Sam Altman wants to raise trillions of dollars

Sam Altman wants to raise trillions of dollars

Sam Altman

After disrupting the AI industry by launching ChatGPT, OpenAI’s Chief Executive Officer, Sam Altman, is now looking to reimagine the global semiconductor industry.

Alrman hopes to do that by raising $5 trillion to $7 trillion to “boost the world’s chip-building capacity, expand its ability to power AI, among other things,” according to a Wall Street Journal report. Altman is in talks with the UAE government, SoftBank, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), among other investors, to raise the massive amount, the report said.

As per reports, Altman was earlier in talks with Abu Dhabi-based AI firm G42 and SoftBank Group for a new chip venture envisioned to supply AI chips globally. OpenAI had earlier tied up with G42 to provide AI services in the regional markets.

Altman’s desire to take control of the chip supply chain will not only help OpenAI ensure improved prices but also control the development of the AI ecosystem. “If you look at most successful firms in their categories, they look or design their own chips at a later stage for better price and performance ratio for their specific requirements. For example, Apple and Tesla are designing some of their own chips along with AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Meta. In a similar context, it may make sense for OpenAI to design its own chip for better price and performance,” said Pareekh Jain, CEO at Pareekh Consulting.

The initiative, if successful, will help Altman create a massive business based on the market needs. “This is something similar to Amazon launching an AWS [Amazon Web Services] business to manage the world’s IT infrastructure and software on the cloud. Similarly, this looks like the next step for Altman,” Jain said.

Massive shortage of AI chips

The growing adoption of AI has led to a massive shortage of AI chips or GPUs, which is crippling the growth of the industry. Altman wants to take control of the entire value chain to ensure that the chip shortage doesn’t hamper the growth of the AI ecosystem. Nvidia, which had designed the chip used in ChatGPT, is largely believed to be the market leader in AI chips.

“In the adoption of Generative AI, the biggest bottleneck is the cost and availability of GPU [Graphics Processing Units] chips. If OpenAI can solve this,  it will help not only OpenAI but the whole ecosystem in the faster adoption of Generative AI,” Jain said.

“AI infrastructure plays a key role in the training/inferencing of foundation models sitting at the core of the next-gen AI ecosystem, while the advancement and proliferation of AI technologies rely heavily on specialized hardware, particularly AI chips that are optimized for AI tasks,” said Charlie Dai, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester.

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