Elon Musk’s long-teased artificial intelligence company will release its first product on Saturday, the billionaire announced on Friday, while offering few details on what the model will do—as companies compete for a slice of the growing market and tech leaders set out their visions for AI and the future of the transformative technology.
xAI will release its first AI model to a “select group” of people on Saturday, Musk said in a post on X.
Musk did not say who would have access to the model first or what the model would do—an AI model is a broad term for an algorithm that has been trained on a set of data to perform a particular task.
In “some important respects,” xAI’s model is “the best that currently exists,” Musk said, without elaborating.
Musk announced the launch of xAI in July with a goal “to understand the true nature of the universe.”
The company’s 12-strong team is headed up by Musk and includes top researchers hired from high-profile AI labs like Google DeepMind, OpenAI and Microsoft.
Musk has said he wants to build a company to rival industry leaders like DeepMind and OpenAI and is working on an alternative to ChatGPT (jokingly dubbed “TruthGPT”).
Musk has had a longstanding interest in AI and been outspoken about the need to manage the risks posed by the emerging technology for years. He was a cofounder and early backer of ChatGPT creator OpenAI when the startup launched in 2015 and claims, though not without contest, that he is the reason the company exists today. Musk stepped away from the company in 2018, allegedly after a failed takeover attempt, and has publicly criticized it for prioritizing profits over safety since. Musk is one of many high profile tech leaders to urge caution over the potential risks AI poses to humanity, which have gained renewed momentum following the stellar success of ChatGPT and the glut of companies rushing to claim ground in the sector. Reports suggest Musk is keen to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI), a form of intelligence that describes the kind of broad capacities for learning and doing that humans have, rather than the more restricted kinds of intelligence powering things that excel at specific tasks like a chess-playing program or facial recognition algorithm. On its website, xAI said it is separate from X Corp—the company Musk legally changed Twitter’s name to earlier this year—but will “work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission.”
Musk was one of the higher profile names adding star power to Britain’s hyped AI safety summit this week. The summit, billed as a legacy-defining event for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ahead of his party’s expected annihilation at the next general election, scored an international declaration from government, society and tech industry leaders to recognize the needs to address the risks of AI development. In another diplomatic victory, the conference will continue next year with France as host.
During a Q&A session with Sunak hosted on X after the summit had finished, Musk said AI will be the “most disruptive force in history,” though concluded it will ultimately “be a force for good.” Musk said the technology will eliminate the need to work—”you can have a job if you want a job,” though—but warned it should have an “off switch” as a safeguard in case things go wrong and the AI is “not so friendly after all.”
$229.9 billion. That’s how much Forbes estimates Musk is worth. He is the richest person in the world by a substantial margin, leading second place French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault by around $45 billion. xAI is one of several companies Musk leads, a group that includes electric carmaker Tesla, aeronautics firm SpaceX, aspirant everything app X (formerly social media platform Twitter), brain implant company Neuralink and tunneling enterprise Boring Company.
Elon Musk Will Attend Landmark AI Safety Summit Tomorrow—Here’s Who Else Is Going And What To Know (Forbes)
Elon Musk claims he’s the reason ChatGPT-owner OpenAI exists (CNBC)