Elon Musk enters AI race with new firm

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi
Johannesburg, 13 Jul 2023

X Corp CEO Elon Musk yesterday launched his artificial intelligence (AI) company xAI, after months of saying he would build a rival for OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

According to the xAI website, the company is led by Musk and comprises former employees from US technology firms, such as OpenAI, Microsoft Research and Google Research.

“We have worked on and led the development of some of the largest breakthroughs in the field, including AlphaStar, AlphaCode, Inception, Minerva, GPT-3.5 and GPT-4,” says the team description on the xAI website.

Musk previously said the development of AI should be slowed down and that the sector needs regulation.

“I think I’ve been banging the drum on AI safety for a long time,” Musk said during a Twitter spaces event last night.

According to Reuters, in April, Musk teased plans for his new AI venture. "I'm going to start something which I call 'TruthGPT', or a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.”

In last night’s Twitter spaces event, Musk explained he plans to build a safer AI. Rather than programming morality into its AI, xAI will seek to create a "maximally curious" AI, he said.

"If it tried to understand the true nature of the universe, that's actually the best thing that I can come up with from an AI safety standpoint," Musk said. "I think it is going to be pro-humanity from the standpoint that humanity is just much more interesting than not-humanity."

Generative AI came into the spotlight with OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT in November, ahead of the launch of Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing AI.

Musk co-founded OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, in 2015, but stepped down from the board in 2018. His new AI firm will be separate from X Corp, but will work closely with X (Twitter) and Tesla.

“xAI is really just starting out here. It will be a while before it competes with the likes of Microsoft and Google,” concluded Musk.