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Open-Source Natural Language Processing: EleutherAI’s GPT-J

OpenAI, a San Francisco-based research and deployment company, released GPT-3 in June of 2020  – and the results were instantly compelling: Natural language processing (NLP) with a seeming mastery of language that generated sensible sentences and was able to converse with humans via chatbots.  By 2021, the MIT Technology Review was proclaiming OpenAI’s GPT-3 a top 10 breakthrough technology and “a big step toward AI that can understand and interact with the human world.”

Initially, access to GPT-3 was a selective process complete with a waiting list.  It has since commercialized in collaboration with Microsoft.   In response, EleutherAI – a self-described “grassroots collective of researchers working to open-source AI research”  launched GPT-J in July 2020 as a quest to replicate the OpenAI GPT collection of models. The goal is to “break the OpenAI-Microsoft monopoly” through broadening availability and the collective intelligence of open-source development of a competing class of GPT models.

GPT is an acronym for “generative pre-trained transformer.” The first paper on the” GPT of a language model was written by Alec Radford and colleagues, and published in a preprint on OpenAI’s website on June 11, 2018.  It showed how a generative model of language is able to acquire world knowledge and process long-range dependencies by pre-training on a diverse corpus with long stretches of contiguous text. (1)

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.