You may have heard of Large Language Models (LLMs) like GPT-3 and LaMDA, software that uses huge data sets and machine learning to generate convincingly human-like language. Now the BigScience project has released an open source, volunteer-created LLM called Bloom.
Bloom stands for BigScience Large Open-science Open-access Multilingual Language Model. It can function in 59 languages. Funded by the government of France, Bloom is the work of more than 1,000 volunteers.
Rexroth supports open source
Rexroth has been a pioneer of open source software for manufacturing. This blog is powered by WordPress, another open source software project. But Bloom is the first open source LLM. The sheer size of the data required to produce anything close to humanlike language has meant that only major tech companies like Google have had access to LLMs.
BigScience is hoping to make Bloom available to everyone in the cloud for about $40 an hour. It’s currently available and free to anyone with the computing power to use it, but that doesn’t currently include most of us. You can dip your toes in the water at the Bloom website.
Problems with LLMs
Some of the problems with LLMs are already well known. They say things that are false and can easily be trained to create toxic language, picking up racist and sexist responses without intention on the part of their programmers.
As auto-generated language becomes a regular feature of robots, chatbots, and AI content generators, human beings may find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between fake news and real information.
The BigScience project figures an open source project will provide greater accountability and wider understanding of how this kind of technology works, leading to safer use.
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