Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Elon Musk’s Grand xAI Plans


Elon Musk is back in the news again. (Really, does he ever leave the news?) Last week, Musk announced a new artificial intelligence venture called xAI. The timing of the launch is odd considering Musk still runs Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, Boring Company, and Twitter. Twitter in particular is causing him headaches, with both its sagging business and increased competition from rivals like Meta’s Threads. All of these developments are happening in the shadow of what feels like a lazy subplot on a bad sitcom—a proposed mixed martial arts cage match between Musk and his rival, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

This week, we talk with WIRED editor at large Steven Levy about the launch of xAI and its stated goal of “understanding the true nature of the universe.” We also discuss the places generative artificial intelligence has yet to venture, and the ways in which xAI could make an impact in the field of deep learning. And of course, we talk about that cage match. Yech.

Show Notes

Read Steven’s Plaintext newsletter, in which he urges Mark Zuckerberg not to take the bait. Will Knight outlines xAI’s biggest challenges. Amanda Hoover writes about Threads’ threat to Twitter’s domain. Paresh Dave gives an update on AI regulation in Europe and the US. Read all of our generative AI coverage.

Recommendations

Steven recommends Oppenheimer. So does Lauren. (We discuss it without spoiling it.) Mike recommends pretzel buns, because it’s not summer without them.

Steven Levy can be found on Twitter @StevenLevy. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen

You can always listen to this week’s podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here’s how:

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Podcasts app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. And in case you really need it, here’s the RSS feed.



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