Amazon invests $4bn in AI start-up Anthropic

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Amazon and Anthropic have announced a new $4billion collaboration aimed at harnessing their collective expertise in generative artificial intelligence (AI).

This strategic alliance seeks to expedite the development and accessibility of Anthropic’s forthcoming foundation models to Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers. Here’s what this groundbreaking partnership entails:

  1. AI-Powered Future: Anthropic, renowned for its innovative foundation models such as Claude, has chosen AWS as its primary cloud provider for the training and deployment of its next-generation foundation models. By leveraging AWS’s Trainium and Inferentia chips, Anthropic will benefit from AWS’s unmatched price-performance ratio, scalability, and top-tier security measures.
  2. Investment and Ownership: As part of the deal, Amazon will make a substantial investment of up to $4 billion in Anthropic, securing a minority ownership stake in the company. This investment will pave the way for enhanced collaboration and innovation in the realm of generative AI.
  3. Accessible AI: Anthropic commits to providing global AWS customers with access to upcoming iterations of its foundation models through Amazon Bedrock, a fully managed service by AWS that offers secure access to leading foundation models. This partnership will also grant AWS customers early access to exclusive features, allowing them to customize models and fine-tune them to suit their specific requirements.
  4. Amazon Bedrock: Amazon developers and engineers will gain the ability to incorporate Anthropic models into their projects using Amazon Bedrock. This integration will empower them to infuse generative AI capabilities into their work, enhance existing applications, and create entirely new customer experiences across Amazon’s vast array of businesses.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, “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.”

Anthropic’s co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei commented on the investment, “We are excited to use AWS’s Trainium chips to develop future foundation models. Since announcing our support of Amazon Bedrock in April, Claude has seen significant organic adoption from AWS customers. By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organisations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology.”

Anthropic, an AWS customer since 2021, has swiftly risen to prominence as a leading provider of foundation models and an advocate for responsible generative AI deployment. Claude, their flagship model, excels in diverse tasks, from complex dialogues to creative content generation, maintaining a high degree of reliability and predictability. It features an industry-leading 100,000 token context window, enabling secure processing of extensive information across various industries.

Claude 2

image courtesy of Anthropic

This collaboration represents the latest step in AWS’s ongoing expansion of its generative AI capabilities across all layers of the generative AI stack. At the foundation, AWS offers a range of compute instances and custom silicon chips, such as AWS Trainium for AI training and AWS Inferentia for AI inference. In the middle layer, AWS focuses on delivering a wide selection of foundation models from multiple leading providers, allowing customization, data security, and seamless integration with other AWS workloads, all through Amazon Bedrock. The top layer of AWS’s generative AI offering includes applications like Amazon CodeWhisperer, a powerful AI-powered coding companion.

As part of this collaboration, AWS and Anthropic are dedicating significant resources to assist customers in deploying Claude and Claude 2 on Amazon Bedrock. This support includes the establishment of the AWS Generative AI Innovation Center, where teams of AI experts will collaborate with organizations of all sizes to develop transformative generative AI-powered applications.

Why does this matter?

Amazon is paying large amounts to play AI catchup following Microsoft’s significant deal with ChatGPT developer earlier in the year.

Given that Google also holds a $300m stake in it will be interesting to see how Anthropic, as one of the main competitors to OpenAI in the fledgling, but rapidly growing, AI sector will navigate its future.