Semiconductor chips are a hugely limiting factor in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) development due to the extremely high computing power needed to train AI models. With this investment, Altman is looking to negate a factor that significantly limits OpenAI’s growth potential.
Despite huge investment and strategic focus from the US government, the semiconductor chip industry is complex. Due to its strategic value and the importance of chips to AI development, it is a highly regulated industry and the US has tight controls on the export of chips. Altman has met with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to discuss his ambitious plan.
“OpenAI has had productive discussions about increasing global infrastructure and supply chains for chips, energy, and data centers—which are crucial for AI and other industries that rely on them,” said a spokesperson for OpenAI to the WSJ. “We will continue to keep the U.S. government informed given the importance to national priorities, and look forward to sharing more details at a later date.”
However, fundraising the $5 – 7 trillion dollars required will be no easy feat. As the WSJ reports, the size of the global semiconductor chip market was $527 billion last year and isn’t expected to reach $1 trillion until 2030. The investment sought dwarfs even the market for chip manufacturing equipment, which was approximately $100 billion last year.
Sam Altman is looking for an amount greater than most country’s GDP
Let’s just stop for a moment and put this figure in context because $7 trillion is an extravagantly large amount of money. The GDP of the United Kingdom is $3.1 trillion, less than half of what Alman is seeking. The combined value of Microsoft and Apple, the USA’s highest-valued businesses, is just over $6 trillion.
The tech entrepreneur has met with representatives from the government of the United Arab Emirates and businesspeople from Taiwan to try and advance his plans. Despite Middle Eastern interest, Altman wants to focus his chip plants in the US, in part due to the huge investment coming from the Biden administration into the chip industry.
OpenAI is partnered with Microsoft and has their full support. Altman has discussed his plans with Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, and Kevin Scott, its CTO, and is proceeding with their buy-in.
Nothing has yet been confirmed regarding this enormous plan, but Altman continues to meet with powerful people to push it forward.
Featured image credit: Midjourney