Musk sued OpenAI after it made ‘meaningful progress without him’, rebuttal claims


OpenAI issued a public rebuttal Tuesday against Elon Musk, saying it will move to dismiss claims made by the billionaire in a lawsuit accusing the company of abandoning its founding mission of developing an open-source artificial intelligence platform to “benefit humanity” in favour of maximising profits.
Elon Musk Business Photo Illustrations

OpenAI issued a rebuttal in a blog post on Tuesday after Musk sued the company last week.

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Key Takeaways
  • In a blog post, the company’s leadership claimed Musk recognized in 2017 that a “for-profit entity” would be needed to achieve OpenAI’s goals of creating artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the billionaire even sought to become the CEO and major equity holder of such an entity.
  • OpenAI said it could not agree to Musk’s terms because the company felt it was against its mission “for any individual to have absolute control” and the billionaire then suggested merging OpenAI with Tesla.
  • The blog post cites an email from Musk where he suggests OpenAI should “attach to Tesla as its cash cow” as it would be the company’s only hope to “hold a candle to Google”, adding that even then the probability of this happening was “small” instead of “zero.”
  • The post claims Musk chose to leave OpenAI in February 2018 intending to build an AGI competitor within Tesla, and later told the company that “without a dramatic change in execution and resources” its chances of taking on Google were “0%.”
  • The post then outlines how countries are using OpenAI’s tools in various ways, saying that the company was making its technology “broadly usable in ways that empower people.”
  • The blog also cites an email from Musk in which he agrees with OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever’s assessment that the “open” in the company’s name meant “everyone should benefit from the fruits of AI after it’s built, but it’s totally OK to not share the science.”
Crucial Quote

The blog post added: “We’re sad that it’s come to this with someone whom we’ve deeply admired—someone who inspired us to aim higher, then told us we would fail, started a competitor, and then sued us when we started making meaningful progress towards OpenAI’s mission without him.”

Key Background

Musk filed a lawsuit against the ChatGPT-maker and its leadership last week, alleging they undermined OpenAI’s foundational goal of developing an open-source AGI to “benefit humanity” in favor of maximizing profits. In court documents filed with the San Francisco Superior Court, Musk said he met with OpenAI co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman in 2015 and agreed to launch “a non-profit developing AGI for the benefit of humanity, not for a for-profit company seeking to maximize shareholder profits.”

As per the agreement, the AGI would be open-source, barring safety considerations. The suit accuses the company and its founders of reneging on the agreement to “maximize profits,” pointing to its relationship with Microsoft—which has invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI. The suit comes after Musk’s repeated public criticism of OpenAI and his claims that AI poses an existential threat to humanity. In the past year, Musk has launched xAI, and its chatbot Grok to take on OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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