In a recent corporate filing in Nevada, entrepreneur Elon Musk has ignited speculation about his potential foray into the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. Musk, renowned for being the billionaire owner of Tesla and Twitter, has been listed as a director in the incorporation document for a new company named X.ai Corp.
What has caught the attention of industry observers is the choice of the web domain with the “.ai” suffix, which is commonly used by tech companies involved in AI projects. This has led to widespread speculation that Musk may be serious about entering the AI market and taking on established players like Microsoft-backed OpenAI.
Reports from reputable sources, citing unnamed insiders familiar with Musk’s efforts, suggest that he is actively assembling a team and seeking investors for his potential AI venture. Notably, Musk has recently recruited Igor Babuschkin, a prominent scientist from the Google-parent Alphabet-owned artificial intelligence lab DeepMind, to lead the effort, according to exclusive information obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
In addition to Musk and Babuschkin, the Nevada filing also names Jared Birchall, who oversees Musk-owned ventures including The Boring Co. and Neuralink, as a director of X.ai Corp. Furthermore, records reveal that a business called X Ai Inc. was established in Delaware on March 28, although no officers or directors were identified in those records.
As Musk’s potential entry into the AI industry gains attention, industry insiders and observers alike are eagerly anticipating his next moves and how they may impact the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.
The Launch of X.ai and Musk’s Stance on AI Development
X.ai, a recently registered company in Nevada on March 9, has drawn attention due to its potential association with Elon Musk, who recently appeared as a signatory to an open letter calling for a moratorium on artificial intelligence (AI) development. The letter, also signed by notable figures such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and businessman/politician Andrew Yang, coincided with the launch of AI products from potential competitors like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Alphabet’s Bard, which raised concerns about societal risks.
The authors of the letter expressed concerns about the rapid and uncontrollable development of increasingly powerful AI systems that lack transparency, predictability, and reliable control, even by their creators. Notably, Musk had co-founded OpenAI in 2015 but left the company in 2018.
Attempts to access the X.ai website resulted in a browser error, indicating that there is currently no content hosted on the site. However, archived versions of the website reveal that it previously housed an AI-based appointment-scheduling service called “x.ai,” which was acquired by Bizzabo, a New York-based event-management company, in 2021.
Trademark Ownership and Musk’s Affinity for “X”
Bizzabo currently holds the trademark for “X.AI,” as indicated by records from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When asked if Musk’s representatives have contacted Bizzabo regarding the web domain and trademark, Bizzabo CEO Eran Ben-Shushan did not respond to messages. It’s worth noting that “X” seems to be a recurring theme in Musk’s ventures, such as X.com, the online bank he founded in 1999 which later merged into PayPal. He also recently established a business called X Corp., which has absorbed Twitter. Musk has also hinted at using “X” as the name for a multifeatured app on Twitter. Additionally, “X” is the first name of Musk’s son with singer Claire Elise Boucher, known as Grimes, and Boucher has explained on Twitter that it stands for “the unknown variable.” Furthermore, Musk’s son’s middle name, “AE A-12