According to sources, Altman was trying to get financing for a project called Tigris in the Middle East. He was about to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chip business that could compete with the current market leader, Nvidia. Altman has not yet formed the company and has only begun negotiations with investors, the sources said.
As co-founder of OpenAI, Altman is also trying to raise money for an interactive hardware device focused on artificial intelligence, which he is developing with former Apple design chief Jony Ive. Server The Verge previously wrote that the pair is developing an “iPhone of artificial intelligence.”
Altman has been raising funds for his projects at a time when OpenAI is finalizing its stock offering. It is led by Thrive Capital and would value the company at $86 billion (CZK 1.9 trillion). According to one source, Japan’s SoftBank and other companies wanted to be part of the transaction, but they ended up on the waiting list. Altman, meanwhile, urged investors to consider his new ventures, two sources cited by Bloomberg said.
Unexpectedly fired Altman leaves OpenAI for Microsoft
The Saudi Arabian state investment fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), the state fund of the emirate of Abu Dhabi Mubadala Investment, OpenAI and SoftBank have not yet commented on the matter.
On Friday, OpenAI’s board of directors cited Altman’s dismissal as being consistently dishonest when communicating with it. “It was a failure of communication between Sam and the board,” the company’s chief operating officer, Brad Lightcap, later said.
According to the sources, their views differed on the safety of AI, the speed of development of the technology and commercial use. Strained relations with the board then complicated Altman’s ambitions and his side business activities, writes Bloomberg.
Altman plans to start a business to make special TPU chips that are designed to handle high volumes of AI tasks. In addition to competing with Nvidia products, he tried to reduce the costs of operating the ChatGPT and Dall-E services from the OpenAI stable.
Custom-made TPU chips could outperform Nvidia products, writes Bloomberg. However, he reminds that their development is complex and time-consuming.
A number of companies are ready to back any project by the former OpenAI chief, the sources said. According to them, even Microsoft was going to support Altman’s company, where Altman eventually moved.