TII Abu Dhabi
Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Abu Dhabi Official LogoTechnology Innovation Institute (TII) Official Website

The UAE's Technology Innovation Institute (TII) released its New AI Model Series, Falcon 2 on 13th May 2024.

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), is a "leading global scientific research center and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC)."

The Next-Gen Falcon 2 Series presents an "AI Model that is Open-Source, Multilingual, and Multimodal – and is only AI Model with Vision-to-Language Capabilities."

Falcon AI Logo
Falcon LogoTechnology Innovation Institute (TII) Official Website

What is it?

"Falcon LLM is a generative large language model (LLM) that helps advance applications and use cases to future-proof our world." The long term goal is to facilitate breakthroughs in various domains, including healthcare, finance, education, e-commerce, legal affairs and more.

The TII's first multimodal model is the "only one currently in the top tier market that has this image-to-text conversion capability, marking a significant advancement in AI innovation." This functionality allows the LLM to understand and process content like a human for various purposes in an improved manner, as highlighted by TII in its press release. Here are some highlights:

Linguistic capabilities: Falcon 2 AI is able to carry out various tasks in multiple languages including "English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese, among others" thereby "enriching their versatility and magnifying their effectiveness across diverse scenarios."

Vision-to-language model: This model has the capability to identify and interpret images and visuals, having wide applicability in various industries. Such tasks could range from "document management, digital archiving, and context indexing" to supporting the visually impaired.

Scalable AI: Since it can run on a single graphics processing unit (GPU), the AI is believed to be "highly scalable, and easy to deploy and integrate into lighter infrastructures like laptops and other devices."

What's the significance and future?

The UAE has made a bold show of its ambition to enter the global AI market, attempting to compete with the biggest and best of Big Tech to gain a serious foothold. To quote Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), "We're very proud that we can still punch way above our weight, really compete with the best players globally."

In terms of performance, it has been claimed that the "New Falcon 2 11B Outperforms Meta's Llama 3 8B, and Performs on par with leading Google Gemma 7B Model, as Independently Verified by Hugging Face Leaderboard." All eyes will therefore be on further advancements originating from the country.

On the innovation front, Generative AI is likely to lead the way. The TII proposes a new type of machine learning capability-the 'Mixture of Experts'. What is uniquely interesting here, is that this involves using smaller networks with "distinct specializations" that collaborate and amalgamate to come together and build more nuanced, innovative and customised outputs.

The TII has stated that it firmly believes "that innovation should be allowed to flourish." Falcon 2 is designed for open access, use and development for free. These are predicted to foster a more collaborative environment in terms of the future expansion of cutting- edge AI.

Finally, the release of Falcon 2 by TII is important as it exemplifies how government and public sector led innovation can also shape AI development. Further, it is a powerful example of the potential AI holds in becoming a leading industry, particularly for smaller countries which have the investment resources and technical capabilities.