Fanar, Qatar’s world-class Arabic GenAI built on Arabic language learning model (LLM), is anticipated to boost Arabic language representation in the global AI arena and advance scientific co-operation in the Arab world, driving innovation in the field.

HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali al-Mannai made the statement in the session ‘Artificial Intelligence: Regulation & Innovation’ during the Qatar Economic Forum 2024, which concluded on Thursday.

The minister explained that Fanar was the result of a strategic collaboration between the ministry, the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) – Qatar Foundation Member, and other partners.

He further emphasised that Fanar, which is able to understand the complex nuances of the Arabic language, will be provided with high accuracy dataset comprising at least 300bn words, which will allow it to produce highly accurate texts.

Al-Mannai ensured that Fanar will be equipped with vast and precise Arabic content, enabling it to evolve and enhance within linguistic frameworks “and ultimately produce culturally resonant Arabic content.” According to the minister, the Fanar initiative is a cornerstone in the development of Arabic LLMs, enriching digital experiences for institutions and Arabic speakers alike.

Emphasising the transformative potential of Fanar, al-Mannai said: “Fanar will transform GenAI-generated Arabic content in terms of accuracy and nuanced understanding, significantly enhancing translation, media, and academic research capabilities,” citing QCRI’s “remarkable achievements” in creating an expansive linguistic model, “marked by exceptional accuracy.”

He also noted that efforts are underway to translate these achievements into a pragmatic project, mindful of the Arabic language’s specificity and rich cultural heritage.

“There exists a considerable gap in Generative AI capabilities between Arabic and English languages concerning contextual comprehension, linguistic precision, and content depth and fluidity. The Fanar project aims to bridge this disparity. Fanar will also offer balanced perspectives, safeguarding Arab culture from any adverse effects,” al-Mannai pointed out.

During the discussion, al-Mannai emphasised the fundamental role of data accuracy and training in determining Fanar’s content quality. He also underscored the commitment of the MCIT and its partners to offering high-quality Arabic information and texts, providing Fanar with around 300bn words for robust linguistic model development.

Underscoring Qatar’s commitment to fortifying its regional digital leadership and driving digital transformation in the Arab world, al-Mannai lauded His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s allocation of a QR9bn incentive package to support comprehensive digital transformation, including a $1bn fund to support regional entrepreneurs and emerging companies in line with the goals of the country’s Third National Development Strategy.

In a statement, Dr Ahmad M Hasnah, HBKU president, commented: “This initiative demonstrates that HBKU employs a proactive approach towards building an inclusive research and education ecosystem in Qatar that safeguards its cultural values.

“Our collaboration with MCIT underscores our commitment to implementing and integrating cutting-edge AI research and technology into the social and economic development of our economy and society.”

Once the project is completed, Arab users will be able to access accurate, cutting-edge content “surpassing current challenges in generative AI applications,” Hasnah noted, adding that innovative solutions will enrich their online experience, providing enhanced access to knowledge and advanced content in an innovative, high-quality manner. Users will benefit from precise, useful content tailored to their needs, elevating their digital experience, he emphasised.

QCRI executive director Ahmed K Elmagarmid said, “Our collaboration with MCIT will see the curation of Arabic-language data that encapsulates the Qatari people’s shared heritage and traditions combined with an innovative application of LLM technology. Arabic language technologies have long been one of QCRI’s research focus areas, and we are eager to utilise our expertise in service of the protection and growth of our mother tongue in the age of AI.”

Other capabilities of Fanar extend to assisting students, researchers, and the public by providing accurate information and streamlining tasks, saving valuable time and effort. In addition to generating high-quality Arabic text, Fanar facilitates the development of Arabic chatbots and virtual assistants for companies and institutions of all sizes, ensuring culturally appropriate responses.

Furthermore, Fanar offers a comprehensive set of services, including translation, summarisation, and creative writing, empowering companies and institutions to effectively engage their Arabic-speaking audience. By enhancing the Arabic user experience through accurate and culturally appropriate responses, Fanar drives broader technology integration into the daily lives and business activities of Arabic speakers.