Elon Musk eyes $1 billion investment for his new AI start-up xAI

X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk gestures during an in-conversation event with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on November 2, 2023, following the UK Artificia
X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk gestures during an in-conversation event with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on November 2, 2023, following the UK Artificia Copyright AFP
By Indrabati Lahiri
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Euronews Business looks at how Elon Musk is planning to raise $1 billion worth of equity for his new artificial intelligence start-up.

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Elon Musk’s latest artificial intelligence start-up, xAI, founded in July this year, is now trying to raise $1 billion (€0.9 billion) by selling shares of its business to outside investors as a means of raising capital.

It has already filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission - and out of this figure, $134.7 million has already been acquired, mostly by four investors.

The start-up is already embroiled in controversy, however, having been founded to counter Microsoft’s Bing AI and Google’s Bard, as well as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. xAI is currently being positioned as a “maximum truth-seeking AI”.

According to xAI’s website, it strives to “understand the true nature of the universe”, and as such is designed to be constantly curious, rather than having any inbuilt morality sensor or programming.

Musk has been attempting to draw more investors to xAI by promising them a 25% stake in the start-up. This could potentially be a tempting offer, especially at a time when competition in the AI sector becomes even fiercer, following ChatGPT’s roaring success.

The artificial intelligence start-up has recently launched its chatbot with a “rebellious streak” Grot, as an answer to ChatGPT, which premium subscribers on social media platform X will be able to access. However, it will also be made available as a separate app.

The chatbot is reported to be based on the science fiction novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”. With only two months’ training, it is speculated to already have real-time knowledge of the internet.

xAI’s team, comprising of 12 members, has a number of impressive alumni from the likes of Google, OpenAI. Twitter, Tesla and Microsoft, as well as AI researchers from Stanford University and the University of Toronto, amongst others.

Musk highlighted: “There were just some of the world’s best AI engineers and scientists that were willing to join a start-up but they were not willing to join a large, sort of relatively established company like Tesla. So I was like, ok well, better it’s a start-up that I run than they go work somewhere else. That’s kind of the genesis of xAI.”

Musk was also the former co-founder of OpenAI back in 2015, however, he left the company in 2018 and has recently called it out for switching from a non-profit organisation to a for profit one. 

He has also accused other big tech companies of being overly concerned with censorship. However, he has also warned that AI “could be one of the biggest threats to humanity”, having called for a 6-month break in huge AI experiments, along with several other tech leaders back in March.

Musk has also highlighted that the threat of human extinction from AI should be given the same degree of urgency as threats from nuclear wars or pandemics are. Furthermore, he estimates that we may potentially see AI becoming more intelligent than humans in a mere five or six years, which is far sooner than most other AI researchers expect.

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