Elon Musk Pouring Cash into a New Twitter Generative AI Project: Report
Twitter CEO Elon Musk is investing heavily to develop generative AI technology at the social media platform, according to a report from Insider. Musk is pursuing the strategy despite being one of the most prominent signatories to an open letter calling for a months-long pause on generative AI training, which followed frequent criticisms of OpenAI, a company he once advised, and its ChatGPT generative AI chatbot.
Musk and Twitter haven’t made any official comment about generative AI plans, but there are several indications of long-term plans involving generative AI in the half-year since Musk took up Twitter’s reins. Twitter just bought around 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs), which are frequently employed to develop and train large language models. It’s an enormous amount of computing power and potentially huge cost, with a GPU from Nvidia designed for LLMs costing $10,000 each. They’re an essential ingredient for generative AI model development. Twitter certainly has plenty of data it could use to train a new LLM. OpenAI even used Twitter for that purpose until Musk blocked the company’s access to Twitter’s data in December. Another glaring sign is Twitter’s hiring of two former Alphabet DeepMind AI engineers last month. Those hardware purchases and hiring decisions are very suggestive, especially as they took place in the midst of significant staff reductions and repeated pushes by Musk to cut costs overall.
There are a few ways Twitter might apply generative AI technology to its platform. As with Google Bard and Microsoft Bing, a generative AI chatbot could help with searches on Twitter. It could also give Twitter a native service for turning written prompts into tweets. Composing social media posts is becoming a popular feature for companies with generative AI tools. The same goes for setting up advertising and marketing campaigns. Generative AI can assist or even take over synthesizing most of the text, images, and overall marketing campaign style. It can even help set the tone for TV commercials.
That Musk might soon join the throng announcing generative AI projects is somewhat amusing, considering his place in OpenAI’s history and his recent political engagement on the subject. He helped launch OpenAI and donated $100 million to the company when it was a non-profit. He left in 2018 and has since often voiced his disagreement with OpenAI’s shift to a for-profit model and decision to partner with Microsoft. However he envisions Twitter applying generative AI; the accelerating timetable casts a slightly different light on his signing a letter asking government regulators to issue a six-month pause on AI research. Hundreds of people, including celebrities and tech pioneers like Steve Wozniak, all signed the request. Whether he would have abided by such a ruling had the letter been taken seriously is debatable. Perhaps Twitter users will be able to ask the social medial platform’s own generative AI chatbot.