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Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Neglecting Its Mission

Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Neglecting Its Mission

Ivana Shteriova March 22, 2024
March 22, 2024
Elon Musk is suing OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman for abandoning its “‘irrevocable’ non-profit mission in the pursuit of profit.”

The lawsuit alleges OpenAI’s $13 billion partnership with Microsoft and keeping its code only for internal generative AI products is a breach of contract. Musk demands that Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman pay back profits they made from ChatGPT and other products.

Musk was one of OpenAI’s co-founders in 2015, supporting it with “less than $45 million” – a fraction of the potential $1 billion he promised in an email to OpenAI’s founders. Years later, Microsoft poured $13 billion into the startup, a partnership that Musk found questionable and decided to challenge in court. While Microsoft is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, it appears 68 times throughout Musk’s complaint.

“OpenAI, Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” the lawsuit reads. “Under its new Board, it is not just developing but is actually refining an AGI to maximize profits for Microsoft.”

The lawsuit also mentions OpenAI’s leadership drama that led to Altman’s brief ouster from the company over concerns about the risks of its AI technologies. Musk criticized OpenAI for never clarifying what exactly happened.

OpenAI responded that it hasn’t abandoned its original mission in favor for profit, dismissing all of Musk’s claims. The company stressed that its generative AI developments are broadly available and positively impact people’s lives.

“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,” OpenAI said in a blog post.

Some legal experts said Musk’s breach of contract allegations based on an email between him and OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman likely won’t hold up in court.

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