Does a LLamA Bite? No, But It Can Be Snarky

February 28, 2023

Everyone in Harrod’s Creek knows the name Yann LeCun. The general view is that when it comes to smart software, this wizard wrote or helped write the book. I spotted a tweet thread “LLaMA Is a New *Open-Source*, High-Performance Large Language Model from Meta AI – FAIR.” The link to the Facebook research paper “LLaMA: Open and Efficient Foundation Language Models” explains the innovation for smart software enthusiasts. In a nutshell, the Zuck approach is bigger, faster, and trained without using data not available to everyone. Also, it does not require Googzilla scale hardware for some applications.

That’s the first tip off that the technical paper has a snarky sparkle. Exactly what data have been used to train Google and other large language models. The implicit idea is that the legal eagles flock to sue for copyright violating actions, the Zuckers are alleged flying in clean air.

Here are a few other snarkifications I spotted:

  1. Use small models trained on more data. The idea is that others train big Googzilla sized models trained on data, some of which is not public available
  2. The Zuck approach an “efficient implementation of the causal multi-head attention operator.” The idea is that the Zuck method is more efficient; therefore, better
  3. In testing performance, the results are all over the place. The reason? The method for determining performance is not very good. Okay, still Meta is better. The implication is that one should trust Facebook. Okay. That’s scientific.
  4. And cheaper? Sure. There will be fewer legal fees to deal with pesky legal challenges about fair use.

What’s my take? Another open source tool will lead to applications built on top of the Zuckbook’s approach.

Now the developers and users will have to decide if the LLamA can bite? Does Facebook have its wizardly head in the Azure clouds? Will the Sages of Amazon take note?

Tough questions. At first glance, llamas have other means of defending themselves. Teeth may not be needed. Yes, that’s snarky.

Stephen E Arnold, February 28, 2023


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