Elon Musk announced his new company xAI which he says has the goal to understand the true nature of the universe.
Jaap Arriens | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Elon Musk said Friday that his AI company, xAI, will debut its technology on Saturday.
“Tomorrow, xAI will release its first AI to a select group,” Musk posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “In some important respects, it is the best that currently exists.”
The AI startup, which Musk announced in July, seeks to “understand the true nature of the universe,” according to its website, and Musk seems to be setting it up to compete with companies like OpenAI, Google and Anthropic, which are behind leading chatbots like ChatGPT, Bard and Claude. In the spring, Musk reportedly secured thousands of high-powered GPU processors from Nvidia, the kind of chips necessary to build a large language model akin to tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard.
Team members behind xAI include alumni of DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Twitter and Tesla, who have worked on projects including DeepMind’s AlphaCode and OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots, according to LinkedIn profiles viewed by CNBC.
Musk shared details of his plans for a new AI tool called “TruthGPT” in April, during a taped interview on Fox News Channel, adding that he feared existing AI companies are prioritizing systems that are “politically correct.”
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.”
In August, xAI seemed to be hiring, according to posts on social media by multiple members of the company. That same month, xAI founding member Toby Pohlen posted an image of a blue-and-white logo on the platform, writing, “Getting everything ready for the first alpha testers.”
Musk incorporated xAI in Nevada in March, according to filings. Previously, he had changed the name of Twitter to “X Corp.” in some financial filings, but on xAI’s website, the company notes its separation from X Corp., adding that it will “work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission.”
The startup’s advisor is listed as Dan Hendrycks, executive director of the Center for AI Safety, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that published a letter in May signed by tech leaders claiming that “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
The letter received pushback from many in the tech community, including academics and ethicists, who believe that too much focus on AI’s threats in an unspecified future distracts from the real-life harms that algorithms cause to marginalized communities right now.
A spokesperson for xAI was not immediately available to comment.