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Amazon office in New York: Tailored to the needs of each company

Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP

Amazon is getting serious about its chatbot program called Q. The cloud division AWS unveiled the software intended for business customers on Tuesday at its annual cloud trade show in Las Vegas. For example, the AI chatbot can create summaries of documents or drafts of texts. Amazon is thus competing with similar products from Microsoft and Google.

On a day-to-day basis, Q will need access to information from the company that wants to engage in dialogue with its customers. It should therefore be tailored to the needs of individual companies. Among other things, the close connection to reliable data is intended to prevent so-called hallucinations, in which software with artificial intelligence invents things freely without this being apparent to users.

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Adam Selipsky, head of the cloud subsidiary AWS, also assured that unwanted products of AI can be blocked. "For example, a bank could configure an online assistant so that it does not offer investment advice." Q should also be able to keep confidential information away from employees who do not have authorized access to it.

The software uses interfaces to various company databases for the connection. However, Amazon assures that customer data will not be used to train the software under any circumstances. Instead, they used the 17 existing AWS databases for Q, Selipsky said.

AI chatbots such as ChatGPT from the start-up OpenAI can formulate texts at the linguistic level of a human. The principle behind this is that they estimate word for word how a sentence should continue. The models are trained with enormous amounts of information. The release of ChatGPT at the end of last year sparked a worldwide hype around artificial intelligence. Microsoft uses the technology behind ChatGPT in its enterprise applications, and Amazon recently joined competitor Anthropic.

After the recent chaos at OpenAI, where co-founder Sam Altman was first forced out and brought back a few days later, Selipsky sees a lot of interest among investors in alternatives. "All the customers we talk to say, 'We need more choice,'" he told CNBC. They wanted not only technological alternatives, but also "reliable business partners".