Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Trump Raises $12 Million in Silicon Valley, by Promising Cheap Energy to Power the AI Revolution – Watts Up With That?

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Essay by Eric Worrall

Big Tech is openly rebelling against Biden’s roadmap for energy destitution.

Inside Silicon Valley’s $12M Trump fundraiser with Winklevoss twins and venture capitalists

By Lydia Moynihan
Published June 7, 2024, 5:11 p.m. ET

Silicon Valley insiders told The Post they were impressed by “eloquent and articulate” Donald Trump at Thursday night’s presidential fundraiser in the posh, stereotypically progressive San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights.

More than 100 people paid as much as $300,000 a head to attend the fundraiser hosted by venture capitalist David Sacks at his multimillion dollar home, sources confirmed.

The Post is told that Trump opened his nearly 45-minute speech by talking about his late uncle John G. Trump — an engineer who was an MIT professor for nearly four decades — and joking that he should’ve followed in his uncle’s footsteps as a way to connect with the largely techie crowd.

But he quickly turned to serious topics like the importance of unleashing artificial intelligence innovation and why the US needs to be prepared to provided the massive energy AI will require.

“Fossil fuel is the only way to do it … solar and wind just can’t cut it,” the source said of Trump’s remarks.

Read more: https://nypost.com/2024/06/07/us-news/inside-silicon-valleys-12m-trump-fundraiser/

A CNBC video about the fundraiser;

WUWT predicted this shift in tech company support from Biden to Trump two weeks ago. But I underestimated big tech’s desperation for affordable energy. I expected something more covert, I didn’t expect them to go so public before the 2024 election.

What is driving this sudden tech industry panic, what is stampeding tech giants into turn their backs on President Biden?

The CNBC video above offers some insight. Trump is seen as more business and tech friendly. The Biden administration has strained relations with Silicon Valley since 2020 with regulatory crackdowns on AI and cryptocurrency.

But I believe there is another threat helping to drive this switch in big tech allegiance from Democrats to Republicans, a concern we may be heading towards a new Sputnik crisis – a foreign scientific breakthrough which threatens the tech dominance of the United States.

Except this time the Sputnik moment could be China building the world’s first superhuman AI.

I don’t have proof China is on the verge of a major breakthrough, though there is plenty of evidence China is trying hard to develop advanced AI. But right now, China is the only nation which has the energy surplus required to attempt to create an AI which has more than human capabilities using today’s technology.

Imagine trying to build a modern desktop computer using primitive 1930s vacuum tube technology. Such an effort would require a vast acreage of machinery, big teams of scientists and engineers, and gigawatts of energy to power and air condition billions of vacuum tubes, along with a crazy amount of funding to pay for everything. When completed the vacuum tube system wouldn’t be exactly the same as a modern computer. But with sufficient political will and investment of effort it would have been possible to build a machine which rivalled the capability of modern desktop computers, a computer with capabilities decades more advanced than anything which was actually built back in the day.

Right now, today, we are in a similar position to that hypothetical 1930s supercomputer project when it comes to possible paths towards rapid development of an AI superintelligence – but only China currently has the surplus energy and manufacturing capacity to attempt such a brute force approach to building a superhuman AI.

The USA is not currently in a position to attempt such a project, because green energy policies have robbed the USA of its once bountiful energy surplus, by driving chronic underinvestment in new dispatchable grid capacity. Biden’s energy starved USA is a hostile environment for energy hungry tech entrepreneurs, there are major political upheavals whenever a tech giant tries to draw more power from the grid.

If China succeeds in creating a machine which can outthink humans, or worse has already succeeded, the USA will only have a narrow window of opportunity to catch up before it is all over – like maybe four years with a president in charge who understands the issues.

The longer China preserves its advantage, the worse things would become for the USA and anyone else who tries to compete. If China is able to iterate enough improvements into their artificial intelligence system, without anyone else being in a position to play catchup, very quickly the AI itself would start playing a major role in its own improvement, and we could face an exponential surge in intelligence capability, with each 6-12 month upgrade cycle doubling the capability of the previous system, which then harnessed that greater capability to design the next upgrade. In less than a decade China’s AI advantage could become insurmountable.

Trying to beat China in business or geopolitics would become like trying to beat that chess app on your PC which always kicks your butt. Whoever had access to that super intelligent AI would always make smarter moves than the competition.

Am I right about an approaching Chinese AI Sputnik moment? I just don’t know. But one thing for sure, something has spooked US big tech. It might just be concerns over Biden’s regulatory crackdown and looming energy shortages putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Or maybe I’m right about the risk of a Chinese breakthrough. Even without a Sputnik level breakthrough, China’s energy surplus, electronics industry, and political will to prioritise realising China’s potential as a global superpower has put the USA’s commanding position in this space at risk.

President Biden is not in a position to deliver the 10s of gigawatts of affordable new generation capacity US tech giants desperately need to challenge China’s credible bid for global tech dominance. Biden’s renewable energy obsession and heavy handed approach to tech regulation are hobbling the US tech industry, just when they need every resource they can muster to compete.

My prediction – President Trump is about to reap the reward, for being the right man in the right place at the right time.


Update (EW): Updated the “surplus energy” link from a link about excess renewable energy to a link about China’s coal boom. AI needs real energy, not fake energy.

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