06182023

Meta Made Its AI Tech Open-Source. Rivals Say It’s a Risky Decision.

As a race to lead A.I. heats up across Silicon Valley, Meta is standing out from its rivals by taking a different approach to the technology. Driven by its founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta believes that the smartest thing to do is share its underlying A.I. engines as a way to spread its influence and ultimately move faster toward the future.

Its actions contrast with those of Google and OpenAI, the two companies leading the new A.I. arms race. Worried that A.I. tools like chatbots will be used to spread disinformation, hate speech and other toxic content, those companies are becoming increasingly secretive about the methods and software that underpin their A.I. products.

Google, OpenAI and others have been critical of Meta, saying an unfettered open-source approach is dangerous. A.I.’s rapid rise in recent months has raised alarm bells about the technology’s risks, including how it could upend the job market if it is not properly deployed. And within days of LLaMA’s release, the system leaked onto 4chan, the online message board known for spreading false and misleading information.

“We want to think more carefully about giving away details or open sourcing code” of A.I. technology, said Zoubin Ghahramani, a Google vice president of research who helps oversee A.I. work. “Where can that lead to misuse?”

Some within Google have also wondered if open-sourcing A.I. technology may pose a competitive threat. In a memo this month, which was leaked on the online publication Semianalysis.com, a Google engineer warned colleagues that the rise of open-source software like LLaMA could cause Google and OpenAI to lose their lead in A.I.

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