Meta and IBM Join Forces to Create AI Alliance for Technology Exchange

Meta and IBM Join Forces to Create AI Alliance for Technology Exchange
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook Inc., addresses the audience at the Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, USA, on March 25, 2015. (Image Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Key Highlights
  • Meta and IBM Collaboration: Meta Platforms and IBM join forces to establish the AI Alliance, comprising over 50 AI companies and research institutions, aiming to promote an “open model” of artificial intelligence
  • Principles of Open Innovation: The AI Alliance, with members such as Intel and Oracle, advocates for “open innovation and open science” in AI, encouraging technology sharing through open source methods
  • Diverse Ecosystem Representation: IBM and Meta form the alliance in response to dissatisfaction with recent AI discussions, aiming to represent a more diverse ecosystem in AI advancements beyond the attention garnered by OpenAI
  • Growing AI Market: With global spending on generative AI expected to reach nearly $16 billion in 2023 and projected to grow to $143 billion by 2027, IBM and Meta aim to tap into the rapidly expanding AI market with their respective platforms
  • AI Alliance Focus Areas: The AI Alliance’s initial focus includes regulation, safety, and the release of a benchmarking tool for AI safety and model validation, signaling a commitment to addressing key challenges in the AI landscape

Meta Platforms and International Business Machines (IBM) have come together to establish the AI Alliance, a coalition comprising over 50 artificial intelligence companies and research institutions. This coalition aims to promote an “open model” of artificial intelligence, seeking traction in the rapidly expanding AI market.

Formation of the AI Alliance

The AI Alliance, with members including Intel, Oracle, Cornell University, and the National Science Foundation, emphasizes the principles of “open innovation and open science” in AI. These principles involve the sharing of technology through open source methods, building on a history of collaboration between major technology companies, academic institutions, and independent programmers.

IBM, collaborating with Meta since August, worked to bring together organizations that may not have received as much attention as OpenAI. According to Darío Gil, the Senior Vice President at IBM and Director of IBM Research, the motivation behind forming the AI Alliance stemmed from dissatisfaction with the recent discussions on AI, as they felt it did not adequately represent the diverse ecosystem contributing to the current AI advancements.

In the past year, the narrative around technology has been dominated by generative AI, particularly with the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. OpenAI and its competitors, including Anthropic and Cohere, have been at the forefront of developing advanced AI models as closed or proprietary systems, requiring companies to pay for their usage.

The members of the AI Alliance consist of companies with their own AI products but have faced challenges catching up with the attention garnered by OpenAI and its investment partner, Microsoft. These companies often rely on revenue from enterprise technology to drive their growth.

According to a forecast from the research firm International Data Corp., global spending on generative AI solutions is expected to reach nearly $16 billion this year and is projected to grow to $143 billion by 2027. The compound annual growth rate of generative AI is predicted to be nearly 13 times that of worldwide IT spending from 2023 to 2027, as per IDC’s analysis.

The Future of AI: A Shift Towards Open Innovation

IBM has faced challenges in AI, especially with its Watson system, but now they’re introducing a new platform called Watsonx. Similarly, Meta has its AI models but has lagged behind recently. Both companies are trying to tap into the growing AI market, with Meta promoting its Llama 2 AI model as an open-source system.

Darío Gil, senior vice president at IBM and director of IBM Research

After the recent changes at OpenAI, businesses are looking for multiple AI providers to reduce the risk of relying on a single vendor. The AI Alliance’s launch emphasizes this need for diversity. According to IBM’s Gil, this approach is more distributed and resilient, preventing any single institution from hindering the success of the open engine.

Businesses may find this pitch appealing, especially as they seek more AI vendors. However, success depends on effective execution. The AI Alliance must provide an integrated solution, including hardware, software, and tools for using multiple AI systems easily, according to Ritu Jyoti from IDC.

AMD, a chip maker aiming to challenge Nvidia in AI, plans to support an open AI ecosystem with its hardware. Forrest Norrod, AMD’s executive vice president, highlights that the alliance members will collectively build software for businesses to utilize their chips, presenting a strong alternative to Nvidia’s offerings.

ServiceNow, an enterprise software maker with AI ambitions, is participating in the AI Alliance. Its AI research team will contribute to the open scientific advancement of AI systems, providing customers with more choices, according to Jeremy Barnes, ServiceNow’s vice president.

IBM’s Gil emphasizes that the future of AI shouldn’t be determined by a few institutions. He hopes the AI Alliance brings clarity and confidence to the world of open innovation.

“If you think the future of AI is going to be determined by two, three or five institutions, you’re mistaken,” IBM’s Gil said. “I hope that it gives more clarity and confidence that the world of open innovation is a world to bet in.”

The alliance’s initial focus includes areas like regulation, safety, and the imminent release of a benchmarking tool for AI safety and model validation.

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