While artificial intelligence (AI) is a constantly evolving technology, it is not new. It has been a focus at Amazon for over 25 years. We are helping democratise the technology, making it accessible to anyone who wants to use it, including more than 100,000 customers of all sizes and industries.

As an Amazon Web Services chief technologist, I have the opportunity to help customers solve their biggest challenges with the latest technologies.

For example, using AI to drive sales and enhance the customer experience is a common question I get asked. Ticketek saw more than a 200 per cent increase in conversion rates when they leveraged AI to personalise the weekly email newsletter, allowing the events ticketing company to target and promote more relevant shows.

Online fraud can also be detected faster and more accurately. Using insights from historical data, companies can construct a customised AI fraud detection model. This model can identify suspicious online payment transactions before processing them, as well as differentiate between legitimate and high-risk account registrations.

Evolving contact centre operations is a low-hanging fruit that organisations can harvest to drive positive customer outcomes. By using virtual AI assistants to answer commonly asked questions, companies can reduce costs, while also driving quicker first call resolution rates. ‘‘Nibby’’ is a chatbot from health insurance company, NIB. Nibby is not just text-oriented but also voice-based, so members can converse with a very human-like bot. NIB receives 150,000 calls per month, so if 10 per cent of these calls can be addressed by Nibby, it can represent great efficiency gains for both agents and callers.

What’s next for AI? The talk of the year is generative AI. It helps enable new capabilities that are now more accessible for consumers and businesses, such as code generation, drafting written content, creating images based on text prompts, and transforming existing ML-powered capabilities such as web search and chatbots.

The responsible use of this new technology is also important to consider. Research by IDC showed about two-thirds of Asia Pacific organisations are either exploring potential use or have already invested in generative AI projects in 2023.

ChatGPT has been one of the first, broad, generative AI applications that has recently sparked a wave of interest and inspiration, leading many to rapidly experiment with how to take advantage of it, much like the early days of the internet. However, this is just one example of what generative AI can do. The potential uses for generative AI are boundless.

Customers want to understand how they can leverage generative AI to create new capabilities that could increase productivity, like bringing data together from disparate systems into one holistic view, to enable better outcomes through data analytics and natural language search queries. That’s why we are focused on democratising access to generative AI, giving businesses choice and flexibility to pick between different solutions, helping to bring down their costs and reduce complexity. There is opportunity for all industries to capitalise on this nascent technology, across both technical and nontechnical roles in departments such as marketing, sales, and HR.

Companies need to upskill their staff to better understand how to seize the transformative potential. For local startups, there is also a great opportunity to build innovative industry-specific solutions. For example, retailers could query a virtual assistant, powered by generative AI, on stock levels across their stores, predict busy periods, and even order more inventory all from a single chat interface.

In healthcare, generative AI assistants can analyse patient data from multiple sources, help identify patterns, and then present a summarised view of findings for review, augmenting the skills of medical professionals and improving patient outcomes.

The technology can also help architects generate building designs with proven patterns to minimise energy consumption or perform large-scale modelling and simulations resulting in more sustainable urban and regional planning.

To address the shortage of software engineers in Australia, developers are also starting to leverage AI-assisted coding companions to help them to create code for routine tasks.

These are just a few industry examples. We’ll continue to help customers accelerate innovation while assisting them on the responsible use of generative AI.

Factors like accuracy, privacy, copyright, and bias need to be addressed collaboratively by industry and government.

Globally, AWS is working alongside others like the OECD AI working groups, the Partnership on AI, and the Responsible AI Institute to develop new approaches and solutions.

Generative AI is an exciting disruptor for businesses. It has the power to impact our world by enhancing our abilities, solving some of humanity’s most challenging problems, and boosting our productivity.AFR

Rada Stanic is chief technologist, Amazon Web Services Australia and New Zealand.