Meta advances open source AI with ‘frontier-level’ Llama 3.1

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Meta has unveiled Llama 3.1, marking a significant milestone in the company’s commitment to open source AI. This release, which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls “the first frontier-level open source AI model,” aims to challenge the dominance of closed AI systems and democratise access to advanced AI technology.

The Llama 3.1 release includes three models: 405B, 70B, and 8B. Zuckerberg asserts that the 405B model competes with the most advanced closed models while offering better cost-efficiency.

“Starting next year, we expect future Llama models to become the most advanced in the industry,” Zuckerberg predicts.

Zuckerberg draws parallels between the evolution of AI and the historical shift from closed Unix systems to open source Linux. He argues that open source AI will follow a similar trajectory, eventually becoming the industry standard due to its adaptability, cost-effectiveness, and broad ecosystem support.

Zuckerberg emphasises several key advantages of open source AI:

  • Customisation: Organisations can train and fine-tune models with their specific data.
  • Independence: Avoids lock-in to closed vendors or specific cloud providers.
  • Data security: Allows for local model deployment, enhancing data protection.
  • Cost-efficiency: Llama 3.1 405B can be run at roughly half the cost of closed models like GPT-4.
  • Ecosystem growth: Encourages innovation and collaboration across the industry.

Addressing safety concerns, Zuckerberg argues that open source AI is inherently safer due to increased transparency and scrutiny. He states, “Open source should be significantly safer since the systems are more transparent and can be widely scrutinised.”

To support the open source AI ecosystem, Meta is partnering with major tech companies like Amazon, Databricks, and NVIDIA to provide development services. The models will be available across major cloud platforms, with companies such as Scale.AI, Dell, and Deloitte ready to assist in enterprise adoption.

“Open source will ensure that more people around the world have access to the benefits and opportunities of AI, that power isn’t concentrated in the hands of a small number of companies, and that the technology can be deployed more evenly and safely across society,” Zuckerberg claims.

The CEO views this release as a turning point, predicting that most developers will shift towards primarily using open source AI models. He invites the tech community to join Meta in “this journey to bring the benefits of AI to everyone in the world.”

The Llama 3.1 models are now accessible at

(Photo by Dima Solomin)

See also: Meta joins Apple in withholding AI models from EU users

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