International Business

With His New Business, xAI, Elon Musk Intends to Collaborate With Twitter and Tesla

With His New Business, xAI, Elon Musk Intends to Collaborate With Twitter and Tesla

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, stated on Friday (July 14, 2023) that he intends to work with the automaker on both the “silicon front” and the “AI software front” with his newest endeavor, the artificial intelligence startup xAI.

During Friday’s live audio chat on Twitter Spaces, Musk also mentioned that xAI will use Twitter data to train the “maximally curious” AI systems and products he aims to create there. Musk did not specify whether and how much Twitter will charge xAI or his other companies for its data.

In October 2022, Musk orchestrated a purchase of the social media company, which resulted in a $13 billion increase in debt for Twitter. As a result of the company’s struggles to increase its subscription revenue, former workers and vendors have filed lawsuits against it for failure to pay them for completed work or severance.

Several of the other companies where Musk was a founder or serves as CEO, including Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Co., have done business together for years. Some of their transactions have been disclosed in Tesla financial filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

On Friday, without citing evidence, Musk alleged that “Every AI organization on Earth” had used Twitter’s data for training, “in all cases illegally.” It was not clear which laws would have been violated by others’ data scraping. Earlier this month, Twitter sued four unknown parties for data scraping in Texas.

Twitter implemented rate limits on the social media platform in recent weeks because, Musk claimed, it was “being scraped like crazy.” He said, “We had multiple entities scraping every tweet ever made, and trying to do so in like, basically a span of days. So this was bringing the system to its knees. So we had to take action.” He apologized for the inconvenience of the rate limiting.

In light of widespread use of Twitter data by AI software developers, Musk said, “I guess we will use the public tweets obviously not anything private for training as well, just like basically everyone else has.”

Twitter’s data set appeals for “text training,” and “image and video training,” Musk said. However, he specified that AI systems need more than human-created data and he was hoping that xAI could follow in the footsteps of Alphabet-owned DeepMind’s Alpha Zero, a computer program that achieved a masterful level of play in three games, chess, shogi and go, after training by playing these games against itself.

A Tesla fan and promoter, Omar Qazi (known as Whole Mars Catalog on Twitter) asked Musk a few questions about how he plans for xAI to work with Tesla during the Spaces event. Among other things, he asked whether xAI would potentially use Nvidia- or Tesla-made silicon for data processing.

Musk said, “That’s sort of a Tesla question. Tesla is building custom silicon. I wouldn’t call anything that Tesla’s producing a ‘GPU’ although one can characterize it in GPU equivalents.” He then spoke about Tesla’s in-vehicle hardware, which enables the company’s advanced driver assistance systems to work in its cars. The systems are marketed as Autopilot and Full Self Driving capability in the US.

Tesla has been promising fans a robotaxi, or self-driving vehicle, for years. At that time, Musk said a cross-country demo with a Tesla car would be possible without a single human intervention by the end of 2017. In 2019, Tesla raised billions of dollars with the promise of a million robotaxi-ready Tesla vehicles on the road in a year. So far, none of Tesla’s vehicles are capable of operating without a human driver ready to steer or brake at any time.

Musk said on Twitter Spaces on Friday that Tesla’s hardware 4, which is shipping in now, is “three-to-five times more capable than hardware 3,” and promised “hardware 5″ would come along in a few years and would be “four or five times more capable” than its current version.

The CEO also discussed Dojo, a supercomputer Tesla is developing for AI machine learning and computer vision training purposes. Tesla uses video clips and data from its customers’ vehicles to improve existing software, or develop new features.

Musk said that the eventual AI language model that xAI will presumably develop won’t be “politically correct.” The CEO, who has repeatedly attacked “woke” or progressive values, said “I think our AI can give answers that people may find controversial even though they are actually true.”

The Tesla CEO said that xAI will need to develop technology that “understands the physical world and not just the Internet,” and he thinks that Tesla’s driving data will help it on that front.

Walter Isaacson, the author of an Elon Musk biography coming out later this year, asked Musk about Optimus, a humanoid robot Tesla is developing with the aim of using it in manufacturing. Musk said that the robot is still in its “early stages” and his team needs to find a way that users will be able to easily turn it off.

Tesla showed off a design for a humanoid robot called Optimus at its AI day in September 2022. Tesla executive are expected to share updates on this and more on an earnings call next Wednesday.