Not all ‘open source’ AI models are actually open: here’s a ranking

Article by Elizabeth Gibney: “Technology giants such as Meta and Microsoft are describing their artificial intelligence (AI) models as ‘open source’ while failing to disclose important information about the underlying technology, say researchers who analysed a host of popular chatbot models.

The definition of open source when it comes to AI models is not yet agreed, but advocates say that ’full’ openness boosts science, and is crucial for efforts to make AI accountable. What counts as open source is likely to take on increased importance when the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act comes into force. The legislation will apply less strict regulations to models that are classed as open.

Some big firms are reaping the benefits of claiming to have open-source models, while trying “to get away with disclosing as little as possible”, says Mark Dingemanse, a language scientist at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. This practice is known as open-washing.

“To our surprise, it was the small players, with relatively few resources, that go the extra mile,” says Dingemanse, who together with his colleague Andreas Liesenfeld, a computational linguist, created a league table that identifies the most and least open models (see table). They published their findings on 5 June in the conference proceedings of the 2024 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency…(More)”.