Google Invests $300 Million in AI Startup Anthropic

Google has invested about $300mn in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, making it the latest tech giant to throw its money and computing power behind a new generation of companies trying to claim a place in the booming field of "generative AI." From the report: The terms of the deal, through which Google will take a stake of around 10 per cent, requires Anthropic to use the money to buy computing resources from the search company's cloud computing division, according to three people familiar with the arrangement. Google's move highlights the influence that a small number of Big Tech companies have assumed over other companies working on AI, which need access to cloud computing platforms to handle the giant AI models developed by groups such as Anthropic. The search company's investment also echoes the $1bn cash-for-computing investment that Microsoft made in OpenAI three years ago.

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ISP Admits Lying To FCC About Size of Network To Block Funding To Rivals

Ryan Grewell, who runs a small wireless Internet service provider in Ohio, last month received an email that confirmed some of his worst suspicions about cable companies. From a report: Grewell, founder and general manager of Smart Way Communications, had heard from some of his customers that the Federal Communications Commission's new broadband map falsely claimed fiber Internet service was available at their homes from another company called Jefferson County Cable. Those customer reports spurred Grewell to submit a number of challenges to the FCC in an attempt to correct errors in Smart Way's service area. One of Grewell's challenges elicited a response from Jefferson County Cable executive Bob Loveridge, who apparently thought Grewell was a resident at the challenged address rather than a competitor. "You challenged that we do not have service at your residence and indeed we don't today," Loveridge wrote in a January 9 email that Grewell shared with Ars. "With our huge investment in upgrading our service to provide xgpon we reported to the BDC [Broadband Data Collection] that we have service at your residence so that they would not allocate addition [sic] broadband expansion money over [the] top of our private investment in our plant." The email is reminiscent of our November 2022 article about a cable company accidentally telling a rival about its plan to block government grants to competitors. Speaking to Ars in a phone interview, Grewell said, "This cable company happened to just say the quiet part out loud." He called it "a blatant attempt at blocking anyone else from getting funding in an area they intend to serve." It's not clear when Jefferson County Cable plans to serve the area. Program rules do not allow ISPs to claim future coverage in their map submissions. Jefferson County Cable ultimately admitted to the FCC that it filed incorrect data and was required to submit a correction. The challenge that the ISP conceded was for an address on State Route 43 in Bergholz, Ohio. The town is not one of the coverage areas listed on Jefferson County Cable's website.

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Billionaire Draper Pitches Sri Lanka on Bitcoin, Gets Rejected

A billionaire cryptocurrency evangelist may have gotten a tougher reception than he expected when proposing widespread adoption of Bitcoin to a bankrupt country. From a report: Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper was in Sri Lanka to shoot an episode of his "Meet the Drapers" TV show with local entrepreneurs, and met President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday to proselytize the adoption of cryptocurrency. He journeyed to the central bank the next day with the same pitch -- but embattled Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe, who's still working to calm financial mayhem, was having none of it. "I come to the Central Bank with decentralized currency," proclaimed Draper, dressed in a Bitcoin tie for the meeting that took place in a teak-paneled room overlooking the sea. "We don't accept," Weerasinghe said, taking another sip of fizzy ginger beer. During the meeting, Draper several times referred to what he described as Sri Lanka's reputation for corruption and argued cryptocurrency was one solution. Colombo could avert graft by keeping perfect records after adopting Bitcoin, he argued. "Have you seen Sri Lanka in the news? It's known as the corruption capital," Draper said. "A country known for corruption will be able to keep perfect records with the adoption of Bitcoin." Sri Lanka's topmost monetary official countered: "Adoption of 100% Bitcoin won't be a Sri Lanka reality ever." [...] He kept trying with Weerasinghe. "Does the administration have the guts to do it?" he asked. "What's the advantage of having your own currency?" Weerasinghe said other technologies could efficiently distribute financial services to foster inclusion and disburse electronic welfare payments, and noted that a country without its own currency couldn't have monetary-policy independence. "We don't want to make the crisis worse by introducing Bitcoin," he said.

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