Musk claims more trust can be put in his xAI than OpenAI and Google


Elon Musk claimed on Friday that his new artificial intelligence company, xAI, could be trusted more than OpenAI and Google to build safe AI systems when computers become smarter than humans.

However, discussing his AI plans on Twitter two days after launching the company, he did not shed light on how xAI’s work would differ from rivals that are years ahead or the kind of services it hoped to create.

xAI was launched this week with a mission to “understand the true nature of the universe”.

In a rambling, 90-minute discussion that drew more than 30,000 listeners on his social media site, Musk talked at length about whether aliens exist and why superintelligent machines might decide not to destroy humanity, but said of xAI’s work: “We’re just starting out here, this is really embryonic.”

xAI has joined a race to build machines with human-level intelligence, known as artificial general intelligence, or AGI. Earlier this year, Musk was one of the signatories to a letter calling for a six-month delay in the development of advanced AI to allow time for more focus on safety.

“I’ve really struggled with this AGI thing for a long time and I’ve been somewhat resistant to making it happen,” he said. “But it really seems that at this point it looks like AGI is going to happen so there’s two choices, either be a spectator or a participant. As a spectator, one can’t do much to influence the outcome.”

Musk said he first got involved in AI, as a founder of OpenAI, after deciding that Google co-founder Larry Page “just wasn’t at the time taking [AI safety] seriously enough”. He left OpenAI before it embarked on a series of breakthroughs in large language models that led to the launch of ChatGPT late last year.

The Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur said that OpenAI had become “voracious for profit” and that, as public companies, Google and Microsoft were subjected to “all these ESG [environmental, social and governance] mandates and stuff that push companies in questionable directions”.

“As a company that’s not publicly traded, xAI is not subject to market-based incentives, or the non market-based, ESG incentives,” Musk said. “We’re a little freer to operate.”

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