The Tech Company Brief by Hackernoon: Elon Musk’s AI endeavors and the possibility of a presidential run

May 3, 2023


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Ooh boy, looks like the rumors were true.

Despite decrying the dangers of AI and leading a call to pause the training of AI systems, Elon Musk has decided that he too wants a piece of the AI pie and made a not-so-surprising announcement that he’ll be launching a competitor to Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google‘s Bard (lol).

Called ‘TruthGPT’, Musk’s spin on generative AI will be a “maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.” Presumably, this will prevent TruthGPT from absolutely annihilating humans.

While the announcement itself might not be a complete surprise (we reported just weeks ago that Musk was quietly recruiting people to form his own AI company), what caught our attention was where Musk made that announcement: Fox News.

Yes, you read that right. Elon Musk was on Fox News, giving an interview to Tucker Carlson, and peddling his doomsday scenarios to the largely conservative base that tunes into the network for their dose of news. Now, in case you’re not.. Uhm, aware of the intricacies of the media landscape, we’ll just come out and spell it out for you: Fox News is just so heavily tilted towards the Republican party that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Republicans actually run the network.

Even though Fox News keeps throwing shade at other media outlets, everyone knows that it pushes the Republican agenda hard, most recently during the Trump era when it amplified false claims that voting machines were manipulated to favor Democrat Joe Biden. Those claims landed Fox News in trouble, and the media network has agreed to pay over three quarters of a billion ($787.5 million) to the voting machine company that supposedly colluded with Democrats to make Biden win.

But that’s beside the point. Why was Musk even there? One possible explanation (and this might be a stretch for many a reader) is that he’s ultimately going to run for president and wants to appeal to Fox News’ core audience, who, as many know, are tired of “career politicians” and want an outsider to shake things up in Washington, D.C., as was the case with Donald Trump.

We know we’ve said this in the past, but Musk’s constant news coverage eerily resembles that of Donald Trump, particularly in the run-up to Trump’s election as President of the United States. There is never a day when Musk isn’t in the news, either as an individual or via the companies he owns: Twitter, SpaceX, Tesla. So, it’s wholly possible that Musk is following the Trump playbook by being in the news all the damn time so he could ultimately run for president.

What separates Musk from Trump, though, is that Musk’s companies are successful by comparison and his wealth is verifiably in the billions.

That said, Musk’s announcement of launching his own AI raises even more questions about the timing of the open letter he signed just a while ago asking for an immediate pause of at least 6 months in the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. Specifically, did Musk want a pause in AI development so he could work on building his own AI in the meantime? While six months might not necessarily be a long period of time, it could have been sufficient enough for Musk to finetune his vision of what his take on AI should look like (in this case ‘TruthGPT’).

But what even is “truth”? Well, for the purposes of AI, it’s whatever data it has been trained on. If the data is biased, so will be the AI.

If Elon Musk thinks he can train his AI model on threads from 4chan or news from Infowars, for example, and present them as truth because they’re so unfiltered and conform to a certain world view, the result is going to be more disinformation peddling as “truth” in an attempt to manipulate public opinion. In all fairness, Musk appears to be terrified of the idea of AI__manipulating__ public opinion, but like all things Musk, will probably go and do the opposite of what he says.

Ironically, when Trump was kicked off of major social media websites, the social media app he ended up creating for his followers also had the word “truth” in it: Truth Social. So the similarities between Musk and Trump are more than one.

Nonetheless, only time will tell what Musk is aiming for. For now, he’s interested in upending “Woke AI” and TruthGPT will be a step in that direction. It could also be a sign of what’s to come, with more and more billionaires trying to cash in on the AI gold rush.

Elon Musk’s Tesla ranked #31 this week on HackerNoon’s Tech Company Rankings, while Twitter was not far behind at #33. Microsoft, which has heavily betted on OpenAI, was on the #62 spot, while Google surpassed them all on the #25 spot.

In Other News.. 📰

  • HODL GANG ASSEMBLE! Britain’s Standard Chartered believes bitcoin could touch a peak of $100,000 by the end of 2024. Though of course, they also expected the cryptocurrency to fall below $5,000 in 2023. 😆
  • John Oliver has some thoughts on cryptocurrencies. 🤣
  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX had a failed rocket launch. Here’s why that was a success. 🚀
  • Twitter removed the verified “blue tick” from legacy users, only to restore it later, free of charge, to celebrity users of the social network. 📳

And that’s a wrap! Don’t forget to subscribe to my profile and share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y’all next week. PEACE! ☮️

This article was originally published by Sheharyar Khan on Hackernoon.


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