Elon Musk launches xAI startup to, naturally, understand the universe

Billionaire Elon Musk is entering the world of AI – again – as he officially reveals his latest tech business venture,  xAI, which aims to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

Details on what exactly xAI will bring to the industry are unknown at this time. The official website is pretty vague, but we won’t have to wait long to learn more. The company is planning to hold a Twitter Spaces chat this Friday, July 14 where people can join and ask the team questions (hopefully, no one rage quits this time). 

However, there are several clues on the official website indicating the future product or service could be related to generative AI in some way. Looking at the website’s description, the team is stacked with former engineers from major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, as well as Tesla. The work of these experts has led to “some of the largest breakthroughs” and learning techniques in AI. This research has even led to the development of notable LLMs (large language models) like GPT-4.

Fighting misinformation

You may be wondering, “Why is Musk doing this?”

Well, it appears Elon Musk ultimately wants to make his own generative AI with a potentially large emphasis on safety. Since the ChatGPT launch back in November 2022, Musk has been a vocal critic of it and the developer, OpenAI, as well as other similar systems. It’s to the point where, back in late March 2023, Musk, alongside other tech figures, cosigned a letter asking all AI labs across the world to pause training AI models “for at least six months”. The letter urged developers to slow down and implement “safety protocols” to curb misinformation

It is true chatbots do sometimes generate false information. Developers of these systems are trying to figure out a way to combat hallucinations

And we believe that is what Elon Musk is getting at with xAI. He wants a chatbot that doesn’t falsify responses. Musk is even bringing in Dan Hendrycks, the director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization that recently published an open letter asking tech leaders to mitigate the “risk of extinction from AI.” Yes, they are talking about literal human extinction as if this is a Terminator movie.

Analysis: Who does this benefit?

What’s in all this for you? Honestly, we don’t know. Sure, you can argue Musk's potential xAI chatbot could be better than ChatGPT or Google Bard because it has special technology to ensure it doesn’t lie. If this were in the hands of anyone else, we would sincerely believe that. But, under Musk’s reign, Twitter has, among other questionable actions, complied with government censorship demands and banned the ElonJet account for posting publicly available data. 

Is factual information really a major concern for the controversial CEO? Musk's actions say otherwise. It’s questionable if such an AI chatbot will even provide truthful answers. Perhaps they'll just be Elon Musk's version of the truth.

Co-founder Greg Yang states the company aims to develop a “theory of everything” enabling “everyone to understand our mathematical universe.” So if you need help with your Philosophy 101 homework, you have the xAI chatbot. 

All jokes aside, it will be interesting to see what comes out of the Twitter Spaces chat on July 14. A generative AI that provides 100 percent accurate information is something the world needs right now. Misinformation is a major problem afflicting many aspects of the world. We just wonder if Elon Musk is the right person to develop it.

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Instagram will finally help creators understand why they’re failing

Instagram is updating its Account Status feature to better inform business and creator accounts why some of their posts get suppressed as it aims for more transparency with users.

These accounts will now know which of their posts is “eligible to be recommended” by Instagram’s algorithm to non-followers on other sections of the platform. This includes places like the Explore page, Reels, and In-Feed recommendations. On the flip side, Instagram will also inform accounts why their content isn’t being recommended by explaining how, for instance, it violates Community Guidelines, according to the announcement. This information can also be found on Instagram’s Creators page; it’s just more front and center than before.

And once informed, creators are given an opportunity to either edit or delete the offending post or appeal if they think Instagram was a little overzealous in flagging that content. The review team will take a close look at the said post before getting back with a new decision. If that sounds familiar, that’s because regular accounts have been able to appeal flagged content since the launch of Account Status back in October 2021. 

For a future update, there are hints at expanding Account Status to other features like the Search function plus educating creators on how to better reach non-followers. 

It’s unknown when the Account Status update will release and to where. The implication is the new features are currently rolling out. We asked Instagram if it could clarify the launch window and if it can tell us more about future Account Status additions. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

Clarifying the algorithm

In the announcement, Instagram states it understands how frustrating it can be for accounts to understand why they’re not getting the engagement they once had. That's really the goal of this update: to clear up confusion. Social media algorithms are a frequent source of frustration for many content creators. How these algorithms work is a closely guarded secret. If you spend enough time on YouTube, for example, you’ll eventually run into a creator complaining about how difficult it is to understand what gets recommended or suppressed.

There have been third-party moves this past year to rectify this problem. The most notable one was when the European Union passed the Digital Service Act, which will force tech giants like Meta to reveal how their recommendation algorithms work. However, that law won’t go into effect until 2024, so first-party tools will remain limited.

But there are third-party tools out there. Check out TechRadar's recently updated best social media management tools of 2022. They’re a good way to time posting content so you can maintain high audience engagement. 

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