Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, has dived into yet another venture by launching his AI company, x.AI. Unlike other AI companies, Musk says that he is looking to build transparent AI that has the ability to “understand the true nature of the universe”.
Elon’s Pursuit of the Truth With x.AI
While the rest of the world has been in awe of AI and its capabilities, Musk has been particularly displeased. He has often sounded alarms, warning of the dangers of AI to humanity. To that end, he even signed an open letter asking for a pause on the development of AI models more powerful than GPT-4.
A few weeks after the letter, Elon stated that he would be working on a TruthGPT since he found ChatGPT too politically biased. He further criticized OpenAI for oversimplifying and limiting ChatGPT in order to steer clear of controversial topics.
The billionaire businessman said:
“I do think there is a significant danger in training AI to be politically correct. Or in other words, training AI basically to not say what it actually thinks is true. I’m going to start something which you call TruthGPT or a maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.”
Unfortunately, the open letter failed to have the intended effect on the AI industry to no one’s surprise. Seeing the pause being too impossible, he said:
“If I could press pause on AI or really advanced AI digital superintelligence I would. It doesn’t seem like that is realistic so x.AI is essentially going to build an AI … in a good way, sort of hopefully.”
Announcing formation of @xAI to understand reality
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 12, 2023
In a Twitter Space to discuss his new AI company, Musk iterated that the startup would focus more on producing AI models that are more transparent and honest enough to share their beliefs. He also emphasized the need for AI that is not afraid to be against popular opinion and will share its controversial beliefs.
While transparent AI is a noble cause, it is also a very ambitious cause. Transparent and unbiased AI could potentially reveal the fault in human systems. By providing an uninfluenced standpoint, it could unveil the flaws and unfairness in human spaces such as injustices.
If attained, such AI could also create more equitable outcomes by making decisions without discrimination of race, gender, color, religion, or even political affiliation. This could also lead to more trust in AI systems allowing for an even higher adoption rate assuming the controversy does not overpower the trust.
On the other hand, artificial intelligence that speaks a truth that is not the truth of many is more likely to anger people than to be embraced.
Additionally, sometimes, human decisions are made by considering more than just the situation at hand. As such, the efforts to eliminate bias might be counterproductive as the AI systems might still face ethical dilemmas when attempting to determine the appropriate course of action in morally ambiguous situations.
Is The World Ready For The x.AI?
Aside from its output, another concern is how to build an unbiased AI model. Biases in models are a result of the biases present in the data used to train the model as well as the leanings of the developer. And for a model such as ChatGPT that was trained on data from the internet, biases are inevitable.
This raises the question of where x.AI will get unbiased data to train the model. Notably, this data should be of very high quality and representative of all types of people and situations which is difficult to find. Then the AI would have to decide what answer out of a large pool for any given question is correct. Either that or it would have to return every single answer that anyone believes in to eliminate bias. There is almost never a single objective truth.
When Musk announced that he was going to create a TruthGPT, many of his followers asked who would determine the “truth”. This is a massive concern because human beings all have their version of the truth, one person’s truth can be another’s propaganda.
Despite the wealth of expertise Musk and the x.AI team have, it will be an uphill task convincing people that the x.AI actually tells the truth. And even if it tells the actual truth, is the world ready for the truth?
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