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The Leaked Google Doc Revealing No AI Company Has a 'Moat' Against Open Source Innovation

Author: Wes RothTime: 2024-01-31 22:55:01

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Google Admits They Are Not Positioned to Win the AI Arms Race

In a recently leaked internal Google document titled 'We have no moat and neither does OpenAI', a Google researcher admits that the tech giant is not well positioned to win the artificial intelligence arms race. The document acknowledges that OpenAI, which was founded in 2015, is now seen as the leader in AI despite Google's long-standing dominance in the field.

The researcher goes on to explain that while Google and OpenAI models still maintain a slight edge in quality, open source AI models are quickly catching up. What's more, these open source models are faster, more customizable, more private, and more capable overall.

OpenAI Seen as AI Leader Despite Google's Dominance

For many years, Google was undisputedly the number one AI company in the world. However, in recent years, OpenAI seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate the AI landscape with hugely popular models like GPT-3 and DALL-E. The leaked Google document shows that the company has been carefully watching OpenAI and trying to keep pace with their rapid innovations. However, Google is admitting defeat in trying to out-innovate OpenAI.

Open Source AI Models Rapidly Catching Up in Capability

While Google and OpenAI models still maintain small advantages in terms of output quality and capabilities, open source AI models are improving at astonishing speed. The Google researcher notes that open source conversational AI models like Anthropic's Claude are already approaching 90% of the quality and capabilities of closed models like GPT-3 and Google's PaLM. Image generation models like Stable Diffusion have also demonstrated the power of open source community innovation.

Community Innovation on Leaked Models Far Outpaces Big Tech Firms

The Google document argues that open source community innovation on leaked or publicly released AI models massively outpaces innovation at closed-off big tech companies like Google and OpenAI.

As an example, the researcher points to Meta's leaked LLMA-13B model. Despite no official promotion or support from Meta, the LLMA leak triggered a huge wave of open source innovation, with new capabilities being added to the model daily.

No AI Company Can Control and Drive Innovation Simultaneously

The document concludes that no single AI company, even the current leaders like Google and OpenAI, can simultaneously control their models to retain competitive advantage while also driving rapid innovation.

By keeping their models closed off and proprietary, companies inherently limit how quickly their models can progress. The global open source community has proven far more nimble and innovative.

The Paradox: Leaked Facebook Model Spawns Massive Open Source Contributions

There is an interesting paradox pointed out in the Google document. While the leak of Meta's LLMA model theoretically hurt Meta competitively, it also gained them a huge amount of free open source labor.

Since much of the open source community innovation is happening on top of LLMA's architecture, Meta is in a prime position to directly incorporate these innovations back into their own products if desired.

Timeline of Events Following Leaked Facebook LLMA Model

The Google document includes a helpful timeline of key events following the leak of Meta's LLMA conversational AI model in February 2023:

  • March 3, 2023: LLMA-13B model leaked to the public

  • March 12, 2023: Developer gets LLMA working on a Raspberry Pi

  • March 13, 2023: Alpaca model released for low-cost fine-tuning

  • March 19, 2023: Vicuna conversational model approaches GPT-3 quality

  • April 2023: Open source GPT-3 replica trained from scratch

The Future Lies in Embracing Open Source AI Innovation

The Google researcher concludes that the future of AI lies not in proprietary models guarded by big tech firms. Rather, the companies that embrace open source community innovation will drive the next generation of AI capabilities.

Neither Google nor OpenAI can hope to exert full control over model development while also pushing the technology forward at the fastest possible pace. The global open source community has proven it can rapidly build upon leaked models, outstripping even the most resource-rich corporations.


Q: What company leaked an AI model that sparked innovation?
A: Facebook (Meta) leaked its LLMA natural language model in March 2023, kickstarting tremendous open source community contributions.

Q: How did the leaked Facebook model outpace Big Tech innovation?
A: The global open source community iterated upon and enhanced the leaked LLMA rapidly through scalable fine-tuning and quantization quality improvements.

Q: Can any single company control AI innovation?
A: No, the pace of open source community innovation cannot realistically be matched or controlled by any one company.