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OpenAI partners with G42 in Dubai eyeing Middle East expansion


OpenAI, the maker of popular artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT, and Dubai-based technology holding group G42 announced a new partnership on Oct. 18 to expand AI capabilities in the Middle East region. 

The two companies plan to leverage OpenAI’s generative AI models in sectors of G42’s expertise, including financial services, energy, healthcare and public services.

G42 said that organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other regions using its business solutions should now have a more simplified process of integrating advanced AI capabilities into existing businesses.

It said it plans to “prioritize its substantial AI infrastructure capacity to support OpenAI’s local and regional inferencing on Microsoft Azure data centers.”

Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, said that G42’s connections in the industry can help bring AI solutions that “resonate with the nuances of the region.” He said the collaboration will help advance generative AI across the globe.

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This development follows another from neighboring Middle Eastern country Saudi Arabia, which recently announced a collaboration between a local university and universities in China around developing an Arabic-based AI system

The large language model (LLM), called AceGPT, is built on Meta’s Llama 2. According to the project’s GitHub page, it is designed to be an AI assistant for Arabic speakers and answer queries in Arabic.

Both of these developments come as regulators in the United States grow increasingly weary over the destination of AI semiconductor chip exports, including the Middle East.

In August, U.S. officials reportedly added “some Middle Eastern countries” to its list of areas where AI chip maker Nvidia and its rival AMD need to curb exports of their high-level semiconductor chips.

A few weeks later, U.S. regulators denied blocking said exports to the Middle East. However, in its most recent expansion of export controls of AI semiconductor chips, one new rule was to expand licensing requirements for the export of advanced chips to “all 22 countries to which the United States maintains an arms embargo.” Aside from its main target being China, this includes Middle Eastern countries of Iraq, Iran and Lebanon.

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