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During its annual Devices event, Amazon showcased its latest products and features that bring artificial intelligence into the Amazon ecosystem and for smart home devices, including new Amazon Echo, frame glasses, and Fire tablets that integrate Amazon’s Alexa chatbot.
While the concept of artificial intelligence has been around for decades, Generative AI—technology that uses prompts to make an AI produce images or text—entered the public consciousness late last year with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Since then, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have been racing to become dominant in consumer-facing AI technology.
“Connecting generative AI to the real world is incredibly difficult—there’s a ton of complexity on the back-end,” Amazon said during the event, hosted in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday. “The LLM has to be able to manage a seemingly endless amount of variation in a customer’s home—what devices they have, what they’ve named them, and where they’ve placed them—so it can trigger the right action with the right API for that customer.”
LLMs, or Large Language Models, are machine learning algorithms trained on vast amounts of data. These models can generate human-like text, answer questions, summarize content, and more. And Amazon has developed its own, independent of those tapped by other major AI developers.
“To our knowledge this is the largest integration of an LLM, real-time services, and a suite of devices—and it’s not limited to a tab in a browser,” Amazon said. “And we’re just getting started—with generative AI, we’re also able to enhance a number of core components of the Alexa experience.”
Other products mentioned in the presentation include a wall-mounted smart home control panel called Echo Hub, a Fire TV soundbar that integrates with Amazon’s Fire TV, a new version of the popular Fire TV Stick with 4K, new Ring cameras and a new map feature called Map View for customers in the U.S. on select phones that lets users track the status of the Amazon equipped smart home.
To alleviate fears of tracking and privacy, Amazon says the new map feature is an “opt-in experience.”
As the holiday season approaches, Amazon emphasized that many of these new smart home and digital living products will be available "coming soon" and "later this year." A smart home is equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone, computer, or, in this case, Alexa.
Though Amazon did not specify particular upgrades to cybersecurity features, Amazon emphasized the importance of trust and security in the next generation of AI and Alexa.
“We design our products to protect our customers’ privacy and security,” an Amazon spokesperson told Decrypt in an email. “Amazon has hundreds of employees dedicated to designing secure products, innovating on security, and finding and fixing vulnerabilities in Amazon services and devices.”
The e-commerce giant detailed various security measures to protect devices and customer data, such as rigorous security reviews, data encryption, and regular software security updates.
“We also work with third-party security penetration testing firms to help make sure we’re as thorough as possible,” the spokesperson said. On Tuesday, ChatGPT creator and Amazon rival OpenAI issued an open call to “Red Teams” to help find vulnerabilities in its AI models.
In July, Amazon joined OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, Anthropic, Meta, and Inflection in pledging to develop AI responsibly after a meeting with the Biden Administration. Last week, NVIDIA, Scale AI, Cohere, Adobe, IBM, Palantir, Salesforce, and Stability AI signed on to the pledge.