• Sun. May 19th, 2024

Elon Musk’s call to slow AI development is likely a ploy to let him catch up with the competition, veteran VC says


May 5, 2023
Elon Musk's call to slow AI development is likely a ploy to let him catch up with the competition, veteran VC says


Vinod Khosla and
Elon Musk.
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch; Theo Wargo/WireImage
  • Elon Musk has purchased 10,000 GPUs to build an AI model at Twitter, Insider reported.
  • That came just after he signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on powerful AI development.
  • A VC founder said he suspects Musk just wants to catch up with the competition, per Bloomberg.

Elon Musk’s calls to slow down AI development could just be a ploy to help him catch up, the tech entrepreneur venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told Bloomberg.

The Twitter CEO was one of over 1,000 people to sign an open letter in March, which warned that AI companies were “locked in an out-of-control race” and called for a six-month pause on more powerful developments.

Earlier this week, Musk supported the “Godfather of AI” Geoffrey Hinton, who quit Google and told The New York Times about his regrets around creating a technology that could threaten humanity.

But Khosla suspects that Musk is only speaking out to give himself an edge in the race.

“Elon is behind,” he told Bloomberg. “I 80% suspect his call to slow down AI development was so he could catch up.”

Last month, Insider’s Kali Hays reported that Musk had bought roughly 10,000 graphics processing units, or GPUs, for Twitter. Tech companies often use GPUs to work on large AI models.

In 2015, Musk cofounded OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT which is largely considered to be leading the new boom in AI technology. But Musk quit in 2018 after his cofounders, including Sam Altman, rejected his offer to take over the business, Semafor reported.

Musk reportedly feared OpenAI was falling behind Google in the race towards new developments, and believed he had a greater chance of achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI) at Tesla.

And when an OpenAI intern questioned this decision, Musk called him a “jackass” – and the junior staffer later got a trophy to commemorate the dispute, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Even before Mus took over Twitter, he has been warning about the threat of AI, however. 

At a 2016 conference, he said humans could become “house cats” for AI – and suggested we need an implant like Neuralink to combat it.

Insider contacted Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that didn’t address the inquiry.

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