Is OpenAI's Sam Altman's future worth $7 trillion?

The contemporary world of artificial intelligence (AI) has a maxim: if something is not possible with state-of-the-art generative AI systems today, just wait—it will be next month. Serving as a powerful reminder not to underestimate the capabilities of rapidly emerging systems, this maxim is making its way into the halls of state power, exemplified by the United States’ strategy of tech containment in its great power competition with China. This competition unfolds as some Middle Eastern states, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), increasingly play an assertive role in the development of emerging technologies like AI, intertwining with AI’s modern maxim. Nothing exemplifies this optimism more than reports that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is in talks with, among others, the UAE government to raise $5 trillion to 7 trillion (yes, trillion) for increased chip-building capacity, following news that Altman sought billions of dollars for a chip company focused on Tensor Processing Units. The newly minted Abu Dhabi-based investment fund MGX, chaired by UAE national security advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, is in “early” talks with OpenAI to help fund Altman’s chip-building endeavor. That such an endeavor is even being considered indicates that AI’s modern maxim is taking root among diverse actors who are intent on harnessing AI. The perception is that generative AI models will only get more sophisticated and those states intent on playing leading roles in the global economy of the future must act decisively now or find themselves irrevocably disadvantaged in the long-term. One could be forgiven for believing that generative AI has already fulfilled the…Is OpenAI's Sam Altman's future worth $7 trillion?