In April, Elon Musk informed right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson that he was starting a project to compete with ChatGPT and construct “a most truth-seeking AI that tries to grasp the character of the universe.”
As we speak, Musk unveiled that new synthetic intelligence enterprise. It’s referred to as xAI. The corporate’s spare touchdown web page repeats that objective of understanding the universe and lists 11 AI researchers—seemingly all males—who’ve made vital contributions to the sphere of AI lately and labored at corporations together with Google, DeepMind, and OpenAI.
The crew is an “all-star founding crew,” in line with Linxi “Jim” Fan, an AI researcher at Nvidia. “I’m actually impressed by the expertise density—learn too many papers by them to rely,” he writes in a LinkedIn post.
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One of many firm’s cofounders, Greg Wang, said in a tweet that xAI goals to take AI to the subsequent stage by creating a mathematical “‘idea of all the pieces’ for big neural networks,” the machine studying know-how that has dominated AI for the previous decade. “This AI will allow everybody to grasp our mathematical universe in methods unimaginable earlier than,” he wrote.
Like many different new AI projects, Musk’s is motivated by concern and maybe some FOMO over the fast rise of ChatGPT. He has talked of xAI as a response to the bot, which he has suggested has political biases, and criticized its creator, startup OpenAI, for being secretive and too cozy with its backer Microsoft.
Musk’s ailing feeling is probably compounded by the truth that he cofounded OpenAI in 2015, however three years later severed ties with what was then a nonprofit, after reportedly failing to take full management. (The corporate grew to become a for-profit enterprise in 2019.) And Musk has not too long ago joined these warning that AI may pose an existential threat to humanity and entrench the power of giants like Microsoft and Google.
Musk isn’t any stranger to creating daring bets, however what little has been revealed of xAI’s objectives sounds somewhat odd. ChatGPT and its rivals corresponding to Google’s Bard are constructed on deep studying, and OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has mentioned wholly new ideas are needed to push beyond existing systems. Researching the basics of the know-how may assist discover them.
However a lot of the current progress in AI has come from making present techniques larger and throwing extra compute energy and information at them. And the sweeping adjustments AI is predicted to ship in tech and different industries over the subsequent few years will come from deploying that mostly-mature know-how.
At this stage, xAI appears more likely to lack the cloud computing energy wanted to match OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google. And its comparatively small crew of AI researchers doesn’t look world-beating in comparison with the a whole lot that every of these established corporations can deploy on AI tasks. The one particular person concerned who has a historical past of engaged on AI dangers is xAI’s sole named advisor, Dan Hendrycks, who’s director of the nonprofit Middle for AI Security and coordinated a recent public statement from tech leaders about the existential threat AI may pose.
Though his supposedly giant-killing AI venture is beginning small, Musk does, in fact, have some vital assets to attract on. The brand new firm will work intently with Twitter and Tesla, in line with the xAI web site. Twitter’s information from conversations on the platform is properly suited to coaching massive language fashions like that behind ChatGPT, and Tesla now designs its own specialized AI chips and has vital expertise constructing massive computing clusters for AI, which might be used to spice up xAI’s cloud computing energy. Tesla can also be building a humanoid robot, a venture that might be helped by, and be useful to, xAI in future.
However maybe at this early stage, xAI’s reality-bending rhetoric is primarily about attracting expertise. AI experience has by no means been in larger demand. Probably the most urgent downside for a brand new entrant, even one backed by Musk’s repute and deep pockets, is to indicate it could actually entice the researchers wanted to ultimately grow to be aggressive.
The massive objectives Musk has set for himself—difficult present AI giants and defending humanity from dangerous AI—make his tiny new AI firm look even smaller. Many AI researchers who’re additionally involved concerning the trajectory of AI appear to view the issue as one which requires larger transparency and collaboration, relatively than a lone genius with a small band of all-stars.