Elon Musk unveils xAI, a new AI venture to rival OpenAI and Google


Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and the owner of Twitter, has launched a new artificial intelligence company, xAI, with an ambitious goal: to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

According to the company’s website, Musk and his team will share more information in a live Twitter Spaces chat on Friday. The team members behind xAI are alumni of DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Twitter and Tesla, and have worked on projects including DeepMind’s AlphaCode and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots.

Musk seems to be positioning xAI to compete with companies like OpenAI, Google and Anthropic, which are behind leading chatbots like ChatGPT, Bard and Claude. In an interview with Tucker Carlson in April, Musk said that he wanted to build what he referred to as “TruthGPT”, a “maximum-truth-seeking AI” that tries to understand the nature of the universe.

Musk has had a long and complex relationship with AI, expressing both awe and fear of its potential impact on humanity. He was an early backer of OpenAI in 2015, but left the company three years later over a disagreement. He has also repeatedly voiced concerns about AI’s potential for “civilisational destruction”, saying on several occasions that its development should be paused and that the sector needs regulation.

In a Twitter Spaces event on Wednesday evening, Musk explained his plan for building a safer AI. Rather than explicitly 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.”

He also predicted that superintelligence, or AI that is smarter than humans, will arrive in five or six years.

Musk reportedly incorporated xAI in Nevada in March. Previously, he had changed the name of Twitter to “X Corp.” in some financial filings, but on xAI’s website, the company notes its separation from X Corp., adding that it will “work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission.”

One of the AI startup’s advisors will be Dan Hendrycks, executive director of the Center for AI Safety, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that published a letter in May signed by tech leaders claiming that “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The letter received pushback from many academics and ethicists who believe that too much focus on AI’s growing power and its future threats distracts from real-life harms that some algorithms cause to marginalized communities right now, rather than in an unspecified future.

xAI is Musk’s latest venture in his quest to shape the future of technology and humanity. He has also been working on projects such as Neuralink, a brain-computer interface company; Starlink, a satellite internet service; and Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button