The CEOs of OpenAI and Intel cite AI's voracious appetite for processing power

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Two technology CEOs striving to produce more cutting-edge chips needed for artificial intelligence met in a brainstorming session Wednesday as the early leader of the booming market reported another quarter of stunning growth.

The on-stage conversation broke out between Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman at the San Jose, California, convention center, just hours after Nvidia It revealed its revenues for the period from November to January Nearly four times more than the previous year.

Intel, the Silicon Valley leader that has struggled in recent years, laid out its plans to catch up with Nvidia during a day-long conference. Gelsinger kicked things off with an opening statement in which he envisioned the feverish demand for AI-equipped chips energizing his company in a wave he called the “silicon economy.”

“The way these tiny chips enable the modern economic cycle we live in today is just magic,” Gelsinger said.

OpenAI, a San Francisco startup backed by Microsoft, has become one of tech's brightest stars since it unleashed its most famous AI innovation, ChatGPT, in late 2022. Altman is now looking to go even further while competing against Google And other companies like Anthropy and Inflection AI. But the next leaps he wants to take will require much more processing power than is currently available.

The imbalance between supply and the insatiable appetite for AI chips explains why Altman is so interested in securing more money to help expand the industry's manufacturing capacity. During his conversation with Gelsinger, he dodged a question about whether he was trying to raise as much as $7 trillion — more than the combined market caps of Microsoft and Apple — as he recently did. This was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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“The core truth is that we believe the world is going to need more (chips) for AI calculations,” Altman said. “It will require global investment in a lot of things that are beyond what we think about. We are not at a place where we have numbers yet.”

Altman stressed the importance of accelerating the momentum of artificial intelligence in the past year to develop technology that he believes will lead to a better future for humanity, although he acknowledged that there will be negative aspects along the way.

“We are heading to a world where more content will be created by artificial intelligence than created by humans,” Altman said. “Not only would this be a good story, it would be a perfectly good story.”

Perhaps no company is now benefiting from the AI ​​fever more than Nvidia. The 31-year-old chipmaker jumped to the technology forefront due to its start making graphics processing units, or GPUs, needed to power popular AI products like ChatGPT and Google's Gemini chatbot.

Over the past year, Nvidia has achieved an incredible string of growth that has created more than $1.3 trillion in shareholder wealth in less than 14 months. This has turned it into the fifth-largest publicly traded company in the United States by value behind Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc.

In return, Intel is trying to convince investors that Gelsinger owns the Santa Clara, Calif., company on its way back three years after he was named CEO.

Since his arrival, Gelsinger has already pushed the company to a new level Chip making business for other companies And it was committed $20 billion to build new factories in Ohio As part of its expansion into operating so-called “foundries” for third parties.

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During a conference on Wednesday, Gelsinger predicted that by 2030, Intel would command the world's second-largest foundry company, presumably behind the current leader, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TMSC, largely by meeting demand for chips. artificial intelligence.

“There's kind of a space race going on,” Gelsinger told reporters on Wednesday after delivering the conference's keynote address. “It appears that overall demand (for AI chips) will not be satisfied for several years to come.”

Gelsinger's turnaround efforts haven't impressed investors so far. Intel's stock price fell 30% on his watch while Nvidia's stock increased nearly five-fold over the same period.

Intel is also looking for a part of The $52 billion Which the US Commerce Department plans to deploy in an effort to increase the country's manufacturing capacity in the $527 billion processor market, based on global sales last year.

Less than $2 billion in funds It has been awarded under the Chips and Science Act of 2022 so far, but Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, in a video appearance at Wednesday's conference, promised a “continuous drumbeat” of announcements about distributing more money.

Raimondo also told Gelsinger that coming out of recent discussions with Altman and other executives leading the AI ​​movement, they had difficulty processing how big the market could get.

“The amount of chips they say they need is astonishing,” she said.

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