Amazon unleashes Q, an AI assistant for the workplace

3 min read
Enlarge / The Amazon Q logo.


On Tuesday, Amazon unveiled Amazon Q, an AI chatbot similar to ChatGPT that is tailored for corporate environments. Developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Q is designed to assist employees with tasks like summarizing documents, managing internal support tickets, and providing policy guidance, differentiating itself from consumer-focused chatbots. It also serves as a programming assistant.

According to The New York Times, the name “Q” is a play on the word “question” and a reference to the character Q in the James Bond novels, who makes helpful tools. (And there’s apparently a little bit of Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation thrown in, although hopefully the new bot won’t cause mischief on that scale.)

Amazon Q’s launch positions it against existing corporate AI tools like Microsoft’s Copilot, Google’s Duet AI, and ChatGPT Enterprise. Unlike some of its competitors, Amazon Q isn’t built on a singular AI large language model (LLM). Instead, it uses a platform called Bedrock, integrating multiple AI systems, including Amazon’s Titan and models from Anthropic and Meta.

A screenshot of the Amazon Q interface, provided by Amazon.
Enlarge / A screenshot of the Amazon Q interface, provided by Amazon.


“Developers can use Amazon Q to explain specific programming logic by asking questions (e.g., “Provide me with a description of what this application does and how it works”),” writes Amazon in a press release. “And Amazon Q will give details like which services the code uses and what different functions do (e.g., “This application is building a basic support ticketing system using Python Flask and AWS Lambda”), along with a description of the application’s core capabilities, how they are implemented, and more.”

Notably, Amazon did not reveal performance benchmarks for Q that would allow us to evaluate its capabilities versus chatbot solutions from other providers. As of press time, we have not experimented with Q yet.

Amazon Q promotional video on YouTube.

Following significant investments in AI, including a partnership with AI-startup Anthropic and the development of AI-tuned GPU chips, Amazon has intensified its AI focus. The Q announcement came as part of a series of reveals at Amazon’s annual cloud-computing conference, re:Invent 2023, including plans to create yet another new AI chip for its data centers.

Amazon Q is priced at $20 per user per month, which is lower than Microsoft and Google’s enterprise AI solutions, which are priced at $30 per user per month. Amazon Q is available now “in preview in AWS Regions US East (N. Virginia) and US West (Oregon),” according to the company.

It’s worth noting that the Amazon Q name is apparently unrelated to recent rumors about an OpenAI breakthrough called “Q*” (pronounced “Q-star”) that caused premature hype over the development of AGI (artificial general intelligence), with experts calling the claims largely overblown.

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