OpenAI, the maker of the prevalent artificial intelligence (AI) platform ChatGPT, has partnered with Abu Dhabi cloud and AI company G42 to seek to broaden its footprint in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the broader region.
In October 2023, G42 announced that it intends to expand AI capabilities in the Middle East region with its new collaboration. The two companies revealed they plan to leverage OpenAI’s generative AI models where G42 operates, including financial services, energy, health care and public services.
Experts at Bitcoin Smarter official mentioned that the collaboration with G42, chaired by the UAE’s influential national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed AI Nahyan, aims to develop solutions to establish specific uses and grow the advancement of generative AI. This move intends to simplify the adoption of generative AI services. G42 revealed that organisations in the UAE and other regions using its business solutions should now have a more streamlined process of integrating advanced AI capabilities into existing businesses.
During the Gitex Global technology conference in Dubai on Wednesday, co-founder and chief executive of OpenAI, Sam Altman and group executive of G42, Peng Xiao, signed the partnership on the sidelines. Altman said, “The collaboration will lay the foundation for equitable advancements in generative AI across the globe.”
The collaboration intends to prioritise its substantial AI infrastructure capacity to support OpenAI’s local and regional inferencing on Microsoft Azure data centres. He added, “Our partnership with G42 is a significant commitment to further harnessing AI’s transformative power. Leveraging G42’s industry expertise, we aim to empower businesses and communities with effective solutions that resonate with the nuances of the region.”
What Influenced the Collaboration?
This move by the two companies was influenced by one of the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia, which announced a collaboration between a local university and two universities in China around developing an Arabic-based AI system on October 10 2023. The extensive language model (LLM) called AceGPT quilt on Meta’s Llama 2 was launched by a Chinese-American professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in partnership with the Shenzhen Research Institute of Big Data (SRIBD) and the School of Data Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHKSZ).
The project’s GitHub page highlighted that the model is designed to function as an AI assistant for Arabic speakers and respond to queries in Arabic. According to WorldData, Arabic is one of the most widespread languages worldwide – spoken by more than 400 million people. It is the official language in 22 countries and partially spoken in 11 others. The disclaimer mentioned that “it may not produce satisfactory results in other languages.” The developers revealed that the model has been enhanced to recognise possible misuse, including producing harmful content, mishandling sensitive information, perpetuating misinformation or failing safety checks.
Additionally, users were cautioned to be responsible in their use due to a lack of safety checks. The project noted, “We have not conducted an exhaustive safety check on the model, so users should exercise caution. We cannot overemphasise the need for responsible and judicious use of our model.”
These developments come as the United States (US) regulators grow increasingly weary over the destination of AI semiconductor chip exports, including the Middle East. In August 2023, US officials reportedly added “some Middle Eastern countries to the list of areas where AI chip maker Nvidia and AMD need to curb exports of their high level semiconductor chips.” On September 1 2023, US regulators denied blocking AI chip exports to the Middle East.
The Department of Commerce did not comment on whether the requirements were imposed on certain US companies. According to the filing, the new rules required Nvidia and AMD to obtain licences before selling flagship chips to some Middle Eastern countries. The AI industry, long used in society and businesses, was brought forward by the emergence of ChatGPT, created by Microsoft-backed OpenAI. The advanced conversational skills sparked a race between the biggest tech companies and personalities, including Google, Amazon, Oracle, Elon Musk and Microsoft.
According to reports, generative AI is expected to hold immense economic potential. PwC unit Strategy & Middle East revealed that GCC countries are expected to reap $23.5 billion in economic benefits by 2030 as investments in generative AI continue to grow. A top executive of PwC Middle East revealed that the UAE has also been considered to be leading the GCC towards generative AI, and its adoption of the emerging technology stands out on the global stage.
The move by the United Arab Emirates in the industry, having already unveiled major large language models and the underlying algorithm that powers generative artificial intelligence, does show its intentions of becoming a leader in the industry. The collaboration between OpenAI and G42 shows commitment and intentions to expand in the United Arab Emirates and the broader region.