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Elon Musk setting up generative-AI project at Twitter, report claims

Elon Musk is embarking on his own artificial intelligence (AI) project within Twitter, Business Insider reported on Tuesday.

With so much attention currently lavished upon generative AI tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard chatbots, it’s perhaps little wonder that Musk — a man who appears to love technology and attention in equal measure — wants a piece of the action.

Musk’s reported decision to launch into AI comes just over a week after he signed a letter along with 1,000 AI experts calling for a pause on AI development until the potential risks of the technology have been properly assessed. But his apparent move toward setting up his own AI project has left some wondering if signing the letter was also a way for him to slow development so he could more easily play catch-up.

To power the reported project, Musk, who acquired Twitter in October in a deal worth $44 billion, has already bought around 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) at an estimated cost of tens of millions of dollars, two people with knowledge of the matter told Insider.

The project is said to be at an early stage, though one person claiming to have knowledge of Musk’s plan said that buying so much computational power in the form of numerous GPUs is an indication of his determination to see it through.

Further evidence of Musk’s interest in AI comes in the form of two recent hires: Igor Babuschkin and Manuel Kroiss from Alphabet’s AI research subsidiary, DeepMind.

Of course, it’s not as if Musk is new to AI. After all, he co-founded OpenAI — the company behind ChatGPT — in 2015, before walking away from the business a couple of years later.

Musk’s current AI ambitions aren’t currently clear. He may want to use the technology for something as simple as improving Twitter’s search function, but knowing his ambitious and competitive nature, the billionaire entrepreneur could also be eyeing something along the lines of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s much-praised generative AI chatbot that’s capable of conversing in a human-like way and even creating computer code.

The technology looks so promising that many observers believe more advanced versions will assist or even replace hundreds of millions of white-collar jobs in the coming years.

With Musk already having laid off more than half of Twitter’s workforce as part of cost-cutting measures, perhaps he’s hoping AI will take care of the remaining roles.

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Trevor Mogg
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