Written by 6:03 pm AI, OpenAI, Technology

– Sam Altman Aims to Raise Billions for Expanding OpenAI’s AI Chip Production

Altman believes the AI industry needs to act now to ensure there’s sufficient supply near the end o…

OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, is actively engaged in securing significant investments from global financiers for a semiconductor project. The objective is to utilize these funds to establish a series of factories dedicated to semiconductor production, as per sources familiar with the initiative.

Altman has been in discussions with various prominent potential investors to raise the substantial capital required for the establishment of semiconductor fabrication facilities, commonly referred to as fabs. These talks have involved entities such as G42, based in Abu Dhabi, and SoftBank Group Corp., among others. The proposed project entails collaboration with leading chip manufacturers, aiming to create a worldwide network of fabs.

While previous reports by Bloomberg hinted at fundraising efforts for a chip venture, the specific focus on manufacturing and the scale of the project were not previously disclosed. The discussions are still in preliminary stages, and a comprehensive list of partners and backers is yet to be finalized.

The impetus behind Altman’s fundraising drive stems from concerns that the escalating adoption of AI technologies may outpace the availability of chips for widespread implementation. Forecasts indicate a potential shortfall in the production of AI-centric chips compared to the anticipated demand.

Unlike major players in the AI industry like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, who typically concentrate on designing custom silicon and outsourcing manufacturing, OpenAI’s approach involves direct investment in semiconductor fabrication. Establishing and operating cutting-edge fabrication plants necessitates substantial financial resources, with costs running into tens of billions for a single facility. The endeavor to establish a network of such facilities is a long-term endeavor that could span several years.

Altman emphasizes the urgency for the industry to address the looming chip supply shortage by the end of the decade. The surge in interest in AI applications following the launch of ChatGPT has fueled a surge in demand for computing power and processors. Altman stresses the current inadequacy of chip supply to meet OpenAI’s requirements.

Key players in the chip fabrication sector such as Intel Corp., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Samsung Electronics Co. are potential collaborators for OpenAI in this ambitious venture.

Despite facing a temporary hiatus from his role as OpenAI CEO, Altman has recommenced efforts on the semiconductor project upon his return. Microsoft has shown interest in the initiative, as per sources familiar with the matter.

Various entities including OpenAI, G42, Intel, Microsoft, SoftBank, and TSMC have refrained from providing comments on the developments. Samsung’s representatives were not immediately available for comment.

G42, specializing in artificial intelligence, has recently come under scrutiny from US lawmakers for its associations with sanctioned Chinese firms like Huawei Technologies Co. and Beijing Genomics Institute. Concerns have been raised regarding potential risks to research collaborations with US universities, prompting calls for regulatory actions against G42 and its subsidiaries.

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Tags: , , Last modified: March 14, 2024
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