Meta’s chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, has stated that there is no commercial downside to sharing AI.
“There is really no commercial downside to also making it available to other people,” he stated, as reported by Bloomberg. “If you do [AI research] in secret, you fall behind.”
LeCun was speaking at a company event for Meta research group Lab FAIR on 30 November.
Meta has released several open-source generative AI tools that are free to use, including Code Llama, an AI service for computer code writing. Its original open-source LLM (large language model) was released in July this year.
LeCun and Meta senior research fellow Mike Schroepfer stated that they felt as though companies were beginning to become secretive over their AI technology as competition ramps up.
This secrecy, they state, would only delay vital research and development in AI.
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In May this year, a leaked internal Google document written by an employee stated some hesitancy when it came to open-sourcing AI.
“While our models still hold a slight edge in terms of quality, the gap [between open-source AI and Big Tech] is closing astonishingly quickly,” the document reads. “Open-source models are faster, more customizable, more private, and pound-for-pound more capable.”
While this document does not strictly reflect the feelings of Google as a whole, it demonstrates a fear that open-sourcing may overtake Big Tech’s giant models.
Open-sourcing AI and making it more widely available does pose great challenges to tech companies in terms of monetisation.
Building LLMs from scratch is incredibly expensive, costing approximately $1m–100m, so for companies to now struggle with monetisation could lead to AI becoming a financial black hole, with billions of dollars already invested.
Despite this, in its executive summary on AI, research analysis company GlobalData states that generative AI remains a disruptive technology in almost every sector.
By 2030, it forecasts that the global AI market could be worth more than $900bn.