OpenAI has ChatGPT. Google has the Bard chatbot. Microsoft has its co-pilots. On Tuesday, Amazon joined the chatbot race and announced its own artificial intelligence assistant: Amazon Q.

The chatbot, developed by Amazon’s cloud computing division, focuses on workplaces and is not intended for consumers. Amazon Q aims to help employees with daily tasks, such as summarizing strategy documents, completing internal support tickets, and answering questions about company policy. It will compete with other corporate chatbots, including Copilot, Google’s Duet AI, and ChatGPT Enterprise.

“We believe Q has the potential to become a coworker for millions and millions of people in their working lives,” Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services, said in an interview.

Amazon has been racing to shake off the perception which is falling behind in the AI ​​competition. In the year since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, Google, Microsoft and others have jumped into a frenzy by introducing their own chatbots and investing heavily in AI development.

Amazon was quieter about its AI plans until recently. In September, it announced that it would invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, an artificial intelligence startup that competes with OpenAI, and that they would jointly develop advanced computer chips. Amazon also introduced this year a platform that allows customers to access different artificial intelligence systems.

As the leading cloud computing provider, Amazon already has enterprise customers who store large amounts of information on their cloud servers. Companies were interested in using chatbots in their workplaces, Selipsky said, but they wanted to make sure attendees safeguarded those troves of corporate data and kept their information private.

Many companies “told me that they had banned these AI assistants from the company due to security and privacy concerns,” he said.

In response, Amazon created Q to be more secure and private than a consumer chatbot, Selipsky said. Amazon Q, for example, can have the same security permissions that enterprise customers have already set up for their users. In a company where a marketing employee may not have access to confidential financial forecasts, Q can emulate that by not providing that employee with such financial data when requested.

Businesses can also give Amazon Q permission to work with their corporate data that isn’t on Amazon servers, such as connecting with Slack and Gmail.

Unlike ChatGPT and Bard, Amazon Q is not based on a specific AI model. Instead, it uses an Amazon platform known as Bedrock, which connects several AI systems, including Amazon’s Titan and those developed by Anthropic and Meta.

The name Q is a play on the word “question,” given the conversational nature of the chatbot, Selipsky said. It’s also a play on the character Q from the James Bond novels, who makes useful, stealthy tools, and a powerful “Star Trek” figure, he added.

Amazon Q pricing starts at $20 per user each month. Microsoft and Google charge $30 a month for each user of enterprise chatbots that work with your email and other productivity apps.

Amazon Q was one of a series of announcements the company made at its annual cloud computing conference in Las Vegas. It also shared plans to bolster its computing infrastructure for AI and expanded a long-standing partnership with Nvidia, the dominant AI chip supplier, including by building what the companies called the world’s fastest AI supercomputer.

Most of these systems use standard microprocessors along with specialized Nvidia chips called GPUs or graphics processing units. Instead, the system announced Tuesday will be built with new Nvidia chips that include processor technology from Arm, the company whose technology powers most mobile phones.

The change is a worrying sign for Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, the major microprocessor suppliers. But it’s positive news for Arm in its long-running effort to get into data center computers.

Don Clark contributed reporting from San Francisco.