Elon Musk launches xAI, a new AI startup company to ‘understand the true nature of the universe’
Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO, today announced the launch of a new AI company called xAI with the goal of understanding the depths and the fundamental nature of the universe.
According to the xAI website, Musk and his team plan to share more information in a live Twitter Spaces chat scheduled for Friday. The news of the launch comes just a little over a week after Meta launched Threads, a clone that aims to compete with Musk-owned Twitter.
“The goal of xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe. You can meet the team and ask us questions during a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday, July 14th,” the company said in a statement on its website.
Musk also took to his social platform to announce the launch. “Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality,” he tweeted.
Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 12, 2023
According to the information on its website, the team members affiliated with xAI have impressive backgrounds, having previously worked at esteemed organizations such as DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, and Tesla. They have contributed to significant projects like DeepMind’s AlphaCode and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots. Musk seems to position xAI as a competitor to established companies like OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic, which have developed prominent chatbots like ChatGPT, Bard, and Claude.
In April, news about the startup surfaced in The Financial Times. The report also mentioned that Musk had acquired a substantial number of GPU processors from Nvidia to potentially power a large-scale language model. During a taped interview on Fox News Channel in the same month, Musk disclosed his plans for a new AI tool called “TruthGPT.” He expressed concerns that existing AI companies prioritize systems that are overly focused on being “politically correct.”
Dan Hendrycks, the executive director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, will serve as one of the advisors for the xAI startup. In May, the organization published a letter signed by prominent tech leaders, including Hendrycks, emphasizing the need for global prioritization of mitigating the risks associated with AI, similar to other large-scale societal risks like pandemics and nuclear war.
However, the letter faced criticism from some academics and ethicists who argue that excessive focus on the potential threats of AI in the future diverts attention from the present-day harms caused by certain algorithms, particularly to marginalized communities.
Greg Yang, co-founder of xAI, shared that the startup’s focus will revolve around exploring the mathematical aspects of deep learning, a crucial component of AI. Their aim is to develop a comprehensive understanding, referred to as the “theory of everything,” for large neural networks, ultimately propelling AI to new heights.
According to reports, Musk officially incorporated xAI in Nevada back in March. Previously, he had made financial filings referring to Twitter as “X Corp,” but xAI’s website clarifies that it operates independently from X Corp. The website also highlights that xAI will collaborate closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to advance their mission.