Tesla Engineers Are Reportedly Jumping Ship to Elon Musk’s AI Startup

Ethan Knight, a machine learning scientist who previously worked at Tesla, switched to xAI last month, according to the AI ​​company’s website.

A former Tesla employee told The Information that Knight oversaw the team working on computer vision for Tesla’s self-driving technology.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside of normal business hours. However, after the publication of The Information article, Musk launched into X to claim that Knight planned to move to OpenAI before choosing xAI.

Musk accused OpenAI of “aggressively recruiting Tesla engineers with massive pay offers.” He added that in response, he increased the salaries of members of Tesla’s AI engineering team.

As big tech companies fight for a small pool of AI talent, Musk has also recently fought for more control over Tesla’s AI strategy.

In a January 1 article, the billionaire said he would feel “uncomfortable” expanding the electric vehicle company’s AI and robotics capabilities without controlling a quarter of the voting bloc.

Musk added that voting power would make him “influential,” but could still be outvoted on major decisions.

He said he would prefer to “build products outside of Tesla” if he didn’t have sufficient control.

The direct comments were seen as an ultimatum and unnerved some investors. At the time, Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said Musk’s comments ignited a “firestorm.”

Longtime Tesla bull Ross Gerber called Musk’s comments bizarre and amounting to “blackmail” toward Tesla investors.


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