Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone from sci-fi fantasy to everyday reality right under our noses. Whether we know it or not, machine learning models already power many of our daily interactions and experiences. From smart speakers to movie recommendations to checkout-free stores, AI is behind the scenes making our lives easier. Now, a new class of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and image generators like DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion have captivated the public imagination, showcasing the creative potential of this technology. However, these headline-grabbing applications are just the tip of the AI iceberg according to tech giant Amazon Web Services (AWS)
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The AI Behind the Curtain
“If it seems like artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere lately, it is, but AI has been powering our everyday experiences for some time,” explains AWS executive Eric Smith. “When you ask Alexa to play a song, when you stride out—sandwich in hand—from an Amazon Just Walk Out-equipped store, or when you press play on a movie recommendation from Amazon Prime, you are tapping into AI. More specifically, you are interacting with machine learning models.”
Amazon has quietly been building AI into its products and services for decades. The Alexa voice assistant, Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores, and Prime Video’s recommendation algorithms all rely on machine learning models trained on massive amounts of data. Most customers are unaware of the AI working behind the scenes to provide these seamless digital experiences.
AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing division, now offers access to the same industrial-strength AI through developer-friendly cloud services. The company has democratized cutting-edge machine learning by packaging it into easy-to-use tools available to any business or developer. This is bringing the transformative power of AI to the masses.
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An AI Toolkit to Solve Real-World Problems
“At Amazon, we believe AI and ML are among the most transformational technologies of our time, capable of tackling some of humanity’s most challenging problems. That is why, for the last 20 years, Amazon has invested heavily in the development of AI and ML, infusing these capabilities into every business unit.”
AWS has amassed decades of experience building ML models that power Amazon’s trillion-dollar e-commerce and cloud computing empire. The company has productized its internal AI capabilities into an extensive toolkit available via the AWS cloud.
This includes services for speech recognition, natural language processing, computer vision, fraud detection, demand forecasting, and supply chain optimization among many others. AWS handles all the undifferentiated heavy lifting of running and securing ML models at scale so developers can focus on unique business needs.
Some examples of real-world problems AWS ML services can solve:
– Computer vision for detecting defects in manufactured parts
– Supply chain forecasting to predict customer demand
– Fraud detection to identify suspicious online transactions
– Personalized product recommendations to engage customers
– Chatbots to provide customer service at scale
– Search engines to quickly find relevant information
– Automated translation to expand to new markets
– Predictive analytics to anticipate equipment failures
Serving Hundreds of Millions of Users
AWS AI-infused services are already creating value for millions worldwide according to Smith. “Today, our ML models are working on behalf of hundreds of millions of Amazon customers around the world, and providing tangible value by removing friction from supply chains, personalising digital experiences, and making goods and services more accessible and affordable.”
The reach of AWS machine learning spans from individual developers building AI-powered apps to large enterprise customers like GE, Pfizer, and Verizon applying it to transform their businesses. More than 100,000 organizations are already using AWS AI/ML tools.
For example, AWS partnered with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to apply natural language processing to extract insights from millions of cancer research papers. This knowledge is helping scientists identify potential therapies 10 times faster than manual review.
The AWS Panorama Appliance helps companies build computer vision quality inspection along manufacturing lines to reduce defects. German auto parts supplier Brose uses Panorama to check 3.5 million parts daily across 23 global factories.
Other examples showcase how AWS ML improves everyday experiences. Alexa Skills allow developers to easily imbue Alexa with intelligence using AWS ML building blocks. Fashion retailer H&M created an Alexa Skill so customers can ask for clothing recommendations based on previous purchases and preferences. And Capital One built an Alexa Skill to allow customers to check their account balances and pay bills via voice commands.
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Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Possible
Generative AI like ChatGPT hints at technology still on the horizon. AWS believes large language models will have a profound impact on industries from healthcare to education to media and more. “Generative AI is poised to have a profound impact across industries,” explains Smith.
AWS offers products like CodeWhisperer to generate code and Amazon Kendra for natural language search that foreshadow more advanced capabilities coming down the pipeline. The company sees a big future inMulti-modal models combining text, images, video, and audio.
“Applications like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion have captured everyone’s attention and imagination, and all that excitement is for good reason. Generative AI is just getting started transforming how we create digital content and converse with computers.”
Nevertheless, Amazon cautions that despite the hype, current AI still has major limitations. “We have a long way to go before these technologies are ready to safely handle many of the most critical applications like high-stakes diagnostics and prognostics in healthcare and complicated legal and financial use cases.”
There are also concerns about fairness, explainability, robustness and control as AI becomes more deeply embedded into business and society. Amazon believes the wise adoption of AI requires a thoughtful, industry-wide approach grounded in scientific evidence and guided by ethical principles.
But the company remains extremely bullish on AI’s potential for good. Amazon will continue its multi-decade mission to put the power of this transformative technology into the hands of more builders.
“At Amazon, we believe AI and ML are among the most transformational technologies of our time, capable of tackling some of humanity’s most challenging problems. We invite builders from every industry to join us on this journey to continue discovering new ways machine learning can improve lives everywhere.”
So although AI already quietly powers much of our world, the technology still remains full of untapped potential. Companies like AWS are steadily democratizing machine learning tools to make them accessible to all developers and businesses. This proliferation promises to usher in the next generation of AI-infused products and services set to transform industries and our day-to-day lives in the years ahead. The future is here – we just haven’t realized it yet.