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Amazon Unveils 'Q,' It's Answer to Copilot

Amazon introduced its generative AI tool, "Q," at the 2023 re:Invent conference, positioning it against Microsoft's Copilot. Designed for professionals in application development, data science, and IT, Q operates within the AWS cloud, handling low-value but time-consuming tasks. It responds to natural language prompts, offering answers, relevant links, and follow-up opportunities. "Copilot," the umbrella name for the generative AI technology that has been incorporated into nearly all of Redmond's product stack, from GitHub to Windows.

Amazon Q is "specifically for work," Amazon said in its press release, and specifically for application developers, data scientists and IT pros who touch the AWS cloud at any point in their day-to-day jobs. For these workers, Q promises to bear the burden of low-value but time-intensive tasks, so they can focus on the more complex and higher-stakes aspects of their jobs.

Q understands natural language prompts from IT admins and data pros like the following, per Amazon:

  • Tell me about Agents for Amazon Bedrock?
  • What are the scaling limits on a DynamoDB table?
  • What are the best practices for building event-driven architectures?
  • Help me find the right EC2 instance to deploy a video encoding workload for my gaming app with the highest performance.
  • Why can I not connect to my EC2 instance from my laptop?
  • Provide me with a description of what this application does and how it works.
  • Optimize my selected DynamoDB query.

In response to such prompts, Q provides answers in natural language, links to relevant sources and an opening for the user to ask follow-up questions.
Q is also capable of helping developers with simple or complex coding tasks. It can, for example, write the code for an entirely new application feature or rewrite existing code from one language to another.

For business customers who want to use Q as a sort of employee knowledge hub, they can prime the solution on company data and not on the Internet at large. (Amazon also assures that it does not use private customers' data to train its AI models.) Organizations can block or filter specific topics and keywords, or limit what different groups of users can ask questions about.

The idea is that Q is "informed by a customer's information repositories, code, and enterprise systems" and "can personalize its interactions to each individual user based on an organization’s existing identities, roles, and permissions."
Amazon explains:

Customers can connect Amazon Q to their business data, information, and systems, so it can synthesize everything and provide tailored assistance to help employees solve problems, generate content, and take actions relevant to their business. With more than 40 built-in connectors for popular data sources, including Amazon S3, Dropbox, Confluence, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Zendesk, as well as the option to build custom connectors for internal intranets, wikis, run books, and more, Amazon Q makes it fast and easy for customers to get started. Once Amazon Q synthesizes all the information it's connected to and a customer is ready to deploy their own assistant, Amazon Q generates a web application that employees can access using a customer's existing authentication system. Amazon Q uses the authentication system to understand a user, their role, and what systems they are permitted to access, so employees can ask detailed, nuanced questions and get tailored results that only include information that the user has access to view. 

According to the product FAQ, pricing for Q starts at $20 per user per month for those interested only in its business knowledgebase capabilities. For IT and developer functions, which can entail more complex prompts and responses, the product is priced at $25 per user per month.   

"Amazon Q builds on AWS's history of taking complex, expensive technologies and making them accessible to customers of all sizes and technical abilities, with a data-first approach and enterprise-grade security and privacy built-in from the start," said AWS AI chief Dr. Swami Sivasubramanian in a prepared statement. "By bringing generative AI to where our customers work -- whether they are building on AWS, working with internal data and systems, or using a range of data and business applications -- Amazon Q is a powerful addition to the application layer of our generative AI stack that opens up new possibilities for every organization."

More information on Amazon Q is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.

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