Amazon is making strides towards incorporating generative AI capabilities, similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard AI, into its shopping application and website. Recent job postings on Amazon’s career section revealed the company’s intention to provide a more conversational experience for its customers.

The motivation behind Amazon’s push to upgrade its retail application’s search engine stems from the rising consumer demand and the integration of generative AI features by its competitors. Amazon aims to revamp its search feature as part of its application overhaul.

In the U.S., 61% of online shoppers begin their product search on Amazon (according to Insider Intelligence), making that orange-lined search box some of the most valuable online real estate available.

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A screenshot of the Amazon Search box on the homepage, where the company plans to incorporate conversational AI.

The job listings seek a senior development engineer for machine learning and another engineer to “rearchitect” the search engine or feature within Amazon’s shopping application. A posting on Amazon.jobs for a Sr SDE, Machine Learning (ML), Amazon Search, states, “We’re working to improve shopping on Amazon using the conversational capabilities of large language models…” and requires five years or more experience across the full software development life cycle.

Bloomberg reports that a second job posting sought a software engineer to work on “a new AI-first initiative to re-architect and reinvent the way we do search through the use of extremely large-scale next-generation deep learning techniques.”

A third job posting for a Senior Applied Scientist, Amazon Search (see a cached version here), spells out Amazon’s intentions for adding conversational AI to search and says:

“We are reimagining Amazon Search with an interactive conversational experience that helps you find answers to product questions, perform product comparisons, receive personalized product suggestions, and so much more, to easily find the perfect product for your needs.”

In any case, Amazon says it is actively searching for “pioneers who are passionate about technology, innovation, and customer experience, and are ready to make a lasting impact on the industry.”

Microsoft was among the first to demonstrate the power of generative AI by integrating OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI engine into Bing Chat, a conversational interface within the Microsoft Edge browser that enables users to conduct internet searches conversationally.

Similarly, Google recently announced the addition of generative AI features to “supercharge” Google Search in the US, including content summarization and shopping assistance.

This move by Amazon parallels past instances where technology giants, such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, competed in the development of AI assistants like Cortana, Google Assistant, and Alexa during the rise of voice computing in 2016.

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