Amazon Wants to Teach You AI

Amazon wants to make AI less theoretical for the tech newcomer.

Photo by Danial Igdery on Unsplash

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Amazon may want to demystify AI for the tech novice. 

The company is seeking to patent what it calls a “hands-on artificial intelligence education service.” Amazon’s platform is essentially an AI sandbox for beginners, aiming to help people with little to no prior knowledge in machine learning and AI to “familiarize themselves with and experiment with various aspects of complex machine learning techniques including generative artificial intelligence.” 

Here’s how it works: The service includes a number of user interfaces and modules breaking down different AI concepts that guide users toward creating their own customized AI models. Amazon said this would be implemented as part of a “suite of services of a provider network,” likely referring to its AWS division. This would also include a machine learning service that could execute and run the models. 

The education service would focus on sub-fields of AI that are “exceptionally complex,” Amazon noted, specifically citing generative AI. Amazon said that the “creative potential” of generative AI makes it an “especially attractive entry point to introduce users to machine learning concepts.” 

Amazon said this service could help break down barriers to entry for AI newcomers in a number of contexts, including health scientists, writers, graphic designers and musicians. Using the platform could allow the layperson to “become conversant with artificial intelligence methodologies, and even initiate the training of customized models which can then be used to produce real-world results,” the company noted.   

Photo via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Amazon has been public about its AI push in recent months. The company vowed to invest $100 million in what it calls the AWS Generative AI Innovation Center, and news broke on Tuesday that the company has put together a team to work on its “most ambitious” large language models, led by Alexa head scientist Rohit Prasad, according to AI Business. The company has also sought several AI-related patents, including a system for rapid model development.

Amazon still has some catching up to do compared to frontrunners like Microsoft, Google and Open AI. However, Amazon is specifically treating AI as a support technology for the company’s business priorities, said Irusha Peiris, retail analyst and portfolio manager for William O’Neil

“Amazon seems to be doing this kind of in tandem with what they were doing with AWS,” said Peiris. “They’re saying, ‘We’ll make it very simple for you just to take advantage of all the resources that we have, and we’ll keep developing tools to make it easier and easier for you to do whatever you want.’”  

Given that AWS is one of the company’s major golden tickets, raking in $21.4 billion from the segment in the first quarter (16% of the company’s total revenue for the period), it makes sense that Amazon would pair its AI work with its cloud offerings. AWS already offers Amazon Bedrock, a service for startups to build and scale generative AI apps. 

Peiris doesn’t expect Amazon’s AI lag to last long. “Over the next year or so we’ll probably start seeing Amazon make more noise,” he noted. “They already have all these business relationships with most of the larger companies, so once they come up with something that’s a really good value-add, a lot of those companies are probably going to start taking advantage.”  

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