Amazon ‘Adding ChatGPT-Like Features’ To Product Search

Amazon is reportedly working to bring ChatGPT-style interactions to its main web product search, as search providers Microsoft and Google also race ahead with so-called generative AI technology.

The e-commerce giant is also reportedly developing large language model (LLM)-based technology, which powers generative AI, for its home robot Astro, in a move that could give the nascent device a more compelling set of features.

Amazon’s LLM ambitions for its product search are described in recent job postings, Bloomberg reported.

One listing for a senior software development engineer said the firm is adding an “interactive conversational experience” to Amazon Search.

Amazon Astro

Search ‘transformation’

This would help users find answers to questions, compare products and receive personalised suggestions, the listing says.

The listing, posted on Amazon’s job board in April, called the implementation of conversational tools a “once in a generation transformation for Search”.

Another posted job would be part of “a new AI-first initiative to re-architect and reinvent the way we do search through the use of extremely large scale next-generation deep learning techniques”.

Deep learning is another of the technologies essential to LLMs and conversational or generative AI tools.

Conversational interface

Amazon declined to comment on the ad postings but said it it is “significantly investing in generative AI across all of our businesses”.

The company is also developing an AI project code-named “Burnham” that would give its Astro robot a layer of “intelligence and a conversational spoken interface”, Insider reported, citing leaked internal documents.

The technology, which could support other products, “remembers what it saw and understood” and derives meaning from its experiences.

This could allow the Astro robot, for instance, to respond when it sees a stove left burning or a water faucet left running by seeking the owner and bringing it to their attention, according to an Amazon document.

‘Common sense’

Owners would be able to ask Astro where they left their keys or to check whether the kitchen window was left open.

“A robot with Burnham would understand — in the same way a human understands — the thousands of things that happen within a home every day without having to explicitly code for each one because that ‘common-sense’ knowledge is implicit in the data the language model was trained on,” one of the documents reportedly states.

Amazon is also reportedly developing generative AI features for Amazon Web Services and its Alexa voice assistant, and is building AI tools to allow advertisers to create photos and videos.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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