Published on November 18, 2023, 9:38 pm

Amazon’s Alexa division is set to cut several hundred jobs as it shifts its focus towards generative artificial intelligence (AI) development, according to an internal memo. As part of this transition, the company will discontinue certain initiatives and redirect resources towards maximizing efforts on generative AI.

By investing in generative AI, Amazon aims to bring its vision of a more intuitive, intelligent, and useful Alexa to fruition. The company recognizes the importance of aligning with business priorities and meeting customer needs by devoting resources and efforts to this area. Daniel Rausch, Vice President of Alexa and Fire TV, emphasized that incorporating new language models into a voice-centric personal AI has been a significant scientific and engineering challenge.

While Amazon works on its generative AI capabilities, OpenAI recently updated its ChatGPT with voice and speech support, positioning it as a competitor to Alexa. Additionally, Google’s Assistant is advancing rapidly and is expected to release a Gemini upgrade soon, enhancing its usefulness similar to ChatGPT with voice.

To compete in the generative AI market and catch up with OpenAI and Microsoft, Amazon is reportedly developing a large language model called Olympus. This model is anticipated to outperform Amazon’s current AI model called Titan, which lags behind those offered by OpenAI, Google, and open-source alternatives.

Recognizing the significance of the cloud segment in driving growth, Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in Anthropic—an OpenAI competitor. However, unlike Microsoft’s exclusive deal with OpenAI or Google’s $2 billion investment in Anthropic, no exclusivity arrangement between Amazon and Anthropic has been suggested.

With Google planning to launch Gemini in Q1 2024 and Microsoft holding exclusive rights to OpenAI’s models, Amazon risks lagging behind other major cloud providers without an exclusive large language model offering. This poses potential challenges for Amazon’s growth in the cloud segment.

In conclusion, as Amazon shifts its focus to generative AI, it plans to cut jobs from its Alexa division. The company aims to align with business priorities and customer needs by investing in generative AI innovation. While competition in the market continues to intensify, Amazon is developing a new language model called Olympus to rival existing offerings from OpenAI and Microsoft.

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