A senior artificial intelligence researcher tapped by Elon Musk to create a rival bot to OpenAI’s ChatGPT was arrested last month for domestic battery, according to reports.
Igor Babuschkin was taken into custody by police in Palo Alto, Calif. on March 6, though prosecutors who reviewed the case said there were no plans to charge him with a crime, according to The Information.
Palo Alto police had responded to a domestic disturbance in the morning at a luxury apartment building at 588 Webster St., which is not far from the campus of Stanford University, The Information reported.
“Following an investigation, police arrested the suspect (Igor Babuschkin) for misdemeanor domestic violence and booked him into the Santa Clara County Main Jail,” Palo Alto Police Department spokesperson Brian Philip wrote in an email to The Information.
According to Philip, Babuschkin was released on $10,000 bond at 5:46 p.m. on the day of his arrest.
Philip said the case involved “a minor injury,” but did not pose a threat to public safety, according to Insider. The spokesperson declined to provide details about the incident, telling the outlet the case is confidential.
The Post has sought comment from Palo Alto police as well as from Babuschkin and Musk.
Days after Babuschkin’s arrest, Musk incorporated a new company, X.AI Corp., in Nevada as part of his plan to create a new super company that would encompass his other holdings, including Twitter, which had its legal name was recently changed to X Corp.
Twitter has also shifted its incorporation from Delaware to Nevada, according to a legal filing made last week, and became a subsidiary of X Holdings Corp.
Not much is known about Musk’s hand-picked AI whiz.
According to Babuschkin’s LinkedIn page, he attended technical college in Germany before beginning his career as a research engineer at DeepMind, the UK-based AI laboratory that was acquired by Google in 2014.
After spending nearly four years at DeepMind, Babuschkin decamped from London and relocated to San Francisco, where he joined OpenAI as a member of its technical staff, according to Babuschkin’s LinkedIn page.
Babuschkin spent nearly two years at OpenAI until March of last year, when he rejoined DeepMind as a senior staff research engineer.
In February of this year, he ended his stint at DeepMind, which was right around the time that it was reported that Musk sought to enlist Babuschkin in his quest to develop a rival chatbot to “woke” ChatGPT.
Musk has been harshly critical of OpenAI and ChatGPT, which has generated great fanfare thanks to its ability to write essays and demonstrate language capabilities that match — and in some cases exceed — those of humans.
In a recent tweet, Musk lamented that OpenAI was “training AI to be woke.” He has been critical of OpenAI for filtering out content it deemed violent, sexist or racist from ChatGPT’s responses.
In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, Musk said he had a falling out with Google co-founder Larry Page over potential hazards to civilization that are posed by AI.
Musk said he was also concerned about the rapid advancement of ChatGPT.
Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 alongside other tech captains of industry including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Y Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and machine learning expert Ilya Sutskever.
But he left the firm after reportedly losing out to Sam Altman, the current CEO, in a power struggle.
Musk agreed with Carlson that it was “conceivable” that AI “could take control and reach a point where you couldn’t turn it off and it would be making decisions for people.”
“That’s definitely the way things are headed, for sure,” Musk told Carlson in an interview that aired this week.