Elon Musk Plans Startup to Rival OpenAI, Report Says

Tesla Investors Sought to Help Fund AI Project, Financial Times Reports
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is said to have acquired thousands of processors from Nvidia Corp. for the new project. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images via Bloomberg News)

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is making plans for an artificial intelligence startup that will rival OpenAI, according to the Financial Times, which said the billionaire is assembling a team of researchers and engineers to work on the project.

Musk also is holding discussions with Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. investors about helping fund the project, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

The billionaire has acquired thousands of processors from Nvidia Corp. for the new project, according to the Financial Times. That news helped boost shares of the chipmaker April 14, with the stock gaining as much as 1.6% following a decline earlier in the session.

Musk was among a group of AI researchers and tech industry leaders that last month called for developers to pause the training of powerful AI models. At the same time, however, he had been linked to discussions about creating a new research lab with those in the field including Igor Babuschkin, a former employee at Alphabet Inc.’s DeepMind, according to the tech website the Information.

Musk helped start OpenAI in 2015 and served as as co-chair along with Sam Altman, who is OpenAI’s 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.”

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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.”

Musk, who also owns Twitter, recently merged that company into a larger parent corporation called X Corp. Musk has said that the social network would be an “accelerant” for creating X — which he dubbed an “everything app.”

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