#future of open

Our goal is for the Open Movement to develop a new, collective strategy. One that takes into account the experience of the last two decades of open, and the changes in the digital ecosystem that have happened in this period.

The new strategy should leverage the principle of openness to design and build systems that maximize the societal benefits of digital resources while avoiding harm. Doing this requires acknowledging that, in some cases, openness serves to strengthen power imbalances and is thus not emancipatory in itself.

The idea of Open Access and free reuse of knowledge and culture continues to be one of the most powerful challenges to the exclusive control by corporations and states over information goods. And openness is a principle on which a vision of a more just and egalitarian digital society can be built.

It is time to define once again what Open means: the normative vision behind sharing and the way value is created. We are doing this work through sensemaking and building new narratives about Open.



Open Source AI and the Paradox of Open

September 15, 2023 by: Zuzanna Warso et al.
We agree with Widder, West, and Whittaker that openness alone will not democratize AI. However, it is clear to us that any alternative to current Big Tech-driven AI must be, among other things, open.

We need frameworks that balance sharing and consent

September 7, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski
There is a growing need for a new set of community-based principles and governance framework for the digital commons, which combines the achievements of free culture with care for other rights and balances sharing with consent. 

Friction and AI Governance: Experience from the Ground

August 23, 2023 by: Nadia Nadesan
In this article, Open Future fellow Nadia Nadesan shares learnings from facilitating a citizen assembly with Algorights to investigate local participation concerning the AI Act. 

The Mirage of Open-Source AI: Analyzing Meta’s Llama 2 Release Strategy

August 11, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski
In this analysis, I review the Llama 2 release strategy and show its non-compliance with the open-source standard. Furthermore, I explain how this case demonstrates the need for more robust governance that mandates training data transparency.

Supporting Open Source and Open Science in the EU AI Act

July 26, 2023 by: Paul Keller
Today — together with Hugging Face, Eleuther.ai, LAION, GitHub, and Creative Commons, we publish a statement on Supporting Open Source and Open Science in the EU AI Act. We strongly believe that open source and open science are the building blocks of trustworthy AI and should be promoted in the EU.

Stewarding the sum of all knowledge in the age of AI

July 7, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski
We need a more holistic approach that considers how machine learning technologies impact Wikimedia — changes to editing, disintermediation of users, and governance of free knowledge as a resource used in AI training. These changes call for an overall strategy that balances the need to protect the organization from negative impact and harms with the need to deploy new technologies in productive ways to help build the digital commons.

Friction and AI Governance: Institutional Intermediaries

July 3, 2023 by: Nadia Nadesan
This article examines an example from the global women's rights movement of how organizations and institutions support local actors to participate in transnational AI governance and challenge top-down structures and mechanisms.

AI, the Commons, and the limits of copyright

June 22, 2023 by: Paul Keller
There has been a lot of attention on copyright and generative AI/ML over the last few months. In this essay, I propose a two-fold strategy to tackle this situation. First, it is essential to guarantee that individual creators can opt out of having their works used in AI training. Second, we should implement a levy that redirects a portion of the surplus from training AI on humanity's collective creativity back to the commons.

Undermining the foundation of open source AI?

May 11, 2023 by: Paul Keller
Today, the European Parliament's IMCO and LIBE committees adopted their joint report on the proposed AI Act. The text includes additional safeguards for fundamental rights and an overall more cautious approach to AI. In this post, we provide an in-depth analysis of the implications of the text for open source AI development.

Friction and AI Governance: through the Scale of the City

May 10, 2023 by: Nadia Nadesan
AI governance captures a wide range of processes and conversations, from internal governance policies for companies to public, national, and transnational regulatory bodies. For this blog series, I intend to map places where friction in this seemingly effortless and inevitable flow of technology occurs.

Concerns Over the Impact of the AI Act on Open-Source R&D: LAION’s open letter

May 2, 2023 by: Zuzanna Warso
Establishing a regulatory framework that achieves the dual objectives of protecting open-source AI systems and mitigating risks of potential harm is a critical imperative for the European Union. Especially since open-source, publicly supported AI systems are crucial digital public infrastructures that would ensure Europe’s sovereignty. 


