Elon Musk unveils xAI, his new artificial intelligence startup

Elon Musk is finally starting to talk about the artificial intelligence company he founded to compete with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

The startup, xAI, formally launched on Wednesday and its goal “is to understand the true nature of the universe”. It has not said much more than that.

Led by Mr Musk, the billionaire chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX who also owns Twitter, the new startup centred in the San Francisco Bay Area has hired a group of top AI researchers who formerly worked at OpenAI, Google, Microsoft and Tesla.

It will be independent from Twitter’s new parent company, X Corp, but will work closely with that company, as well as Tesla, “to make progress towards our mission”, according to a statement.

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The startup reflects Mr Musk’s long-voiced concerns about a future in which AI systems could present an existential risk to humanity(Michel Euler/AP, Pool, File)

Mr Musk was a co-founder and early funder of OpenAI, who parted ways with the San Francisco-based research lab several years ago.

He has grown increasingly critical of OpenAI as it has gained global prominence and commercial success with last year’s release of ChatGPT and solidified its financial ties to Microsoft.

The public unveiling of xAI follows comments Mr Musk made about it in April to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Mr Musk told Carlson that OpenAI’s popular chatbot had a liberal bias and that he planned an alternative that would be a “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe”.

The startup reflected Mr Musk’s long-voiced concerns about a future in which AI systems could present an existential risk to humanity.

The idea, Mr Musk told Mr Carlson, is that an AI that wants to understand humanity is less likely to destroy it.

Mr Musk was one of the tech leaders who earlier this year called for AI developers to agree to a six-month pause before building systems more powerful than OpenAI’s latest model, GPT-4.

Around the same time, he had already been working to start his own AI company, according to Nevada business records.

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