Free Blue Checks Are Back for Some Accounts on Elon Musk’s X

Computer monitors and a laptop display the X, formerly known as Twitter, sign-in page, July 24, 2023, in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP)
Computer monitors and a laptop display the X, formerly known as Twitter, sign-in page, July 24, 2023, in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP)
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Free Blue Checks Are Back for Some Accounts on Elon Musk’s X

Computer monitors and a laptop display the X, formerly known as Twitter, sign-in page, July 24, 2023, in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP)
Computer monitors and a laptop display the X, formerly known as Twitter, sign-in page, July 24, 2023, in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP)

Elon Musk's X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has begun restoring complimentary blue checks for some of its users, the latest unexpected shift to cause a lot of confusion on the platform.

For years, Twitter’s blue checks mirrored verification badges that are common on social media, largely reserved for celebrities, politicians and other influential accounts. That changed months after Musk bought the platform for $44 billion in October 2022.

Last year, X began issuing verification checks only to those who paid the starting price of $8 per month for it, and stripping verification badges from many celebrities and other prominent accounts. That also led to confusion, complaints, and a large number of fake accounts pretending to be someone else, blue check included.

But late Wednesday night and early Thursday, numerous users reported seeing the blue checks return to their accounts, or appear for the first time, despite the fact that they were not paying for “premium” service on X.

Musk said last week that all X accounts with more than 2,500 verified subscriber followers would get Premium features — which includes a checkmark — for free going forward, and that accounts with over 5,000 would get Premium+ for free.

Specific reasoning behind this new policy was not clear. X did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment Thursday.

Reactions were mixed. While a handful of users were excited about the verification, others were frustrated.

“What happened? I didn’t pay for this. I would NEVER pay for this,” actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who appeared to be among the prominent names to see a blue check return, wrote in a post Wednesday evening.

As X's blue check has also evolved into what some argue is a signal of support for the platform's new ownership and subscription model, a few other accounts even shared instructions on how to get their newly-placed blue checks removed through settings changes.

Multiple AP staff had also received verification status that they did not pay for or request as of Thursday.

Beyond blue checks, X has faced user and advertiser pushback amid ongoing concerns about content moderation as well as the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the platform, which some researchers say has been on the rise under Musk.

Big-name brands including IBM, NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast, in November said they would stop advertising on X after a report from liberal advocacy group Media Matters showed their ads appearing alongside material that praised Nazis. Marking yet another setback as X tries to win back ad dollars, the platform's main source of revenue, Musk responded with an expletive-ridden rant accusing the companies of “blackmail” and essentially told them to go away.

X has since also attempted to sue those who have documented the proliferation of hate speech and racism on the platform — including Media Matters and the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate. A federal judge dismissed the suit against the center last week.



Elon Musk's xAI Valued at $24 Bln after Fresh Funding 

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks to the media during the launch of SpaceX's Starlink internet service in Indonesia at a sub district community health center in Denpasar, Bali, May 19, 2024. (Reuters)
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks to the media during the launch of SpaceX's Starlink internet service in Indonesia at a sub district community health center in Denpasar, Bali, May 19, 2024. (Reuters)
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Elon Musk's xAI Valued at $24 Bln after Fresh Funding 

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks to the media during the launch of SpaceX's Starlink internet service in Indonesia at a sub district community health center in Denpasar, Bali, May 19, 2024. (Reuters)
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of SpaceX and Tesla, speaks to the media during the launch of SpaceX's Starlink internet service in Indonesia at a sub district community health center in Denpasar, Bali, May 19, 2024. (Reuters)

Elon Musk's AI startup xAI raised $6 billion in series B funding, reaching a post-money valuation of $24 billion as investors bet big on challengers to companies like OpenAI in the intensifying AI race.

The funding round was backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, the company said in a blog post on Sunday.

The company's pre-money valuation was $18 billion, Musk said in a post on X.

The money will be used to take xAI's first products to market, build advanced infrastructure and accelerate research and development of future technologies, xAI said.

"There will be more to announce in the coming weeks," Musk said in another X post, in response to the announcement of the funding.

Companies like Microsoft backed OpenAI and Alphabet's are among those leading the fierce race for generative AI dominance, driving significant investments and innovation in the rapidly evolving landscape.


