Intel has launched a new AI company

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Chip maker Intel today (Jan. 3) announced its latest ambitions in artificial intelligence: It’s establishing an independent company dedicated to generative AI. The enterprise firm, named Articul8 AI, is being formed in partnership with DigitalBridge Group, a digital-focused asset manager.

Intel executives did not disclose the financial details of the arrangement, including the deal’s valuation or Intel’s retained majority stake in the emerging venture. The organization will operate with an independent board of directors, with Intel continuing as a shareholder.

Intel’s new venture in enterprise AI safety

Former Intel vice president Arun Subramaniyan will assume the role of CEO at Articul8. “We’ve been really trying to address the biggest gap in generative AI today, which is that building a proof of concept is easy, but getting things into production and doing it safely and in a cost sustainable way is really what is missing,” Subramaniyan, who also worked as the general manager of Intel’s data center and AI group, told Reuters.

Amid fears of falling behind in the global AI chip market race, the California-based tech company has previously demonstrated its plans to take on chip maker Nvidia. But beyond chips, it’s developing generative AI software, too, to take the competition to the likes of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, Google, Stability AI and Anthropic. “With its deep AI and high performance computing domain knowledge and enterprise-grade GenAI deployments, Articul8 is well positioned to deliver tangible business outcomes for Intel and our broader ecosystem of customers,” CEO Pat Gelsinger said in the announcement.  

Articul8 is the result of research work on enterprise AI that Intel carried out with Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Rich Lesser, global chair of BCG, said the collaboration with Intel began nearly two years ago. “Since then, we have deployed Articul8 products for multiple clients seeking production-ready platforms with rapid time to market,” Lesser said in the release.

During the partnership, an Intel supercomputer and software was used to develop a generative AI system capable of processing text and images, thanks to a combination of open-source and proprietary technology. The system was adapted to run within BCG’s data centers to address privacy and security concerns. According to Intel, the platform is now ready for use by enterprise customers in financial services, aerospace, semiconductors, and telecommunications.

Intel is consolidating its AI research efforts

Intel’s approach to AI has encompassed both hardware and software solutions, along with investments in other companies. But the company has been primarily known for developing high-performance processors and accelerators optimized for AI workloads. With the establishment of the new AI firm, Intel aims to consolidate and amplify its efforts in AI software development.

“Every global enterprise today is challenged to integrate generative AI capabilities into their workflows,” said Marc Ganzi, DigitalBridge CEO in the relaese. “We see generative AI as a pivotal force driving digital infrastructure.”

In addition to DigitalBridge, a significant investor in data centers, Articul8 has secured investments from Fin Capital, Mindset Ventures, Communitas Capital, GiantLeap Capital, GS Futures, and Zain Group.

Intel’s decision to establish Articul8 also represents its ongoing strategy to attract external capital for specific business units. The company previously spun off the car chip firm Mobileye Global and plans an eventual initial public offering (IPO) for its programmable chip unit.

While Intel’s move into AI is undoubtedly ambitious, the new company has no shortage of challenges to navigate: A rapidly changing landscape, ethical considerations, a lack of transparency and accountability, and shifting definitions of responsible development.

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