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Sam Altman's Brain Chips

By Bbenzon @bbenzon

OpenAI signed $51M deal to buy ‘brain’ chips from Sam Altman portfolio firm

Sam Reynolds, Computerworld, Dec, 3, 2023.

A story that got left out of the corporate infighting that led to Sam Altman’s firing, then re-hiring as CEO of OpenAI, was about the firm’s relationship with a startup called Rain Neuromorphics, which is developing a neuromorphic processing unit (NPU) designed to replicate features of the human brain.

Rain says their brain-inspired NPUs could potentially offer 100 times more computing power and, for AI training purposes, deliver up to 10,000 times greater energy efficiency than the GPUs predominantly used by AI developers.

In theory, these NPUs could provide a big boost in processing power for portable “edge” devices such as smartphones or vehicle infotainment devices located far from a data center. Samsung, for instance, says that the Galaxy S24 – its next-generation flagship phone – will be AI-enhanced, but smartphones are limited in their processing abilities by their portable nature.

Altman’s conflict of interest

Before Sam Altman was fired and then rehired at OpenAI, last month, the company had signed a Letter of Intent to buy $51 million worth of Brain’s NPU chips, Wired reported. Complicating the issue further is the fact that this firm is one of Altman’s portfolio companies, bringing up a potential conflict of interest, with the CEO of OpenAI personally investing $1 million in the firm.

On X, VC Jason Calacanis pointed out that Letters of Intent – what OpenAI and Altman drafted to buy chips from Rain – are non-binding making the deal far from confirmed.

There's more at the link.

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