PYMNTS: Saudi Arabia’s $40B Commitment

March 25, 2024

PIF is redefining tech in the Middle East

Running Point and its chief investment officer, Michael Ashley Schulman, CFA, were quoted by PYMNTS in an article — by Sascha Brodsky, “How AI Investments Could Change the Middle East” — regarding Saudi Arabia’s recent commitment to create a $40 billion AI fund spearheaded by their Public Investment Fund (PIF) as an indicator of regional support and the long runway ahead for the next evolution of AI: how it will transform services, manufacturing, finance, and business.

📝Also quoted in the article are Steve Brotman, Bas Kooijman MSTA, Irina Tsukerman, and Paweł Satalecki.

👨🏽‍💻MY THOUGHTS: Larger U.S. venture capital funds and enterprising or well-connected start-ups have been approaching Middle East family offices and investment funds for some time. The Middle East has had a thriving and growing venture ecosystem for well over a decade bestowing capital and expertise into local startups. That only seems to be growing as Saudi Arabia last year announced $9 billion of future tech investments in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region with much of the spending coming from Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei, and Zoom. U.S. venture can offer international diversification to the Middle East, but the compelling story seems to be of U.S. and Middle East funds supporting a burgeoning MENA tech ecosystem.

Article excerpts are below:

While the United Arab Emirates (UAE) spearheaded AI initiatives with the world’s first Ministry of Artificial Intelligence in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s massive investment dwarfs other regional efforts, Michael Ashley Schulman, partner and chief investment officer at a Southern California-based Running Point Capital, a multifamily wealthmanagement firm, said in an interview with PYMNTS.

“Saudi Arabia is very forward-looking, and not only does not want to be left behind in AI advancements but wants to take a regional and global lead in AI,” he said.

“To do so, they know they have to overcommit as a signal to other investors and tech leaders of how vested they are. AI is expensive; a mere half-billion or a billion dollars would indicate interest but wouldn’t move the geographic needle.”

Saudi Arabia and $40B of AI
PYMNTS — Graphics and design by

AI is not a replacement for human intelligence, but an augmentation. Together, we can solve problems that neither could solve alone.

The true danger of AI isn’t that it will become too smart, but that it will mimic human flaws and amplify them on a global scale.

The question isn’t whether AI will surpass human intelligence, but whether humanity will surpass its own limitations in time.

Michael Ashley Schulman, CFA, using Google Gemini when asking it to, “Please make up a great quote about AI.”

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