UAE Unveils Falcon 2 AI, Challenging Tech Titans

– UAE’s TII launches Falcon 2 AI models, open to public
– Falcon 2 series includes text and vision-to-language capabilities
– Move signifies UAE’s ambition to be a leader in AI technology

In a bold move that underscores the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) commitment to becoming a powerhouse in artificial intelligence (AI), the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) of Abu Dhabi has unveiled the Falcon 2 series. This groundbreaking open-source GenAI model is poised to compete with the offerings of global tech giants.

The Falcon 2 series, comprising the Falcon 2 11B text-based model and the Falcon 2 11B VLM vision-to-language model, represents a significant leap forward in AI development. The latter is particularly notable for its ability to articulate text descriptions from visual inputs, a feature that could revolutionize how machines interpret and interact with the world around them.

This strategic release aligns with the UAE’s broader vision of leveraging AI to diversify its economy beyond oil. However, it also comes at a time of heightened scrutiny from international powers, with the U.S. urging a clear stance on the use of American versus Chinese technology. In response, Emirati AI firm G42 has distanced itself from Chinese investments, aligning more closely with Western tech interests, as evidenced by a substantial investment from Microsoft.

Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council and presidential adviser, expressed confidence in the UAE’s ability to compete on the global AI stage. The Falcon 2’s debut coincides with a worldwide race to develop proprietary large language models, a race that began with OpenAI’s ChatGPT in 2022. Unlike some who keep their AI innovations under wraps, the UAE, alongside Meta’s Llama, is sharing its advancements openly, inviting collaboration and further innovation.

With an eye on the future, Al Bannai hinted at the development of the next iteration, the Falcon 3 generation, reinforcing the UAE’s ambition to not only participate but lead in the AI domain. “We’re very proud that we can still punch way above our weight, really compete with the best players globally,” he remarked, signaling the UAE’s readiness to shape the future of AI.

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