Falcon 2 Series- UAE’s Bold GenAI Model Rivals Big Tech

Falcon 2 series- UAE New GenAI Model

May 17, 2024 – In a bold move to compete with big tech giants, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has released a groundbreaking new open-source GenAI model through the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi. The Falcon 2 series, consisting of Falcon 2 11B, a text-based model, and Falcon 2 11B VLM, a vision-to-language model capable of generating text descriptions from uploaded images, marks a significant milestone in the UAE's ambitious artificial intelligence strategy.

The UAE, known for its forward-thinking approach to technology and innovation, has been investing heavily in AI to drive economic growth and position itself as a global leader in the field by 2031. The launch of the Falcon 2 series underscores the nation's commitment to developing cutting-edge AI solutions that can rival those of major technology companies.

Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) and an adviser to the UAE President on strategic research and advanced technology, emphasized the country's determination to be a major player in the global AI landscape.

We're very proud that we can still punch way above our weight, really compete with the best players globally

Al Bannai stated, expressing optimism about Falcon 2 series's performance and hinting at ongoing efforts to develop the next iteration, Falcon 3.

The release of the UAE's new GenAI model comes amidst a global race to develop powerful AI systems following the 2022 launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT. While some companies choose to keep their AI code proprietary, the UAE has opted for an open-source approach, making the Falcon 2 series code publicly available for anyone to use, similar to Meta's Llama model.

Falcon 2 series open-source GenAI model

This move not only demonstrates the UAE's commitment to transparency and collaboration in AI development but also aligns with the country's National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. Launched in 2017, the strategy aims to harness AI's potential to improve quality of life, enhance government efficiency, and accelerate economic growth across various sectors, including healthcare, education, transportation, and energy.

Dubai, the UAE's financial capital, has been at the forefront of AI adoption and innovation within the country. The establishment of Digital Dubai in June 2021 showcases the government's intent to transform the city into a global AI hub. Through initiatives like the Smart Dubai strategy and the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, the emirate is leveraging AI to optimize city resources, personalize services, and create a more sustainable and efficient future.

The UAE's AI ambitions have not gone unnoticed by the international community. Last year, U.S. officials issued an ultimatum, urging the country to choose between American or Chinese technology partnerships. In response, Emirati AI firm G42 divested from Chinese entities and secured a $1.5 billion investment from Microsoft, coordinated with Washington.

As the UAE continues to make strides in AI development, the country is also focusing on building a strong talent pool and fostering innovation. The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world's first graduate-level AI university, has attracted thousands of applications from aspiring AI professionals. Additionally, the Dubai Future Accelerators program connects startups and entrepreneurs with government entities to develop innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

The launch of the Falcon 2 series is a testament to the UAE's unwavering commitment to harnessing the power of AI for the betterment of its citizens and the global community. As the country continues to invest in research, development, and talent, it is well-positioned to become a leading force in the AI revolution, shaping the future of technology and innovation in the Middle East and beyond.

With the UAE's new GenAI model set to compete with those of big tech giants, the stage is set for an exciting era of AI advancement, collaboration, and innovation. As Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII, aptly put it, “We're committed to fostering transparency and collaboration in AI. Extending the UAE's collaborative spirit into AI development, we set new standards for openness and we encourage all other entities who support open source from around the world to join us.

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