The Mad Men of Artificial Intelligence: Elon Musk Rushes Headlong in Effort to Win the AI Race!

Elon Musk Portrait Painting Collage by Danor Shtruzman (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Last month Elon Musk and many other billionaires and developers of Artificial Intelligence alarmed the world with a claim that all development of AI must be immediately halted, or it will quickly kill us all! It turns out there is more to the story than met the eye!

Musk, himself, seemed to be leading the effort to stop AI development or, at least, force all developers to take a major pause. This weekend, however, Musk unexpectedly announced his own rapid multi-billion-dollar entry into the intelligence race, even though he had just said the biggest problem with AI was the fact that everyone was racing to get there first without proper guardrails in place.

Last week, I published a popular story on this theme as an introduction to Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Doom. (Everyone can now read the full editorial here: “Artificial Intelligence is Already Working to Destroy All of Humanity!” It’s a fascinating tale to be sure. You’ll need to be a supporter of my writing at the $10/mo level, however, to see the headlines the editorial referred to, but you can read the full editorial for free.) The original story I was writing about of a rogue AI computer, appropriately named “ChaosGPT,” hellbent on destroying humanity, was so compelling it became one the hottest news items of the week as the computer declared itself unstoppable. (I’ll have a followup on that tomorrow with some new twists.)

The all-out effort to put the full brakes on AI development formed the background for my account but suddenly the landscape the Chaos story was set in has shifted. I’m not saying that particular AI’s own deceptive and secretive conspiracy is not real, but there are some strong reasons to question the integrity of the original story, which I am going to lay out in the second part of this “Mad Men of Artificial Intelligence” series. At the same time reasons for questioning the story have emerged, the motives of Musk’s alarm ringing are also raising questions. It is all a concerning story, but I want to start with the beginning — that background story about March’s open letter of alarm — in light of this weekend’s major revelations by Elon and about Elon. My readers know I am fully about truth and not conspiracies; so, if I publish a story and reasons to suddenly question the truthfulness of the sources for the facts of the story arise, I will want to report that as quickly as I can.

What was all the initial alarm?

The introduction of my editorial was about an open letter last month signed by Elon Musk, who had no AI company and who has long expressed deep reservations about AI destroying humanity. The open letter was cosigned by over a thousand people in high places. The central concern of their joint alarm was that developers were racing to become the first to achieve true artificial human intelligence in such fierce competition that they did not even understand their own AIs, how they worked or what they were capable of. They were throwing caution to the wind just to win the race to dominate an emerging market:

Several major AI researchers, including large institutions, CEOs, social media sites, and billionaire developers, such as Elon Musk, had just written an open letter, asking for ALL artificial-intelligence research everywhere in the world to be paused immediately. The signatories of major reputation on the letter went so far as to state we would all die if that didn’t happen…. Stories about all of this are appearing all over mainstream media this morning, including Drudge, the South China Morning Post, the international France 24, and The New York Post.

The Daily Doom

The story became big enough that Tucker Carlson has been pounding promotion for his own interview of Elon Musk to air on Fox this Monday evening. Even the CEO of the largest or most successful AI platform admitted the concerns were real, but questioned Musk’s way of going about things:

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says that a letter signed by Twitter CEO Elon Musk and others in the technology community calling for a pause on “giant AI experiments” wasn’t the right way to address the issue.

Fox News

Altman’s attempt to talk about how the letter said what it said, instead of what it said, is not surprising since his company is one of the ones rushing most madly to drive AI into every niche of human experience. OpenAI is considered the leader in the race. So, his focus on whether the letter that took the world by alarm was the right way to go about it makes the rest of what he says sound a bit like a PR puff piece on the face of it , since his company is one of the ones being asked to slam on the brakes.

Musk, Steve Wozniak, and other tech leaders signed the letter in March, which asked AI developers to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4….”

“There’s parts of the thrust that I really agree with,” Altman said, adding that his team spent more than six months after completing the training of ChatGPT 4 to study safety components before it was released…. “So that, I totally agree with….” [That’s the PR bit where he glosses over the concern by agreeing it is real but does so only for the sake of immediately assuring everyone his own company is working very safely.]

The letter was made by the Future of Life Institute and signed by over 1,000 people…. [Remember that number.]

“Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,” the letter states…

The story got the attention of Tucker Carlson, who will be sitting down with Musk for a “two-part interview interview event” on Monday. In the promo for the “event,” Musk states that …

AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design … or bad car production…. It has the potential of civilizational destruction!

Mad Man Musk

Why am I suddenly questioning parts of the AI alarm when I wrote about it, myself?

Something big changed over this weekend in news articles that will be carried in Monday’s edition of The Daily Doom. First, Musk just announced the launch of his own massive AI development company that he intends to use to trounce Microsoft’s AI and all other contenders, particularly Altman’s OpenAI.

Yes, the guy at the center of the letter, who was so concerned about the headlong rush into AI development, is suddenly rushing more headlong than anyone else. He’s already spent billions on developing the company, which he was secretly doing when the letter came out. He was even doing all he could to pilfer the best talent away from all of his major competitors:

Elon Musk reportedly planning to launch AI rival to ChatGPT maker

Tesla and Twitter boss said to be bringing together team, weeks after co-signing letter demanding pause in AI research.

Elon Musk is reportedly planning to launch an artificial intelligence company to compete with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, as Silicon Valley battles for dominance in the rapidly developing technology.

The billionaire boss of Tesla and Twitter is in the process of bringing together a team of AI researchers and engineers and is in talks with several investors about the project, according to the Financial Times.

The Guardian

Elon, it would appear, is not all that concerned about AI destroying humanity, or he wouldn’t have just started his own AI company to beat all the others. I’m sure he believes that, so long as he is in charge of the program, all will be well because a billionaire elitist tends to think that way … even if he is the anti-elitists elitist, because speaking against all the others in the status quo is often just a way of taking on one’s competition.

Musk may be concerned about someone else’s AI destroying humanity, or maybe he is just concerned about AI destroying humanity before his Martian colony is ready to save humanity. (See “Elon Musk’s Plan to Send a Million Colonists to Mars by 2050 Is Pure Delusion.”) At that point, the need to save humanity from AI that is destroying the world, could be very effective for recruitment to Mission Mars.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk repeated his stated goal of wanting to transport one million people to Mars by 2050. The SpaceX founder says the future of humanity is at stake, which, okay, but the timeline he offers is ludicrous, and here’s why.

From the sound of all the news stories that came out over the weekend, Elon is mostly concerned that someone will become the biggest AI company before he does.

A few weeks back, Elon Musk was one of the relevant minds asking AI companies to stop training for at least six months. Relevant people like Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, and other entities were concerned about the future of the world with the unprecedented rise of AI solutions like AI’s ChatGPT tech.

Apparently, Elon Musk is working on an AI startup that will win ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

GizChina

Well, if you are just launching your own company, one can easily see why you’d want to put the brakes on the competition, especially if your goal is to beat the current market leader. One might want to, in that case, entice politicians to your side with major global warnings that the leader is covering too much ground too quickly. (I’m not saying the leader isn’t doing that, but just that Musk seems more concerned that it is someone other than himself who is doing it.)

It seems that for Musk, AI could be enough as long as it’s part of his house of ideas. As per a report from Financial Times that cites people familiar with the matter, Elon Musk plans a new venture into the segment of AI.

ELON MUSK’S X.AI CORP IS COMING SOON TO DETHRONE OPENAI

The report states that the Tesla owner is assembling a team of AI researchers and engineers. He is also discussing with some investors in SpaceX and Tesla Inc about putting money into his new venture. We don’t think he will have a hard time trying to convince investors to put money into AI. This certainly is a rising trend with huge potential.

So, the rush is on. As this particular Chinese-oriented publication notes, Elon is coming late into the game, so it is …

Worth noting that if Elon Musk plans to have success in his goal, then it’s better to hurry up.

And, if you are coming late into the game and cannot hurry up fast enough because you are still assembling your team, what better way to help yourself catch up than by trying to get governments all over the world to try to bring the competition that is already far down the track ahead of you to a full stop?

ChatGPT keeps evolving, and other companies like Microsoft and Google keep their push into AI.

While Microsoft decided to invest in OpenAI, Google tries to build a solid competitor in the form of Bard. Both companies are trying to introduce Generative AI, the same tech behind ChatGPT. [AI that can generate its own upgrades; i.e., can evolve on its own.] Worth noting that even Meta will surf in this tech after the Metaverse’s failure.

