Opinion OpenAI CEO Sam Altman's dream of establishing a network of chip factories to fuel the growth of AI may be much, much wilder than feared.
As reported last month, Altman is supposedly seeking billions of dollars in funding from partners including Abu Dhabi-based G42, Japan's SoftBank, and Microsoft, to build out all those neural-network accelerator fabs.
Now, a Wall Street Journal report, citing yet more anonymous sources, claims the ambitious project could involve raising up to $7 trillion.
To put the figure in perspective, that's nearly 14 times the total revenue for the entire semiconductor market last year. According to Gartner, worldwide semi revenues topped $533 billion in 2023. And in spite of all the hype around generative AI, analysts expect that sales figure to grow 17 percent to $624 billion this year.
But let's say, for the sake of argument, Altman and his partners really are this courageous, and can somehow wrangle a quarter of the United States' gross domestic product for 2023 to finance the endeavor. What does $7 trillion buy you?