OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeking 'trillions' to boost chip manufacturing for AI: report

Altman reportedly looking to raise as much as $7 trillion for AI chip project

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman is reportedly courting investors across the globe to raise trillions of dollars for a massive project aimed at boosting the production of the powerful semiconductors needed to run advanced artificial intelligence programs like his company's own ChatGPT.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Altman endeavors to transform global chip manufacturing and accelerate the development of advanced AI with the initiative, which the sources said could cost in the ballpark of $5 trillion to $7 trillion.

Sam Altman speaking at World Economic Forum

Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI, during a panel session on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, January 18, 2024. (Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The report claims that Altman has met with investors from the United Arab Emirates and the CEO of Softbank in recent weeks about funding the project, and has also discussed it with chipmakers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).

Altman's fundraising plans are aimed at solving constraints to OpenAI's growth, including the scarcity of AI chips required to train large language models behind systems such as ChatGPT, the Journal reported.

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The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has forecast a 13.1% jump in global chip sales to $595.3 billion this year, compared with a drop of about 8% in sales in 2023.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 6, 2023, in San Francisco, California. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman delivered the keynote address at the first ever Open AI DevDay conference.? (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Altman's efforts to raise funds to expand chip manufacturing have the blessing of tech giant Microsoft, the majority owner of OpenAI, the report said. Microsoft declined to comment on the report when reached by FOX Business.

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Microsoft, Inc.

According to the Journal, Altman also met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to talk about the initiative.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks during the Broadband Event at the White House in Washington, D.C., United States on June 26, 2023.? ((Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Neither OpenAI nor Sec. Raimondo's office immediately responded to FOX Business' request for comment on the report, but an OpenAI spokesperson did provide a statement to the Journal.

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"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," the spokesperson's statement read. "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."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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