Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system named Llama 2, which rivals ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, but with a unique twist – it will be released for free.
The move by Meta allows startups and businesses to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard at a lower cost. Microsoft will distribute Llama 2 through its Azure cloud service, with Meta referring to Microsoft as its “preferred partner” for the release.
Llama 2 is part of Meta’s large language model (LLM) series, which underpins generative AI products like ChatGPT.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the technology would be available for both research and commercial use, emphasising the company’s commitment to openness and innovation.
Meta has aimed to differentiate itself from other tech giants by being more transparent in sharing the data and code it uses to develop AI systems. Zuckerberg believes that open-source models encourage innovation and improve safety and security. In line with this philosophy, Meta has open-sourced Llama 2 and highlighted its history of open-sourcing AI work, including the widely used machine-learning framework PyTorch.
However, the research paper introducing Llama 2 is less transparent than Meta’s previous work, omitting details about the specific data used for training. The model was trained on a combination of publicly available data, excluding Meta’s own products or services. Notably, data from websites containing significant personal information was removed.
Meta will make its AI models available for download directly or through Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed, but Meta confirmed that the models would also be accessible via Amazon Web Services, Hugging Face, and other platforms. While Microsoft is labeled as a “preferred” partner, it is worth noting that Microsoft is also a major funder and partner of OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.
In addition to the Llama 2 announcement, Microsoft revealed at its Inspire event that it would charge businesses a monthly fee of $30 per user for its generative AI tool, Microsoft 365 Copilot.