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Elon Musk is preparing to launch a new artificial intelligence (AI) startup, X.AI, that will compete directly with OpenAI, according to a bombshell report published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday.
The story reveals that Musk incorporated X.AI in Nevada last month and has authorized the sale of 100 million shares for the privately held company. According to state filings, Musk is the sole director of the new company; Jared Birchall, a confidant and the director of Musk’s family office, is its secretary.
Earlier in the day, the Financial Times published its own story on Musk’s intent to start a new AI company. The story claimed that Musk has been assembling a team of AI researchers and engineers, with recruitment efforts extending to employees of leading AI companies such as Alphabet-owned DeepMind.
According to the Financial Times, Musk has talked to several investors in SpaceX and Tesla about backing his new AI startup. “A bunch of people are investing in it … it’s real and they are excited about it,” a person with direct knowledge of the discussions told the Financial Times.
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The name of the new company echoes Musk’s ambition to create an everything app called X, which he announced on Twitter last year. Musk recently changed Twitter’s name to X Corp and moved its incorporation from Delaware to Nevada. X Corp has a parent company named X Holdings Corp.
Musk’s new venture comes as he has expressed concerns about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and the need for regulation and oversight. Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 with a group of prominent tech entrepreneurs and researchers, with the goal of creating artificial intelligence that could benefit humanity without causing harm or being influenced by corporate or political agendas.
According to a recent Semafor report, Musk reportedly tried and failed to take over OpenAI in 2018. He then left OpenAI’s board citing a potential conflict of interest with his work at Tesla, which also develops AI technology for its self-driving cars. Musk has also criticized OpenAI for pursuing artificial general intelligence (AGI). This is the ability of machines to perform any intellectual task that humans can.
On Tuesday, Business Insider reported that the Tesla billionaire had purchased roughly 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for his new AI project. Tech companies typically use GPUs to handle the computational workload required by newer AI technology.
VentureBeat has reached out to OpenAI and Twitter for comment on Musk’s new AI company. We will update this story if and when we hear back.
Update 5:48 PT: OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman has issued a one-word statement in response to the Wall Street Journal report via his Twitter account: “Concerning.”
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