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Meta and Elon Musk's xAI are fighting for a partnership with chatbot group Character.ai

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Meta and Elon Musk's xAI are vying for a partnership with chatbot maker Character.ai, while deep-pocketed technology firms are flocking to Silicon Valley's hottest AI startups.

Facebook owner Meta recently held initial talks about collaborating with Character.ai, which uses large language models to generate conversations within the variety of various characters and personas, say 4 people acquainted with the matter.

Some of the people said the groups had discussed having their top researchers work closely together on initiatives reminiscent of pre-training and model development.

The young group, backed by Silicon Valley enterprise capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has also held exploratory talks with xAI about the same partnership, two people acquainted with the talks said.

However, the talks didn’t end in a deal, the people added.

The interest in Character.ai is the newest sign of how leading technology firms try to secure partnerships and investments with the very best AI startups as they compete with one another to develop cutting-edge technology.

Meta announced in September that it was embedding AI persona chatbots into Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, including several that tackle outstanding characters reminiscent of rapper Snoop Dogg.

Meanwhile, xAI has developed its own chatbot called Grok, which is out there to premium subscribers on X, the social media platform also owned by Musk.

The talks were more about promoting research than about an acquisition, one among the people said.

Fearing regulatory motion all over the world, major technology firms are reluctant to totally acquire AI start-ups.

The $13 billion alliance between Microsoft and OpenAI is currently being reviewed by competition authorities within the UK and US, although the 2 firms insist that their partnership just isn’t a merger.

Meta has also reached out to other AI firms about possible partnerships, said an individual acquainted with the corporate's strategy.

Such moves come because the platform increases its investment in AI and goals to develop into “the leading AI company on the earth,” in response to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Adept, an AI agent startup led by former OpenAI and Google AI developers, has also been in talks with Meta a couple of sale or strategic partnership, in response to an individual acquainted with the matter. News of the Adept deal was first reported by The Information on Wednesday.

Meta takes a distinct approach to developing AI models than its biggest competitors.

The company's flagship models, Llama, are open source, meaning their source code is freely available to the general public and developers constructing on top of the platform. OpenAI, Anthropic and Google, however, have developed “closed” proprietary models.

Meta's models represent a less expensive alternative for firms and developers, but investors are wary of attempting to sustain with the competition.

Last month, Meta lost nearly $200 billion in market value when Zuckerberg promised to extend spending on AI as a part of work to develop artificial general intelligence – loosely defined as AI that’s able to outperforming humans at a variety of tasks.

Musk's xAI is near raising $6 billion in funding, which the serial entrepreneur hopes will help it gain ground on OpenAI, Google and Meta.

He has spoken about his desire to develop a “maximum truth-seeking AI,” and his argument to investors is that access to data and expertise from his other firms – like Tesla and X – gives him an edge over his competitors.

Noam Shazeer, founding father of Character.ai and former Google researcher, was one among the authors of a 2017 paper that proposed transformer Model that underlies today's best AI models.

According to an individual acquainted with Shazeer, he is targeted on constructing AGI and is searching for more resources to achieve this. Character.ai can also be exploring partnerships with other groups, an individual acquainted with the strategy said.

Character.ai and Meta declined to comment. Musk didn’t reply to a request for comment.

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