Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg: The Real Tech Battle Begins 

Meta recently announced that it will be launching Instagram Threads pretty soon. This comes a few days after Musk announced a limit on the number of posts a user can read per day
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Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg recently took inspiration from Twitter boss Elon Musk’s playbook and unveiled paid subscriptions for verified accounts. But will he now take a leap towards safeguarding valuable data on this fresh platform? 

Meta recently announced that it will be launching its Instagram Threads pretty soon. This comes just a few days after Musk announced a limit on the number of posts a user can read per day. The explanation that Musk gave on putting a cap on viewing was “address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”. There is a speculation that Musk might plan to build its own ChatGPT rival using Twitter data – which some are referring to as TruthGPT.

So, the question is, will Zuckerberg follow suit to limit the number of post users can view on Thread to save the valuable data? 

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In recent times, tech giants have aspired to create their own generative AI chatbot similar to Open AI’s ChatGPT. As they say, data is gold, and for any company that aspires to create any form of chatbot, it needs data to train its LLM.

Currently, Google probably has the highest amount of data as compared to any other competitor out there. Google DeepMind chief Demis Hassabis, recently claimed that the company’s next LLM project is going to eclipse ChatGPT. This huge claim is about the project called Gemini. Interestingly, DeepMind, with Google, has something that no one else has – YouTube. While Twitter is filled with textual data, YouTube is a gold mine for visual, audio, and textual data in almost every single language on Earth. 

What About Meta? 

One fascinating fact about Meta is that it does not use the data it collects over its applications to train its LLM LLaMa. According to research paper “LLaMA: Open and Efficient Foundation Language Models”, LLaMA is trained on CommonCrawl, GitHub, Wikipedia, and books.

However, there is a possibility that in the future, Meta might train its LLM models (LLaMA and beyond) from Facebook and Instagram data. Again, there is also possibility that they won’t have to do that since they are betting big on self-supervised learning (SSL) and world models, which limits the use of RLHF (reinforcement learning with human feedback), and reduces the reliance on training models on user data. 

Recently, Meta collaborated with Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Southern California to make LIMA. Unlike ChatGPT and Bard, where RLHF is considered crucial, this model may be using self-supervised learning, which has been strongly advocated by Yann LeCun for a long time.

Meta Bets Big on Open AI

Instead of making LLaMA, the chatbot, available to the general public, Meta chose a different approach. It released it as an open-source package, which means that members of the AI community can request access to it. Whether the future of AI is open or closed source in itself is a different debate but by releasing LLaMA, Meta took a stand of democratising access to large language models, helping  researchers advance their work in this subfield of AI.

One of the possibilities of why Meta is backing open source is that it is nowhere near Google or OpenAI. It gives them the opportunity to correct the flaws and loopholes in LLaMA and keep an eye on how the community is bettering it. In the recent podcast with Lex Fridman, Zuckerberg said, “The stage we are in right now, the equities balance strongly in my view towards doing this more openly.” 

Zuckerberg has shifted his focus to generative AI. He said that Meta will bring LLM-powered AI agents to Messenger and WhatsApp first, but explore additional opportunities across its family of apps, consumer products and into the metaverse.

Only time will tell if Meta will venture into its own chatbot. Speaking of generative AI in a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said, “We have a lot of foundational work to do before getting to the really futuristic experiences, but I’m excited about all of the new things we’ll build along the way”.

IT would be very interesting to see how Meta leverages Threads’s data besides selling it to the advertisers. Only time will tell if Meta will restrict data scraping. Also, the Threads has been marketed as an Instagram app by the company, where there are high chances of them going the Twitter way, challenging Musk in the real tech battle.  

Siddharth Jindal
Siddharth is a media graduate who loves to explore tech through journalism and putting forward ideas worth pondering about in the era of artificial intelligence.

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