Israel to build AI supercomputer – Report

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Israel is developing plans to build the country’s first supercomputer with a view to developing new artificial intelligence technologies, the CEO of the state-backed innovation authority said in a statement quoted by Reuters on Wednesday.

Dror Bin said $250 million had been allocated for a national AI program that encompasses government, industry and academia. The majority of the program will be completed by the end of this year, with the remaining measures being taken before the end of 2027.

Bin said the new supercomputer would allow Israel to train new AI models at a significantly lower cost. He explained that high-tech companies and researchers in Israel are forced to buy time in the cloud, given that there are no local data centers with sufficient processing power to train large models.

“Our goal is to make sure that Israel sustains its leadership, ranking and position in the AI race in the world,” Bin told Reuters. He said the technology had already helped Israel’s tech sector, but warned that it could “turn into a foe” if no action is taken in a timely manner, given how quickly AI is evolving.

The tech industry accounts for some 20% of Israel’s economic output and the Jewish state is considered to be one of the largest tech centers in the world, Reuters reported.

Of the country’s 9,000 tech startups, Bin said more than 2,200 use AI, and Israel has a total of 73 generative AI firms, making it the third largest in the world.

Meanwhile, a number of international organizations have continued to express concerns over the rapid growth of AI, with UNESCO recently going so far as to claim that the technology could potentially fuel anti-Semitism by causing a surge in fake content and misinformation about the Holocaust.

The UN’s education and culture body has called on governments to accelerate the implementation of the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, which its members adopted in 2021. The agency has also urged tech companies to reduce the chances of unreliable information being generated by AI, and prevent bad actors from using it to spread misinformation.