Amazon said on Monday that it would invest up to $4 billion in the artificial intelligence start-up Anthropic, as the world’s biggest technology companies race to benefit from A.I. breakthroughs that could reshape parts of their businesses — and the economy as a whole.
Amazon is trying to keep pace with rivals such as Microsoft and Google, which have each poured billions of dollars into A.I. research. Anthropic, seen as one of the most promising of a batch of A.I. start-ups, will use Amazon’s data centers, cloud-computing platform and A.I. chips.
The tech giants have been partnering with up-and-coming A.I. start-ups by providing them with computing power and cash to help them develop new models and applications. Google has also invested in Anthropic, while Microsoft backed OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.
Amazon’s investment of up to $4 billion would give it a minority stake in Anthropic, it said.
Like OpenAI, Anthropic is a developer of so-called generative A.I., the technology capable of learning from vast amounts of data to create humanlike texts and images. These tools are seen as possessing the potential to automate many tasks, reshaping aspects of the global economy.
Anthropic, which operates a chatbot called Claude, has sought to position itself as one of the industry’s more responsible actors. Its executives have warned that A.I. could cause tremendous damage to society if not developed carefully. The company’s co-founder, Jack Clark, attended a recent meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss A.I. policy, including the risks and potential of the rapidly evolving technology.
Partnering with Anthropic is a win for Amazon, which is competing against Microsoft and Google in cloud computing and has been trying to establish itself more deeply in A.I. Amazon is also battling Nvidia as a provider of the chips needed to run complex A.I. systems.
The huge amounts of money and computing power needed to run A.I. models have made it nearly impossible for smaller companies to remain independent from established tech giants with deep pockets. Yet while Microsoft has backed OpenAI and Google has partnered with companies including Cohere, Amazon has not been as active in the field until its deal with Anthropic.
“We can help improve many customer experiences, short- and long-term, through our deeper collaboration,” Andy Jassy, Amazon’s chief executive, said in a statement.