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What is xAI? What does Elon Musk’s company do?

Key information about xAI its products and latest updates
Last Updated on November 3, 2023
what is xAI
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xAI is Elon Musk’s AI startup company, founded in 2023. So, what is xAI? xAI is set to be a direct challenger to OpenAI, the very company that Musk actually co-founded in 2015. Despite his departure from Open AI in 2018, he’s remained pretty vocal about artificial intelligence. Interestingly, he has actually become one of OpenAI’s biggest critics, often sharing his opinions on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Musk co-sponsored an open letter to call for a six-month break on the development of AI technology more powerful than GPT-4. And he also registered a company known as “x.AI” in April. This was a long-anticipated move, following rumors of the company being in the works and reports of Musk purchasing thousands of GPUs – the essential hardware for powering upcoming AI applications. In this piece, we’ll look at its mission, and what Musk wants to achieve with the company.

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What is xAI?

Although he has been critical of OpenAI and others’ approaches to AI, xAI is Musk’s vehicle to catch up to and compete with companies like the ChatGPT creator. That’s in addition to wanting to understand the “true nature of the universe” and to “understand reality”. It’s not been quite clear how the company will commercialize, since the xAI website offered few clues on any products or services at the time of the company’s Wednesday, 12th July, launch.

However, November 3rd, 2023 saw Musk confirm that xAI would release its first AI project to a ‘select group’. It’s possible this project is related to a product called ‘xAI-Meta’. This supports a Twitter Spaces audio chat on the 14th July, where Musk stated he was seeking to build a “good AGI”, and to become a competitor in creating Artificial General Intelligence.

The xAI team contained 12 members at launch, including Musk himself and members who have worked on GPT-3.5, GPT-4, Google Deepmind, and with Microsoft. Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, is listed as an adviser to the company, while Musk is appointed as the sole director of the company. Jared Birchall is the listed secretary.

What does xAI do? – Artificial General Intelligence

The Twitter Spaces chat on Friday, July 14th revealed that the main venture for xAI revolves around building an AGI model that is not only safe but can reveal insights about the universe. In the ever-evolving relationship between artificial intelligence and humanity, it seems xAI wants to be the first to generate a truly beyond-human “super-intelligence” that is non-threatening and safe. Musk has been vocal about his concerns over the safety of creating AI and chatbots, and previously signed an open letter that calls for a pause in giant AI experiments.

Despite this being an exciting albeit concerning technological development, the Twitter chat allowed Musk to share an overarching timeline of AGI becoming possible, with an end date of 2029. It is possible that xAI will use public Twitter data for the training of the system, but overall the AGI system will want to understand the physical world and not just human interactions. The company website has previously had text reading “Understand the universe” on its homepage.

With the prescribed deadline of 2029 in mind, it is unclear what we will see from the company, but with Musk at the head of the company, every update has the potential to reveal something interesting. Apart from also being owned by Musk, it’s not clear the relationship between xAI and TruthGPT, which itself was created to challenge Google Bard and Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing.

Twitter and Tesla potential partnerships

Although xAI will be separate from X Corp, the umbrella company of Twitter, Musk has claimed it will work closely with his other companies, Tesla and X (formerly Twitter). According to Musk, such a relationship would have a “mutual benefit”.

Where is xAI company headquarters?

There are very few details released about Elon Musk’s new AI company. Although, we do know that xAI was incorporated in Nevada on March 9th. Despite being formed in Nevada the company’s headquarters could be based anywhere.

Funmi joined PC Guide in November 2022, and was a driving force for the site's ChatGPT coverage. She has a wide knowledge of AI apps, gaming and consumer technology.