Amazon is working on a ChatGPT competitor

The company behind the online retail revolution is getting in on the artificial intelligence revolution, too — with a secret weapon.

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Amazon is working on an AI chatbot, internally called “Metis,” to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to Business Insider. The chatbot will be accessible through a web browser and will be powered by one of the company’s internal AI models, Olympus, Business Insider reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter and an internal document. Olympus is reportedly more powerful than Amazon’s publicly available AI model, Titan.

Metis can generate conversational text- and image-based answers, provide source links, suggest follow-up questions, and generate images, according to the internal document. Amazon reportedly wants to use retrieval-augmented generation, or the RAG method, for Metis, meaning the chatbot would be able to reference knowledge outside of its original training data and therefore could provide more up-to-date answers.

Metis is reportedly also meant to be an AI agent, able to complete tasks such as turning on lights and booking flights, a person told Business Insider. Amazon declined Quartz’s request for comment.

While Amazon is not new to the AI race, it is behind when it comes to competing with AI assistants from its rivals, including Microsoft and Google. And the company’s AI-powered version of its virtual assistant, Alexa, is reportedly not close to being ready. Amazon doesn’t have enough data nor access to the chips needed to run the large language model (LLM) powering the new Alexa, unnamed former employees told Fortune. Amazon, however, said the former employees are incorrect and uninformed on its current Alexa AI efforts.

In April, Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy wrote in his annual letter to shareholders: “Generative AI may be the largest technology transformation since the cloud (which itself, is still in the early stages), and perhaps since the Internet. There has never been a time in Amazon’s history where we’ve felt there is so much opportunity to make our customers’ lives better and easier.”

Jassy added he is “optimistic” much of the generative AI transformation will be built on top of Amazon Web Services.

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