Mozilla Launches Startup to Home In on 'Trustworthy AI'

The organization says it wants to "turn the tide" as companies rush to adopt generative artificial intelligence.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
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Mozilla Firefox Browser

The organization behind Firefox has launched an AI startup.

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Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser, on Wednesday launched an artificial intelligence-focused startup, called Mozilla.ai, intended to work toward building an independent, trustworthy, open-source AI ecosystem.

"The vision for Mozilla.ai is to make it easy to develop trustworthy AI products," Mark Surman, Mozilla's executive president and a Mozilla.ai board member, wrote in a blog post. 

Surman wrote that he and Mozilla had met with people who want to develop AI that prioritizes transparency, accountability, human agency and the interests of users -- in contrast, he said, with the approach being embraced by other tech companies. That was what spurred the launch of the startup.

"Mozilla.ai will be a space outside big tech and academia for like-minded founders, developers, scientists, product managers and builders to gather," he wrote. "We believe that this group of people, working collectively, can turn the tide to create an independent, decentralized and trustworthy AI ecosystem -- a real counterweight to the status quo."

The launch of Mozilla.ai comes as companies rush to release generative AI tools following the November launch of ChatGPT, a chatbot that can quickly scour the internet to create travel plans, write essays and more. On Tuesday, for instance, Google opened up a waitlist for its AI tool, Bard. Other tech companies, like Microsoft, DuckDuckGo, Grammarly and Adobe, have also released generative AI tools. 

One big knock on such AI services, critics say, is that they don't actually understand the information they're packaging into authoritative-sounding narratives that could contain errors and misinformation.

The initial focus for Mozilla.ai, Surman wrote, will be on tools that make generative AI services, like OpenAI's ChatGPT, safer and more transparent, as well as recommendation systems that don't misinform people, according to Surman. 

Mozilla has made a $30 million initial investment in Mozilla.ai. Moez Draief, formerly the chief scientist at Huawei's Noah's Ark lab, will be the organization's managing director, and a three-person board will help lead it.

For more on AI, check out answers to your AI questions and the one thing people are getting wrong about AI.

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and fact-checked by our editors. For more, see this post.

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