Amazon CEO Andy Jassy: Future of Gen AI to be Built on AWS

Describing it as the largest technology transformation since the cloud, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy explains how AWS aims to power the Gen AI revolution

As the generative AI (Gen AI) race has continued, tech giants Microsoft and Google have been widely seen as leading the pack – making a series of announcements and well-publicised investments in the technology.

Amazon, meanwhile, has taken a more low-key approach. The company announced a US$4bn investment in AI start-up Anthropic last year and also revealed Amazon Q, a generative AI-powered assistant empowering businesses to unlock the potential of AI for every employee. But unlike Microsoft (Copilot), Google (Gemini) and Meta (Llama), Amazon has not announced a public-facing Gen AI chatbot, leading some to believe the company is falling behind.

This, says Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, is not the case. By providing developers and companies with the tools and services they need to build, customise and deploy powerful Gen AI applications, Amazon is positioning itself as a key player in shaping the future of this transformative technology, claiming in his annual letter to stockholders that much of this “world-changing AI” will be built on top of AWS.

“Generative AI may be the largest technology transformation since the cloud (which itself, is still in the early stages), and perhaps since the Internet,” he says. “Unlike the mass modernisation of on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, where there’s work required to migrate, this Gen AI revolution will be built from the start on top of the cloud. The amount of societal and business benefits from the solutions that will be possible will astound us all.”

Amazon’s prominent role in the future of AI

The key to understanding the future of AI, he explains, lies in recognising the three distinct layers of the Gen AI stack.

The bottom layer is the foundation models (FMs) - the compute power and software required to train and deploy these powerful AI models. Amazon has developed its own custom AI chips, Trainium and Inferentia, to provide customers with more price-performant options compared to alternatives like Nvidia. Additionally, Amazon SageMaker helps developers manage the challenges of getting FMs into production.

The middle layer is the managed services that allow customers to leverage existing FMs, customise them with their own data, and build Gen AI applications. Amazon Bedrock is pioneering this space, providing customers with access to a wide selection of first- and third-party FMs, as well as advanced features like Guardrails, Knowledge Bases, Agents, and Fine-Tuning.

The top layer is where Amazon is building a substantial number of Gen AI applications across its consumer businesses and AWS services. This includes tools like Rufus, the AI-powered shopping assistant, and Amazon Q.

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky introduced Amazon Q at the company's re:Invent conference in 2023

However, Jassy believes that the vast majority of Gen AI applications will ultimately be built by other companies. 

“While we’re building a substantial number of Gen AI applications ourselves, the vast majority will ultimately be built by other companies,” he says. “However, what we’re building in AWS is not just a compelling app or foundation model. These AWS services, at all three layers of the stack, comprise a set of primitives that democratise this next seminal phase of AI, and will empower internal and external builders to transform virtually every customer experience that we know (and invent altogether new ones as well). We’re optimistic that much of this world-changing AI will be built on top of AWS.”

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