Google Invests Nearly $400 Million In An AI Research Firm To Build ChatGPT’s Rival!

TECH NEWS – Founded in 2021, Anthropic has built its own general-purpose chatbot, a potential rival to ChatGPT, with Google’s backing, called Claude, but not yet been made public.



The competition between Google and Microsoft for the future of artificial intelligence technology continues to heat up. While Microsoft is firmly entwined with OpenAI, which created ChatGPT, Google could turn to a company founded by former OpenAI employees: the little-known Anthropic.

The Financial Times reports that Google invested around $300 million in the startup at the end of 2022, although the news was not reported at the time.

According to the Los Angeles Times, that figure is now closer to 400 million. In exchange for the money, Google received a 10 per cent stake in the company. Separately, Anthropic announced this week that Google Cloud is its “preferred cloud provider”, with the companies “co-developing AI computing systems”.

This dynamic is somewhat similar to the partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI. There, OpenAI provides the research expertise, while Microsoft not only invests billions of dollars but also provides access to its mammoth cloud platform for training the latest computationally intensive AI models.

Notably, Anthropic is also developing its own general-purpose chatbot: a potential rival to ChatGPT is called Claude. (Claude is in closed beta testing, but a comparison between Anthropic’s and OpenAI’s systems can be found here.) It is unclear, however, whether Google plans to integrate Claude into its services, as Microsoft is doing with ChatGPT. The company already has plenty of in-house expertise in developing AI-based language systems. According to the FT, one of the motivations for the deal is simply to build out Google’s cloud computing business.


Anthropic was founded by OpenAI employees who were unhappy with the company’s trajectory


The backstory of Anthropic’s founding is also relevant. The organisation was set up in 2021 as a public benefit corporation by Dario Amodei, former Vice President of Research at OpenAI. Amodei brought with him several OpenAI researchers, including Tom Brown, the lead engineer of the AI GPT-3 language model. As the FT notes, Amodei left OpenAI “after a disagreement over the company’s direction” – namely, after the company’s increasingly commercial focus following its first deal with Microsoft in 2019.

Since then, several AI researchers have criticised OpenAI’s increasingly irresponsible actions, particularly for releasing ChatGPT onto the public web late last year without adequate safeguards or software to detect its output reliably.

By comparison, Anthropic stresses on its website that it is working to build “reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems”. But will Google’s investment have an impact on changing priorities?

In any case, expect to hear more about Google’s AI future soon. The company will hold an event on the subject tomorrow, 8 February. And we are likely to hear more from Microsoft about its plans for Bing ChatGPT in the near future.

Source: Financial Times, Los Angeles Times

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