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Elon Musk Launches Artificial Intelligence Company xAI: What to Know

The company's goal is to "understand the true nature of the universe," but there's little info on what it'll actually do.

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Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read
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Twitter owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced a new artificial intelligence company, xAI. The launch comes after Musk earlier this year filed to incorporate an AI company amid reports he was planning to create a ChatGPT rival.

"Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality," Musk tweeted Wednesday. The xAI website adds that the company's goal is to "understand the true nature of the universe."

xAI has tweeted only once so far, to ask, "What are the most fundamental unanswered questions?" 

A team of 12 people, including Musk, was announced as working for xAI. All men, they have experience across OpenAI, DeepMind, Google Research, Microsoft Research and Tesla, xAI says. The company is also being advised by Dan Hendrycks, the director of the nonprofit Center for AI Safety

The xAI team will be hosting a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday, July 14, where its members might talk about what the company will actually do.

Since the arrival of OpenAI's ChatGPT in late 2022, major tech companies have released generative AI tools to the masses. OpenAI's GPT-4 launched in mid-March. It's the latest version of the large language model that powers the ChatGPT AI chatbot, which among other things is advanced enough to pass the bar exam. In February, Microsoft entered the AI chatbot realm with Bing, which makes use of ChatGPT, and rival Google eventually followed with AI Bard. Chinese giant Alibaba also unveiled a ChatGPT rival with both Chinese and English capabilities.

CNET has broken down ChatGPT as well as Bing and Google Bard to work out which is the most helpful.

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Watch this: Comparing Bing Chat, Bard Chat and ChatGPT

Despite announcing his own AI company, Musk was among more than 1,000 people in tech who signed an open letter in March urging labs to take at least a six-month pause in AI development due to "profound risks" to society from increasingly capable AI engines. In June, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, along with other scientists and notable figures, also signed a statement warning of the risks of AI. And Microsoft in May released a 40-page report saying AI regulation is needed to stay ahead of potential risks and bad actors.

Editors' note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.