Google plans to invest $200 million in artificial intelligence

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has emphasized the importance of AI to the company since taking over the top role in 2015
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Alphabet Inc’s Google is in talks to invest at least $200 million in artificial intelligence startup Cohere Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in another sign of a growing arms race among the sector’s big tech companies.

Cohere, founded in 2019, creates natural language processing software that developers can then use to build artificial intelligence applications for businesses, including tools for chatbots and other functions that can understand human speech and text. Last November, the company announced a multi-year partnership with Google to provide the computing power needed for Cohere to train cloud computing software models.

As part of the negotiations, Cohere also held discussions with chip maker Nvidia Corp. People said about the potential strategic investment. Some people said talks between the companies were still ongoing and could fall apart.

Cohere’s estimate of any potential new funding could not be ascertained.

Google and Nvidia declined to comment. Toronto-based Cohere did not respond to requests for comment.

Other tech giants are also looking to bet more on artificial intelligence. Microsoft Corp. is in advanced talks on a new round of funding at OpenAI, another startup racing to build software models to achieve artificial general intelligence, or a machine that can understand everything a human can in years.

OpenAI already uses Microsoft’s cloud service Azure as its exclusive partner and has agreed to favor Microsoft when bringing technologies to market. Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has emphasized the importance of artificial intelligence to the company since taking the top job in 2015. Alphabet bought AI research company DeepMind in 2014. Google’s research arm, Google Brain, is also one of the most closely watched publishers. on big language models and other AI topics.

Cohere CEO Aidan Gomez previously interned at Google Brain and worked on a paper that improved the popular Transformer AI model.

Some researchers have warned that new AI models could raise difficult ethical questions and contribute to unwarranted hype in the sector.

The new funding will add to a flurry of investment activity in what has been a slow market for new deals for AI startups. Cohere raised $125 million in a new funding round led by investment firm Tiger Global Management in February, bringing its total funding at the time to more than $170 million.

Artificial intelligence firm Stability AI said Monday it raised $101 million in new funding from investors including Coatue Management and Lightspeed Venture Partners. On the same day, the company held a presentation ceremony in San Francisco, which was attended by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

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