Big Tech companies are entering an AI arms race that is seeing them leverage their cloud divisions to snap up artificial intelligence start-ups. As a consequence, regulator concerns are growing that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon will shut out smaller companies and harm competition.

The race is on to develop “generative AI” and Google has struck the latest deal, purchasing San Francisco-based Anthropic for $300 million. However, this is just one part of a wider series of acquisitions from tech giants including Microsoft and Amazon.

Generative AI is a section of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses its algorithms to create outputs based on data they learn. Different to standard AI that will recognize patterns and make predictions, a generative AI will literally generate content from learning from a dataset.

William Kovacic, a former Republican chair on the US antitrust agency, says [Via the Financial Times] regulators are going to look more closely at Big Tech cloud vendors buying AI companies.

“[This] is exactly the type of scenario that the Federal Trade Commission has said they’re going to focus on,” says William Kovacic, who is also a professor of antitrust law at George Washington University. “There is a heightened concern about how the large information services firms are limiting opportunities for new generations of competitors to come forward.”

Talent Acquisition

Despite Kovacic’ concerns and his belief the FTC is looking at these deals, the regulator has not officially confirmed this is the case.

As well as interest in AI, the reason tech companies are sweeping up start-ups is to acquire the talent pools within them. When Google purchases Anthropic, alongside the technology the company is also bringing in engineers, developers, and other talent.

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