UPDATED 10:25 EST / DECEMBER 11 2023

Dave Vellante and John Furrier, theCUBE Podcast Episode 39, 9 Dec 2023 AI

On theCUBE Pod: The chip wars rage on and thoughts on the structure of OpenAI

It has been a busy few weeks at theCUBE, with dozens of interviews at AWS re:Invent 2023 and the “Supercloud 5: The Battle for AI Supremacy” event. For industry analyst John Furrier (pictured, left), there has been a lot to keep tabs on since the last episode of theCUBE podcast.

“I think when we did that podcast, that was the day that the Sam Altman drama went down,” Furrier said. “Much has happened since then.”

Dave Vellante (right) discussed the latest developments with Furrier and much more on the latest episode of theCUBE Podcast. But though it’s been a busy time for theCUBE, there’s plenty more on the calendar to look ahead to, including Supercloud 6.

“It’s not just our thing. We bring in the community, and we’re getting all these really deep technical experts to talk about it,” Vellante said. “Whether you call it multicloud management or cross-cloud — Dave Linthicum calls it metacloud — there’s definitely a supercloud trend, and it’s gaining traction.”

The theme for the last Supercloud event, “The Battle for AI Supremacy,” signals what is taking place at many levels right now. There are battles at many levels, according to Furrier.

“So many battles because the stakes are high,” he said. “The AI game is so powerful that the stakes are high, and everyone’s realizing what to do. What they’re trying to figure out is, which side of the street do we need to be on to be on the right side of history?”

The chip wars rage on

As the battles rage on, companies, developers and architects must determine how they will deploy their resources to maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence today. They’ll need to do that without foreclosing the headroom opportunities that will emerge, according to Furrier.

“There’s a data flywheel happening, and it doesn’t look like yesterday’s flywheel. This is really interesting,” he said. “The silicon chips, the relationships between chips, hardware, what’s around the chips, GPUs, CPUs and the neural processing unit is becoming quite the offload accelerator option in the architecture, and the chips and the interconnect around it are going to be the thing.”

That will be the battle, in Furrier’s view — what does the cluster look like, how is it architected and does it support the ability to span out clusters to support the new data model? It’s part of the journey to the sixth data platform.

“AMD made a big push this week,” Vellante said. “They announced that they’re shipping their latest AI chip. They said it’s comparable in performance to the H100. Of course, it doesn’t have the software richness of the CUDA architecture.”

In making the announcement, AMD Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su threw out various statistics. One of those stats involved a market forecast for AI chips to $400 billion by 2027.

“If [AMD is], let’s say, $20 to $22 billion today, trailing 12 months, can they double by 2027? AMD? No question in my mind,” Vellante said. “The bigger, more interesting question to me is, what happens to Nvidia, because I think they’re going to have two-thirds of the market. They could be $200 to $250 billion.”

A rant on AI

Though much has changed around OpenAI since the last episode of theCUBE podcast, the drama isn’t all over for Sam Altman. Still, though many may have said Microsoft was the big winner, that’s not the whole story, according to Vellante.

“Sam Altman is the big winner and [Ilya Sutskever] the loser. I mean, they made a bad move, Ilya and the previous board were the big losers,” he said. “But Sam Altman now is in the process of consolidating power. The problem is, OK, so Microsoft gets a board observer seat, so they won’t be surprised inside-swiped again. I just think the whole structure of OpenAI has to change.”

That’s because one cannot have a nonprofit running a for-profit, according to Vellante. That’s because such an arrangement represents a flawed structure, in his view.

“That’s a tech company. That’s stupid. It’s just, no way. They’re just misaligned,” he said. “You can have a for-profit controlling a nonprofit, but you can’t have the reverse. And that’s exactly what happened.”

Watch the full podcast below to find out why these industry pros were mentioned:

Sam Altman, CEO at OpenAI
Charles Fitzgerald, consultative strategist and investor
Eli Collins, VP of product for Google DeepMind
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel
Dave Linthicum, CCSO of Deloitte Consulting
Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare
Swami Sivasubramanian, VP of database, analytics and ML at AWS
Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS
Lisa Su, chair and CEO at AMD
Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia
Casey Newton, founder at Platform News
George Gilbert, principal at TechAlpha Partners
Andy Jassy, president and CEO of Amazon
Naveen Rao, VP of generative AI at Databricks
Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist at The New York Times
Vikram Joshi, founder, president and CTO of Compute.AI
Joel Inman, CEO of Compute.AI
Dave Brown, VP of AWS compute and networking services
Jeff Clark, co-founder at Anthropic
Natasha Tiku, tech culture reporter at The Washington Post
Helen Toner, director of strategy and foundation research grants at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology
Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO at Microsoft
Erik Bradley, chief strategist and research director at ETR
Andy Grove, former Intel CEO and president
Sam Lessin, partner at Slow Ventures
John Markoff, science and technology journalist
Elon Musk, CEO at Tesla

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