Abu Dhabi takes the lead in AI development with new Falcon model
The decision to release Falcon 180 B as an open-source model is driven by Abu Dhabi’s objective of democratizing access to this transformative technology. The aim is to prevent power concentration and ensure widespread access to the benefits of AI.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is emerging as a key player in the global AI landscape. Recent initiatives by the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) have put the city on the map for its significant strides in AI technology. The unveiling of Falcon 180 B, the latest AI model, marks a significant milestone in Abu Dhabi’s efforts to diversify its economy beyond oil dependence.
The ATRC has more ambitious plans in the realm of AI and intends to launch a state-backed AI company later this year. The goal is to compete with leading players in the field, like OpenAI. By challenging these dominant players, Abu Dhabi seeks to disrupt the AI industry, currently dominated by the United States and China. Competitors and other governments looking to play a role in the AI economy will be closely monitoring the success of Abu Dhabi’s AI company.
The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research arm of the ATRC, is actively engaged in AI research. It has already released AI models such as Noor and Falcon 40 B, with Falcon 180 B being the latest addition. Falcon 180 B has demonstrated exceptional performance, outperforming other well-known AI models according to benchmarks from Hugging Face.
The decision to release Falcon 180 B as an open-source model is driven by Abu Dhabi’s objective of democratizing access to this transformative technology. The aim is to prevent power concentration and ensure widespread access to the benefits of AI. By opening up access to the AI model, software engineers are encouraged to experiment and propose improvements, fostering innovation and pushing the boundaries of AI technology.
Moreover, open-source AI models like Falcon 180 B present monetization opportunities. Startups like Stability AI have found commercial success by adopting an open-source strategy, as their models are quickly and widely adopted. Besides revenue generated directly through their products, they also earn income by providing platform support and creating tailored solutions for customers. Abu Dhabi’s AI company plans to adopt a similar approach and aims to become an end-to-end platform for AI developers.
Abu Dhabi’s efforts to establish itself as an AI hub are reinforced by attractive salaries, which have already attracted tech experts from abroad. Local expertise is also being nurtured through specialized institutions like the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. While Abu Dhabi may join the AI race later than other established players, its tightly-knit business networks provide a competitive advantage. By partnering with local businesses and using them as test cases, the AI company can gain practical insights and rapidly determine effective AI applications.
Another significant advantage Abu Dhabi possesses is its substantial financial resources. The emirate’s sovereign wealth funds hold approximately $1.5 trillion in assets, surpassing the valuation of OpenAI at $40 billion. Access to such vast funds is crucial, especially as AI models become increasingly computationally intensive and data-driven.
Source: The Economist