Is the verb "Use" clear enough?

In a comment to draft 0.0.4, Shuji Sado added a comment to the word “Use” in the “What is Open Source AI”:

  • Use the system for any purpose and without having to ask for permission.

he wrote:

The word “Use” has a very broad meaning and can be interpreted in multiple ways. In Japanese, “Use” can be translated into either “Shiyou(使用)” or “Riyou(利用)”, but it is unclear which one should be chosen. From previous questions, it is clear that “use” here does not mean reproduce, adapt, or distribute, so “Run” would be easier to understand in many non-English speaking countries.

To which the pseudonimous Aspie96 replied:

I’m not entirely confident that “run” is appropriate for all kinds of software assets this would have to cover.
Plus, I feel that “use”, precisely because it’s wider, would prevent people from finding a “bug” in the definition that doesn’t cover their weirdly specific condition on some activity.
You’re right that “use” is ambiguous and, in fact, it’s often use in this context to mean a lot more than what it means here (i.e. to refer to distribution and modification as well).
However, the fact that the definition expressly addresses modifications and sharing probably addresses this issue.

I’d like to hear other opinions on this. Remember that the concept of use needs to be applied to the AI system: one uses an AI system by giving input in order to get an output (simplifying the definition of system in the preamble.)

Is the verb Use clear enough or do we need another verb?

I agree with Aspie96 that “use” is intentionally broad.


No, that’s one way of using it.

I could run backpropagation on it (without updating weights) to modify the image and probably many other things I can’t immediately come up with.

My concern was that unorthodox uses wouldn’t qualify as “running” under a very strict reading.

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I think the word “Run” has a very clear meaning in the technology domain. That is why it is used in the FSF’s Freedom0 and also in the (60i) clause of the final draft of the EU AI Act, where the word Run is used as follows

EU AI Act:
(60i) … The licence should be considered free and opensource also when it allows users to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve software and data, including models under the condition that the original provider of the model is credited, the identical or comparable terms of distribution are respected.

The major drawback of the word “Run”, however, is that it cannot be used for the use of data. However, I have some doubts that OSI needs to make a definition for the use of data. There is already a term for data freedom, Open Data.

It would be fine to use the word “use” in this definition, but in that case, I think it is necessary to clearly describe the scope of what the word “use” refers to in the definition. A native speaker of English may know exactly what the word means, but I am concerned that multiple interpretations of the word will spread, at least in Japan.

IMHO, “Running” an AI system refers to the process of making it function normally, while “use” encompasses the act of using the functions or services provided by the system.
I think it would be a good idea to first consider what meaning should be contained in the words.

Another way to think about it is this :
If an AI model cannot run for various reasons but someone can modify it and use it, do we think that ‘use’ has been authorized?
In my opinion, even in such cases, it could be considered that ‘use’ has been authorized. This is because using an AI model means using the functions or services provided by the model. If the model needs to be improved or modified, then that would be one of the necessary processes in the model’s ‘use’. Therefore, if someone can modifiy the model and use it, it could be considered that the model’s ‘use’ has been authorized. However, whether the model can ‘run’ may require a different judgement. This is because several conditions(e.g. implementation lang, environement, dataset, etc) must be met in order for the model to run properly.

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