Even as Microsoft and Google have been battling in out , Amazon has appeared to wait quietly on the sidelines. But it’s finally launched its own AI play.
Amazon has launched Amazon Bedrock, which it bills as the easiest way to build and scale generative AI applications with Foundation Models. Bedrock will likely serve as the AI counterpart of AWS, and provide infrastructure to companies looking to build AI applications.
This is what Amazon seems to be pitching as one of the features of Bedrock. “Accelerate development of generative AI applications using FMs through an API, without managing infrastructure,” Bedrock’s launch note says. This is similar to what AWS allows companies to do in the non AI space, viz launch applications without owning any infrastructure.
Now while Google and Microsoft have their own models — Google has several models including Bard, Flan and Palm, and Microsoft gets to use OpenAI’s GPT-4 through an investment — Amazon doesn’t have any proprietary models of its own. It’s got around this by tying up with smaller tech players, and allowing their models to be used on Bedrock. Thus Bedrock currently has capabilities to work with foundational models from AI21 Labs, Stability AI which is behind popular open source image generator Stable Diffusion, and Anthropic, which is founded by former OpenAI executives and plans to build a model that’s 10x more powerful than current models.
Bedrock says its users will be able to privately customize FMs using their organizations’ data. Amazon has also linked AWS’s capabilities with Bedrock — it says users will be able to use AWS tools they are familiar with and deploy scalable and reliable AI apps.
This seems like a pretty interesting play. AI apps require a lot of computing infrastructure, and Bedrock will likely provide it as a service, much as AWS had done with web apps. AWS had been tremendously successful — almost no company now bothers buying their own servers, and relies on computing power from providers like AWS. If Bedrock can end up being half as popular as AWS, it can give Amazon a big slice of the AI gold rush that’s likely on the horizon.