the company is working on multiple projects in the area, including in its entertainment business.
On the tech giant’s second-quarter earnings call Thursday, Jassy said, “Inside Amazon, every one of our teams is working on building generative AI applications that reinvent and enhance their customers’ experience.” That includes multiple projects in its entertainment business, AWS, its advertising business and in Amazon’s devices business: “You can just imagine what we’re working on with respect to Alexa there.”
Generative AI refers to a type of artificial-intelligence technology that can create new text, images, videos or synthetic data based on massive data sets. Jassy said generative AI “is going to be at the heart of what we do. It’s a significant investment and focus for us.”
Jassy didn’t provide many specifics of Amazon’s generative AI projects on the call. He said they range from applications that “help us be more cost-effective and streamlined in how we run operations in various businesses to the absolute heart of every customer experience in which we offer.”
Most people are familiar with generative AI at “the application layer,” Jassy said, specifically OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. But the CEO said the technology has important applications in other key back-end areas, such as at the compute layer to train foundational models for generative AI applications. He cited Amazon CodeWhisperer, an AI-powered coding companion that recommends code to developers as they code. “It’s off to a very strong start and changes the game with respect to developer productivity,” Jassy said.
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Amazon will build its own gen-AI applications but “most will be built by other companies, and we’re optimistic that the largest number of these will be built on AWS,” said Jassy. Before he stepped into the top job and replaced Jeff Bezos as CEO, Jassy had started the Amazon Web Services group and led it for nearly 20 years.
“Remember, the core of AI is data,” Jassy said. “People want to bring generative AI models to the data, not the other way around. AWS not only has the broadest array of storage, database, analytics and data management services for customers, it also has more customers and data store than anybody else.”
Generative AI has been at the forefront of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, as the unions repping Hollywood’s writers and actors want specific guarantees from studios (including Amazon Studios) about limiting AI’s use in productions. For example, SAG-AFTRA leaders have accused studios of wanting to scan background actors and then use their AI-generated likeness without consent in perpetuity. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers denies that, saying its proposal includes a provision requiring producers to obtain a performer’s consent for any use of a “digital replica” or alterations to their performance.