Amazon to invest up to $4bn in AI start-up Anthropic

25 Sep 2023

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Previously backed by Google, Anthropic will now use AWS as its primary cloud provider.

Amazon has plans to invest up to $4bn in Anthropic, the artificial intelligence start-up behind ChatGPT competitor Claude, as it looks to take on Microsoft and Google in the AI race.

In a collaboration announced today (25 September), the company said that its cloud business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), will be the primary cloud provider for Anthropic after an initial investment of $1.25bn will give the e-commerce giant a minority stake in the business.

As part of the deal, Anthropic will use AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train and deploy its future foundation models. The two will also work together on improving the chips in the future.

Amazon developers and engineers will also be able to build with Anthropic models via Amazon Bedrock so they can “incorporate generative AI capabilities into their work” as well as enhance existing applications and create new customer experiences across Amazon’s businesses.

“We have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models, and believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short and long term, through our deeper collaboration,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO.

Anthropic was co-founded by former OpenAI employees in 2021 and is based in San Francisco. It’s Claude series of large language models are in direct competition with OpenAI’s GPT models.

Earlier this year, Google parent Alphabet invested $300m in Anthropic for a 10pc stake, according to a Financial Times report. As a result, Anthropic agreed to make Google Cloud its “preferred cloud provider” with the companies “co-develop[ing] AI computing systems.”

The latest collaboration with Amazon marks a shift in Big Tech influence on Anthropic.

“Since announcing our support of Amazon Bedrock in April, Claude has seen significant organic adoption from AWS customers,” said Dario Amodei, co-founder and CEO of Anthropic.

“By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organisations of all sizes as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology.”

The start-up also raised $100m from SK Telecom last month. As part of the deal, Anthropic and the South Korean telco will jointly develop a global telecoms-oriented, multilingual large language model and build an AI platform.

Claude is pitched as a relatively “harmless” AI system that is capable of a wide variety of conversational and text-based tasks. Anthropic previously said it tried to make Claude 2 safer for users by making it harder to prompt the chatbot to produce “offensive or dangerous” output.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic