Home » Thousands of billions of dollars: Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, wants to develop the semiconductor industry

Thousands of billions of dollars: Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, wants to develop the semiconductor industry

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Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, wants to mobilize trillions of dollars to establish himself in the field of semiconductors, essential to the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore of ChatGPT. This project could cost as much as $7,000 billion, far exceeding the current size of the semiconductor industry.

Sam Altman wants several trillion dollars to accelerate AI development

The Wall Street Journal reports that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is looking to raise trillions of dollars to gain a real and lasting foothold in the market for semiconductors, electronic components that are in short supply and yet vital to the development of language models based on artificial intelligence (AI).

According to a source interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Sam Altman’s ambitions would cost in the $5-7 trillion range, far more than the current size of the global semiconductor industry today: the latter stood at “just” $527 billion last year, and forecasts predict this figure to climb to $1 trillion a year by 2030.

The amounts discussed by Altman would also be disproportionately large by corporate fundraising standards, larger than the national debt of some of the world’s major economies and larger than giant sovereign wealth funds.

Wall Street Journal

Ambitions moreover revealed on X by OpenAI’s CEO himself, who indicated that the world needed “more infrastructure for AI”:

” We believe the world needs more infrastructure for AI – manufacturing capacity, energy, data centers, etc. – than people are currently planning to build. Building large-scale AI infrastructure and a resilient supply chain is crucial for economic competitiveness. OpenAI will try to help!”

Before being – briefly – ousted from OpenAI, Sam Altman was reportedly already trying to raise trillions of dollars to build his own microchip company, a project then conducted under the codename “Tigris”. Investors from the Middle East were reportedly contacted for this purpose.

A large, very large-scale project

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sam Altman has already met with Gina Raimondo, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, to discuss this initiative, which would require a very large-scale partnership with financial backers, industrial partners, but also with the U.S. government, for which the semiconductor market is crucial.

“OpenAI has had productive discussions on increasing global infrastructure and supply chains for chips, energy and data centers […]. We will continue to brief the U.S. government given the importance to national priorities, and look forward to sharing more details at a later date.”

OpenAI spokesperson

Although the project is still in its infancy, we already know the guidelines: OpenAI would build a partnership with various investors, electronics manufacturers and energy suppliers, who together would set up new infrastructures dedicated to the manufacture of electronic components.

The United Arab Emirates would play an important role in the project, and Sam Altman reportedly recently met with the country’s top security official, who is also the brother of incumbent President Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, to this effect.

Discussions on this unique project are still in their preliminary stages, however, and may never come to a conclusion. In any case, they highlight the impossibility for the current semiconductor market to respond to the already strong demand for AI-based language models, which is also set to continue growing.

For the time being, OpenAI is developing its various AI models using Microsoft’s computing resources.

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