Defining best practices for opting out of ML training

September 28, 2023 by: Paul Keller et al.
This Open Future policy brief examines the technical implementation of the EU law provision allowing authors and other rightholders to opt out of having their works used as training data for (generative) machine learning (ML) systems.

Fields of open

July 6, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
Fields of open is a report which consists of findings from an exploratory mapping of the movement using network analysis methods and data collected from Twitter. The first part consists of a definition of the open movement, followed by a conceptualization of the movement as consisting of distinct but connected fields of open. The second part comprises methodological information about social network analysis and data visualization. The third part includes a presentation of the network visualizations and their analysis.

Shifting tides

June 7, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
Our research aims to understand the current state of the open movement, as seen through the eyes of people actively involved in its endeavors and leading organizations within the movement.

Exploring the Intersection of Openness and AI

April 7, 2023 by: Zuzanna Warso et al.
The rapid advancements in AI challenge the concept of openness on the internet, as companies use publicly available data to their advantage, frequently disregarding the concerns and welfare of other parties, such as artists and content creators, and the impacts of the tools they make available for use. There is a growing realization that the […]

The Growth of responsible AI licensing

February 7, 2023 by: Paul Keller et al.
The RAIL licenses are gaining ground, but permissive sharing is still the prominent norm governing the sharing of ML models on huggingface.co. This analysis aims at understanding how licenses are used by developers making ML model-related code and or data publicly available.


January 12, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
The AI_Commons Final Report summarizes our findings and offers recommendations for commons-based governance of AI datasets.

Paradox of Open: Responses

November 30, 2022 by: Open Future
We asked leaders and experts from the broad open movement to respond to the Paradox of Open, and published their responses in an online anthology.

AI_Commons white paper

September 28, 2022 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
This white paper presents the case of using openly licensed photographs for AI facial recognition training datasets. The analysis is part of our exploration of how AI training datasets, and works included in those datasets, can be better governed and shared as a commons.

Proposal to leverage Article 17 to build a public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works.

September 21, 2021 by: Paul Keller
White-paper on how to to leverage Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive to build a public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works.

The Paradox of Open

March 5, 2021 by: Paul Keller et al.
The Paradox of Open is the essay that we published in March 2021 to mark the launch of Open Future. In this essay we reflect on almost 20 years of our involvement in the open movement.


June 20, 2023

Protocols, standards and ecosystems

June 22, 2023
Together with the critical infrastructure lab, we brought together 25 European experts working on interoperability, standards governance and identity protocols.
April 13, 2023

Critical Infrastructure Lab launch: What should the next European Commission do?

April 14, 2023
At the Critical Infrastructure Lab launch event in Amsterdam, we hosted a workshop on “Imagining the future: what should the next European Commission do”.
March 23, 2023

Mozfest 2023: AI systems as a challenge to concentrations of power

April 4, 2023
On 23 March, we organised a roundtable titled “Open AI systems: will they challenge the concentrations of power?”, during the Mozilla Festival 2023.
November 30, 2022

Open Future Salon #2. Launch of Paradox of Open: Responses

November 11, 2022
On 30 November at 17:00 CET (16:00 UTC), online, we hosted an Open Future Salon to launch "Paradox of Open: Responses." 
September 15, 2021

Open Future Sessions Season 2: Conversation of the openness of today and tomorrow

July 5, 2022
A collection of the summaries of the conversations we had with thought leaders from the Open Movement during Season 2 of the Open Future Sessions (September 2021-June 2022), to address the key challenges that Open faces today.
September 21, 2021

Protecting Open Licenses in the EU Copyright Reform at CC Global Summit 2021

December 1, 2021
Presentation of the White Paper: "Proposal to Leverage Art.17 of CDSM Directive to build a public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works"
September 20, 2021

Future of Open Sessions at CC Global Summit 2021

September 20, 2021
The CC Global Summit is among the events that create the beat of the Open Movement. In this 2021 Summit edition we teamed up with Library Futures, Wikimedia and Invest in Open for a series of interrelated conversations about the Future of Open.
October 29, 2021

Global Congress on Intellectual Property & the Public Interest

August 30, 2021
Workshop on Copyright and the Digital Economy
September 20, 2021

Rethink Design

August 24, 2021
DCODE Summer School 2021: Introducing DCODE challenges, outlining new design ideals for our digital future, and setting the ground for a shared vocabulary.