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Elon Musk’s Lawsuit Against OpenAI And Sam Altman

Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, its affiliated entities, and its founders, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. The lawsuit claims that the creators of ChatGPT have violated their original contracts by focusing on making money instead of fulfilling the nonprofit’s initial goal of developing AI for the benefit of humanity.

According to Musk, who was involved in the founding and initial funding of OpenAI, Altman, and Brockman persuaded him to lend a hand in 2015 when they said the business would be a nonprofit aimed at battling Google’s competitive threat. The complaint asserts that OpenAI was obligated to offer its technology “freely available” to the public as stated in the funding agreement.

The lawsuit was filed in a San Francisco court late Thursday and claims that OpenAI, the most valuable AI startup in the world, has changed its business model to focus on commercializing its artificial general intelligence (AGI) research. This change came about after the startup partnered with Microsoft, the most valuable company in the world, which invested approximately $13 billion into this startup.

On the other hand, Microsoft, the biggest IT business in the world, has effectively turned OpenAI, Inc. into a closed-source subsidiary. According to the lawsuit, the company is now focused on developing and improving an artificial intelligence system to make the most profits for Microsoft instead of doing what’s best for humanity. “This was a stark betrayal of the Founding Agreement.”

The lawsuit comes after Musk expressed his displeasure with OpenAI’s recent priority change in a previous interview. Between 2016 and September 2020, Musk donated more than $44 million to the nonprofit, as stated in the civil complaint. According to the lawsuit, he was the leading contributor to OpenAI in the initial years. After leaving OpenAI’s Board in 2018, Musk has reportedly been given a stake in the startup’s for-profit division but hasn’t agreed to take it due to his philosophical stance.

In the past, Altman also addressed Musk’s worries, such as the strong connections to Microsoft. In response to Musk’s complaints, he stated, “I like the dude.” but he also added that “I think he’s wrong about this stuff,” during a conference last year. he also said that he tries to put aside his opinions since he is pleased with their work and believes they will have a beneficial impact on the world, even though Musk is free to do what he wants.

Rivals are still rushing to match OpenAI’s ChatGPT’s eerily human-like responses, which it launched in late 2022 and set off an AI arms race. Last month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hit the industry at large with a gloved blow. The greatest model is here today… “GPT4 is better one year after, despite all the hype,” he declared. “We are waiting for the competition to arrive. It will arrive, I’m sure, but the fact [is] that we have the leading LLM out there.”

Screenshot from lawsuit | Elon and Altman email exchange

The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, claims that Microsoft and OpenAI are closely aligned, referencing a recent conversation with Nadella. “If OpenAI disappeared tomorrow… we have all the IP rights and all the capability,” said Nadella during a remarkable leadership shakeup at OpenAI late last year. “We have the people, we have the compute, we have the data, we have everything. We are below them, above them, around them.” This is how the complaint portrays OpenAI’s service to Microsoft’s interests.

Musk asserts that OpenAI’s GPT-4 constitutes AGI, an artificial general intelligence (AGI) that is on par with or even surpasses that of humans; this assertion is at the heart of the lawsuit. Despite their agreement that OpenAI’s AGI abilities would remain committed to humanity, he believes that Microsoft and OpenAI have improperly licensed GPT-4.

Musk wants OpenAI to stay true to its roots and not profit from tech it built as a nonprofit for its own executives or business associates like Microsoft; he’s suing to make them stop.

The lawsuit goes on to ask the court to decide that GPT-4, along with other advanced models under development, are examples of artificial general intelligence, which goes beyond just license agreements. Not only is Musk requesting injunctions to force OpenAI to stop, but he is also demanding an accounting of its finances and, if the court finds it is now operating for private profit, the return of donations that were supposed to support its public-minded research.

The lawsuit further states, “Mr. Altman hand-picked a new Board that lacks similar technical expertise or any substantial background in AI governance, which the previous Board had by design. Mr. D’Angelo, a tech CEO and entrepreneur, was the only member of the previous Board to remain after Mr. Altman’s return. The new Board consisted of members with more experience in profit-centric enterprises or politics than in AI ethics and governance,”


Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at AI Surge is a dedicated team of experts led by Paul Robins, boasting a combined experience of over 7 years in Computer Science, AI, emerging technologies, and online publishing. Our commitment is to bring you authoritative insights into the forefront of artificial intelligence.


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