The cost of running the new generation of “superhuman” AI models is so high that Amazon may eventually charge you to use Alexa.
Former Amazon executive Dave Limp predicts that the company would “absolutely” start charging for Alexa usage.
He cited the exorbitant expenses associated with operating AI models as justification.
But he admitted that before that happens, Alexa needs to significantly improve.
Dave Limp, an exiting Amazon executive, stated in an interview with Bloomberg that he “absolutely” believes that Amazon could begin charging a subscription fee for Alexa. He cited the expense of developing and maintaining generative artificial intelligence models for the smart speaker’s new AI features as the justification for his statement.
“The cost to train the model, and the cost for inference of the model in the cloud, is substantial when you start using these (AI models) a lot,” he said.
He continued by saying that the free version of Alexa would stay available and that a premium version would need to exhibit more sophisticated features and utility.
The cost of the subscription has not been addressed, according to Limp, who also noted that while “the Alexa you know and love today is going to remain free,” a future subscription-based version is “not years away.”
Massive quantities of computational power are needed to run generative AI models; according to experts, OpenAI’s ChatGPT costs at least $700,000 per day to operate.
Amazon has made a significant investment in artificial intelligence (AI). Last week, the firm unveiled a new, AI-powered version of Alexa along with upgraded models of its Echo Frames and Carrerra smart glasses. Additionally, it has made a $4 billion investment in Anthropic, an OpenAI competitor.
A month before the release of the new items, Limp, Amazon’s senior VP of devices and services, announced he would leave his position after 13 years. According to Insider’s Ashley Stewart, Panos Panay, a former Microsoft executive, is anticipated to succeed Limp.
An outside-of-regular-business-hours inquiry for comment from Insider was not immediately answered by Amazon.