Anthropic SK Telecom

Anthropic AI Raises $100M From SK Telecom

South Korean communications tech giant SK Telecom has invested $100 million into generative AI startup Anthropic. The funding is in addition to the money from SK Telecom Venture Capital in a previous round. SKT and Anthropic are broadening their deal with the new investment toward a plan to build a new multilingual large language model (LLM) customized for the telecommunications industry and able to communicate in English, Korean, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish.

Telecom LLM

SK Telecom plans to meld its expertise with Anthropic’s generative AI models, including the Claude conversational AI chatbot. The goal is an industry-specific LLM ideally suited to the world of telecoms. The multilingual model will be integrated into the Telco AI Platform currently under development by the Global Telco AI Alliance, of which SK Telecom and Anthropic are both members. The new program will be led by Anthropic chief science officer and co-founder Jared Kaplan and eventually become available to others in the new alliance, such as Deutsche Telekom and Singtel.

The companies believe a model built specifically for telecoms will perform better than the existing general LLMs. Anthropic will collaborate with SK Telecom to fine-tune Claude for use cases such as customer service, marketing, sales, and interactive consumer apps. SK Telecom unveiled a voice assistant named A.  (the letter A followed by a full stop) last year that leverages OpenAI’s GPT-3 conversational AI engine to learn and adapt to a user’s preferences. The new partnership is focused more on the enterprise side of the equation, however.

“With our strategic investment in Anthropic, a global leading AI technology company, we will be working closely with Anthropic to promote AI innovation,” SK Telecom CEO Ryu Young-sang said in a statement. “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.”

Anthropic raised $450 million in May and has since been working to improve and create new variations of Claude and its LLMs, such as the 100,000 token context window expansion for its chatbot. The company updated the smaller and faster version of its Claude AI model last week with the debut of Claude Instant 1.2. Claude Instant 1.2 brings in some of the enhancements added to the larger and more powerful Claude 2 model released in July.

“SKT has incredible ambitions to use AI to transform the telco industry. We’re excited to combine our AI expertise with SKT’s industry knowledge to build a 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,” Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei said.

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