Meta and IBM form ‘AI Alliance’ to promote open-source AI

Both tech companies have created an AI Alliance, along with more than 50 other organisations, to unite in support for open innovation and open-sourced AI

Tech giants Meta and IBM have partnered to form an ‘AI Alliance’ that is designed to support open innovation and open science in AI.

In order to ensure that open innovation in AI benefits everyone, as well as being built responsibly, the alliance consists of a wide range of organisations across business and academia. Together, they are working across aspects of AI, education, research ,development, deployment and governance.

This new alliance, announced 5th December 2023, reportedly does not include other large technology companies like Google, OpenAI or Microsoft, prompting further questions about how global AI will continue to be regulated consistently moving forward.

Facilitating positive AI development

Both companies have launched the alliance in collaboration with more than 50 founding members and collaborators around the world, including CERN, Dell Technologies, Hugging Face, Intel, Oracle, Sony Group and chipmakers AMD, in addition to a broad range of universities worldwide.

The new AI Alliance is ultimately focused on fostering an open community and enabling developers and researchers to accelerate responsible innovation in AI. They aim to do this, whilst also ensuring scientific rigour, trust, safety, security, diversity and economic competitiveness. 

Key facts
  • >US$80bn total annual R&D funding represented
  • >400,000 students supported by these academic institutions
  • >1,000,000 total staff members

Meta and IBM’s hope is that bringing together leading developers, scientists, universities and businesses, resources and knowledge can be combined to address real AI safety concerns worldwide. In addition, it provides a platform for sharing and creating solutions that fit the needs of researchers, developers, and adopters around the world.

Tooling creators are aiming to drive AI benchmarking, trust and validation metrics and best practices, in addition to application creation such as MLPerf, Hugging Face, LangChain, LlamaIndex. Furthermore, it offers open-source AI toolkits for explainability, privacy, adversarial robustness and fairness evaluation.

Those within the alliance share a common goal to support and educate multiple generations of AI scientists and engineers that are pushing the frontiers of AI research through open science. They consist of creators of the tooling driving AI benchmarking, trust and validation metrics and best practices, hardware builders and creators of some of the most used open models, including Llama2, Stable Diffusion and StarCoder.

Arvind Krishna, IBM Chairman and CEO, says: “The progress we continue to witness in AI is a testament to open innovation and collaboration across communities of creators, scientists, academics and business leaders. 

“This is a pivotal moment in defining the future of AI. IBM is proud to partner with like-minded organisations through the AI Alliance to ensure this open ecosystem drives an innovative AI agenda underpinned by safety, accountability and scientific rigour.”

The race towards AI: Continued competition in the enterprise space

Throughout 2023, increasingly public debates have been taking place over the benefits and risks that AI development adoption will bring if open-sourced.

The AI Safety Summit in the UK earlier in the year brought world leaders and tech giants together in the same space to discuss the future of AI, with all delegations reportedly keen to debate regulation. Likewise, some are anticipating the EU announcing its own AI act, which is meant to be confirmed by the end of 2023, with officials citing regulation as near-impossible, given how rapidly the AI sector is progressing.

Large technology companies will also continue to debate over if AI should be built in a way that makes the technology accessible. Whilst safety is paramount to these alliances and discussions, there is also the corporate-led question of profit.

Also a goal for the alliance is to ensure that AI is not controlled by ‘the few’ - hence working together to create systems that all can use. Given that large companies like OpenAI are not currently open-sourcing their AI, this alliance suggests a shift towards changing how businesses approach new technologies in 2024. 

Given that AI is such a technological leap, these companies cite that collaboration is crucial to ensure safe development.

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