South Korea’s SK Telecom Co Ltd (NYSE: SKM) is partnering with a San Francisco AI startup and investing US$100 million for the companies to develop a multilingual large language model (LLM) platform for telecommunications providers.
SK Telecom announced the investment in Anthropic on Sunday, a company competing with OpenAI that completed a US$450 million funding round led by the firm Spark Capital in May. The LLM being developed will be utilized specifically for telecommunications and will support languages such as Spanish, Korean, German, Arabic and Japanese.
The news follows SK Telecom forming the Global Telco AI Alliance with Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR: DTE), Signtel and e& at the end of July, an organization dedicated to accelerating AI transformation in the telecommunications business. The alliance is developing the Telco AI Platform, a program that the new LLM is being established for.
“We’re excited to combine our AI expertise with SKT’s industry knowledge to build an LLM that is customized for telcos. We see industry-specific LLMs as having high potential to create safer and more reliable deployments of AI technology,” said Anthropic’s Co-Founder and CEO Dario Amodei.
“By combining our Korean language-based LLM with Anthropic’s strong AI capabilities, we expect to create synergy and gain leadership in the AI ecosystem together with our global telco partners,” said SKT’s CEO Ryu Young-sang.
Anthropic is second only to OpenAI
SK Telecom will assist with the development of Anthropic’s AI bot Claude, customizing it for telecommunications purposes such as marketing, sales and customer service. SK made a previous investment in Anthropic in May through its venture capital arm in California’s Silicon Valley but the company has not specified how much or the size of the stake it now holds.
Anthropic was founded by former Open AI employees in 2021 and is the world’s second-most well-funded AI startup. United States President Joe Biden met with representatives from the company last month along with others from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Meta (NASDAQ: META) and Inflection AI who pledged to take the safety and security of potentially dangerous AI technology very seriously.
California’s startups Inflection AI and Mosaic ML have also received vast amounts of funding and interest from major companies in recent days. Inflection AI raised US$1.3 billion through a funding round led by NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) and three tech billionaires at the end of June and MosaicML was bought up by the major software company Databricks for the same amount earlier that month.
SK Telecom shares stayed relatively flat on Monday and are currently trading for US$19.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.
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