Rakuten’s AI Breakthrough: Launch of New Proprietary Model Imminent

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The well-known fintech to e-commerce company Rakuten in Japan is getting ready to launch its artificial intelligence language model (LLM) in the next two months. 

As disclosed during an aired interview by CEO Hiroshi Mickey Mikitani, this decision is consistent with Rakuten’s strategic goal to enter the swiftly advancing field of artificial intelligence, positioning the company alongside other prominent technology leaders in this sector.

Mikitani highlighted that the company’s diverse portfolio spanning banking, e-commerce, and telecommunications has accumulated substantial and distinctive data. 

Leveraging this unique dataset, Rakuten aims to train its LLM, emphasizing that no other entity possesses a dataset of similar magnitude.

Mikitani provided insight into the main objective driving the development of this AI model, emphasizing that its core purpose revolves around significantly improving the efficiency of internal operations and marketing strategies, with an anticipated enhancement of around 20%.

Rakuten’s Competitive Timeline in AI Development

Rakuten's-AI-Breakthrough-Launch-of-New-Proprietary-Model-Imminent
The well-known fintech to e-commerce company Rakuten in Japan is getting ready to launch its artificial intelligence language model (LLM) in the next two months.

Additionally, Rakuten intends to extend this model to third-party businesses, following the footsteps of companies like Amazon and Microsoft, allowing external entities to leverage their platform for business purposes.

Expressing the timeline for this rollout, Mikitani assured that Rakuten will have its AI model ready within a couple of months, signaling a competitive entry into the domain where major U.S. and Chinese tech giants have already established their LLMs.

In Japan, companies are swiftly advancing in the AI race. NTT recently announced the forthcoming availability of its proprietary LLM in March, while SoftBank’s telecommunications division revealed the operational status of its generative AI computing platform in November. 

This concerted effort by Japanese firms to develop language models tailored to the Japanese language could potentially provide them with a strategic advantage over their US and Chinese counterparts.

Mikitani envisions this bold leap into AI as a catalyst for huge profitable growth for Rakuten, marking an ambitious stride into the AI realm amidst the ongoing technological race among global tech giants.

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