OpenAI making AI chips? Silicon Supremacy: Who wins?

G. Dan Hutcheson
G. Dan Hutcheson
The Chip Insider®


OpenAI making AI chips: Hi Dan, If OpenAI does buy a chip company, as rumors say, who do you think it might be? …

– Full disclosure… I have no inside track on their thinking, just personal opinions. But to answer your questions: There are over 200 AI chip start-ups they could buy… It would be foolish if it’s simply due to the shortage as some have said… Odds are they want to implement their own algorithms in custom silicon like Apple … and Google have done … because software is always more efficient when it’s on silicon as opposed to rummaging around on a general-purpose processor... – Dan

Silicon Supremacy: Hi Dan, watching your various comments on TechInsights’ teardown of Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro, it left me wondering, who will be the biggest winners and losers in the global chip race …

– Ultimately, consumers and the planet will be the winners in the semiconductor race. Semiconductors and device architectures have been the most important factors in driving compute Performance-per-Watt. Without them, data centers would have long ago used up all the electricity available on the world’s grid. The carbon footprint would be unmanageable.

The competitive prize is leadership in the semiconductor industry. The biggest winner will be... Who it will be in the future depends on execution and the silicon literacy of the governments where they choose to manufacture. This will also determine if there’s a disruptor out there… Over the decades there have been many leadership turnovers… I'm sure China will rise in importance as long as …

Working smarter is why I do believe the future will continue to be a distributed world of semiconductor superpowers. There are only so many hyper-smart people in the world and there is a limited university capacity to educate them… The silicon literacy of governments will play a huge role going forward. By silicon literacy, I mean the ability of a government to comprehend how conflicting policies by different parts of a government help or hinder its efforts to grow an indigenous semiconductor sector… Today, the level of silicon literacy of a government can be measured by two critical areas: 1) Regulations that eliminate the use of PFAS and 2) workforce development (WFD)…

* Text in italics are my answers, interpretations, as well as opinions on the strategic importance where relevant.

Dan’s Book Shelf: China and Japan: Facing History by Ezra F. Vogel

Maxims: Take a leadership role while working within the constraints of your partner’s position: It’s critical to know the constraints your partner is working under. It can be the difference between making a deal and killing it…

“History never repeats itself but it often rhymes” — as Mark Twain is reputed to have said

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