In what could be an effort to catch up to – and maybe even surpass – the internet’s current AI darling ChatGPT, Meta will be open-sourcing its large language model, LLaMA 2, in collaboration with Microsoft.
This makes LLaMA 2 free to use for commercial and research purposes, putting it on the same level as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing.
The announcement was part of Microsoft’s Inspire event, where Microsoft revealed more about the AI tools making an appearance in the Microsoft 365 platform, as well as how much they would cost users. Meta’s explanation of the decision to make LLaMA 2 an open-source tool is to allow businesses, researchers, and developers access to more AI tools.
Free roam LLaMA
Rather than hiding the LLM behind a paywall, Meta will allow anyone and everyone to have access to LLaMA 2, thus opening up the door to more potential AI tools being built upon the model – which could be used by the general public.
This move also gives Meta a sense of transparency, something that has been conspicuously missing from some AI development projects; Meta notably also showed surprising restraint with regard to the release (or lack thereof) of its powerful new speech-generation AI, Voicebox.
According to The Verge, Meta will be offering the open-source LLM via Microsoft's Windows and Azure platforms, as well as AWS and Hugging Face. In a statement from the tech giant, the company states that “We believe an open approach is the right one for the development of today’s AI models, especially those in the generative space where the technology is rapidly advancing”.
Meta seems to be pushing for a community angle with the move, hoping that interested user bases will help stress test and troubleshoot issues with LLaMA 2 quickly and collaboratively. It’s a bold move, and could be the perfect way to counteract Meta’s recent struggles in the AI arena. I can’t wait to see what people make with access to an open-source AI model.