Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in OpenAI rival Anthropic as a way to provide advanced deep learning and other services to its Amazon Web Service (AWS) customers, the company wrote in a press release. In return, AWS becomes Anthropic's "primary cloud provider" to train and deploy its future foundation models. It's the second large investment in the company, founded by former OpenAI executives, following Google's $400 million partnership with the firm.
The e-commerce company will start with a $1.25 billion investment to gain a minority stake in Anthropic, with an option to boost that to a total of $4 billion. Along with Google and Amazon, Anthropic also counts Salesforce, Zoom, Spark Capital and others as backers. Notably, Anthropic's deal with Google didn't require it to buy cloud services from the search giant.
Anthropic recently unveiled its first consumer-facing chatbot Claude 2, accessible by subscription much like OpenAI's ChatGPT. The Claude “Constitutional AI” system is guided by 10 “foundational” principals of fairness and autonomy and is supposed to be harder to trick than other AI. Anthropic is also working on a chatbot it calls "Claude-Next" that's supposed to be ten times more powerful than any current AI, according to TechCrunch.
The startup touts itself as an advocate for responsible AI deployment, and recently formed an AI safety group with Google, Microsoft and Open AI. It has been with AWS since 2021. "Claude excels at a wide range of tasks, from sophisticated dialogue and creative content generation to complex reasoning and detailed instruction, while maintaining a high degree of reliability and predictability," according to Amazon.
Instead of training their own models, AWS customers will be able to use Anthropic's AI models via Amazon's Bedrock, a service designed specifically for AI development. Amazon Cloud also offers its own AI applications, and with the new partnership, is hoping to position itself as a key player in the field.
Microsoft-backed OpenAI is largely considered to be the leader in AI and chatbot tech, thanks to its ultra-popular ChatGPT chatbot and DALL-E image generation service. Use of AI in business continues to grow exponentially, despite concerns over the legality and ethics of AI-appropriated content — it was considered to be a strong sticking point in the WGA writer's strike, for example.