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Elon Musk's X.AI: The New AI Venture Set to Compete with OpenAI

Elon Musk's new AI venture, X.AI, is projected to rival OpenAI in the race to shape the future of artificial intelligence. As both companies pursue their unique visions, the AI landscape will be transformed by the ongoing debates surrounding ethics, transparency, and the balance between innovation and responsible development.
Updated April 17, 2023
Elon Musk and Sam Altman sitting on a stage at a panel discussion
Elon Musk and Sam Altman sitting on a stage at a panel discussion

Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur behind groundbreaking companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, has a well-earned reputation for pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation.

It comes as no surprise that he has set his sights on the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. Recent reports reveal that Musk has founded a new AI company called X.AI, poised to rival OpenAI—the organization he co-founded in 2015 but left in 2018.

With a history of driving technological advancements across various industries, Musk's launch into the AI market with X.AI promises to shake things up and potentially revolutionize the way we approach artificial intelligence.

So what's the reasoning behind X.AI's inception, its connections to Musk's other ventures, and the potential impact it could have on the rapidly evolving AI landscape?

The History of Elon with AI

Tesla, one of Elon Musk's most successful ventures, has long been using AI systems to advance and perfect autonomous driving capabilities. Before founding X.AI, Musk had already co-founded an artificial intelligence startup called OpenAI in 2015, alongside Sam Altman and other notable tech figures. This company is responsible for the much-discussed ChatGPT, which has garnered significant attention in recent years.

In 2018, Musk left OpenAI and discontinued his promised $1 billion in funding. His involvement in both OpenAI and Tesla's AI development for autonomy was seen as a conflict of interest, which may have contributed to his departure. However, Musk's tweets and other indicators suggest that the conflict of interest may not have been the sole reason for the split between him and OpenAI. It appears that differing visions and goals for the joint project could have played a significant role in their diverging paths.

Tesla has successfully lured away one of OpenAI's main developers, further highlighting the competition between the two entities. As OpenAI transitioned from a non-profit to a for-profit company, it's clear that the dynamics of the AI landscape are constantly shifting, and Musk's entry with X.AI is set to create even more waves.

Tons and Tons of GPUs

Just a few weeks ago, a new company was filed in Nevada under the name X.AI.

Although Musk has not publicly addressed the company, its name suggests a strong focus on artificial intelligence, positioning it as a potential direct rival to OpenAI's ChatGPT. Musk himself has tweeted about an "Everything App," adding more intrigue to the project.

Despite keeping quiet about his AI project, reports have surfaced about Musk's purchase of 10,000 units of GPUs for Twitter. These graphics processing units, originally designed for computer graphics, possess features that make them ideal for creating large language models.

Rumors suggest that Musk is assembling a team of international experts and engineers, including former DeepMind employee Igor Babuschkin, and has found investors from both Tesla and SpaceX.

The emergence of X.AI may come as a surprise to those who recall the letter signed by over 1,800 experts and engineers—including big names like Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak—demanding a six-month pause in AI research.

According to the letter, "human-competitive intelligence" poses threats to humanity, and the signatories advocate for more outside regulation and shared safety protocols. With this in mind, X.AI's direction and impact on the AI landscape will be closely watched.

Musk's Potential Vision for X AI

As X.AI enters the competitive AI landscape, speculation abounds about the company's potential areas of focus and its approach to artificial intelligence development. Sam Altman, Elon Musk's former colleague and a major pioneer in the field of AI, has a clear vision for AI: leveraging technology to free humans for greater creativity.

Altman advocates for a universal income to compensate for job loss due to AI and a global law structure to regulate AI development, reducing possible threats. However, his software remains inaccessible to the public, leaving many curious about the inner workings of this groundbreaking algorithm.

In contrast, X.AI is reportedly planning to adopt an open-source approach, meaning that everyone can contribute to and build upon the code. For many experts, this transparency provides a significant advantage. By allowing everyone to see and edit the code, individuals can better understand and detect potential threats, promoting a safer and more collaborative AI development environment.

With this open-source philosophy, X.AI could potentially influence the future of artificial intelligence by encouraging more collaboration and shared innovation among AI developers. The company's entry into the market will likely shape the competitive landscape as other organizations may follow suit or differentiate themselves to remain competitive.

As X.AI moves forward, it will be fascinating to see how its commitment to openness and transparency impacts the AI field and spurs further advances in the technology (unlike the closed development seen with OpenAI.)

Elon Musk on Biased AI

Building upon the potential directions for X.AI and its open-source philosophy, it's essential to consider another critical issue in AI development: bias.

As discussed fairly often, AI can inadvertently reproduce biases present in the data it is trained on or those that exist in the world around us.

OpenAI itself has acknowledged that ChatGPT is not entirely neutral, stating, "In some cases, ChatGPT currently refuses outputs that it shouldn't, and in some cases, it doesn't refuse when it should."

Musk has been vocal in his opposition to safeguards, which are features used by software like ChatGPT to prevent the dissemination of discriminatory, racist, or sexist comments. After purchasing Twitter, Musk has aimed to transform it into a free speech platform. As a staunch advocate of unrestricted free speech, he has criticized ChatGPT's algorithms as "woke," stating on Twitter, "The danger of training AI to be woke — in other words, lie — is deadly."

In the AI community, three categories have emerged:

  1. Woke AI: This type of AI aims to replicate the answers of its creator, with responses limited based on ethical considerations.
  2. Closed AI: These models do not open their code to the public, making them non-open-source. Open-source models can often accelerate development, as many people contribute to the project simultaneously.
  3. Based AI: Elon Musk's proposed solution is the development of "Based AI," which aims to create an AI that is not "woke" or safeguarded.

As X.AI moves forward, its approach to addressing the issue of biased AI and Musk's advocacy for Based AI will significantly impact the development and reception of its technology. Balancing openness and transparency with ethical considerations will be key to the company's success and influence on the AI landscape.

The rivalry between X.AI and OpenAI is set to shape the future of artificial intelligence as both companies compete to achieve their unique visions. With Elon Musk's entrance into the AI race, it remains to be seen which company will come out on top and what obstacles they will face along the way.

As the debate around AI ethics and transparency continues, the development of AI technologies will undoubtedly be a fascinating area to watch unfold. In the end, the success of these ventures will depend on their ability to balance innovation with ethical considerations, while fostering collaboration and openness in the rapidly evolving AI landscape. And how long do we have left until the government tries to get involved?

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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