Elon Musk, along with top scientists and researchers from leading AI companies such as DeepMind and OpenAI, have created xAI – a new company whose sole driven purpose will be “to understand the true nature of the universe.”
The team of industry heavyweights broke the news Wednesday on the front page of its brand new xAI website, lighting up the Twitterverse, which ironically experienced an outage around the same time as the announcement.
Still, news travels fast.
“The goal of xAI is to understand the true nature of the universe,” xAI led with in its brief announcement.
xAI is planning to hold a live Q&A “during a Twitter Spaces chat on Friday, July 14th” to introduce the team and answer questions about the new venture.
Folks can tune into the chat on @xai – the company’s official Twitter handle – which as of today, shows only two tweets since it joined sometime in May.
The first is a retweet of Musk about the xAI announcement and its mission "to understand reality."
The second tweet simply asks followers, "What are the most fundamental unanswered questions?"
xAI team heavyweights
The xAI website introduction also made sure to note that xAI is a separate company from Musk’s X Corp “but will work closely with X (Twitter), Tesla, and other companies to make progress towards our mission.”
Although xAI’s Twitter profile gained over 150K followers by mid-afternoon Wednesday, the only twelve accounts it follows are made up of the xAI team, including Musk, who was listed as its first follower.
“We have previously worked at DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Tesla, and the University of Toronto,” xAI states on its website.
The twelve notable team members, all from the AI and deep machine learning fields, include:
- Igor Babuschkin, mathematician and AI researcher at DeepMind;
- Manuel Kroiss, DeepAI distributed machine learning researcher;
- Yuhuai (Tony) Wu, former Google, DeepMind OpenAi and Stanford U researcher
- Jimmy Ba, computer scientist and Professor at the University of Toronto; and
- Christian Szegedy, AI and deep learning Staff Research Scientist at Google.
Also part of the xAI crew is team advisor Dan Hendrycks, who currently serves as the director of the Center for AI Safety (CAIS).
If you remember, the Center for AI Safety released a public warning declaring the unchecked development of AI presents a risk to human civilization that must be addressed now.
The June warning, which compared the threat to the scale of nuclear war, was signed by hundreds of the top AI scientists and tech leaders around the world.
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, and Google’s former Geoffrey Hinton, the known “Godfather of AI,” also signed the CAIS declaration.
One can assume Musk and his gang of artificial intelligence experts formed xAI with these threats to humanity in mind.
The public, no doubt, will welcome such a missive. In May, an online survey by the Future of Life Institute (FLI) showed 61% of Americans also believe that AI poses risks to humanity.
Moreover, the tech billionaire had publicly advocated, as the signatory of an open letter sponsored by the Institute, requesting the industry take a six-month pause on AI development alongside Apple’s Steve Wozniak in March.
As with the CAIS warning, the FLI open letter was also signed by hundreds of other tech execs, researchers, and think tanks in the AI community.
Powerhouse of Innovation
In its announcement, xAI boasted of the plethora of achievements and contributions made by the team of industry pioneers, mentioning widely used methods such as the Adam optimizer, Batch and Layer normalization, as well as the discovery of adversarial examples.
Innovative deep learning techniques and analysis the team has introduced to the world of AI include “Transformer-XL, Autoformalization, the Memorizing Transformer, Batch Size Scaling, and μTransfer,” xAi stated.
The new company also mentioned the team members leading the development of some of the largest breakthroughs in the AI field, citing AlphaStar, AlphaCode, Inception, Minerva, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4.
Additionally, xAI said they are "actively recruiting experienced engineers and researchers to join our team as members of our technical staff in the Bay Area."
Cybernews plans to attend the online xAI Twitter chat this coming Friday and will report back to its readers.
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