Amazon has pledged up to $4 billion (£3.3bn) in funding for a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Artificial intelligence firm Anthropic, also based in the US, has created a large language model chatbot named Claude, the second iteration of which launched recently.

Amazon’s initial investment is £1bn. It follows Microsoft’s multi-million-dollar backing for OpenAI, announced in January, and the news in June that Microsoft and Nvidia had led a $1.3bn round into Inflection AI.

The deal will see Anthropic use Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider for the “majority of workloads” and also use AWS-designed Trainium and Inferentia chips – looking to rival market leader Nvidia – in its foundation models.

Customers using AWS will gain early access to unique features for “model customisation and fine-tuning capabilities”.

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“We have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models, and believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short- and long-term, through our deeper collaboration,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

ChatGPT, the first LLM to crack the mass market, only launched late last year. However, the race to lead the next generation of AI is already moving beyond the early stage of these generative AI models.

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Amazon will soon use AI to accelerate the conversational powers of its voice assistant Alexa, while ChatGPT – which currently generates text and code in response to typed commands – is to enable voice interactions and incorporate images.

Anthropic CEO and co-founder Dario Amodei added: “By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organisations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology.”

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