The announcement comes weeks after Musk called for an immediate halt to AI development.
Elon Musk has announced he is working on his own alternative to ChatGPT, the popular chatbot developed by OpenAI which he claimed is being trained “to be politically correct”.
Musk was an early investor in OpenAI, but since leaving the company he has repeatedly raised the alarm about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI).
Last month he was one of the key signatories of a letter calling for an immediate halt to the development of “giant AI experiments”.
Despite this call for a pause, the billionaire owner of Twitter told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday that he is developing his answer to ChatGPT, which he is calling “TruthGPT”.
Musk said his AI would be a “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe”.
The idea is that an AI that wants to understand humanity is less likely to destroy it, he explained.
AI ‘more dangerous’ than cars or rockets
During the first of a two-part interview with Fox News, Musk advocated for the regulation of AI, saying he's a “big fan”. However, he called AI “more dangerous” than cars or rockets and said it has the potential to destroy humanity.
Separately, Musk has incorporated a new business called X.AI Corp, according to a Nevada business filing. The website of the Nevada Secretary of State’s office says the business was formed on March 9 and lists Musk as its director and his longtime adviser, Jared Birchall, as secretary.
Musk has for many years expressed strong opinions about AI and has dismissed other tech leaders, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, for having what he has described as a “limited” understanding of the field.
As well as being an early investor in OpenAI, Musk co-chaired its board upon its 2015 founding as a non-profit AI research lab.
He resigned from the board in early 2018 in a move that the San Francisco start-up tied to Tesla’s work on building automated driving systems.
“As Tesla continues to become more focused on AI, this will eliminate a potential future conflict for Elon,” OpenAI said in a February 2018 blog post.
“I came up with the name and the concept,” Musk told Carlson, lamenting that OpenAI is now closely allied with Microsoft and is no longer a non-profit.
Parting on good terms
Musk elaborated on his departure in 2019, saying it was also related to his need to focus on engineering problems at Tesla and some differences of opinion with OpenAI’s leaders. It was “just better to part ways on good terms," he said.
But there have been questions surrounding the quality of Tesla's AI systems. US safety regulators last month announced an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla suspected of using an automated driving system when it ran into a parked fire truck in California.
The fire truck probe is part of a larger investigation by the agency into multiple instances of Teslas using the automaker’s Autopilot system crashing into parked emergency vehicles that are tending to other crashes.
In the year after Musk resigned from the board, OpenAI was still far away from working on ChatGPT but publicly unveiled the first generation of its GPT system, on which ChatGPT is founded, and began a major shift to incorporate itself as a for-profit business.
By 2020, Musk was tweeting that “OpenAI should be more open” while noting that he had “no control & only very limited insight” into it.
Musk has repeatedly highlighted examples that he says show left-wing bias or censorship. Like other chatbots, ChatGPT has filters that try to prevent it from spewing out toxic or offensive answers.