By eradicating barriers like high licensing fees and talent scarcity, open source is accelerating the pace of AI innovation, writes Carmine Rimi
No other technology has captured the world’s imagination quite like AI, and there is perhaps no other that has been so disruptive. AI has already transformed the lives of people and businesses and will continue to do so in endless ways as more startups uncover its potential. According to a recent study, venture capital funding for AI startups in the UK increased by more than 200 percent last year, while a Stanford University study observed a 14-times increase in the number of AI startups worldwide in the last two years.
As AI innovations and applications continue to advance, a growing number of technology companies including Microsoft, Salesforce and Uber have started to open-source their research and projects. These companies, which have substantial Research & Development (R&D) capabilities, are investing in or “giving back” to the open source community to reinforce the creation and improvement of AI & Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.
Consequently, open source software has become crucial to driving fast, reliable and secure AI development. But why did the tech industry turn to open source to power AI, and how will it influence its development moving forward?
Open source goes mainstream
The first open source program, Netscape Navigator, was launched in 1998. Open source software has played a significant role in technological progress ever since. The “strategy of openness” Netscape chose was to emphasise the business potential of sharing the software’s source code and one that drew inspiration from academia — if researchers kept research methods hidden, innovation would develop at a snail’s pace, limiting scientific progress.
As more people woke up to the wide applicability of these cooperative principles, they soon left the academic petri dish and spurred a gear-change in IT innovation, one with a holistic vision that benefited more stakeholders. With developers on a mission to embed AI into IT operations across industries worldwide, secure and scalable software frameworks are vital.