UAE releases new AI model to compete with big tech

UAE releases new AI model to compete with big tech

A government research institute in the United Arab Emirates on Monday released a new open-source GenAI model, which can rival models from big tech companies.

Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute (TII) said it is releasing a series of Falcon 2s: the Falcon 2 11B, a text-based model, and the Falcon 2 11B VLM, a vision-to-language model that can generate text descriptions of uploaded images.

TII is a research center within the Abu Dhabi Advanced Technology Research Council.

The UAE, a major oil exporter and an influential Middle Eastern power, is making huge investments in artificial intelligence. But the bet has also drawn attention from US officials who last year issued a dilemma: American or Chinese technology.

Emirati AI firm G42 pulled out of Chinese hardware and divested stakes in Chinese companies before securing a $1.5 billion investment from Washington-aligned Microsoft.

Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council Faisal Al Bannai, who is also an adviser to the president on strategic research and advanced technology, said the UAE showed it could be a major player in artificial intelligence.

The Falcon 2 series comes as companies and countries race to develop their own large language models following the 2022 release of ChatGPT by OpenAI. While some have chosen to keep their AI code proprietary, others, such as Falcon UAE and Llama Meta, have made their code publicly available for anyone to use.

Al Bannai said he was optimistic about the Falcon 2’s performance and that they were working on a “Falcon 3 generation”.

“We’re very proud that we can still punch above our weight, really compete with the best players around the world,” he said.

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