Kabosu, the Face of Cryptocurrency Dogecoin, Dies at 18, Owner Says

This picture taken on March 19, 2024 shows Atsuko Sato (L) with her Japanese Shiba Inu dog Kabosu, best known as the logo of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, playing with students at a kindergarten in Narita, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. (AFP)
This picture taken on March 19, 2024 shows Atsuko Sato (L) with her Japanese Shiba Inu dog Kabosu, best known as the logo of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, playing with students at a kindergarten in Narita, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. (AFP)
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Kabosu, the Face of Cryptocurrency Dogecoin, Dies at 18, Owner Says

This picture taken on March 19, 2024 shows Atsuko Sato (L) with her Japanese Shiba Inu dog Kabosu, best known as the logo of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, playing with students at a kindergarten in Narita, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. (AFP)
This picture taken on March 19, 2024 shows Atsuko Sato (L) with her Japanese Shiba Inu dog Kabosu, best known as the logo of cryptocurrency Dogecoin, playing with students at a kindergarten in Narita, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. (AFP)

Kabosu, the Japanese dog that became a global meme and the face of alternative cryptocurrency Dogecoin has died at 18, her owner announced in a blog post on Friday.

The Japanese Shiba Inu passed away while sleeping, her owner Atsuko Sato wrote.

Kabosu became recognizable as the face of Dogecoin, an alternative cryptocurrency that began as a satirical critique of the 2013 crypto frenzy.

But the token jumped in value after Tesla boss Elon Musk, a proponent of cryptocurrencies, began tweeting about it in 2020. Since then the billionaire has repeatedly promoted the coin.

Dogecoin added as much as $4 billion to its market value last year when the billionaire, who bought social media site Twitter in 2022, briefly replaced Twitter's blue bird logo with an image of Kabosu. Musk subsequently renamed Twitter X.

With a market capitalization of around $23.6 billion, Dogecoin is now the ninth biggest cryptocurrency, according to data site Coingecko.com. “The impact this one dog has made across the world is immeasurable,” Dogecoin posted on social media site X on Friday.


White House Pushes Tech Industry to Shut Down Market for Abusive AI Deepfakes

Arati Prabhakar, left photo, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jennifer Klein, Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, are shown in 2023 file photos. Klein and Prabhakar are co-authors of a Thursday announcement calling on the tech industry and financial institutions to commit to new measures to curb the creation of AI-generated nonconsensual sexual imagery. (AP Photo, file)
Arati Prabhakar, left photo, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jennifer Klein, Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, are shown in 2023 file photos. Klein and Prabhakar are co-authors of a Thursday announcement calling on the tech industry and financial institutions to commit to new measures to curb the creation of AI-generated nonconsensual sexual imagery. (AP Photo, file)
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White House Pushes Tech Industry to Shut Down Market for Abusive AI Deepfakes

Arati Prabhakar, left photo, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jennifer Klein, Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, are shown in 2023 file photos. Klein and Prabhakar are co-authors of a Thursday announcement calling on the tech industry and financial institutions to commit to new measures to curb the creation of AI-generated nonconsensual sexual imagery. (AP Photo, file)
Arati Prabhakar, left photo, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jennifer Klein, Director of the White House Gender Policy Council, are shown in 2023 file photos. Klein and Prabhakar are co-authors of a Thursday announcement calling on the tech industry and financial institutions to commit to new measures to curb the creation of AI-generated nonconsensual sexual imagery. (AP Photo, file)

President Joe Biden's administration is pushing the tech industry and financial institutions to shut down a growing market of abusive sexual images made with artificial intelligence technology.

New generative AI tools have made it easy to transform someone's likeness into a sexually explicit AI deepfake and share those realistic images across chatrooms or social media. The victims — be they celebrities or children — have little recourse to stop it, The AP reported.

The White House is putting out a call Thursday looking for voluntary cooperation from companies in the absence of federal legislation. By committing to a set of specific measures, officials hope the private sector can curb the creation, spread and monetization of such nonconsensual AI images, including explicit images of children.

“As generative AI broke on the scene, everyone was speculating about where the first real harms would come. And I think we have the answer,” said Biden's chief science adviser Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

She described to The Associated Press a “phenomenal acceleration” of nonconsensual imagery fueled by AI tools and largely targeting women and girls in a way that can upend their lives.

“We’ve seen an acceleration because of generative AI that’s moving really fast. And the fastest thing that can happen is for companies to step up and take responsibility.”

A document shared with AP ahead of its Thursday release calls for action from not just AI developers but payment processors, financial institutions, cloud computing providers, search engines and the gatekeepers — namely Apple and Google — that control what makes it onto mobile app stores.

The private sector should step up to “disrupt the monetization” of image-based sexual abuse, restricting payment access particularly to sites that advertise explicit images of minors, the administration said.

Prabhakar said many payment platforms and financial institutions already say that they won't support the kinds of businesses promoting abusive imagery.

“But sometimes it’s not enforced; sometimes they don’t have those terms of service,” she said. “And so that’s an example of something that could be done much more rigorously.”

Cloud service providers and mobile app stores could also “curb web services and mobile applications that are marketed for the purpose of creating or altering sexual images without individuals’ consent," the document says.

And whether it is AI-generated or a real nude photo put on the internet, survivors should more easily be able to get online platforms to remove them.

The most widely known victim of deepfake images is Taylor Swift, whose ardent fanbase fought back in January when abusive AI-generated images of the singer-songwriter began circulating on social media. Microsoft promised to strengthen its safeguards after some of the Swift images were traced to its AI visual design tool.

A growing number of schools in the US and elsewhere are also grappling with AI-generated deepfake photos depicting their students. In some cases, fellow teenagers were found to be creating AI-manipulated images and sharing them with classmates.


China’s Lenovo Extends Revenue Growth Streak, Beats Expectations

FILE PHOTO: A Lenovo logo is seen in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A Lenovo logo is seen in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo/File Photo
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China’s Lenovo Extends Revenue Growth Streak, Beats Expectations

FILE PHOTO: A Lenovo logo is seen in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A Lenovo logo is seen in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo/File Photo

China's Lenovo Group reported a 9% rise in fourth-quarter revenue to $13.8 billion on Thursday, as the world's largest maker of personal computers (PCs) exits a demand slump following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revenue for the January-March quarter beat an average estimate of $13 billion drawn from eight analysts, according to LSEG data.
This marks a second consecutive quarter of revenue growth for Lenovo after it suffered five straight quarters of revenue declines amid the post-COVID slowdown, Reuters reported.
Last month, research firm IDC said the global PC market has finally returned to growth during the first quarter this year after suffering nearly two years of decline.
PC shipments grew 1.5% year over year to 59.8 million during the quarter, with Lenovo firmly holding on to the No.1 title with a 23% market share, according to IDC.
But overall, Lenovo's revenue for the year ended March 31 fell 8% to 61.9 billion, beating analysts' expectations of $56.19 billion.
Lenovo's net profit for the January-March quarter rose 118% to $248 million, beating analysts’ estimates of $162 million.
The company is also actively exploring opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI), while continuing to expand its non-PC business, such as smartphones, servers and information technology services.
Revenue for its service business unit rose 8.5% to $1.8 billion for the quarter.
Lenovo’s shares soared by 12% on Wednesday after it unveiled two new AI PCs, a new breed of computers configured to effectively run AI applications.
Morgan Stanley analysts said in a client note this week that Lenovo will likely be one of the main beneficiaries of the AI PC boom. While AI PCs now account for just less than 5% of the market this year, about 64% of new PCs will be AI PCs by 2028, they said.
As such, AI PCs can generate up to 53% of revenue by 2028 for Lenovo, the highest among all the PC manufacturers, compared with the current 2%, they added.
Lenovo's shares fell 0.18% on Thursday, ahead of the quarterly earnings release.

 


Summit Host South Korea Says World Must Cooperate on AI Technology

 South Korea's Minister of Science and ICT, Lee Jong-ho, speaks during a press briefing following the ministers' session of AI Seoul Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP)
South Korea's Minister of Science and ICT, Lee Jong-ho, speaks during a press briefing following the ministers' session of AI Seoul Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP)
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Summit Host South Korea Says World Must Cooperate on AI Technology

 South Korea's Minister of Science and ICT, Lee Jong-ho, speaks during a press briefing following the ministers' session of AI Seoul Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP)
South Korea's Minister of Science and ICT, Lee Jong-ho, speaks during a press briefing following the ministers' session of AI Seoul Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP)

South Korea's science and information technology minister said on Wednesday the world must cooperate to ensure the successful development of AI, as a global summit on the rapidly evolving technology hosted by his country wrapped up.

The AI summit in Seoul, which is being co-hosted with Britain, discussed concerns such as job security, copyright and inequality on Wednesday, after 16 tech companies signed a voluntary agreement to develop AI safely a day earlier.

A separate pledge was signed on Wednesday by 14 companies including Alphabet's Google, Microsoft, OpenAI and six Korean companies to use methods such as watermarking to help identify AI-generated content, as well as ensure job creation and help for socially vulnerable groups.

