Meta could soon make its AI model available for commercial projects

The open-source model should speed up bug and security fixes.

One question is constant in the race to create AI: Should code be held privately or made available to everyone as "open-source"? OpenAI has kept data for projects like GPT-4 close to its chest, while Meta has allowed researchers and academics to access its language model, LLaMA. Now, Meta is allegedly set to "imminently" release a new commercial version that companies can customize, the Financial Times reports.

The move could help Meta catch up to fellow AI creators OpenAI and Google, with businesses able to build tailored software with the new model. "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," Yann LeCun, Meta's vice-president and Chief AI scientist, said at a July conference. Meta might also create AI chatbots specific to each type of user, such as an individual or business.

Open-source models certainly have a mix of benefits and negatives. Providing a wide group of people with an AI's differing capabilities can help the model learn faster, given the increased data it's receiving. Additional eyes can also spot bugs and security issues, giving developers a chance to fix these problems sooner. On the flip side, not everyone who uses the code will have good intentions, which can have dangerous consequences when using a technology that concerns many people in and outside the tech industry.

Access to Meta's commercial AI model should be free at launch, but that might change sometime in the future. According to sources familiar with Meta, the company might eventually charge enterprise customers if they want to alter or tailor the model.