Musk and Zuckerberg upscale AI efforts

The ongoing battle between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg has gone beyond social media and the Octagon, and into the surging AI space

While Meta is set to release an open source AI model that will allow for custom integrations, Twitter owner Elon Musk has launched artificial intelligence company xAI — both developments being bids to challenge OpenAI in the generative AI race.

Both commercial offerings will serve separately from the social media platforms overseen by Zuckerberg and Musk, respectively.

The announcements show intent of a general drive towards commercialising artificial intelligence that generates text, images and code, as Microsoft-backed OpenAI co-founded by Musk in 2015 sees demand continue to grow.

Class action lawsuit filed against OpenAI over “stolen private information”OpenAI, developer of ChatGPT, has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging misappropriation of personal data scraped from the web.

Meta: an update to the LLaMA model

Following the reveal of Meta’s LLaMA language to researchers and academics earlier this year, a new version will be made available for businesses to customise in line with specific goals and customer needs, according to unnamed sources close to the situation.

The announced open source nature of the new offering — reported to be released imminently — will mean that technical details of the model will be available to access publicly.

While Meta has been undertaking AI R&D for over a decade, it’s believed that the surge in GenAI interest following the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November last year brought more pressing focus on development in this area up the agenda.

“The competitive landscape of AI is going to completely change in the coming months, in the coming weeks maybe, when there will be open source platforms that are actually as good as the ones that are not,” said Meta’s vice-president and chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, at a recent conference in France.

This also follows a $10bn-per-year bet made by Meta CEO Zuckerberg on the metaverse, which while still an infrastructure with potential to disrupt business operations in the near future with corporations like Apple releasing next-gen virtual reality headsets, is proved unpopular with investors.

xAI: Musk attempts to “understand reality”

In an aim to “understand the true nature of the universe” and make an impact in the trending GenAI space, Musk’s new company xAI is set to draw on the executive’s prior experience and investments in artificial intelligence, including co-founding OpenAI.

The venture will be led by Musk, and staffed by researchers poached from other AI research hubs, such as Igor Babuschkin, former senior staff research engineer at DeepMind — who also brings technical experience from OpenAI.

Thousands of GPU processors from Nvidia — which recently unveiled its new DGX GH200 supercomputer platform — have reportedly been procured by the emerging business.

To help mitigate safety risks, Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety — a non-profit body dedicated to reducing “societal-scale risks associated with AI” — has been tasked as a board advisor.

Like Zuckerberg, Musk is looking for returns on a substantial investment, in his case the $44bn purchase of Twitter in October.

However, the particulars of Musk’s AI commercialisation strategy remain unknown, xAI’s website currently being devoid of product or development details.

The move comes despite Musk signing an open letter to discontinue AI development for six months, earlier this year.

Business records show that a firm named ‘X.AI’ became incorporated in Nevada by Musk and his financial advisor Jared Birchall, two weeks before the letter’s publication, calling into question the timing of the signing.


Writing your company’s own ChatGPT policyGiving your staff unfettered access to ChatGPT could have disastrous results, especially when it comes to unwittingly releasing confidential data. Here are some pointers as to how to write your company’s own generative AI policy.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.