March 2, 2024

Altman Plans To Raise $7 Trillion For His Upcoming AI Chip Project

Sam Altman who has already pioneered several revolutionary AI projects over the past few years has another ambitious project in his pipeline, which could cost $5-7 trillion and will be used for the advancement of AI chips.

The report was published on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal and comes soon after Altman took to his X account and shared a post stating that OpenAI believes “the world needs more AI infrastructure-fab capacity, energy, data centers, etc-than people are currently planning to build.”

The plan is already in motion and he is in talks with UAE, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), and Softbank.

With this new step, he plans to not only boost the world’s chip-building capacity but also use its resources to power AI.

The idea to expand the use of chips to AI comes from his own need to find sustainable training solutions for his brainchild OpenAI. Training a language model of this size requires pricey AI chips which are unfortunately not readily available.

On top of that, there’s a consistent rise in the demand for quality AI chips in the market which is further hindering OpenAI’s growth.

So with his new project, he plans to take control of the chip supply chain to not only help his own company but also manage the development across the entire AI ecosystem.

The Controversy Behind His Initiative 

Apart from the financial obstacles that his new initiative is facing, there’s also a controversy raging behind the scenes regarding his previous chip initiatives.

In 2023, before his temporary removal as OpenAI’s CEO, he was reportedly trying to raise billions in investment for a new chip-based project called “Tigris”. The idea was totally new and the chip was not even in the making.

Nvidia’s current market cap is close to $1.72 trillion.

But according to reports, he was trying to compete against Nvidia. He was so passionate about the project that even went to the Middle East to try and raise money.

Nvidia is the current market leader in the AI chip industry. It not only controls 80% of the market but after its market cap tripled during the pandemic, it’s close to overtaking other tech giants like Amazon and Alphabet. It looks like Altman wants to change that scenario.

Also in 2018, he personally invested in an AI chip startup called Rain Neuromorphics in San Francisco. Then in 2019, OpenAI under his leadership signed a letter of intent promising to invest $51 million in the company which was again, controversial.

Sam also recently shared an image of the Polaris Project—a nuclear fusion power plan that aims to meet the demands of energy for AI developments.

Also, many experts in the industry are not too confident about this move. For instance, Charlie Dai, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester said that the move is more of an ambitious long-term goal than a realistic target for the near future.

So if chip shortage is really his concern, then this initiative will probably not help the situation any time soon.

Whether he manages to raise that massive amount or not is yet to be seen. The OpenAI team was unavailable for any comment.


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