Baidu’s Li: Big Model Open Source Has Little Value, Won’t Undercut Devs

Li Yanhong on Baidu’s Decision Not to Open Source WENXIN Model

On the evening of April 11th, during a recent internal speech, Li Yanhong addressed the issue of open-sourcing the WENXIN large model. He mentioned that a year ago, when WENXIN was just released, we had intense internal discussions, and ultimately, as everyone knows, the decision was not to open source it. Why not open source it? The judgment at that time was that there would definitely be open-source models in the market, and more than one company would open source them. In this case, having Baidu as one more contributor wouldn’t add much, and having one less contributor also wouldn’t make a significant difference.

Baidu's Li: Big model open source has little value, won't undercut devs

Li Yanhong also stated that closed-source models would continue to lead in capabilities, not just momentarily but continuously. Open sourcing a model is not like a situation where many hands make light work, unlike traditional software open source projects such as Linux and Android. Closed-source models have genuine business models and can make money, which is essential for attracting computing power and talent. In terms of cost, closed-source models actually have an advantage. Given equal capabilities, the inference cost of closed-source models will definitely be lower, and the response speed will be faster.

Furthermore, addressing the notion of “stealing jobs” from users of WENXIN by copying their words, Li Yanhong responded that there is no rational basis for this. “Pinduoduo and Didi are not afraid of WeChat stealing their jobs. Their rise depends on WeChat’s closed platform within the mobile ecosystem, but they each provide unique value and have different competitiveness,” Li Yanhong said. (Daily Economic News)

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