SoftBank to invest $960m in Japanese AI 


The investment follows the company spending JPY20 billion ($129.2 million) on computing infrastructure last year 

Japanese tech giant SoftBank has announced that it will invest JPY 150 billion $960 billion to upgrade its computing infrastructure to deliver a Generative AI (gen AI) platform in the Japanese language, according to a report from Nikkei, which cited anonymous sources. 

Over the next two years, SoftBank will reportedly purchase GPUs (graphics processing units) from US based chip company Nvidia, using them to train and power its own large language models (LLMs), and then loan access to them to other firms. 

The investment in computing infrastructure is set to be the largest of any Japanese company, although SoftBank has not yet commented on the report. 

Last August, SoftBank invested JPY 150 million ($969 million) launched a new company, named ‘SB Institutions’, to research and develop homegrown LLMs that are specialised for the Japanese language. The company will ‘provide the necessary data sets and tools for LLM learning and develop models for reinforcement learning on SoftBank’s computing platform,” the press release reads. 

“By developing LLM specialized for the Japanese language, SB Intuitions can develop generative AI services tailored to the unique needs of Japan-based customers,” it continued. 

SB institutions is currently working on its own LLM, which is set to be completed this year. 

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