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Elon Musk launches xAI startup to, naturally, understand the universe

Billionaire Elon Musk is entering the world of AI – again – as he officially reveals his latest tech business venture,  xAI, which aims to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

Details on what exactly xAI will bring to the industry are unknown at this time. The official website is pretty vague, but we won’t have to wait long to learn more. The company is planning to hold a Twitter Spaces chat this Friday, July 14 where people can join and ask the team questions (hopefully, no one rage quits this time). 

However, there are several clues on the official website indicating the future product or service could be related to generative AI in some way. Looking at the website’s description, the team is stacked with former engineers from major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, as well as Tesla. The work of these experts has led to “some of the largest breakthroughs” and learning techniques in AI. This research has even led to the development of notable LLMs (large language models) like GPT-4.

Fighting misinformation

You may be wondering, “Why is Musk doing this?”

Well, it appears Elon Musk ultimately wants to make his own generative AI with a potentially large emphasis on safety. Since the ChatGPT launch back in November 2022, Musk has been a vocal critic of it and the developer, OpenAI, as well as other similar systems. It’s to the point where, back in late March 2023, Musk, alongside other tech figures, cosigned a letter asking all AI labs across the world to pause training AI models “for at least six months”. The letter urged developers to slow down and implement “safety protocols” to curb misinformation

It is true chatbots do sometimes generate false information. Developers of these systems are trying to figure out a way to combat hallucinations

And we believe that is what Elon Musk is getting at with xAI. He wants a chatbot that doesn’t falsify responses. Musk is even bringing in Dan Hendrycks, the director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization that recently published an open letter asking tech leaders to mitigate the “risk of extinction from AI.” Yes, they are talking about literal human extinction as if this is a Terminator movie.

Analysis: Who does this benefit?

What’s in all this for you? Honestly, we don’t know. Sure, you can argue Musk’s potential xAI chatbot could be better than ChatGPT or Google Bard because it has special technology to ensure it doesn’t lie. If this were in the hands of anyone else, we would sincerely believe that. But, under Musk’s reign, Twitter has, among other questionable actions, complied with government censorship demands and banned the ElonJet account for posting publicly available data. 

Is factual information really a major concern for the controversial CEO? Musk’s actions say otherwise. It’s questionable if such an AI chatbot will even provide truthful answers. Perhaps they’ll just be Elon Musk’s version of the truth.

Co-founder Greg Yang states the company aims to develop a “theory of everything” enabling “everyone to understand our mathematical universe.” So if you need help with your Philosophy 101 homework, you have the xAI chatbot. 

All jokes aside, it will be interesting to see what comes out of the Twitter Spaces chat on July 14. A generative AI that provides 100 percent accurate information is something the world needs right now. Misinformation is a major problem afflicting many aspects of the world. We just wonder if Elon Musk is the right person to develop it.

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