Dezeen Magazine

Elon Musk against blue background

"Elon needs all the help he can get understanding the universe" says commenter

In this week's comments update, readers are discussing Elon Musk's latest venture – an AI startup that the American entrepreneur says will seek "to understand reality".

Announced last week, Musk says his startup, xAI, will take a new approach to making artificial intelligence technology safe.

"I think it is going to be pro-humanity from the standpoint that humanity is just much more interesting than not-humanity," Musk reportedly told a Twitter Spaces event.

xAI is far from Musk's first foray into the AI space: he was a co-founder of OpenAI but has been critical of the firm since leaving in 2018.

Accusing ChatGPT of having a liberal bias, the entrepreneur first announced that he was planning a "maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe" in an interview with Fox News earlier this year.

Elon Musk launches xAI startup "to understand reality"

"If only we didn't have to share 'reality' with Elmo"

Dezeen commenters were quick to question Musk's grasp on "reality".

"Elon needs all the help he can get understanding the universe," wrote Bunkermentality. "On his own, he seems to be a little lost."

"Using the human factor as the way to achieve the goal of a safe AI is the flaw in his reasoning," argued Elizabeth Lui. "An anthropocentric paradigm has given us the tragic world we are now experiencing. We have a species problem underlying man's basic animal instinct to dominate nature in order to survive. We are the problem."

Tim was similarly scathing: "when someone spouts 'maximum truth-seeking AI' while also whining about a liberal bias, that usually only means they want to push their views while just pretending that [they're] truthful."

Referring to the nickname Twitter employees are rumoured to have coined behind Musk's back, Prescott added resignedly "if only we didn't have to share 'reality' with Elmo".

Is it an opportunity for maximum truth or an AI tragedy? Join the discussion ›

WWII bunker holiday home by Corstorphine & Wright
"Bomb blast" window cut into world war two bunker holiday home


Also causing a stir in the comments section this week was Corstorphine & Wright's conversion of a world war two bunker into a Dorset holiday home defined by a blast-shaped window.

Some commenters thought the building's blast-shaped window was a little too on the nose.

"I don't think there's anything playful or amusing about bomb blasts," wrote AlfredHitchcock. "Repurposing the shelter as a holiday home is a great idea, but there's no need to pretend it was ever bombed."

"Considering today's headlines, I wouldn't like to constantly be reminded of war and death every time I looked out my only window," agreed Jim Angrabright.

"I'm a big proponent of adaptive reuse and love using concrete, not just for its utilitarian properties but for its aesthetics, but this place is just straight-up depressing," they continued.

Other commenters, though, thought the studio could have pushed the envelope further. "Seems this would be the ultimate in brutalist design," wrote Igor Pismensky. "But to truly be authentic, it should have exploded a bomb or two."

"I can't imagine how the energy feels in this space," concluded Steve Hassler, to which Noel Buller replied "bombastic!"

Would you pay to stay in the converted bunker? Join the discussion ›

ConForm adds "restrained yet rich" all-marble extension to Victorian house

"Wonderful proportions and detailing"

Readers were split over a "restrained yet rich" marble side extension to a Victorian terraced house in Hampstead, London, designed by local studio ConForm.

"Feels a bit like a columbarium for anonymous people to me – at least those tend to have some flowers," wrote MrG.

James was on the same page. "It's beautiful, surely. But if serenity is the goal, creating a massive echo chamber seems like a strange choice."

The dwelling's marble kitchen also caused a bit of a stir, with Milton Welch calling it "a glaring, boring white".

"The marble kitchen looks like it would have been ludicrously expensive," added AlfredHitchcock. "It will probably never be used because as soon as it gets stained with curry, tomato or red wine it will be ruined forever."

Other commenters thought the addition was a clear success.

"I always enjoy seeing projects by this studio – such brave, finely detailed designs," said Gary Tynan, while HP2 praised its "wonderful proportions and detailing".

Do you think an all-marble extension is a hard sell? Join the discussion ›

Hutton embeds off-grid research station into hills of rural Kansas

"How could you concentrate with such beautiful things outside your window?"

Commenters were full of praise this week for an off-grid research station in Kansas, designed by local studio Hutton to integrate with the natural topography of its setting.

Sitting within an active cattle ranch and research site for Wichita State University, Youngmeyer Field Station holds a laboratory, meeting space and a garage, along with living quarters to accommodate up to six researchers.

Tom Roberts praised the research station's "unassuming directness", while CharlieBing called it an "exquisite building".

"Love the building form, and the combination of natural and cut stone courses is a great choice," wrote Z-dog. "Looking forward to seeing some photos in five years when the landscaping has crept back to the building edge."

"I absolutely love the Flint Hills," said Troops79. "I really appreciate the way this building was designed to fit seamlessly into that environment."

"Look at that sky and the prairie!" exclaimed Apsco Radiales. "How could you ever concentrate on your research with such beautiful things just outside your window?"

Are you similarly sold on the off-grid research station? Join the discussion ›

Comments update

Dezeen is the world's most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page and subscribe to our weekly Debate newsletter, where we feature the best reader comments from stories in the last seven days.