OpenAI CEO Sam Altman eyes global chip venture funding


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman aims to utilize the funds raised for a chip venture to establish a series of semiconductor manufacturing facilities, sources familiar with the plans reported on Jan 19.

According to the report by Bloomberg, Altman is in discussions with several significant potential investors to secure the funds required to establish chip fabrication plants, commonly called fabs. The initiative would include collaborating with leading chip producers, and the network of fabs would be worldwide.

Abu Dhabi-based G42 and Japan’s SoftBank Group are in early discussions with OpenAI, with a comprehensive list of partners and funders yet to be finalized, the report says. Since October 2023, OpenAI’s discussions with G42 have reportedly been aimed at raising $8 billion to $10 billion.

The current status of the discussions is uncertain. The report listed Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung Electronics as potential collaborators for OpenAI.

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OpenAI is not alone in looking to invest in semiconductor chips. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday, Jan. 18, that the firm plans to invest significantly in specialized computer chips to build and deliver new generative artificial intelligence (AI) models and products.

Zuckerberg explained that Meta will increase its technology infrastructure and plans to have about 350,000 H100 graphics processing units from chip designer Nvidia by the end of 2024.

Altman, who rejoined OpenAI in November 2023 after a surprising and brief ouster, resumed his efforts to secure funding for global semiconductor chip manufacturing upon his return, the Bloomberg report states. He also discussed the plan with Microsoft, which has reportedly expressed interest.

Aside from the CEO’s interest in semiconductor chips, Altman believes that the future of AI could depend on an ambitious yet uncertain form of energy that doesn’t exist today.

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