In a sign of the growing perceived value of artificial intelligence (AI), Amazon is making a significant investment of up to $4 billion in the San Francisco-based AI firm Anthropic. This move follows a pattern seen among major tech companies racing to harness the power of AI. Amazon has recently focused on enhancing the conversational capabilities of its Alexa voice assistant using AI technology. Anthropic, on the other hand, has developed a competitive AI model called Claude.
This investment by Amazon is aimed at enhancing customer experiences by leveraging AI. According to Jim Hare from Gartner, it marks the beginning of a competitive race in the field of generative AI. While Microsoft had initially led the charge in AI development through its partnership with OpenAI, other tech companies are now catching up, leveling the playing field.
Anthropic, founded in 2021, is an AI safety and research company that competes with established players like Google DeepMind and OpenAI. Amazon, aside from being a major online retailer, is a significant provider of cloud computing services, which involves renting out computing power to other companies. This collaboration allows Anthropic to tap into Amazon’s vast computing resources, while Amazon’s developers can use Anthropic’s Claude 2, an advanced AI model, to create new applications and improve existing ones.
Microsoft, with its cloud computing business Azure, has a similar partnership with OpenAI. Recently, OpenAI announced that users of its ChatGPT would be able to interact with it through spoken questions and image sharing. Microsoft has used its collaboration with ChatGPT to introduce new AI-powered features for existing products.
The investment in Anthropic also reflects the growing competition among tech giants like Amazon and Google to challenge Nvidia’s dominance in the specialist AI chip market. However, whether these tech companies will ultimately dictate the direction of the AI sector remains uncertain.
Anthropic stated that Amazon would hold a minority stake in the company and use Amazon’s Trainium and Inferentia chips, designed for generative AI applications, to develop new AI models. Both companies are committed to responsible AI development and have endorsed a set of voluntary safety guidelines led by the White House.
Dario Amodei, the CEO of Anthropic, held discussions with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the heads of DeepMind and OpenAI regarding the potential risks associated with AI, including disinformation, national security, and existential threats. The UK government is hosting a global AI summit in November, where it will primarily focus on “frontier AI” capable of performing various tasks better than current models. The summit will address concerns about AI misuse, particularly in the context of biological or cyber-attacks, with a goal of harnessing AI for public good, from curing diseases to improving education.