Elon Musk is rumored to be starting a new AI startup to compete with OpenAI after he left the organization, which he co-founded, supposedly because of a conflict of interest with Tesla’s own artificial intelligence effort.
Now it sounds like he is funding a startup that could compete with Tesla, based on his latest comments.
OpenAI, an AI company now famous for its ChatGPT chatbot based on large language models, was originally co-founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk as a non-profit.
In 2018, Musk left OpenAI’s board and cited a potential conflict with Tesla’s own AI effort as the reason for severing ties with the company at the time. The main issue seems to be a competition for AI talent between OpenAI and Tesla – though Musk has since said that he also disagreed with OpenAI’s direction on AI safety and moving from a non-profit organization to a for-profit.
Since then, Tesla has doubled down its efforts to build AI products – primarily to power its self-driving program but also through its Tesla Bot humanoid robot.
Musk actually went so far as to claim that Tesla has the strongest AI team in the world, saying he believes the company would “play a role in developing artificial general intelligence (AGI).”
That’s why it’s confusing that we now learn that Musk is starting a new AI company.
Financial Times reports:
Elon Musk is developing plans to launch a new artificial intelligence start-up to compete with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, as the billionaire seeks to join Silicon Valley’s race to build generative AI systems.
According to the report, Musk has already poached engineers and researchers from other organizations and bought thousands of Nvidia GPUs to start the company.
He is also reportedly seeking investors and talking to his usual backers behind Tesla and SpaceX:
Musk is also in discussions with a number of investors in SpaceX and Tesla about putting money into his new venture, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks. “A bunch of people are investing in it . . . it’s real and they are excited about it,” the person said.
The structure of the new AI company is not clear, but it appears to be a standalone company not directly affiliated with Musk’s other ventures.
The Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter CEO also recently moved the social media platform under his ‘X’ holding company, which some speculate could expand to other ventures soon.
I think this is something Tesla investors, especially those who started to account for Tesla’s own AI effort in their valuation models, should keep a close eye on.
If the main reason Musk left OpenAI is that it had a conflict of interest with Tesla’s AI efforts, what changed to make this new AI company not be a conflict?
Based on Musk’s comments on Tesla’s AI team and AI programs lately, I think it would make sense for this company to be under Tesla, but it doesn’t look like it at this point.
Well, Musk is hard to follow. What else is new?