OpenAI Claps Back at Musk's Lawsuit and Control Bid

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.06 - 2024 1:45 PM CET

Photo: Frederic Legrand - CAMEO / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Frederic Legrand - CAMEO / Shutterstock.com
OpenAI defends its mission and independence against Elon Musk's lawsuit.

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OpenAI has countered Elon Musk's accusations, asserting that Musk wanted more control over the organization than they were willing to give.

Musk had criticized OpenAI for straying from its founding aim of developing AI to benefit all of humanity. OpenAI clarified its dedication to creating safe and beneficial technology in a public statement, addressing its past dealings with Musk.

The company recalled that at its inception in 2015, CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman planned to raise $100 million in investment. Musk, however, thought this amount was too small.

"We have to go much higher than $100 million to avoid sounding hopeless... I think we should say we're starting at $1 billion... I'll cover anything that someone else doesn't provide," Musk wrote in one of his letters, according to OpenAI.

Despite Musk's big talk, he ended up contributing less than $45 million, while other donors contributed over $90 million to OpenAI.

The Challenge of Funding AGI Development

OpenAI detailed its early recognition in 2017 of the significant computational and financial resources required for achieving general artificial intelligence (AGI). The cost was estimated to be billions annually, more than what they believed could be raised as a nonprofit organization. OpenAI and Musk agreed that a commercial approach was necessary to gather sufficient resources.

Musk wanted a leading role in OpenAI, proposing he be given a majority share, the CEO position, and control over the board.

OpenAI, however, found his demands incompatible with its mission of not being dominated by any single individual. Musk then suggested merging OpenAI with Tesla as a strategy to compete with tech giants like Google, a proposal the AI company did not pursue.

Musk's Departure and Lawsuit

Musk eventually departed from OpenAI, expressing skepticism about its future success and revealing plans to develop a competing AGI project within Tesla. Despite his early support, Musk later highlighted the need for substantial funding, emphasizing that "Billions a year are needed now or forget it.”

OpenAI also addressed Musk's understanding of their decision not to make their AGI technology open-source, aligning it with their mission's guidelines.

"We are saddened that this happened to someone we deeply admired - someone who inspired us to strive for more, then told us we would fail, created a competitor, and then sued us when we began to achieve great success. in fulfilling the OpenAI mission without him," the company added.

Elon Musk recently sued OpenAI.

In his lawsuit, Musk criticizes OpenAI for straying from its foundational goal of creating AI to benefit humanity, further challenging the organization's partnership dynamics with Microsoft.

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