The Open Source AI Definition – draft v. 0.0.3

version 0.0.3

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Note: This document is made of three parts: A preamble, stating the intentions of this document; the Definition of Open Source AI itself; and a checklist to evaluate licenses.
We follow the definition of AI adopted by UNESCO: 

An AI system is a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, make predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing real or virtual environments. AI systems are designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy.


Why we need Open Source Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Open Source has demonstrated that massive benefits accrue to everyone when you remove the barriers to learning, using, sharing and improving software systems. These benefits are the result of using licenses that adhere to the Open Source Definition. The benefits can be distilled to autonomy, transparency, and collaborative improvement.

Everyone needs these benefits in AI. We need essential freedoms to enable users to build and deploy AI systems that are reliable and transparent.

How we can get the benefits of Open Source AI

A precondition for a system to be Open Source software is that developers must have unrestricted access to the “preferred form to make modifications to the work”.
For AI systems, the preferred form to make modifications to the work depends on the specific kind of AI.
[Provide an example, based on machine learning?]

Out of scope issues

The Open Source AI Definition doesn’t say how to develop and deploy an AI system that is ethical or responsible, although it doesn’t prevent it. What makes an AI system ethical or responsible is a separate discussion.

What is Open Source AI

To be Open Source, an AI system needs to make its components available under licenses that individually grant the freedoms to:

  • Study how the system works and inspect its components.
  • Use the system for any purpose and without having to ask for permission.
  • Modify the system to change its recommendations, predictions or decisions to adapt to your needs.
  • Share the system with or without modifications, for any purpose.[Provide an example, based on machine learning?]

Checklist to evaluate licenses


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