Elon Musk is reportedly launching his own artificial intelligence (AI) start-up after publicly voicing his concerns over the technology’s rapid development.
Nevada state business records show that Musk incorporated a company called X.AI on 9th March, 2023, for which he is the sole director. The billionaire Tesla founder and Twitter CEO’s actions appear to contradict his public stance of urging caution about AI’s potential harm to humanity – including the spread of misinformation, data privacy concerns and a dystopian transfer of power from humans to machines.
On 22 March, Musk joined hundreds of industry leaders in signing an open letter urging caution on the development of AI consumer products like Open AI’s ChaptGPT. The letter proposed a six-month pause on AI development and was co-signed by many high profile tech leaders including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as well executives from Google, Microsoft and Meta.
While other technology inflection points have caused similar controversy, those most familiar with the technology have been alarmed at the speed of generative AI’s development and adoption. For example, the smartphone revolution happened over a few years, whereas ChatGPT is said to be the fastest growing consumer app in history, with over 100 million monthly active users since its launch in November, 2023.
Musk was one of ChatGPT creator, OpenAI’s, co-founders when it started as a non-profit in 2015. He left the company’s board in 2018 and OpenAI subsequently pivoted to becoming a capped-profit company in 2020.
It was no surprise to anyone that Musk was one of the first people to call for a halt in the innovation of AI, given he has little financial investment at stake in the technology, says Mike Rhodes, founder and CEO of UK marketing agency ConsultMyApp.
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In contradiction to his statements around AI, Musk has just purchased thousands of GPU’s to embark on his own generative AI project at Twitter, says Rhodes. “A cynic might say he only wants to see it banned or its progress halted because it’s a cutting-edge technology that he’s missed the boat on and doesn’t want to see others cashing in on it until his generative AI project at Twitter has caught up,” adds Rhodes.
AI has enormous potential to change processes across all business sectors. In addition the sector is set to be enormously profitable. According to analyst GlobalData, the AI industry will be worth $93bn in 2023, up 12% from 2022.