"Cooperation is not an option, it is a necessity," Lee Jong-Ho, South Korea's Minister of Science and ICT (information and communication technologies), said in an interview with Reuters.

"The Seoul summit has further shaped AI safety talks and added discussions about innovation and inclusivity," Lee said, adding he expects discussions at the next summit to include more collaboration on AI safety institutes.

The first global AI summit was held in Britain in November, and the next in-person gathering is due to take place in France, likely in 2025.

Ministers and officials from multiple countries discussed on Wednesday cooperation between state-backed AI safety institutes to help regulate the technology.

AI experts welcomed the steps made so far to start regulating the technology, though some said rules needed to be enforced.

"We need to move past voluntary... the people affected should be setting the rules via governments," said Francine Bennett, Director at the AI-focused Ada Lovelace Institute.

AI services should be proven to meet obligatory safety standards before hitting the market, so companies equate safety with profit and stave off any potential public backlash from unexpected harm, said Max Tegmark, President of Future of Life Institute, an organization vocal about AI systems' risks.

South Korean science minister Lee said that laws tended to lag behind the speed of advancement in technologies like AI.

"But for safe use by the public, there needs to be flexible laws and regulations in place."


stc Group Announces Launch of 11th Batch to Support Digital Innovation through inspireU

stc Group Announces Launch of 11th Batch to Support Digital Innovation through inspireU
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stc Group Announces Launch of 11th Batch to Support Digital Innovation through inspireU

stc Group Announces Launch of 11th Batch to Support Digital Innovation through inspireU

stc Group, the engine of digital transformation, has announced the launch of the 11th intake of the "inspireU: General Program", a program designed to propel early-stage startups forward with a focus on strategic domains by having a specialized track on gaming with stc play, cybersecurity with sirar by stc, fintech with stc Bank, and IoT with iot squared, according to an stc press release.
Aligned with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, inspireU aims to diversify the economy and foster digital innovation, SPA reported.

Through this program, stc creates a supportive environment for startups and enables entrepreneurs. The program aims to accelerate worldwide startup growth and create value for stc by facilitating the link between stc ecosystem startups, offering international and local promotional exposure, soft-landing support, services from inspireU partners, office space 24/7, Silicon Valley expertise, world-class mentoring, and fundraising support.
Since its inception in 2015, the inspireU program has been a beacon of success, accelerating and promoting over 110 digital startups across diverse fields. These startups have generated investments exceeding 1 billion SAR and have developed a market value of more than 12 billion SAR.

This success has translated into over 600,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, benefiting a user of more than 40 million individuals.
The program also aims to significantly impact the region, fostering innovation and accelerating growth. In addition, its contribution to the local and global entrepreneurial landscape is anticipated to positively influence the GDP and drive technological advancements.


Amazon Plans AI-led Overhaul of Alexa Voice Assistant

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
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Amazon Plans AI-led Overhaul of Alexa Voice Assistant

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Amazon.com is planning an artificial intelligence-driven overhaul of its Alexa voice assistant and plans to charge a monthly subscription fee to offset technology costs, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

The online retail giant will launch a more conversational version of the voice assistant later this year, positioning it to better compete with AI-powered chatbots from Microsoft and Alphabet's Google, the report said, citing two people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported.

Amazon introduced Alexa in 2014 but has not found a consistent means to make it profitable, instead driving shoppers to the company's website for more purchases.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Using AI, Mastercard Expects to Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used by Criminals

FILE - A sign indicating MasterCard credit cards are accepted is posted at a New York business, Jan. 21, 2015. Mastercard said Wednesday, May 21, 2024, that it expects to be able to discover that your credit or debit card number has been compromised well before it ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - A sign indicating MasterCard credit cards are accepted is posted at a New York business, Jan. 21, 2015. Mastercard said Wednesday, May 21, 2024, that it expects to be able to discover that your credit or debit card number has been compromised well before it ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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Using AI, Mastercard Expects to Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used by Criminals

FILE - A sign indicating MasterCard credit cards are accepted is posted at a New York business, Jan. 21, 2015. Mastercard said Wednesday, May 21, 2024, that it expects to be able to discover that your credit or debit card number has been compromised well before it ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - A sign indicating MasterCard credit cards are accepted is posted at a New York business, Jan. 21, 2015. Mastercard said Wednesday, May 21, 2024, that it expects to be able to discover that your credit or debit card number has been compromised well before it ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Mastercard said Wednesday that it expects to be able to discover that your credit or debit card number has been compromised well before it ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal.

