Reading 2 minutes Published Updated
According to a critique written by a Google senior software engineer, the company is losing its edge in artificial intelligence (AI) to the open source community. The engineer claims that independent open source technology researchers are making rapid and unforeseen advances in artificial intelligence technology.
In early April, Luke Sernau, a software engineer at Google, published a paper on the internal system. Subsequently, over the next few weeks, the document was widely circulated among Google employees. The source, who asked not to be named because they were not allowed to discuss the company’s internal affairs, said the document has been circulated thousands of times. On Thursday, the paper was published by consulting firm SemiAnalysis and began circulating in Silicon Valley.
Sernau estimates that Google’s competition with OpenAI has diverted attention from the rapid progress of open source technologies. In his paper, Sernau wrote that Google has been overly focused on tracking the progress of OpenAI, and while both companies have struggled to outdo each other, the open source technology has quietly evolved. Sernau argued that this third group, open source, outperforms Google and OpenAI in the AI race.
Google is known for investing in futuristic technology, and its labs have played a significant role in the development of today’s AI-powered chatbots. However, startup OpenAI has emerged as a leader in generative AI, which includes software that can create native images, text, and videos. OpenAI’s ChatGPT launched in November and quickly gained popularity. Its sudden success has put Google on the run to catch up in a key area of technology.
Related: Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis says we could have AGI ‘in the next few years’
However, Sernau argued that open source communities pose a real threat to Google as engineers develop models that can compete in quality with those of large technology companies, but faster and at lower cost. These models are more customizable, faster, and more useful than Google’s own models, he says. He is also concerned that customers may not be willing to pay for high quality technology when it is available for free in open source communities.