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Elon Musk rejoins AI race

by Pieter Werner

Elon Musk has launched a new artificial intelligence (AI) start-up called X.AI, which will compete with OpenAI, the company he co-founded in 2015. According to Nevada business records, X.AI was incorporated on March 9th. Musk has assembled a team of AI researchers and engineers, and is reportedly in talks with investors in SpaceX and Tesla about putting money into the venture. 

The new company will allow Musk to take on OpenAI, which has raised a $1bn investment from Microsoft. Musk left the board three years after he co-founded OpenAI. Earlier Musk expressed concern about the threat posed by models such as GPT-4, which he believes could spew falsehoods and show political bias. X.AI is recruiting engineers from top AI labs, including DeepMind, where Musk has already hired Igor Babuschkin, a former employee, along with roughly half a dozen other engineers.

Musk’s new AI venture adds to his already diverse portfolio of responsibilities and investments, which includes running Tesla and Twitter, founding SpaceX, a $137bn rocket maker, Neuralink, a neurotechnology researcher, and The Boring Company, a tunnelling start-up. While X.AI is a separate entity from Musk’s other companies, it could use Twitter content as data to train its language model, and tap Tesla for computing resources. A Musk-backed generative AI venture would enter an increasingly crowded and well-financed market, with tech giants Microsoft, Google, and Amazon already competing with start-ups such as Anthropic, Adept, and StabilityAI,.

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