Now that he's all but abandoned his capital-M Metaverse, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's pivot to artificial intelligence is in the spotlight — and it's gonna be hella expensive.
In a post on Instagram — which Meta also owns — Zuckerberg laid out the social giant's "future roadmap," which includes building out its "massive compute infrastructure" with the help of a whopping 350,000 of Nvidia's mega-expensive AI chips.
Although companies like OpenAI and its benefactor Microsoft have become the public face of the AI revolution, none of this would be possible without Nvidia's high-end chips, which power the large language models (LLMs) undergirding software like ChatGPT. On average, a single Nvidia H100 chip sells for roughly $30,000, which means that Meta may end up spending upwards of $10.5 billion to purchase hundreds of thousands of them.
But wait, there's more! Alongside those 350K Nvidia H100s — an incredible moonshot given that Nvidia was projected to sell just 550,000 of the chips total last year — Zuckerberg said that he also plans to purchase "almost 600k H100 equivalents," and there's no telling how many billions of dollars those will cost.
Rather than just looking to build the next ChatGPT, the fad-chasing CEO indicated that he'll be using all those chips to power his efforts at building artificial general intelligence (AGI), the favored term used by Silicon Valley bigshots to describe the hypothetical future point at which AI reaches human-level intelligence. While not all experts are convinced the current type of AI actually can get there, doing so would indeed establish Meta as an AI powerhouse and put it ahead of OpenAI if Zuckerberg were to get there first.
In the video and caption both, Zuckerberg said that his "long term vision is to build general intelligence, open source it responsibly, and make it widely available so everyone can benefit" — a dream distinct from OpenAI's AGI plans, which pay lip service to building a system that "benefits all of humanity" but makes no mention of open sourcing it.
Despite the pivot to AI, Zuckerberg apparently hasn't given up entirely on the Metaverse, and said in the video that he's planning to roll out AI-enhanced virtual reality glasses because, as he puts it, "glasses are the ideal form factor for letting an AI see what you see."
Having lost $46.5 billion on the Metaverse only to pivot to AI once it became clear that nobody was buying what he was selling, the CEO is clearly looking to make big moves in the coming year — and for some reason, he's still hung up on making metaverse glasses happen. Meta investors are probably just hoping that this time, the whole thing has legs.