Sam Altman wants ‘trillions of dollars’ to jumpstart global AI chip production: report

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By Dan Sears

OpenAI boss Sam Altman is reportedly seeking to raise “trillions of dollars” in order to jumpstart global production of the high-powered computer chips required for advanced artificial intelligence.

Altman, who was briefly ousted as OpenAI’s CEO last year only to return days later, has engaged in talks with various potential investors to raise the staggering sums, including government officials from the United Arab Emirates, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

As much as $5 trillion to $7 trillion could be needed to fully realize the project, one source told the outlet. That’s a larger amount of money than the combined valuations of the world’s two most valuable companies, Apple and Microsoft.

The venture would seek to ramp up production of the costly semiconducors as well as address the massive energy requirements needed to power them.

The 38-year-old AI leader also met with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to discuss the plans, which would require the US government’s support. Congress has taken various measures, including passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, to boost domestic computer chip production and reduce the country’s reliance on China.

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Sam Altman could need up to $7 trillion to achieve his plan. AP

Microsoft, which has committed some $13 billion toward OpenAI’s growth, is said to be aware of Altman’s plans and supportive of the project. Altman has reportedly looped in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and chief technology officer Kevin Scott about the project.

Altman’s proposal would reportedly involve the collaboration of OpenAI, chip makers and energy firms to create factories to churn out more chips, according to the Journal. OpenAI would become a major customer for the factories, which would be operated by existing chipmakers.

“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,” an OpenAI spokeswoman said in a statement.

AI has massive computing power and energy requirements. James Thew – stock.adobe.com

“We will continue to keep the US government informed given the importance to national priorities, and look forward to sharing more details at a later date,” the spokeswoman added.

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The Post has reached out to OpenAI for comment.

Altman teased his plans in a post on X earlier this week.

“We believe the world needs more AI infrastructure–fab capacity, energy, datacenters, etc– than people are currently planning to build,” Altman said. “Building massive-scale AI infrastructure, and a resilient supply chain, is crucial to economic competitiveness. OpenAI will try to help!”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is pictured. AP

As The Post has reported, Altman has grumbled for months – both privately and in public – about how the global AI chip shortage has hindered ChatGPT’s progress.

Altman addressed the problem during last month’s appearance at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he noted that an energy breakthrough was necessary to power the advanced AI tools of the future.

“There’s no way to get there without a breakthrough,” Altman said. “It motivates us to go invest more in fusion.”

With Post wires

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