Amazon.com Inc has announced a flurry of new machine learning features for its Amazon Web Services cloud computing business, raising its challenge to Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms for the lead in artificial intelligence. With this, Amazon enters into the artificial intelligence race.
The new offerings by Amazon will enable AWS customers to develop and quickly “train” their own artificial intelligence algorithms, build software applications capable of translating language on the fly, analyze video, and scan text for trends or key phrases.
Two of the new AWS features a company could quickly transcribe customer phone calls and then analyze the text for customer sentiment.
Other top tech companies are already developing and using AI for their own products, but the new offerings from AWS could make it easier and more affordable for startups and less tech-savvy enterprises to implement AI technology.
The product announcements, made at AWS’s annual conference in Las Vegas, cap off a year in which Amazon released 1,300 new AWS features, up from a little more than 1,000 in 2016.
Despite being the pioneer and dominant player in the cloud computing market, AWS is playing catch-up to chief rivals Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google when it comes to new AI offerings, several of which will not be generally available until sometime in 2018.
While, Microsoft offers Translator, a direct competitor to the new Amazon Translate, as far back as 2011, Google Cloud Platform introduced the Google Natural Language API, a rival to the new Amazon Comprehend, last November. Throughout 2017 both Microsoft and Google announced AI services that rival those unveiled this week by AWS.
Amazon’s AI announcements include Amazon SageMaker, which lets companies build and quickly train machine learning algorithms. It also announced Amazon Rekognition Video, which uses AI to detect objects and faces in customers’ video content; Amazon Transcribe, which turns audio into text; Amazon Translate, which translates text; and Amazon Comprehend, which analyzes text for sentiment and key phrases.