In December, Elon Musk got angry at the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and put his foot down.
He had learned of a relationship between OpenAI, the young company behind the popular chatbot ChatGPT, and Twitter, which he had bought in October for $44 billion. OpenAI had been licensed to Twitter’s data – a stream of every tweet – for about $2 million a year to help develop ChatGPT, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Mr. Musk felt that the artificial intelligence company was not paying Twitter enough.
Mr. Musk therefore cut off OpenAI’s access to Twitter data.
Since then, Mr. Musk has stepped up his own AI activities, while publicly denouncing the dangers of the technology. He is in talks with Jimmy Ba, a researcher and professor at the University of Toronto, to create a new AI company called X.AI, three people with knowledge of the matter have claimed. He hired high-level AI researchers from Google’s DeepMind at Twitter.
These actions are part of Mr. Musk’s long and complex history with AI, governed by his conflicting views on whether the technology will benefit humanity or destroy it. While he recently revived his AI projects, he also signed an open letter last month calling for a six-month pause in the development of the technology due to the “profound risks it poses to society.” “.
Although Mr. Musk opposes OpenAI and plans to compete with it, he was involved in establishing the AI Lab in 2015 as a nonprofit. He has since said he is disillusioned with OpenAI, which no longer operates as a nonprofit and develops technology that he says takes sides in political and social debates.
Mr. Musk’s approach to AI comes down to doing it yourself. The 51-year-old billionaire, who also runs electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, has long believed his own AI efforts offer better and safer solutions than those of competitors, people say who discussed these matters with him.
“He thinks AI is going to be a major turning point and if mishandled it will be disastrous,” said Anthony Aguirre, theoretical cosmology specialist at the University of California, Santa Cruz and founder of the Future of Life Institute. , the organization behind the open letter.
Mr. Musk and Mr. Ba, who is known for creating a popular algorithm used to train AI systems, did not respond to requests for comment. Their talks are continuing, the three people familiar with the matter said.
Hannah Wong, a spokesperson for OpenAI, said that although the company now generates profits for investors, it is still governed by a nonprofit organization and its profits are capped.
After ChatGPT launched in November, Musk became increasingly critical of OpenAI. “We don’t want it to be some kind of profit-maximizing demon from hell,” he said in an interview last week with recently fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Mr. Musk reiterated his complaints about the dangerousness of AI and accelerated his own efforts to develop it. At an event last month for Tesla investors, he called on regulators to shield the company from AI, even though his auto company has used AI systems to push the boundaries of technologies autonomous driving vehicles that have been involved in fatal accidents.
On the same day, Musk suggested in a tweet that Twitter would use its own data to train ChatGPT-like technology. Twitter has hired two researchers from DeepMind, two people with knowledge of the hiring said. The Information and Insider previously reported details of these hires and Twitter’s AI efforts.
During the interview with Mr. Carlson last week, Mr. Musk said that OpenAI is no longer used to check the power of tech giants.
Last month, Mr. Musk registered X.AI. The startup is incorporated in Nevada, according to the registration documents, which also mention that the directors of the company are Mr. Musk and his chief financial officer, Jared Birchall. These documents were published by the Wall Street Journal.
Experts who have discussed AI with Mr. Musk believe he is sincere in his concerns about the dangers of the technology, even if he is building it himself. Others believe that his position is influenced by other motivations, including his efforts to promote and profit from his businesses.
“He says the robots are going to kill us,” said Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington School of Law who has attended AI events alongside Mr. Musk. “A car built by his company has already killed someone. »