As cloud vendors rush into the Generative AI sweepstakes, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy last week bluntly proclaimed that his company has greater machine-learning capability and more ML customers than “any cloud provider.”
In his annual CEO letter to Amazon shareholders, Jassy spoke ambitiously about Amazon’s long-time embrace of machine learning and sought to fuse in the minds of customers the world-shaping technologies of ML, Large Language Models (LLMs), and Generative AI.
It’s a savvy move on Jassy’s part as Microsoft has already established first-mover status in Generative AI via its ChatGPT partnership with OpenAI, and Google has rapidly responded with a slew of aggressive new announcements (for more on that, please see Google Cloud Turbocharges Generative AI Revolution).
Below, I’ve pasted the relevant excerpt from Jassy’s letter, and it seems clear to me that he’s trying to position Amazon and AWS as top-rank contenders in the Generative AI boom because of their long and deep commitments to ML and LLMs.
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Now, I suspect many tech-savvy folks will read that last sentence and give me a Homer Simpson-esque “Well, doh!” But that overlooks the fact that while most businesspeople around the world have heard of and might be captivated by the potential of Generative AI, I would contend that at least 95% of those folks have absolutely no understanding of the core technologies behind this new phenomenon. So Jassy is looking to tie a well-known modern technology (ML) to the newly emerging awareness of LLMs and thereby the explosive global infatuation with Generative AI.
Near the end of his shareholder’s letter, Jassy offered this glittering perspective on LLMs and Generative AI: “I could write an entire letter on LLMs and Generative AI as I think they will be that transformative, but I’ll leave that for a future letter. Let’s just say that LLMs and Generative AI are going to be a big deal for customers, our shareholders, and Amazon.”
A few other provocative comments from Jassy’s letter:
- “One final investment area that I’ll mention, that’s core to setting Amazon up to invent in every area of our business for many decades to come, and where we’re investing heavily is Large Language Models (“LLMs”) and Generative AI.”
- “Amazon has been using machine learning extensively for 25 years, employing it in everything from personalized e-commerce recommendations to fulfillment center pick paths, to drones for Prime Air, to Alexa, to the many machine learning services AWS offers (where AWS has the broadest machine learning functionality and customer base of any cloud provider).”
- “More recently, a newer form of machine learning, called Generative AI, has burst onto the scene and promises to significantly accelerate machine learning adoption. Generative AI is based on very Large Language Models (trained on up to hundreds of billions of parameters, and growing), across expansive datasets, and has radically general and broad recall and learning capabilities.”
- “We have been working on our own LLMs for a while now, believe it will transform and improve virtually every customer experience and will continue to invest substantially in these models across all of our consumer, seller, brand, and creator experiences.”