Exclusive-Amazon has drawn thousands to try its AI service competing with Microsoft, Google
By Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters) – Amazon.com’s cloud division has drawn thousands of customers to try out its service vying with Microsoft and Google in a key area of artificial intelligence, an executive told Reuters.
The company also announced new AI tools on Wednesday, including a program for building more conversational customer-service agents, technology access from the startup Cohere and a healthcare system for generating clinical notes after a patient visit.
Organizations including Sony, Ryanair and Sun Life have tried out Amazon Bedrock, a service the company announced in April that lets businesses create applications with a range of AI models, Vice President Swami Sivasubramanian said. Such generative technology can produce new text, images and other content on command.
“Our mission is to make every company an AI company,” said Sivasubramanian, in an interview pegged to a summit the cloud provider hosted in New York.
Amazon Bedrock is the company’s answer to services announced by Google and Microsoft, cloud rivals that have developed or marketed AI garnering significant public attention. Microsoft has invested in OpenAI, the startup that created ChatGPT and the AI model known as GPT-4.
Amazon’s disclosure of thousands of Bedrock users, previously unreported, shows its efforts are attracting interest as well.
The company wants to offer a broader range of AI models than peers to win business, including access to updated technology from startups Anthropic and Stability AI, announced Wednesday. Amazon’s role as the largest cloud provider by revenue – already hosting myriad customers’ data – distinguishes it, too, the company has said.
Amazon Bedrock will become available generally to any customer very “soon,” Sivasubramanian said. He declined to state when, adding the company aims to address issues around cost allocation and enterprise controls first.
Industry has continued to grapple with the costs of AI more generally. Microsoft on Tuesday reported its highest quarterly capital expenditures since at least its fiscal 2016 as it builds data centers to support AI and battles other cloud companies for key chips from Nvidia.
Asked whether Amazon has given businesses with big AI ambitions a deadline to secure chip access, Sivasubramanian said, “We are working with them to ensure we understand their ramp-up schedule.” The company meanwhile widened access to technology it billed as more efficient for training AI, based on Nvidia chips.
The cloud provider also previewed Agents for Amazon Bedrock, which lets businesses create chatbots that execute tasks and give more personalized answers drawing from their proprietary data.
An airline could build a virtual agent that books a flight for a traveler, for instance, based on a customer’s price, destination and seating requests. The business potential for such agents have recently gripped Silicon Valley.
And as part of its AI push, the company made an appeal to the healthcare industry specifically. It announced a service called AWS HealthScribe to let software vendors build apps to transcribe and analyze conversations between a doctor and patient.
A unit of 3M plans to use this to speed up clinical documentation, the companies said.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Daniel Wallis)