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OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman is in talks with investors over an ambitious new artificial intelligence (AI)-related semiconductor project, according to the Wall Street Journal. Altman reportedly is seeking as much as $7 trillion to fund infrastructure intended to advance the world’s chip-building capacity.
Altman’s goal is simple: to funnel enough money into the chip-making industry to revolutionize the sector worldwide. Indeed, semiconductors have been expensive, scarce and under tremendous demand the past few years. The current rise of AI has created a new need for microchips, most of which need to be imported, often from China or Taiwan.
By resolving some of the tensions plaguing the semiconductor market, Altman would directly enhance his own company’s growth. Indeed, AI systems, especially language-models like ChatGPT, require costly graphics processing units (GPU).
While nothing has been officially released, the scope of Altman’s initiative requires an exorbitant amount of cash. As such, Altman has been in talks with everyone from government leaders to fellow CEOs in trying to meet the monetary demands of the world’s growing AI needs.
Sam Altman Positions U.S. as Next Major Chip Maker
While Altman has communicated the need to overhaul the global chip industry, there are signs this implies transforming the U.S. into a semiconductor powerhouse. Indeed, Altman and OpenAI are both heavily invested in Rain Neuromorphics, a major AI chip startup based in San Francisco. Just this past winter, the U.S. convinced a Saudi Aramco-backed venture capital firm to liquidate its share in Rain.
Altman has also recently met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to discuss the initiative.
“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 an OpenAI spokesperson. “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.”
Still, Altman’s funding requirements largely overshadow the current money at play within the entire semiconductor market. Indeed, global chip sales are estimated to hit close to $600 billion this year, a fraction of Altman’s reported ask.
Part of the fundraising is intended to address the electricity requirements necessitated by power-hungry AI facilities. Altman wants to build dozens of chip-making plants over the next few years, run by current chip makers.
On the date of publication, Shrey Dua did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.