IBM announces the launch of the AI Alliance – what role will it play amidst the recent wave of AI developments?

IBM, AMD, Berkley University, Dell, Intel, Red Hat, Service Now, and more than 50 other organizations and institutions around the globe announced the AI Alliance last week. Led by IBM, this initiative aims to promote an open innovation ecosystem for AI.

IBM announces the launch of an AI Alliance

The participating organizations and institutions are very diverse (e.g., universities such as TUM, institutions such as NASA, software vendors like ServiceNow, semiconductor specialist AMD, Meta incl. its Llama model, and so on). Most of them are located in the US and Europe, and some in Asia/Oceania.

The alliance combines limited resources (data, computing power, and skills) with the idea of “community-built” technology within an open ecosystem. This way, IBM makes a proposition for the licensing of AI and the pledge that the future of AI is open. The current project areas have been loosely defined around six principles – 1) skill development, 2) security, 3) AI tools, 4) software and hardware for AI, 5) creating multi-lingual & multi-modal models, 6) advocacy of regulatory policies; member organizations and institutions can choose which areas they want to contribute to by sharing their knowledge.

This announcement came one year after the debut of OpenAI’s generative AI model, ChatGPT. Also last week, it became clear that there might be ways to pull training data from ChatGPT, and Google launched its rival GenAI, Gemini. Interestingly, neither OpenAI (THE AI company at the moment) nor any hyperscalers (such as Google, Microsoft, and AWS) are part of this alliance.

Private or listed companies are obviously trying to gain traction in a fast-growing and changing market environment. Many of the alliance's members are companies that have their own AI products - or products that are impacted by AI - but are struggling to keep up with the attention focused on OpenAI and its investment partner Microsoft. PAC predicts that the market for GenAI (considering software & IT services) in the US will be worth USD 5 billion in 2024 alone, a growth rate of more than 240%. The outlook is similar for the following years. AI in general, and GenAI specifically, is a soaring market.

There are some issues the alliance should address:

  • First of all, how open is this ecosystem, given that organizations and institutions have to apply to become members?
  • Second, some regions (e.g., Central and South America) are not represented in the alliance, which means that huge markets, their needs, and their mindset are not taken into account.
  • Third, what is the leverage for enterprise customers?

In PAC’s opinion, the success of this alliance depends on how well its projects will be executed. Generally, the tech industry and its (business) customers are just at the beginning of their joint journey toward deploying AI at a large scale as a disruptive technology. It remains to be seen what this announcement means for enterprises going forward.

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