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Meet ‘Rufus’, An AI Assistant From Amazon

Rufus, an artificial intelligence (AI) shopping assistant by Amazon, trained using data from the company’s catalog and other sources, was unveiled on Thursday. The new tool is reportedly beta-launched to a select group of US customers, but it will be made available to additional users in the coming weeks. Inside the Amazon mobile app, customers can have live conversations with Rufus, who can assist with product discovery, comparison shopping, and personalized product recommendations.

The AI chatbot’s release follows many other AI-powered improvements to Amazon.com that aim to make shopping easier for customers. These include features that assist with finding the right size clothing, tools to improve product reviews by summarizing product highlights along with customer sentiment, and enhancements for both advertisers and sellers.

Rufus, on the other hand, is a generative AI experience that has been trained on community Q&As, product reviews, and information from all over the web. It can answer consumer questions about their shopping needs, whether they are just starting out, trying to narrow down their choices or have more specific questions.

The company trained its new LLM on its data as well as “publicly available data from across the web.” The LLM specialized in shopping and was built internally to power this experience. However, it did not specify whether or not other publicly accessible retail websites were also included in that data.

A buyer looking for running shoes, according to Amazon, could pose questions to Rufus such as “What to consider when buying a running shoe?” or “How do road running shoes differ from trail running shoes?” and “Will these last?”

Customers looking into different products might also inquire, “What should I think about when purchasing headphones?” “Everything I need to know to detail my car at home.” “What exactly are purified cosmetics?” “How can I play golf in cold weather?” and many more. Another option is to tell Rufus what you want to do, such as “I want to start an indoor garden.”

 

Asking the AI questions like “What are good gifts for Valentine’s Day?” can also lead to product recommendations and comparisons. or “What would you recommend to a five-year-old for dinosaur playthings?” Rufus will respond, and the consumer can then peruse the improved search results.

This means that the AI assistant will function similarly to different consumer-facing AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard, as Bard is also offering shopping integrations among its many features.

Rufus will first be accessible in beta to a small number of US customers through the Amazon mobile app. To access it, look for a new button in the app’s bottom navigation bar. A chat dialog box with an AI can be seen at the bottom of the screen; customers can ask questions either by typing them in or by speaking them.

When the customer is ready to go back to the Amazon app, they can swipe down from the top of the screen to close the chat box and return to the app.

According to Amazon, the beta will assist them in making long-term improvements to the product and their generative AI projects.

In a blog post, the company acknowledged that generative AI is still in its early stages and that the technology may not always achieve perfect accuracy. It further read, “We will keep improving our AI models and fine-tune responses to continuously make Rufus more helpful over time. Customers are encouraged to leave feedback by rating their answers with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and they have the option to provide freeform feedback as well,”.

The company assures us that the chatbot will not have ads when it first launches. However, they do promise to add features to Rufus as time passes if they are found to be valuable to customers.

You can only comment on the bot’s efficacy if you tested it. However, It should be noted that Q, Amazon’s AI chatbot for companies, has had trouble giving out false information (hallucinations) and revealing sensitive information. In the “coming weeks,” Rufus will be available to additional customers in the United States.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at AI Surge is a dedicated team of experts led by Paul Robins, boasting a combined experience of over 7 years in Computer Science, AI, emerging technologies, and online publishing. Our commitment is to bring you authoritative insights into the forefront of artificial intelligence.
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