Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced during the company’s first-quarter earnings call yesterday that the tech platform is working on building a more “generalized and capable” large language model (LLM) to power its virtual assistant Alexa. Jassy stated that the addition of an improved LLM will help Amazon work toward its goal of building “the world’s best personal assistant,” but acknowledged that it will be difficult to do so across many domains.
The current version of Alexa is powered by an LLM, and Jassy believes that Amazon has a good starting point with “a couple of hundred million endpoints” being used across entertainment, shopping, and smart homes. However, the new and improved LLM that Amazon is building will be “much larger and much more generalized and capable,” according to Jassy.
Jassy highlighted that Amazon has invested in AI and LLMs for years, and the company has the ability to invest heavily in building LLMs. In contrast, small companies often do not have the resources to do so, which is why Amazon launched Bedrock earlier this month. Bedrock provides a way to build generative AI-powered apps via pretrained models from startups including AI21 Labs, Anthropic, and Stability AI.
Since its launch last year, ChatGPT has dominated the internet and become increasingly popular. With all the hype surrounding ChatGPT, major tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Meta are looking to incorporate LLM-based improvements to their own offerings to keep up with the fast-paced AI space.
In addition to Amazon, other tech giants including Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta emphasized their investments in large language models during their respective earnings calls with investors. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google would continue to incorporate AI to advance search, while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company would continue to invest in AI, noting that Microsoft has already seen an increase in usage for Bing after the search engine was updated with a ChatGPT integration.
Meanwhile, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will be investing in AI and will introduce new AI-related updates across its apps.
Amazon reported first-quarter earnings that beat expectations, with revenue increasing 9.4% to $127.4 billion, and operating income coming in at $4.8 billion. However, executives raised concerns of ongoing weakness in cloud growth, causing shares to initially surge but later reverse course.
As AI and LLMs become more advanced, it’s clear that major tech companies are investing heavily in these technologies to improve their virtual assistants and other AI-powered offerings. With the introduction of a more capable LLM to power Alexa, Amazon is taking steps toward achieving its goal of building the world’s best personal assistant.