A ChatGPT rival co-founded by a British former journalist has secured $4bn (£3.3bn) from Amazon as the tech giant seeks to catch up in the artificial intelligence race.
The company is investing in Anthropic, a high-profile Silicon Valley lab formed by a team of researchers who quit OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, in protest at its direction.
They include Jack Clark, a former journalist who studied creative writing and worked as a reporter at technology news website The Register and Bloomberg, where he covered artificial intelligence, before joining OpenAI.
Mr Clark also worked with the Government’s AI ethics body, the Centre for Data and Ethics Innovation, as a member of its recently disbanded advisory board.
A team of former OpenAI researchers quit the company in 2021 in protest at what they saw as a lax approach to safety. They include Dario Amodei, OpenAI’s former research head, who is now Anthropic’s chief executive.
The company was reportedly valued at $5bn by a separate investment earlier this year.
Amazon’s investment marks a response to Microsoft, which has invested billions into OpenAI and has since enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the company, incorporating ChatGPT’s technology into many of its services such as its search engine, Bing.
Amazon is the world’s biggest provider of cloud computing, which many AI companies rely on to develop their high-powered systems. However, its chief rivals Microsoft and Google have been seen as stealing a march on the company with a string of investments in AI labs.
Amazon also hopes that its AI microchips can become an alternative to those provided by Nvidia, which has become one of the world’s most valuable companies on the back of the AI boom.
Anthropic has sought to be a pioneer of safe development of cutting-edge AI models, emphasising the “responsible” development of the systems.
Its chatbot, Claude, a rival to ChatGPT, is designed to be ethical and less likely to produce responses that could encourage dangerous behaviour.
Amazon will invest an initial $1.25bn in the company, with the potential to raise this to $4bn. It said that under the deal, Amazon will become Anthropic’s “primary cloud provider”
Google had previously invested $300m in the company.
AI companies have been forced to turn to tech giants for investment because of the huge computing resources at their disposal and as once deep-pocketed investors such as SoftBank and Tiger Global suffer during an investment downturn.
Mr Clark recently told the UN that AI creates “potential threats to international peace, security and global stability” because it could be misused or could become unpredictable.