SoftBank Subsidiary to Develop Generative AI Tools for Enterprises

SoftBank Group’s telecom arm will invest significant funds into developing generative artificial intelligence (AI) products to target Japanese enterprises. The conglomerate will begin building its AI infrastructure by the end of this year, Nikkei reported.

SoftBank to Invest $138 Million in Generative AI Infrastructure

SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications company owned by the namesake conglomerate, plans to develop its generative AI tool amid growing demand for enterprise AI solutions in the East Asian nation.

As part of the plan, the Tokyo-based group wants to pour 20 billion yen ($138 million) into computing infrastructure equipped with powerful graphic cards from industry leader Nvidia. The infrastructure is expected to be one of the most sophisticated developed by Japanese companies, as such power is required for processing AI data.

According to Nikkei, SoftBank will develop its generative AI offering by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. The company aims to first target the call center operations market before expanding to other sectors such as finance and healthcare.

SoftBank’s telecom unit is already working on a large language model that will power its upcoming generative AI tool, which currently has 1 billion parameters. The company plans to raise the number of these parameters, which serve as a performance gauge, to around 60 billion.

The move comes about a week after SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said the conglomerate is ready to switch from its “defense mode” to “offense mode.” SoftBank was forced to take a more cautious approach in recent months after a series of substantial losses.

Enterprise AI Solution Developers Attract Investors’ Interest

The recent ChatGPT-led AI boom has fueled a significant surge in demand for AI technology in the enterprise market. Organizations increasingly recognize the potential of AI solutions to optimize processes, automate tasks, and gain valuable insights from data, driving them to invest in AI research and development, partnerships, and internal AI teams.

Recent funding rounds from the likes of Typeface and Jasper have emphasized this increase in interest. The former, which develops generative AI for brands, raised $100 million on June 29 at a $1 billion valuation, while Jasper secured $125 million in October 2022, bringing the company’s worth to $1.25 billion.

In May, analysts at Goldman Sachs said they see the nascent AI technology as one of the biggest long-term supports for corporate profits. Specifically, the strategists think AI could boost US corporate net margins by 4% over the next 10 years.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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