Elon Musk Launches Generative AI Initiative X.AI
Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s mysterious generative AI investment has led to his founding a new company called X.AI, as first spotted by The Wall Street Journal. Musk incorporated X.AI in Nevada last month as director to pursue generative AI technology, likely for Twitter as X.AI would match X, the official new name he gave Twitter upon his takeover.
So far, X.AI consists of Musk and, as secretary, Jared Birchall, who has multiple roles in Musk’s businesses including CEO of chip-implant developer Neuralink, and managing director of Musk’s family office Excession. It appears former Google Deepmind and OpenAI engineer Igor Babuschkin is heading up X.AI with fellow former Deepmind engineer Manuel Kroiss. Musk hasn’t officially commented on X.AI yet, though the company has approved a sale of 100 million shares and is supposedly looking for investors.
The incorporation fits with the other indicators that Musk is pursuing generative AI for Twitter, including the purchase of around 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for large language model training. GPUs are both crucial and expensive, priced at $10,000 each from Nvidia. With Twitter’s data, training at least might be smoother. That’s one reason OpenAI used Twitter for training its AI models until Musk blocked the company’s access to Twitter’s data in December. Generative AI could boost Twitter’s search and content creation offerings, especially as writing social media posts has seen rapid adoption among other generative AI providers, as well as for advertising and marketing. Twitter might use its generative AI to synthesize text and images to fit a brand and with what the AI’s analytics point to as successful campaign strategies.
Musk’s pursuit of generative AI stands as a striking contrast to his setup and signing of an open letter calling for a months-long pause on generative AI training. Hundreds of people, including celebrities and tech pioneers like Steve Wozniak all signed the request. He’s also frequently criticized OpenAI and its ChatGPT generative AI chatbot, despite his history as a founder of OpenAI who donated $100 million to the company when it was a non-profit. He left in 2018 and has been outspoken against its change to a for-profit model and its decision to partner with Microsoft.