What is xAI, Elon Musk’s New Company?

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Engineer and billionaire Elon Musk has launched a new AI company called xAI. The company is composed of former employees from some of the most prominent artificial intelligence research organizations in the world, but what exactly is the new company? Here’s everything we know so far.

What is xAI?

xAI is a new AI company launched by Elon Musk with a mission to “understand the true nature of the universe.” Musk and others involved with the new venture have been cryptic about its purpose and goals so far, but from the name and the recent hype around artificial intelligence, it seems safe to assume it’ll be something in that space.

Musk incorporated xAI in Nevada in March this year and reportedly purchased “roughly 10,000 graphics processing units” — hardware that is required to develop and run state-of-the-art AI systems. The company has not said how it is financed, but it seems that Musk was at some point discussing getting funding from investors in SpaceX and Tesla.

What is X Corp, and is xAI the same thing as X Corp?

You may have heard of Twitter corporate’s recent rebrand to X Corp, which seems to follow along with the trend of many tech companies rebranding their corporate name while keeping the name of their products. Google started this in 2015 when it changed its name to Alphabet, and since then several major companies have followed suit. Facebook rebranded as Meta and Square rebranded as Block, just to name a few.

Many people have wondered whether the new xAI is part of the same company as X Corp. According to xAI’s official website, the company is a separate entity from X Corp but will be working closely with it, Elon Musk’s Tesla, and other companies “to make progress towards our mission.”

Who is working at xAI?

The company is composed of former employees from OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Tesla, Twitter and the University of Toronto.  Some of these researchers have been credited with major developments in the field of artificial intelligence, including “the Adam optimizer, Batch Normalization, Layer Normalization, and the discovery of adversarial examples”, according to xAI’s website.

Hasn’t Elon Musk said we should be careful about AI?

Elon Musk has been an outspoken voice of warning about the rapid development of powerful AI systems. Musk did not sign the Centre for AI Safety statement, but he did sign an open letter published in March by the Future of Life Institute which called on AI companies to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”

If that’s the case, why is Musk starting an AI company? Well, it seems that like it or not, artificial intelligence development is the direction the world is heading. For an engineer like Musk who’s very interested in how the future of tech will affect humanity, it might make sense to establish himself as a player in the AI industry so he can help guide it in a safe direction.