UAE releases new AI model to compete with big tech

Abu Dhabi's Technology Innovation Institute releasing the Falcon 2 series.

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  • [Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

    A government research institute in the UAE released a new open-source GenAI model that could rival those from big technology companies.

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

    While both models are multilingual, Falcon 2 11B VLM stands out as the only one currently in the top-tier market with this image-to-text conversion capability, marking a significant advancement in AI innovation. 

    Falcon 2 11B VLM can identify and interpret images and visuals from the environment, providing a wide range of applications in industries such as healthcare, finance, e-commerce, education, and legal sectors.

    These models can run efficiently on just one graphics processing unit (GPU), making them highly scalable and easy to deploy and integrate into lighter infrastructures like laptops and other devices.

    Advanced Technology Research Council Secretary General Faisal Al Bannai, also an adviser to the president on strategic research and advanced technology, said the UAE was demonstrating its potential to 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 opted to keep their AI code proprietary, others, like UAE’s Falcon and Meta’s Llama, have made their code publicly available for anyone to use.

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

    “While Falcon 2 11B has demonstrated outstanding performance, we reaffirm our commitment to the open-source movement with it and to the Falcon Foundation. With other multimodal models soon coming to the market in various sizes, our aim is to ensure that developers and entities that value their privacy, have access to one of the best AI models to enable their AI journey.” 



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