Tool Use Now Generally Available in Anthropic's Claude AI

Tool Use Now Generally Available in Anthropic's Claude AI

Anthropic has announced the general availability of tool use for their AI assistant, Claude. This feature, also known as "function calling" enables Claude to access and utilize tools provided by the developer to perform a wider range of tasks. With tool use now generally available (via their API, Amazon Bedrock, and Google Vertex AI), developers can start building applications that leverage Claude's intelligence and adaptability in new ways.

Under the hood, tool use involves providing Claude with a set of tools and a user prompt. Claude then assesses whether any of the available tools would help with the user's query or task, and if so, decides which tool(s) to use and with what inputs. The API response indicates when Claude wants to use an external tool, at which point the client-side code should run the actual tool and return the results to Claude.

What's New in Tool Use?

In addition to previously available capabilities, the latest release of tool use includes several new features:

  • Streaming: Tool use now supports fine-grained streaming, providing a more natural user experience, especially for long outputs.
  • Forced Tool Choice: Developers can now force Claude to use a specific tool, any relevant tool, or let it decide whether to use tools through the "tool_choice" parameter.
  • Vision Support: Anthropic has added support for tools that return images, enabling multimodal experiences and enhancing Claude's ability to work with visual content.

For businesses, this means that AI can now handle more specialized tasks and offer more tailored responses, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of AI-driven solutions. It also opens up new possibilities for creating more interactive and dynamic user experiences.

Chris McKay is the founder and chief editor of Maginative. His thought leadership in AI literacy and strategic AI adoption has been recognized by top academic institutions, media, and global brands.

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