(NEW YORK) — Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk launched an artificial intelligence company called xAI on Wednesday, vowing to develop a generative AI program that competes with established offerings like ChatGPT.
The company employs some engineers who formerly worked for major companies in the field like Google and OpenAI, the xAI website said.
Musk, who has previously criticized the pace and ambitions of recent developments in AI, said in a Twitter Spaces on Wednesday that he entered the industry reluctantly.
“If I could press pause on advanced AI digital super-intelligence, I would. But it doesn’t seem like that is realistic,” Musk said, adding that he expects xAI to be safer than its competitors because it will be “maximally curious, maximally truth-seeking.”
XAI, according to its website, aims to “understand the true nature of the universe.”
In April, Musk announced plans to create an AI-driven conversation tool called “TruthGPT” after criticizing the popular AI text bot ChatGPT for being “politically correct.”
“There’s certainly a path to AI dystopia, which is to train AI to be deceptive,” Musk, the CEO of Tesla and owner of Twitter, cautioned in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Musk, who co-founded OpenAI but left the organization in 2018, accused OpenAI of “training AI to be woke” in a tweet in December.
ChatGPT, as well as similar programs like Google’s Bard, are AI-driven programs that speak back and forth with human users on a wide range of subjects.
Deploying a machine-learning algorithm, the chatbot scans text across the internet and develops a statistical model that allows it to string words together in response to a given prompt.
The technology has stoked controversy over its potential to spread misinformation and hate speech, as well as efforts taken by some designers to moderate responses in order to limit such outcomes.
In March, Musk signed onto an open letter with some other industry leaders raising concerns about the potential negative impact of AI and calling for a six-month pause in development of the technology.
XAI adds a new company to Musk’s portfolio roughly one month after he officially stepped down as Twitter CEO. He retained a prominent role in the company as its executive chairman and chief technology officer.
The AI startup will “work closely” with Tesla and Twitter but remain separate, according to the new company’s website.
Musk acknowledged that the new company remains in its infancy.
“XAI is just starting out here,” he said, adding that he expects it “to be a while” before the company’s offering reaches a scale on par with products from OpenAI or Google.
AI, he added, poses significant questions and dangers for humanity.
“It’s something that’s sort of hard for us to even comprehend,” he said.
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