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Musk launches artificial intelligence firm xAI

Elon Musk says the artificial intelligence startup xAI has been launched "to understand the true nature of the universe".

Elon Musk. Image AP

Elon Musk has launched his long-teased artificial intelligence startup xAI with a team of engineers from the very US technology firms he hopes to challenge in his bid to build an alternative to ChatGPT.

Musk has warned for months about AI's potential for "civilisational destruction," arguing that a race among companies such as Google and Microsoft to develop the technology should be halted to allow time for drafting regulation for the sector.

The reason for the launch of xAI is "to understand the true nature of the universe," said Musk, who also co-founded OpenAI but later left the startup credited with sparking the generative AI frenzy.

Dan Hendrycks, who serves as the director of the Center for AI Safety, a non-profit that aims to reduce the risks posed by the technology, will be an adviser to xAI.

The startup's team includes several former engineers and scientists from Alphabet-owned Google, Microsoft and OpenAI.

"We have worked on and led the development of some of the largest breakthroughs in the field including AlphaStar... GPT-3.5, and GPT-4," the startup said on its website.

The company, which is looking for experienced engineers and researchers to join its team as technical staff in the Bay Area, will hold a Twitter Spaces event on July 14.

Musk's startup will work closely with his other companies including Twitter and Tesla, according to the website.

Tesla shares showed little reaction to the news and were trading 1.5 per cent higher, a sign that investors were not worried the startup will be a potential distraction for Musk.

The billionaire in March registered a firm named X.AI Corp, incorporated in Nevada, according to a state filing. 

The firm lists Musk as the sole director and Jared Birchall, the managing director of Musk's family office, as a secretary.

The Financial Times reported in April that Musk had secured thousands of high-powered GPU processors from Nvidia for the project.


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