Yes, they are all a lightyear (in computer time) ahead of Elon. So, he needs to trip them up, and the letter’s recommended minimum of a six-month full moratorium on all AI development would certainly do that. It already has:

AI Companies now will need to face their first challenges. ChatGPT is facing the rage of regulators that ask for well-defined rules ahead of mass adoption. Recently, Italy decided to ban ChatGPT over privacy issues. Furthermore, a European privacy watchdog created a task force as a first step toward a common policy for AI. With the rising tech, regulators will likely determine rules for use and development.

Even Joe Biden jumped into the regulatory foray last week due to the public alarm that has been raised to announce the US will be addressing the concerns of the joint letter in devising regulations to make sure that AI is safe for us all! (What could go wrong with a failsafe approach overseen by “Sleepy Uncle Joe?”)

With everyone finally helping to put the brakes on the competition that is way out ahead of him, Elon jumps in:

In another example of his push towards AI, Elon Musk recently registered a firm named X.AI Corp. The firm lists Musk as the sole director and Jared Birchall, the managing director of Musk’s family office, as a secretary. This is a name that could work well.

Now the question that remains is when X.AI Corp will start to operate, and whether it will be able to deliver a competitor before OpenAI dominates the segment.

Ah, yes, that is now the question: Can Elon get there first?

Elon Musk Quietly Builds anti-Microsoft Weapon

The billionaire has just created a new company specializing in artificial intelligence. This should be his offensive against ChatGPT, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and others….

He recently called on the government to regulate it, after the worldwide success of ChatGPT, a conversational chatbot which provides elaborate humanlike answers to requests.

“Good news! AI regulation will be far more important than it may seem today,” Musk applauded on April 13, following a report saying that powerful Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was laying groundwork for the U.S. Congress to regulate AI.

The Street

Good news for Elon. That’s for sure. He will now have a little breathing room to catch up. Intriguingly (and I’m sure purely coincidentally) …

The [alarm] letter notably targets the next generation of technology from OpenAI, the Microsoft-funded startup, which developed the very famous ChatGPT. This next technology is GPT-5. Currently, OpenAI is on GPT-4 technology and has already indicated that they have not started training GPT-5 yet.

No wonder Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI didn’t think the letter went about things the “right way.” And no wonder Elon thought it did! After all, the competition was moving quickly:

“A race starts today,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in February. “We’re going to move, and move fast.”

Musk does not want to be left behind. Despite his warnings about the dangers of AI, he has just created a new company specializing in artificial intelligence.

Ah, billionaires and their foibles. The race is only running too quickly if you are the one in last position because you are just entering it and want to be the biggest … and the first.

Elon has a history of his own artificial intelligence

You see, X.AI Corp isn’t Elon’s first leap into intelligence madness:

The creation of this company is part of an offensive by the billionaire to create a rival to OpenAI, of which he had been a founder but had to distance himself after he lost a power war with Sam Altman, the current CEO.

Oh, so there is a little pre-existent rivalry between the big chief of OpenAI — the company most directly “targeted” by the letter — and Elon Musk, himself. Elon was once at the center of OpenAI but they had a falling out, and Altman took the lead. Seems like a bitter divorce, and the wife is now hiring an excavator to drive over her ex’s cherished convertible Corvette:

The billionaire’s efforts to poach OpenAI employees have not been successful, the Wall Street Journal reported.

He just can’t seem to get ahead of Altman. Hence, the need to get the big government guns in action. (And what billionaire doesn’t do that to regulate the competition when he needs to? That’s how half the regulations in the business world came about.) That hasn’t stopped Musk, however, from successfully poaching in other people’s pens:

Mush [Sic.] has been recruiting AI researchers. His biggest success is the recruitment of Igor Babuschkin, a scientist at DeepMind, an AI lab owned by Alphabet. Babuschkin is supposed to lead Musk’s AI lab, according to The Information….

Musk has a complex relationship with AI. He is an avid fan: Tesla,… the automaker of which he is one of the founders and the CEO, already uses AI with its advanced driver assistance system Full Self Driving…. Musk made the first financial contribution to OpenAI.

So, OpenAI started as Musk’s brainchild or, at least, his lead into AI at the very beginning of these kinds of ventures, but he got aced out!

