Amazon team to train new AI large language model, ‘Olympus’

As AI is adopted by businesses around the world, the potential for it to drive global economic growth and investment opportunities is huge

AI is rapidly evolving, with new regulations and business applications emerging all the time. While it is still a relatively new technology with many uncertainties surrounding safety and ethics, companies that avoid AI altogether may struggle in the future. This is similar to how companies that avoided the internet in the early days are now at a disadvantage.

The economic impact of AI could unfold quickly and bring about major transformative changes. As human intelligence integrates with machine capabilities, there are potential advantages for both employees and businesses across industries to revolutionise employment, accelerate productivity growth, and generate positive returns for investors. 

Amazon joins the battle of the bots

Global giant Amazon is spending millions of dollars to train a new large language model (LLM) called Olympus, which could compete with the best models from OpenAI and Google.

Olympus has 2 trillion parameters, which is more than any other LLM currently being trained. This is almost twice as many parameters as OpenAI's GPT-4 model – which is widely considered to be the top LLM on the market. Parameters are the backbone of AI performance, so Olympus's extra capacity will likely make the model more capable of generating accurate, human-sounding responses than GPT-4.

What benefits will Olympus bring?

Rohit Prasad, formerly the head of Alexa, is leading the team and now reports directly to CEO Andy Jassy. In his role as the Head Scientist of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) at Amazon, Prasad has assembled a team of researchers with expertise in Alexa AI and the Amazon science team. The team is now focused on training models, effectively consolidating AI initiatives across the company and providing dedicated resources for these endeavours. 

Amazon has already conducted training for smaller models like Titan, and additionally, the company has forged partnerships with AI model startups such as Anthropic and AI21 Labs, providing their models to users of Amazon Web Services (AWS). The reason behind Amazon's emphasis on developing in-house models is the belief that this could enhance the appeal of its offerings on AWS. 

Enterprise clients on AWS often need access to high-performing models, and Amazon aims to meet this demand, however, the sources noted that there is no specific timeline for the release of the new model.

Judging by recent financial reports from companies such as Google and Microsoft, it appears that Amazon's recent investments in AI are set to be a success. However, as prominent figures in politics and technology have recently converged on the potential risks posed by this technology, highlighted during the UK's AI safety summit, it's crucial not to overlook the broader implications of swift AI development.

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