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UAE joins AI safety pledge at UK-South Korea summit

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the pledge ' sets a precedent for global standards on AI safety' Reuters
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the pledge 'sets a precedent for global standards on AI safety'
  • 16 sign AI safety pledge
  • To measure and mitigate risks
  • Trustworthiness at the core

Two artificial intelligence companies from the UAE have signed up to a new AI safety pledge and have committed to safe development of the technology.

Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute and G42 are among 16 names on the safety pledge that also includes Amazon, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and Samsung.

The announcement was made at the AI Seoul Summit hosted by the UK and South Korea, which opened on Tuesday. 

The companies will publish safety frameworks on how they will measure risks of their frontier AI models, such as examining the risk of misuse of technology by bad actors.  

The frameworks will also outline when severe risks, unless adequately mitigated, would be “deemed intolerable” and what companies will do to ensure thresholds are not surpassed.  

In extreme circumstances, the companies have also committed to “not develop or deploy a model or system at all” if mitigations cannot keep risks below the thresholds. 

The Technology Innovation Institute has launched two iterations of the UAE’s Falcon large language model – a type of AI programme that can recognise and generate text, among other tasks.

“The power of generative AI and large language models is already transforming industries but for us to reap the maximum benefit we must keep trustworthiness and safety at the core of the technology’s development,” said Dr Najwa Aaraj, the Technology Innovation Institute’s CEO.

Microsoft-backed G42, another Abu Dhabi AI company, has also supported the pledge.

G42 group CTO Kiril Evtimov said: “By committing to rigorous safety frameworks and transparent governance, we are not only safeguarding our technological advancements but also paving the way for a future where AI benefits all of humanity.”

These commitments ensure companies will provide transparency and accountability on their plans to develop safe AI, according to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He said it “sets a precedent for global standards on AI safety that will unlock the benefits of this transformative technology”.

The UAE has been at the forefront of the adoption of AI. Last month, Dubai ordered all government entities to appoint a chief AI officer, as part of a new drive to embrace the technology.

The Abu Dhabi state oil company Adnoc said in March it generated $500 million (AED 1.84 billion) in extra value by using artificial intelligence solutions in 2023.

PwC Middle East estimates that by 2030 the Middle East will account for two percent of the total global benefits of AI – the equivalent of $320 billion. 

Growth in AI’s contribution to GDP is expected to range from 20 to 34 percent per year across the region, with the biggest impact set to be in the UAE.

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