Elon Musk launches his own xAI biz 'to understand reality'

Hyperbole, scant information, ambition: Yep, it's an EM venture

Elon Musk is founding of his own AI company with some lofty ambitions. According to the billionaire, his xAI venture is being formed "to understand reality." 

Those hoping to get a better explanation than Musk's brief tweet by visiting xAI's website won't find much to help them understand what the company actually plans to do there, either. 

"The goal of xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe," xAI said of itself, adding more would be explained in a Twitter Spaces chat to be held Friday, July 14. 

Illustration of someone's face, close up on their eye, in a newsprint dot fashion

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We've known Musk had his own ambitions for an AI platform for some time; and don't forget he helped found OpenAI, which is now injecting its chat-bot tech into various corners.

The earliest indications that the Twitter CEO was planning to take his AI ball and go home to build his own version of OpenAI's large language model technology came in March when news came out His Muskiness was seeking developers for the project.

It was at that point that Deepmind and OpenAI engineer Igor Babuschkin was rumored to have joined the project, a fact that was confirmed by Babuschkin's name on xAI's site listing him right after Elon Musk. 

Musk has been looking into build his own "anti-woke" chatbot that wouldn't, to his mind, be biased in favor of the political left. Babuschkin previously told The Information that Musk was less focused on removing restrictions from AI chatbots and more driven to improve their reasoning and penchant to fabricate the truth. 

The Financial Times reported in April that Musk had incorporated a company called xAI, per Nevada business records, which showed the serial CEO as the company's only director. Musk's personal money manager, Jared Birchall, is listed as secretary for the firm.

The FT said sources with knowledge of the move were aware that Musk had bought up "thousands of high-powered GPU processors from Nvidia," common components in the construction and operation of other large language model AIs, around the same timeframe. 

Along with employing Musk, Birchall, Babuschkin and their roles, xAI employees listed on the fledgling company's website have worked for companies including Google and Microsoft research, Tesla and as academics at the University of Toronto. Names listed include Tony Wu, Christian Szegedy and Toby Pohlen, and others, each with several years of experience in AI and roles at various, often overlapping, companies. 

Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, is listed as an advisor for the team. We reached out to Hendrycks and CAIS to see if they could share more details about xAI, but didn't immediately hear back.

Until then, expect hyperbole to be the rule of the day. "What are the most fundamental unanswered questions?" That's what xAI tweeted in its first public statement. ®

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