In a bold move to join the race for generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur known for his roles at Tesla and Twitter, is developing plans to launch a new AI start-up, X.AI. The move positions Musk’s new venture as a competitor to ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, an organization he co-founded in 2015 before parting ways in 2018.
According to sources familiar with Musk’s plans, a team of AI researchers and engineers is being assembled to work on the project. The company, incorporated as X.AI on March 9, is registered in Nevada, with Musk serving as its sole director. Jared Birchall, the former Morgan Stanley banker who manages Musk’s wealth, is listed as the company’s secretary.
In addition to developing the AI venture, Musk has been in discussions with investors from SpaceX and Tesla regarding financial support for X.AI. “A bunch of people are investing in it…it’s real and they are excited about it,” said a person with direct knowledge of the talks.
For the new project, Musk has procured thousands of high-powered GPU processors from Nvidia, a crucial component for building a large language model. AI systems such as language models are capable of processing vast amounts of content to generate humanlike writing or realistic imagery—technology similar to that which powers ChatGPT.
The rapid development of X.AI is garnering attention in the AI community, particularly given Musk’s previous advocacy for a pause on the development of GPT-style models due to safety concerns. Musk’s foray into the generative AI market is the latest addition to his diverse portfolio, which includes leading Twitter and Tesla, founding SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company.
Musk’s decision to establish a rival AI company is seen as a response to the accelerated progress of OpenAI. He has recruited engineers from top AI labs, including DeepMind, and has hired Igor Babuschkin, a former DeepMind employee, among others. Musk’s relationship with OpenAI has been complicated, with clashes over AI safety and transparency leading to his departure from the organization in 2018.
The new venture, X.AI, will operate separately from Musk’s other companies, though there is potential for collaboration in areas such as using Twitter content to train language models and utilizing Tesla’s computing resources.