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Elon Musk doesn’t want AI to replace humanity, rather he argues that AI requires humanity to be actually interesting and useful.
During a 90-minute audio conference on Twitter Spaces, which was attended by more than 30,000 listeners today, the richest man in the world and leader of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter, described his goal for his new company – xAI. Musk quietly launched xAI in April with the aim of officially entering the AI market. With xAI, Musk has brought together an impressive array of experts (most of whom were present at the Twitter Spaces conference), with the audacious goal of “understanding the true nature of the universe”.
Understanding the universe as it turns out depends on a lot of AI.
“The overarching goal of xAI is to build a good AGI [artificial general intelligence] with the overriding purpose of just trying to understand the universe,” Musk said.
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Musk describes safe AI
The concept of AGI is one that some find frightening as a potential challenge to the superiority of the human species on this planet, or any other.
Musk has spent a lot of time explaining his perspective on what it takes to build what he calls a secure “super-intelligence.” It is an approach that relies on the survival of humanity, not its extinction.
“I think for a super intelligence humanity is much more interesting than not [having] humanity,” Musk said. “When you look at the different planets in our solar system, the moons and the asteroids, and really probably all of them combined, aren’t as interesting as humanity.”
Musk pointed out that he has spent many years thinking and worrying about the safety of AI and says he has been one of the loudest voices calling for regulatory oversight of AI. AI. He also said that in his view, security can be achieved with a process that allows the AI and the humans who regulate it to be maximally curious and seek out the truth.
Musk Tells the Origin Story of OpenAI as AI Security
Elon Musk was one of the original co-founders of OpenAI, something he’s always keen to bring up in any conversation about AI in recent months.
On his Twitter space, Musk shared that he was a close friend of Google co-founder Larry Page. After Google acquired DeepMind in 2014, Musk said he had several conversations with Page about AI security. These conversations, according to Musk, did not go well, with Musk having a very different perspective from Page. As a result, Musk said he realized he needed to have what he called a “counterweight” to Google and its influence on AI.
This counterweight was OpenAI. The original goal of OpenAI according to Musk was to be open source and non-profit.
“Now, because fate loves irony, OpenAI is closed source and frankly voracious for profit,” he said.
Musk’s hope is that xAI will not stray from its founding vision, which is to help humanity.
Known for overrunning deadlines, Musk says AGI is coming in 2029
Musk emphatically said that in his opinion, it’s clear that the AGI is going to happen — and soon.
As such, he realized he had two choices, to be a spectator or a participant. As a participant, he can influence the results and be a competitor.
“I think we can create a competitive alternative that is hopefully better than Google Deepmind, OpenAI or Microsoft,” Musk said.
While Musk didn’t elaborate on how xAI will be able to effectively compete against its rivals, he outlined a specific timeline in which he expects AGI to actually be a viable reality: approximately by 2029.
However, whenever Musk cites, it’s important to point out that he has repeatedly indicated timelines for other endeavors – including SpaceX landing humans on Mars and the launch of a Tesla robotaxi service for owners rent out their self-driving cars – which have not been fulfilled.
It is still early for x.AI and a lot of details are missing. Even with that lack of clarity, Musk said as the effort progresses, he’ll be open to feedback, which is a lesson he learned well with Twitter.
“As with everything, I think we’re very open to critical feedback and welcome it,” Musk said of his AI efforts. “In fact, one of the things I love about Twitter is that there are a lot of negative comments on Twitter, which is helpful for ego compression.”
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