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Elon Musk tells Cathie Wood he wants to create a ‘giant brain’ and financial platform on X

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Elon Musk says he hopes to turn X into a “giant brain” and pivot it into a financial platform once it secures money-transfer licenses.

“We want to create a group mind or collective consciousness where each person is reporting information to the system, and giving their opinion. Think of it as a giant brain,” Musk said in a wide-ranging, 100-minute interview with Cathie Wood, chief executive of investment-management firm ARK Invest, on X’s Spaces app Thursday.

Wood was an early investor in Musk’s Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
+2.98%

and still maintains significant exposure to the electric-vehicle maker. On Wednesday, Ark bought 111,387 shares of Tesla through its signature Innovation exchange-traded fund
ARKK
and its Next Generation Internet ETF
AR
K
W,
according to daily transaction disclosures.

Late Thursday, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives raised his price target on Tesla shares to $350 from $310 share, based on an “increasingly bullish view of further EV share gains and margin stabilization in 2024.” This puts Tesla on a path to a $1 trillion market valuation next year, Ives added.

Speaking with Wood, Musk offered the pros and cons of running a publicly traded company. Reporting quarterly results inevitably comes with financial and legal hurdles, he said. “You will be sued nonstop by class-action law firms with fake plaintiffs, and the press will report on it. It drives me crazy,” Musk said.

By the same token, he observed Tesla has “created more millionaires than any other company.”

Regulation, he added, runs the danger of tying companies, like Gulliver, to the ground with “millions of strings,” he joked.

At one point, he wandered on a tangent and claimed there was no evidence of aliens. “We need to establish a city on Mars,” he threw in. “It is important we make life interplanetary.”

The billionaire Musk, who helped create OpenAI, ruminated on his bias toward open-source AI as well as his fears, including the ability of the technology to replicate humans and spread misinformation. “You have to dramatically raise the cost to manipulating the system,” he said. “This is why we have moved to a subscription, a small monthly payment, to minimize noise” on X.

He envisions AI eventually creating technology and physics.

He said his various scrapes with the media over controversial issues is understandable. “They [the media] don’t have much of a choice,” Musk said. “Any media not focused on controversy loses clicks in what is clearly a declining legacy market. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.”

At one point, he accused the press of treating him as a “law-breaking maverick.”

This includes, he asserts, continuous headlines on the withering or death of X, which has lost a raft of advertisers such as IBM Corp.
IBM,
+0.46%
,
Walt Disney Co.
DIS,
+0.82%

and Apple Inc.
AAPL,
-0.08%

over Musk’s inflammatory comments, as well as increasingly extremist content on the microblogging service.

“X is actually growing in traffic. Traditional media is down, but X is up,” Musk said. “Of course, the media won’t write that. Instead, they say X is dying. That headline is a little tedious.”

Conversely, he intends to expand X by reaching “as many people as necessary with accurate information.”

“Now, with the internet and a fast-moving platform like X, you can get all the people out there reporting information and distilling it down through the experts,” Musk said.

“Are all the neurons communicating with the lowest-possible noise? If you pass off information that is uninteresting or wrong, you will get less traffic,” Musk said. “We’ve made progress with bots and trolls, but work needs to be done.”

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