OpenAI CEO highlights South Korea’s chip sector for AI growth, ready to invest

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Sam Altman, creator of ChatGPT and CEO of OpenAI, who met with South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul on June 9, urged South Korea to play a leading role in manufacturing chips needed for artificial intelligence (AI) technology while expressing interest in investing in it. Korean startups and collaborating with major chip makers such as Samsung Electronics.

According to local media, Koreajoongangdaily, the CEO suggested that South Korea focus on chips because system semiconductors and memory chips are essential for AI, reduce regulations for companies to promote AI projects, and also work to establish international standards.

Altman, who recently embarked on a trip across Europe to connect with policymakers and leaders to discuss the potential and challenges of AI, has now extended his travels to Israel, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, India and South Korea this week.

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands at Yongsan District, the presidential office in central Seoul on June 9.

During a conference in Seoul, Altman expressed his intention to expand investment in Korean startups, saying, “We are actively exploring ways to increase our investment in Korean startups.”

When asked about possible cooperation with Korean chip manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and SK hynix. Altman confirmed the ongoing discussions and expressed his willingness to engage further in dialogue. According to Nikkei Asia, the Korean company Samsung Electronics owns more than 40 percent of the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip segment.

Altman explained that artificial intelligence relies on moving large amounts of data, which leads to an increase in the demand for memory chips. He further stated that OpenAI currently uses chips from Taiwan, but in the future, there will be a need to supply chips from Korea.

The rapid advancement and widespread adoption of generative AI, following the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI with support from Microsoft Corp., has prompted legislators around the world to create regulations addressing the safety implications associated with this technology.

The European Union is leading on an artificial intelligence bill, which is expected to be enacted this year, while lawmakers in the United States have proposed two new bipartisan bills targeting issues of transparency and innovation in AI.

Related: A UK AI Task Force advisor warns that AI could threaten humanity within two years

Altman expressed his admiration for how Koreans embraced and experienced ChatGPT upon its release, noting that Korea was an early adopter of the service and showed great creativity in its use.

The CEO shared that he is actively involved in the process of setting up an office in Japan. In addition, he is considering opening more offices around the world as part of their future plans.

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