Elon Musk, who was involved in the creation of OpenAI (the developer of ChatGPT), has formed a new company to explore the frontiers of AI. He states the goal of the new enterprise is to “understand the true nature of the universe.”
Rumors have circulated for months that Musk was looking to build an alternative to ChatGPT. He has been a vocal critic of OpenAI since he left their board in 2018. He has been particularly concerned after it created a for-profit offshoot in 2019 that he feels is “controlled by Microsoft” who has invested over $13 billion in their development.
Musk announced the formation of his new company, xAI on Wednesday, July 12, and unveiled a new website for the project (x.ai).
Musk reportedly incorporated the company in Nevada in March. In April, the Financial Times reported Musk was holding discussions with various investors regarding helping to fund an AI startup and was acquiring thousands of processors from Nvidia for the new project.
Separate, but Collaborative
On xAI’s website, the company states it is a “separate company from X Corp,” the parent company that Musk merged Twitter into earlier this year, but will “work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies.”
The website says the new xAI team will be led by Musk and staffed by executives who have worked at a broad range of companies at the leading edge of artificial intelligence, including Google’s DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Tesla, and the University of Toronto. Collectively they have worked on projects including DeepMind’s AlphaCode and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots.
xAI will also being advised by Dan Hendrycks, the director of the Center for AI Safety, a group that has warned about what it sees as existential dangers of developing AI quickly.
According to Greg Yang, co-founder of xAI, the startup will delve into the “mathematics of deep learning,” a facet of AI, and “develop the ‘theory of everything’ for large neural networks” to take AI “to the next level.”
Despite his involvement in AI, Musk has often expressed deep reservations about the technology. In fact, he was among a group of researchers and tech industry leaders who called for developers to pause the training of powerful AI models this past March.
Musk, now oversees six companies: Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, Neuralink, the Boring Co., and the new xAI. It is believed the new xAI company will be headquartered in the San Francisco area.