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As soon as some users were getting used to typing ai.com on their search bars and getting redirected to ChatGPT, Elon Musk decided to change their habits. Now, the same domain leads to Musk’s upcoming AI company, xAI.
Sam Altman led OpenAI bought the domain in February in a bid to make AI synonymous with ChatGPT. The move was possibly to get itself ahead of competitors like Google and others in the AI race. Now, being one of the co-founders of OpenAI, Musk has decided to make his company the centre of AI, and bought the username from OpenAI.
xAI’s mission statement is to “understand reality”, which is possibly to build an alternative to OpenAI’s woke chatbot. Musk had been planning to build a rival since the beginning of the year and the formation of his AI company is planning to build just that.
Though, it is not evidently clear if OpenAI had ever bought the domain in the first place. It is possible that the actual owner of the domain, Saw.com, was promoting the domain to OpenAI but redirecting it to ChatGPT. It is possible that the same is the case with Musk’s xAI now. No one clearly knows if Musk actually paid millions to either OpenAI or the Saw.com for buying the domain.
Furthermore, the ChatGPT user base has dropped since June. This might be for several reasons like the availability of API and general loss of interest in the chatbot. This might have also hinted Altman to believe that buying the domain ai.com has not helped the company retain any traffic on the platform.
On the other hand, OpenAI has been trying to file for a trademark on the word ‘GPT’ since March. Since then, there has been no development in that case so the company has now filed for a trademark on ‘GPT-5’, hinting that a new LLM-based model or product is possibly in the making.
According to sources, in early 2018, Musk said that he believed that OpenAI was falling behind in competition with Google. But there was a way to turn things around—by Musk taking control of OpenAI and running it himself.
All of this comes just days after Musk decided to change the name of Twitter to X and redirect X.com to the social media platform. Musk is in a race to buy domain names and make everything about X and AI related to him. But it must be important for him to focus on building and releasing an offering in the public domain to compete with the hype that OpenAI has created around its technology.
[Updated: 3:00 PM, August 3rd, 2023] The news has been updated to clear that the real owner of the domain is still not revealed since there is no proof a transaction yet.