Meta is poised to release a commercial version of its artificial intelligence model, allowing start-ups and businesses to build custom software on top of the technology.
The move will allow Meta to compete with Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google, which are surging ahead in the race to develop generative AI. The software, which can create text, images and code, is powered by large language models (LLMs) that are trained on huge amounts of data and require vast computing power.
Meta released its own language model, known as LLaMA, to researchers and academics earlier this year, but the new version will be more widely available and customisable by companies, three people familiar with the plans said. The release is expected imminently, one of the people said.
Meta says its LLMs are “open-source”, by which it means details of the new model will be released publicly. This contrasts with the approach of competitors such as OpenAI, whose latest model GPT-4 is a so-called black box in which the data and code used to build the model are not available to third parties.
“The competitive landscape of AI is going to completely change in the coming months, in the coming weeks maybe, when there will be open source platforms that are actually as good as the ones that are not,” vice-president and chief AI scientist at Meta, Yann LeCun, said at a conference in Aix-en-Provence last Saturday.
Meta’s impending release comes as a race among Silicon Valley tech groups to establish themselves as dominant AI participants is heating up.