Elon Musk has created an AI start-up to take on OpenAI

17 Apr 2023

Elon Musk at the SpaceX headquarters in October 2019. Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Listed as X.AI in state filings, the start-up is reportedly gathering interest from some SpaceX and Tesla investors Musk has been wooing.

Elon Musk has created a new company called X.AI to compete with OpenAI and join the generative AI race, according to reports.

According to a state filing, X.AI is incorporated in the US state of Nevada and currently has the Twitter-owner listed as the company’s director. Jared Birchall, Musk’s personal wealth manager, has been listed as its secretary.

Rumours of Musk jumping into Silicon Valley’s race to create the best generative AI system after the immense popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot have been circulating for a while now.

According to a Business Insider report last week, Musk recently bought 10,000 graphic processing units for use at one of Twitter’s two remaining data centres. A source told the outlet that the investment indicated Musk is “committed” to the effort because there is very little other reason why Twitter would spend so much on the tech if it didn’t plan to use it for AI.

The latest filing, first obtained by The Wall Street Journal, indicates that Musk incorporated the business on 9 March.

A similar Financial Times report also suggests Musk has been assembling a team of AI researchers and engineers and is in talks with SpaceX and Tesla investors to pump money into his latest venture. “A bunch of people are investing in it … it’s real and they are excited about it,” the outlet quoted a person saying.

This comes just a week after it was revealed Twitter Inc no longer exists because it has been merged into X Corp, another company owned by Elon Musk. The move is likely part of a broader plan to create an “everything app” in the style of China’s WeChat.

Musk’s plans come despite his recent decision to sign an open letter calling for a six-month pause on AI development out of safety concerns. The billionaire has also been an open critic of OpenAI, a company he invested in and co-founded in 2015 and left after disagreements with colleagues.

The billionaire also recently revealed 20 April as the final date for removing the blue tick from legacy verified accounts in a bid to promote uptake of Twitter Blue, a plan that hasn’t been going too well.

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Elon Musk at the SpaceX headquarters in October 2019. Image: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic