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Hugging Face, which has emerged in the past year as a leading voice for open-source AI development, announced today that it has launched an open-source alternative to ChatGPT called HuggingChat.

HuggingChat is essentially a user interface that allows people to interact with an open-source chat assistant dubbed Open Assistant, which was organized by LAION, the nonprofit that created the data set that trained Stable Diffusion. HuggingChat will soon allow users the ability to plug in the new chat models, similar to other AI chatbot clients such as Poe.

In a tweet, Hugging Face CEO Clem Delangue said “I believe we need open-source alternatives to ChatGPT for more transparency, inclusivity, accountability and distribution of power.”

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Twitter is already buzzing with HuggingChat’s platform potential

Just as some (including VentureBeat) speculated that OpenAI’s announcement about ChatGPT plugins turned it into a platform akin to the Apple App Store, some are already buzzing about the potential for Hugging Face to turn into — you guessed it — the equivalent of the Android App Store.

“Next step *must* be HuggingChat Apps,” tweeted Nvidia AI scientist Jim Fan. “I think HuggingFace is in a great position to become the Android App Store. In fact, HF even has an edge over OpenAI: the apps can be other multimodal models already on HF!”

HuggingChat has significant limitations at the moment

However, others immediately chimed in that it’s unclear whether HuggingChat can be used commercially because licensing issues need to be worked out. The HuggingChat model is based Meta’s LLaMA, which as VentureBeat covered last week, are not permitted to be used commercially.

Peter van der Putten, director of the AI lab at Pega, tweeted: “Would be great to have a truly open version as this use is against the terms of the LLaMA license – not something that could be used for enterprise applications. Just publishing xor’ed weights is not enough to satisfy the terms.”

Delangue also emphasized in a tweet that Hugging Chat is version zero: “This is a v0 with many limitations but we are iterating quickly on the interface and safety mechanisms & intend to support the next rapidly improving open-source models. You can find more privacy details & coming soon here:

But for now, Hugging Face is enjoying the moment. “Some people said that closed APIs were winning… but we will never give up the fight for open source AI,” tweeted Julien Chaumond, CTO and co-founder of Hugging Face.

Correction (4/25/23 2:23 PM PT): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that HuggingFace released the Open Assistant model. HuggingFace only hosts the model. The model was released by Open Assistant. We regret the error.

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