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OpenAI’s Altman Seeking Billions for AI Chip Venture – FT

Artificial intelligence pioneer Sam Altman believes that top chip producers may not be able to keep up demand for AI semiconductors, one report said

AI expert Sam Altman has urged South Korea to focus on chips needed for the AI boom.
Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI and ChatGPT creator. This Reuters image shows him speaking at Tel Aviv University in June 2023.


Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, has had talks with wealthy investors in the Middle East and Japan, plus chip giant TSMC about a chip venture to meet rising demand and reduce his group’s reliance on Nvidia for semiconductors for artificial intelligence.

This news, reported on Saturday by the Financial Times and other outlets, said Altman, 38, had spoken with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, brother of the president in the United Arab Emirates, who chairs one of the biggest investment funds in Abu Dhabi, plus Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and SoftBank about an entity to fabricate AI chips.

It said the new venture would likely need billions to compete with Nvidia, which now has a market capitalization of close to $1.5 trillion because of its graphics processing units (GPUs), which have played a crucial role in the emergence of AI.


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Tech news-site Tom’s Hardware, which said OpenAI uses Nvidia’s A100 and H100 GPUs for its Chat GPT service, has been looking at ways to develop its own AI processors for months, adding that Altman reportedly believes AI technologies will become significant enough to support their own semiconductor supply chain in the years to come.

Altman said last year that top chip fabs such as TSMC, Samsung, and Intel may be “unable to meet the demand” for AI chips in the coming years, it noted.

Talks with the companies and investors named above, plus Abu Dhabi firm G42, suggested that $8-10 billion would be needed to meet a potential boom in demand.


  • Jim Pollard with Reuters


NOTE: This report was amended for minor edits.




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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