Amazon’s AI team faces pressure to outperform Anthropic’s Claude models by mid-year



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Amazon has invested $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic, but is also developing a competing large-scale language model called Olympus. The company aims to surpass Anthropic’s Claude model by the middle of this year.

This week, Amazon completed the second phase of a deal announced in September, investing an additional $2.75 billion in OpenAI rival Anthropic. In total, Amazon has invested up to $4 billion in the AI startup – the largest amount the company has ever invested in another firm.

The deal with Anthropic is important for Amazon to avoid falling behind Microsoft in the cloud race. Microsoft is gaining a large number of AI customers thanks to its exclusive deal with OpenAI.

At the same time, Amazon’s internal AI division, led by SVP Rohit Prasad, sees Anthropic as competition. The team is aiming to outperform Anthropic’s latest Claude models by the middle of the year, reports Alex Heath for The Verge.

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Olympus to become Amazon’s AI flagship

Amazon’s next flagship model, codenamed Olympus, is currently in training and is said to have “hundreds of billions of parameters”. The first reports about Olympus were published in November 2023.

However, Amazon has not been able to achieve success with its own language models so far. An Amazon insider tells Heath that Anthropic’s models are significantly better and more powerful than anything the company has developed in-house.

Amazon’s own employees are also reportedly dissatisfied with the long wait for Olympus and are considering switching to Anthropic’s models.

“Claude competes with us and makes us nervous,” says an Amazon insider. “For any team not training LLMs and only using them, Claude is a clear winner for now.”

When Olympus launches later this year, it will be integrated into almost all areas of Amazon and made available to other companies via AWS. The model is said to be Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s pet project.

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