When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) is not as well known as other tech behemoths like Alphabet Inc. (GOOGsubsidiary Google or Apple Inc. (AAPL), which have generated headlines for their advances in the technology. However, the Seattle-based company may have quietly moved ahead of its competitors in the AI race.

That, at least, is the claim made by Matt Wood, general manager for deep learning and AI at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company's cloud division. In an interview with Barrons, Wood said that Amazon's cloud service AWS has more machine learning running on its platform than any other company. Apple uses its data centers for internal purposes, and Google's cloud made a foray into artificial intelligence by open-sourcing Tensor Flow, an AI library. (See also: Two Announcements From Google's Cloud Conference.)

While it is difficult to independently evaluate Wood's claim, it may not be entirely without substance. Artificial intelligence is a collection of technologies that enables machines to mimic human intelligence capabilities. However, machines require troves of data to learn from human actions. As the largest e-commerce player, Amazon already has massive amounts of data about its customers' habits and preferences. In addition, its cloud division AWS hosts data for clients from multiple industries on its platform. For example, digital health platform ZocDoc uses Amazon's services, while grocery delivery company Instacart and social network Pinterest are also AWS clients. (See also: What Is Amazon Web Services and Why Is It So Successful?)

In his interview, Wood explained, “We are much more interested in enabling others; we are unusually customer-focused." The Seattle-based company also unveiled Amazon AI last November at its cloud conference. That initiative makes the technology from a host of Amazon products and features – from the recommendation engine on its e-commerce platform to its smart assistant Alexa – available to third-party customers. (See also: Are Talking Speakers the First AI Bubble?)

According to Wood, Amazon offers multiple tiers of machine learning: "deep learning" for sophisticated applications, which is "very technical" and aimed at research scientists; letting "customers build their own data models;" and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in which the cloud acts as a black box for customers to build their own apps, such as chat bots to service online customers. (See also: Amazon Releases Alexa for Conversational Chat Bots.)

According to some estimates, the market for artificial intelligence products and services is expected to touch almost $60 billion worldwide by 2025. An Accenture report states that three channels – intelligent automation, labor and capital augmentation, and a diffusion of innovation into other industries such as driverless vehicles – are responsible for the growth of AI. (See also: Artificial Intelligence Will Add $15.7 Trillion to the Global Economy: PwC.)

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