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  • Voltaire Staff

IBM, Meta form alliance to counter OpenAI, Microsoft

IBM said it has been collaborating with Meta since August.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

IBM and Meta have joined hands with several other firms and organisations to form an alliance to promote artificial intelligence.

The AI Alliance, which includes Intel, Oracle, Cornell University, and the National Science Foundation, is combining efforts to support "open innovation and open science" in AI.

IBM in statement on Tuesday said the alliance members are mostly in favour of open source, a method where technology is shared freely and they seek to build on a tradition of collaboration involving major tech companies, academics, and an enthusiastic community of independent programmers.

Nick Clegg, Meta president of global affairs, said, "We believe it’s better when AI is developed openly – more people can access the benefits, build innovative products and work on safety."

IBM said it has been collaborating with Meta since August.

Darío Gil, the senior vice president at IBM and also the director of IBM Research, said the goal is to unite organisations that haven't received as much attention as OpenAI has.

IBM has in the past faced challenges with the failure of its Watson system.

However, according to Gil, the newly introduced Watsonx system represents a completely fresh platform.

Meta, like IBM, has its AI models but has lagged in recent years. To establish its presence in the competitive AI market, Meta has pursued an open-source AI system with its Llama 2 AI model.

Following the disruptions at OpenAI since last year, businesses are seeking more AI product providers to reduce the risks that come with relying on a single vendor and have been exploring alternative AI systems.

The launch of the AI Alliance at this time emphasises the importance of a more distributed approach, Gil said.

The apparent raison d’etre behind the collective is to counter the OpenAI's supremacy in the AI innovation, which with its ChatGPT, launched last November, made many fervent champions of its potential to free humanity of manual labour and struck fear in several others for its seeming imperiousness.

OpenAI's progress in the last one year has not been lost on IBM and its affiliates, who note that the collective's approach reduces the risk of a single institution affecting the success of the open engine.

OpenAI, along with competitors like Anthropic and Cohere, has played a significant role in advancing AI models. However, these models’ often closed or proprietary nature – managed by creators, paid for by users – has made many ill at ease with the risk of concentration of the technology in few hands and their power to alter the face of humanity.

The members of the alliance include companies with their own AI products, yet they face a steep challenge in countering OpenAI, which is flush with money from Microsoft, and early backers like Tesla boss Elon Musk.

International Data Corporation in a report in October predicted that expenditures on Generative AI solutions will reach $143 billion in 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 73.3 per cent over the next five years.


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