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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is stepping into the highly competitive generative AI chatbot space with Amazon Q, a tool that has the capabilities of popular offerings like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard but is tailored the business world.

Announced this week at the cloud giant’s re:Invent developer show in Las Vegas, Q was described by AWS CEO Adam Selipsky as a generative AI-powered assistant that is trained on almost two decades of AWS data and can learn from company data from a range of apps, such as Amazon S3, Salesforce, Microsoft 365, Slack, Dropbox and Gmail to help users answer business-specific questions.

In all, Q has more than 40 such built-in connectors that allow organizations to build custom connectors to their internal intranets, run books, wikis and other enterprise tools.

“You can use Amazon Q to have conversations, solve problems, generate content, gain insights and take action by connecting to your company’s information repositories, code, data, and enterprise systems,” Antje Barth, a principal developer advocate for generative AI at AWS, wrote in a blog post. “Amazon Q provides immediate, relevant information and advice to employees to streamline tasks, accelerate decision-making and problem-solving, and help spark creativity and innovation at work.”

Taking Generative AI to Work

Generative AI took off with OpenAI’s release a year ago of ChatGPT, which within months became the fastest-growing internet app in history, reaching more than 100 million active users in fewer than two months. It caught the imagination of individuals and businesses alike.

Gartner last month reported that in a survey of more than 1,400 executives, 45% said they are piloting generative AI projects and 10% have the generative AI solution in production. It’s a significantly leap from a similar poll run in the early spring, when only 15% were piloting projects and 4% were in production.

However, organizations are finding that the extent of generative AI’s usefulness will depend on its ability to be trained on a company’s proprietary data, which has led to offerings like Nvidia’s NeMo framework and OpenAI’s ChatGPT Enterprise. It’s also a driver behind Amazon Q.

Given its business focus, Amazon Q will likely compete with the likes of ChatGPT Enterprise, Microsoft Copilot and Google’s Duet AI, which like Q across both the cloud and IDEs for developers.

“Generative AI has the potential to spur a technological shift that will reshape how people do everything from searching for information and exploring new ideas to writing and building applications,” Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of data and AI at AWS, said in a statement, adding that it includes “purpose-built infrastructure, tools, and applications.”

Q is “bringing generative AI to where our customers work – whether they are building on AWS, working with internal data and systems, or using a range of data and business applications,” Sivasubramanian said.

A Broad Set of Uses

Users can access the AI-based assistant through a conversational interface from the AWS Management Console, documentation pages, an IDE through Amazon’s CodeWhisperer service, and over Slack or other third-party chat apps. From there, users can do everything from ask questions about AWS services or their own businesses process and find the best EC2 instance for a particular workload to troubleshoot networks or other parts of an infrastructure.

Developers can use it to write code, create plans, suggest new features, document beset practices, test solutions and more.

“Now you can use Amazon Q to get started building applications on AWS, research best practices, resolve errors, and get assistance in coding new features for your applications,” Donnie Prakoso and Channy Yun, principal developer advocates at AWS, wrote in a blog post. “For example, Amazon Q Code Transformation can perform Java application upgrades now, from version 8 and 11 to version 17.”

Sprinkling Q into Cloud Services

Another way of distancing Q from more general-purpose generative AI chatbots: AWS officials said the company will provide Amazon Q solutions for specific industries and use cases by building into various services, similar to what Microsoft is doing with Copilot.

For AWS, that includes putting it into QuickSight, a cloud-based unified business intelligence service. Including Q will let users leverage generative AI to build new dashboards or more easily use existing ones, create stories around their business and products, create summaries from dashboard data and answer questions. That is now in preview.

It’s already available in Connect, AWS’ cloud contact center service, and will soon be in AWS Supply Chain, a cloud-based app that gives organizations better visibility and insights into their supply chains.

Amazon Q is in public preview now, and will start at $20 per user per year. It’s among a number of AI-related announcements from AWS coming out of re:Invent, including two new AI chips – the Graviton4 and Trainium2 – and an expanded partnership with Nvidia that includes offering that company’s silicon to customers.

Those follow other moves the company has made, from rolling out new tools and services at the AWS New York Summit in July to investing up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic, the creator of the Claude chatbot.