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SKT invests $100m in AI firm Anthropic

Logos of SK Telecom (left) and Anthropic (right). (SK Telecom)
Logos of SK Telecom (left) and Anthropic (right). (SK Telecom)

SK Telecom, South Korea’s leading telecom carrier, announced Sunday that it will invest an additional $100 million in San Francisco-based artificial intelligence safety and research company Anthropic to enhance the partnership between the two companies.

Following a previous investment in May, the new round of funding aims to seek business synergy with the SK Telecom-led Global Telco AI Alliance, which was launched last month together with Deutsche Telekom of Germany, e& of the United Arab Emirates and Singtel of Singapore.

As part of the efforts, SK Telecom and Anthropic agreed to team up to develop a large language model that supports multiple languages, including Korean, English, German, Japanese, Arabic and Spanish.

Anthropic plans to provide customized AI solutions for telecom partners in different languages, speeding up related service development while enhancing efficiency throughout the process.

Anthropic is an AI startup co-founded by former OpenAI researchers in 2021. Its Claude chatbot is considered among the most advanced chatbots in the market.

Jared Kaplan, Anthropic’s co-founder and one of the developers of ChatGPT-3, will oversee the overall direction and development road map of the joint project with SK Telecom.

“As an experienced developer of the Korean-based large language model and an expert in the telecommunication industry, SK Telecom is the best partner for AI business,” said Dario Amodei, Anthropic’s co-founder and CEO.

“By combining the two firms’ state-of-the-art technologies, we expect to create synergy and gain leadership in the AI industry,” said Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SK Telecom.

On July 27, SK Telecom hosted the Global Telco AI Alliance CEO Summit, a hybrid event held both online and offline, in Seoul with top executives including SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, SK Telecom CEO Ryu, Deutsche Telekom board member Claudia Nemat, e& group CEO Hatem Dowidar and Singtel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon in attendance.

During the meeting, the four companies signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the AI alliance and bolster ties for the artificial intelligence transformation of the telecom industry and development of new AI-powered business models.

By Mun So-jeong (