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Meta teams up with Microsoft for generative AI platform commercial release

Meta (NASDAQ: META) has announced the commercial release of Llama 2, its generative artificial intelligence tool, following rising demand for its first iteration in February.

In a press release on July 18, Meta confirmed that Llama 2 will be open source and free for researchers and enterprises. The company revealed that it would be working on Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) as a partner for the rollout, disclosing several integrations with existing Microsoft products.

Llama 2 will be available on Microsoft’s Azure AI model catalog, according to the statement. At the moment, Llama 2 has been optimized to run on Windows, which Meta says will “bring generative AI experiences to customers across different platforms.”

“We’re now ready to open source the next version of Llama 2 and are making it available free of charge for research and commercial use,” the announcement read. “We’re including model weights and starting code for the pretrained model and conversational fine-tuned versions too.”

Meta says that its decision to make Llama 2 open-source aligns with the goals of ensuring safe AI usage. The company stated that allowing access to the AI model will subject it to stress testing by multiple developers and researchers.

“Meta has put exploratory research, open source, and collaboration with academic and industry partners at the heart of our AI efforts for over a decade. We’ve seen first-hand how innovation in the open can lead to technologies that benefit more people,” Meta stated.

Meta says Llama 2 will place transparency at the core of its offering to promote safe AI use. The company conveys that the model has been “red-teamed” for safety and has published transparency, use policy, and responsible use guide documents for the public.

Pundits have opined that Meta’s new commercial release is a plan to close the gap between industry first movers—OpenAI and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL). OpenAI’s ChatGPT has registered over 100 million users since its launch in November 2022, while Google’s Bard has equally recorded impressive metrics.

While ChatGPT and Bard are closed-sourced, Meta’s plan to make Llama 2 free and open-sourced has been described as a move to take a chunk of the market share. Meta released Llama 1 in early 2023 with over 100,000 requests for access from AI researchers around the globe.

Not off to a great start

In the weeks following the commercial release, U.S.-based comedian Sarah Silverman and two authors filed class-action lawsuits against Meta for infringing on their intellectual property rights. The plaintiffs argue that Meta illegally used their copyrighted material to train its AI platform without seeking permission.

OpenAI was listed as a defendant in the case, with the AI firm listed in a similar IP violation case in California. Apart from copyright issues, AI development has faced criticisms for the grave risks posed to finance, Web3, health, news, and the electioneering process.

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