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Amazon Announces Three New AI Services

Tyrone Stewart

Amazon AI
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the retail giant's software-as-a-service unit, has announced three artificial intelligence services in a bid to make it easier for developers to build apps that can understand natural language, turn text into lifelike speech, have conversations using voice or text, analyse images, and recognise faces, objects and scenes.

Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly and Amazon Rekognition were introduced to the world at Amazon’s re:Invent event. They are said to provide high quality, high accuracy AI capabilities that are scalable and cost-effective.

Raju Gulabani, VP of databases, analytics and AI at AWS, said: “The combination of better algorithms and broad access to massive amounts of data and cost-effective computing power provided by the cloud is making AI a reality for application developers. AWS is home to some of the most innovative and creative AI applications in use today.

“Thousands of machine learning and deep learning experts across Amazon have been developing AI technologies for years to predict what customers might like to read, to drive efficiencies in our fulfillment centers through robotics and computer vision technologies, and to give customers our AI-powered virtual assistant, Alexa.”

Lex builds conversational interfaces using voice and text that is built on the same technology that powers Amazon Alexa. Amazon says that bots built using Lex can be used anywhere from web applications to chat and messenger apps, or through voice in apps on mobile or connected devices.

Polly makes it easy for developers to add natural-sounding speech capabilities to existing applications or create entirely new categories of speech-enabled products. Developers can send a text to Polly using the SDK or from within the AWS Management Console and Polly immediately returns an audio stream that can be can be played directly or stored. Polly comes with 47 lifelike voices – male and female – and support for 24 languages.

Rekognition provides image analysis by enabling developers to build applications that analyse image, and recognise faces, objects and scenes.

Polly is available in the US (N. Virginia, Ohio, Oregon) and Ireland (Dublin). Rekognition is available in the US (N. Virginia, Oregon) and Ireland (Dublin). Amazon intends for both to expand to additional regions in the coming months. Customers can sign up for the Lex preview.