On Wednesday, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk finally launched his highly anticipated artificial intelligence startup, xAI. The company’s team consists of engineers recruited from major U.S. technology firms, which Musk aims to rival as he strives to create an alternative to ChatGPT.
Musk, already renowned as the CEO of Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, as well as the CEO of SpaceX, a company focused on rocket launches, and the owner of Twitter, will personally lead the startup. He has been vocal about his belief that AI development should be temporarily halted and that the industry requires regulation, citing concerns about the potential “civilizational destruction” caused by AI.
Here are 7 things that you should know about xAI:
A “maximally curious” AI platform
During a Twitter Spaces event on Wednesday evening, Elon Musk shared his strategy for developing a safer artificial intelligence. He explained that xAI would not focus on explicitly programming morality into its AI systems. Instead, the company aims to create an AI that is “maximally curious.” By fostering a high level of curiosity in the AI, Musk believes it will naturally align its behavior with human values and reduce the potential risks associated with AI development.
“If it tried to understand the true nature of the universe, that’s actually the best thing that I can come up with from an AI safety standpoint. I think it is going to be pro-humanity from the standpoint that humanity is just much more interesting than not-humanity,” Musk said.
Meaning of xAI
According to NDTV, in the realm of technology, the term “xAI” is often used as an abbreviation for Explainable AI or Interpretable AI. This concept focuses on enabling humans to comprehend the rationale behind the decisions or predictions made by artificial intelligence systems.
To shed light on the company’s objectives and vision, the xAI team has organized a Twitter Spaces event, a virtual meeting, scheduled for July 14. During this session, they will address inquiries and provide insights into the company’s workings.
Timeline for superintelligence
Musk made a prediction that superintelligence, referring to artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence, would emerge within a span of five to six years.
xAI’s team comprises notable individuals with extensive experience in the tech industry. This includes Igor Babuschkin, formerly an engineer at Google’s DeepMind, Tony Wu, who has worked at Google, Christian Szegedy, a former research scientist at Google, and Greg Yang, who previously held a position at Microsoft.
Musk’s role in xAI
According to a state filing, Musk registered a company called X.AI Corp in March, incorporated in Nevada. Musk is listed as the sole director of the firm, and Jared Birchall, the managing director of Musk’s family office, serves as the secretary.
Dan Hendrycks, currently serving as the director of the Center for AI Safety, has been appointed as an advisor to the xAI team. Hendrycks specializes in assessing the risks associated with AI, making his expertise valuable to the team.
xAI is different from X Corp
Musk’s recently established company operates independently from X Corp but aims to maintain close collaborations with notable companies such as Twitter and Tesla, among others, as mentioned on the xAI website. The xAI has announced its plans to recruit skilled engineers and researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area to strengthen its team.
Details on investors
According to Time Magazine, xAI reportedly acquired 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) in March. These hardware components are essential for the development and operation of advanced AI systems.
Although xAI has not provided details about its financing, the Financial Times reported in April that Musk was exploring the possibility of securing funding from investors associated with SpaceX and Tesla, both of which are companies under his leadership.
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