Elon Musk has made it very clear of his ambition to jump into the field of AI.
Now, he has unveiled his latest endeavour: xAI. Positioned as a formidable alternative to the widely popular ChatGPT AI chatbot, xAI sets out to unravel the true essence of the universe, according to a recently launched website.
Musk, at the helm of xAI, has assembled a team of seasoned executives hailing from the forefront of AI innovation, with experience at tech titans like Google’s DeepMind, Microsoft, and Tesla, as well as esteemed academic institutions including the University of Toronto.
Despite his involvement in AI, Musk has expressed deep reservations about the technology. In March, he joined a cohort of researchers and industry leaders in calling for a temporary halt in training powerful AI models, citing concerns about their potential implications.
xAI’s website showcases a roster of twelve members, including Musk himself. Notable figures such as Jimmy Ba, an assistant professor from the University of Toronto who studied under AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, and Christian Szegedy, a former research scientist specialising in AI at Google, contribute their expertise to the venture.
While Musk has been critical of San Francisco, xAI’s website indicates a strong interest in recruiting experienced engineers and researchers to join their team in the Bay Area, where AI development has been predominantly concentrated.
Documents filed with the Nevada Secretary of State reveal that Musk and Jared Birchall, responsible for managing Musk’s family office, established X.AI as a business entity back in March. In April, reports emerged of Musk engaging in discussions with investors from Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies Corp, exploring potential avenues for funding an AI startup. Sources familiar with the matter claim that Musk has procured thousands of processors from Nvidia for this ambitious new project.
xAI benefits from the guidance of Dan Hendrycks, the director of the Centre for AI Safety. Hendrycks leads a group that advocates for cautious AI development, warning about the existential risks associated with rapid advancements in the field. Earlier this year, the Centre released a letter of caution, endorsed by CEOs from prominent AI companies such as Alphabet’s DeepMind and OpenAI.
With a burgeoning empire under his purview, Musk now presides over six companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, Neuralink, the Boring Co, and the recently unveiled xAI. Tesla, in particular, underscores its increasing focus on AI, robotics, and automation, inviting individuals to contribute to shaping the future of artificial intelligence through various products such as the “Tesla Bot” (nicknamed Optimus) and AI interface chips designed to power the automaker’s autonomous driving software.
Musk’s inclination to pool talent from his various ventures is well-documented, with Tesla and SpaceX already sharing a vice president of materials engineering. The xAI website clarifies that while it operates as a separate entity from X Corp, the parent company that incorporated Twitter earlier this year, it will maintain close collaborations with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other corporate entities.
Elon Musk’s foray into the AI realm through xAI injects an intriguing dynamic into the competitive landscape, particularly given his prior association with OpenAI and his lingering reservations about AI’s ramifications. The battle among AI platforms continues to intensify, and the impact of Musk’s xAI on the industry remains a captivating narrative that is yet to fully unfold.