Thematic Spotlight: Big Techs Battle Through AI Startups

Amazon has announced it will invest an additional US$2.75 billion in Anthropic, a prominent AI startup and rival to OpenAI, known for its foundational AI model and the Claude chatbot.1 The deal, which values Anthropic at US$18.4 billion, marks Amazon’s largest venture investment to date as it looks to remain competitive in the generative AI and cloud services industry.2 Anthropic recently debuted Claude 3, its newest and most powerful suite of AI models. Claude 3 has been shown to outperform OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini Ultra on multiple benchmark tests, and, according to Anthropic, its new ‘multi-modal’ approach to AI will also provide photo and video generation capabilities.3 As part of the deal, Anthropic will use AWS as its primary cloud provider and also use Amazon-developed chips to train, build and deploy its foundation models.4

On the other side of the field, Microsoft and OpenAI are said to be working on a US$100 billion project developing an artificial intelligence supercomputer called “Stargate”, set to launch in 2028.5 According to early reports, Microsoft is financing the development of the specialised datacentre required for the project, one which could potentially cost 100 times more than some of the largest data centres today.6 The new AI-centric data centre will be built to handle more AI specific computing tasks and will likely house millions of specialised server chips to enable OpenAI’s artificial intelligence capabilities. ‘Stargate’ will reportedly work with chipsets from multiple suppliers, including in-house server chips developed by Microsoft.7

Amazon and Microsoft’s recent investments marks a continuation of heightened investment activity from Big Tech giants into AI startups. In 2023, AI and machine learning investments from the magnificent seven tech companies jumped to US$24.6 billion, up from US$4.4 billion in 2022.8

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