OpenAI's Sam Altman to raise ‘trillions of dollars’ to ‘reshape’ semiconductor industry

12.02.2024

 

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, there are discussions between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and potential investors, including the UAE government, to raise funds amounting to trillions of dollars. The goal is to reshape the global semiconductor industry, addressing challenges faced by the rapidly-expanding artificial intelligence sector, particularly the shortage of computer chips required for large-language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Currently, the global chip industry is dominated by a few key players, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and NVIDIA in the US. Despite various countries revealing plans to support domestic chip production, Altman’s discussions with investors suggest a financial commitment far exceeding what has been offered by governments. The estimated cost of Altman’s project is reported to be as high as $7 trillion, surpassing the combined market value of Apple and Microsoft.

OpenAI has acknowledged engaging in productive discussions about enhancing global infrastructure for chips, energy, and data centers. The company emphasized keeping the US government informed due to the project’s significance for national priorities.

Altman has reportedly met with senior officials from the United Arab Emirates, SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, and representatives from TSMC. The idea of constructing multiple chip-fabrication plants in the coming years with funding from Middle East investors has been proposed, with TSMC handling the construction and operation of these plants.

Altman, who gained prominence with the release of ChatGPT, faced a brief period of uncertainty in his position at OpenAI in November but was ultimately reinstated after support from staff and investors.

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