What is xAI? Elon Musk’s New AI Company Against OpenAI
xAI is an artificial intelligence company co-founded by the well-known tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
It currently consists of 12 team members: Elon Musk, Igor Babuschkin, Manuel Kroiss, Yuhuai (Tony) Wu, Christian Szegedy, Jimmy Ba, Toby Pohlen, Ross Nordeen, Kyle Kosic, Greg Yang, Guodong Zhang, and Zihang Dai. Dan Hendrycks is the advisor of xAI.
The company might become the main rival of ChatGPT, the viral AI-powered chatbot launched by OpenAI on November 30, 2022.
On July 12, well-known tech entrepreneur Elon Musk announced the launch of his new artificial intelligence company, xAI.
What is xAI?
In March this year, Musk registered xAI in Nevada. In April, the entrepreneur reportedly purchased thousands of Nvidia GPU processors, which are used to power large language models. The purchase hinted at his plans to formate an AI-focused company. On July 12, Musk announced the formation of xAI on his Twitter. According to the post, the company’s aim is to “understand the true nature of the universe.”
Notably, this is not the first artificial intelligence-focused company established by Musk. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI with its current CEO Sam Altman and Ilya Sutskever. However, in 2018, the entrepreneur left the OpenAI board as the position could conflict with that of Tesla, which was advancing in artificial intelligence at the time. Musk’s views were also not aligned with those of Altman. After he resigned from OpenAI, the entrepreneur called the company a “profit-maximizing demon from hell.”
Notably, Elon Musk, together with other investors, donated approximately $1 billion to OpenAI.
It’s important to note that xAI might become the main rival of ChatGPT, the viral AI-powered chatbot launched by OpenAI on November 30, 2022.
On July 12, Elon Musk shared a list of xAI’s 12 team members, including himself.
Musk is the co-founder of xAI. At the moment of writing, he is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Before launching xAI, the entrepreneur founded a tunnel construction company called the Boring Company and X Corp. He co-founded the neurotechnology company Neuralink, an online city guide software company Zip2, and OpenAI. In 1999, Musk co-founded the online bank X.com, which later merged with Continuity Inc. and was renamed PayPal. In 2002, tech giant eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.
Igor Babuschkin is a research engineer who works on artificial intelligence systems. Babuschkin worked at DeepMind from 2017 to 2020. His website, linked on his Twitter profile and most likely not updated, states that he currently works “at OpenAI in San Francisco.” Igor studied physics at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN before getting into deep learning.
Manuel Kroiss is a former software engineer at Google and DeepMind.
Yuhuai (Tony) Wu has previously worked at Google N2Formal. The engineer’s primary research interest is “building machines that can reason.” He has obtained a Postdoc from Stanford and a Ph.D. from U of Toronto.
Christian Szegedy is a deep learning and AI research scientist. He has previously worked at Google for over 12 years as a software engineer, senior research scientist, and staff research scientist. Szegedy obtained a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from The University of Bonn.
Jimmy Ba is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. He focuses on the development of efficient learning algorithms for deep neural networks. Ba’s long-term research goal is to address a computational question: “How can we build general problem-solving machines with human-like efficiency and adaptability?” Jimmy Ba obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. He studied under Geoffrey Hinton, known as “the godfather of AI.”
Toby Pohlen is a research engineer. He has worked at Google DeepMind for over six years. Pohlen obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Science from RWTH Aachen University.
Ross Nordeen used to work as a technical program manager at Elon Musk’s Tesla’s machine learning and supercomputing group.
Kyle Kosic is a full-stack site reliability engineer and data scientist with an extensive background in mathematics. He previously worked as a member of the technical staff at OpenAI and as a Machine Learning and DevOps software engineer at OnScale. Kosic obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Greg Yang is a mathematician that has previously worked as a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. He is currently developing a framework called “Tensor Programs” for understanding large neural networks. Yang obtained a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Harvard University.
“The mathematics of deep learning is profound, beautiful, and unreasonably effective. Developing the “theory of everything” for large neural networks will be central to taking AI to the next level. Conversely, this AI will enable everyone to understand our mathematical universe in ways unimaginable before,”wrote Greg Yang about xAI on his Twitter page.
Guodong Zhang is a Machine Learning and artificial intelligence researcher. He focuses on training, tuning, and aligning large language models. Zhang has previously worked as a researcher at DeepMind and Google Brain. He obtained a Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto.
Zihang Dai is a former research scientist at Google Brain. He obtained a Ph.D. from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
Dan Hendrycks is xAI’s advisor. He is the director of the Center for AI Safety and a Machine Learning researcher.
The lending page of xAI states that the company is separate from X Corp., the organization registered in March this year in Nevada. At the same time, xAI will reportedly work closely with Musk’s Tesla and X (former name – Twitter), which was consolidated into X Corp. in April this year. The consolidation happened after the entrepreneur acquired the social media platform for $44 billion in March 2023. X Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of X Holdings Corp., which belongs to Elon Musk.
According to the company’s official website, xAI will also partner with other organizations to “make progress toward its mission.”
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