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Google Invests $300 Million in Rival OpenAI Startup

Google Invests $300 Million in Rival OpenAI Startup

Ivana Shteriova
Google poured a $300 million investment into Anthropic, a little-known AI startup that aims to develop “reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems.”

While details are just now emerging, the deal reportedly occurred in late 2022. This comes as a part of Google’s increased efforts to stay at the forefront of generative AI, a sophisticated type of machine learning that can create everything from text, images, video, and audio to code and synthetic data. In return for the financial boost, Google received a 10% stake in the company.

In addition to Google’s recent investment, the startup also has a separate cloud contract with Google, citing the tech giant as its “preferred cloud provider” that provides Anthropic with “the cloud infrastructure performance and scale…to deploy [our] AI systems to a larger set of people.”

This new partnership echoes Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI, which resulted in ChatGPT going public in late November last year. This advanced language model can generate human-like conversations, and can even write emails, essays, poetry, and code.

Anthropic was founded in 2021 by former OpenAI vice president of research Dario Amodei, who resigned from the tech company in late 2020. Anthropic’s team has 14 former OpenAI researchers who, like Amodei, worked on GPT-3 and later disapproved of the overly commercial trajectory OpenAI has adopted amid Microsoft’s massive financial involvement.

OpenAI initially started as a non-profit on a mission to democratize AI, but critics say it ended up selling itself to the corporate world. Many AI researchers disagree with OpenAI’s decision to release ChatGPT to the public. One of their concerns is the lack of reliable software that can detect its work and how that can affect multiple industries. In response, OpenAI launched a detection tool for AI-generated text, but its success rate is only 26% so far.

Google and Anthropic have their own chatbot and possible ChatGPT rival in the works, Claude. Unlike ChatGPT, Claude is not publicly available. Google has yet to reveal whether it plans to follow Microsoft’s steps and integrate the tool into its services and search engine.

Google is reportedly working on over 20 new AI projects, including an AI-powered search engine and AI music bot, as well as deals with AI companies Cohere and C3.

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