Linux Foundation advances open source vision with Generative AI Commons

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In the world of generative AI, the role of open-source technologies is becoming increasingly important.

At Linux Foundation‘s AI dot dev event this week, the non-profit organization that is home to a vast array of open-source efforts across the technology landscape attempted to stake its claim for relevancy in the generative AI era. The Linux Foundation is an umbrella group for several open-source efforts including the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the PyTorch Foundation and the LF AI and Data project. 

Among the newest efforts is the Generative AI Commons, which was quietly launched in September and has progressed steadily in the months since then, adding new members and detailing its direction at the AI dot dev event.

In the opening keynote for the event, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation emphasized the critical role of open source for technology innovation.

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“Open innovation isn’t just a way to create interesting technology,” Zemlin said. “We believe it is a basic freedom of expression.”

Survey says: open is the way to go

To help better understand the AI landscape, the Linux Foundation’s research group surveyed enterprise views on generative AI.

“The world is rapidly adopting generative AI tooling, half of the organizations we talked to are already implementing these tools,” Zemlin said.  “In fact, the only thing holding people back right now are security and data privacy concerns as it relates to generative AI projects in their organizations.”

Not surprisingly, given the survey was conducted by the Linux Foundation, the majority of organizations want to use open-source generative AI technology as opposed to proprietary solutions.  Zemlin noted that being open to AI can help with understanding how models work and make decisions.

“We want to make sure that everybody understands, whether it’s regulators or industry, that openness will allow for transparency, trust attribution, will allow for competition and innovation,” Zemlin said.

What the Linux Foundation’s Generative AI Commons is all about

As part of the LF AI and Data Foundation at the Linux Foundation, the new Generative AI Commons is a growing effort.

In a keynote, Matt White, director of the Generative AI Commons, detailed the objectives, progress and future plans for the nascent effort. The group now has more than 100 active members and has a stated mission of helping to foster the advancement of ethical Generative AI open-source innovations. White said that what all the members have in common is they want to advance open-source generative AI and see open science embraced in AI research and development.

“In essence, the Generative AI Commons is where openness means action,” White said. “It is where we come together to ensure that the benefits of AI are shared, the knowledge is spread and the future of AI remains firmly in the hands of the many and not just a few.”

The Generative AI Commons is organized into four primary work streams: model and data, frameworks, applications, and education. One of the initial deliverables that the group is now working on is the model openness framework, which evaluates generative AI projects against the criteria of open science and open source.

“We will be growing the number of hosted generative AI projects whether they be models, datasets, or applications to grow a rich ecosystem of open source generative AI projects that are guided by a strong community with neutral governance that embraces the principles of responsible AI,” White said.

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