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Elon Musk Embarking on New AI Start-Up

Elon Musk Embarking on New AI Start-Up

Sarah Hardacre
Elon Musk has indicated that he is preparing to enter the Generative AI market at scale. Sources close to the billionaire said that in addition to forming a new company and seeking funding, he is “assembling a team of artificial intelligence researchers and engineers.”

Musk incorporated X.AI in March and has been courting current Tesla and SpaceX investors, with many already on board. Although Musk is listed as the only director, X.AI would remain a separate entity from Musk’s other ventures.

In addition to sourcing a team of AI experts and recruiting engineers from top AI companies, including DeepMind, Musk is also purchasing thousands of graphics processing units (GPU) from Nvidia, the technology needed for the intensive tasks required in Generative AI.

It would seem Musk is looking to build a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT technologies. Musk was one of the co-founders of OpenAI in 2015 but left in 2018, citing his desire to focus on Tesla. In 2019, Musk also tweeted that he “didn’t agree with some of what OpenAI team wanted to do.”

Shortly after Musk’s departure, OpenAI became a for-profit company and raised over $1 billion in investment. The market for Generative AI remains highly competitive, with billions of dollars raised for start-ups such as Anthropic, Adept and StabilityAI.

The naming of X.AI follows Musk’s vision for an “everything app” under the “X” branding.

Musk has also folded Twitter into a company named X Corp, bringing his vision of creating a new kind of social media to the forefront.

This entry into the AI space seems at odds with Musk’s vocal support to temporarily halt large-scale AI experiments. Just weeks ago, Musk signed an open letter by the Future of Life Institute (FLI) asking for a six month pause in developing powerful AI technologies.

The letter cites the need to further study potential risks to society and “[make] today’s powerful, state-of-the-art systems more accurate, safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal.” The FLI letter has over 27,000 signatures online to date.

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