Amazon to invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, a rival to ChatGPT developer OpenAI

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The regulator was concerned with Amazon’s dual role as both a marketplace and a competitor to merchants selling on its platform.
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E-commerce giant Amazon on Monday said it will invest up to $4 billion in artificial intelligence firm Anthropic and take a minority ownership position in the company.

The move underscores Amazon’s aggressive AI push as it looks to keep pace with rivals such as Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google.

Anthropic was founded roughly two years ago by former OpenAI research executives and recently debuted its new AI chatbot called Claude 2.

Amazon is looking to capitalize on the hype and promise of so-called generative AI, which includes technology like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, as well as Anthropic’s Claude chatbots.

The two firms on Monday said that they are forming a strategic collaboration to advance generative AI, with the startup selecting Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider. Anthropic said it will provide AWS customers with early access to unique features for model customization and fine-tuning capabilities.

Anthropic will also use custom AWS-designed semiconductors to train the foundational models that underpin its AI applications. Foundation models are large AI programs trained on vast amounts of data so that they can be adapted to solve a wide range of tasks. 

This year, chip firm Nvidia is the chip firm that has seen the biggest gains from the generative AI boom. Nvidia’s key product is a type of semiconductor known as a graphics processing unit, which can be used to train huge AI models. At one point Nvidia’s stock had rallied more than 200%, as the company smashed through financial forecasts on the rising adoption of AI.

To an extent, Amazon’s deal with Anthropic aims to show that there are alternative chips that can be used for AI applications.

AWS customers will be able to build on Anthropic’s AI models via Amazon Bedrock — a service that lets customers build generative AI applications in the cloud via existing models, rather than train their own models.

Amazon is looking to position itself as the one-stop shop for AI. The e-commerce giant designs its own chips for training huge AI models. Through Amazon Bedrock customers can also design their own generative AI applications using existing models, which are all run on the Amazon cloud. The company sells its own AI applications too.

Anthropic already counts some high-profile backers, including Google and Salesforce Ventures. This support comes as tech giants continue to make massive bets on AI companies, a move sparked by Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment in ChatGPT maker OpenAI in January.