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Abu Dhabi sets up business to leverage AI expertise

Sheikh Khaled, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, at the AI71 launch Abu Dhabi Media Office
Sheikh Khaled, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, at the AI71 launch
  • AI71 launched on Tuesday
  • Will use Abu Dhabi’s Falcon
  • Medical, education, legal focus

Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council has set up a company that aims to capitalise on the emirate’s growing expertise in artificial intelligence.

The business, AI71, will build on Falcon, the open-source AI developed in Abu Dhabi.

The Falcon 7B, 40B and 180B large language models (LLMs) – tools capable of digesting large amounts of content and producing human-like writing or realistic imagery – were developed by the council’s Technology Innovation Institute.

VentureOne, the council’s commercialisation arm, will take AI71 to market, with an initial focus on potential clients in the government, medical, education and legal sectors.

Faisal Al Bannai, secretary general of the Advanced Technology Research Council, said “many more” sectors would come later. 

He added that while AI71 works on “the deliberate commercialisation of our AI models across diverse sectors”, the council makes “a firm commitment to perpetually open sourcing our Falcon AI models”.

At the launch on Tuesday, Al Bannai also stressed the importance of returning control of data to owners. LLMs often access personal or corporate information, leading to concerns around privacy. 

“The global community requires diverse options, allowing individuals to make informed decisions that align with their preferences,” he said.

“Whether opting for a proprietary model or not, and regardless of one’s comfort with data sharing, it’s crucial to provide these choices.”

A number of AI-related businesses are setting up in the emirate, which wants to become an international centre for tech.

Earlier this month, Core42, based in Abu Dhabi, unveiled Jais30B, a deep-learning algorithm capable of translating or generating Arabic text.

Sid Bhatia, regional vice president at AI company Dataiku, told AGBI: “The growth of the AI sector contributes to job creation, offering employment opportunities that, in turn, help nurture and retain talent within the region.”

PwC Middle East estimates that by 2030, the Middle East will account for 2 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 a year across the region. The fastest growth is forecast for the UAE.

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