Elon Musk Announces xAI: Who’s On the 12-Man Founding Team?

Almost all of xAI's founding team come from Google, Microsoft and OpenAI.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk has been teasing an A.I. company focused on responsible deployment. Chesnot/Getty Images

Elon Musk today (July 12) officially unveiled xAI, an artificial intelligence company he has been teasing for a little while, and its founding members, most of whom he poached from Google, DeepMind and OpenAI.

Musk has been talking for months about creating an alternative product to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and similar chatbots. In his opinion, Big Tech companies like Google and Microsoft are too focused on profitability and don’t care enough about A.I. safety. “I’m starting very late in the game, of course. But I will create a third option that hopefully does more good than harm. This might be the best path to A.I. safety,” Musk said in an April interview with Tucker Carlson.

According to his new company’s website, xAI’s goal is “to understand the true nature of the universe.” It will be Musk’s sixth company in addition to Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, Neuralink and The Boring Company.

xAI was incorporated in March in Nevada. A state filing listed Musk as its sole director and his personal money manager Jared Birchall, as secretary.

Today Musk announced xAI’s first 12 employees, including himself. The team consists primarily of former researchers at OpenAI, DeepMind, Google, Microsoft, Tesla and the University of Toronto, where “A.I. godfather” Geoffrey Hinton teaches.

The team is advised by Dan Hendrycks, a machine learning researcher who serves as the director of the Center for A.I. Safety, a nonprofit advocating for proper regulation of A.I.

xAI is actively recruiting experienced engineers and researchers to join its staff based in the Bay Area. Musk and his newly formed team will hold a Twitter Spaces chat on July 14 to answer questions from the public.

Here are xAI’s 12 founding members:

  • Elon Musk: cofounder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company. He also owns Twitter.
  • Igor Babuschkin: a former research engineer at DeepMind and OpenAI.
  • Yuhuai (Tony) Wu: a former research scientist at Google and a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University. He also had internships at DeepMind and OpenAI.
  • Kyle Kosic: a former engineer at OpenAI and a software engineer for OnScale, a company making cloud engineering simulation platforms.
  • Manuel Kroiss: a former software engineer at DeepMind and Google.
  • Greg Yang: a former researcher at Microsoft Research.
  • Zihang Dai: a former research scientist at Google.
  • Toby Pohlen: a former research engineer at Google for six years.
  • Christian Szegedy: a former engineer and research scientist at Google for 12 years.
  • Guodong Zhang: a former research scientist at DeepMind. He had internships at Google Brain and Microsoft Research and a Ph.D degree from the University of Toronto.
  • Jimmy Ba: an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who studied under A.I. pioneer Geoffrey Hinton.
  • Ross Nordeen: a former technical program manager at Tesla’s supercomputing and machine learning division.

Elon Musk Announces xAI: Who’s On the 12-Man Founding Team?