Elon Musk
Elon Musk launched his new AI company called XAI. Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk has announced a new AI company, called xAI. The 52-year-old business magnate announced the formation of the company, which aims at understanding the "true nature of the universe," via a tweet on July 12.

According to the official xAI website, Musk, and his team will answer questions during a Twitter Spaces chat on July 14. Regrettably, other details about the newly formed AI company are still few and far between. Nevertheless, the website mentions the names of the team members.

xAI website lists a newly-formed team

Interestingly, Musk's recently announced AI company is staffed entirely by men. However, this is likely to change in the coming days. Moreover, xAI team members are alumni of Tesla, Twitter, Microsoft Research, Google Research, DeepMind, and even OpenAI, which recently witnessed a decline in ChatGPT's website traffic for the first time since its launch.

It is also worth noting that the team members behind xAI have worked on a wide range of big projects such as DeepMind's AlphaCode and OpenAI's GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 chatbots. This is a significant sign that Musk is gearing up to go toe-to-toe with other AI companies like Anthropic, Google, and OpenAI, which are behind Claude, Bard, and ChatGPT, respectively.

The website lists Zihang Dai, Guodong Zhang, Greg Yang, Kyle Kosic, Ross Nordeen, Toby Pohlen, Jimmy Ba, Christian Szegedy, Yuhuai (Tony) Wu, Manuel Kroiss, and Igor Babuschkin as team members. To those unaware, Babuschkin got into trouble with Palo Alto police earlier this year.

A report by Insider claims Babuschkin was arrested in March after the Palo Alto police responded to a report involving domestic violence. Lieutenant Brian Philip of the Palo Alto Police Department told Insider that Babuschkin was released after he posted a bond.

The team listed on xAI's site also mentions Dan Hendrycks, who currently serves as the director of the Center for AI Safety. Hendrycks has previously highlighted the potential risks of AI systems in a recent paper.

According to the AI safety expert, AI technology can be used to spread disinformation. Some industry leaders have previously echoed the same sentiments, claiming AI could be leading humanity to its extinction.

What is xAI and what will the company do?

News of the startup was originally reported by the Financial Times back in April. At the time, Musk had reportedly secured a considerable number of GPU processors from Nvidia to power an LLM (large language model). During a taped interview on Fox News Channel, the Tesla CEO also divulged some key details about his plans for a new AI bot called TruthGPT.

Musk also admitted he fears that existing AI companies are training their systems to be "politically correct." In his letter, which was published in May, Hendrycks pointed out that the world should focus on reducing the risk of extinction from AI, alongside other societal-scale risks such as nuclear war and pandemics.

Much to Hendrycks' chagrin, the letter wasn't received well with some academics and ethicists claiming that placing too much focus on AI's future threats and growing power will distract people from real-life harms caused by some algorithms. Co-founder of xAI, Greg Yang says the start-up will delve into an important facet of AI, the "mathematics of deep learning,"

Aside from this, Yang suggests xAI will "develop the 'theory of everything' for large neural networks" to take AI "to the next level."

he top executive had previously changed the name of Twitter to X Corp. in some financial filings. However, xAI's website confirms it is not linked to X Corp. Nevertheless, Musk's new AI company will work closely with other companies including X (Twitter) and Tesla in a bid to achieve its mission. A report by The Wall Street Journal also indicates that X.AI Corp. was incorporated in Nevada in April.