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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reportedly seeking billions of dollars for AI chip factories

According to new reports, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been in talks with potential investors including Abu Dhabi-based G42 and Japan's Softbank as he looks to raise capital to build AI chip fabrication centres.

The explosion of generative AI in the last two years has significantly increased the demand for processors to boost the efficiency of training and running LLM models.

Microsoft is also reportedly ready to invest in the project that will see the establishment of chip factories around the world dedicated to producing neural network accelerators.

Altman has in previous statements said that there aren’t enough processors to go around and his super lab is rumoured to be developing an AI accelerator of its own.

Meta just revealed that it wants 350,000 Nvidia accelerators by the end of the year to facilitate its AI work so the processor shortage is definitely a legitimate concern.

As the certification group Uptime Institute notes in its recent analysis, AI uptake will remain high in 2024 but growth could be affected by silicone shortage.

Without enough computing power to drive the AI models, users will have to deal with slowdowns, rationing, or limited deployment.

Still, it’s an ambitious project for the controversial CEO seeing as a single chip factory can cost anywhere from $10 billion to $20 billion to get to operation. Intel is planning two factories in Arizona that are expected to cost about $15 billion each.

It also won’t happen immediately as building these facilities can take up to 5 years to complete.

As of right now OpenAI isn’t channeling any of its funds to building a fabrication centre, but is instead investing it into leading-edge chip manufacturers like TSMC, Samsung Electronics, and potentially Intel.


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