Amazon Patent May Lower AI’s Barrier to Entry

Amazon wants everyone to fight fraud with machine learning with its latest patent for “automated machine learning pipeline generation.”

Photo of an Amazon patent
Photo via U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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Amazon wants to make AI for any business that wants it. 

The company is seeking to patent “automated machine learning pipeline generation.” Amazon’s filing describes a service in which businesses or developers can feed large amounts of data to automatically get a trained machine learning tool. 

When Amazon’s system first receives a dataset and a request to create a machine learning model, the first step is validating the data to make sure it meets certain criteria and splits it into multiple datasets into three categories: training data, validation data, and test data. Then the system enriches these datasets using “external data sources,” and are transformed to be more suitable for a model to learn from.

After this pre-processing, the model is trained on this data and gift-wrapped into an “executable package” for the customer to run. Along with the model itself, this package essentially includes everything the customer needs to get the most use out of it, such as enrichment and transformation “recipes” that help the customer process their own data. The entire package is then tested and the customer evaluates the results to make sure it works as they intended. 

Amazon’s filing specifically notes that this service may be useful for building machine learning fraud prevention tools, which often require “significant domain expertise, an engineering team to automate and integrate it into business workflow, and a number of investigators to keep a human eye on suspicious activities. This demands massive investment and hence, many online companies have relied on external fraud management solutions in the past.” 

Though Amazon got a later start on AI compared to its Big Tech counterparts like Google and Microsoft, the company has quickly climbed the ranks to narrow the gap. Its announcements in recent months have included new chips, generative AI tools and Amazon Q, a chatbot for AWS customers that it debuted at Re:invent. 

And last week, its recently restructured AGI team said that its text-to-speech model is displaying “state-of-the-art naturalness” and “emergent abilities” in an academic paper. The paper notes that the model was trained on 100,000 hours of “public domain speech data.”

Despite its growing strength, Nvidia surpassed Amazon in market capitalization last week for the first time since 2002. Though it’s largely ridden the AI chips wave to achieve this, Nvidia has expanded outward, such as partnering with Cisco to help businesses build in-house AI computing, entering the $30 billion bespoke cloud chips market, and seeking AI software patents across a range of different sectors

But with patents like this, Amazon may be looking to expand outward, too. This tech in particular would help get AI fraud prevention tools into the hands of enterprises without having to build out their own AI teams. 

It’s also not the first time the company has attempted to lower the barrier to AI. Its previous patent for a “pre-trained model selector” aimed to get machine learning in the hands of those “with little or no prior knowledge.” Making AI as easy to access as possible only serves to broaden its customer base.