Abu Dhabi launches new global AI company
AI71 will leverage AI to solve the world's most meaningful problems
#UAE #LLMs - The much anticipated launch of a new artificial intelligence company backed by Abu Dhabi's R&D policy and investment body, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), took place at an exclusive event in a resort on Saadiyat Island today, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Called AI71, the new company will set out to leverage AI to solve the world's most meaningful problems.
SO WHAT? - Formed by the commercialisation arm of the ATRC, VentureOne, Abu Dhabi's new AI company will market and support products and services based on the Falcon series of large language models developed by the ATRC's research organisation, Technology Innovation Institute. Whilst committing to keep the Falcon 7B, 40B and 180B models open access, AI71 will develop domain-specific and vertical industry platforms and solutions. Thus, AI71 will enable access to Falcon LLMs for organisations and developers around the world, whilst creating new commercial offerings. Thousands of developers have already downloaded Falcon LLMs and an increasing number of solutions are being developed on Falcon globally.
AI71's strategy is to build a hybrid business model, both offering access to open source AI foundation models and training models on proprietary data to build impactful solutions.
During the launch event, H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council promised AI71 will return data control to users, allowing organisations to use powerful AI models, whilst retaining full control of their data.
AI71 will do three things: empower the community with best-in-class open-source models; support end-users to build and control their own custom applications; and launch world leading solutions in meaningful domains.
The new company's first three vertical platforms are LAW71 (for the legal sector), RAZI71 (for the medical sector) and ASK71 (for the education sector).
Seven partnerships with AI71 were announced during the launch event. MoUs were signed with World Wide Technology to co-develop integrated on-premise AI solutions; CNTXT which will provide data labeling and annotation services; Hub71 to attract and scale tech and AI startups; PwC Middle East to help address customer use cases; and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to supply compute capacity.
MoUs were also signed with the Department of Government Enablement – Abu Dhabi, which centralises over 30 government entities through digitisation; the Office of Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, to support with broader adoption.
ZOOM OUT - Although the world's most famous and powerful large language models may have been developed by OpenAI, Google and Meta, these models have two major drawbacks for customers. Firstly, their models are proprietary, requiring licence fees for usage and restricting how they can be used. Secondly, these proprietary LLMs are made available via the cloud, which is ideal for many users, but heightens data security risks for big companies and government departments.
A third drawback for countries like the UAE, is the dominance of US AI companies in this space. By relying on these proprietary AI models, countries are at risk of always being dependent on the US for such technology.
Abu Dhabi government and its AI R&D ecosystem seized on this opportunity and began developing their own LLMs to create locally-owned intellectual property and allow customers to ensure data sovereignty.
AI71 aims to create a variety of domain-specific AI models, trained on specific high-quality datasets, including government and public sector datasets, and make these models available as on premise solutions. By doing so, it will create more IP in the UAE, return data control to user organisations and help grow a wider ecosystem of developers building on Falcon LLMs.
IMO - There is already latent demand for the Falcon LLM as a foundation model, with many developers keen to build new products on it. AI71 taking ownership of licencing, support and the technology roadmap could inspire the confidence that the the developer community to reach its full potential. Meanwhile, both the ability to deploy AI models on premise, protecting data sovereignty, will encourage many UAE government and large commercial organisations to build on Falcon. However, the litmus test for the new company's global ambitions will be how customers outside of the UAE adopt Falcon models and AI71's solutions. AI71's open source promise could be key to success here, differentiating it from high profile proprietary models and solutions.
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