By Hyunjoo Jin and Sheila Dang
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -Billionaire Elon Musk said on Monday he will launch an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that he calls “TruthGPT” to challenge the offerings from Microsoft and Google.
He criticised Microsoft-backed OpenAI, the firm behind chatbot sensation ChatGPT, of “training the AI to lie” and said OpenAI has now become a “closed source”, “for-profit” organisation “closely allied with Microsoft”.
He also accused Larry Page, co-founder of Google, of not taking AI safety seriously.
“I’m going to start something which I call ‘TruthGPT’, or a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe,” Musk said in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson aired on Monday.
He said TruthGPT “might be the best path to safety” that would be “unlikely to annihilate humans”.
“It’s simply starting late. But I will try to create a third option,” Musk said.
Musk, OpenAI, Microsoft and Page did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
Musk has been poaching AI researchers from Alphabet Inc’s Google to launch a startup to rival OpenAI, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Musk last month registered a firm named X.AI Corp, incorporated in Nevada, according to a state filing. The firm listed Musk as the sole director and Jared Birchall, the managing director of Musk’s family office, as a secretary.
The move came even after Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives called for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4, citing potential risks to society.
Musk also reiterated his warnings about AI during the interview with Carlson, saying “AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production” according to the excerpts.
“It has the potential of civilizational destruction,” he said.
He said, for example, that a super intelligent AI can write incredibly well and potentially manipulate public opinions.
He tweeted over the weekend that he had met with former U.S. President Barack Obama when he was president and told him that Washington needed to “encourage AI regulation”.
Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015, but he stepped down from the company’s board in 2018. In 2019, he tweeted that he left OpenAI because he had to focus on Tesla and SpaceX.
He also tweeted at that time that other reasons for his departure from OpenAI were, “Tesla was competing for some of the same people as OpenAI & I didn’t agree with some of what OpenAI team wanted to do.”
Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has also become CEO of Twitter, a social media platform he bought for $44 billion last year.
In the interview with Fox News, Musk said he recently valued Twitter at “less than half” of the acquisition price.
In January, Microsoft Corp announced a further multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, intensifying competition with rival Google and fueling the race to attract AI funding in Silicon Valley.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Krystal Hu and Anna Tong; Editing by Chris Reese, Josie Kao, Jamie Freed and Sonali Paul)