Still engaged in the race to reconfirm relevance ahead of Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, Mozilla is momentarily moving away from its core product, Firefox, in an attempt to fill a seemingly topic-taboo niche in the AI segment.
Although it’s been around for many years, AI technologies only achieved notoriety with the launch of GPT Chat, kicking off a race against time to launch competing products, with or without a solid foundation on the technology side. Called Mozilla.ai, the emerging new company aims to create a trust-based platform, perhaps correctly anticipating that after the current euphoric phase, the industry focus will shift to standardized and carefully controlled versions of artificial intelligence platforms, with less unpredictable outcomes and more difficult to manipulate for the facilitation of obscure interests.
“We’ve been preparing the foundations of trustworthy AI for nearly five years, we’ve consistently felt a mix of excitement and anxiety,” says Mark Surman, Mozilla’s executive chairman and head of Mozilla.ai. “The last month or two of announcements coming out of the tech industry have not come as a surprise to us. Really exciting new technology is on the horizon – new tools that have challenged artists, founders… all kinds of people to do new things. The anxiety comes when you realise that almost no one is considering limits to these technologies.”
Surman was referring to frequent announcements in recent months of the introduction of new AI models that, while impressive in their capabilities, have worrying real-world implications. At launch, ChatGPT could be called upon to create malware, find vulnerabilities in application source code, and even hijacked to create websites for phishing activity, credibly copying the sites whose functionality it mimicked. Further, text-to-image artificial intelligence, such as DALL-E, has already been integrated with the Bing search engine, and it remains to be seen what the long-term consequences will be.
Funded by a $30 million investment from the Mozilla Foundation, Mozilla.ai is a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation – as are Mozilla Corporation (the organization responsible for developing Firefox) and Mozilla Ventures. Its CEO is Moez Draief, who was previously chief scientist at Huawei’s Noah’s Ark AI lab and a global scientist at consulting company Capgemini.