Sam Altman is looking to raise $5-7 trillion for the future of chip building.

Sam Altman is trying to raise up to $7 trillion to manufacture new chips to power AI. According to The Wall Street Journal, he’s partly trying to raise money in the U.A.E. $7 trillion is … A LOT. Like, way more than the US spent building highways. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has met with officials from the United Arab Emirates to pitch his plan to build lots and lots of new chip factories. The cost? $5 trillion to $7 trillion.

OpenAI needs more computing power (currently, it relies on Microsoft for this) — and this means it needs more silicon chip factories. A lot more. And chip plants ain’t cheap.

According to the WSJ:

As part of the talks [with the U.A.E.], Altman is pitching a partnership between OpenAI, various investors, chip makers and power providers, which together would put up money to build chip foundries that would then be run by existing chip makers, some of the people said. OpenAI would agree to be a significant customer of the new factories. Much of the effort could be funded by debt, one of the people said. The discussions are in their early stages, the full list of potential investors isn’t known, and the effort could span years and ultimately might not succeed. 

It’s true that the world needs more silicon chip factories — President Joe Biden recently signed the CHIPS Act, which gives $52 billion in subsidies to build factories in the US (although the promise of many new good jobs is falling short). So Altman’s ambitious plan to make more happen is great (I think?).

But … whew … $5 to $7 trillion is a whole lotta clams. That kind of number isn’t typically something a relatively new company thinks about raising. In fact, there aren’t very many things at all that cost in the trillions.

How much is it? Consider this:

$23.36 trillion: US Gross Domestic Product

$6.3 trillion: the US federal budget for 2022 fiscal year

$2.31 trillion: the cost of the US’s war in Afghanistan as of 2022

$4 trillion: US’s cost for World War II, adjusted for inflation

$964.4 billion: holiday shopping in 2023

$330 billion: the cost of ending world hunger by 2030

$4.23 trillion: GDP of Japan

$3.08 trillion: Microsoft’s market cap

$794.7 billion: 2023 US public school spending on K-12

$32 trillion to $44 trillion: estimated cost of 10 years of universal healthcare in the US

$1.48 trillion: the market value of all residential and commercial real estate in NYC

Read the original article on Business Insider


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