Sam Altman Moves to Secure Trillion of Dollars to Overhaul the Global Semiconductor Industry

The CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, has announced that he, alongside his team, is on a mission to secure trillions of dollars through different stages of funding to overhaul the global semiconductor industry. The Wall Street Journal first reported this on Thursday when Altman met with potential investors and the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The move of the company is to address some issues challenging the growing artificial intelligence sector, as well as the scarcity of sophisticated computer chips that are necessary for powering large-language models like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

According to some reports, the semiconductor industry is controlled by a few companies: the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and NVIDIA, a US-based company.

However, other countries have also announced plans to boost local chip production, and the financial backing they have pledged significantly falls short of the enormous amounts Altman is purportedly negotiating with investors.

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The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) advises that the overall cost to bring Altman's vision to fruition could reach up to $7 trillion, which is more than the valuation of the two largest publicly traded companies, Apple and Microsoft, with over $1 trillion.

According to LEADERSHIP reports, an OpenAI spokesperson informed the Journal that the company has engaged in "productive discussions about increasing global infrastructure and supply chains for chips, energy, and data centres." The spokesperson also said that OpenAI is committed to keeping the US government apprised due to the project's relevance to national objectives.

Altman is reported to have met with senior officials from the UAE, SoftBank's CEO Masayoshi Son and representatives from TSMC. Other news networks such as Bloomberg and Guardian reported the same.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Altman has proposed the construction of numerous chip-fabrication facilities in the coming years using funds from Middle Eastern investors and suggested that TSMC could be contracted to build and manage these plants.

Back Story

In November last year, Sam Altman, the CEO/co-founder of OpenAI, was dismissed after board members concluded that the CEO and some other top chiefs would have to resign from their positions following some internal crises.

However, after the sack of Sam Altman, Microsoft chief Satya Nadella invited Altman and all those sacked alongside him to join his team on Sunday evening, November 19. 

While tension cooled off, most employees at OpenAI the following Monday threatened to quit their jobs if Altman was not reinstated, among other demands. 

He was, however, reinstated after the board had some discussions. Sam Altman, the brain behind ChatGPT, was sacked due to a "breakdown in communication between Sam and the board" and not "malfeasance," Chief Operating Officer (COO) Brad Lightcap said in an internal memo.

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