Sam Altman and Elon Musk in the “superiority game”

A report this week that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeks to raise as much as $7 trillion has many tech industry watchers scratching their heads. The amount easily exceeds the market capitalization of any company, including Microsoft, which recently reached $3.1 trillion and surpassed Apple as the most valuable American company.

Of course, Microsoft has been boosted by the AI ​​boom started by ChatGPT maker OpenAI, where it is the largest investor. But as artificial intelligence makes its way into the way we work and play in the years to come, Altman foresees a problem: an inadequate number of AI chips and chip-making facilities.

With this in mind, it is trying to raise large sums from wealthy investors around the world for a project that would boost the production of AI chips. THE Wall Street Journalspeaking to anonymous sources, he reported this week that Altman wants $5 trillion to $7 trillion for the project, in which OpenAI, investors, chipmakers and energy suppliers will come together to build chip foundries.

The amount dwarfs, like the magazine observe, the size of the current global semiconductor industry.

Sam Lessin, a Silicon Valley investor and early Facebook executive—he’s running for a seat on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, an effort supported by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a former classmate—reflected on the fundraising in an X send Friday entitled “The Era of Absurd Capitalism.”

When looking for trillions in a fundraiser, Lessin wrote, “you have to ask what happened to society/our system.”

He quoted Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, writing: “I don’t despise Sam’s showmanship in and of itself: He’s just extending the game Elon played with ‘self-driving cars around the corner’ or ‘ Mars by 2024.”

Read more: Sam Altman sheds light on feud with Elon Musk: ‘The closer people get in the same direction, the more controversial the disagreements are’

In 2020, Musk said SpaceX’s first crewed Mars mission could launch as early as 2024. Two years later he pushed the launch back to 2029.

“Sam is just playing a game of one-upmanship,” Lessin wrote. “Starting with the alarmist AGI, and when it ends… let’s find the biggest number we can think of.”

AGI stands for artificial general intelligence, a hypothetical type of artificial intelligence capable of performing any task a human can perform. Altman has spent much of the past year warning world leaders and others about the dangers of AGI, an exercise that has also helped increase interest in OpenAI products. THE Financial Times reported this week that OpenAI’s revenues topped $2 billion year-over-year.

The danger, Lessin suggests, is that capitalism, rather than being the invisible hand that guides us, “becomes a game of ‘absurdity’ versus discipline”.

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