In pursuit of artificial general intelligence, Meta adds Broadcom boss Hock Tan to its board

Zuck needs silicon smarts – and the energy experience of a former Enron exec

Social networking company Meta has appointed Broadcom CEO Hock Tan to its board and added energy entrepreneur John Arnold too.

Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the pair were appointed because their experience is needed to help develop artificial general intelligence.

"Having directors with deep expertise in silicon and energy infrastructure will help us execute our long term vision," he's quoted as saying.

Adding directors with specific expertise suggests Meta intends to spend up big to deliver its promised artificial general intelligence, and knows it needs high-level advice.

Hock Tan certainly knows silicon. Broadcom produces it by the truckload – and does so very efficiently using a corporate structure that operates product groups as independent business units. Broadcom isn;t noted as a top-tier silicon innovator to compare with the likes of Nvidia, Intel, or AMD, but its switching silicon is noted for handling colossal throughput and recently added neural networking capabilities.

Broadcom is also adept at making the long and complex global semiconductor supply chain do its bidding – which Meta will need to do as it pursues its goals of creating both binary brainboxes and a metaverse populated by people wearing its Quest VR headwear.

On LinkedIn, Hock Tan declared himself "pleased to join the Meta board and contribute to achieving the company's vision.

"Meta has an incredible role to play in the next generation of computing as it evolves its platform and apps offerings for the future," he added, along with the to-be-expected sentiment that "I look forward to working with Mark, the broader team and the other board members on Meta's technology and business journey."

Meta's other newbie is John Arnold, co-founder and chairman of an outfit called Grid United – described as "a developer of interregional, high-voltage transmission projects with a mission to make America's power grid more reliable, resilient, and efficient."

Arnold has a long history in the energy industry, as founder of investment funds focused on the industry. According to Meta's announcement, he founded one of those orgs – a hedge fund called Centaurus Energy – "after overseeing trading of natural gas derivatives at Enron Corp."

Enron, of course, imploded in one of America's biggest ever corporate scandals. The Register does not suggest Arnold had any role in Enron's misdeeds.

We do, however, suggest that putting an energy expert on the Meta board indicates the social networking biz knows it is going to consume plenty of electricity and needs to understand how to control its costs. Maybe Meta will even generate more of its own juice – as Microsoft signaled it may by hiring an exec to oversee implantation of Small Modular Reactors.

One group that may not appreciate the new appointments is VMware customers, who are currently trying to understand the impact of Broadcom's many post-acquisition changes at the virtualization giant. With Hock Tan now dedicating time to Meta, he'll have less bandwidth to consider the software house he just bought. ®

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