Elon Musk has set up a new artificial intelligence (AI) company called X.AI Corp, according to a state filing in Nevada. The Tesla CEO, who recently changed the official name of Twitter to X Corp, is the sole director of the company, which has permitted the sale of 100 million shares. He has also assembled a team of researchers and engineers to work on the project and is holding talks with investors, including those from Tesla and SpaceX, regarding funding. DoubleBlue Capital, based in New York, has said Musk’s new company could be worth more than $100bn within five years.
Musk has warned previously that “out of control” development of AI posed “profound risks to society and humanity”. However, this has not deterred him from setting up the new company or beginning its recruitment efforts. The Tesla founder helped start OpenAI in 2015, with the organisation originally aiming to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity”, free from financial constraints. Musk left OpenAI’s board in 2018, amid criticisms he had become too focused on his own projects, and that the organisation had begun to become too commercialised.
Musk is not the only business figure to have set up an AI company in recent times. His successor at PayPal, Peter Thiel, co-founded Palantir Technologies in 2003, and the company went public in September in a $20bn New York Stock Exchange debut. Other large tech companies are also investing in the technology, with Facebook and Microsoft among those involved in AI research. Global artificial intelligence software revenue is set to grow by more than 20% year-on-year to 2024, reaching $126bn, according to research from MarketsandMarkets.
Some analysts have warned against the potential negative effects of AI and its reliance on data. However, others believe the technology has the potential to help public services, such as the NHS. The UK government is currently engaging with suppliers to develop an evidence-based AI system that aims to identify users who may be suffering from early stage cancer. Peter Bauer, CEO of Mimecast, has said: “AI’s ability to analyse huge amounts of data and identify patterns has the potential to revolutionise both how we approach disease prevention and how doctors diagnose and treat patients”.