Short-Seller Chanos Scoffs At Musk's Attempt To Lure Talent Into xAI While Labeling Tesla As AI-Robotics Company

Zinger Key Points
  • Musk in mid-January had sought 25% voting control in Tesla in order to be able to build it as an AI/robotics company.
  • He set up xAI in July 2023 and positioned it as a direct rival to Sam Altman's OpenAI.

Jim Chanos, known for his bearish bets against high-flying companies, threw shade at Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his AI venture, xAI, which secured $6 billion and fetched a valuation of $24 billion in a fresh funding round on Monday.

What Happened: Musk is actively recruiting talent for xAI and posted about it on X, the social media platform he owns. 

“Join xAI if you believe in our mission of understanding the universe, which requires maximally rigorous pursuit of the truth, without regard to popularity or political correctness,” he posted late on Monday.

Chanos, who has taken a dig at the Tesla chief many times previously, pointed out what he considered to be an irony: Musk repeatedly insisting that Tesla is not a car company but an AI/robotics company, while simultaneously asking talent to join his separate AI venture.

Why It Matters: This comes just weeks before Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, where Musk’s controversial 2018 compensation plan is up for reconsideration, despite having been voided by a Delaware court.

Chanos believes both the Tesla board and enthusiasts of the EV company are pulling out all the stops to get shareholder approval for this huge pay package to prevent Musk from going elsewhere and developing similar technology.

Several big investors in Tesla have found themselves at opposing ends in the debate around Musk’s pay. 

Musk in January expressed displeasure over the limited control he has on Tesla and said that unless vested with 25% voting control, he would prefer to build artificial intelligence products elsewhere.

He set up xAI in July 2023 and positioned it as a direct rival to Sam Altman‘s OpenAI, the company behind the immensely successful chatbot ChatGPT.

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