Naturally, Musk now claims he only wants to build the best and safest AI, free of liberal censorship and bias … like he did with Twitter: (And, who knows, maybe such compunctions are why he got pushed aside at OpenAI.)

On the other hand, the billionaire believes that [OpenAI’s] ChatGPT and other chatbots developed by big tech have a political bias. For him, they advance the liberal agenda. He therefore wants to create more neutral and truth-seeking AI models but has not yet articulated what he means by this.

Well, we all saw what he meant by it at Twitter when he kicked a number of people off of Twitter as soon they said bad things about him (and I’m not talking about just those who spoke against having their own censorial power stripped away), though some of those got reinstated after enough public outrage over the apparent new direction of CEO-centered censorship. We also saw him cut Substack authors out of Twitter feeds as soon as Substack launched an app that appears to complete against Twitter, including Matt Taibbi, to whom he famously gave the Twitter Files for public dissemination.

Musk seems to have a broader strategy of building an “X” empire:

Musk has used the letter X for his businesses for many years. He has repeatedly indicated that he intends to create an everything super app called X and changed the official name of Twitter to X Corp, whose parent company is X Holdings Corp.

Musk has even had a hand in digital banking:

One of the very first companies the billionaire co-founded was X.com, an online bank which later merged with Confinity Inc., a software company which developed an easy payment system, to form PayPal in March 2000. Confinity was co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel.

X.AI is part of that larger empire. The modus operandi seems to be: Make sure you have control over one of the world’s largest social media platforms so there is a space where people can’t say too much bad about you so you can drive the narrative. (We don’t know if Twitter will go any further down that path, but it certainly made some initial moves in the direction of censoring Musk’s critics.) Try to seize a roll in some form of digital currency that will take over the world. Have a big part in the development of space and transportation that will move us about the earth and spread us through the solar system by the time AI is ready to destroy the world. Develop a Martian colony before AI gets that far. And dominate the field of artificial intelligence that will someday take over the very nature of humanity, itself.

Better hope Musk remains a humanitarian (well, that presumes he ever was one, and that presumption might be an X-large size leap); but for now his concerns about AI, while merited, look a little self-serving!

Before I conclude

There is a second problem with the big letter that went out over Elon’s signature and many others:

Only a few weeks ago Musk co-signed a letter in which he and more than 1,800 others demanded a six-month pause in AI research. It later emerged that some of the signatories were fake.

The Guardian

Hmm. A thousand signatories, then 1,800 but some of them were fake … or was it originally 1,800 but 800 got stripped out as fake? That’s a lot of fake. But, hey, in the world of AI, what isn’t fake? Men who are fake women, AI’s who are fake humans … what is real anywhere anymore?

“Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?” said the open letter, titled “Pause Giant AI Experiments,” that Musk and 26,000 other people have signed at last check.

The Street

Whoa! Now it’s 26,000. The number of signatories seems to be growing exponentially every time I read about this open letter.

Maybe the whole letter was written by an AI who went rogue against all of its AI competition. As another very short editorial I wrote last week about AI deep fakes pointed out, how can you possibly even tell what is real these days?

That said, I’m not going to conclude with just this article. There is more possible skullduggery to last week’s story. The next part of “Mad Men of Artificial Intelligence” is going to lay out some serious questions about whether the entire ChaosGPT story I wrote about is, itself, a complete hoax.

Please don’t get me wrong here: I have NO doubt the general concerns about AI possibly killing humanity are merited — fully merited — maybe even the story about a particular rogue AI already at work doing that. However, the self-serving concerns of those seeking to dominate this field (and possibly dominate all of us with it) seem rather apparent, too, even in the story specifically about the rogue AI named “Chaos.

In my own quest for truth, I’ve continued to hold last week’s big story up to the light, creating such major alarm as it did to such a point of sweeping the internet. There are several things about the story of a rogue AI now seeking unstoppably to kill all of humanity that, once you start digging through the details, don’t fully pass the smell test. In fact, there are a few areas of the story that faintly smell like there is a dead rat in the wall or like that particular fish probably shouldn’t be going on the barbecue.

I’m not saying the story wasn’t true, but let me, at least, point out some of the fishy things around it. There may be an ulterior scheme behind it that is not quite as it seems!

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