AWS debuts generative-AI-as-a-service that’s so smart you’ll pay for it twice

On Thursday Amazon Web Services announced a new API platform, named Bedrock, that hosts generative AI models built by top startups AI21 Labs, Anthropic, and Stability AI on its cloud services.

Generative AI has exploded in popularity with the development of models capable of producing text and images. Commercial tools developed by buzzy startups like OpenAI and Midjourney have won tens of millions of users, and Big Tech is now rushing to catch up. 

While Microsoft and Google compete to bring generative AI chatbots to search and productivity suites, Amazon’s strategy is to remain fairly neutral – like some kind of machine-learning Switzerland – and provide access to the latest models on its cloud platform. It’s a win-win for startups that have agreed to work with the e-commerce giant. Developers will pay to use the APIs the startups offer for their models, and pay AWS for the computational resources required to train and run them.

“Customers have told us there are a few big things standing in their way today,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS’ veep of machine learning, in a blog post.

“First, they need a straightforward way to find and access high-performing [foundational models] that give outstanding results and are best-suited for their purposes. Second, customers want integration into applications to be seamless, without having to manage huge clusters of infrastructure or incur large costs.”

Amazon Bedrock currently offers large language models capable of processing and generating text including AI21 Labs’ Jurassic-2, Anthropic’s Claude, and Stability AI’s text-to-image models including Stable Diffusion.

AWS has also released two of its own foundation models under the Titan brand, not to be confused with Google’s Titan-branded stuff.

Developers can build their own generative AI-powered products and services on the backs of these APIs and can fine-tune a model for a particular task by providing their own labelled examples. Amazon said the customisation process will allow companies to better protect and secure their data without having to worry if their private data will be leaked and used to train other large language models. 

Amazon also promoted its own custom-built AI chips AWS Trainium and Inferentia to train and run these models in its cloud. A new EC2 instance type named Trn1 instances use Trainium siilcon and developers can reportedly save up to 50 per cent on training costs compared to other EC2 instances.

Trn1 instances are optimized to distribute training across multiple servers and have a network bandwidth of up to 1600 Gbps. Developers can also spin up “ultraclusters” scaling up up to 30,000 Trainium chips to deliver more than 6 exaflops of compute.

Finally, Amazon is also making its AI pair-programming tool CodeWhisperer free to use. It has been expanded to support ten new languages, including Go, Kotlin, Rust, PHP, SQL and more on top of the Python, Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, and C#.

“We believe CodeWhisperer is now the most accurate, fastest, and most secure way to generate code for AWS services, including Amazon EC2, AWS Lambda, and Amazon S3,” Sivasubramanian opined. ®


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