Elon Musk Sues OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman

In a lawsuit filed Thursday night in San Francisco Superior Court, Elon Musk has accused OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman, claiming a betrayal of the company’s founding principles for profit, due to its relationship with backer Microsoft.

Musk claims that OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft has led the AI research firm away from its original mission of developing artificial general intelligence for the benefit of humanity, instead focusing on profits.

Back in December 2015, Musk co-founded OpenAI alongside Altman, Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Wojciech Zaremba, and John Schulman. The goal was for a non-profit AI company to benefit humanity.

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

The lawsuit includes claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair business practices, seeking to force OpenAI to return to its open-source roots. Musk also demands an injunction to block OpenAI, along with OpenAI President Gregory Brockman, Altman and Microsoft, from profiting off artificial general intelligence.

Musk slams the handling of GPT-4, the latest iteration of OpenAI’s language model, for being a closed model driven by profit rather than altruistic goals. “The internal details of GPT-4 are known only to OpenAI and, on information and belief, to Microsoft… which would not be possible if OpenAI—as it is required to do—makes the technology freely available to the public,” says the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims Microsoft’s influence led to the reshaping of OpenAI’s board, prioritizing profit over public safety and the advancement of AGI technology. He pointed out the boardroom drama where Altman was temporarily removed, then reinstated as CEO. The claims are Microsoft jumped in to force the board members who tried to push Altman to resign.

“OpenAI, Inc.’s once carefully crafted non-profit structure was replaced by a purely profit-driven CEO and a Board with inferior technical expertise in AGI and AI public policy. The board now has an observer seat reserved solely for Microsoft,” explains the lawsuit.

Now, this lawsuit doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Back in April, Microsoft ditched advertising on Twitter (now known as X; owned by Musk), as the company refused to pay the social network’s newly implemented API fees at the time.

Musk said in response at the time, “They trained illegally using Twitter data. Lawsuit time.” He further added, “I’m open to ideas, but ripping off the Twitter database, demonetizing it (removing ads) and then selling our data to others isn’t a winning solution.”

We also know that Musk has had beef with former Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who continues to have an open short position against the former’s company, Tesla. Meaning, Gates is betting Tesla’s stock will dip in value. Walter Isaacon’s Musk biography revealed that Gates had lost roughly $1.5 billion betting against Tesla. When Musk found out, Gates said “he was super mean to me…But he’s super mean to people, so you can’t take it too personally.”

Musk later clarified on X, “Just so that the public understands: Taking out a short position against Tesla, as Gates did, results in the highest return only if a company goes bankrupt!”.

“Gates placed a massive bet on Tesla dying when our company was at one of its weakest moments several years ago. Such a big short position also drives the stock down for everyday investors,” said Musk at the time.

“To the best of my knowledge, Gates *still* has that massive bet against Tesla on the table. Someone should ask him if he does. The lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy of Gates who had the nerve to ask me to donate to his mostly window-dressing environmental causes, while simultaneously aiming to make $500M from Tesla’s demise, boggles the mind … 🤯”

Musk is represented by the L.A law firm Irell & Manella in this legal battle. Seriously, grab your AI-generated popcorn and sit back to watch the show, folks. This is going to get spicy.

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