SK Telecom to invest $100m in AI firm Anthropic


The investment is the second SK Telecom investment in the firm this year 

SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest telco, has announced that it will invest $100 million in US artificial intelligence (AI) firm Anthropic to develop a multilingual large language model (LLM) customised for global telcos.  

“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 CEO Ryu Young-sang. 

Anthropic is an AI startup founded in 2021 by former Open AI executives and is now one of the most well-funded AI firms, having already raised $450 from investors. SKT itself invested an initial undisclosed sum in Anthropic back in May.  

This week’s new investment will see greater customisation of AI platform, potentially including interactive consumer applications or industry specific sales and marketing. The LLM will be capable of supporting languages including Korean, German, English, Japanese, Spanish, and Arabic. 

Both the customisation and platform direction will be overseen by Anthropic co-founder and Chief Science Officer Jared Kaplan. 

The investment is the latest step in SKT’s drive to become a world leader in AI, with SKT’s Chief Financial Officer Kim Jin Won noting that the firm was “stepping up efforts on all fronts to transform itself into an AI company”. 

Last month, four major global telcos – SKT, e&, Deutsche Telecom, and Singtel – partnered to form a Global Telco AI Alliance, singing a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the use of AI. The four operators pledged to combine their respective technologies and expertise to create a telco-focussed AI platform that will provide customised AI services and apps to users in each market. This signing eliminates the need for each firm to develop their own AI platforms, which is both costly and time consuming. 

“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,” said Anthropic CEO and co-founder Dario Amodei.  

“We see industry specific LLMs as having high potential to create safer and more reliable deployments of AI technology.”   

How is the AI changing the telecoms world? Join the operators in discussion at this year’s Total Telecom Congress live in Amsterdam 

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