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Nvidia CEO Says Tech Advances Will Keep AI Cost in Check

(Bloomberg) -- Nvidia Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang anticipates advances in computing over the next few years will keep the cost of developing artificial intelligence well below the $7 trillion that Sam Altman is said to be fundraising.

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“You can’t assume just that you will buy more computers. You have to also assume that the computers are going to become faster and therefore the total amount that you need is not as much,” Huang told the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday. The 60-year-old’s company makes the most sought-after AI accelerators and he’s confident the chip industry will drive down the cost of AI, as those parts are made “faster and faster and faster.”

Huang was responding to a report in the Wall Street Journal that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is seeking to raise $7 trillion from investors in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, for a semiconductor initiative to power AI projects that would rival Nvidia.

Because of its uncontested leadership in AI-training chips, Nvidia’s market value has ballooned to more than $1.7 trillion and increased Huang’s personal wealth several times over. Altman and other AI developers are seeking ways to diversify their hardware options, including by exploring chipmaking ventures of their own.

The world’s leading contract chipmakers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co., commit in excess of $30 billion in capital expenditures each year to stay ahead of potential rivals. For Altman to have a realistic chance of making a dent in their lead, he would need to spend lavishly on research, development, facilities and expert personnel, but Huang’s view would suggest that better, more cost-efficient chips will make that unnecessary.

Still, the Nvidia CEO doesn’t see an end to the increase in AI spending anytime soon. In his remarks, Huang estimated that the global cost of data centers powering AI will double in the next five years.

“We’re at the beginning of this new era. There’s about a trillion dollars’ worth of installed base of data centers. Over the course of the next four or five years, we’ll have $2 trillion worth of data centers that will be powering software around the world,” he said.

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