Forget ChatGPT — Amazon reportedly working on new 'Metis' chatbot that could be your AI agent

Amazon logo on building
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Amazon has absolutely dominated the smart home business with the Alexa virtual assistant, but when it comes to actual AI the company has fallen pretty far behind. We’ve heard reports of how Amazon is hoping to catch up, including launching a supercharged version of Alexa, and now we’re hearing that it’s working on its own chatbot to compete with ChatGPT.

According to Business Insider, Amazon has an internal project called “Metis," which is described as offering conversation using text and image-centric answers. Like other chatbots, this AI will be able to share links, respond to follow-up queries and generate its own images.

Amazon reportedly wants the bot to be able to use retrieval augmented generation too, allowing it to find and offer information that it wasn’t specifically trained on. The example in the report involved offering up-to-date stock prices. 

This may also play into Amazon’s plans to make Metis an AI agent, which is capable of working autonomously by analyzing new data and making decisions based on its programming. However, further details weren’t elaborated on in the report.

We’ve been hearing a bunch of news about Amazon’s AI plans over the past few months, so it’s clear that the company is doing something — even if it’s not ready to show it off publicly. The company’s Titan AI large language model is already available, while a more powerful version called Olympus is reportedly in the works. There’s also Rufus, an assistant designed to help you shop and sift through Amazon’s extensive catalog of products.

A supercharged Alexa is coming...but when?

There’s also a lot of talk about turning Alexa into an AI chatbot of sorts, or at the very least using AI to boost the assistant’s existing capabilities. This new “Remarkable Alexa” could cost $5 to $10 a month and would let users ask Alexa for more advanced features like composing emails or ordering from Uber Eats with a single prompt.

Plus, there would be more personalization and the agent could learn your routines and control your smart home devices accordingly. However Amazon has reportedly been struggling in this area, and may be “floundering” in its attempt to catch up to other big tech rivals like Google, Microsoft and Meta. The assistant was originally announced to be getting generative AI skills earlier this year, but there’s been little news since.

The question of whether Amazon is falling behind in the AI race is tricky to answer, but without any major consumer-facing products it certainly feels that way. Let’s just hope that the company can figure out what needs to be done — and soon. Because AI seems to be advancing at a phenomenal rate, and without some progress Alexa could end up being a thing of the past.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.