- Quick take: Amazon is investing heavily in AI startup Anthropic, positioning itself as a major player in the rapidly evolving AI sector.
- Core insight: Amazon’s strategic investment in Anthropic, an AI startup with ambitious plans and significant backing, underscores the e-commerce giant’s intent to be at the forefront of AI innovation, especially in the realm of generative AI and foundational models.
- What’s next: The collaboration between Amazon and Anthropic is likely to accelerate the development and accessibility of advanced AI models, setting the stage for transformative applications in the near future.
Amazon has confirmed its commitment to infuse up to $4 billion into the AI prodigy, Anthropic. This strategic move positions Amazon as a formidable contender against the likes of Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia in a sector burgeoning with potential and innovation, a sector many experts deem as the impending colossal frontier.
The e-commerce titan disclosed an initial investment plan of $1.25 billion, acquiring a minority share in Anthropic. This innovative startup stands in the esteemed company of Google’s Bard and Microsoft-supported OpenAI, with all specializing in the development of AI-driven, text scrutinizing chatbots. Amazon elucidated that, as part of this groundbreaking agreement, it retains the option to escalate its financial commitment in Anthropic to a cumulative $4 billion.
Anthropic’s ambitious plans
In an exclusive scoop by TechCrunch earlier this year, it was revealed that Anthropic, with Google among its backers, has set its sights on amassing a staggering $5 billion in the upcoming two years. Just recently, Anthropic unveiled its inaugural consumer-centric premium subscription for chatbot Claude 2. Their ambitious roadmap includes crafting a pioneering model, provisionally dubbed “Claude-Next”. This avant-garde creation aims to surpass the capabilities of the current AI giants by a factor of ten, as gleaned from an investor presentation TechCrunch procured.
Should you buy Claude Pro for $20?
However, Anthropic underscores that realizing this vision will necessitate an investment of a billion dollars in the forthcoming 18 months. For context, Microsoft’s financial commitment to OpenAI over time has reached an impressive $11 billion.
In the collaborative arrangement with Amazon, Anthropic has chosen AWS to be its chief cloud ally for pivotal tasks, encompassing safety studies and the evolution of upcoming foundational AI models, as articulated by the e-commerce behemoth. Furthermore, Anthropic will harness the prowess of AWS’s Trainium and Inferentia chips, laying the groundwork, honing, and rolling out its imminent foundational models.
In a recent statement, Amazon’s Chief Executive, Andy Jassy, expressed:
“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. Customers are quite excited about Amazon Bedrock, AWS’s new managed service that enables companies to use various foundation models to build generative AI applications on top of, as well as AWS Trainium, AWS’s AI training chip, and our collaboration with Anthropic should help customers get even more value from these two capabilities.”
With a stellar lineup of supporters including Spark Capital, Salesforce, Sound Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Zoom, Anthropic’s fundraising endeavors have culminated in a whopping $2.7 billion. This past May, a $450 million infusion pegged the company’s valuation at an impressive $5 billion. However, the specifics of Amazon’s valuation of Anthropic in their recent investment remain undisclosed.
Amazon’s partnership with Anthropic not only underscores its growing emphasis on AI but also ensures it has a privileged vantage point in observing the meteoric rise of one of the AI sector’s brightest stars. Speaking to a TechCrunch Disrupt audience, Dario Amodei, the co-founder and chief executive of Anthropic, conveyed his unwavering confidence, emphasizing a clear path ahead for the company’s pivotal technology without foreseeable obstructions.
“The last 10 years, there’s been this remarkable increase in the scale that we’ve used to train neural nets and we keep scaling them up, and they keep working better and better. That’s the basis of my feeling that what we’re going to see in the next 2, 3, 4 years… what we see today is going to pale in comparison to that,” he stated.
Long-term AWS commitment
Amazon has revealed that, as a cornerstone of their agreement, Anthropic has pledged a “long-term” dedication to grant AWS users globally the privilege to tap into forthcoming iterations of its foundational models through Amazon Bedrock. This AWS service stands as a beacon, offering secure pathways to the industry’s premier foundational models. Moreover, Anthropic is set to bestow AWS clientele with a head start, introducing them to exclusive attributes tailored for model personalization and precision-enhancing functionalities.
“Training state-of-the-art models requires extensive resources including compute power and research programs. Amazon’s investment and supply of AWS Trainium and Inferentia technology will ensure we’re equipped to continue advancing the frontier of AI safety and research. We look forward to working closely with Amazon to responsibly scale adoption of Claude and deliver safe AI cloud technologies to organizations around the world.”
Companies: “Invest in AI!”
As 2023 progresses, it is becoming increasingly evident that this year marks a significant milestone in the evolution of artificial intelligence. Both established technology conglomerates and emerging ventures are channeling substantial resources into AI research and development. The emphasis, notably, is on generative AI, indicating a strategic shift towards more advanced, self-evolving algorithms. This heightened interest is not merely a trend but a reflection of the global tech community’s recognition of AI’s potential to revolutionize industries and redefine paradigms.
Featured image credit: Kerem Gülen/Midjourney