SK Telecom invests $100 million in AI startup Anthropic


SK Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in South Korea, announced on Sunday that it will invest $100 million in Anthropic, a U.S.-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup that is developing foundation models for general intelligence.

What is Anthropic?

Anthropic is a new AI research company that was founded in 2021 by former executives of OpenAI, a nonprofit research organization that aims to create and ensure the safe use of artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is a hypothetical form of AI that can perform any intellectual task that a human can.

Anthropic’s mission is to create and understand large-scale neural networks that can learn from diverse and complex data, and to align them with human values and intentions. The company is developing a series of foundation models called Claude, which are seen as major competitors to OpenAI’s GPT-4, the latest version of its famous natural language processing model.

SK Telecom invests $100 million in AI startup Anthropic
SK Telecom invests $100 million in AI startup Anthropic

Anthropic is one of the most well-funded AI startups in the world, having raised $450 million from investors including Google, Spark Capital, and Reid Hoffman in May. The company has not yet released any products or research papers, but it has attracted some of the top AI researchers and engineers in the industry.

Why did SK Telecom invest in Anthropic?

SK Telecom said that it will invest $100 million in Anthropic to strengthen its telecommunications-driven AI business. The company also said that it made a smaller investment in Anthropic in May, but did not disclose the amount or the stake.

SK Telecom and Anthropic plan to jointly develop a global telecommunications-oriented multilingual large language model and build an AI platform that can provide various services and solutions for customers. The two companies will also collaborate on research and development of ethical and trustworthy AI technologies.

SK Telecom said that it believes that Anthropic’s foundation models will enable new breakthroughs in AI applications across various domains, such as natural language understanding, computer vision, speech recognition, and recommendation systems. The company also said that it expects to gain a competitive edge in the global AI market by partnering with Anthropic.

What are the implications of this investment?

This investment is significant for several reasons. First, it shows that SK Telecom is serious about becoming a leader in the AI field, not only in South Korea but also in the world. The company has been investing heavily in AI research and development, as well as acquiring and partnering with other AI companies. In July, SK Telecom agreed with Deutsche Telekom, e& and Singapore Telecommunications to form an alliance to jointly develop telecommunications-driven AI businesses.

Second, it demonstrates that Anthropic is gaining recognition and support from some of the most influential players in the tech industry. The company has already secured backing from Google, one of the leading companies in AI research and innovation. Now, with SK Telecom’s investment, Anthropic will have access to one of the largest and most advanced telecommunications networks in Asia, as well as a huge customer base and data pool.

Third, it indicates that there is a growing interest and demand for foundation models that can achieve general intelligence. Foundation models are large-scale neural networks that can learn from massive amounts of data and perform multiple tasks across different domains. They are seen as the next frontier of AI research and development, as they have the potential to unlock new capabilities and applications that were previously impossible or impractical.

However, foundation models also pose significant challenges and risks, such as scalability, reliability, interpretability, fairness, privacy, and safety. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that these models are aligned with human values and goals, and that they are used for good purposes. This is why SK Telecom and Anthropic said that they will work together to create ethical and trustworthy AI technologies.


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