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Amazon to invest as much as $4 billion in ChatGPT rival AI startup

Amazon has plans to invest as much as $4 billion in a generative artificial intelligence startup called Anthropic, which promises to rival ChatGPT, in the e-commerce behemoth’s latest move to get a leg up in the AI space.

“As part of the investment, Amazon will take a minority stake in Anthropic,” the startup revealed in a series of tweets on X/Twitter on Monday.

Anthropic also shared that the agreement will see the San Francisco-based company gaining access to Amazon Web Services’ data centers and homegrown chips to train its language models and power other applications.

AWS is the world’s largest seller of on-demand cloud computing platforms and data storage, with over 100 physical data centers globally.

“Anthropic selects AWS as its primary cloud provider and will train and deploy its future foundation models on AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips, taking advantage of AWS’s high-performance, low-cost machine learning accelerators,” Amazon said in a press release issued Monday.

Most other AI-powered applications, including OpenAI’s portfolio of GPT models and Google’s Bard, rely on Nvidia’s pricey chips, which Anthropic’s co-founders, brother-sister duo Dario and Daniela Amodei, are likely very familiar with as they both previously held VP-level positions for ChatGPT maker OpenAI.

As part of the investment, Amazon will get a minority position in Anthropic, and Amazon Web Services users will gain access to the startup’s latest AI-powered language model, Claude.

Dario and Daniela Amodei
Anthropic was founded in January 2021 by brother-sister duo Dario and Daniela Amodei, who both previously held VP-level positions at ChatGPT maker OpenAI.

Amazon chief Andy Jassy added in a statement to The Post: “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.”

Anthropic added in a blog post that it will also be supporting Amazon Bedrock — Amazon’s service that allows users to build and scale generative AI applications — promising to “fine-tune” the service and “limit the potential for harmful outcomes.”

Anthropic also revealed that the partnership with Amazon will give organizations access to its latest language model, Claude 2, which measures up to ChatGPT-4, OpenAI’s most powerful model.

Similarly to how Anthropic plans to run its software on AWS, OpenAI struck a deal with Microsoft following its $13 billion investment in the ChatGPT maker that sees customers of Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, gaining access to OpenAI’s services.

Should Amazon’s investment with Anthropic land around the $4 billion both companies said it would, it would mark AWS’ largest corporate deal, as the unit has historically built its own products rather than acquire it from others.

Representatives for Anthropic declined to comment beyond what was included in its blog post.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said he believes Anthropic “can help improve many customer experiences, short and long-term, through our deeper collaboration.”
Getty Images for The New York Times

Anthropic has raised more than $1 billion since its founding in January 2021, including from Google, which dished out nearly $400 million for a 10% stake in Anthropic back in February.

In a statement around that time, Anthropic announced a partnership with Google Cloud to scale its AI computing systems, according to Mashable, though that post has since been yanked from Anthropic’s site.

Anthropic has been in the mix with the Big Tech firms for a while now, including when its leadership joined the likes of Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft in unveiling a set of voluntary commitments at a meeting with President Joe Biden in July.

Amazon building
Amazon acquired a small, audio-focused AI firm called Snackable.AI last December to bolster user features for its podcasts.
Getty Images

The pledges surfaced as the companies are locked in fierce competition to dominate the AI field, even as experts, including Elon Musk and OpenAI’s own CEO Sam Altman, warn that unchecked development could pose risks ranging from sweeping job losses to the spread of misinformation to the possible extinction of humanity.

Amazon last year advanced its positioning in the AI sphere with the quiet acquisition of a small, audio-focused AI firm called Snackable.AI.

The Post learned in May that Amazon closed the deal for Snackable last December to bolster user features for its podcasts.

Snackable will be working on podcast features offered through Amazon Music, the company added. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.

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