Written by 12:13 pm AI, NVIDIA

### Saudi Arabia’s $40 Billion AI Investment: Nvidia’s Nerd Woodstock and the Unreal State

It was a week of dueling conferences and big, big money.

It was a year marked by significant events. To start, Nerd Woodstock, also known as Nvidia GTC, resumed following a five-month hiatus due to the epidemic. The event was appropriately scaled for its status as the world’s third most important business gathering. Simultaneously, the annual Game Developers Conference took place in San Francisco, a few hundred miles away. Developers and executives from the entertainment industry converged to celebrate a sector that now surpasses television, streaming services, and movies in profitability, despite the industry’s post-pandemic slowdown.

Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia, set the stage for what the company dubs “The Woodstock of AI.” While Huang exuded a rock star presence, the moniker “Nerd Woodstock” seemed more fitting. Nvidia has achieved remarkable success in the field of AI, propelling them to become the country’s third most significant business, valued at an impressive two trillion dollars, trailing only Apple and Microsoft. During the unveiling of their cutting-edge H100 Hopper chips, designed specifically for AI applications, Huang’s passion and enthusiasm were palpable at Siggraph. This month, Nvidia introduced Blackwell, a chip that promises substantial improvements in operating and training AI models, along with reduced energy consumption and costs. Furthermore, Huang unveiled NVIDIA’s Project GR00T, aimed at enhancing human-computer interaction. This innovative AI technique serves as the “brain,” enabling drones to comprehend instructions, mimic human actions, and acquire new skills. Notably, several top automation firms have already enlisted in this project. Additionally, Nvidia rolled out support for AI workload supervision and robot training, signaling a potential shift of cutting-edge AI from the digital realm to the physical world, fostering more effective and intelligent interactions with robots.

At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Epic Games presented the “State of Unreal.” Epic Games is the creator of Unreal Engine, the platform behind many visually stunning AAA PC and console games. They are also the masterminds behind Fortnite, a rapidly evolving Metaverse. The highlight of GDC was the address delivered by CTO Kim Libreri. Epic Games is heavily investing in user-generated content platforms like Fortnite’s Unreal Editor (UEFN), with developers having created over 80,000 UEFN environments and earned $320 million in payments. The Epic Games Store will soon be accessible on mobile devices, alongside major titles like Star Wars. The event provided insights into the development of Lego Fortnite and the integration of MetaHumans into UEFN for seamless creation of lifelike characters. Unreal Engine 5.4 promises significant performance enhancements, particularly in rendering and graphics.

Saudi Arabia, with a planned $40 billion investment fund, is poised to become a major player in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). This substantial investment surpasses even the largest U.S. funds and is second globally only to Japan’s SoftBank. This strategic move underscores the region’s ambition to expand its influence in the global AI landscape. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is in talks with leading Silicon Valley companies, including Andreessen Horowitz, exploring potential partnerships. If successful, this fund could position Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest AI investor, underscoring their dedication to technology and their aspiration for a more significant political role.

In recent developments, Apple is reportedly in negotiations with Google to utilize the Gemini AI unit for upcoming phone features. Industry experts view this as a signal that Apple’s relational AI development may be trailing behind competitors. However, the potential collaboration also signifies Apple’s openness to partnering with established tech giants like Google and OpenAI, rather than solely relying on emerging startups.

The XREAL Ultra, featuring its sleek metal-rimmed Ultra smart glasses, made a splash at GDC 2024. XREAL, the leading consumer AR glasses company, introduced the XREAL Hub, a charge-and-play adapter that extends gaming sessions. They also unveiled new AR games like Landing Party and Table Trenches. With over 300,000 units sold, XREAL’s lightweight and stylish glasses serve as a screen extender, reflecting the smartphone as a virtual big screen for gaming and media consumption. For developers, the upcoming XREAL Air 2 Ultra offers advanced spatial computing and a 6DOF experience, enhancing productivity applications. Noteworthy mention goes to electronic gaming pioneer Johnny Monsarrat, whose long-awaited location-based Outdoor RPG, Landing Party, debuted at the show on the XREAL platform, offering a unique mobile AR gaming experience beyond traditional GPS-based games like Pokemon Go.

Talespin, a developer of enterprise XR learning technology, has been acquired by its strategic partner and distributor, Cornerstone OnDemand. Talespin CEO Kyle Jackson, known for his successful ventures, including OpenDrives, a storage solutions company catering to prominent clients like Turner, Disney, and LucasFilm. Additionally, Runway and Musicmatch are set to collaborate on AI music generation, with Musicmatch’s upcoming feature, Lyrics to Video, powered by Runway Gen-2.

Agog, The Immersive Media Institute, founded by tech veteran Chip Giller and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt, is championing the social benefits of AR, VR, and XR technologies. The nonprofit organization envisions XR as a tool to connect creators, policymakers, and the public for a brighter future. Agog, deriving its name from the old word meaning “wide-eyed wonder,” is funding storytelling projects and conducting research to foster immersive experiences.

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Tags: , Last modified: March 22, 2024
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