Amazon tests a new AI assistant to answer your questions while you shop

Amazon is reportedly testing a new AI assistant on its mobile app that can answer customer questions about specific products.

This feature appears to have been initially discovered by e-commerce research firm Marketplace Pulse. According to the firm, the AI can be found under the “Looking for specific info?” section on product pages. The LLM (large language model) powering the feature relies on listing details provided by companies and user reviews to generate responses to inquiries. For example, you can ask if a particular workout shirt is good for running or if it fits well on a tall person. Marketplace Pulse states its main purpose is to save people the trouble of having to read individual reviews by summarizing all the information present into a succinct block of text. 

(Image credit: Marketplace Pulse/Amazon)

Because it’s in the early stages, the AI assistant is limited in what it can do. You can’t command it to compare two items or “find alternatives.” Although it can’t recommend specific products, Amazon’s chatbot can make soft suggestions. In another example, MarketPlace Pulse asked the app assistant if e-bikes are good for romantic dates. The AI said “not really” and recommended buying a tandem bike instead.

Quirks and unintended features