Mozilla’s new startup will build “trustworthy” AI that benefits humanity. If that sounds familiar, it was OpenAI’s founding mission.
The startup, Mozilla.ai, aims to create an independent and open-source AI ecosystem that addresses society’s most pressing concerns about the rapidly-advancing technology.
Mark Surman, President of the Mozilla Foundation, wrote in a blog post:
“This new wave of AI has generated excitement, but also significant apprehension. We aren’t just wondering ‘What’s possible?’ and ‘How can people benefit?’ We’re also wondering ‘What could go wrong?’ and ‘How can we address it?’ Two decades of social media, smartphones and their consequences have made us leery.
Mozilla has been asking these questions about AI for a while now — sketching out a vision for trustworthy AI, mobilizing our community to document what’s broken and investing in startups that are trying to create more responsible AI.”
The rush to get AI solutions to market has been likened to a new “arms race,” in reference to the dangerous period when the US, Soviet Union, and their respective allies raced to achieve nuclear supremacy.
OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit with the state mission of ensuring that its research makes positive long-term contributions to humanity. Many believe the company has strayed from this mission.
Just today, a ChatGPT glitch leaked users’ conversation histories. OpenAI’s chief executive tweeted that there would be a “technical postmortem” soon.
Mike Kiser, Director of Strategy and Standards at SailPoint, commented:
“Sharing information with ChatGPT is not like talking to another adult, it is much more like sharing sensitive details with an overly-chatty three-year-old. If you don’t want your organisation’s secrets used to train the platform and then be reused by ChatGPT, discretion is recommended.
In addition, ChatGPT generates content, but it is difficult to prove its veracity. Even when references are used or cited, ChatGPT is learning from these links and assuming that information is true. It then uses well-written language and formatting to give those “facts” more weight. This trust in the written word may have implications for disinformation or other phishing- attacks.”
Microsoft has invested tens of billions in OpenAI and has rolled out integrations with its popular products at a rapid pace. That partnership appears to have led OpenAI to take more risks and the company is now firmly a for-profit (capped at 100 times any investment.)
Elon Musk was one of OpenAI’s founders but resigned from its board in 2018. Musk has publicly questioned OpenAI’s transformation:
Hopefully, Mozilla.ai won’t forget its founding principles.
“The vision for Mozilla.ai is to make it easy to develop trustworthy AI products. We will build things and hire/collaborate with people that share our vision: AI that has agency, accountability, transparency and openness at its core,” added Mozilla Foundation President Mark Surman.
“Mozilla.ai will be a space outside big tech and academia for like-minded founders, developers, scientists, product managers and builders to gather. We believe that this group of people, working collectively, can turn the tide to create an independent, decentralized and trustworthy AI ecosystem — a real counterweight to the status quo.”
Mozilla.ai will be led by Moez Draief, Managing Director of Mozilla.
(Photo by Astrid Schaffner on Unsplash)
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