The Sequence Scope: DALL-E API and the Open Source Model vs. API Debate

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Jesus Rodriguez

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Generated by DALL-E Prompt: The Generative artificial intelligence revolution is here

📝 Editorial: DALL-E API and the Open Source Model vs. API Debate

There is no other possible topic for this week’s editorial than the release of the highly anticipated OpenAI DALL-E API. The doubts about whether OpenAI was going to enable programmatic access to DALL-E due to ethical concerns were finally put to rest with the release of the DALL-E API Beta. Now developers can integrate DALL-E into their applications using a very simple programming model. Seems pretty obvious that the release of the DALL-E API was catalyzed by Stability AI’s bold move of open-sourcing Stable Diffusion, which quickly gained incredible traction within the generative AI community. Similarly to the path followed with models like GPT-3 and Codex, OpenAI decided to enable API access to DALL-E but not open-source it like Stable Diffusion.

The friction between controlled API versus fully open-source distribution mechanisms will likely be at the center of the generative AI debate for the next few years. API models enable greater control and simpler mechanisms to enforce the fair and ethical behavior of the model. However, centralized API vehicles almost guarantee that these models’ power will remain in the hands of large tech companies, which are likely to capture even more relevant data from the API access. At the same time, the fine-tuning and modification of large generative models is highly impractical via APIs. Open-sourcing large generative models removes the control barriers and enables broader levels of customization and fine-tuning but also opens the door to the unethical use of these models.

The OpenAI versus the Stability AI way? Controlled adoption and strong ethical boundaries versus faster innovation and trustless distribution? These are just a few interesting dilemmas facing the generative AI community in the next few years.

🗓 Next week in TheSequence Edge:

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Jesus Rodriguez

CEO of IntoTheBlock, President of Faktory, President of NeuralFabric and founder of The Sequence , Lecturer at Columbia University, Wharton, Angel Investor...