Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has unveiled its own artificial intelligence system, Llama 2. It competes with existing models like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. In a departure from its competitors, Meta has chosen to release Llama 2 for free. Enabling researchers and businesses to leverage its capabilities for research and commercial purposes. This move reflects Meta’s commitment to openness and innovation in the field of AI.
Collaborating with Microsoft, Meta aims to introduce the next generation of its AI language model. Meta’s substantial research team has long been dedicated to advancing AI technology. But it has been overshadowed by the commercial success of other “generative AI” tools such as ChatGPT. However, Meta distinguishes itself by being more transparent than its counterparts. Sharing data and code to facilitate collaboration with external researchers in identifying and mitigating biases and toxicities present in AI systems that learn from real human communication.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms, emphasised the importance of open source in driving innovation and improving safety and security. By making Llama 2 open source, Meta intends to accelerate progress and foster a more open ecosystem. Zuckerberg referenced Meta’s previous open-sourcing initiatives. Including the widely used machine-learning framework PyTorch.
Llama 2, for Research and Commercial Use
While Meta has championed openness, the research paper introducing Llama 2 exhibits less transparency regarding the data used to train the model. Although it states that publicly available sources were utilized, data from Meta’s own products and services were not included. Notably, Meta removed data from websites containing a high volume of personal information about individuals.
Meta has abandoned the capitalized acronym LLaMA (Large Language Model Meta AI) used for the first version of its model. Opting for Llama 2 instead. Users can download the new AI models directly or access them through Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure, along with Microsoft’s safety and content tools. The partnership details between Meta and Microsoft have not been disclosed.
In addition to Microsoft, Meta plans to make the models available through other platforms, including Amazon Web Services and AI startup Hugging Face. It is worth mentioning that Microsoft is both a major funder and partner of OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT. Neither Microsoft nor Google offers open-source versions of their AI language models.
The partnership announcement between Meta and Microsoft occurred during Microsoft’s Inspire event, where the companies highlighted their shared commitment to democratizing AI. Meta is already an Azure cloud computing customer, further solidifying the collaboration. Notably, Microsoft also revealed that its flagship generative AI tool, Microsoft 365 Copilot, will now incur a monthly fee of $30 per user for business customers, in addition to existing Microsoft service fees.