Elon Musk denies meeting with Israeli startup Cortica

After report of talks with AI company, Tesla mogul says he’s never heard of it, and is only in country to take his kids on spring break trip

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Inventor Elon Musk. (CC BY Heisenberg Media/Wikipedia)
Inventor Elon Musk. (CC BY Heisenberg Media/Wikipedia)

Tesla mogul Elon Musk on Tuesday denied a report he was meeting with Israeli AI startup Cortica while in the country.

The Times of Israel reported earlier Tuesday that Musk was visiting Israel to meet with the Israeli maker of artificial intelligence technology for use in autonomous cars, citing a person familiar with the matter. Hebrew website Globes also reported the news on Tuesday.

However, in a Twitter post, Musk said the report “is completely false. Never even heard of Cortica. Just taking my kids on a Spring Break trip to see ancient historical sites in Israel & Jordan.”

Musk is visiting Israel and has been posting images of his trip on Instagram.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he met Musk in the morning, calling him “perhaps the greatest technological visionary of our time. He is a genius.”

Addressing a conference in the Negev, Netanyahu said Musk referred to Israel as a “technological power” and that he appreciates “what we are doing here.”

Netanyahu added that Musk referred to the Negev desert as “the energy future of the State of Israel,” with the region capable of meeting all of the nation’s energy needs. “You could spread solar systems here that would give you more energy than you need or could need. Clean energy,” Netanyahu said, citing Musk. “If you only want it.”

Cortica, founded in 2007 by Karina Odinaev, Igal Raichelgauz, and Yehoshua Zeevi, is developing AI technology designed to create a computer vision system.

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