At its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last week, Amazon announced a bevy of new machine learning features for its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), demonstrating an initiative to get ahead in the great artificial intelligence (AI) race. In other words: Silicon Valley tech giants, bring it on.
Machine learning is a subset of AI where computer algorithms are created to crawl through large quantities of data and identify patterns, from which it can then solve problems.
Reuters reports that the new features will make it possible for AWS customers to develop and train custom AI algorithms. Applications of this ability could include real-time translation, video analysis and text scanning to identify keywords and ideas.
For instance, the new AWS features could help a company quickly transcribe customer phone calls and then analyze the resulting text to determine whether the customer was satisfied with the call, or became frustrated and angry – in which case, perhaps the text can provide some indicators as to why, which the company can then use in employee training as examples of what not to do.
The eCommerce giant announced Amazon SageMaker, which lets companies build and train algorithms; Amazon Rekognition, which detects objects and faces in customers' video content; Amazon Transcribe, which converts speech to text; Amazon Translate, which translates text; and Amazon Comprehend, which analyzes text for key phrases and sentiments.
Amazon released 1,300 new AWS features this year, about 300 more than last year. It's clear that the company is ramping up its efforts to gain ground in the AI arena against Microsoft and Google. Although AWS is the dominant player in the cloud computing market, Reuters noted that its competitors are farther ahead when it comes to offering AI technology to customers.
Amazon doesn't necessarily need to do better than Microsoft and Google, opined Chris Nicholson, CEO of San Francisco AI solution provider Skymind. He believes that Amazon's AI products just need to be "good enough," and its market dominance will float it to success.