Written by 3:30 am ChatGPT, OpenAI

### ChatGPT CEO’s Mission: Securing Billions for Expansion of AI Chip Plant

Sam Altman is concerned that as AI becomes more pervasive, there will not be enough chips for wides…

OpenAI’s Chief Executive Officer, Sam Altman, actively involved in securing significant funding from global investors for a semiconductor venture, intends to use the funds to establish a network of semiconductor production factories, according to sources familiar with the project.

Altman has been in talks with various prominent potential investors to raise the substantial capital needed to build chip fabrication plants, commonly known as fabs. Sources privy to these discussions, opting to remain anonymous due to the confidential nature of the talks, disclosed that entities such as G42 based in Abu Dhabi and SoftBank Group have participated in dialogues with Altman.

The proposed initiative involves collaborating with leading chip manufacturers, aiming to create a global network of fabs, as per certain sources. While previous reports by Bloomberg focused on funding efforts for a chip venture, the emphasis on manufacturing and the extensive scale of the project were not previously revealed. It is important to note that the discussions are still in early stages, and a finalized list of partners and investors is yet to be determined, added the sources.

Altman’s push to raise funds for this chip venture arises from concerns about the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies potentially surpassing the supply of chips needed for widespread deployment. Several insiders emphasized that current production forecasts for AI-related chips might not meet the expected demand.

The capital-intensive nature of establishing and running fabs contrasts with the approach favored by many counterparts in the AI industry, such as tech behemoths like Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft – the primary investor in OpenAI. These companies typically concentrate on designing customized silicon and then outsourcing the manufacturing process to external suppliers.

The construction of a state-of-the-art fab requires investments amounting to tens of billions of dollars, and creating a network of such facilities would be a multi-year undertaking. Previous discussions with G42 reportedly centered around raising an estimated sum ranging from US\(8 billion to US\)10 billion, although the current status of these negotiations remains uncertain.

Altman believes that proactive measures are crucial within the industry to ensure an adequate chip supply by the end of the decade, according to insiders familiar with his viewpoint.

The launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI more than a year ago sparked a surge in interest in AI applications among businesses and consumers, leading to increased demand for the computational power and processors essential for developing and running these AI programs. Altman has reiterated multiple times that the current chip supply is insufficient to meet his company’s needs.

Key players in the chip fabrication market like Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, and Samsung Electronics are potential partners for OpenAI in this venture.

Despite a temporary removal as CEO of OpenAI in November, Altman promptly refocused on the chip project upon his reinstatement. He has also held discussions with Microsoft regarding the plan, with the tech giant showing interest, according to sources.

Upon request for comments, OpenAI, G42, Intel, Microsoft, SoftBank, and TSMC declined to provide statements. Samsung officials were not immediately available for comment.

G42, known for its AI ventures, has recently faced scrutiny from a prominent US lawmaker, who has called for increased scrutiny and trade restrictions concerning the company.

Mike Gallagher, the Chairman of the US House China Select Committee and a Republican representative from Wisconsin, expressed concerns about G42’s ties to sanctioned Chinese entities like Huawei Technologies and Beijing Genomics Institute, as well as potential risks to research activities at US universities.

Gallagher has urged US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to consider imposing sanctions on G42 and 13 of its subsidiaries and affiliates.

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Last modified: January 22, 2024
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