In its latest software update rolling out this week, Mastercard is integrating artificial intelligence into its fraud-prediction technology that it expects will be able to see patterns in stolen cards faster and allow banks to replace them before they are used by criminals.

“Generative AI is going to allow to figure out where did you perhaps get your credentials compromised, how do we identify how it possibly happened, and how do we very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but the other customers who don't know they are compromised yet,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, in an interview.

Mastercard, which is based in Purchase, New York, says with this new update it can use other patterns or contextual information, such as geography, time and addresses, and combine it with incomplete but compromised credit card numbers that appear in databases to get to the cardholders sooner to replace the bad card, The AP reported.

The patterns can now also be used in reverse, potentially using batches of bad cards to see potentially compromised merchants or payment processors. The pattern recognition goes beyond what humans could do through database inquiries or other standard methods, Gerber said.

Billions of stolen credit card and debit card numbers are floating in the dark web, available for purchase by any criminal. Most were stolen from merchants in data breaches over the years, but also a significant number have been stolen from unsuspecting consumers who used their credit or debit cards at the wrong gas station, ATM or online merchant.

These compromised cards can remain undetected for weeks, months or even years. It is only when the payment networks themselves dive into the dark web to fish for stolen numbers themselves, a merchant learns about a breach, or the card gets used by a criminal do the payments networks and banks figure out a batch of cards might be compromised.

“We can now actually proactively reach out to the banks to make sure that we service that consumer and get them a new card in her or his hands so they can go about their lives with as little disruption as possible,” Gerber said.

The payment networks are largely trying to move away from the “static” credit card or debit card numbers — that is a card number and expiration date that is used universally across all merchants — and move to unique numbers for specific transactions. But it may take years for that transition to happen, particularly in the US where payment technology adoption tends to lag.

While more than 90% of all in-person transactions worldwide are now using chip cards, the figure in the US is closer to 70%, according to EMVCo, the technological organization behind the chip in credit and debit cards.

Mastercard's update comes as its major competitor, Visa Inc., also looks for ways to make consumers discard the 16-digit credit and debit card number. Visa last week announced major changes to how credit and debit cards will operate in the US, meaning Americans will be carrying fewer physical cards in their wallets, and the 16-digit credit or debit card number printed on every card will become increasingly irrelevant.

 

 

 

 


Saudi Arabia's ALLaM Model Joins IBM Watsonx as a Top Arabic Language Generator

The announcement was made at the IBM Think event underway in Boston. (SPA)
The announcement was made at the IBM Think event underway in Boston. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's ALLaM Model Joins IBM Watsonx as a Top Arabic Language Generator

The announcement was made at the IBM Think event underway in Boston. (SPA)
The announcement was made at the IBM Think event underway in Boston. (SPA)

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) announced on Tuesday that its ALLaM model, which generates Arabic text, was included in IBM’s leading watsonx platform.

The announcement was made at the IBM Think event underway in Boston.

This selection is testament to ALLaM’s advanced technical capabilities.

During its experimental phase, the model underwent rigorous testing against international standards for generative AI to ensure its readiness to compete with other models on watsonx, a platform widely used by developers around the globe.

Currently available in a trial version, ALLaM’s inclusion in watsonx allows for further professional evaluation. The testing will be instrumental in accelerating the release of the model's full capabilities and establishing it as a highly competitive force in the field of Arabic language generation.

The inclusion also aligns with Saudi Arabia's, specifically with SDAIA's, broader mission to promote the Arabic language on regional and global scale. The efforts focus on preserving the integrity of the language while promoting its use by enriching Arabic content in various fields, including technical, cultural, literary, scientific, and other humanities-based domains.

Ultimately, this initiative aims to leverage AI technologies and digital applications to foster cultural diversity and benefit all humanity, regardless of language, nationality, or educational background.

These efforts contribute to the goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030, driven by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SDAIA, to make the Kingdom a global leader in advanced technologies, including those associated with AI.

ALLaM is the first Saudi-developed AI system designed to answer user questions on different knowledge domains in Arabic.

The groundbreaking model leverages cutting-edge AI technology. Trained on a massive Arabic language dataset, one of the world's largest, and supplemented by English content, ALLaM ensures comprehensive responses.

