Ambitious Vision: Altman Eyes US$7 Trillion for Global AI Chip Initiative 

Ambitious Vision: Altman Eyes US$7 Trillion for Global AI Chip Initiative

Ambitious Vision: Altman Eyes US$7 Trillion for Global AI Chip Initiative (Source: Depositphotos)

CEO of the American artificial intelligence startup OpenAI, Sam Altman, is looking for investments worth trillions of dollars to transform the world’s semiconductor market. 

Altman has long discussed how the shortage of AI processors, which many AI behemoths desire but there aren’t enough of, is a supply-and-demand issue that restricts OpenAI‘s expansion. According to a news source, he has been in talks with various investors, including the government of the United Arab Emirates, about a project that would expand the capacity of the international chip manufacturing industry. He would need to raise US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion for this project. 

He commented that infrastructural requirements for artificial intelligence (AI) are greater than what is currently planned, including fabrication capacity, energy, data centres, etc. Moreover, he also stated that it is essential to create a massive-scale AI infrastructure and a robust supply chain during this economic competitiveness. 

From OpenAI to Tigris: Inside Altman’s Chip Venture 

There have been issues surrounding some of Altman’s earlier semiconductor investments and ventures. Earlier in 2018, Altman had invested his money in Rain Neuromorphics, which is an AI-based Startup, located close to the San Francisco headquarters of OpenAI. In 2019, Open AI signed a letter of intent to purchase Rain’s chips for US$51 million. In December, The US forced a venture capital firm sponsored by Saudi Aramco to sell its Rain shares in December. 

During the generative AI boom of the past year, Nvidia, a Californian-based multinational technology firm, has been the primary winner. Its market cap has been seen tripling in 2023. The massive language models developed by OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, and an increasing number of well-funded firms vying for a piece of the generative AI market are powered by the company’s graphics processing units, or GPUs. 

With a current market cap of over US $1.72 trillion, Nvidia is on the verge of surpassing tech behemoths like Amazon and Alphabet in terms of market cap. Currently, Nvidia dominates about 80% of the AI chip market. Altman probably aims to rectify it. 

Altman’s “Just Trying” Brings in Million of Users 

When OpenAI’s ChatGPT was launched in November 2022, the COO of OpenAI, Brad Lightcap said the company had a limited amount of GPUs and capacity. It primarily considered itself as a company that offers tools for developers and enterprises. Lightcap remembered that Altman was a strong believer in “just trying it” when it came to publishing its now-viral ChatGPT bot. He argued that text-based engagement with the models had a significant and intimate quality. 

This step led to unexpected results. According to OpenAI, ChatGPT broke records as the fastest-growing consumer app in history at the time and now has over 100 million active weekly users, in addition to being used by over 92% of Fortune 500 firms. 

In November 2023, Altman was fired by OpenAI’s board, which led to protests from investors, notably Microsoft, and resignations or threats of resignations from almost every OpenAI employee. He was back in the company within a week. Since then, OpenAI has revealed the addition of Bret Taylor, a former co-CEO of Salesforce, Larry Summers, a former Treasury Secretary, and Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of Quora. Microsoft was granted a non-voting observer position on the board. The firm still intends to add additional members. 

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