Elon Musk wants to build AI to ‘understand the true nature of the universe’

Elon Musk, the not-so-nice CEO of Twitter, today announced the launch of a new organization, xAIto “understand the true nature of the universe”.

Ambitious? A little. So how does xAI plan to achieve this? More details will be announced during Twitter Spaces on Friday, apparently. But xAI’s splash page reveals that the team – currently 12 people – will be led by Musk and veterans of DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Tesla, and the University of Toronto.

The name of xAI is X Corp., the name assigned to Twitter since early April, along with the “X” label that Musk has applied to his vision of an “everything app.”

xAI will be mentored by Dan Hendrycks, director at the Center for AI Safety, an AI research nonprofit. And it will work with Twitter and one of Musk’s other companies, Tesla, to “make progress [its] mission ”- whatever that mission will be.

While Musk saves the juicy tidbits for Friday, the xAI roster provides some clues as to what the organization’s work may entail. Many of the founding members specialize in large language models such as GPT-4 OpenAI or have experience in techniques such as reinforcement learning, which teaches AI models to complete tasks by rewarding them for performing those tasks.

Announcing the formation of @xAI to understand reality

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 12, 2023

In an interview with Tucker Carlson in April, Musk said he wanted to build what he calls “TruthGPT,” a “maximum truth-seeking AI.” Chances are, the xAI effort will start from there, perhaps in the form of a text-generating AI that Musk says is more “honest” than it already is; Musk previously suggested that Twitter would use its own data to train technologies like ChatGPT.

Rumors about Musk starting an AI company have been circulating for some time, with a report earlier this year from Business Insider revealed that Musk has already purchased thousands of GPUs to power forthcoming generative AI products. The Financial Times reported something similar that Musk plans to create an AI company to compete with Microsoft-backed OpenAI, even reportedly seeking funding from investors SpaceX and Tesla to start the company.

Musk’s AI ambitions have grown since the billionaire parted ways with OpenAI founders Sam Altman and Ilya Sutskever several years ago. Launched as a non-profit organization in 2015, OpenAI received $1 billion in donations from Musk and others.

As OpenAI’s focus shifted from open source research to commercial projects, Musk became disillusioned – and competitive – with the companies on whose boards he sat. He recruited key employees from OpenAI to work on Autopilot, Tesla’s driver assistance technology. And he openly criticizes OpenAI, refer to it at one point as the “profit-maximizing demon of hell.”

Musk stepped down from the OpenAI board in 2018. And recently, he cut off the company’s access to Twitter data, arguing that OpenAI, which had a $2 million per year licensing agreement with Twitter established before Musk stepped up as CEO, was not enough. pay.

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