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SoftBank launches SB Intuitions: building LLMs and generative AI in Japanese

SoftBank launches SB Intuitions: building LLMs and generative AI in Japanese

Hayo News
Hayo News
August 4th, 2023

August 4, SoftBank put in a bid for businesses and consumers in Japan with the launch of SB Intuitions, a new company that it says will “research and develop homegrown Large Language Models (LLM) specialized for the Japanese language.” SB Intuitions also plans to build and sell generative AI services based on Japanese.

The announcement was short on detail but for now, here’s what we know. SB Intuitions will be 100% owned by SoftBank itself — no call for or plans at this point for outside investors. SoftBank will only use data housed in Japan-based data centers — but no detail so far on how it will source the data and under what agreements. It is likely to tap into the company’s extensive consumer and enterprise operations in the country.

The earliest plans for this business were actually laid out in March of this year; but the SB Intuitions name and the company’s plans are only getting announced today. To operate the service, SoftBank will be tapping into another big AI effort at the company: a computing platform, built on NVIDIA GPUs, that “can be utilized for developing generative AI and other applications,” including academic research and enterprise services. That will be online before the end of March 2024, the company said.

At the shareholders' meeting on June 21, Masayoshi Son of SoftBank presented a slide titled "Evolution Speed," showing a graph of human evolution. From the birth of mankind to the Agricultural Revolution, the curve was completely flat until the transition from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Revolution, when it rose slightly. He also said that in the next few years, due to the development of artificial intelligence, the curve will rise steeply, with a slope approaching a vertical line.

The representative director of SB Intuitions will be Hirotora Tanba, who serves as SoftBank Executive Officer and Head of Data Infrastructure Strategy Headquarters, in charge of the technology division.


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