AI Chip Race Reshaping Global Politics And Security


(MENAFN- Asia Times) A global race to build powerful computer chips that are essential for the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools could have a major impact on global politics and security.

The US is currently leading the race in the design of these chips. But most of the manufacturing is carried out in Taiwan. The debate has been fuelled by the call by Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT's developer OpenAI, for a US$5-$7 trillion global investment to produce more powerful chips for the next generation of AI platforms.

The amount of money Altman called for is more than the chip industry has spent in total since it began. Whatever the facts about those numbers, overall projections for the AI market are mind-blowing. The data analytics company GlobalData forecasts that the market will be worth $909 billion by 2030.

Unsurprisingly, over the past two years, the US, China, Japan and several European countries have increased their budget allocations and put in place measures to secure or maintain a share of the chip industry for themselves.

China is catching up fast and is subsidizing chips, including next-generation ones for AI , by hundreds of billions over the next decade to build a manufacturing supply chain.

Subsidies seem to be the preferred strategy for Germany too . The UK government has announced its plans to invest £100 million (US$126.8) to support regulators and universities in addressing challenges around AI.

The economic historian Chris Miller, the author of the book Chip War, has talked about how powerful chips have become a“strategic commodity” on the global geopolitical stage.

Despite the efforts by several countries to invest in the future of chips, there is currently a shortage of the types currently needed for AI systems. Miller recently explained that 90% of the chips used to train, or improve, AI systems are produced by just one company .

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