xAI: Merging Minds for Innovation, Elon Musk’s AI Venture
Elon Musk, the billionaire, announced on Wednesday the launch of xAI, a new artificial intelligence company that includes experts from Google, OpenAI, and other popular technological companies. Musk stated that the objective is “to understand reality.”
According to the new company’s website, xAI is separate from Musk’s other businesses, such as Tesla and Twitter, but will collaborate closely with them.
Musk is no stranger to AI, since Tesla employs the technology in its automobiles. While xAI did not reveal what projects it will be working on, it did mention that its team of 11 researchers comes from major tech organizations such as Microsoft Research, DeepMind, OpenAI, and Google.
Musk indicated that the date July 12, 2023, was chosen in reference to a science fiction classic, Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He remarked in his tweet that combining the dates 7-12-23 equals 42, which the novel famously claims is the solution to life.
“The goal of xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe,” according to the xAI website.
Dan Hendrycks, head of the Center for AI Safety, has advised the firm. In May, his organization warned that AI might pose a “risk of extinction” to humans on par with nuclear war or pandemics.
Hendrycks identified areas where AI may go awry in an email to CBS News.
“AIs could be used by malicious actors to design novel bioweapons that are more lethal than natural pandemics,” Hendrycks warned in May. “Alternatively, malicious actors may purposefully release rogue AI that actively seeks to harm humanity.” If such an AI proved clever or competent enough, it may constitute a substantial threat to civilization.”
The public debut of xAI comes after Musk made statements about it to then-Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson in April. Musk told Carlson that OpenAI’s popular chatbot had a liberal bent and that he was working on a “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.”
Musk’s long-stated fears about AI systems being an existential threat to humans were mirrored in the startup.
Musk also explained to Carlson that an AI that wants to understand mankind is less likely to kill us. Musk was among the industry executives who advocated earlier this year for AI developers to agree to a six-month hiatus before developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s current model, GPT-4. According to Nevada business documents, he was already working on establishing his own AI company about the same time.