Big Tech Enters The Generative AI Arms Race
But what will be left in this nascent space for the rest of us?
So, there’s a lot of buzz around generative AI right now, and it’s got people wondering: how much of the market will the big tech companies hog, and what’s left for the smaller players? It’s only been a few months since the launch of ChatGPT, but the race is already on to stake out large parts of the territory.
We’re only five months into the game, but Amazon has already thrown its hat into the ring with its cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services. They’ve got their own AI model, Titan, but they’re also offering access to others like Anthropic and Stable Diffusion.
Big Tech muscles in to take a bite of the entire tech stack
They’re not alone, as Google and Microsoft have also developed their own specialised chips for AI. This is all part of a larger attempt by these companies to control all parts of the new computing “stack” required for AI, from the chips at the bottom to the applications and services at the top. Of course, there are concerns over AI replacing Google Search which undoubtedly spurred the Big Tech monolith into action too.
Amazon wants to be the go-to for generative AI, providing developers with all the tools they need to build and deploy their own models, as well as specialised chips for training and running machine-learning systems. And they’re not alone – Google and Microsoft are also getting in on the action with their own specialised semiconductors too.
Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are among the major players vying for control over the various layers of the technology stack that make up the generative AI market. Elon Musk is trying to break into the market with his own AI company, but it won’t be easy.
Musk squeezes in to be a “third force” amongst Big Tech
Musk, who claims his nascent AI company will be a “third force” in AI against Google and Microsoft, faces an uphill battle. His Tesla car company has already built an AI computer for vision recognition, which he thinks could be worth “hundreds of billions” one day if he can sell it to others.
However, the big tech companies have been fine-tuning their technology for years, so they have a head start. Indeed, the arms race comes at a heavy yet relatively unseen-as-yet cost of energy consumption with the environment silently absorbing yet another gut punch from humanity.
The question now is how far up the technology stack the cloud companies will go to claim more value from generative AI. It’s clear that these big tech companies want to control every aspect of the generative AI market, from the chips that process the data needed to train the models, to the algorithms and software used to train and deploy them. They’re even developing their own “foundation models” — the base level of intelligence that powers the larger language and vision models.
What about the end user and the AI startup?
So what does all this mean for the end user and the indie AI startup? Well, it’s going to be tough for smaller players to break into the market, as the big guys have already spent years fine-tuning their technology. However, there could be room for differentiation between AI models, and not all customers will want to rely on giant, opaque systems run by a handful of dominant tech companies. If not, generative AI’s competitive phase could be very short-lived.
But there’s still hope. Companies like Stability AI, the folks behind Stable Diffusion, are counting on Amazon to make money hosting rival AI models in its cloud, rather than trying to supplant them with its own. And not all customers will want to rely de facto on the incumbent giants of the sector. The race is still going, and there is room for differentiation between AI models. Of course, consumers play a vital role in the uptake of the technology however this all too often comes down to money invested in marketing spend.
While the big tech companies are racing to establish their dominance in the market, there’s still hope for other companies to find their place in this nascent field, and probably one that’s moving faster than any unfolding sector before it. Time will tell how this one plays out.
How are creators using AI for content?
AI has the potential to generate content and at scale, but there are special considerations you need to make before jumping into AI content with both feet. For one, AI should be viewed as a tool (a very clever one at that) much like a CMS or word processing software. Secondly, people always come first and Google agrees. If you’re looking to use AI to make a speedy climb up search rankings, you’re wasting your time already.
Are we using generative AI for marketing purposes yet? Get in touch and we’ll let you know!