US probing tech giants' AI investments

A top U.S. antitrust regulator has said it was launching an inquiry about investments made by Microsoft, Google and Amazon into generative AI startups OpenAI and Anthropic.

The move is part of efforts by major authorities to make sure regulatory oversight can keep up with artificial intelligence developments and stop major players shutting out competitors in a field promising upheaval in multiple sectors.

"Our study will shed light on whether investments and partnerships pursued by dominant companies risk distorting innovation and undermining fair competition," said Lina Khan, head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

One major concern is that generative AI equires a massive amount of computing power, something that big tech companies are almost uniquely capable of delivering.

Amazon - through its AWS arm - Microsoft and Google are the world's biggest providers of cloud-based data centers.

Microsoft has moved the fastest in the generative AI revolution with a reported $13 billion investment into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

Anthropic, founded by former staff of OpenAI, received major investments from both Google and Amazon last year and is seen as a potential major player in the fast-emerging generative AI sector.

Amazon had already announced it aimed to soup up its Alexa voice assistant with generative AI, which the firm said would allow users to have smoother conversations with the connected device.

Anthropic also agreed to use Amazon's chips to develop its next models and the two firms said they would collaborate on developing a next generation of AI chips.

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