Report: Altman Seeks Trillions for Computer Chip Endeavor

    Report: Altman Seeks Trillions for Computer Chip Endeavor
    Photo: Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • According to anonymous sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, OpenAI founder Sam Altman is talking to prospective investors, including the United Arab Emirates, about raising between $5T and $ 7T to fund a project to boost the world's computer chip manufacturing industry.

    • One of the endeavor's main goals is to solve a shortage of chips known as graphics processing units (GPUs), which are used to build large language models (LLMs). To fix this, Altman wants to bring together investors, chip manufacturers, and energy providers.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Although the US government is currently pushing back against foreign investment — particularly in the Middle East due to its links to China — the truth is that investment powerhouses like the UAE and Saudi Arabia are going to enter the AI race with deep pockets. Despite the diplomatic uncertainty, American AI companies are already joining these ventures, from OpenAI and Nvidia to smaller ones like Blaize.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The US government is pushing back for multiple reasons, primarily due to the risks they pose to national security. As China grows closer to Middle Eastern countries, it will likely gain access to US chip technology. Furthermore, these companies and venture firms, such as those founded by Altman, seem to be power-hungry to the point of recklessness. Washington is right to take a cautious approach, whether these ventures are profitable or not.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 80% chance that there will be a Frontier AI lab — which trains models 10 times larger than the largest known model — in China before 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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