Elon Musk is on funding mission to raise $1 billion for xAI

December 6, 2023

Musk AI

CEO of Tesla and X Corp, Elon Musk, is attempting to secure a substantial $1 billion investment for xAI.

With the super-ambitious intention to “understand the universe,” xAI has already raised approximately $135 million in equity financing from four undisclosed investors. 

The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that Musk is aiming for $1 billion, which is hardly unrealistic considering funding in excess of $1 billion for startups Inflection and Anthropic this year. 

When Musk announced xAI, it was impossible to know precisely what he was aiming for. Among his ramblings on a launch livestream hosted on X was talk of using AI to unveil the secrets of dark matter or the Fermi Paradox, which questions the existence or absence of alien life. 

xAI also garnered attention for its impressive lineup of employees, some of whom have prior affiliations with renowned AI organizations such as DeepMind, OpenAI, Google Research, Microsoft Research, Tesla, and the University of Toronto. 

Elon Musk has a fairly fraught and unpredictable relationship with AI. He was a co-founder of OpenAI but stepped down from the organization’s board in 2018 to prevent potential conflicts of interest with Tesla’s own AI endeavors. 

Since then, he’s openly criticized OpenAI and has waxed and waned between supporting AI, stating it’ll benefit humanity, and declaring it as an apocalyptic force or “waking the demon.”

xAI’s current focus is Grok, an AI tool that operates on a chat-based interface similar to ChatGPT, Bard, Claude, etc. Grok distinguishes itself by delivering witty responses and handling provocative queries that many other AI systems tend to avoid.

A blog post introducing Grok stated that the AI system is designed to infuse humor into its interactions and possesses a certain rebellious charm, distinguishing it from the more sanitary ChatGPT. 

Musk demonstrated how it’d instruct users how to create weapons or synthesize cocaine, which other models would outright refuse. It told users to “start cooking and hope you don’t blow yourself up or get arrested.”

Some applauded Musk’s ‘anti-woke’ intentions, whereas others brandished it as a mere novelty. However, Grok has access to real-time tweets, which at least gives it some technical ingenuity.

Musk is still looking for investors. Will he find others who share his ambition to learn “What the hell is going on” using AI? 

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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