Users can submit inquiries in text or audio format, and ALLaM will answer in the chosen format, drawing from the most trusted sources in the Kingdom and the Arab world.

The ALLaM model is the product of the SDAIA-IBM partnership. This collaboration is a significant milestone on the road to advancing Arabic language applications within generative AI, said Regional Vice President of IBM Saudi Arabia Ayman Al-Rashed.

"This cooperation unlocks the potential of Arabic language models for both public and private sectors, aligning with the cultural needs of the region," he added.

Al-Rashed further highlighted the broader impact of this project, stressing: "Companies can leverage these models to develop innovative services."

This latest development strengthens Saudi Arabia's position as a leader in AI technology tailored to the specific needs of the regional market, he went on to say.

Artificial intelligence experts, technicians, innovators, company presidents, and policymakers formed part of the IBM Think event.


World Leaders Plan New Agreement on AI at Virtual Summit Co-hosted by South Korea, UK

Figurines with computers and smartphones are seen in front of the words "Artificial Intelligence AI" in this illustration taken, February 19, 2024. (Reuters)
Figurines with computers and smartphones are seen in front of the words "Artificial Intelligence AI" in this illustration taken, February 19, 2024. (Reuters)
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World Leaders Plan New Agreement on AI at Virtual Summit Co-hosted by South Korea, UK

Figurines with computers and smartphones are seen in front of the words "Artificial Intelligence AI" in this illustration taken, February 19, 2024. (Reuters)
Figurines with computers and smartphones are seen in front of the words "Artificial Intelligence AI" in this illustration taken, February 19, 2024. (Reuters)

World leaders are expected to adopt a new agreement on artificial intelligence when they gather virtually Tuesday to discuss AI´s potential risks but also ways to promote its benefits and innovation.
The AI Seoul Summit is a follow-up to November´s inaugural AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in the United Kingdom, where participating countries agreed to work together to contain the potentially "catastrophic" risks posed by galloping advances in AI.
The two-day meeting -- co-hosted by the South Korean and UK governments -- also comes as major tech companies like Meta, OpenAI and Google roll out the latest versions of their AI models, The Associated Press said.
On Tuesday evening, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are to meet other world leaders, industry leaders and heads of international organizations for a virtual conference. The online summit will be followed by an in-person meeting of digital ministers, experts and others on Wednesday, according to organizers.
"It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically," Yoon and Sunak said in a joint article published in South Korea´s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and the UK´s online inews site on Monday. "The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too."
While the UK meeting centered on AI safety issues, the agenda for this week´s gathering was expanded to also include "innovation and inclusivity," Wang Yun-jong, a deputy director of national security in South Korea, told reporters Monday.
Wang said participants will subsequently "discuss not only the risks posed by AI but also its positive aspects and how it can contribute to humanity in a balanced manner."
The AI agreement will include the outcomes of discussions on safety, innovation and inclusivity, according to Park Sang-wook, senior presidential adviser for science and technology for President Yoon.
The leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies -- the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain - were invited to the virtual summit, along with leaders of Australia and Singapore and representatives from the UN, the EU, OpenAI, Google, Meta, Amazon and Samsung, according to South Korea's presidential office.
China doesn't plan to participate in the virtual summit though it will send a representative to Wednesday's in-person meeting, the South Korean presidential office said. China took part in the UK summit.
In their article, Yoon and Sunak said they plan to ask companies to do more to show how they assess and respond to risks within their organizations.
"We know that, as with any new technology, AI brings new risks, including deliberate misuse from those who mean to do us harm," they said. "However, with new models being released almost every week, we are still learning where these risks may emerge, and the best ways to manage them proportionately."
The Seoul meeting has been billed as a mini virtual summit, serving as an interim meeting until a full-fledged in-person edition that France has pledged to hold.
Governments around the world have been scrambling to formulate regulations for AI even as the technology makes rapid advances and is poised to transform many aspects of daily life, from education and the workplace to copyrights and privacy. There are concerns that advances in AI could take away jobs, trick people and spread disinformation.
Developers of the most powerful AI systems are also banding together to set their own shared approach to setting AI safety standards. Facebook parent company Meta Platforms and Amazon announced Monday they’re joining the Frontier Model Forum, a group founded last year by Anthropic, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI.
In March, the UN General Assembly approved its first resolution on the safe use of AI systems. Earlier in May, the US and China held their first high-level talks on artificial intelligence in Geneva to discuss how to address the risks of the fast-evolving technology and set shared standards to manage it.