Amazon announces AI shopping assistant called Rufus

From CNBC:

Amazon on Thursday announced a new artificial intelligence assistant for shopping called Rufus.

The tool is designed to help users search and shop for products. Shoppers type or speak a question into the search bar in Amazon’s mobile app and a chat window will appear at the bottom of their screen. Users can ask conversational questions such as, “What are the differences between trail and road running shoes?” or “Compare drip and pour-over coffee makers.”

“Rufus meaningfully improves how easy it is for customers to find and discover the best products to meet their needs,” Amazon said in a blog post.

Rufus uses Amazon’s product catalog, customer reviews and Q&As, as well as information from across the web to answer questions, the company said.

Amazon said it’s testing the feature with a small subset of users in the U.S. but intends to roll it out nationwide in the coming weeks.

CEO Andy Jassy has said the company plans to incorporate generative AI across all of its businesses. Amazon will likely give an update on its AI efforts when it reports fourth-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday.

Link to the rest at CNBC

4 thoughts on “Amazon announces AI shopping assistant called Rufus”

  1. This looks suspiciously like a bid for Alexa to generate revenue. The hope from the start was that people would use it to order stuff. This didn’t pan out, because counting on it to order the right thing is obviously a terrible idea.

    Also, the idea of this helping us proles search the site is rich. Searching for stuff on Amazon sucks because Amazon chose to make it that way, preferring to load it up with ads rather than actual search results. Want to help us? Revert to search as it was ten or fifteen years ago. Will this new gimmick cut through the ads? If so, this is Amazon screwing over its advertisers. If not, what is the point of it?

    • Agreed, R.

      The latest significant stream of revenues is from advertising. However, keeping the underlying ecommerce site ruthlessly efficient is the foundation of all revenues.

  2. I have received my first AI-enhanced review.

    It makes me vaguely uncomfortable – I don’t know where it got its material from, but it calls the second book in my mainstream trilogy basically ‘the best book ever,’ so I’m just letting it stay (not that I have any say about that). Lovely of the reviewer to make such an effort.

    I have the feeling we may be seeing more of that.

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