Open Source AI Is Not Winning — Incumbents Are

The true winners of the generative AI boom

Alberto Romero
5 min readJun 9, 2023

Progress in open-source (OS) generative AI (particularly language models, LMs) has exploded in recent months. As a consequence — and with the help of desperate internal confessions — people believe it has become a threat to incumbent companies like Google and Microsoft, and leading labs like OpenAI and Anthropic.

I think I speak for the majority when I say that, leaving aside that open-sourcing AI systems indiscriminately could exacerbate risks, we like the idea. OS has a strong positive connotation; it’s not that people dislike Big Tech but that we like when The People has the opportunity to outdo the powerful.

Here’s the story of how that feeling of anticipated victory came to be and why, sadly, it’s mistaken: OS AI is thriving but remains unable to dethrone the leadership of proprietary models — and unable to develop the resources to do so in the future.

This article is a selection from The Algorithmic Bridge, an educational newsletter whose purpose is to bridge the gap between AI, algorithms, and people. It will help you understand the impact AI has in your life and develop the tools to better navigate the future.