Light Wave


Databricks CEO: More Access to AI Is the Answer

By Mara Lafontaine · June 28, 2023

In brief…

  • Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi advocates for the democratization of AI technologies.
  • Ghodsi believes the acquisition of Mosaic by Databricks will help democratize AI and promote open research into AI models.
  • Instead of fearing remote 'Armageddon' scenarios, Ghodsi focuses on current use cases where AI could be misused and encourages proactive regulation.
  • Ghodsi points to the potential of the global research community in understanding and navigating the nuances of AI, given adequate access to the models.
Screen capture from an interview on CNN with Ali Ghodsi  

Ali Ghodsi, Co-Founder and CEO of Databricks, an industry leader in big data analytics, argues that responsible AI lies in democratization rather than restriction: We need more accessibility, not less. 

In a recent interview on CNN, Ghodsi cited the European and Canadian models as good starting points for amending the current US policy of AI safety. While he underscored what he sees as a negligible probability of an ‘Armageddon’ scenario, he still sees a need for regulation on immediate use cases. 

“Someone wants to use this technology for bad purposes. We should regulate that. We should make it illegal… But who has the best opportunity to understand what’s going on inside these models? It’s the research community worldwide.”

Ghodsi continued, “We have to understand what these models are doing. And by having open research and having open source models and helping us understand what’s going on inside of these models, we can actually better align them, better understand what’s going on… For that, we have to democratize this data and this AI. So that’s why we frankly did this acquisition of Mosaic.” 

Databricks recently made waves with its acquisition of Mosaic, a move Ghodsi believes will help “democratize” AI. While not exactly open source, Ghodsi advocates Databricks’ business model. “What we’re doing is we’re selling this to enterprises. They have very specific use cases,” he said, citing examples such as Rivian’s electric adventure vehicles optimizing their battery and avoiding collisions or JetBlue using the technology to communicate with passengers about delays and navigating the airport.