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Falcon 180B released; GenAI accelerator announces $160m fund
Middle East AI News weekly digest...
Welcome to this week’s Middle East AI News!
Again, another big news week for AI in the Middle East and North Africa!
First, Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute has just released the big brother of its Falcon LLM family, Falcon 180B! It’s big, it’s powerful and it can require a lot of GPU depending on how you plan to use it. The Falcon 180B is also another big milestone in Abu Dhabi’s new AI R&D sector, which has now demonstrated that it has the capability to produce specialised or broad-based models, highly economical or highly powerful ones. What’s next, I wonder?
And Saudi Arabi'a’s new GenAI accelerator, GAIA, has revealed that it has a $160 million fund to invest in early stage startups. The Riyadh-based programme is open to both local startups and global (although they must register for a Saudi company licence first). GAIA aims to create 120 new GenAI startups in the next three years.
And there are many other news stories to share today on autonomous vehicles and vessels, Industry 4.0, data centre regulations, the first AI film festival in the region and more! Scroll down for more AI news from across the region.
Thanks for reading!
#UAE #LLMs - Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the R&D lab of Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), has released the world's most powerful open access large language model, Falcon 180B. (Middle East AI News)
#Saudi #accelerators - GAIA, the first GenAI early-stage accelerator in MENA, will invest $160 million in new generative AI startups. It has a target to invest in 120 early stage GenAI startups, while the first accelerator cohort consisted of 15 startups. (SPA)
#UAE #LLMs - TII’s call for Proposals for Falcon 40B received 1,700 innovative use case applications, resulting in five finalists being selected. The entries are competing for a chance to use TII”s computer for training. (LinkedIn)
#Saudi #datacentres - Saudi Arabia's Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST) has published new national Data Centre Services Regulations. The Kingdom plans to attract $18 billion of data centre investment by 2030, and to up capacity to more than 1,300 megawatts. Download English PDF. Download Arabic PDF. (CST)
#Saudi #autonomousvessels - Saudi Arabia's Transport General Authority (TGA), American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), and Zamil Marine have agreed to begin joint development of regulations, technical standards and operational frameworks for autonomous vessels. (Middle East AI News)
#UAE #AVs - 10 entries have qualified for the final round at the 3rd Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport next month. Winners of the challenge, which is focused on Self-Driving Buses this year, will be announced during the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport, organised by the Roads and Transport Authority at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 26-27 September 2023. (Dubai Media Office)
SDAIA brings big savings to Saudi Arabia
#Saudi #digitaltransformation - Saudi Arabia has saved more than $15 billion as the result of the efforts of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA). According to a government statement, Sadiya's decision platform Estishraf saved 13.7 billion , SDAIA was formed in 2019 to drive government AI and data strategy. (SPA)
#UAE #sentiment - The new State of the Connected Customer report from global CRM vendor Salesforce confirms that trust is paramount as corporate usage of AI in customer services expands. 85% of customers in UAE say it’s important to know whether they're communicating with AI or a human. (Zawya)
#Saudi #smartcities - Orange Business, the enterprise division of Orange Group, has signed a deal with King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) to design, build and run an advanced smart city platform that will seamlessly integrate with the district’s existing digital infrastructure. (Arab News)
#Saudi #Industry4 - Saudi's Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has launched an Industry 4.0 programme to implement basic digitisation solutions as part of its Factories of the Future initiative. Manufacturers can receive finance up to 75% of their transformation project and a grant of up to SR10 million ($2.66 million) when the facility is fully operational. (Arab News)
#Saudi #cloud - Huawei has launched its first public cloud services in the Middle East with the opening of a new data centre in Riyadh. Huawei will offer a variety of cloud services including artificial intelligence applications to customers across the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. (Reuters)
#Saudi #hackathon - Saudi engineering students gathered on the campus of KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) last month, for "hack AI for All”. The hackathon challenge focused on addressing inherent biases in AI, with a goal of detecting biases and improving the performance of AI models. (Saudi Gazette)
#Egypt #training - The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) hosted a training course on Big Data and artificial intelligence for central banks, in collaboration with CMI (COMESA Monetary Institute). The course was attended by 35 participants from nine eastern and southern African central banks. (Daily News Egypt)
#Saudi #training - King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) held a 10-week collaborative training program for 24 trainees from several universities within the Kingdom, culminating in 12 research projects spanning diverse including GenAI, computer vision and robotics. (SPA via Zawya)
#Saudi competition - Registrations are open from 6 to 11 September for the Co-Innovation Award, organised by the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST). The award is given to the top four tech products that are developed collaboratively by the service provider and the end user. Competition entry details here. (SPA)
#UAE #film - Expo City Dubai has announced the first region's first 𝗔𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗺 𝗙𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗹 (AIFF 2023). Professional and amateur film creators worldwide are invited to submit a short film that includes AI-generated content up until until December 1st. Winning entries will be showcased at an awards ceremony on February 29th, 2024. (Emirates News Agency)
#UAE #COP28 - The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi has pledged to plant 10 mangrove trees in Abu Dhabi for each of the 80,000 visitors attending the Cop28 climate change summit this year, which takes place 30 November to 12 December. Flying drones will be used to plant the mangrove seeds. (The National)
#UAE #dronedelivery - UAE-based startup UVL Robotics - which has been running drone delivery trials in Oman for the past 18 months - will soon begin trial drone flights in Abu Dhabi. Despite announcements over the past few years, to-date, there have been no extended drone delivery trials in the UAE capital. (Tech Magazine)
#Japan #Netherlands #Saudi #M&A - Terra Drone has acquired a majority stake in Antwerp-base, Unifly. While Unifly has been chosen as the designated UTM platform for NEOM in Southwestern Saudi Arabia, Terra Drone opened a joint venture, Terra Drone Arabia this year, after securing funding from Aramco. (Vertical Mag)
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