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Musk has frequently publicly criticized OpenAI, the highest-profile AI startup. Image Credit: REUTERS

California: Elon Musk has incorporated an entity called X.AI in the state of Nevada, potentially laying the groundwork for a startup that could pursue his artificial intelligence ambitions.

Musk and Jared Birchall, who operates Musk’s family office, incorporated X.AI in March, according to a Nevada state filing with the Secretary of State. The document doesn’t list the company’s purpose, and Musk didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the existence of the entity.

Musk has frequently publicly criticized OpenAI, the highest-profile AI startup. In February, tech news site the Information said that Musk had approached researchers about forming a new AI research lab to rival the ChatGPT and Dall-E creator. Igor Babuschkin, a former employee at Alphabet’s DeepMind, said that he and Musk had discussed putting together a team.

Musk’s superapp

The efforts could be part of Musk’s larger ambitions to create a superapp. The chief executive officer of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, has long talked about creating an “everything app” called X. He recently merged Twitter into a parent corporation called X Corp. He has said that the social network will be an “accelerant” for creating X.

On Friday, the Financial Times reported that Musk is holding discussions with Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies investors about helping fund an AI startup, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The billionaire has acquired thousands of processors from Nvidia Corp. for the new project, the paper said. That news helped boost shares of the chipmaker Friday, with the stock gaining as much as 1.6 per cent following a decline earlier in the session.

Despite his work around AI, Musk was among a group of researchers and tech industry leaders that last month called for developers to pause the training of powerful AI models.

He was also involved early on in the creation of OpenAI. Musk helped start the organization in 2015 and served as co-chair along with Sam Altman, the current CEO. At the time, OpenAI’s goal was to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.”

Musk left OpenAI’s board in 2018 and has since criticized the organization, which created a for-profit arm in 2019. He has expressed worry that it was “training AI to be woke” and said it was “effectively controlled by Microsoft.” Microsoft Corp. has invested $10 billion into OpenAI.

Altman, talking in a podcast about Musk’s concerns, called him a “jerk” while noting he believes Musk is “feeling very stressed about what the future’s going to look like for humanity.”