AI of the future will need nuclear fusion, says OpenAI boss

ChatGPT creator sets his sights on the "holy grail" of clean energy

2 mins read
AI of the future will need nuclear fusion, says OpenAI boss

According to OpenAI boss Sam Altman, a breakthrough in nuclear fusion is needed to meet the enormous energy needs of future AI.

Currently, ChatGPT’s creator handles hundreds of millions of queries per day, with estimates suggesting that it consumes around 1GWh every day – the equivalent of about 33,000 US households.

This energy consumption is expected to increase significantly in the coming years as the functionality and popularity of productive AI tools like ChatGPT grows.

“There’s no way to get there without a breakthrough step,” Altman said at a Bloomberg event Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

This motivates us to invest more in fusion.

Nuclear fusion has the potential to provide virtually unlimited energy by mimicking the natural reactions occurring in the Sun, leading some scientists to describe it as the “holy grail” of clean energy.

There have been some breakthroughs in recent years, most notably the first fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in 2022. This allowed researchers to achieve a net energy gain using nuclear fusion, a feat the lab has repeated since then.

Despite this progress, commercialization of nuclear fusion on a significant scale is still a long way off.

Altman has personally invested $375 million in Helion Energy, a US-based nuclear fusion company that aims to generate electricity on a commercial scale using next-generation technology by 2028.

Last year, Helion Energy became the first company in the world to enter into a purchase agreement for nuclear fusion energy after Microsoft announced plans to transition to clean energy sources by the end of this decade.

OpenAI’s current reliance on Microsoft’s servers and computing resources to power its AI tools means that it is likely to benefit from Helion Energy reaching commercial-scale nuclear power generation.


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